In September of 1952, in small-town McFarland, North Dakota, Annie Clausen (the twelve-year-old daughter of the Farmers' Union store manager) doesn't know how good she has it. Annie is pretty sure her loving and hardworking parents expect way too much of her. Her mother's lists of chores take precedence over fun, and the math teacher seems to relish picking on her and her best friend, next-door neighbor, Bobby Merritt. A couple of bullies add to her list of problems.
Meanwhile, Rosie Stample takes care of her little brother, Edgar, and doesn't realize how bad their life is going to get. Rosie's mother, who has suffered a horrific shock, has been hospitalized in Minnesota's state mental institution for the last two years. Her father brought his children to McFarland to live because he has found work nearby with a prosperous farmer, Herbert Sloven. Besides caring for Edgar, Rosie tries to do the laundry, cooking, cleaning, and still get to school, while her older brothers manage to bully and alienate everyone. Her father has started drinking again, and the news about her mother's progress gets worse.
Neither girl could have predicted the changes that were to come.
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About the Author
Patricia Buck is a retired elementary teacher whose writing grew from her childhood and teen years on the South Dakota prairies in the 1950s. These stories initially won the approval of her grandchildren.
A graduate of Black Hills Teachers College in South Dakota with a masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Montana State University, Mrs. Buck is the mother of two, grandmother of six, and great-grandmother of four. She lives with her husband and two Boston terriers in Casper, Wyoming.