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When the Corn Died: Chapter One of a New Short Story Series

Updated on May 18, 2016

Welcome to a New Series

Thanks for joining me as I continue to hone my craft. Last week I put to bed the Dale Saga, so this week I will introduce you to a new family, the Harpers, and life on their farm, in Iowa…the year, 1933. Let’s see how they are managing to get along during the Great Depression.

Let’s peek in on their farm and see how things are going for these hard-working folk.

Source

Another Day, Another Heartache

One-hundred and twenty acres of knee-high corn under a rising June sun, a sea of green rippling with the early-morning breeze, weighing me down with worry. The sight used to fill me with wonder. Now, well, all I can see are crop prices falling faster than my hope.

There’s a lot of irony out there. It’s going to be a good harvest, no doubt about that, but that good harvest will net eight damned cents a bushel, down from eighty five years ago, and it cost twelve to plant and grow. It don’t take no damned genius to tell that ain’t no way to run a business.

I slop the hogs, three cents per pound on the hoof, losing money for me daily, and crank up the John Deere. Seems like a waste of time, you ask me, but I don’t know what else to do. This farm has been in the Harper family for seventy years. Grandpappy first dug a furrow here after the Civil War, and his son after him, and by God there were some good years with the corn growing so high and the demand rising, rising, rising….and then it all went to hell in a handbasket.

Forty-eight years old and stuck between a rock and a hard place. Listen to that engine, running rough, probably needs new plugs and where the hell is the money coming from for those, or anything else, for that matter?

My son walks out the backdoor of the farmhouse. Pete Junior, named after yours truly, eighteen years old last month, a strapping slab of beef just graduated from high school, no plans for the future in a country beat down and struggling just to breathe. He’s a good kid, hard-worker, takes after his mother, Evelyn, much more than me. He’s got an artistic side to him, a gentle soul in a six-three frame, and if this were another place, another time, I could see him writing a novel and talking philosophy with similar folk along the Left Bank in Paris….but this is Charles City, Iowa, about as far-removed from the Left Bank as a man can get.

“Morning, Pa,” he says to me as he tosses a couple crumbs to our old hound, Trusty. The boy always has a smile on his face, like he don’t recognize the fix we’re in, but I know he does, he works a dead-end farm right alongside me. He knows the prices are falling. He knows the bank wants the loan paid and the interest keeps adding up and egg prices dropping fast along with just about everything else. He knows all that and yet he smiles, again his mother in him, and I can’t get mad at him for that. Sure enough can’t!

“Good morning, son! Feed the chickens for me, will ya, then head out to the southeast corner and mend that hole in the fence. It’s supposed to rain tonight, God knows we need it, and I want to get as much done as we can before this dust turns into sucking mud.”

“Sure thing, Pa,” and there’s that smile again, and I figure I may not be much of a farmer these days, but I raised me one fine son. Well, maybe I’m taking too much credit. His Ma deserves the bulk of it, I think, and the breeze carries with it the smell of bacon frying. I might as well head in for breakfast and save Evelyn calling me.

Source

UNCERTAINTY

She’s forty-two now, hard to believe as I look at her dishing up the meal, long, auburn hair, tied in a ponytail, still a fine figure, little crows-feet the only sign that the years are advancing on her. She’s put up with me now for twenty-four years, hard to believe she chose me, God’s own truth, best-looking girl at Charles City High School, then or now. She had bankers’ sons, lawyers’ son, doctors’ sons, all sorts of money heritage courting her back then, but she only had eyes for me, Peter Harper, a farmers’ son, gangly, shy, and completely lacking in social graces. Truth is she did the courting. She explained, after we were wed, that she figured if she didn’t take the bull by the horns nothing would have happened between us, and she may be right and by God she’s still a beauty and I’m a lucky man.

I walk up behind her, put my arms around her waist, pull her to me and smell the lavender in her hair, lavender, her favorite scent, always with her, a part of her, her signature. She turns, smiles and kisses me gently.

“Peter Harper, you stop it now. We’ve got a ton of work to do today and no time for such foolishness.” But she’s smiling when she says it, and I see our son in that smile and I realize just how damned lucky I am. “Now wash up and sit yourself down. Eggs and bacon are waiting.”

