Not Grandma’s Attic

Helen Thurow (Bauer)

The book, Steeple in the Distance is not the story of my grandmother. My maternal grandmother was a city girl. She grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin under difficult circumstances. Orphaned by age 12, she lived and worked with various families. The picture shows her with a child at the Wisconsin Lutheran Home. At age 21 she married my grandfather. He worked as a lino-type operator at Nothwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee Journal and Sentinel.

What I took from Grandma’s story was her birth date. Well almost, Helen was born on July 14, 1900. I moved Nan’s birthday one day. The journal should begin on her ‘golden’ birthday. By moving it to the 15th I saved myself a year of writing. As a rookie writer three years was slightly less daunting than four.

The series is based on three sets of birth dates, 1900, 1950(ish) and 2000. The woman in the middle would be a link between her grandmother and granddaughter. Three books, three women related by blood and bonded also by their confessional, conservative Lutheran heritage. The underlying theme of all the books is our Lutheran heritage, the rock solid foundation of the Gospel that supports us  “in every condition in sickness in health, in poverty’s vale or abounding in wealth. . . “(TLH 427)

Not my grandma’s attic? The farmer’s daughter of Steeple is not Grandmother or her life. The spiritual life, however, the roots which matter were hers, my mother’s, mine and prayerfully to following generations. It is the story of each saint/sinner’s  struggle to live a life of faith in an evil world.

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