Paper pub. date
January 2008
ISBN 9780870712975 (paperback)
6 x 9 inches, 160 pages. B&W photographs.

Child of Steens Mountain

Eileen O'Keeffe McVicker and Barbara J. Scot
Foreword by [[Richard W. Etulain]].

For Eileen O'Keeffe McVicker, born in 1927 to an Irish immigrant sheep rancher and a schoolteacher, growing up on a homestead made for "a hard, happy life with layers of riches." In her memoir of a childhood spent on the southern slope of Steens Mountain, McVicker offers an appealing, personal account of eastern Oregon history.

An "outdoor child" who never knew boredom, McVicker recounts the everyday adventures of life on the high desert. Images of Steens country — rugged vistas of startling beauty in every direction — are woven throughout her recollections. While vividly describing ranch life, Child of Steens Mountain also explores universal issues of parenting, making a living, and coming of age. The homesteading life built a child's character and confidence, and as she reaches adulthood, McVicker, raised to be independent and responsible, ultimately defies her parents to follow her own path.

In an afterword, McVicker's friend and neighbor, author Barbara J. Scot, who edited and organized the narration, describes the collaborative process — including a visit to the old homestead site — that led to this book. Historian Richard Etulain, whose own childhood was spent on a sheep ranch in the West, provides an overview of sheep ranching and homesteading in Steens country in his foreword.

About the author

Eileen O'Keeffe McVicker and Barbara J. Scot are neighbors on Sauvie Island, north of Portland, Oregon, who met while walking their dogs.

McVicker, born near Fields, Oregon, in 1927, lives on an acreage with fruit trees and a large shop where she and her husband practice several arts and crafts in an active retirement. They also have a house in Burns, Oregon, where they spend time in the summer.

Read more about this author

In addition to The Nude Beach Notebook and Child of Steens Mountain (with Eileen McVicker) Barbara J. Scot is the author of The Violet Shyness of their Eyes: Notes from Nepal, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Book Award winner; Prairie Reunion, a New York Times Notable Book; and The Stations of Still Creek. She taught public school for twenty-six years and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. Scot lives with her husband in a houseboat on Sauvie Island, near Portland, Oregon.

Eileen O’Keeffe McVicker and Barbara J. Scot are neighbors on Sauvie Island, north of Portland, Oregon, who met while walking their dogs.

Read more about this author

"Reading Child of Steens Mountain, I felt as if I was holding a rare gift in my hands — a window into a way of life that although not far in the past has now almost entirely disappeared from our world; and equally, a story of a young girl's coming of age, and the bonds of family, written simply and beautifully, chiming with all our familiar human concerns. I was completely taken with this book from page one."

—Molly Gloss, author of The Hearts of Horses and The Jump-Off Creek

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