Helen D. Gunderson dba
"I feel privileged to be able to shape what I see into works of art and share them with other people. Whatever the medium of artistic expression, I hope that some of what I produce is soulful and helps others reflect on life beneath the surface of things."
— Helen D. Gunderson
Her book, The Road I Grew Up On: Requiem for a Vanishing Era, to be released in November 2020, is a two-volume anthology written from a liberal perspective and consists of regional and neighborhood history, personal memoir, spiritual insights, other opinions, and photographs.
Helen edited another book, Rolfe Alumni Perspectives. The spiral-bound print version, published in 2000, is a collection of essays by students, alumni, friends, and faculty of her home town high school and includes many photos. The essays are available on the Rolfe alumni website Helen created in 1999.
Helen’s most popular post (over 123,000 hits), 1970s Farming, consists of home movies, filmed in the 1970s, of her father and neighborhood men farming. Her most significant video productions in recent years include two programs created from 1990 footage of Rolfe High School’s last graduating class (Class Activities, Class Interview) and an essay about women in agriculture that uses voices and images from Helen’s archives along with images of modern day women involved in agriculture.
Helen’s book, The Road I Grew Up On: Requiem for a Vanishing Era, is a two-volume anthology written from a liberal perspective and consists of regional and neighborhood history, personal memoir, spiritual insights, other opinions, and both grayscale and color photographs. The seeds for the project were sown in fall 1989 followed by years of Helen’s taking photographs, shooting video footage, recording interviews, conducting other research, and writing about the neighborhood and culture where she grew up. The first volume (344 pages) consists of material completed in 2004, while the second volume (196 pages) consists of chapters written in 2019 and one completed on July 31, 2020, about living in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The price for the two-volume set of the 11×8.5 inch paperback books is $80, which is the cost per set to print and bind 100 sets for the first edition.
Helen is considering donating copies to the public libraries in Ames and her home county. If interested in obtaining more information about the book, including ordering information, please contact Helen.
Donna Prizgintas and Lonna Nachtigal, hosts of the Donna Lonna Kitchen Show on KHOI 89.1 FM community radio in Ames, Iowa, interviewed Helen about her book at noon on February 16, 2021. The program is now available on-line at the Heart of Iowa archive.
NAVIGATING THE ISU DIGITAL PRESS
When you go to one of the book sites, have patience while getting a feel for how the university’s software for on-line books in PDF format works. The best strategy in Windows 10 seems to be:
1. Avoid using the blue “download PDF” button under the title of the book because that could mean downloading 152 megabytes for Volume One and 73 megabytes for Volume Two. That’s fine if you want an entire book, but it will take several minutes and the whole book will not be as easy to navigate as going to individual chapters.
2. Instead click on the blue-lettered “chapters” link toward the bottom of the page. It will take you to a list of the chapters for that volume. Click on the chapter you want to read. You will come to a summary page for that chapter. Click on the blue “download chapter” button.
3. Find the a small white box just above the Windows start button in the extreme lower left of your monitor. It will contain the name of the file. Choose an option such as “open in system viewer.” Enjoy sampling or reading the entire chapter.
4. When you are ready to find other chapters, go back to the browser tab for that chapter and under the lefthand image of the book, click the blue menu button that says “Back to The Road I Grew Up On …” And from there, choose the blue-lettered “chapters” link again.
As a single person, who is keeping a great deal of social distance as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps surging, my Thanksgiving connections and food were of as fine a quality as anyone in more conventional family circumstances or a less troublesome era could have experienced.