Dateline: 23 May 2015
|Uncle Clyde & Aunt Dawn in 1958|
(click picture for enlarged view)
Back in my July 2010 Blogazine I told about my Uncle Clyde Kennedy's new book, The Hard Surface Road: A Memoir of the Great Depression. It is the hardscrabble story of how one family, hard hit by economic devastation, managed to survive. The book begins as follows:
The stubborn pace of time cannot erase from my mind how fate, in one of its bleakest forms, set our family adrift in the throes of the Great Depression. Born on the first of January in 1923, I was seven years old when the Roaring Twenties curled up and died. Dad lost his job, the bank foreclosed on our mortgaged house, and our good life vanished like a dream at sunrise. Dad's brute strength, craving for work, and devotion to Mom kept our heads above water as we battled those cruel hard times. I wonder, though, what in the world would have become of us boys had it not been for our indomitable mother, who stood at the helm with her trust in the Lord.
The Grapes of Wrath, a famous novel of Depression-era hardship, won John Steinbeck the Pulitzer Prize. But that was just a novel, written by a man who did not personally experience the worst of Depression-era depravity. Clyde Kennedy's Hard Surface Road is, however, a firsthand account by a man who could never forget the reality of those days. As such, I believe it is a remarkable historical document.
The setting is Southeastern Ohio coal country, where Clyde's family on his father's side were moonshiners and Klansmen (he once told me his grandmother Kennedy was "a truly evil woman"—and the book gives some insights into that sentiment).
I wish that Uncle Clyde's book was a little more affordable, but it is a self-published book. You can go to the Amazon link above and start reading with the "Look Inside" feature.
Uncle Clyde passed away on March 1st of this year. You can Read His Obituary Here.
The picture above shows Uncle Clyde and Aunt Dawn (my mother's sister) in August of 1958. It was taken at my Grandmother Kimball's camp on Cross Lake in northern Maine. My mother took the picture. I would have been 7 months old at the time, and I'm sure I was there.
I remember the bear rug, though not particularly well. My best memories of that wonderful place are from when I was into grade school age, and by then the bear rug was gone.