April 15 marked the release of Napa resident Dean Goff’s final book, the memoir “Where the Tall Corn Grows.” This paperback book is available at the Napa Bookmine and through Amazon for $16.95.
A beloved member of the Napa community, Dean Goff spent his latter years exploring his life through writing and enjoying the gifts of the valley. He was an active participant in a number of Napa Valley writing groups where he composed poetry and prose centered around the beauty of his upbringing on a farm in Ruthven, Iowa.
In December 2013, Dean’s life suddenly ended in an accident near his Napa home. This was just five days after he called me to help him “finish (his) last book.” Dean had seen an article about my writing business in the Napa Valley Register and hired me to mentor him through the final compilation of the manuscript.
We had two long, lovely meetings in his home, during which he shared with me his hopes and plans for his finished book. Dean wanted the memoir to include childhood stories, photographs, poetry and letters to his brother from overseas during World War II.
As I began to read his manuscript-in-progress, I was struck by its combination of natural history, love poems to generations of his family, and its rich historical significance. Not only does this book speak in reverent tones about rural farm life in northwest Iowa pre-World War II, it details his daily experience in military service written lovingly to his brother back home.
One can find nestled in the pages of Goff’s memoir, a heritage of lessons learned on the farm as the son of a prominent producer of corn. So much of what he chronicles speaks to his vast knowledge of seasons, creatures, weather, and the fortitude it took to sustain a farm in Depression Era rural America.
Also contained in the book are a series of poems he wrote throughout his adulthood. Poetic messages to loved ones lie beside odes to life lessons.
The reader of his book will also find letters of a serviceman transcribed verbatim into the pages of his story. The routines of life in service to the country mingle with memories of childhood and dreams for the future upon release from the military.
This book is not just an account about farm experiences, a collection of poetry or a military history; it is a rich and honestly written memoir by a man of integrity with a creative knack for great storytelling.
Contact the Napa Bookmine today to reserve a copy at 707-733-3199.