Time Would Tell
A Collaborative Memoir
by Maxine Premer and Gary Premer
About the Book
Maxine Trimble Premer's early adolescence was endured in remote Southeastern Nebraska during the Great Depression. She was the oldest of six children living with their impoverished mother in a ramshackle farmhouse. Her dad and his twin brother were severe alcoholics and funded their addiction through petty theft and forgery, resulting in a two-year sentence in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. Frequent moves from one school to another were challenging for Maxine and her school-age siblings. Depression-era country schools largely consisted of children of farm owners and impoverished children. Mean-spirited abuse was common. Not only were Maxine and her siblings poor, but their father was also a drunk. Fatefully, Center School and their teacher, Ms. Cummings became a port in the storm during while their dad was in prison.
The prison sentence coupled with the expansion of Social Services in the mid-1930's created an awareness of the Trimble family plight. That led to welfare assistance and transportation back to extended family living in Greeley, Colorado. Maxine's dad, an escapee, was in Colorado when they arrived, and her mother allowed him back into their lives. Idealistic adolescence, Maxine encourage her mother to divorce. Two years later she did divorce her now physically abusive husband. That ended Maxine's dream of attending Greeley High School and becoming a telephone operator because her mom understandably found it necessary to leave Greeley.
Returning to her family's homestead east of Milliken, Colorado, Maxine's mother relinquished control of her Aid to Dependent Children support payments to her dad as part of the agreement to bring her six children to the farm. Ever the tyrant, Maxine's grandfather refused to pay a three dollar fee at Milliken High School forcing Maxine to abandon her education. When her grandfather discovered the ADC check was reduced because Maxine was no longer in school, he found her a temporary job for an elderly lady and evicted her at age sixteen.
Throughout her life, Maxine persevered and forged her own way with grit. She married at age 18 and raised four children. Widowed at age 42, she reinvented herself and worked for Hewlett-Packard for over 20 years. She suppressed her hideous childhood memories for most of her life, but I knew there was a substantive and compelling story to tell and mysteries to solve. She reluctantly embarked on the discovery journey with me in 1998 when she was age 77. Returning to Nebraska, we reconstructed much of her childhood. We sat in the living rooms of Nebraskans' who knew of the Trimble family plight, and Maxine was hugged and told, "It was not your fault." We found Ms. Cummings and spent an evening and a glorious next day with her. Maxine told Ms. Cummings that she loved her and thanked her for all that she had done for the Trimble children. Ms. Cummings knew and understood. Passionate teachers love all of their "kids." Departing, it had become a very different Nebraska for Maxine. Two weeks later, Ms. Cummings died.
We also reconstructed her dad's life so for Maxine to understand what transpired during his life with the family and after her parent's divorce. As much as the journey brought Maine closer to the past, it also illuminated the present, enabling her to better understand her life and heal the wounds that shaped it.
Compelling and enduring life-lessons can be gleaned from Maxine's story. I finished the collaborative memoir after my retirement in 2015 as a tribute to a person from the greatest generation, our mother. Maxine died from Alzheimer's disease in 2004. Her youngest son and our brother Doug died of Early Onset Alzheimer's in 2015. Her oldest daughter and our sister, Darla was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016.
All book sale proceeds net of publication cost will be donated to the Alzheimer's Association. Time Would Tell is available for purchase at the Greeley, Colorado Alzheimer's Association office, 918 13th Street Unit I, telephone 970-392-9202, or email Ashley Flores at firstname.lastname@example.org. The book can also be purchased directly from the publisher at Lulu.com/spotlight/TWT2018.
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