Pulling Down the Barn eloquently recalls author Anne-Marie Oomen's personal journey as she discovers herself an outsider on her family farm located in western Michigan's Oceana County, in the township of Elbridge - a couple hundred acres in the middle of rural America. Written as a series of heartfelt interlocking narratives, this collection of essays portrays the realities of farm life: haying, picking asparagus and cherries, the machinery of tractors and pickers.
"Pulling Down the Barn"
As the 1960s dawned in small-town Michigan, Anne-Marie Oomen was a naive farm girl whose mother was determined to keep her out of trouble - by keeping her in 4-H. In Love, Sex, and 4-H, Oomen sets the wholesomeness of her domestic lessons in 4-H club from 1959 to 1969 against the political and sexual revolution of the time. Between sewing her first dish towel and finishing the yellow dress she wears to senior prom, Oomen brings listeners along as she falls in and out of love, wins her first prize, learns to kiss, survives her first heartbreak, and makes almost all of her clothes.
Anne-Marie Oomen uses a wealth of vivid language and personal details to bring scenes from her childhood on a family farm to life in House of Fields. Yet the focus of this book shifts away from the daily activities of the farm, which Oomen presented in Pulling Down the Barn, to life outside its boundaries, as she explores the complex meaning of "education" in all of its rural forms. Oomen's description of the farmhouse where she grew up becomes the central image for this collection of essays.
"A Rural Education"