Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
The 80-something Kalish writes with simplicity and directness about growing up on an Iowa farm in the thirties. The details of meal preparation, crops and care of the farm animals are so specific they ring with authenticity.
Daily life is made vivid with the telling detail – the feel of grass on bare feet, a snack of new potatoes with a shaving of butter, or preparing dandelion greens after a long winter. She describes how the kids were assigned tasks such as gathering tomatoes, potatoes fresh from the garden, milk and butter from the cellar for dinner. Yet she doesn’t romanticize the work involved in preparing and cleaning up after three meals a day.
Read this with your mother, grandmother, or any older relative and share their memories of a way of life fast disappearing from our collective memory. Thank goodness for memoirists like Kalish.