Acclaimed historian and author Apps examines day-to-day rural life and evokes memories of a time when almost as many Americans lived on farms as in cities. Fieldwork was done with horses, cows were milked by hand, lanterns were the source of light and community was essential for survival.
This story is the personal and family story of millions of Americans who grew up on farms. Like a family photo album, the documentary takes the viewer through memories of “things that aren’t there anymore” and of experiences that created the values of hard work, determination and community — values that drove a generation of Americans who grew up on the farm.
The documentary carries us from a childhood on the farm in the 1930s to the rural electrification that changed American farms and rural life forever. Apps shares stories about the party line telephone, the one-room schoolhouse, the routine of work and chores and community of those family farms that built America into the agricultural center of the world.
About Jerry Apps
Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 30 books, many of them on rural history and country life. His nonfiction books include: Living a Country Year, Every Farm Tells a Story, When Chores Were Done, Humor from the Country, Country Ways and Country Days, One-Room Schools, Cheese, Breweries of Wisconsin, Ringlingville USA (a history of Ringling Brothers Circus), Old Farm: A History, Barns of Wisconsin, Horse Drawn Days: A Century of Farming With Horses and Campfires and Loon Calls. His children’s books include: Stormy, Eat Rutabagas, Tents, Tigers and the Ringling Brothers and Casper Jaggi: Master Swiss Cheese Maker. He has produced an audio book, The Back Porch and Other Stories. Apps has published four novels, The Travels of Increase Joseph, In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story, Blue Shadows Farm and Cranberry Red. He is a former publications editor for UW-Extension, an acquisitions editor for the McGraw-Hill Book Company and editor of a national professional journal.
Apps has won awards for his writing from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Library Association (the 2007 Notable Authors Award), American Library Association, Foreword Magazine, Midwest Independent Publishers Association, Robert E. Gard Foundation, The Wisconsin Council for Writers (the 2007 Major Achievement Award), Upper Midwest Booksellers, and Barnes and Noble Bookstores, among others. In 2010 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.