Lecture & Book Signing
Crossroads at Miller Ridge by Jo Ratliff
Saturday, July 18th, 11:00 AM
“Crossroads at Miller Ridge captures the humor and pathos of life as experienced by an Oklahoma family and its neighbors.”
About the book
Jo Ratliff is her family’s story keeper—the repository of the folklore and facts surrounding her family’s Oklahoma roots. In Crossroads at Miller Ridge she hands down the tales her mother told her of growing up at Miller Ridge, once referred to by one old-timer as the “flower garden” of a region rising out of the bottomlands of the Arkansas River west of Fort Smith, Arkansas. When Ratliff’s great-grandfather, Arthur William Miller, a proud Confederate veteran headed west, carrying a Winchester rifle, some apple seedlings, a medical book and a wagon load of kids drawn by a team of oxen, the land where he settled still belonged to the Cherokees. Twenty-two years later, when Oklahoma became the 46th state, a gaggle of grandchildren were in attendance at the one-room school house known as Miller Ridge, standing across the road from the Millers’ log home.
Traipsing across the fields over barbed wire fences and tiptoeing through rocky streams, the children of Miller Ridge thrived in a community where the wagon didn’t roll out of the gate without everyone within a three-mile radius knowing where it was headed. Idyllic as it may sound, the community was not without its share of danger and uncertainty. World War I, the 1918 flu epidemic, Prohibition, and the Great Depression disrupted plans and dismantled dreams. All the while the folks at Miller Ridge married, had children, raised crops, built barns, played music and danced to the tunes of their time.
Pulled from a library of recollection that that has long since been closed, woven from the collective history of a region where the stake marking its birthplace remains today, Crossroads at Miller Ridge captures the humor and pathos of life as experienced by an Oklahoma family and its neighbors. More pointedly, it traces the steps of its primary character, Lillian, as she negotiates the hazardous road that leads her from girlhood to womanhood.
About the author
Jo Ratliff holds a B.A. in American Studies from Oklahoma State University. She is the author of Headed Home: A Collection of Family Recipes and former editor of The Villa Voice, the quarterly newsletter for DaySpring Villa, a domestic violence shelter for women and children.
As a sideline to her quest to capture the life and times of people she holds most dear, she endeavors to keep family members informed about their Oklahoma roots and encourages them to stay connected through a periodic newsletter called The Miller Times. Circulation now stands at 175 family members. Although she was born in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, she has spent most of her life in Tulsa where she resides with her husband, Alan.