“There is something about the thoughts of the old one room school that tugs at our heartstrings, especially if we ever attended one or had the privilege of teaching in some of them. Those beloved one room structures were once the foundation of public education and now hold a special place in our nation’s history. I am grateful that I did get to attend rural schools a few years, as well as teach in two before the love bug bit me.”
In 1870, the famous gambler and gunslinger Wyatt Earp began his career in a small town known as Lamar, Missouri. Earp served as the town constable, earning fifteen dollars a month before moving West and making a name for himself. The Ozark Mountains town was also the birthplace of the thirty-third president, Harry S Truman, in 1884. Lamar was a stepping stone in the paths of both men, who went on to gain national renown. However, the town’s not-so-famous residents also had interesting stories to tell. Reba Earp Young’s book Truman’s Birthplace details the lives and rituals of her home town in the early part of the twentieth century.
Truman’s Birthplace is a collection of editorials the author wrote for the local newspaper, the Lamar Democrat, from 1980 until 1992. Fueled by nearly a century’s worth of experiences, Young’s writing recalls a small-town way of life before the widespread use of electricity, telephones, and mass transportation. In the down-home, neighborly essays, she discusses the customs of Lamar residents and shares the history of the region.