Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression – List of Chapters

“Easy read that gives a realistic picture of life in Central Iowa during the Great Depression. You will find yourself cheering for Clabe & Leora at every turn. A great read aloud for children & grandchildren that lends itself to countless teachable moments.” – S. D. Vannoy, Amazon Customer

The Wilson family slowly slides into unemployment and poverty. Leora must find ways to keep her dreams alive while making a haven for her flock of seven children in one run-down house after another.

I kept chapters short, in hopes that students will also enjoy reading these stories. I certainly wish I’d discovered a book like this one when I was a student!

Original watercolor by Tim Ross, an Audubon County, Iowa, native, now an agricultural meteorologist for RFD-TV, Nashville.  The original snapshot, on page 2 of Leora’s Dexter Stories, was taken in 1927 along Old Creamery Road, south of Dexter in Penn Township, Madison County, Iowa. I grew up less than a mile south of where this was taken.

Tim Ross’s website “Timbits.”


Here are the names of the chapters in Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression:

Chapter 1--Danny’s Earache
Chapter 2--Mastoidectomy
Chapter 3--Penn Township
Chapter 4--Independence Day at Dexfield Park
Chapter 5--Acreage at the Edge of Dexter
Chapter 6--Clabe’s Stories
Chapter 7--The Cow Dries Up
Chapter 8--Whooping Cough
Chapter 9--Decoration Day
Chapter 10--Husky and the Pack of Dogs
Chapter 11--Paving of the Great White Way
Chapter 12--1930
Chapter 13--Grandpa’s Heart Attack
Chapter 14--Guilt and Consolation 
Chapter 15--Clabe’s Surgery
Chapter 16--The Sheepshed
Chapter 17--Yet Another Move
Chapter 18--First High School Graduates
Chapter 19--Delbert to California
Chapter 20--Bonnie and Clyde
Chapter 21--A Biplane Ride Before School
Chapter 22--Delbert and Donald Join the Navy
Chapter 23--Running the Town Pump
Chapter 24--Machine Perm in Redfield
Chapter 25--Rusty the Pet Squirrel (Rusty is on the cover of the book)
Chapter 26--The Panama Canal
Chapter 27--A Suspicion Before Christmas
Chapter 28--The Imbedded Needle
Chapter 29--Goffs Move to Omaha
Chapter 30--Gossip
Chapter 31--Clabe Becomes a Hobo
Chapter 32--Spats
Chapter 33--The Canning Factory
Chapter 34--New Deal Jobs
Chapter 35--’Possum for Birthday Dinner
Chapter 35--Blizzards
Chapter 37--Basketball Tourney
Chapter 38--Pollywogs Become Shellbacks
Chapter 39--Another Dexter High School Diploma
Chapter 40--California Visitors
Chapter 41--American Institute of Business
Chapter 42--Discharged from the Navy
Chapter 43--California Jobs Fizzle
Chapter 44--Bounty for Starlings
Chapter 45--Dallas County Champs
Chapter 46--Minburn and More Graduates
Chapter 47--Leora
Afterword: How I Learned Everything 


  1. This would be a great read for children. They would learn so much, but in a much more interesting way than a textbook. Just reading facts does not ‘bring home’ a situation. (This is the problem with why textbooks are so boring to students.) They like to read about real people like themselves overcoming problems and ‘keeping the faith’. 🙂

    • So true. Because of my experiences with history and civics through high school, I avoided them as much as I could through college. It wasn’t until I discovered genealogy–in Idaho, where my husband was stationed before he was ordered to Vietnam–that it drew me straight to incredible history books. History isn’t just about dates and places (And who cares about the Teapot Dome Scandal anyway?), it’s about people and how they were affected by local and world events. Thanks, Linda!

    • The books I read, leading up to tackling this one, were mostly about the Dust Bowl or were farm families. Dad lived on a farm. He never mentioned being hungry, hungry enough to eat ‘possum and raccoon, and his sisters got to take piano lessons. It covered the kids’ growing up years, with stories that really revealed their personalities. Thanks, Andrew!

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