CRY into the WIND – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish
‘The shovel of the backhoecame down and for the next several minutes, the stranger dug a trench in the field. When he had finished, a gaping hole about six feet wide and twenty feet long lay before us. The pile of freshly scooped dirt called fiercely to my 8-year-old brother Thurmond, who couldn’t stay out of it. He tried to run up it and only slipped and slid because it was so loose. The rest of us simply stared. When the digging was finished, the man drove the backhoe onto his trailer, hopped into his truck, and pulled it up next to ours. He and Daddy unloaded our headboard and dresser, set them on the back blade of the backhoe, and tied them in place with rope. Without another word, the stranger climbed into his truck and slowly drove on down the road. Momma didn’t even try to blink away her tears. Eyes wide open, fixed on the trench, the tears flowed, uninterrupted. She didn’t even look away when Daddy said, “I’ll be back later with a tarp.” Clinging to Gordon, her skirt whipping in the wind, her hair blowing curls around her head, she just stared. Don and Mason glared at Daddy. I was six and had no idea what was happening and didn’t understand their menacing faces. Daddy turned and left. As the truck’s engine faded into the wind, I realized that I was looking at our next home, and I couldn’t have been more pleased. This was a thousand times better than living in the truck. In fact, as far as I could see, this was the greatest place anyone could live. Like rabbits! Sliding into our house and burrowing beneath the earth.’
CRY into the WIND is the childhood/teenage life of author Othello Bach. She was the oldest girl and the middle sibling of seven. When her father wasn’t crating them up and running from the landlords he was out drinking away his week’s earnings while she, her brothers and sisters and mother fended for themselves. The ‘home’ described above was one he created for them in a field. He never lived in the hole in the ground but spent his time in town going from bar to bar and woman to woman.
Tragedy is something Othello as well as her siblings grew up with and knew very little of anything else. The ultimate disaster hit when their mother died and the kids were put in a orphanage in Oklahoma and then another one later in Texas. The trials and tribulations experienced by not just these kids but other kids in the same situations is something I could never have imagined. From the abuse – sexually, mentally and physically – while living with their father, to the same abuse in theorphanage, I personally don’t know if I could have handled it. It took and takes a very strong person to endure what these kids went through. In CRY into the WIND, Othello tells and expresses it all, allowing you to feel not just her own pain but the pain of the other children too. She takes you through the lives of those who made it and those who didn’t. My question is – how can anyone make it under the circumstances these kids lived through?
I’ve never read a book quite like CRY into the WIND. It took me back to my own childhood when I was in 1st grade. We had a student, much like Othello’s and her brothers and sisters. He came from a very poor family and it showed in the clothes he wore and the shoes he didn’t wear because he had none. I can remember feeling so sorry for him. He had six toes on each foot and the other kids called him a freak, telling him he should be in a circus. The teachers weren’t much better. They allowed the kids to make fun of this little boy. Me? I just stood back and did nothing. Now I feel bad for not trying to either befriend him or stand up for him.
CRY into the WIND shines a lot of light on the way life of the poor was like in the 40s and 50s. Is it still like that today? Most of us will say no but I bet if we really opened our eyes and took off the blinders we might discover that some things never change. Read the book. It will make you more aware of your surroundings as it has me.
Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com
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