Once There Was a Farm: A Country Childhood Remembered

Virginia Bell Dabney, Author, Virginia Bell Dabnay, Author
Virginia Bell Dabney, Author, Virginia Bell Dabnay, Author Random House (NY) $17.95 (273p) ISBN 978-0-394-58211-5
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
It was an unusual household: the mother and three daughters lived on a ramshackle farm in western Virginia while the father stayed in Chicago, visiting his family during summer vacations and at Christmas. Virginia (Vallie), much younger than her sisters, never felt comfortable with her father. Playmates were a rarity, but she found rewards in the company of farm animals and the three black people who were hired help. Vallie wistfully observed her sisters and their friends, dreaming about her future suitors. Strange for that time and place, the sisters received no religious instruction; Vallie's attempt at self-baptism and the cook's reaction makes an endearing story. A devastating forest fire destroyed the farmhouse, and the family lived in a shed until a new home was built. In her debut book, the 71-year-old Dabney paints a wonderfully nostalgic picture of rural life in the late '20s through the Depression years. Author tour. (Apr.)
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