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Most of us can trace the shape of our lives back to a physical place—a childhood home that played an enormous role in defining how we see ourselves and how we choose to make our way in the world. In Home, John Edwards has collected nearly sixty moving stories that reflect how these places, in many ways, are the blueprints of our lives. Home features uplifting, touching, and engaging narratives from all kinds of people across the country—everyday Americans with deeply inspiring stories share the pages with ...
Most of us can trace the shape of our lives back to a physical place—a childhood home that played an enormous role in defining how we see ourselves and how we choose to make our way in the world. In Home, John Edwards has collected nearly sixty moving stories that reflect how these places, in many ways, are the blueprints of our lives. Home features uplifting, touching, and engaging narratives from all kinds of people across the country—everyday Americans with deeply inspiring stories share the pages with well-known figures from entertainment and religion, from politics and sports.
Visit the early homes of:
Mario Batali Benicio Del Toro Bob Dole Tommy Franks John Glenn Danny Glover Nanci Griffith Sugar Ray Leonard Maya Lin Jamie-Lynn Sigler Steven Spielberg Vera Wang Rick Warren
. . . and many more.
Through words, photos, and illustrations, Home paints a moving picture of America at its best—a country where people, no matter their background, no matter their circumstance, can build a great future. One by one, these different stories reveal our common story—a story that begins with the home we grew up in, the values it gave us, and the hopes that we share.
No matter how big we get, our roots always stay connected to our leaves. It is our roots, after all, that determine how the rest of us grows. Well, my life has been living proof that the apple never falls far from the tree. I was born in a small farmhouse out in Oklahoma's farm country. My father, Madison Bates Adair, and my grandfather Jesse Eugene Adair spent two years building with their own hands the house that Dad and Ma would move into when they were married in 1922. They would live there for the rest of their lives.
With three bedrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, screened-in back porch, and a big front porch, the simple house was all we needed. It sat in a valley, nestled between hills, a creek, and sprawling green pastures. We swam, fished, and sometimes bathed in the creek. We carried water from a nearby cold spring, where we also stored our milk and butter. To cook and heat the house, we relied on wood; for light, we used kerosene lamps. Since our farm was so remote, we hiked two and one-half miles to and from school every day.
Our family grew in that house; we grew taller, we grew older, and we grew closer. When you're eleven miles from the nearest town, the folks you live with are pretty much all you've got. And luckily for me, my family was a good one.
Even though we were poor, we werenever hungry. The smell of Ma's bread cooking in the kitchen always crept through the house, making it warmer, and at suppertime we all gathered in my favorite room of the house, the dining room.
Even though it was quiet, we were never alone. And every night after supper, we used to gather around to hear Dad play the fiddle, and Ma would sing.
Even though it was simple, it was beautiful.
Growing up the way we did, out in the middle of nowhere and without a whole lot of spending money, you learn the meaning of hard work and self-sufficiency. I remember how hard the Depression hit, but we were very autonomous-raising livestock for our meat, milk, and eggs and growing our own vegetables. All of us contributed, and we relied on one another, trusted one another. I always found it funny how, miles away from our neighbors, we never felt isolated. In our little farming community, families understood one another and never hesitated to help out in time of need. I don't think we would have had that in a big city.
It wasn't until 1941 that we had electricity at the house, so that's when we added electric lights and got a radio and an electric iron. In 1946, after the war, we also bought a refrigerator and a washing machine. Even though we appreciated all this new, fancy equipment, sometimes we just preferred the simple life; in 1962, we put in modern bathroom facilities, but my dad still used the outhouse. We also drilled a well in the 1940s but still drew water from the old one for many years. I suppose we had just learned to make do with what we had and to trust it, and we didn't see the need for much more.
I lived in that house for twenty years, until I left to join the army in 1953. When I was discharged two years later, I took a wife and made a family of my own. Call me a simple man, but I loved the farm life. There were voices in those quiet hills that told me everything I needed to become a man. So once I became one, I decided to follow in the noble footsteps of my dad. We bought the farm from my parents in the 1970s before they passed away and built a home of our own on the property, not too far from the old house, where my sister still lives. I'm still on this quiet Piney, Oklahoma, farm today and, like my folks, don't plan to move out until I move on for the last time.
-Jack Adair, Farmer Hometown: Piney, Oklahoma
Excerpted from Home by John Edwards Copyright © 2006 by John Edwards. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted December 31, 2010
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