The Silos of my Youth

My stepmom Sheri sent me these pictures she scanned. While reading WOOL, she became convinced the germ of the idea began right here, at the back of my father’s farm. We used to spend hours crawling around inside and on top of the old silos.

That’s me on the grain chute in the blue shirt. There’s a continuous screw inside the chute that pushes the grain up and into the silo. My father stepped over the chute once while it was operational. It was lucky for him that his pants were so worn. The screw grabbed the crotch of his jeans and ripped them right off of him. It could have been worse.

Here I am helping Sheri across the gap. It’s a little wider than it appears from this angle, and even wider in my youthful memories. I remember sliding down from that bar she’s holding on my butt, letting my feet hit the lip, then launching over to the other silo. It felt reckless at the time, but was probably quite tame.

Here’s my stepsister Jen showing us how it’s done! Jen, btw, is a real-life Jules. Smart and capable, she’s one of those women whose power doesn’t come from emulating what men do, but by doing everything better. There’s a quiet fierceness and raw determination behind Jules. That’s my sister Jen. This picture captures it all. Daredeviling with grace.


6 responses to “The Silos of my Youth”

  1. Seeing your inspiration, both in the pictures of you as a kid, and about Jen and her being a basis for Jules adds so much more to my appreciation of Wool. Thanks so much, Sheri and Hugh, for sharing this!

  2. Leslie Flint Avatar

    Thanks so much for sharing. Jen, your inspiration for Jules, is so cool.
    Seeing these silos in the Mississippi delta daily, I pictured them and then saw your pictures. I have also heard of a silo being converted for use as a type of cabin on land at hunting club.

  3. Oh the memories! (Not yours, mine! ) I was a country child too, and while we didn’t have silos, we had barns and a stone grainary that was similar to a silo. Wow. I can’t imagine letting my kids do the sorts of things y’all are doing in those photographs — but my siblings and I did that sort of thing too.

    Thanks for sharing these. What a hoot.

  4. I’d say Sheri is right. Seeing these makes it obvious why you created silos instead of rectangular bunkers. Thanks for sharing this and explaining where Jules came from. Very cool.

  5. Ha! One of those silos has a window! :D

  6. When I saw a reference to “Silos of my youth”, I thought that that was somehow an allegorical reference. But no, clearly it did actually mean silos! ;)

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