I love to read other people’s stories. To live in another’s set of shoes and experience their life and their world is just as fantastic a journey as any good fiction. Nancy Parker’s Finding Home A Memoir is a story that took me back in time to Maroa, Illinois beginning in 1938 when Nancy was born.
Her life growing up was not easy, but neither was it completely bereft. Surrounded by family, sometimes loving, sometimes not, Nancy learned to take care of herself out of necessity: “I rode my bike to pieces. There were no bike shops in town and no money for repairs even if there had been. I had to learn to repair my own bike.” (Parker, 27) It was war time and with rationing, people had to make do.
There were good times on her grandparents’ farm: “The barn cats and I watched as Grandpa got his one-legged stool situated, sat down, put the milk bucket under the cow’s udder, put his head against her flank and began to milk. I loved the rhythm of the milk splashing into the bucket.” (Parker, 37)
But there were very hard things in her life as well, including her mother’s death, her father’s alcoholism, and the abuse from her older brother. Eventually, Nancy had to assume the responsibilities of care in the home: “…it became my job to get the younger two up, dressed, fed, and off to school.” (Parker, 70) After her dad’s sudden death, she and her two younger siblings had to go and live with an aunt and uncle on their farm near town. They were treated like servants.
While the memoir shares both good and terrible situations, we see Nancy’s strength as she grows into adulthood, having a career in teaching and also as an advocate for seniors among other things. And she ends up finding home, and the courage to tell her story.
If you’d like to read Nancy’s story, you can contact her here: firstname.lastname@example.org