You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Houston, official says

Down but never out on a Michigan farm

Mardi Jo Link’s world was in tumult. Her husband had just moved out of their home on an acreage near Traverse City, Mich. Their three sons, Owen, Luke and Will remained with her. The author guides us through these events in her memoir “Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm.” She refers to her soon to be ex-husband as “Mr. Wonderful.”

As this suddenly single mom envisions the challenges confronting her she declares that: “I have recently named my place the Big Valley, in homage to the television ranch of my youth.” “Bootstrapper” documents this family’s journey through experiences that range from harrowing to hilarious.

Link’s primary income from freelance writing was sporadic and unpredictable. As she tallied up the bills that must be paid she could see a looming shortfall just around the bend. It was time to economize, and fast.

Her three sons are the heroes of this story. They rarely complain and took most things in stride as their mother tries to figure out how to keep them afloat. Their wardrobes are procured in thrift stores. Food is in short supply. The boys bundle up to stay warm inside their chilly house.

She falls behind on the gas bill. They need to find another way to stay warm. On the cover of the book there is a picture of an axe. This image is emblematic of their resilience and determination. They begin harvesting dead wood on their property to burn in the fireplace for heat.

They run out of firewood. Mardi Jo loads the boys into the mini-van.

They drive along and search for firewood on the road shoulders. When they spot a log that has fallen from another vehicle they stop to gather it up.

They plant large vegetable gardens and try raising their own food in the form of chickens. They have one group of hens that provides eggs.

Another flock is destined to become chicken dinners. These poultry plots run ridiculously awry.

Mardi Jo’s upcoming divorce looms like some dark iceberg on the horizon. When the divorce is ultimately enacted she will be forced to try to obtain another mortgage on the Big Valley. This seems to be an insurmountable obstacle.

There’s one certain thing about Mardi Jo Link; don’t ever count her out. When the well pump fails the driller suggests that “maybe you’d like to talk it over with your husband.” She realizes that “my circumstances are so unsalvageable that even my I-am-woman-hear-me-roar self doesn’t think to be offended by this.”

In an interview Link revealed that six years ago she submitted an essay to the Antioch Writer’s Workshop in Yellow Springs. Her submission earned her a scholarship to that year’s workshop. It took time for her essay to flourish and grow. It became the seed for this book.

“Bootstrapper” demonstrates how a stubborn mother and her three brave boys pulled themselves right up by their own boot straps. “Mr. Wonderful” probably won’t be reading it.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Springfield Entertainment

NFL dismisses report claiming Lady Gaga can't talk Trump at Super Bowl Halftime Show
NFL dismisses report claiming Lady Gaga can't talk Trump at Super Bowl Halftime Show

Pop star Lady Gaga is weeks away from headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show, but one report says she won't be able to talk about the election or President-elect Donald Trump, who will be inaugurated as president by the time of the show. According to Entertainment Tonight, citing an unnamed source, Gaga will not be allowed to talk about politics,...
SSO’s Grapes & Escapes gets a ‘Clue’
SSO’s Grapes & Escapes gets a ‘Clue’

Contact this contributing writer at No dinner plans for Saturday, Feb. 4? The Springfield Symphony Orchestra will gladly offer a “Clue.” The annual Grapes & Escapes fundraiser turns to colorful characters and daring detectives for its 2017 theme with a beloved board game as its inspiration — “Clue: The...
Burt Reynolds to auction replica 'Smokey and the Bandit' Trans-Am
Burt Reynolds to auction replica 'Smokey and the Bandit' Trans-Am

Remember the iconic muscle car driven by Burt Reynolds in the kitchy yet classic 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit? Who wouldn't want to own a Trans-Am just like it? Bidders will get their chance Friday at an auction in Arizona, MSN Autos reports.  A listing for the Barrett-Jackson sale in Scottsdale shows a Pro-Touring Firebird...
Report: Jennifer Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration concert
Report: Jennifer Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration concert

Holliday retweeted The Wrap's report on her Twitter account.In a letter addressed to "my beloved LGBT community," Holliday explained why she initially accepted the invitation to perform at the inauguration, saying she wanted to perform for the people, not for Trump. But after a vocal backlash, Holliday has decided not to perform.  According...
Children remember your words for the rest of their lives

“Parentspeak - What’s Wrong with How We Talk to Our Children — and What to Say Instead” by Jennifer Lehr (Workman, 276 pages, $14.95) We’ve all seen it. And heard it. In public places, watching parents interact with their children, what’s being said and done. Heck, maybe they were your own kids and you are evaluating...
More Stories