Moving On / Never Leaving
by Martha Beimer

"The early moves about the country had made her keenly aware of people, and she held on fiercely to what her memories provided."

Gail’s father works as a lineman stringing wire to provide electricity to farm homes and small towns across America. When the work is done, the family moves on to the next town to fill another contract. From a young age, Gail has lived in many different houses from Arkansas to Texas, and her childhood unfurls lovingly in a time when communities cared for one another and raised each other up together through shared traditions and values. This story documents the many moves of Gail’s family and also captures a life filled with the trials and tribulations of growing up.

Like sepia-colored snapshots from another era, Beimer shares the story of Gail’s family through a collection of vignettes that when put together feel as solid as a family photo album sitting on the coffee table. With simple prose, Beimer describes the houses, neighbors, and playmates that Gail finds in each town in which she lives. Community activities, holidays, and family outings fill pages with astute observations of small-town life. Encounters with more disruptive social issues creep in as Gail grows up and struggles with her weight, bullying, and fitting in with her classmates as the new girl. The Korean War and eventually the Vietnam War also briefly invade the otherwise sweet and folksy recollections of childhood.

This love letter to the past and to a life well-lived in many houses across many states invokes the power of memory and celebrates the infinite connection and bond of family and friends. Geography and passing time cannot stop remembrance which keeps everyone from Gail’s childhood alive and part of her as she becomes a woman and has her own family.

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