On the Drop Side of Yonder: Small-town American life remembered by a girl in the 1930s

On the Drop Side of Yonder: Small-town American life remembered by a girl in the 1930s

by Jacqueline Breniser Brunais, Andrea Brunais (Editor)


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Wonder what it was like to grow up in a small town in America during the 1930s? Whether sneaking into the train depot to surreptitiously tap out Morse code, spying on horse-drawn carriages heading for town or rolling bandages for soldiers, Jacqueline Brunais (nee Breniser) didn't miss much as she grew up in Gregory, Michigan. She describes what happened when the Ku Klux Klan came to town, the men's jawboning in her father's filling station and how her great-aunt slaughtered chickens with her two hands and a knife, exacerbating the young girl's fear of birds. Brunais describes her strange and wonderful relatives, delves into the customs and mores of the time, details her experience in a three-room schoolhouse, talks about what teens did for amusement when all they had at their disposal was (if they were lucky) a wind-up phonograph and some 78 RPM records. She offers a fascinating glimpse at small-town life, the sometimes odd behavior of the inhabitants of Gregory and the limitation imposed on girls and women at the time. Her intimate scenes of family life offer a look at the discipline of the time and the effects of an emotionally distant father on the family. The ordinary details of life are juxtaposed with the big world events of the time, creating a sense of immersion in the 1930s and 1940s.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781505753028
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 01/12/2015
Pages: 102
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.24(d)

About the Author

Jacqueline Brunais, nee Breniser, was born in Gregory, Michigan, in 1927. Growing up, the shy and observant Jackie listened, rapt, to the louder storytellers in her family, gaining an ear for dialogue and an eye for detail, along with an appreciation of human foibles and an immaculate sense of pacing and drama.
She kept her eyes and ears open as the Great Depression played out during her early childhood, and she recorded her impressions of World War II in a teen-age diary. She earned a bachelor's degree and, later, after she was widowed and mother of a young son, a master's from the University of Michigan. She remarried, began a teaching career and had five more children.
Later in life, after returning to the Mount Clemens area, she was a founding member of the Write Focus group. One of the writers in the group wrote, "You give a new perspective to the trials and tribulations that beset us all," and her fellow writers encouraged her to keep telling tales.
They urged her to write more details of the exquisite characters and uproarious situations of her childhood years, such as the family dog, Pink, that sunned himself in the middle of Main Street, heedless of traffic, knowing the good citizens of Gregory would veer around him.
She once wrote: "I would give a great deal to know more about my own ancestors," adding sadly of her maternal grandmother: "I have one letter that she wrote to a girlfriend before she was married." Of her paternal grandmother, she possessed only a funeral card from 1906. Jacqueline Brunais wrote stories of her girlhood throughout the twenty years before her death in 2014. She had a defining audience in mind: those members of a future generation who might inherit her curiosity and zest for life.

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