By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Christine Howard, now living in Yuma, Ariz., has recently published her first book, “Woman of the Heartland.” Her mother, Doris McAllister Vasecka, who grew up in Hubbard County is the subject of the book.
“My mother, now deceased, was born in 1921, and grew up during the Depression,” said Howard. “I wrote this book because there are so many people out there who have no idea what it was like during those years, especially in the rural Midwest.
“I started to write about World War II when my parents and I moved around the country to various military training installations where my father worked,” she said. “But I changed my direction and instead of writing about my memories, decided to write about my mother instead.”
Howard said the rural areas in the center of the United States did not bounce back as quickly as the coasts did after the Depression officially ended.
“The family lived meagerly and my grandfather, Alex McAllister, worked many jobs to make ends meet,” she said.
For a time, McAllister, hauled things for others. With so many people out of work, he would come home with goats, chickens, eggs and even once a piano and another time a pony, instead of money.
Howard’s book is full of stories about her mother growing up during the Depression, about Doris’ love of reading and music and about the family. They are stories Doris related to her children, Christine and her seven siblings, when they were growing up in Motley.
One story tells about the winter when turkeys froze in the trees; another about hanging curds on the clothesline to make cottage cheese; and another about the family’s fox terrier who rode to Seattle on the top of the car because great-grandmother Arrowood didn’t like him.
Howard writes about her mother having to attend three different high schools to graduate because there were no school buses to transport her from her home. She had to find relatives to stay with during the school year.
Howard’s mother then attended the Walker School for Teachers and later taught in Badoura country school in Hubbard County, the Hartshorn country school in Becker Township near Staples and after she married Tom Vasecka, in California, while he was in the service.
After World War II, Tom and Doris moved to the Motley area where they raised their eight children. Three of those children still live locally in Motley, Browerville and Randall.
A bonus to the book is the number of pictures she has included from the 1920s and later.
Howard has already begun the sequel to “Woman of the Heartland,” and said there will probably be a third book to finish off the series.
The book may be purchased through Amazon.com.