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No Time on My Hands by Grace Snyder
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No Time on My Hands

by Grace Snyder

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Nebraska childhood/adult ranch life & quilting
  SHCG | Sep 29, 2015 |
Beginning in 1884, and winding its way through 1963, Grace McCance Snyder, in her biography "No Time on My Hands" pieces together the story of her life similar to the way she pieced together the quilts that she became famous for. As the story unfolds, you feel as if you are rereading the "Little House" books, but Grace continues her story until her eightieth year. She actually went on to live to be 100 years of age.

Grace moved to western Nebraska with her parents when she was only three, and lived for most of the rest of her life in the vicinity of the Platte River and the Nebraska Sandhills. She describes the hardships that she and her family lived through, such as wind, hail, and snowstorms, range fires, dust storms, and droughts. She tells of the many illnesses which were so dangerous during a time when doctors and medicine were scarce, such as whooping cough, typhoid fever, measles, pneumonia, and the flu. She also describes the accidents that befell people such as rattlesnake bites, frost bite, and falling off of horses. But one of the most interesting parts is to hear her tell of the technological advances as they acquired them. She describes their first encounters with cars, the telephone, radio, and airplanes, as well as the trials of getting the railroad to come though the sandhills, and the fight for better roads.

When Grace was little she had three dreams that she hoped to fulfill: 1) to grow up to make beautiful quilts that she would be famous for; 2) to marry a cowboy; and 3) to see the clouds from above. She was able to achieve all three of these dreams. Being the second oldest of nine children, seven of which were girls, she helped her father and mother with a lot of the work around the farm, as well as caring for the younger children. She was somewhat of a tomboy, so she was not afraid to herd the cattle or help to plant the crops. Later when she married her cowboy, the skills she acquired as a child would benefit her on the ranch and in raising her own four children.

Grace mentions some other famous Nebraskans that she was acquainted with. She mentions Jules Sandoz, who was 'Old Jules' in the book written by his daughter Mari Sandoz. She mentions Willa Cather, another famous Nebraska author, as well as Glenn Miller, whose family had settled in the area for a short while. Grace also makes a short reference to North Platte being famous during World War II, but she didn't say why. It was because for five years, the people of North Platte fed all of the soldiers passing through on their way to the war, which you can read about in the book "Once Upon a Town" by Bob Greene.

I think that the biggest thing that amazes me about this book was how Grace was able to remember in such detail all of the things that happened to her throughout her life. It can't be because she was any less busy than we are, for the title of this book tells you that she had "No Time on My Hands." ( )
  gcamp | Jun 24, 2011 |
A quiet, straight forward account of a homesteader life, from the moment she (age 3), her sisters and her mother arrive in Nebraska and move into their soddy house.

Within the hardships and difficulties, there is never anything to be found but an acceptance and a matter-of-fact stance, and the courage and strength of the men and women whose stories are told seem immense when compared to central heating and running water.

But there is not only the sadness. Herding cattle and hens through the long summer days, and Sunday school with songs and celebration, there is plenty of love, of comfort and of happiness here. And - most of all - there is family, friendship, and a love for the hills and the life being lead.

And at the end of it all, there are the quilts, the most intricate pieced together with dime sized pieces and made during all those years of hard work and no time, starting from the scraps she sews while watching the cows.

Recommended to pretty much anyone: it deserves to be a classic along side other such accounts as the Little House books. ( )
1 vote lunacat | Jan 11, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803291647, Paperback)

When Grace Snyder, the matriarch of a pioneer Nebraska family, wrote these reminiscences in her eightieth year, she felt she had been blessed "by having no time on my hands." The story of her busy life begins on the high plains of Nebraska, where her parents homesteaded in 1885. She recalls her childhood in a sod house on a frontier that required everyone to pull together in the face of hostile weather, serious illness, and economic depression but that also held its full share of good times.

"As a child of seven and up," writes Grace Snyder, ". . . I wished that I might grow up to make the most beautiful quilts in the world, to marry a cowboy, and to look down on the top of a cloud. At the time I dreamed those dreams and wished those wishes, it seemed impossible that any of them could every come true." But she saw all of them realized.

No Time on My Hands is a remarkable chronicle of the sod house era and of Grace Snyder’s married life on a ranch in Nebraska’s sandhills. From there she finally flies above the clouds to exhibits where her quilts contribute to a worldwide revival of quiltmaking. Mrs. Snyder lived twenty years after the publication of these memoirs in 1963, to the age of one hundred. Her daughter, Nellie Snyder Yost, who helped to write No Time on My Hands, has added an epilogue to this Bison edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:42 -0400)

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