Looking for the Lights & the Music

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Cover of Looking for the Lights & the MusicLooking for the Lights & the Music is the compelling true story of the adventures and mishaps of an American family struggling with the challenges and deprivations of the Great Depression, the upheavals of World War II, and the sadness of one family memberís mental illness. The author recounts with affection and humor the trials and exhilarating moments she and her brother, Volney Pohlman, experienced during their growing-up years.

In this poignant memoir, Joanne Rains tells of a family forced to move constantly, living a new and different life in each location. Flood, drought, unexpected freezes, and finally the collapse of the price of wheat drove them from their small Missouri farm to the urban environment of St. Louis. Their next move, to New Jersey, made them caretakers of a wild animal farm until Thelma, the childrenís mother, returned to Normal, Illinois, to complete her education. After a failure as tenant farmers in Illinois, they finally returned to St. Louis, where the Saint Louis Zoo was one of their everyday haunts.

Among the colorful characters in this book is the authorís uncle, Volney Phifer, a wild animal trapper and trainer, who trained Leo, the MGM lion, and took him on world tour. