Jennifer Vandermeer hated Kansas. With all her heart, she wished that she’d never left the dull security of Ohio, had never let her husband, Walter, take her from the order and civilization of the East.
There was no preacher in Four Corners, Kansas, so Seth Baker, at the behest of his wife, improvised the words. Jennifer, her two young children, and a small group of strangers, listened as they clustered in a spot freshly scythed around the rectangular pit.
Walter had not been long among us before he was taken away, but, uh, he was a good, uh, farmer and a good, uh, man…
It just didn’t make sense. Jennifer had told Walter over and over: “It’s ludicrous, neither of us know the first thing about farming.” But Walter had been adamant, and they came to Kansas.
Now Walter was dead. And Jennifer was marooned in a sea of grass with a farm to take care of and two small children to raise. Where would she go? What would she do?
It would be harder than she ever imagined. As she stood over her husband’s fresh grave she couldn’t know that her life would become a war every day. War against the elements, war against the will of the land, and most of all, a war, every minute of every day, against herself and her fears…
For every glorious legend of the Old West there are a thousand workaday stories of the boundless persistence and courage that turned a wilderness into civilization. Jennifer Vandermeer and the story of her hardship, disasters and triumphs, is one of the real stories of how the West was won.
About the Author
Harold Bakst was a master teacher who taught at Bucknell University, Iona College, and Pace University among others. He wrote three other novels including The Strange Voyage of Kian the Mariner. He lived in Pennsylvania.