Leora’s Early Stories–Need Help With Working Title and Cover Photo

I’ve been thinking about Leora’s early stories, even about what it might be called and an iconic photo for the cover. It will be the first in the “Leora’s Stories” series, even though it’s being written last.

That WWII story, well, it needed to be first.

Some of the episodes in the book will include having Indians (Santee Sioux) come to trade when Leora’s father Sherd wasn’t home (Leora was about 5)–NE Nebraska. Sherd “went bust” there and also at Key West, in NW Minnesota.

Riding a horse to piano lessons (Audubon County, Iowa), graduating from 8th grade (Sherd wouldn’t let his older children go to high school), and attending sewing school in Exira.

The rest of the book is set in Guthrie County, Iowa, where both Clabe and Leora were born and grew up. And eventually met.

I plan to weave Clabe’s growing up years with hers. Their childhoods and personalities were so different. I’m just going to have to imagine their first meeting. (I do know where and when it occurred.)

Taken in front of Clabe’s mother’s house, Panora, Iowa, 1914 or 1915

It’ll also include their marriage, births of the first six children, taking care of the popcorn farm of Leora’s brothers when they were drafted and sent off to fight in France, the misery of the influenza pandemic, Clabe’s job as a night watchman after the one before him was killed in a bank robbery attempt.

Clabe and Leora, 1917, with Donald and Delbert

Also the Victorian house Leora’s parents and siblings lived in in Guthrie Center, and traveling there and back on the Liza Jane branch train.

It will end on a farm SW of Dexter, tenant farmers, where Junior is born and things are at least more secure.

Back: Doris, Donald, and Delbert. Twins Dale and Darlene are in front. Stuart, Iowa 1922
Doris, Donald, and Delbert Wilson is Mrs. Knox’s ferns, next door. Stuart, Iowa, about 1921
Delbert, Doris, and Donald ready for Sunday School (Presbyterian Church in those days), Easter Sunday 1925, SE of Dexter Iowa. Leora made Doris’s pale green pongee dress. She lost the cherries on her hat when she wore them on the giant strides at school recess.


Too many people for the cover, but I like it that Clabe is holding baby Junior, born in early July. Clabe was good with his kids, especially his sons. August 30, 1925, Doris Wilson’s birthday.

Do you have a favorite photo for the cover?

I want the title to begin with the name Leora, but can’t decide on a working title:

Leora’s Guthrie County Years: Childhood and Meeting Clabe

Leora’s Early Years: Meeting Clabe in Monteith

Leora’s Early History: Clabe Joins the Story




  1. How about the title you used for this post, Leora’s Early Stories, for the main title with a more descriptive subtitle? Although I like the photo with the large family, I see your point. How about the smaller family photo before the family got so big? It’s a really sharp image, whereas several of the others are a bit blurred. (Poor quality images are always a problem one runs into with historical subjects.)

    • Thanks, Dennis. I’ll be telling Clabe’s early stories, weaving them with Leora’s. Theirs are so different, although they grew up in the same area. Mom/Doris framed the horse and wagon one because she rarely saw her mother looking elegant.

  2. How exciting!! My favorite photo is that last one, but I think the one taken in 1917 is more representative of her early married life. I like “Leora’s Early Years” with a subtitle. I think it has the right number of syllables to be easy to remember when readers want to recommend the book to others. I’ll be interested in seeing what your other readers think!

  3. Yes, Leora’s Early Years with subtitle: Childhood and Meeting Clabe. Use the photo of them with the horse and carriage. If the quality of the photo can’t be improved enough, maybe have artistic help?

  4. I vote for the horse and carriage also 🙂 Not sure on a title perhaps simply her name with her birth and death date or Leora – A woman of courage and strength just a few different thoughts

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