By Michael Martone, David Plowden
Essays describe lifestyles in small cities, farming groups, and suburbs in states from Ohio to North Dakota.
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Extra resources for A Place of sense: essays in search of the Midwest
The year after that, we made a dent in memorizing the rest of the world's countries before Mrs. Gardner permanently snagged, in its overextended position, the world map, one of the blackboard-size rolls suspended beneath the cursive alphabet. After a spell during which precious board space had been compromised, the custodian removed the whole pedagogical apparatus. Mrs. Gardner intended its return but, from that day forward, our room had no movie screen, no solar system, no topography to show America's ocher rocky parts or the deep-violet swirls of her oceans.
Was she the same Ohio housewife who had never dreamed of being in a commercial but said OK to this one because her family truly preferred this brand above the others? Crepe- Page 26 paper streamers waving in an air conditioner's breeze, a fried egg sliding from a hot skillet sprayed with PAMthese fascinated us children the way movie stars did our parents' generation. What could be more enchanting than watching an appliance perform a herculean labor like vacuuming a clear path in a pile of spilled straight pins.
Every part of my lush and arid, foreign surroundings estranged me from the mild suburban life with which I'd been familiar. In the slant of my parents' shy but jocular sentences, Columbus sounded unexceptional and staid. Yet when I told stories from my years in Columbus I detected a different cant, at least in the responses of new friends. Apparently the modest Midwest and my parents as its forecasters, legislators, and developers teetered between an unheard-of sincerity and a heartfelt giddiness.
A Place of sense: essays in search of the Midwest by Michael Martone, David Plowden