Wednesday, June 8, 2011
When I Was a Child: Based on a true story of love, death, and survival on the Kansas prairie by T L Needham
From the back cover: A Stunning Story of Love, Death, and Survival on the Kansas Prairie
On Ash Wednesday, 1926, a young couple, Alex and Theresa, left their six children home on the farm. They drove through heavy rains to attend Mass in town. That's when the temperature dropped fast, and the heavy rain became a snowy windswept blizzard.
Only one of them would survive that night.
The terrible loss upended the lives of this working-class family in ways no one could have expected. Through it all, the ironclad bonds of love held them together as they endured the Great Depression and an unceasing string of trials, losses, and hardships.
Based on actual events, When I Was a Child documents the inner strength, courage, and sheer grit that steadied the couple's children through loss, economic crises, tornados, dust storms and war. Focusing on the extraordinary life of Louis Pfeifer, this vividly rendered book juxtaposes vignettes of a tragic past-the loss of a mother, father, and grandmother-against Louis's harrowing experiences as an 82nd Airborne paratrooper and prisoner of war during World War II. What emerges is an inspirational story of love and family bonds as Louis and his siblings grow up to become devoted, successful parents-despite all odds.
Powerful, honest, and unflinching, When I Was a Child is about the suffering that life inflicts-and the bravery that gets us to the other side, becoming much wiser and stronger along the way.
My Opinion: Wow! The author did a wonderful job of writing about his family. What a horrible life these poor children ended up having!
The story is very powerful and feature the Author's Uncle Louis and his Mom Jerry. Jerry has been a friend and and a Mother figure to Louis from the day their Mother tragically dies. Jerry is 4 years and Louis is 2. These two little children are then sent to live with their Grandmother CC, and she is a wonderful blessing in their young lives.
After Grandma CC is unable to take care of them and passes away, they are sent back to the farm to live with their other siblings, there are 6 children. There their oldest sister Martina takes over Mothering them. Growing up during the depression years, these children are provided for by their father's gambling and bootlegging.
After it is brought to the attention of the Authorities that Alex, their Dad has been abusing Martina, the Children are taken away and sent to an Orphanage. Back in the thirties this wasn't an ideal place to be, but the Author does provide a few funny happenings. Jerry is able to leave first when she is 12 and goes to live with her Aunt...again not an easy life for her.
After his brother Gene marries he bring Louis home...again not a good set up for him. Don't know why Irene treats him so shabbily, but he was a nonperson in her home! Again your heart will break for what these poor Children go through in their lives. Finally he is sent to live with his beloved sister Jerry.
His life does change some and he gets a job, and is able to give back to his sister.
Louis enlists at 17 in WWII...and is a paratrooper! D-Day approaches and his flight and jump is way off course! He ends up in the German hands, from here we are told the story of his again horrible life as a prisoner of war. Through all of this they keep their faith in God and family.
This book is a page turner and I highly recommend reading it, the only problem I had with it is the repeating of the same thoughts, sometimes in the next paragraph or chapter.
I was provided with a copy of this book by Readers Favorite, and was not required to give a positive review.