Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Review of 'Iowa “The Land Between the Vowels",' by Bruce Carlson

 Review of

Iowa “The Land Between the Vowels,” by Bruce Carlson

Five out of five stars

Growing up in Iowa in the early twentieth century

 Books like this that are a collection of reminiscences of childhood and early adulthood raise interesting thoughts in modern readers. From autos that were becoming common possessions to the slow arrival of electric power and appliances, things were starting to change dramatically in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Yet, in most rural areas, the farmhouse was largely unchanged from the previous century.

 One of the most amusing stories is about four boys that somehow acquired the monstrous sum of $2. Even better, they were free to spend it any way they wanted. They hitched up a buggy and took a trip to Duffy’s General Store, where they gorged themselves on soda pop, ice cream and candy. Their indulgence was so extensive that all four of them got seriously ill on the way back home.

It is interesting to hear how they had to repair the buggy when wheels went bad. Nearly all farms had an old, parked piece of horse-drawn equipment, so when a wheel went bad, they were given a replacement wheel that they swapped out themselves.

 Another of the most amusing stories is when they convince their city friend that if you run around a roosting owl and get it to follow you with its’ eyes, it will twist its’ head off. An unusual modification of the classic Iowa story of hunting snipe.

 While they lacked the modern forms of entertainment, from books like this it is clear that boys in the first quarter of the twentieth century still had a lot of fun. It was necessary for them to create their own entertainment and it is clear that they were masters at it. Along with getting into some occasional serious trouble.

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