I do as I’m told. Daddy didn’t raise no fool. He always told me to find a good woman and listen closely to her. More often than not, he said, she’ll be smarter than you and a damned sight stronger as well. He was right. Evelyn was proof.

She joins me at the table.

“Mrs. Crawford stopped by while you were in the barn,” she said between bites. “She says the Pinkers are selling out and moving out west. That’s five families since the first of the year. She also said Peterman Mercantile on Main Street is closing. I guess the Petermans have relatives in Chicago and a job waiting for them, so no sense losing more money in that store of theirs. That means just one store left in town where we can buy staples and such. Tough times for sure, Peter. President Roosevelt says we shouldn’t be afraid, but seems that’s easy to say sitting back in the White House. Still, he seems like a good man and he has our best interests in sight.”

“I’ll bet you’re thinking, right about now, you should have married Josh Bancroft when you had the chance. You’d be sitting in that big house of theirs on the banks of the Cedar River, drinking mint juleps and talking to the other fine women about the latest New York fashions.”

She gave me that look that still stirred my loins.

“I married the best man in town, Peter Harper, so you shush up and stop your foolishness. Times are tough for sure, but we got each other, and a fine son, and I have no regrets at all. Besides, I don’t like mint juleps.”

Source

The Day Drifts By in the Dusty Wind

Peter Junior and I got about as much done as possible for two men under the warm Iowa sun. By sundown we’re dirt-streaked and dragging ass back to the farmhouse. There’s rain in the air and it’s coming soon. After cleaning up we join Evelyn for some ham hock soup and fresh bread just out of the oven.

Junior hasn’t talked much all day long. I figure he’s got something on his mind and he’ll say it when the time is right. That time arrives as we’ll all enjoying some ice cream.

“Ma, Pa,” he says. “I was talking to Lucas the other day, and he told me there’s work down in Missouri for those willing to head down there. Seems they’re hiring for the lead mines, a couple hundred men, about six month’s worth of work, but it’s first come, first serve. He’s going to ride the rails down south and he wants me to ride along with him, look out for each other. I figure I could do that for six months, send home money that will help out here. I’m guessing I might do that. Just wanted you to know. I know, Pa, it’s going to make things hard for you, but we need the money and it seems right stupid to pass it up.”

What’s a man supposed to say to that? We all know the day will come when the chicks leave the nest. I just wasn’t expecting it to come so soon. Evidently Evelyn wasn’t expecting it either because she damned near breaks my fingers squeezing my hand. I look at her and tears are glistening, the first one slowly rolling down her cheek. I can’t talk. She’ll have to.

“I don’t like the thought of you riding the rails, Junior. I’ve heard stories of yard bulls cracking skulls in many of those rail yards. Still, son, you’re a grown man now, and I got no hold over you. Your pa and I will support you no matter what you decide. When are you thinking of leaving?”

“Tomorrow morning, Ma,” he says, and just like that I’ve lost my appetite.

The tears are really flowing now.

What do you think, should this story continue?

See results

Fireflies Dancing and Lightning in the Distance

I hold my wife tightly in bed as thunder drummed the skies. My mind is jumbled with thoughts, with worry and with love. He’s a big boy, he’ll be fine, a good head on his shoulders, a good experience for him, no sense worrying, thinking back to those downy cheeks eighteen years ago, so damned proud I was then, so damned proud I am now, not sure how the hell times moves so quickly, the blink of an eye, from cradle to the great unknown and me with no control over any of it.

“He’ll be fine, Peter.”

“I know he will,” I say, almost convincing myself of that fact.

“We’ll be fine, Peter.” And then she kisses me, and the words of my father echo in my mind, and her strength flows through me and allows me to finally sleep.

Thanks for Joining Me

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. I’ll be back next week and we can find out, together, what’s happening with the Harper family of Charles City, Iowa. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll dedicate this one to my mother’s family, the O’Dowds, good people who lost their Iowa farm during the Great Depression. It’s the least I can do for all they did for me.

Until then, do all things with love.

