Local Navy veteran tells life story in “Of Raincrows and Ivy Leaves”
By: Steve Chapman

When Edgar Brown was dictating his memoirs to his wife, Judy, he never thought he would be writing a book. But the Navy veteran is now a published author. His book, “Of Raincrows and Ivy Leaves,” was released by Durant Publishing in February.

Judy, who spoke for Edgar during the interview due to his hearing loss, said the name of the book is partially inspired by a time when Edgar and his youngest son, Gary, visited the farm of Edgar’s grandfather in Fayette, Mo. in 1989 and heard the song of a yellow-billed cuckoo, also called rain crows because their songs are often heard before thunderstorms arrive.

“They decided to go out and visit the family farm,” Judy said. “They drove in, turned off the engine, rolled down the windows, and they heard the bird calling. He remembered it as a child, and they called it “rain crow,” because it predicted the weather. And so, it got him started.”

Judy said the book was actually written over a period of 30 years, with Edgar talking about his memories while she typed his words.

“I had bought a new laptop computer, so I wanted him to tell me his life story. He said, “I don’t know.” So I said, “Start with the first remembrance you have.”

“He just started telling me his story and I started typing it. And it wasn’t intended to be a book, just his memoirs, actually. And we spent about 30 years just writing down things he remembered about his growing up years and all the experiences that he had.”

“Edgar Brown”

“Of Raincrows and Ivy Leaves” details Edgar’s memories of childhood, his education, his service in the Navy during WWII, his marriages and family, and his career as an educator.

“It’s pretty comprehensive,” Judy said. “It goes through his childhood and his elementary, junior high and high school (days). He was a musician and he was athletic and he was interested in the military, so his high school and college were kind of similar in the things that he did.”

Some of Edgar’s memories are lighthearted. In the book, he talks about dispatching tarantulas which would fall out of newly-arrived loads of bananas while working at the grocery store his father managed, going on a cruise to the tropics his father won for outstanding performance at work, and jumping off a chicken house with a parachute he made from an old table cloth. (It didn’t work)

Edgar also spends some time talking about his father. Once, his father was kidnapped by a man who wanted his car. The man forced his father at gunpoint to drive him a distance, then ordered him out of the car and forced him to lie face down in a ditch while the gunman drove away with the car. The gunman was later apprehended, broke out of jail and then killed in a shootout with police.