A Farm Story With Jerry Apps
Airs Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. on KPBS TV
Originally published August 13, 2013 at 12:23 p.m., updated August 19, 2013 at 12:11 p.m.
"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.
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