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 11 months ago from New York, New York

      What a great introduction to your latest short story and can't wait to see how the story unfolds in weeks to come for The Harpers now. And now wishing you a wonderful Friday and weekend ahead, too :)

    • Eldon Arsenaux profile image

      Eldon Arsenaux 11 months ago from Cooley, Texas

      Man, Bill, this is certainly one of the saddest times in US history for people like my grandparents and yours. But, beyond all the hardships, are the stories of survivors of the Dust Bowl. Families who fought for each other. Kids who grew up on less than a penny a day. Personally, I can't wait to see what Junior does riding the rails. One of my favorite books (ah, heck it is my favorite) is Bound For Glory, by Woody Guthrie. If you have open space on your shelf (and haven't read it already) I recommend it for Spring.

      I look forward to more,

      -E.G.A.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 11 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Oh, I loved this. Times were so hard back then. I can't imagine the prices being that low. You've set this story up so well, so much could happen. Thank you for sharing your writing talent. I'll be back...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Wonderful weekend to you, Janine! If there is still snow there, enjoy and be safe. Thank you!

    • Old Poolman profile image

      Mike 11 months ago from Rural Arizona

      Bill, I'm betting you are one heck of a good fisherman. You threw out the bait, waited for me to bite, set the hook, and reeled me in.

      I love this story and will wait patiently for the next chapter. Having spent a few years on Iowa farms I can easily visualize the setting.

      Great job my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Elden! My dad rode the rails when he was fifteen...dropped out of high school to help his family. The stories were incredibly sad and yet inspirational to the max. :) Thanks for the suggestion on Guthrie. I have not read it but will do so.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby! I'm counting on your returning. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mike! This is for my family...my dad rode the rails when he was fifteen....tough people with a lesson for all of us.

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 11 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Great start, Bill - I love your descriptions and the way you set everything up. It's all there. Can't wait for the next one. Keep on truckin'.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Colin! I really appreciate it, my friend.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Carb Diva 11 months ago

      Thank you Bill for what I believe will be another wonderful story. The cadence and tone of the dialogue is perfect. I feel that I already know (and love) these people.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! This one is for my ancestors, who sacrificed so much so that I could have so much.

    • justthemessenger profile image

      James C Moore 11 months ago from The Great Midwest

      I like how farming is described here as the tough risky business that it is as opposed to the nostalgic way in which it is so often presented. Farming was particularly hard during the depression at that. I appreciate the Harpers' outlook on things. Fast forward to the 1980's and I find myself working alongside farmers in Iowa not on a farm but in non farm employment. Apparently, then as likely now farmers are employed at other jobs to guarantee a cash flow. I look forward to chapter 2.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 11 months ago from london

      Thanks Bill.

      You've been busy, and lucky too, as you say. Once a farmer, always a farmer, and it's ecologically friendly two.

      I think I may stop here again tomorrow. I feel about 75% myself, whereas I'm usually 85%, so that can colour my outlook. Until. Have a great day!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 11 months ago

      I have said it before, and I will say it again. Billy, I love the way write.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 11 months ago from The Beautiful South

      Going to be a favorite of mine I am sure Bill, just love stories of the past and especially struggling farms and all that goes on there. Looking forward to the rest!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Messenger....there was nothing romantic about farming during the 1930s. My family members lived it, survived it and lucky for me, shared the stories with me..and now I share them with all of you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, I appreciate you stopping by at 75%. Take care, stay well and I'll talk to you later. Blessings and thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, I'll gladly hear it as often as you want to say it. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Jackie. This one is near and dear to my heart.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 11 months ago from Northern California, USA

      This is the kind of story that I read slowly so that I can take in and experience every moment. I felt the heartbreak Peter and Evelyn felt when Pete, Jr. broke the news to him. I'm a real fan of farm stories and I absolutely enjoy looking at farm photos. Every time I see a farm, I make my husband pull off the road so I can take a picture. I'm fortunate he understands. Oh, and don't let me forget to mention how thrilled I was to read about Evelyn's lavender fragrance. Love me some lavender!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, I tossed that in for you. :) I knew you'd enjoy it.

      Bev and I drive around looking at farms and barns, too....I love everything about farms, as you might suspect. :)

      Thank you my friend.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 11 months ago from Iowa

      Great start to the new story, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deb. I appreciate it.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 11 months ago from Nibiru

      nice, lets see some more

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 11 months ago from SW England

      Great story; definitely keep it going! You have a way with characters that makes them palpable.

      Have a great weekend, bill!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Clive. I'll see what I can do.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Ann. I do love developing characters and trying to make them come alive.

