I am figuring out that it is so important to keep fictional reading in the “entertainment” category and non-fiction in the “school” category. The exceptions will be fictional books which include a lot of facts. Since nonfiction books are not widely read, I want to share a series of non-fiction books that I intend to use in our homeschool with my daughter as she gets older. Meet Me in the Gloaming by Carol Vinzant will definitely be one of them.
I suppose I should disclose that Carol Vinzant, the author of this book, is a friend of mine. I have known her for many years and I know that she planned on writing this book for many years before she actually did. I have a great deal of respect for Carol, and even more since she pushed through a great number of difficulties to publish this amazing book which relates the life of her grandmother. Carol inherited her grandmother’s diaries, stacks and stacks of them. She remembers her grandmother puttering around the kitchen when Carol was a child, but she had no idea the exciting life she lived until she began to read what Clemmie had written over the years about events that had occurred.
About ninety-five percent of this book tells content directly from these diaries, while five percent is fictional conversations which she had to include to show progression which was necessary but was not described in the detail she needed to use. She worked very hard to keep these fictional sections to a minimum, though, and worked very hard to keep them true to the people involved. Some members of her family complained to her about including some portions which they did not want published, but Carol said it is part of her grandmother’s story so it should be told. The title comes from an old hymn of the same name.
Meet Me in the Gloaming takes place primarily in Texas, where Clemmie lived all of her life. Her family struggled financially, which only got worse during the Great Depression. See life through her diaries as she goes through love and loss. She struggles to be a spinster school teacher, in spite of her difficulties controlling the bullies in every class in which she taught. After she marries, she does all she can to keep food on the table and a roof over her family’s head, all the while maintaining her belief in God and keeping her morals high. She describes events of her time, including an entire town which moved a couple of miles so they could be closer to the railroad (something which happened in many towns in Texas and Oklahoma which were close but not exactly on the track of the railway when it came through). When available, actual photographs are included throughout the book.
If you are studying the history of the United States during the depression era and afterward, I highly recommend you use this book as part of your studies to see exactly what the depression years were like for most families during this difficult time. There are many situations in this story which will provide discussion points about life as well as giving you a variety of events of the time which you can further research. I highly recommend reading Meet Me in the Gloaming by Carol Vinzant.