Monday, September 17, 2007

Little Heathens By Mildred Armstrong Kalish

This was our September book club book. I found the stories interesting and intriguing. But, they were nothing new - instead they rang with the tales of my own grandmas and grandpas. It made me sad that I didn't listen more carefully to the tales they told. My history would be a little different because it is a Mennonite/Amish tale. But, the deep connection to the earth and to familes remains the same.

So, though I was not over the top with the story. Listening to Mildred speak tonight at Shambaugh Auditorium made the stories come alive in a way that I never expected. She read the chapter on Aunt Belle, and Belle was in the room with us. It was an amazing change. Mildred was animated and full of energy. She put flesh on the stories in a way that I didn't understand authors could do. I have not heard many authors speak - so I don't know if this is the norm or if this is something different.

I would recommend this as a book to bring back the memories of stories that we have heard from our own histories. Stories of the hard life that farm kids lived - yet the uninhibited joy that living in nature brings. The work leads to a hope and a connection that our kids are not living. Enter a world of long ago and hold on and learn from a past that is slipping away.

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