- Media Type▼▲
- Author / Artist▼▲
- Top Rated▼▲
Have questions about eBooks? Check out our eBook FAQs.
|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2016
"Mining companies piled trash coal in a slag heap and set it ablaze. The coal burned up, but the slate didnt. The heat turned it rose and orange and lavender. The dirt road I lived on was paved with that sharp-edged rock. We called it Red Dog. My grandmother always told me, Dont you go running on that Red Dog road. But oh, I did."
Gypsies, faith-healers, moonshiners, and snake handlers weave through Dremas childhood in 1940s Appalachia after Dremas father is killed in the coal mines, her mother goes off to work as a Rosie the Riveter, and she is left in the care of devout Pentecostal grandparents. What follows is a spitfire of a memoir that reads like a novel with intrigue, sweeping emotion, and indisputable charm. Dremas coming of age is colored by tent revivals with Grandpa, jitterbug lessons, and traveling carnivals, and though it all, she serves witness to a multi-generational family of saints and sinners whose lives defy the stereotypes. Just as she defies her own.
Running On Red Dog Road is proof that truth is stranger than fiction, especially when it comes to life and faith in an Appalachian childhood.
Drema Hall Berkheimer was born in a coal camp in Appalachia, the child of a West Virginia coal miner who was killed in the mines, a Rosie the Riveter mother, and devout Pentecostal grandparents. Her tales of hobnobbing with gypsies, moonshiners, snake handlers, hobos, and faith healers, are published in numerous online and print journals. Excerpts from her memoir, Running On Red Dog Road and Other Perils of an Appalachian Childhood, won first place Nonfiction and First Honorable Mention Nonfiction in the 2010 West Virginia Writers competition. She is a member of West Virginia Writers, Salon Quatre, and The Writers Garret. A longtime resident of Dallas, she lives with her husband and a neurotic cat that takes after her. Her husband is mostly normal.
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A Gracious PlentyMay 12, 2016Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Hanging laundry this morning to riotous birdsong, I carefully secured the corner of each bath towel, and then smiled, thinking of Nana.
You go out there, and you hang that laundry so it looks right.
I cant remember did we roll our eyes back in the seventies? But it will dry just fine the way it is, I protested. (Im sure that we whined back in the seventies.) Nobody cares what our laundry looks like on the clothesline!
Dont you kid yourself . . .
Having grown up in the home of my grandparents, I have a shared perspective with author Drema Hall Berkheimer. Her grandma, lovingly portrayed in Running on Red Dog Road, had the same what-will-the-neighbors-think basis for morality, but shored up with a hearty dose of Pentecostal Holiness doctrine.
There was no question about it: in Dremas growing-up world, Grandma was in charge of things.
Not only did Grandma always know Gods opinion on every topic, but she also knew when it was inappropriate to draw attention to oneself, how Grandpa should drive, and, above all, what kind of quiet dignity should characterize a preachers family. Her vigilance particularly applied to little girls who should, under no circumstances, be seen running down Fourth Avenue in small town East Beckley, West Virginia. Fourth Avenue was a red dog road, covered with the colorful waste products of the areas robust coal mining industry, the industry that had claimed the life of the authors father. When her mother took a Rosie the Riveter job in New York, the center of Dremas world shifted to her grandparents home.
Berkheimers memoir comes from the perspective of a precocious nine-year-old, sharing insights, sometimes hilarious and sometimes jarring, of life in World War II era America with its proud frugality and its humble abundance. She attests to the fact that children could and did find ways to get into trouble back then and has peopled her tales with colorful characters that stay with the reader even after the last page has been read.
History lovers who enjoy period recipes will enjoy reading about Grandmas policy to feed everyone, thoroughly and often. Making a feast out of the tail end of a garden or slaughtering and then boiling the carcasses of an entire flock of chickens and then canning the meat, Grandma elevated making do to banquet fare.
Parents and teachers will enjoy reading a childs perspective on the Christian faith. Drema was convinced that sanctification was somehow tied up with the absence of feathers in ones wardrobe, and, based on what she had observed in church, she defined a testimony as when someone got up and said what a terrible person he had been until he got saved. She worried that playing gin rummy might possible send her straight to hell until she developed the fall-back plan of converting to Methodism when she grew up. (Methodists were, apparently, allowed to play cards.) Already well-versed in theodicy, she suspected that God wasnt always fair [based on] dealings Id had with him, and her top priority in Sunday worship was nabbing the pew fan with the picture of the blue-eyed Jesus.
Humor tinged with melancholy, stories that carry a quiet moral without preaching, and an understanding that the gifts of God are all good, Drema Berkheimer shares with her readers the gracious plenty of her own childhood and opens our eyes to the wild, whooping extravagance of God all around us, waiting to be seen in our own sacred places.
This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5really intriguingMay 1, 2016lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I must admit that it is the cover that first drew my attention to the book, then reading the summary I was intrigued. Reading how life was for others is a favorite pastime for me, because I tend to forget that life for others isnt a duplicate of mine. Each place and person mentioned in this biography is unique and treasured by the author and her descendents.
As I read I saw such a stark difference to the way I grew up not only because I am from a different generation, but also from a different place. Sometimes we look around us and think that what exists has always been so, but when you read a biography the light goes on inside our minds. We are reminded that life while ended for some, impacted people for generations.
I think the author does a great job sharing some of her memories and granting readers a peek into the past and at people very dear to her. I can imagine too what a book of memories might mean to those who are descendents from those who leave behind a written map. You see as we look at our ancestors we in some ways begin to understand ourselves; this is a clear point in the book.
The author is thankful to God for those who raised her and her family as a whole; they werent perfect, but they are hers and they are treasures. It wasnt just family either; it was best friends who grew up together, kept each others secrets and reminisce even today about yesteryear. I wonder with all our electronic gadgets if we arent losing some of our memories because we arent making time to journal them for the next generation.
Maybe, like me, you will read this biography and consider writing down your memories, both good and bad so that those who come after will understand where they came from and how important your walk with God was to living life daily for Him.
Kendra5 Stars Out Of 5Entertaining StoriesApril 23, 2016KendraQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"Drema Hall Berkheimer was born in a coal camp in Appalachia, the child of a West Virginia coal miner who was killed in the mines, a Rosie the Riveter mother, and devout Pentecostal grandparents." (quote from the back cover) In this memoir from her childhood in a West VA town during the 1940's, Berkheimer shares stories that caused me to laugh out loud numerous times. Tales of church with her grandparents, delivering money to a moonshiner, an aunt's romantic adventures, her brother's illness and resulting deafness, hobos, gypsies, snake handlers, life and death and everything in between, made it hard to put the book down.
This book is easy and quick to read, and takes the reader back to the "good old days" of family, rural living, neighborliness, and faith. Considering the publisher is Zondervan, I expected there to be more of the faith aspect in her story. Religion/faith in this book is a reality in the grandparents' lives, but not so much for anyone else, except as they interact with the grandparents, or, as in Drema's case, more of a fear of hell than a personal relationship with God. In any case, the book reads, as one author bio I found states, like "the Waltons meet Little House on the Prairie" and I am looking forward to reading the sequel that Berkheimer is writing.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.