In his new book, "Light in Winter," author O. Henderson Jr. follows a remarkable woman as she meets tragedy with resourcefulness, triumphing with wisdom and faith.
In the 1930s, during the great migration North, Caleb and Babe-Ruth and their kids travel from Missouri to New Jersey to live with his sister and her husband and find work and taste modern living for the first time. The North is a new world and they experience more change in a few weeks than all their years before. The children will be able to attend school, and that alone justified coming North.
After Pearl Harbor he is drafted into the navy and returns from the Pacific a drinker and a changed man to find that Babe-Ruth has found religion. Her religious conversion brings out the worst in him, but she tries to be a good wife. Relatives and neighbors buffer their discord until they move to Michigan and face their differences alone.
The Michigan neighborhood is racially mixed, and she prepares them for work and school. She has a letter from her pastor introducing her to a mixed congregation with a white pastor and she attends church regularly. Caleb works hard, and they purchase a house making him proud. Things go well for a while. Then, his drinking increases, and he returns home drunk terrorizing the household and firing his gun over Junior’s head. A week later he is drunk again and beating her when Junior eats rat poison to stop him.
Junior’s suicide attempt, the shooting, and an almost fatal explosion cause Caleb to reconsider his life. He sees the preacher and is baptized and in the throes of decision when he suddenly abandons them. Babe-Ruth is destitute and pregnant with her sixth child, but will not accept welfare (ADC) and weans the boy to find work to guide them through a tumultuous and changing America.
Readers will follow the abandoned family through dark and cold days as they come together to delight and surprise.