Available in ebook formats
Gold Medal, Midwest Best Regional Nonfiction—IPPY Awards, Independent Publisher, 2010
|Click to listen to Eric Fowler.
Childhood memories of Milbank and Mitchell
"If you like nostalgia or history, this is for you."—Omaha World Herald
"This is a splendid volume that captures, informs, inspires, and instills a sense of pride."—MIPA Book Award judge
Milbank and Mitchell, dissimilar in size and separated by more than two hundred miles, have more in common than might appear at first glance. Elsewhere in the country, they would be considered small towns, but in South Dakota, they are urban population centers. In the first half of the twentieth century, when many more South Dakotans lived on farms and ranches than do today, towns such as Milbank and Mitchell formed hubs for commerce, social activities, and culture.
Eric Fowler and Sheila Delaney looked at their communities from different viewpoints, but their childhood and young adult memories of South Dakota share common themes of life away from the farm. Fowler dealt with the hardships of a low-income, single-parent family in Milbank. Delaney experienced the wealth and occasional grandeur of Mitchell's social elite. Both found respite and youthful joy in mid-century South Dakota urban life. Despite the differences in Fowler and Delaney's circumstances, these two contrasting memoirs bring forth commonalities in the authors' early experiences of small-town life, even while they followed differing paths to adulthood.
Editor Molly P. Rozum provides the introduction for this book, drawing the two stories together.
Download a small excerpt from this book.
"Small-Town Boy, Small-Town Girl: Growing Up in South Dakota 1920-1950 collects and contrasts the autobiographical memoir musings of two people who grew up in the small South Dakota towns of Milbank and Mitchell. These engaging portraits of run-of-the-mill daily life, including during the lean years of the Great Depression and the boom that followed, are told so vividly as to practically transport the reader through time and space. A handful of black-and-white photographs illustrate this excellent addition to memoir shelves. Enthusiastically recommended reading, especially for anyone nostalgic or curious about the color of day-to-day life in America almost a century ago."—Midwest Book Review
"What links these two memoirs are the small town South Dakota settings; the times; and the value placed on friends, family, and hard work. Engaging prose gives a picture of life in the first half of the 1900s."—Foreword This Week (e-newsletter)
"Both [memoirs] offer incredible insight into a time that changed America forever."—Nebraska History
Blog review of Small-town Boy, Small-town Girl.
Listen to Eric Fowler speaking about his life.
Read a blogger's review of this book.
"By writing down their own unique stories, Fowler and Delaney have each contributed significantly to the history of their state and of this country. They deserve attention and our gratitude."—Tim Bazzett, Rathole Books Read the full review by clicking here.
Read a review of this book from the Bismarck Tribune.
"Small-town Boy, Small-town Girl brings together two memoirs of childhoods lived miles apart. Eric B. Fowler hailed from Milbank and recalls the hardships of growing up in a low-income, single-parent family. Sheila Delaney experienced the wealth and occasional grandeur of Mitchell's social elite. Together, the stories illuminate another view of the plains, beyond farm narratives or the Dust Bowl—life in thriving, modern American small towns. Both Fowler and Delaney tell stories of the joys of childhood, the sorrows of illness and uncertainty, and the complexity of family dynamics and human relationships. And while their respective small towns launched them to lives and careers elsewhere, eventually they were called back home to remember."—Minnesota History