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Guest post by Carlene Havel
Someone asked me why I wanted to write about the 1930s.
As a child, I loved to nestle in someone’s lap after dinner at my grandparents’ ranch while one story teller after another spun yarns from the Great Depression. “I tell you now, Boats, back in 1933, times was hard,” signaled the recounting of an adventure softened by subsequent years of prosperity. Great-uncle Boats got his nickname from the impressive size and shape of his shoes. In addition to those extraordinarily long, thin feet, I inherited my family’s love for telling stories.
I was in high school before I realized my experiences were atypical. For example, I saw my grandmother kill a rattlesnake when I was about four years old. We were drawing water from the well in the back yard when the snake poked his head from beneath a pile of rocks. After arming herself with an iron crowbar, Alice calmly climbed onto the rocks–wearing her tall cowboy boots, of course. The rattlesnake’s next peek was his last.
She didn’t normally use tobacco, but I remember Grandma Alice chewing a plug to apply to my bee sting. Long after others modernized, she prepared meals on a coal oil stove and churned her own butter. She could cook and sew and was pretty handy with a hammer and saw, too. She let me feed the chickens and pet the horses, while Grandpa showed me the proper technique for milking a cow.
I never saw my grandmother measure an ingredient, but her cornbread, biscuits, and cobblers were legendary. Her recipes include instructions to add liquid until the mixture looks right, and stir until the consistency feels good. If she ever had a cooking failure, it must have been before I was born.
“A Sharecropper Christmas” is a novella loosely based on family stories and my own memories. It is my tribute not only to my grandparents, but to a tough generation who endured enormous hardships. My goal was to portray the determined perseverance of ordinary folks in the face of desperate poverty.
Description of “A Sharecropper Christmas”: The Great Depression left the Shoemaker family hungry and homeless. Their desperate prayers are finally answered when Herbert Shoemaker finds work as a sharecropper. Alice makes the best of the hard times without complaint, though she dreams of giving her little family a special Christmas.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Havel writes Christian-themed romances and historical novels set in Biblical
times. She’s lived in Turkey, Republic of the Philippines, and all over the
United States. Carlene worked for a banana importer, a software development
company, and everything in between. She attended several colleges and
universities, including one that–to her mother’s surprise–granted her a
diploma. Carlene and her husband live in South Texas, surrounded by their
FIND CARLENE AT THESE LOCATIONS:
Twitter – https://twitter.com/carlenehavel
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarleneHavel
Monday, January 20, 2014
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