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Maude (1883-1993): She Grew Up with the Country

Overview

During her 110-year lifetime, Maude Allen Williams went from oil lamps to a microwave oven, from the horse and buggy to an automobile. She stepped onto an airplane for the first time at age 77 and flew to Phoenix, Arizona to visit her daughter. Maude graduated in 1902, the first of her Ohio family to receive a high school education. She was married at 19 (four months pregnant) to Lee Williams. Maude moved with her husband into a farmhouse on the banks of Rush Creek, Ohio. She had neither electricity nor running ...

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Maude (1883-1993): She Grew Up With the Country

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Overview

During her 110-year lifetime, Maude Allen Williams went from oil lamps to a microwave oven, from the horse and buggy to an automobile. She stepped onto an airplane for the first time at age 77 and flew to Phoenix, Arizona to visit her daughter. Maude graduated in 1902, the first of her Ohio family to receive a high school education. She was married at 19 (four months pregnant) to Lee Williams. Maude moved with her husband into a farmhouse on the banks of Rush Creek, Ohio. She had neither electricity nor running water. She did the washing for her husband and four small children on a washboard in a tub of soapy water. She sewed the children's clothes by hand. She grew and canned the family's fruits and vegetables. The family entertainment was reading by oil lamps, singing along with the player piano, sleigh rides to visit relatives, summer trips to town in the horse-drawn buggy to watch the latest free movie melodrama projected against the outside wall of the feed store. Maude's husband taught her to square dance and play cards (activities forbidden by her parents when she was growing up). She supported her husband with a quiet kind of faith when a suicide and two murders in his immediate family interrupted their tranquility. She developed a worry-free outlook, with the observation that you should worry only about those things yo can do something about. Maude lived simply, suffered hardships, took in stride the time-consuming hand-labor of the 1900s — and, when she died at age 110, left family and friends with an enduring memory of her patience, kindness and courage, her quiet acceptance of the conditions over which she had no control, and the exemplary standards by which she lived. Maude (1883-1993): She Grew Up With The Country is an extraordinary and personal account of a memorable life and a kind of biographical window on the times and events through which she lived. Highly recommended! —Midwest Book Review

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Editorial Reviews

Jim Cox
"Maude is an extraordinary and personal account of a memorable life and a kind of biographical window on the times and events through which she lived. Highly recommended."
Midwest Book Review
Leonard Lopate
"Mardo Williams brings out the extraordinary in a seemingly ordinary century's worth of experiences in his fine biography of Maude.
New York & Co., National Public Radio
Mike Harden
"Because he was patient with the details, the scenes, the landscape of character, [the author] came away with an engaging and fascinating work about a courageous woman whose story truly ought to be shared..."
The Columbus Dispatch
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780964924123
  • Publisher: Calliope Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Pages: 335
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.63 (d)

Table of Contents

YouÆll want to read it
first,
then share it with your
children

Prologue

Book I: 100 Acres on Rush Creek
At the beginning of the 20th century, the
farmer of 100 acres earned about $750 a year

Part I: The Wedding, the Belling,
and the Unknown

Part II: Daylight-to-Dark Demands
Underneath the drudgery was the satisfaction
of surviving

Part III: The Children--Many Hands
Make Light Work
The children came too close together, but
they brought the happy sounds of laughter

Part IV: Lessons
Hold on to your hats! We're going!

Part V: Events and Entertainments
The Devil finds things for idle hands to do

Part VI: The World Beyond the Farm
The train passing through was a reminder
of the world beyond the horizon

Part VII: The Grapevine Twist
"First gent take his lady by the wrist,
And through that couple with a grapevine
twist"

Part VIII: Lee Gets a Chevrolet,
Maude Gets the Vote

Part IX: The Children Leave for the City
For the first time in history, city dwellers
outnumbered those living on farms

Part X: Hard Times

Part XI: The Forties--Traditions

Part XII:The World Comes to Rush Creek

Part XIII: The Fifties
"AND the band played 'Annie Laurie-e-e'"

Book II: Maude Leaves Rush Creek
She missed her porch, bowered with
honeysuckle, the colorful sunsets, and the
spectacular storms that gave unpredictable
drama to the quiet harmony of rural life

Part I: Adjustments

Part II: More Changes

Part III: Maude's Final Move

Index

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Reading Group Guide

aude (1883-1993): She Grew Up with the Country: A Reading Group Choice
Maude is being discussed by Reading Groups from California to New York

Reading Group Discussion Questions - Topics to Consider

1. We are not given many details of Maude Allen's life before she married. How do you think her childhood might have prepared her for life as an adult? How was she prepared for the 36 years she lived as a widow?

2. Living for 110 years is an achievement in itself. Do you think the time span during which Maude lived was unique in its advancements and inventions or that any 100-year period would be equally characterized by change?

3. Was Maude's task of establishing herself as a wife and mother much different from the challenge that faces a young woman today? In what ways was her job easier? In what ways harder?

4. Since the author is Maude's son, he is not likely to be an objective chronicler of her life. Does his attachment to her add or detract from the story that he tells? How would you describe his writing style?

5. Do you feel you know who Maude was as an individual? Did you connect with her emotionally? On any other levels?

6. Does this book make you long for the simplicity of "the good old days" or make you glad you live in the 1990s? In her life, did Maude embrace modernity or shun innovation?

7. Examine each of the following topics and evaluate its meaning to Maude and its significance in her life: family, money, nature, humor, religion, community, fate.

8. On the back cover of the book, Maude is described as "an ordinary woman." Do you consider her to be ordinary?

9. Do you believe that Maude would think that our culture had advanced during her lifetime, separate from technological modernization?

10. What type of marriage did Lee Williams and Maude have?

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