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Book Review: Lofton: Journal of an American Woman by Kent D. Walsh

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Lofton Fox—not a very common American name, right? But then, there was very little common or even usual about this first-generation American, born in 1901 to immigrant parents from Austria. If you want to read about how life really was for a woman in the United States in the 20th century, you need to read Lofton: Journal of an American Woman by Kent D. Walsh.

This book will take you through so many major changes in the way lives were led and shaped, from several wars to the Civil Rights Movement, from women’s suffrage to the technological wonders. Throughout, one brave, tiny woman never lost her faith in God and in what was right. The truths her parents taught her remained with her always; and no matter what kind of a challenge life threw at her—and there were so many!—she simply never gave up. There is faith and courage, and dedication to doing things right, and then there was Lofton—extraordinary in her ordinariness.

Although Lofton was about a generation older than my own grandparents, her wisdom sounded so very much like my grandmother’s that it made me smile time and again, as did her recipes. “Remember, save your money.” Wise words from a wise woman, who not only learned to live within her means, but was happy with her life, imperfect as it might seem to us today. If you doubt me, just look at that collection of recipes at the end of the book. They speak volumes.

If there is one thing that I missed here, it would be lack of any pictorial material, but then I do not know that the author had any available. Still I wish that there were some photos of Lofton and her family included.

Kent D. Walsh did an extraordinary job turning a box of assorted papers, which belonged to a deceased woman he never met, into a compelling and enlightening story in Lofton: Journal of an American Woman. What extraordinary fate led him to this box, kept in a storage area of his sister-in-law’s house! How lucky for us that he had the sensibility and sensitivity needed to tell this story, and to tell it right. In the present days, when this country is again being so economically challenged, and in so many ways divided, we need books like this more than ever to remind us exactly what it was—and is!—that makes this country great.

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About Maria Juliana Leal-Belloso