DOG BONE SOUP—a slice of ‘The American Pie’
“Dog Bone Soup takes place in the fifties and sixties, but it could be anytime America as poverty, alcoholism, abuse, integrity, and ingenuity still abound” ~ Linda Loegel
“This kid has grit. Determination. A solid grip on his own worth.” ~ Marilyn Armstrong
I’m often asked why I wrote a book about a poor kid growing up in America in a dysfunctional family in the 1950s and 60s.
As a retired teacher, I have a deep concern for kids living in poverty today—these children are often bullied and looked down upon by other kids and even by some adults, all because of the social status of their families. Poverty and prejudice appear linked through the generations. The bullying I’ve seen isn’t simply relegated to kid stuff. Adults can and should make a difference for the better in the lives of these children—of all children. Many of these kids continue to suffer, and are often traumatized, throughout their lives because they’ve been bullied or intimidated simply because they’re poor. I know, I’ve met many of them. DOG BONE SOUP is a fictional story of the survival and the triumph of a boy who overcomes the odds of repeating the pattern of poverty in his own life back in the 1950s and 60s, an era when most families were living The American Dream.
Unfortunately, DOG BONE SOUP is as relevant today as it was in the 1950s and 60s. Fortunately, we do have the opportunity to change these statistics today. As caring and concerned adults, we can all make a difference—one child at a time.
Find out all about it in DOG BONE SOUP. Let’s throw kindness around like confetti! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author
(Of Buddies & Bullies)
THE DAYS WE SPENT TRIMMING TREES and typing over at Mrs. Ashley’s flew off faster than a sweet dream, as Mum would say. What Mum couldn’t do with her moccasin, Mrs. Ashley took care of with her typewriter and adventure stories. The three of us took turns reading chapters in ‘The Jungle Book’ together after Saturday dinners that fall. Mrs. Ashley always had chocolate ice cream to go along with her fancy desserts. I liked to chomp on the fancies while Willie gorged himself on ice cream. Mum couldn’t believe it when Willie started working on his spelling and even read a book every now and then at the house.
Uncle Ted took me out to the lake fishing on Sunday afternoons a couple of weeks after we finished our Favorite Things lists. I’m sure that had something to do with Mrs. Ashley, too. Dinner times, she’d be talking to Uncle Ted about her mahogany row-boat. She told him it would be nice if he had a son to take out fishing with him. “You know I hate to see that boat just sitting out in the shed, knowing how much you love your bass fishing,” she’d say.
School never changed much. I still hated it. But, I did find out that Timmy didn’t want to join Buddy that day out on the playground.
A few days after the sing-songing, Timmy came over by me at recess and asked if he could shoot marbles.
“You just go over and play marbles or anything else you like with your best friend Buddy Wentworth,” I snapped.
“Buddy’s not my friend. He’s always mean to me. You hear him. Buddy’s mean to everybody. I just try to stay out of his way. Buddy made me sing with him that day. Said if I didn’t, he’d beat me to a pulp after school. I hate recess and I hate Buddy Wentworth. You’re the only friend I’ve got. You never make fun of me when Buddy gets something going. Can I please play?” Timmy begged.
“Sure. Where’s your marbles?”
He snatched them out of his pocket and I got my only real friend back that day.
If anyone thought that Timmy Doyle was a little slow had watched us play marbles, they’d have known that was nothin’ but a lie. Timmy took to playing marbles, quick as a baby chick takes to peckin’ for its grain.
I kept my grades up to all As and Bs. I sure didn’t want Mum’s moccasin on my butt. Willie was getting Cs on his report cards. Mum was just fine with that. I suppose getting Cs was lots better than the Ds he’d been bringing home before Mrs. Ashley.
DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens
- A fresh slice of “The American Pie”
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