Maxine Davenport has written a fiction book which chronicles the other side of John Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath.
The East Central University graduate will be in Ada during ECU homecoming festivities on Saturday, Oct. 6, to sign copies of her book, Saturday Matinee. The book signing is set for 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. with a break to follow for the annual Golden Tiger Brunch. Following the brunch, she will resume her book signing.
As The Grapes of Wrath tells the story of Oklahomans fleeing their dying farms for California during the Dust Bowl, Saturday Matinee shares the story of those who stayed on their farms during the Great Depression, through World War II and beyond.
In the book, the Andersons are described as survivors, who are tough, determined and able to rear a family on weekly milk and egg money, sometimes with enough nickels left to send six children to the Kiva Theatre to enjoy the latest cowboy feature on Saturday afternoons.
Sissy Anderson is the glue that holds these stories together from the time the family leases a farm to fulfill the father’s dreams through her young adulthood. As a child, Sissy loves the rural life because it allows her the opportunity to enter the world of cowboys and Indians as depicted in the movies. She dreams of meeting those cowboys and entering their world.
Davenport graduated from Latta High School in 1948 with a $25 scholarship to attend East Central Teacher’s College, now ECU. While living off campus her first year of college, her interest in writing led to a reporter’s position on the East Central Journal. The next year, she was promoted to editor and worked for 75 cents an hour, enough to pay for a room in the women’s dorm.
The Journal staff organized the first Phi Alpha delta journalistic fraternity in Oklahoma as Davenport was elected president and Norman Hess was voted vice president. Hess later became Warden at the Oklahoma State Prison in McAlester. Everett Vandergriff, a staff writer, won a first-place national award for interviews and Davenport won first in news stories and editorials.
Davenport describes the proudest award, with Journal mates Glen Chandler, Ed Daugherty, Douglas Epperson, John Gordon, Betty Woodley and Keith Odom, was a front page design featuring the retirement of President Adolph Lindscheid, for whom the library is named. Davenport ended her studies at ECU in 1951 and was voted most valuable student of the year as well as making the honor roll. She later earned a master’s degree in American Literature at Colorado State University and a law degree from the University of Oklahoma.
She began writing short stories and novels following her retirement from law.