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

Leora Wilson dreams of the day she and husband Clabe can have a home of their own where their children can thrive, and all seven earn high school diplomas.

But in the undertow of the Great Depression years, those dreams are jeopardized by the struggle just to survive. Tenant farmers, the Wilsons are faced with a heartless landlord, threats of sickness, and relentless unemployment. These true stories were lived out by a real family.

As the Wilsons slowly slide into poverty, Leora must find a way to keep her dreams alive while making a haven for her flock in one run-down house after another.


Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression, published mid-2021.

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Joy Neal Kidney, the oldest granddaughter of the book’s heroine, is the keeper of family letters, photos, clippings, and stories. She’s the author of Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss For One Iowa Family During World War II.

Married to a Vietnam Air Force veteran, Joy lives in central Iowa. Her nonfiction has been published in The Des Moines Register, other media, and broadcast over “Our American Stories.” A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, her essays have been collected by the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa.