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Always of Home: A Southern Illinois Childhood

Overview

Edgar Allen Imhoff renders a series of touching, colorful vignettes about growing up in southern Illinois during the Great Depression. He writes poignantly of his family and their struggles (including his father’s exhausting but successful effort at self-education) as he revisits his early childhood years in the country and his eventual move to the town of Murphysboro, where he encountered school bullies, outstanding teachers, first love, World War II, and adolescence.

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Overview

Edgar Allen Imhoff renders a series of touching, colorful vignettes about growing up in southern Illinois during the Great Depression. He writes poignantly of his family and their struggles (including his father’s exhausting but successful effort at self-education) as he revisits his early childhood years in the country and his eventual move to the town of Murphysboro, where he encountered school bullies, outstanding teachers, first love, World War II, and adolescence.

Imhoff contrasts these memories of his youth with events, incidents, and thoughts from his more recent past. While writing a government check with six figures to the left of the decimal, he remembers how his mother once scrounged together thirty cents so Imhoff and his brother and sister could go to the circus with their classmates. Listening to President Carter give a speech in the Rose Garden reminds him of the contrasting elocutionary style of the Reverend William Boatman, the pastor at his country church, which was built by Imhoff’s great-great-grandfather and others.

Through such contrasts, Imhoff not only paints a loving picture of his past, he also comments on the alienation and emptiness that mark many lives in the United States, especially those of modern nomads. Imhoff has himself become a nomad, living far from the land of his birth, enjoying a successful and rewarding career. Yet he is drawn repeatedly to his past, his family, his childhood home, and the intricate combination of events, attitudes, values, and loyalties that influenced and molded him.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"You’re in for a treat as you turn these pages, while Imhoff reminisces about the simplicity of country living, the fun of creating your own entertainment, the dark struggles with poverty and illness, rabid dogs and neighborhood bullies, medicine shows and childhood sweethearts."—Robert J. Hastings, from the Foreword

"It turns out that what we tell about our lives—when we are really taking inventory—has little to do with what we own or how we make our daily bread. Rather, we talk about who has touched our lives, of how we lived when we thought it would last forever, and always of home."—Edgar Allen Imhoff, from the Prologue

“Imhoff takes an imaginative approach to recording life near Murphysboro, Ill. Introducing vignettes of rural life with poems and quips, [A/ways of Home] is a well-designed jewel that stresses values of lessons learned through careful listening.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809318544
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1993
  • Series: Shawnee Books Series
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 166
  • Sales rank: 1,404,565
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Edgar Allen Imhoff is recently retired from a long career in geosciences and management and lives in Davis, California.

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