Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Review of "Strawberry Point," by Florence Roe Wiggins

 Review of

Strawberry Point, by Florence Roe Wiggins

Five out of five stars

Enjoyable recapitulation of life in a small Iowa town

 Strawberry Point is an actual town in Iowa, and I have driven through it many times. I have also had breakfast in the historic Franklin Hotel referenced in this book. It is even more impressive than the description indicates.

 This is the story of a girl that grew up in Strawberry Point during the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. At the start, indoor plumbing was generally nonexistent, and transportation was by horse or on foot. There were no paved roads in Iowa at the time, so what roads that existed were either dusty or muddy. When traveling, people specifically wore outwear for the sole purpose of collecting the dust and keeping it off their clothing.

 It was a time of great self-sufficiency, people made most of their own clothing, baked their own bread, churned their own butter and grew much of their own food. Home canning was generally a necessity if a family was to be fed over the winter. Entertainment was local, people played music and sang together, serving an essential social purpose.

 The people worked hard, yet they always found time for the social necessities of attending church services and having other large gatherings for socializing. The narrator’s father was a photographer and did business deals on the side. Therefore, her family was generally better off than most of the other people in town.

  This is a fun book to read, for it captures what life was like in numerous small towns in the Midwest a few years fore and aft of 1900. While many did not have a lot, few truly wanted for the necessities of life. Towards the end of the narration, the automobile and telephone arrive in town, harbingers of major changes that would soon take place.

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