The Sac River flowed gently through the valley, circling Aldrich on the west. The author accompanied by his father, came from the city to make his home with Sara Dickerson. Charles, being ten-years old upon his arrival in Aldrich, would live with his grandmother until 1939, when he graduated from high school.
The last frontier had passed in 1890. The population was about 120 million people. The stock market had crashed in 1929, and the U. S. was facing a major depression.
The Aldrich Saga is set in a Bible-belt village of varied people; religious zealots, political pundits, town drunks, and all of the other kind that inhabit, including the church-going folk.
It was the author's eight years with Sara that he was privy to so many pleasant stories, events and happenings.
Halloween was celebrated with gusto in Aldrich, and the different personalities made news. There were the visiting Gypsies, the politikin of the town loafers, and the certain pseudo-intellaectuals who would trash Franklin Roosevelt, and make dire predicitons about Hitler being the Anti-Christ. Two misers in Polk County engendered much conversation. Medicine shows, drumming their wares in bottles that were suspect, brought laughs. There were the old gentlemen telling of their exploits in the Civil War, followed by WWI veterans who also got out their message.
Clarence Alden was a superb ventriloquist that nearly scared a man to death by throwing his voice into a coffin that was being unloaded by men at the Springfield Frisco Station. The words of Solomon are interesting for people unfamiliar with him. The author being an ex-teacher presents his views on politics. Then, there isthe snow bound train in 1918 that foundered on the way to Kansas City, as told by Ralph Dickerson. The story of the Aldrich Bank being robbed is told by the infamous Henry Star in 1908. The author remembers Granny's copper wire, the only dishonesty I can remember her committing, to keep the light bill to the one dollar minimum. Ralph Dickerson caught the Spanish Flu, which killed twenty three million people. Sara, with her mysterious medicines, cured him. There is also the story of Bill Akard, a world champion shooter, who had put on shooting exhibitions for the King of England and the Russian Czar, and who persuaded Henry Starr not to rob the bank.
For many years the Aldrich village has been gone with the winds.
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About the Author
Charles Dickerson moved to Aldrich in 1930, a small pre-civil war village in the bible belt. Charles had access to the idyllic Sack River Valley, with its great hunting and fishing, but the years that followed saw The Great Depression and the myriad of stories that he encountered during those early days affected him for the rest of his life. He currently resides in Missouri.