Book review: Logan memoir re-creates time, place, a family

By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

Near the end of his book “Population 485,” Michael Perry writes, “ … I’ve got the sense to keep returning [to] this land, in this place, with these people …. ” That reminded me of another Wisconsin author who wrote of a similar feeling in quite a different context.

Ben Logan says, “Once you have lived on the land, been a partner in its moods, secrets and seasons, you cannot leave. The living land remembers, touching you in unguarded moments, saying, ‘I am here, you are part of me.’”

“The Land Remembers” is a re-creation of a time, a place and a family. Set in the ‘20s and ‘30s, Logan recalls a childhood that took place primarily on Seldom Seen Farm on a hilltop above Gay Mills, Wis., above the Kickapoo, and not far from the Mississippi River. I found the book particularly interesting because of the extensive discussion of the seasons and related farm work. My youth was spent on a family farm in the ‘50s, with many similar experiences, though, fortunately, using tractors rather than horses. In my case, the farm was about 30 miles up the Kickapoo and in the valley. Though valley farming is similar in many ways, Logan is quick to point out the differences.

As Logan was to find after writing the book, the reasons that it was so well received were many. Some people liked it because it was family focused or becausethey yearned for the perceived simpler times or for the clear values. Some even saw a reflection of their own childhood. In any case, Ben Logan has written a novel worth reading.

The book begins with the spring “awakening of the land” and concludes with the “shortdays and yellow lamplight” of winter. Among topics covered are the magic of seeds, gardening, the maple tree in the yard,draught, bees, wanderlust, one-room schools, harvest,killing frost and a blizzard. All of this happening in season as part of family life on a ridge farm.

It turns out thatBen Logan and Michael Perry have wanderlust in common as well as a sense of place. Perry talks about it extensively in “Population 485” as he explores his need to return. Ben Logan doesn’t really reveal his until the afterword, his book being a reminiscence. Logan’s afterword adds other insight and is well worth the read.

My wife Arlis and I met Ben Logan when Seldom Seen Farm was placed in the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. He autographed our book with the inscription, “To Larry and Arlis, who know about the magic of the Kickapoo hills and valleys.” “The Land Remembers” recreates the “magic” of a Kickapoo ridge farm, a family and a way of life in a bygone era.

Comments are closed.

  • Book review: ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ explores treatment of Osage

    July 19th, 2018
    by

    The separation of children from their parents has been much in the news lately. It should not surprise you that the practice is not new in America.

    This content is for County Line Monthly and County Line Yearly members only.
    Log In Register

    Letter to the editor: Elroy Fire & Ambulance receives grants, donations

    July 12th, 2018
    by

    The Elroy Area Fire & Ambulance Association, along with the Elroy Area Ambulance Service, extends thanks to all of the people who generously donated funds to replace our aging ambulances.


    Editorial cartoon

    July 6th, 2018
    by

    […]


    Letter to the editor: Immigration has positive effect in N-O-W area

    June 21st, 2018
    by

    Politics can be a hard issue to discuss, and there are so many viewpoints, but the decisions the presidents and their teams make can have immediate, horrifying consequences.


    Book review: Louise Penny sustains sleight of hand in ‘Still Life’

    June 21st, 2018
    by

    When book club meetings get spaced out for summer, there’s time for asking your librarian to find a mystery series you haven’t sampled. The result in this case is the “Inspector Gamache” series by Louise Penny.


  • Letter to the editor: Our spoiled-brat president needs a time out

    June 21st, 2018
    by

    Since becoming president, Donald Trump’s behavior has been that of a poor-little-rich-kid spoiled brat.


    Editorial cartoon

    June 18th, 2018
    by

    Gale Course review: ‘Music Made Easy’

    June 15th, 2018
    by

    There is an additional resource for those who view formal learning as a lifetime activity. Do you want to increase your career/job skills?


    Your right to know: Don’t chip away at records access

    June 6th, 2018
    by

    One great thing about Wisconsin’s open records law is that it’s not supposed to matter who wants records or why.


    Letter to the editor: Local columnist could be added to County Line

    June 6th, 2018
    by

    Though obviously I can’t speak for the County Line, I believe there is room for an additional regular columnist in the paper if someone is interested.


    Letter to the editor: NRA characterized by sense of entitlement

    June 6th, 2018
    by

    It looks like the National Rifle Association’s leadership and advocates are getting more limber in their responses to school massacres — there’s certainly been enough practice.


  • [Advertisement.]
  • Local Weather

  • [Advertisement.]
  • [Advertisement.]
  • Archives