Hamlin looks back with appreciation for the life they led in the Coulee. The hard work was never drudgery for him as he enjoyed being witness and participating in the shared camaraderie with his cousins, uncles, father, and mother. They all worked for the common good.
He was old enough however to understand that his father was no longer interested in staying on this Wisconsin farm, that he was going to sell out, and move further West. Hamlin was emotionally devastated and feared the impact this uprootedness would have on his mother, and subsequently on him, for when his mother was unhappy, so was he.
Hamlin intuitively understands the change a move away from family can have on the female spirit, and expresses it in this way with regards to his mother.
I fear it did not solace my mother as she contemplated the loss of home and kindred. She was not by nature an emigrant, – few women are…most of her brothers and sisters still lived just across the ridge in the valley of the Neshonoc, and the thought of leaving them for a wild and unknown region was not pleasant.
To my father, on the contrary, change was alluring. Iowa was now the place of the rainbow and the pot of gold.
The family would enjoy one more threshing and one more Thanksgiving, but by the first of the year, father said he would be off searching for new land.
As if writing his memoir, Hamlin lamentably looks back in time:
Oh those blessed days, those entrancing nights! How fine they were then, and how mellow they are now, for the slow-paced years have dropped nearly fifty other golden mists upon that far-off valley. From this distance I cannot understand how my father brought himself to leave that lovely farm and those good and noble friends.
There seemed to be no way the family could sway Hamlin’s father differently. The only choice was to look forward to a new life on the Prairie.
From A Son of Middle Border
By Hamlin Garland