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A Farm Story With Jerry Apps

Airs Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Author and historian Jerry Apps, pictured on his farm in 2012, tells the story of growing up in the rural farming community of Wild Rose, Wisconsin, in the 1930s and 1940s.

Courtesy of Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps (center) with twin brothers Darrel and Donald, circa 1944. Author and historian Jerry Apps tells the story of growing up in the rural farming community of Wild Rose, Wisconsin, in the 1930s and 1940s.

Courtesy of Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, circa 1946. Author and historian Jerry Apps tells the story of growing up in the rural farming community of Wild Rose, Wisconsin, in the 1930s and 1940s.

Credit: Courtesy of Jerry Apps

Give at the $180 level and receive the "A Farm Story With Jerry Apps" combo including: "A Farm Story" DVD, "Rural Wit & Wisdom" book and the "Old Farm" book. This gift also includes enrollment in the myKPBS Savers Club plus additional online access to more than 130,000 merchant offers and printable coupons, as well as a KPBS License Plate Frame (if you're a new member). The DVD only is available at the $75 level, and the DVD plus "Rural Wit & Wisdom" book only at $120.

"A Farm Story With Jerry Apps" is a portrait of farm life seen through the eyes of a boy growing up in rural America in the 1930s and 1940s. Acclaimed historian and author Apps examines day-to-day rural life and evokes memories of a time when almost as many Americans lived on farms as in cities. Fieldwork was done with horses, cows were milked by hand, lanterns were the source of light and community was essential for survival.

"A Farm Story" is the personal and family story of millions of Americans who grew up on farms. Like a family photo album, the documentary takes the viewer through memories of “things that aren’t there anymore” and of experiences that created the values of hard work, determination and community — values that drove a generation of Americans who grew up on the farm.

The documentary carries the viewer from a childhood on the farm in the 1930s to the rural electrification that changed American farms and rural life forever. Apps shares stories about the party line telephone, the one-room schoolhouse, the routine of work and chores and community of those family farms that built America into the agricultural center of the world.

"A Farm Story With Jerry Apps" deeply resonates with viewers with rural roots, many who left the farm but recognize that the experience made them who they are. They feel a kinship with Jerry when he says, “Today I’m as proud as proud can be of having experienced what I experienced, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

Apps explores topics such as acceptance of ethnic and religious diversity, dependence on neighbors, changing seasons, simple pleasures, one-room schools and the forces that shaped this life. It is a universal story of the rural values of hard work, personal responsibility and the love of family.

To create the documentary, producer Mik Derks and his crew spent countless hours in the Wild Rose, Wisconsin, community, filming and capturing the story of life in a bygone era. Interspersed throughout Apps’ story are vintage family photos, contributed by the Wild Rose community, that enrich the program with images of Wild Rose, Silver Lake and Waushara County farm life in the 1930s and 1940s.

Follow @jerryapps on Twitter, and visit Jerry's blog for his latest updates and speaking engagements.

This program is part of our TV Membership Campaign. Support quality programming you depend on from KPBS. Join or renew today!

A Farm Story with Jerry Apps

Experience farm life in the 1930s and 40s through the eyes of a boy growing up in Wild Rose, Wisconsin, the archetype of rural America, guided by acclaimed author, teacher and historian Jerry Apps. Like a family photo album, this portrait evokes memories of experiences that created the values of hard work, determination and community.

Video

A Farm Story With Jerry Apps: Neighbors

Above: Author Jerry Apps remembers farm life in the 1930s and '40s when he was growing up on a small Midwestern dairy farm. He describes the party-line telephone and the neighbors who listened in on every conversation. But in addition to being a link to the outside world, the phone was also a lifeline when neighbors were in trouble and everyone rushed to their aid. In the days before mechanization and rural electrification, the help of neighbors was essential for farming.

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