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Kalish's memoir of her Iowa childhood, set against the backdrop of the Depression, captures a vanished way of traditional living and a specific moment in American history in a story both illuminating and memorable. Kalish lived with her siblings, mother and grandparents-seven in all-both in a town home and, in warmer weather, out on a farm. The lifestyle was frugal in the extreme: "The only things my grandparents spent money on were tea, coffee, sugar, salt, white flour, cloth and kerosene." But in spite of the austere conditions, Kalish's memories are mostly happy ones: keeping the farm and home going, caring for animals, cooking elaborate multi-course meals and washing the large family's laundry once a week, by hand. Here, too, are stories of gossiping in the kitchen, digging a hole to China with the "Big Kids" and making head cheese at butchering time. Kalish skillfully rises above bitterness and sentiment, giving her memoir a clear-eyed narrative voice that puts to fine use a lifetime of careful observation: "Observing the abundance of life around us was just so naturally a part of our days on the farm that it became a habit." Simple, detailed and honest, this is a refreshing and informative read for anyone interested in the struggles of average Americans in the thick of the Great Depression.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
One of the most endearing qualities of octogenarian Mildred Armstrong Kalishs Little Heathens is that it runs counter to what the memoir, sadly, has too frequently becomeself-indulgent, self-promoting gossip. Despite circumstances that could easily have left her embittered, Kalish, a retired English professor, recalls her formative years fondly. Through simple, honest prose punctuated with "her old pagan rhythms" (New York Times Book Review) and a host of memorable examples, Kalish performs her greatest feat, which is to make some of us under 80 just the slightest bit enviouscrazy to say, but such is human naturethat we never experienced the Depression-era challenges and triumphs so lovingly recounted.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I found this book difficult to read. It was so mundane it would quickly put me to sleep. If you are interested in what it was like growing up in the mid west - what their daily... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Buddy
Fun to read and filled with practical and useful ideas from the depression era, plus lots of old recipes!Published 3 days ago by Linda Hahn
This lifestyle almost long forgotten, develops a sense of responsibility, strong work ethic, and innovative ways to have fun. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Myrna J.
Even though I'm younger I experienced so much of this story. It brought back memories. I heard the author on a local radio station and that prompted the purchase.Published 22 days ago by Ann L. Miller
Not only did this author stir up a lot of nostalgia for me, she furnished great recipes that made my mouth water while I read them. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Linda Thayer
fun book..brought back memories of long ago..Good book for older adults.. and young ones to.. tells of a different time, when things were so much easier for some of us.. Read morePublished 1 month ago by leilei
This memoir brought back a lot of memories of my childhood, my parents lived through the depression and they brought a lot of the same values and work ethic to me and my siblings. Read morePublished 1 month ago by sparkles
Great read especially for those who can remember some people in their families who went through the depression. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dulany H. Noble