A poignant personal memoir, Out of My Hands presents the story of Harold Chapman, a Jasper County boy, born at Yale, Illinois, in 1911, whose difficulties begin in the grip of one of the worst influenza outbreaks in history.
With his mother dead, seven-year-old Harold must take on the care of his siblings—who soon increase in number when his father and the nanny he hired to help them produce a seventh, then an eighth, child. But tuberculosis and a disastrous move to eastern Colorado weaken Harold’s father, leaving Harold responsible for getting the farming and ranching work done.
Extended family, friends, and community always come to the aid of Harold’s struggling family, and Harold’s maternal grandparents play a significant role in their lives, instilling values and imparting the skills the children will need to survive before and during the Great Depression.
Harold becomes a breadwinner early in life and as a teenager works at a gas station, a repair shop, and a dairy farm as well as in the cornfields and hayfields of Illinois doing menial labor.
An often-humorous tale of hope and perseverance, Out of My Hands was written by Harold’s son, Gary Chapman, based on Harold’s first-person stories about growing up, helping his family, and overcoming life’s inevitable obstacles.
Back Cover Summary: Based on his stories about growing up before and during the Great Depression, Out of My Hands begins with Harold Chapman as a young boy whose life is turned upside down when his mother falls victim to the influenza epidemic sweeping the nation.
Charged with helping raise his brothers and sisters, Harold finds himself and his family shuffled from one home to another, from the rich fields of Jasper County, Illinois, to the dusty ranches of eastern Colorado and back.
After branching out on his own at the age of fourteen, Harold scrapes by for years working hard at various jobs…especially after he meets Vena, the girl of his dreams.
Years of waiting, working to secure enough income to provide for her, and respectfully courting her finally draw near to the time of their marriage, when Harold discovers that, no matter how prepared you think you are, there are always more obstacles to overcome in life.