      I hope your weekend is everything you want it to be.

      bill

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 11 months ago from Hollister, MO

      You've taken on a tough challenge, to 'hone your skills' again. Good for you. Delicate period to write about. Enjoy writing... I know we'll all enjoy reading!! ;-)

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 11 months ago

      This one sounds like it's gonna be a good one, Bill. I heard so many stories of the Great Depression when I was growing up to know that it was a very interesting period in our families' lives. Well, most of us, anyway. I will eagerly await your next chapter. Have a great weekend.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Entry into another fascinating Holland tale, already drawn like a bee to honey. Hooked as always, falling into the middle of it all and already forming attachments to the people. Real, down to earth and salt of the earth families I can connect to in that moment I recognize them.

      Loving this and knowing I'm part of it all as I feel my feet planted on this farm, working alongside and opening my heart as they tackle what struggles come their way. I may cheer them on and fret with them....take my guesses at what comes next. But one thing's for sure...I just met my new friends, the Harpers.............Keep it coming.

      Where ever Bill takes us, that's where I am! Peace, Sis

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well the way ain't sunny but don't you fret, we'll get there yet. I look forward to seeing how your good people make the best of the worst.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, no matter what I do, trying to hone my skills is a challenge. This gives me a chance to use some of the old information family members told me....my little tribute to some good people.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you MizB. I figured it was about time for me to pay tribute to my grandparents.

      May you have the weekend of your life!

      bill

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 11 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. As a kid I wanted to buy a farm and work it. We lived next to a small farm and I was always interested in what was going on over there. So this story is of particular interest to me. Can't wait to read the next chapter. Have a great weekend.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 11 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill. The stage setting is readied and you have prepared all of your readers for another meandering journey. I wish you all the best with this series and may the words flow.

      The Depression was an interesting period in our history. You have many options here with this beginning.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a great beginning to your story, Bill. I'm looking forward to the next installment!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, you're just an old softy! I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I love writing....the dark, the light, the ugly, the inspirational...I love writing. I love it when characters come alive, when they speak to me, when they demand that I turn them loose to tell their story....I love writing.

      thank you

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eric! Some good people find a way despite the obstacles....it's always about love with me, buddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! I've got a farmer's heart and soul. This one is for all the farmers who do whatever they have to do to make it work.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mike! I'm ready for the journey. Well we'll end up is anyone's guess, but I'm looking forward to it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, I appreciate that. Thank you! I have the feeling these good people won't disappoint us.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 11 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Great story with a beautiful introduction of the scenery. Very interesting and engaging. Look forward to next part of it.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 11 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Bill, I know I've written this a dozen times before in my comments, but I just love how you bring your characters to life, and us closer to them and their surroundings, in the process. We genuinely care for these engaging inhabitants of your stories. We empathize with the hardships and challenges they face, and we can feel the love and hope -- both spoken and otherwise -- that texture their finely drawn days like living tapestries. This is beautiful writing.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 11 months ago from Florida

      I could hardly wait to finish it, so I could tell you how much I was enjoying reading this one. It was as refreshing as I bet a mint julep is. Although I've never had one, it sounded delicious. I smelled the lavender and I could taste that julep.

      I love stories like this, Bill. I love to visit the past whatever era it may be, and you take us there so completely with your vision. I absolutely love this and feel excited to read the next one.

      I kept thinking all the while reading it that they were in this great depression, but they had so much to be thankful for, and they knew how to stop and take notice to that fact.

      Listen, I just can't say enough about it. I loved it that much. I was inspired by every word you wrote about "The Harpers." Thank you for being such a talented and inspirational writer! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, thank you so much. I'm so glad to hear you like this new family of mine.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, I can never hear it enough, so thank you, my friend. These people represent all the millions of people who struggle daily just to get by, but who manage to keep moving forward because they love each other....as you can probably tell, love is an important message in my stories. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Hmmmmm It's quite obvious that you LOVE writing bro......Your writing loves you back & WE love reading what you write! It's all magical.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Missy, it's always about love for me. It's probably the most prevalent thread in 90% of my stories. With love all things are possible...without it...well, I don't really want to think about that. :) Thank you for appreciating my writing. I feed off of comments like this one.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes it is, Sis! Stay warm and safe, and Happy Saturday to you. I remember cold snaps like the one you are having when I lived in Vermont....ungodly cold...and then I spent that year in Alaska and realized I had no idea what cold really was. LOL Anyway, good luck with the cold, and thank you!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 11 months ago from United Kingdom

