It was April 2 and a couple inches of new, wet, not wanted snow covered everything. My Grandson, Josh, and I were in the car headed west, on our way to the Soldiers Grove Library where I was to speak in the early afternoon. As we drove we moved from spring to winter every few miles, with a strong, cold, miserable wind rocking the car every mile of the way.
Josh is driving, not too concerned about the alternating seasons—where else but in Wisconsin—maybe Minnesota—can you see the seasons change every few minutes? I am fretting. I’m always fretting before a presentation. But with this miserable weather will anyone come to Soldier’s Grove to hear me? I know I wouldn’t be keen to travel on a day like this to hear me talk.
We drove on, across the Wisconsin River that was flooding, through Spring Green and Richland Center, through Bosstown and Readstown, and then to Soldier’s Grove snuggled up against the Kickapoo River.
The Kickapoo had caused havoc to the town over the years, especially in 1978 when it flooded and ruined the business district along with many homes. So the village moved to higher ground—a gutsy, historical move. But that wasn’t all; they built an energy conserving solar heated business district—the first of its kind in the country.
Soon we met Cele Wolf, librarian. I prepared my notes while Josh set up our book display. I continued to wonder if anyone would come for my 1:30 talk. But the librarian and I were totally surprised. By 1:30 the room was full, 50 to 60 people in every chair and standing. People from as far away as Oxford, but also from Ferryvile, Onalaska, Viroqua, Richland Center. and of course Soldier’s Grove.
I talked about one-room schools. I asked how many had attended one. Nearly every hand went up. So it was an afternoon of story-telling, and remembering the days of one teacher in one little building teaching all eight grades.
I introduced the new edition of my book One-Room Schools, newly published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. And Josh and I continued to listen to one-room school stories long after my talk ended.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: No matter what the weather, people will come.
Writing Workshops for 2016
Telling Your Story Workshop at Wild Rose Library, Saturday June 11, 9-4. Call 920-622-3835 to get your name on the list as enrollment is limited.
Telling Your Story Workshop at The Clearing in Door County. Friday, August 12, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to get your name on the list.
April 5, 6:30 Heritage Hill State Park, Green Bay. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
April 9, Fort Atkinson Library, 1-3:00 p.m. Whispers and Shadows.
April 14, 12:00 p.m. Wild Rose Hospital Auxiliary Luncheon speaker. Farm Stories
April 17, 7:00 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society and Dodge County Geological Group, Watertown Senior and Community Center, 514 South First Street, Watertown. Whispers and Shadows.
April 19, 6:00 p.m. Union Grove Library. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History
May 26, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Society, 4128 Hubertus Road, Richfield, WI Whispers and Shadows.
June 7, Cambria Library.
June 11, 9-4 Writing Workshop, Wild Rose Library. Telling Your Story
June 14.9:00 a.m. Keynote speech. Country Heritage Day, St. John the Baptist Church, Montello. Barns of Wisconsin.
August 9, 6:30 p.m.. Evening. Winnebago County Historical Society. Oshkosh Library. Ag. History
August 12 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County.
August 20, 10:30-11:30 am. Waupaca Annual Arts on the Square.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street