It’s the winter of 1957 in Billings Montana. At seven years old, Timmy is
the oldest child in the Turner family. At this time he has two younger brothers
and a two year old sister. But more will come bringing the number of
children in his family to seven, all before he reaches the age of
twelve. Timmy’s dad is a
roofer, a job that is dictated by the weather. He’s also an alcoholic and a
mean one at that. Timmy’s brother Jerry as well as his mother can vouch
for that. Almost daily Jerry will do something that his dad doesn’t
like leading to a beating with the belt and standing in the corner.
And heaven forbid if he comes home drunk, looking for a fight. That's
when Timmy's mother get the bad end of his fist and boot.
Timmy’s mother, Kathy, is the glue that keeps the family together. She does
everything she can to keep a roof over their heads and food on the
table. His dad, on the other hand, will blow every penny he can get his
hands on to keep him in alcohol. The kids can go hungry and the
landlord can evict them, as long as he has his drinking money. And
that’s exactly what happened more often than not. They are constantly
without food and being removed from their "living space" by the Sheriff
at the request of the owner.
Reading Momma’s Rain filled me with many feelings, most from my own childhood.
When I was in elementary school there were kids that I feel sure fit in
with the life lead by Timmy and his family. And just as it happened
when Timmy went to school, we kept our distance from these kids. We
never gave thought to the possibility that these kids were possibly
being beaten at home, that they might be hungry, and not just hungry for
food but also for a kind word and a little friendship. We never gave
much thought that they might be smart, even smarter than we were. After
all they had to be to survive what they went through daily.
Author Tom Sterner has written a book
that will break the hearts of every reader. It will also wake the
reader up to the injustice most of us seem to perform not only as
children but also as adults. It’s made me see the man or woman on the
street with a different eye. One with even more compassion for them and
their challenge to survive. I recommend that you not only read
Momma’s Rain but that you also teach the lessons learned to the kids
and grandkids in your life.
Now I wait impatiently to read the continuation – Momma’s Fire. It can only get better for these kids, I hope.