Click Here To Purhase When I Was a Child: Based on a true story of love, death, and survival on the Kansas prairie
Author: T.L. Needham
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-4327-7136-2
In When I Was a Child: Based on a True Story of Love, Death and Survival on the Kansas Prairie, the semi-fictionalized account of how the members of one family survive a range of misfortunes that beset them and of how they manage to struggle through the dark dust bowl days prior to and during the Great Depression, is counterpoised against the experiences of the main protagonist, Louis Pfeifer, during World War II. The juxtaposition of childhood days spent on the Kansas prairie with Pfeifer’s experiences as an 82nd Airborne paratrooper, his involvement in the air drop into France on the eve of D Day, and his incarceration as a prisoner of war in Germany until the end of the war successfully maintains a taut air of suspense throughout the book. One wish that I had, though, was that Needham had used the services of a professional editor, as, especially towards the end of When I Was a Child,
the occasional sentence fragments and typographical errors disturbed the free flow of the text to a certain degree.

However, in addition to the riveting storyline, to which many growing up in this region of the States should be able to relate, the characterization is very well done. So vivid a portrait does Needham paint of the central characters that you are clearly able to empathize with them as they endure the sundry miseries that life inflicts on them. Even when Louis’ father is imprisoned for sexually abusing his oldest daughter, he seems more of an everyday hero for managing to keep his large family together through the toughest of times than he does a villain. Needham clearly shows how it was only the loss of his wife in a blizzard of which he was the sole survivor that drove him to such exigencies. The importance of the Catholic faith to all members of the family is revealed in the strong ethical principles that sustain them through thick and thin, making this a story that should appeal to all who share the same faith.
T.L. Needham, a native of Kansas City, was raised on the stories of survival and agrarian hardships described in this book. His mother, Geraldine, was the dearly beloved sister of Louis Pfeifer, whose wartime exploits are dealt with at length in When I Was a Child. It was largely through her that he could relate so closely to the previous generation’s stoicism in the face of what must, at times, have seemed like a barrage of never-ending woes.   
When I Was a Child, despite its somewhat disjointed style, is a worthwhile and motivational read for all ages. The POW scenes, though unsettling, are not of such a graphic nature that they are likely to upset any readers, no matter how old they are. For the older generation, the wartime scenes should bring back memories of stories that their parents might have told them.   
Click Here To Purhase When I Was a Child: Based on a true story of love, death, and survival on the Kansas prairie