"A uniquely American experience"
Arne Waldstein grew up in an Iowa where "two of the most distinctive buildings on the rural landscape were the dignified country church - and the farm outhouse!"
It was a time of hardships and joys, hand-cranked automobiles and reading by a kerosene lamp, spanning the onset of the Great Depression to the adventures of World War II - and a colorful time from which the first-hand memories are slowly slipping away.
Waldstein, a farmer, agribusinessman, world traveler, former Iowa state senator from Storm Lake, and a former longtime contributing columnist to the Pilot-Tribune, set out to write a book to capture those memories in vivid detail. The result is "Water Runs Downhill," a 248-page memoir packed with photos, original poetry and a rich vein of humor to accompany the meticulous recollections of growing up in a large farm family in northwest Iowa.
As the millennium turned, Waldstein, now retired, was encouraged to capture the history of the Iowa farm experience on paper. "When my generation of farm boys, born in the decade of the 1920s, is gone, there will be no one left who experienced the story, to tell it," Waldstein said. "Growing up on a family farm in the western Corn Belt from 1925 to 1940, and participating in the ensuing consequences of World War II was a uniquely American experience."
Waldstein was born in 1925 near Rembrandt, the son of Swedish immigrants, and grew up in the household of ten children - or "homegrown labor" - as he wittily refers to the family in his tales.
In his work in the Senate, and his interests today, the immigrant experience continues to be important to the new author. He dedicates his book to those, who like his parents, "saw hope and believed in the opportunities of this land called America and to their descendants who learned to cherish, value, honor and defend those freedoms that have made United States of America a refuge for freedom-yearning people from even the remotest parts of the globe."
Read more about Waldstein's book - get your copy of the Pilot Tribune.