Wilson Rawls Quotes (Author of Where the Red Fern Grows)
Woodrow Wilson: Biography, Family Background, Education, Academic, Political Leader (1992)
When Rawls was 16, the United States economy entered the Great Depression , prompting his family to leave their Oklahoma home for California ; however, the family's convertible broke down near Albuquerque, New Mexico , where Rawls's father found a job at the local toothpaste factory. He wrote five manuscripts during this period, including Where the Red Fern Grows. Rawls's original manuscripts contained many spelling and grammatical errors and no punctuation. Because of this, he kept the manuscripts hidden in a trunk in his father's workshop. Rawls served time in prison twice while in Oklahoma. In , in New Mexico, he again served time for breaking and entering and burglary, and was sentenced to 2 to 3 years. In the late s, Rawls worked for a construction company on a guided missile range in the Southwest.
White thought about and revised Stuart Little for nearly 15 years. And like those other books, Red Fern is about far more than a dog. There were no schools available, so Wilson's mother taught her son and daughters at home as best she could. When the family moved to an area with schools, he attended for a few years until the Great Depression struck and he dropped out. But during the years when his mother taught school at home, she'd made a practice of reading to her children. At first young "Woody" wasn't too interested in the books.
The small farm community in northeastern Oklahoma, just east of Tulsca, is where he spent the first few years of his life. Rawls had at least five siblings two brothers, Jay and Jack; and three sisters, Gladys, Joyce, and Patricia . None of the Rawls siblings were able to be formally educated on a regular basis because no schools existed in that area of the country , and so their mother took up the job of teacher to her children, although she had no previous teaching experience to speak of. Although the community of Scraper was eventually able to build and support a school that the Rawls children attended during the summer months, it was through his informal education with his mother that Rawls fell in love with reading and decided that he would one day become a writer . After the makeshift class of siblings read the book together, Hattie gave the book to ten-year-old Rawls; from that day on, a young Rawls carried his copy of Call of the Wild everywhere, reading and rereading it whenever he got the chance, deciding that he would one day write a book just like it . It was the same hardships of the Depression that forced Rawls to give up his schooling at age sixteen in Muskogee it is unclear whether it was grade school or high school that he left unfinished  and travel the country on his own, following work opportunities as a carpenter, a trade he had learned from his father .