      Sounds like another great story in the works. I was a little concerned I wouldn't have anything to enjoy my coffee and toast with. Now I can rest easy. I'm looking forward to seeing story unfold.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 11 months ago from london

      I see a man worried about his crop, his business, and he tells this story well. A sweet gentle, romantic touch. This one reads like a good book ...a well brewed, perhaps even Japanese-styled cup of tea. Shinto ceremony like. Sit back, enjoy …sip slowly …ah! Feels good, sort of tea (story).

      Nice! Glad I came back, took my time...nice feel to this Hub. Sweet vibes. Happy Valentine's to you both! Have a great Day!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 11 months ago from The Caribbean

      I'll be back also. I'm impressed with your story-telling skills. You make me want to know these people.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, what kind of friend would I be if I didn't provide you with reading material over coffee and toast? :) Thank you, Zulma, and Happy Valentine's Day to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita. I'm glad you came back too. This story is simply a story of love, a message I think most of us can appreciate.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That is my goal, Dora, so thank you very much.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 11 months ago from England

      Great start Bill, and you hooked me right in, can't wait to see what happens next!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nell! Always appreciated.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 11 months ago from United Kingdom

      I knew you wouldn't let me down really. Happy Valentine's to you as well.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 11 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      An interesting start and makes me want to know how things go from here.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Zulma! Have a great week ahead.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Rajan! Thank you for being here at the start of this new story.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 11 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A new story and you manage to draw many readers. I enjoyed the unique story.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for joining us, DDE. I appreciate your loyal following.

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 11 months ago from Cape Cod

      Depression era stories are always interesting to me, this one more than most. As usual you have written the work in a manner that stirs all the senses. Smell: that bacon frying in the morning made my stomach call for brunch. Touch: I could feel the corn brush against my knees. Then there's the spiritual side: you dredged up memories of my own boys going off to school one year and to war the next. Keep this going Bill, for the O'Dowds, for Tom Joad, and all of us who love homespun tales.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, thank you. Loved your reference to Tom Joad. It did not go unnoticed and yes, I thought of him when I wrote this. I'm so glad you enjoyed it....more coming soon.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 11 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you for the intro to the Harpers. Looking forward to reading more about life on this farm.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you like them, Rasma. Thank you!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 11 months ago from Dubai

      Enjoyed the read and have catching up to do. Pete Junior wonder what the future holds for him. Looking forward to reading more.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur. Not much catching up to do...only one previous chapter. I appreciate you reading.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 11 months ago

      I love the Harper family already and want them to pop their corn and sell it at current movie theater prices while the Gates Foundation travels back to '33 to buy all their hogs with gold and donate them to an educational petting zoo somewhere in Washington or Oregon in 2016 that only admits kind, polite, well-supervised vegan children. Is that too much to ask? For the love of Joads no sad little grapes dying in a dust bowl with shriveled corn and definitely no wrath at all- aaargh...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Besarien, you had me laughing out loud with your comment. Fantastic! Let's hope at least part of your wish comes true.

      And thank you kindly! See you next week with a new episode.

    • Surabhi Kaura profile image

      Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      I love your story-telling skills, Billy Sir. The Harpers have created so much curiousity. You have portrayed an awesome setting and brilliant descriptions. Bravo! I'm off to Chapter 2.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Surabhi, I am honored. Thank you so much for loving my story. The Harpers send you blessings.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 11 months ago from Shelton

      Billybuc this was indeed a worthy triumph and a good start.. enjoyed the read my friend look forward to more of this thanks for sharing :) Frank

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Frank! This is me mellowing a bit. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 11 months ago

      Bill, my friend, your 'real ' story of a true life's experience is still running through my blood. A picture of many families even on the other side of the pond, -( I know one fifteen year old leaving family in search for a " bread") - a struggle for surviving , loving and still creating the world a better place....

      Thank you for free educating. Blessings and peace.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, I suspect this story is "close to home" for you....I'm so glad you enjoyed it. There is so much inspiration in the "normal" people, as you well know.

      blessings my friend.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 11 months ago

      Yes, Bill "close to home" as well close to heart, must admit .

