Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review---"The Noble Generation Volume II"

"The Noble Generation Volume II" by Stephen F. and Joan R. Neubauer

This book is a collection of short stories chronicling the lives of various people that lived during The Great Depression and the years of World War II. Each story is less than 4 pages, written by both men and women, all of the writer's are Texans.
I loved this book and have read aloud many of the stories to my own dad, who experienced both of these time periods. Some of the stories made me laugh aloud, many of them moved me to tears. The stories are haunting; they were palpable life experiences that were filled with tragedy, fear, grief, betrayal, loneliness, and desperation. Several of the stories that were shared in the pages of this book were the only written memoirs for their families. The stories take the reader back in time to a world without cable TV, Internet, cell phones, and in many instances no telephone or electricity. It was a time when instead of being entertained by a television set, families sat on their front porches, or around their dinner tables, and told stories that were from their own lives or their parents lives. It was a time that developed a great resolve and perseverance in people.
I am thankful that my dad has freely shared stories from his life with me, many of the stories I have written down on paper, some are tape recorded.
I can remember as a little girl sitting with my own mother at her parents dinner table, and listening to her and my maternal grandparents, tell stories of their youth. I remember their stories of the house dances that my grandparents went to, the hard life of farm work, cotton picking, flour sack dresses, delivering a baby in your own bed at home without a doctor, childhood diseases that we now have immunizations for, and the fear of an empty food pantry. The first house my grandparents lived in after they married was a new chicken house (I still have strange visions on that story.) My maternal grandfather almost always had at least 2 jobs, during the depression years he worked at the Houston Cotton Mill making thread. Later he worked at a refinery, and then as an electrician, and after retirement a janitor at a school. My maternal grandmother never learned to drive, nor ride a bicycle. She did not see the inside of a grocery store until the 1940's, my grandfather had previously done all of the shopping. Grandmother walked where she needed to go. If someone gave her a ride in their car she would use the term "they carried me to the store." My grandmother finished the 10Th grade, my grandfather finished the 2ND grade. Both of my grandparents were proud when their son, my uncle, graduated with several degrees from college. My grandfather did not have a retirement plan, nor investments, but they worked hard all of their lives and saved.
I wish I could turn back time to hear those stories again; their melodic laughter, my grandfather doing a jig and grandmother clapping her hands to rhythm of his dancing, the smell of sausage frying from the basement where my grandfather had a separate kitchen set up, the flaky mouthwatering biscuits my grandmother made in the big cast iron skillet, and to taste again that prize winning melt in your mouth chocolate cream pie.

1 comment:

Lina said...

Very interesting story! I enjoy your writing. By the way, I posted a blog entry at my blog answering your question about why I call myself a "frustrated writer". You made me think!