The inspiration for our new project, a community journal written by readers of the Randolph Herald, came from Robert Cooley, who used his mother's 1936 diary as the basis for a memoir about his childhood in Randolph Center, Vermont. A Mother's Diary is a testament to the power of words to reach across space and time. Here's the book description that I wrote for librarians and booksellers:
The Depression-era diary of Kate Crockett Cooley, a Tennessee native, begins in Vermont during a winter of record-breaking cold. Kate, the mother of two young boys, has just turned thirty-seven. In March, her husband is laid off from his job at the mill, and they struggle to make ends meet, he by doing odd jobs, she by taking in sewing and laundry, renting rooms to overnight guests, and picking raspberries on her in-laws’ farm. It is not the life she envisioned when she met Sumner in Lakeland, Florida, where he was a successful contractor before the crash. But in the hardscrabble farming community of Randolph Center, all is not drudgery and toil. There are dances to attend at the Aggie School, movies to see at The Strand, and world news to follow ("Great upset in England concerning King Edward’s love affair with Mrs. Simpson"). There are snow-covered pastures to ski by moonlight, and meetings of the Legion Auxiliary and the Get-together Club to organize and attend (“Mrs. Morse spoke on her trip to Labrador”). Robert Cooley, who was nine years old in 1936, deftly interweaves his mother's diary entries with his own recollections. The result is an inspiring portrait of a woman who managed, with grace and courage, to steer her family through hard times without losing her zest for life.
A Mother's Diary will soon be available in paperback. We'll announce its publication here and in our newsletter.