Momma’s Rain – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“I was four-years-old in 1935. My mother took my twin brother and me to a mountain park in Colorado Springs for our birthday. It was July 31st, a hot and sultry summer day in Colorado. We rode ponies round and round the pony pole, my brother and me. I’ll never forget the flies, deer flies I think. They were huge and aggressive. They bit. After lunch Mother told me to go into the outhouse to go potty. I didn’t really have to go but would not consider speaking back to Mother ever, not in any way. She closed the door and I waited. When I tried to leave the shack with the dark stinky hole and light shooting through cracks in the wall, I discovered I was locked in. I began to cry. I never saw Mother again. I’ll never forget the flies, deer flies I think. They were huge and aggressive. They bit.” ‘This is the first story my uncle told me when I found him. That was in 1982 when I was nineteen-years-old. I was abandoned at Denver General Hospital in 1963 when I was born. My Mother put me up for adoption. She felt her eighth child should have a better chance in life then the seven before. Odd, but fitting, that I would find my uncle first when I came of age and went searching for my real family. He and I are the cull, those cut from the herd and left to forge on their own.’
It’s the winter of 1957 in Billings Montana. At seven years old, Timmy is the oldest child in the Turner family. At this time he has two younger brothers and a two year old sister. But more will come bringing the number of children in his family to seven, all before he reaches the age of twelve. Timmy’s dad is aroofer, a job that is dictated by the weather. He’s also an alcoholic and a mean one at that. Timmy’s brother Jerry as well as his mother can vouch for that. Almost daily Jerry will do something that his dad doesn’t like leading to a beating with the belt and standing in the corner. And heaven forbid if he comes home drunk, looking for a fight. That’s when Timmy’s mother get the bad end of his fist and boot.
Timmy’s mother, Kathy, is the glue that keeps the family together. She does everything she can to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. His dad, on the other hand, will blow every penny he can get his hands on to keep him in alcohol. The kids can go hungry and the landlord can evict them, as long as he has his drinking money. And that’s exactly what happened more often than not. They are constantly without food and being removed from their “living space” by the Sheriff at the request of the owner.
Reading Momma’s Rain filled me with many feelings, most from my own childhood. When I was in elementary school there were kids that I feel sure fit in with the life lead by Timmy and his family. And just as it happened when Timmy went to school, we kept our distance from these kids. We never gave thought to the possibility that these kids were possibly being beaten at home, that they might be hungry, and not just hungry for food but also for a kind word and a little friendship. We never gave much thought that they might be smart, even smarter than we were. After all they had to be to survive what they went through daily.
Author Tom Sterner has written a book that will break the hearts of every reader. It will also wake the reader up to the injustice most of us seem to perform not only as children but also as adults. It’s made me see the man or woman on the street with a different eye. One with even more compassion for them and their challenge to survive. I recommend that you not only read Momma’s Rain but that you also teach the lessons learned to the kids and grandkids in your life.
Now I wait impatiently to read the continuation – Momma’s Fire. It can only get better for these kids, I hope.
2005 Gatto Publishing 349 Pages ISBN# 978-0954484699
Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com