Front cover image for When the wolf camped at our door : my childhood in the Great Depression

When the wolf camped at our door : my childhood in the Great Depression

Aileen Kilgore Henderson (Author)
"Aileen Kilgore Henderson was born in 1921 in a mining camp that no longer exists. After her father lost his job, the family moved to a small farm in nearby Brookwood, Alabama, where they struggled to make ends meet, cobbling together odd jobs and working the land by hand. When The Wolf Camped at Our Door recounts the difficulties and joys the Kilgore family and their neighbors shared in this poor but close-knit rural community during the Great Depression. The book begins when young Aileen is ten years old and follows her into her teenage years over the course of twenty-seven episodic chapters. Drawing on her girlhood diaries and told through the charismatic voice of her younger self, Henderson's nuanced storytelling sheds light on the common struggle for sustenance during a time when people were at their most vulnerable. Against the backdrop of a world where hard work and harsh conditions like hunger, privation, sickness, and early death were everyday realities, Henderson's stories are nevertheless tinged with young Aileen's lively sense of humor and optimistic faith in people and the promise of life despite trying circumstances. We follow her rambles in the woods, her visits with friends, a trip to a fortune teller, and search for the Howton Horror, a mysterious monster rumored to live deep in the Alabama backwoods. We meet her parents, siblings, schoolmates, visiting relatives, church community, and a host of other local characters-even an uncomfortable visit from the KKK during a church service. Gradually Aileen's childhood innocence is tempered by a more nuanced recognition of the complexities of her world. Henderson underscores this point with a series of questions meant to engage the reader at the end of her introduction which would be useful in a classroom discussion or a book club. Set before her final coming of age described in The World through the Dime Store Door, When the Wolf Camped at Our Door creates a vivid portrait of what life was like for many living in the rural South during the Depression and provides context for their everyday lives"-- Provided by publisher
Print Book, English, 2022
The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 2022