Memory Of Trees: A Daughter's Story Of A Family Farm by Gayla MartyMemory Of Trees: A Daughter's Story Of A Family Farm by Gayla Marty

Memory Of Trees: A Daughter's Story Of A Family Farm

byGayla Marty

Paperback | March 15, 2013

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Memory of Trees is a multigenerational story of Gayla Marty’s family farm near Rush City, Minnesota. Cleared from woodlands by her great-grandfather Jacob in the 1880s, the farm passed to her father, Gordon, and his brother, Gaylon. Hewing to a conservative Swedish Baptist faith, the two brothers worked the farm, raising their families in side-by-side houses.

As the years go by, the families grow—and slowly grow apart. Uncle Gaylon, more doctrinaire in his faith, rails against the permissiveness of Gayla’s parents. Financial tensions arise as well when the farm economy weakens and none of the children is willing or able to take over. Gayla is encouraged to leave for college, international travel, and city life, but the farm remains essential to her sense of self, even after the family decides to sell the land.

When Gaylon has an accident on a tractor, Gayla becomes driven to reconnect with him and to find out why she and her uncle—once so close but now estranged—were the only two members of the family who had resisted selling the land. Guided by vivid images of the farm’s many beautiful trees, she pores over sacred and classical works as well as layers of her own memory to understand the forces that have transformed the American landscape and culture in the last half of the twentieth century. Beneath the belief in land as a giver of life and blessing, she discovers a powerful anxiety born of human uprootedness and loss. Movingly written, Memory of Trees will resonate for many with attachments to small towns or farms, whether they continue to work the land or, like so many, have left for a different life.

Gayla Marty is a writer and editor for the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota.
Title:Memory Of Trees: A Daughter's Story Of A Family FarmFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.7 inPublished:March 15, 2013Publisher:University of Minnesota PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0816667098

ISBN - 13:9780816667093


Table of Contents


Prologue: As the Leaves Fell

I. Attachment

1. Light


2. Things of the Spirit


3. Two Barns


4. The Word


5. Houses


II. Separation

6. Husbands and Wives


7. Memory of Trees


8. The Way Out


9. Wake


Epilogue: What Remains



Publication History

Editorial Reviews

"Memory of Trees is the most comforting kind of farm memoir—sad, yes, but written with an open heart to the rural trinity: farm, family, and faith. . . . This one is for the smart little girls who adored their hardworking, faith-driven, farming fathers. It is for women displaced from home, who eventually integrate into the rhythms of city life, and then watch as claims to home disappear with a few shaky signatures. That is not comforting—that is bone-achingly sad, turning over some real cultural grief—but Marty tells it with love. That is its comfort." —Star Tribune"Memoirs can be cool in tone when the author seems to step back and view his or her life dispassionately. Not so with Marty, and that’s what makes this story so affecting. There have been many books written by Minnesotans about the loss of their farms, but Marty does not hide her emotions. When the family has to sell, her grief is like a howl. . . . Her evocation of the day everything is auctioned, including harnesses that had been in the family for two generations, is so painful to read you can feel Marty’s heartbreak." —Pioneer Press"The changing face of American agriculture is a story of land, but it is also a story of families, and this wise and lyrical memoir of one daughter’s story of a family farm is a portrait worth more than a thousand facts." —Rain Taxi Review of Books