Do you remember Evelyn Birkby, KMA’s “Radio Homemaker” for almost 40 years? Bet your mother or grandmother listened regularly. She also wrote a weekly column, “Up a Country Lane,” for the Shenandoah paper, and a weekly column in “Kitchen Klatter Magazine” for almost 30 years. Evelyn is nearly 99 and still writes a weekly column!
Born July 31, 1919, Evelyn Mae Corrie was the daughter of a Methodist minister, so their family moved to a new town every three years. They lived in Dexter, Iowa, for three years during the 1920s when her father pastored the Dexter Methodist Church (on the left below) and the rural Penn Center Methodist Church (on the right, about five miles southwest of Dexter) from 1926-1929. (Rev. Corrie did the funeral service at home for my mother’s younger twin siblings who succumbed when all nine children had whooping cough in 1919.)
Once in awhile Evelyn mentioned Dexter in a column, including this one.
Evelyn has written for magazines and newspapers over five decades, starting with a weekly column for the Shenandoah Evening Sentinel in 1949, which eventually became the Valley News Today. She’s never missed writing a column.
She was known for writing even as a child. Doris (Wilson) Neal lived in the neighborhood and spent time with Evelyn. She said that Corries were the only family who were able to take a vacation during the summer. Evelyn wrote a story about visiting the chocolate factory at Hershey, Pennsylvania, and that the teacher read it to the class.
Evelyn had a tent in in her back yard where she wrote plays. Evelyn was always the heroine. Doris got tired of always getting the part of the servant.
My thoughts: This is not only a cookbook but also a look back at the hard work and camaraderie of farming, farm families, and small farm communities during the 1940s and 1950s. Chapters are by topics, so you learn what it was like to milk several cows by hand, getting the wash dried in the winter, “party line” telephones, Saturday nights in town, and how those old iron kitchen stoves worked. A delightful book.