"I tell of a time, a place, and a way of life long gone. For many years I have had the urge to describe that treasure trove, lest it vanish forever. So, partly in response to the basic human instinct to share feelings and experiences, and partly for the sheer joy and excitement of it all, I report on my early life. It was quite a romp." So begins ...Read More"I tell of a time, a place, and a way of life long gone. For many years I have had the urge to describe that treasure trove, lest it vanish forever. So, partly in response to the basic human instinct to share feelings and experiences, and partly for the sheer joy and excitement of it all, I report on my early life. It was quite a romp." So begins Mildred Kalish's story of growing up on her grandparents' Iowa farm during the depths of the Great Depression. With her father banished from the household for mysterious transgressions, five-year-old Mildred and her family could easily have been overwhelmed by the challenge of simply trying to survive. This, however, is not a tale of suffering. Kalish counts herself among the lucky of that era. She had caring grandparents who possessed--and valiantly tried to impose--all the pioneer virtues of their forebears, teachers who inspired and befriended her, and a barnyard full of animals ready to be tamed and loved. She and her siblings and their cousins from the farm across the way played as hard as they worked, running barefoot through the fields, as free and wild as they dared. Filled with recipes and how-tos for everything from catching and skinning a rabbit to preparing homemade skin and hair beautifiers, apple cream pie, and the world's best head cheese (start by scrubbing the head of the pig until it is pink and clean), Little Heathens portrays a world of hardship and hard work tempered by simple rewards. There was the unsurpassed flavor of tender new dandelion greens harvested as soon as the snow melted; the taste of crystal clear marble-sized balls of honey robbed from a bumblebee nest; the sweet smell from the body of a lamb sleeping on sun-warmed grass; and the magical quality of oat shocking under the light of a full harvest moon. Little Heathens offers a loving but realistic portrait of a "hearty-handshake Methodist" family that gave its members a remarkable legacy of kinship, kindness, and remembered pleasures. Recounted in a luminous narrative filled with tenderness and humor, Kalish's memoir of her childhood shows how the right stuff can make even the bleakest of times seem like "quite a romp." "From the Hardcover edition."Read Less
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Older people OR people who grew up in rural areas will recognize and remember many things and enjoy reading about the incredibly hard work that children took for granted many years ago (before electricity) on a farm when everyone's labor was needed to help provide food and keep things functioning. Things were really different then. Today's teenagers might be amazed if you can get them to read it; nice to provide them with another point of view. I did not enjoy a few small parts about all the bad words the writer heard growing up, her slightly anti-religious statements about organized religion, and her complaints about the lack of sex education she received; but I think I am in the minority & most people would not be bothered. Most of the book was truly fascinating and a great historical record of day-to-day life of children long ago.
Jan 13, 2011
I ENJOYED THIS BOOK AND HAVRE PURCHASED A FEW COPIES TO SHARE
IT WITH OTHERS.
Sep 17, 2009
Were We "Little Heathens"?
Growing up in the 30's and 40's was like no other time and this book brought back all the memories for me and my friends. Even my children loved to recognize our tales of these times.
Aug 20, 2009
Brought back memories of my childhood. Gave insight as to how tough times really were.
May 14, 2009
Bring back memories
I was raised by my grandparents only 10 miles from where this book is about. It brought back so many memories. Some of them I had completely forgotten about. I would recommend this book to anyone who was raised in rural America. Especially in the early 50's. So much of it was like a walk down memory lane.
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