By Susan Mires
PRINCETON – Growing up in north Missouri during the Great Depression meant hard times.
Drought, grasshoppers and blizzards were all part of Jane Lowrey-Christian’s childhood. So were great adventures on the farm and happy times with family. She hopes others will find joy and inspiration in reading her story, especially those who are facing difficulties.
“During those times, we didn’t know we were poor,” she said. “If hard times come, you can survive.”
She was born near Spickard in Grundy County in 1931, the heart of the Depression. Her brother, Bernard, was just 13 months older and she called him Budgie. In 2006, she decided to record the stories of her childhood and wrote Budgie and Sissy’s Adventure.
“I wanted my kids to see and experience the things we experienced as kids,” she said.
Including family photos, the book recounts adventures such as eating green apples, saving Patsy Pig and getting caught outside in a downpour that ended a drought.
“I relived that book when I wrote it,” she said.
Lowrey-Christian lives in Princeton with her husband, Harold Christian. They married three years ago on her 75th birthday. They share a tender devotion to each other and an optimistic outlook on life.
“I am thoroughly enjoying this time in my life,” she said.
She has taken those lessons learned on the farm during the Depression and applied them throughout her life. As a little girl, she enjoyed going to church and was enthralled by the lady who played the piano.
“I hoped I could do that someday. I had to teach myself to play,” she said.
For 25 years, she was the pianist at Modena Baptist Church. She also raised a family of five children while farming with her husband.
“God has been with me since I was a little girl,” she said.
Just after she finished writing the book, she had a stroke and was in the hospital five weeks. Her husband helped her to get rehab which enabled her to come home. He also encouraged her to continue her writing.
“She sits down at the computer and stuff just comes,” he said.
She wrote seven children’s books about Quackless Duck. The character was inspired by a yard ornament that would quack when anyone passed by. Over time, the piece wore out and the duck lost his voice.
In the series, she takes Quackless on adventures from falling in love, to getting the voice of a kitty cat, to visiting the North Pole and the White House. She hopes the books encourage parents and grandparents to read to their children.
“Young kids like to listen to these,” said the grandmother of 21 and great-grandmother of 15.
“I think adults will enjoy them, too, because I enjoy them,” her husband added.
She both wrote the stories and illustrated the books. One book features Bailey, a real-life Jack Russell terrier owned by her physical therapist in Princeton who helped her recover from her stroke.
She has a few more ideas for future stories. The couple, who met at a country music show, is also planning to make a musical recording.