LaVera Edick, who was born in 1925 on a Nebraska farm, celebrates the obstacles that she, her family, and ancestors overcame in this heartfelt memoir. Despite growing up during the Great Depression and living through the Dust Bowl period, she finds pleasure recalling the good times during the bad times. While money was short—and Mother Nature was angry—there was always an abundance of love and family togetherness. She also looks back at the satisfaction she gained from a hard day’s work well done—whether it was managing a trucking business, working at an insurance company or pursuing her dreams of becoming an artist in Four Score and More. “If your grandparents, great-grandparents and their relatives lived in the 1800s and early 1900s in the Midwest, you will want to read this book that describes in detail what life was like on the farm. Personal anecdotes about the author and her family will put you in stitches or bring you to tears, but every tale will cause you to wonder how our ancestors survived. Their stories of hard work, sacrifice, and determination not only will remind you of where you came from but provide a road map of the future.” —Jackie Glen, editor
One day my mother and I were in our farm yard, near Elwood, Nebraska, picking dandelion greens for supper, when we heard my brother Harold shouting, “Look Mom, look, gypsies are coming down the road.” Bands of gypsies had been roaming the countryside that spring and summer, stealing anything and everything that wasn’t fastened down. Dad had warned, “If they come here, just get to the house fast and lock the doors.” They were getting close enough for us to see the tired old nags pulling a dilapidated looking spring wagon. A makeshift tarp covered one end of the wagon as well as many of their possessions; pots, pans and tubs were hanging on the sides. Gaudily dressed characters were seated at the front, one of them cracking the reins and shouting in a language of his own. “Come on, kids.” Mom cried, “Get to the house quick, there is no telling what they might do to us.” Clutching my kitten, I started running toward the house. Harold, not so easily intimidated, wasn’t about to run and hide and let those thieves ransack our farm! “No, Mom,” he said, “I’m not going. You and Sis go to the house; I’ll hide in the shed and keep an eye on them.” Mom reluctantly left Harold, and half pulled, half carried me to the house. Just seconds after we had pulled the bolt lock in place on the kitchen door, we saw a red-kerchiefed head appear in the little peep-hole. I could see the door knob turn and then the whole door shivered as the strange woman shook it and cried, “Let me in!” “Let me in!” I crouched on the floor under a window. I felt all goose-pimply, my mouth was dry, and I was afraid to breathe. Would the hinge hold? Was Harold all right? Mom peeked through the crack between the drawn shade and the window. Neither of us said a word. After what seemed like hours, all was quiet, and then we heard a gypsy man yell, “Giddup!” The creaking old wagon left the yard and traveled on. I think Harold had been as frightened as we were, even if he was thirteen years old and almost a man, for he hadn’t stirred from his hiding place! We were lucky and happy that only a bit of grain and a few chickens disappeared the day the gypsies visited our farm.
LaVera Edick spent her days as a child daydreaming on the steps of her farm home about becoming an artist and a teacher. She graduated from college and commercial art school in North Dakota and has promoted art for forty years. She and her faithful canine companion, a Westie named Tousie, spend their summers in Bismarck, North Dakota, and winters in Mesa, Arizona.