Dec 24, 2007

Red Earth White Earth - Will Weaver

I spent summers near Grand Rapids, Minnesota from 1940 to 1947. Being a difficult and agumentative kid, my spending summers with my uncle and aunt at their cabin by Little Split Hand Lake was best for me. The war was on. My  mother and father worked all day, and I was over active boy and, at first, not going to school. I don't think they had something called "pre-school" back in those days. My grandmother had come to live with us in St. Louis Park just outside of Minneapolis. She, by osmosis, became saddled with me all day every day. About that time my uncle had a nervous breakdown. He had plenty of money but his business had failed. I don't remember if he was a plumber then or a real estate broker, but one or the other went broke and he became seriously depressed and began to drink more than he should.

Somebody, probably my mother, decided little 4 year old me would be good therapy for my Uncle Warren if I spent the summer with he and my Aunt Erma at the lake. He and Erma liked kids and welcomed me at the lake for the summer. It worked. My grandmother relaxed in St. Louis Park, and my Uncle had a great time teaching me things a city kid never gets to learn. He stopped drinking, Aunt Erma was happy, my mother didn't have to chase me around the house all summer. Uncle Warrem taught me to fish, clean the catch, and provide the dinner. He taught me to hunt, first with a Daisy BB gun, later a single shot Stevens 22, and next a 410 Guage Shotgun. I learned how to pick berries, ride a horse, caulk a wood rowboat and put new planks on the dock.

As you might deduce, it was a magical time for me amd one I would never forget. The first summer went so well that I was invited back every summer for several years.

This book, written by Will Weaver, is a story centered in the exact area near Little Split Hand Lake. He has written several very good and interesting books that are set right there in Northern Minnesota. He illustrates the sad plight of the Indian Tribes, their problems, their newly found casino income and so on. His books weave stories about farm problems, remoteness, the northern woods, the unpredictable weather, and the wild animals of the area.

If you are at all interested in this part of America I recommend this and any other Will Weaver book.