Stone House Stories, The Memoir of a Free-Range Kid
Kathy Lawton Purc
Word Shed Press (2020)
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (6/2022)
“Stone House Stories” is a love letter to the author’s childhood, family, and the farm they called home. Full of everyday memories, the nuances of rural farm life, and family first values, author Kathy Lawton Pruc opens the doors to her free-range upbringing just outside of Auburn, New York, in Scipio.
The book is comprised of various short stories, via memories, of the Lawton kids and their loving parents. Nothing is held back amongst these pages. The fights, the sibling rivalry, and the neighborhood friendships, are all on display in “Stone House Stories.” The vivid details, feelings, and atmosphere of each of the memories were so tangible to the reader, I felt right there as Kathy and her siblings were ice skating or watching their dad build or milk the cows. Author Lawton Purc crafts an idyllic landscape for childhood play, outdoor activities, and imaginations to run wild.
I immediately felt a connection to “Stone House Stories.” My own father was raised with a similar upbringing, several siblings, a farm to tend, no indoor plumbing for a good portion of his childhood, and many of the necessities of rural life, such as a garden, livestock, and roaming animals. Having grown up a “city kid,” his childhood is entirely foreign to me, with stories fed to us sparingly and only as the lesson of it pertains to the here and now. It is because of these breadcrumbs of my father’s childhood that I sincerely appreciated Lawton Purc’s openness and detail to her way of life at The Leprechaun House as it became known.
In present day, it is hard to fathom such a life. How spoiled we are to have more than one car to a family, not have to build our own home additions, relying more on grocery stores than our own backyard, and schoolhouses with more than one room. But for many, past and present, this was and is the norm.
By sharing “Stone House Stories” Kathy Lawton Purc has enabled many, like myself, to feel more connected. Connected to family who had similar upbringings, differing ways of life, and a strong appreciation for the outdoors. Like the Lawton’s though, one thing that has never wavered from the farm to the city, always remaining consistent through the ages, is that family is what matters most.
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