Wednesday, July 22, 2009

the whistling season

sunny day windmill
(c) 2009 julie king
shot with nikon d-60

yesterday i finished reading the whistling season by ivan doig. set in 1910, it is the story of a widower raising 3 young sons on a prairie farm. told first person by the 12-year old eldest son, it is full of humor, a bit of mystery and good old-fashioned family values. i found it to be a delightful read and actually laughed out loud a few times.

i love stories about life on the prairie. there's something about homesteading and survival against the odds that attracts me. of course i read laura ingalls wilder's little house on the prairie series as a child and willa cather's my antonia is an all-time favorite. i know in reality that it was a very rough way to live but my mind gets caught up in the romance of a large family living in a 4 room cabin, growing their own food and cooking over an iron spit in the fireplace.

another attraction to prairie life is the one room schoolhouse which is very close to my heart. my elementary school years were spent in a country school in dalton, indiana where two grades were taught in one classroom with one teacher. it was much bigger than one room, but still had a lot of the charm of those old prairie schools. as a first grader i was able to listen in on the 2nd grade lessons and vice versa. my brother was one grade behind me so every other year we shared the same classroom and the same teacher. our school had a huge playground where we played softball or kick ball during recess. i'm sure we had a small cafeteria but i have no memory of it or the food we ate there.

a few memories from my days at dalton school:

• in 2nd grade, jerrell dennis chased me down and sat on me until i promised to marry him

• i was in a little club that had rules about what color leotards we wore on what days of the week

• my 5th grade teacher, miss spoon, had been a missionary in africa before coming to dalton school

• our principal, mr. cain, let us take turns ringing the huge school bell at the end of recess

• i had my nose stuck in a book on the bus ride to and from school every day

if you're looking for a good book, please consider the whistling season. it has a fun twist at the end that will make you smile!


Prairie Emporium said...

Julie, I love this post and your windmill picture. I never went to school where we had 2 grads together but 1st to 10th I had only 14 kids in my class. Now the same school has 3 grades together. We just don’t have the families we did, the kids go off to school and don’t come back, they stay in the city. The picture you were looking at is Guineas and they do have funny red things on top of their heads (like a horn). Thanks for stopping by and it makes me feel good to know you thought of me. I also will be looking for The Whistling Season; I think I need to read it.

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I must check this book out. I love your memories about school in Indiana. You know I was born and brought up in Indy. Sweet memories. Julie, you are so creative. The picture is wonderful. Life used to be so much more peaceful. Maybe it's just me.

Veronica said...

I have been looking for a good book for ages actually and finally just started reading one that has captured my imagination from the first page. So I will finish that before I hunt out your recommendation. I can feel the romance of prairie life calling to me already though.

lissa said...

great school memories, adorable even, wish I have something like these to post about

ps, I started a new art challenge/meme, check out the link below:

-feel free to join

steviewren said...

Julie, love the new banner! The colors are lush and summertime delicious.

Thanks for the book recommendation. I always like to hear about good reads and stories about life set in the past are some of my favorites.

Joanna said...

It sounds like a wonderful book. I will look it up for sure. I always loved the idea of the one-room school house too. My school was in the city but my cousins went to a small school on Saturna Island (maybe two-room). We were so jealous because they got to ride horses four miles to school.

Cristi-2 If By Sea said...

the book sounds wonderful...i may head to the library to pick that one up.

love the new banner also!

lori vliegen said...

i always love hearing about your memories. by the way, what color leotards are you wearing today?! hee hee :)

cindy said...

i love reading about your memories from school. dalton sounds like a wonderful place. wonder what jerrell dennis is doing now?

Artist Unplugged said...

Wonderful post. I can understand your romance with prairie life, sounds like an interesting book. I love your new header pretty!

Kristy Worden said...

When I was in second grade we went to visit my mom's family in Gettysburg, SD. Outside of town, we visited her sister's family. My cousin's went to a one-room school house and I went with them. There was no one else in second grade, so I got to be in third. Of the 8 kids in the school, 6 were my cousins. We heated soup on a hot plate for lunch... the bathroom was an outhouse. For recess we chased tumbleweed and went down the slide.
The other main thing I remember about this time was that my Aunt Marvel asked us all what our favorite kind of pie was, when the 'boys' came in for lunch, we all had our own whole pie, made just for us....