Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

UCD emeritus’ depiction of Kansas farm life earns high honors

Arnold Bauer, a professor emeritus of history at UC Davis and longtime Yolo County resident, wrote his coming-of-age memoir called "Time's Shadow: Remembering a Family Farm in Kansas." Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | January 11, 2013 | Leave Comment

The passages within Arnold Bauer’s “Time’s Shadow” awaken memories of a long-forgotten style of life: steering work horses through a rural terrain; trapping muskrats in the cold; and learning in a one-room schoolhouse.

And thanks to some unexpected national recognition, the now 81-year-old Davis resident’s account of growing up on a 160-acre farm in Kansas won’t go as unremembered as the nostalgia it contains. “Time’s Shadow” was listed under The Atlantic Magazine’s top five books in 2012.

The well-received memoir recounts a childhood typical of family farms of the time, the 1930s to the ’50s, when the young labored alongside the old. It also captures an eventual decline in viability in smaller agriculture on the Great Plains — when technology, laws and the market shifted drastically, and permanently.

“It’s a world that is now lost; not only in the United States, but many parts the world,” Bauer said of the family farming that cultivated him.

While Bauer’s self-portrayal primarily focuses on the early portion of his life, it also follows his pursuance of studies in Casablanca, Mexico and Berkeley. This path led him to a career teaching Latin American Studies at UC Davis, where he served as a professor for more than 30 years.

During Bauer’s time with the university, he produced books related to his academic specialty. In 2005, he received the “Order of Merit Gabriela Mistral,” which is the Chilean government’s highest recognition for contributions to culture and education.

Bauer tasked himself with writing autobiographical letters to Lily and Frank, his two grandchildren in Brooklyn, after retiring from his position at UCD. This minor project became the impetus for “Time’s Shadow.”

“I thought I’d tell ‘em something about their grandfather,” Bauer said. “I got into it. After writing several of those, I thought that maybe there was something to it. I wrote a bit more, then decided to send it off to a publisher.”

Bauer began by pitching his story to the University Press of Iowa, but it was denied due to its “limited market appeal.” The same reaction came from the next publisher he propositioned.

Even what he believed to be the likeliest source of acceptance for publishing his memoir, the University Press of Kansas, replied with a rejection letter.

That, obviously, was not the end of the story. Bauer countered the Kansas-based publisher’s dismissal with stubborn persistence:

“I wrote a letter saying, ‘I reject your rejection,’ and explained why I did. The editor of the press wrote back, ‘You’ve made me very grumpy, because I’ve been an editor here for 40 years, and I’ve never once in my life changed my opinion on a manuscript’

” ‘But,’ ” the editor wrote, ” ‘I will, this time. I’ll send it out for two reads, if they’re favorable, we’ll go ahead with it.’ ”

After Bauer’s memoir successfully made it through the review process and reached the shelves, his personal remembrances were met with positive feedback from readers.

“It has been a fulfilling experience,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot of comments from people in the United States who have undergone that same experience.

“Several people were brought to tears, because it has poignant sides to it. Others, well, most wouldn’t write to you unless they were enthusiastic in favor of it.”

It was certainly appreciated by the literary editor of The Atlantic Magazine, who Bauer said shocked his editor by naming it one of the best books of 2012.

“I was surprised by the honor, as I wrote it for a very local reading public,” he said. “The memoir had sold out, and is going into extra printings to respond to the unexpected demand.”

The Atlantic’s writer, who also recognized National Book Prize winner Hilary Mantel and other notable authors, cited Bauer’s compelling writing and reflections on a disappearing way of life in the year-end list selection.

Bauer said he hopes his introduction to a vastly different lifestyle — and the elimination of it — is something that can resonate with everyone.

“Where there were 10 farms when I grew up, there is now one huge agriculture business,” he said. “So, that’s the drama … I’m hoping readers get a picture of that 160-acre family farm, and the obliteration of it by modern forces.”

Bauer’s memoir is available in a hardcover edition on amazon.com and through some local retailers.

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Tom Adams seeks Davis school board seat

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

 
Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
A springtime ritual

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Ortiz lawn signs available

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Steadfast in their support

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Quilters gear up for annual show

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

League hosts a series of candidate forums

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

Calling all Scrabble fans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

.

Forum

Take ownership of your health

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Keep your baby safe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Not thrilled with lack of symmetry

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

 
Road diet? No, city diet!

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 5 Comments

We’re reveling in our equality

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

 
Core values on campus

By Our View | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

 
Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 3 Comments

.

Sports

Devils burn up the track

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Will Davis get an Old Soul?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

 
Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

University Honda wins another President’s Award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8