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad, Michael. Thank you!

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      Deb Hirt 11 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I like the Harpers, and definitely want to find out more.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deb! I wanted them to be the neighbors everyone would like to have, so I appreciate your comment.

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      Chris Mills 10 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

      I remember when my sons left home. I had always thought that being empty nesters would be kind of cool, a little like turning back the clock or calendar. Well, such things happen whether we want them to or not, and you have communicated the emotions involved very well. Sending money back home? That never dawned on me when I moved away.

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      Shauna L Bowling 10 months ago from Central Florida

      I love the setting and the theme, Bill. I can imagine how surprised Peter and Evelyn were when they learned Junior planned on heading out the next morning. What he's doing for the family is admirable, but I don't think parents are ever prepared for the day their children actually leave the nest.

      I'm looking forward to following this story and the lives of the Harpers.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It never dawned on me either, Chris, but it was pretty common back in the 30's. Our kids never seem to lose, so I don't know what that empty nest feels like. Hope springs eternal, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with you, Sha. I don't think we parents are ever ready for that moment....come to think of it, I don't think our five ever really left. LOL

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 10 months ago

      I love you new series Bill, it reminds me of Pampa's farm, he raised cotton for support of the family and corn for feed for the livestock, and a garden for our food. I remember going with Pampa to the gristmill to have the corn ground into fine cornmeal.

      The day the corn died

      With enough to take to the gristmill

      There would still be bread that night

      But what about the harvest with no profit in sight

      All help and hope is gone taken by the blight

      Blessings always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shyron, thank you so much! I suspect this family will conquer all obstacles that come their way....love will find a way, my friend.

      blessings always

      bill

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 10 months ago from Oklahoma

      The uncertainty of farming. Life is a gamble no matter how you look at it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      For sure, Larry, for sure!

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      Shannon 10 months ago from Texas

      I used to wonder often what it would have been like to live through that, especially since I grew up in the Midwest.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My grandparents lived then, as did my parents, and they said it was tougher than any of us can imagine....thanks for being here.

    • Skyler Saunders profile image

      Skyler Saunders 9 months ago from Newark, DE

      The story held me throughout. Particularly, the idea of the son wanting to "man-up" and strike out on his own in Missouri solidified the solemnity of the scene. Evelyn and Peter's sincerity shines through with their emotional response to their son aiming to leave home.

      Well-crafted and heartfelt, "When the Corn Died: Chapter 1" is a gem.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Skyler, I appreciate that very much. Thank you sir!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 9 months ago from Wales

      Oh how glad I am that I returned. I loved this first chapter and can't wait for the second.

      Take care my friend.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Eddy! This is not my usual style of writing and the response has been wonderful. Almost makes me not want to stop writing about these fine folks.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      As if we'd let you not write about these fine folks. You must be having a laugh. :D

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am, Zulma....we can all laugh together.

      I like you....thank you!

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 9 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi Bill what an amazing first chapter! I now have to catch up reading your following chapters on what’s happening with the Harper family of Charles City, Iowa. I've been very scares at hubpages but very active with other projects.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Nadine, it's always nice to hear from you. I'm so glad you enjoyed this story. Best wishes to you on your other projects.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 9 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Bill,

      I'm caught up on student papers (for now) and ready to read something wonderful...is it any wonder I've headed to this series.

      I'm already wishing I could share your work with my dear Momma, as she lived and taught me of The Great Depression.

      Your first chapter has piqued my interest. I've fallen in love with the Harper family from the get go... Love, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, thank you so much! The Harper family mirrors my family, and many like them, who soldiered on despite horrific times and circumstances.

      love,

      bill

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      A very good first chapter. I've read later chapters and wanted to return for what I missed.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And I really appreciate that, Flourish. I love that you went back to catch the beginning.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 5 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Quite an exciting beginning to your new series, Bill. I love the setting and the father - son relationship that is evident along with the keen love for his bride. Brings to mind the old homestead where my own Grandpa tinkered in the old weather beaten barn inventing a new kind of plow for the acreage. What a great story this will prove to be.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks once again, Peg. Maybe someday this will become a book. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy them as they struggle through some tough times and always remind us to love one another.

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