Hello, Mr. Parker. Albert Fritz of the Fredericksburg Standard—so good of you to take the time for an interview with me today. I hear you are new to our area, straight from Nottinghamshire, England. Welcome to our isolated corner of Texas!
How do you do? Pray do not let my accent put you off—one might think me a bit standoffish at first. Being a butler in the 1920’s and 30’s for an important figure in our city required a rather formal exterior.
Hmm…did this cause you problems here in the United States?
Since I traveled with my employer’s grandson, the way was paved for us in New York city. Our time there and the long train ride provided a taste of the many dialects and personalities in this large country. But when we arrived in Texas Hill Country, people surely saw us as an oddity.
Still, they welcomed us with great kindness—greenhorns like us needed a lot of help. For one thing, it was nearly winter, and we had no harvest to rely on.
The area’s isolation surprised us somewhat. We knew we were bound for an agricultural locale, but Loyal Valley is…ahem…quite distant from any major city. Our first visit to a church three miles away made all the difference.
From one member, we might purchase a regular supply of milk and cheese. Another had an ample egg supply, and a third just butchered, so we purchased enough hams and beef to last the winter. Having reliable food sources close at hand, we entered our first cold season.
Is that cows mooing—you must have developed your own herd?
Oh yes, as soon as possible. You see, I come from a long line of cheesemakers. Soon, we acquired laying hens, too. Let me show you our barn. See here—even a small horse for Donnie, Everett’s son, plus geese and ducks galore.
And out there, behold the orchard Everett cares for. The trees produce plenty of fruit and nuts. He makes jams and butters to sell and has developed a good business. To the South, you will note . . .
You have a garden—why, it’s enormous!
Yes, with its produce and good pastureland for the herd, we have everything we need. If only our people back in Nottingham could say the same.
Ah yes . . . what a terrible time in England right now, with the Luftwaffe bombing many cities. So much danger and destruction. I imagine you listen to the war report on the radio nightly?
Indeed. That plus newspapers and letters from friends back home keep us informed. Who would ever have thought this war would last so long?
Certainly not your American neighbors. Why, it’s been three years since the Pearl Harbor attack, and our boys still face such obstacles.
Indeed they do. I daresay, did you hear that? I believe t’was my new prize bull, so I had best go and check on him. A right testy old fellow. He bears watching.
Thank you for your time. So glad to see how well you’re adjusting to your new homeland.
Perhaps some did, but most accepted us immediately. We provided an interesting diversion, I suppose, but this area is so isolated, they soon came around. Since we arrived just before winter and had no vehicle, everyone realized our need.
After missionary work in North Africa, Gail taught English as a Second Language and college expository writing. She and her retired Army Chaplain husband of forty-four years live in North Iowa where they enjoy grandchildren, gardening, and historical research.
Dare To Bloom, Gail’s website, comes by its name honestly—it took time to acquire the courage to put her writing “out there.” Eventually, her memoir developed, which led to writing World War II fiction.
Her Women of the Heartland brand honors the era’s make-do women and men, and includes eight novels, two novellas, and three non-fiction books. Despite daunting trials, her heroines and heroes embrace their strengths, contribute to the war effort and reveal the determination, loyalty, faith and tenacity so needful in our society today.
Gail hosts other authors on her Author Visits page and enjoys encouraging writers through facilitating workshops and retreats.
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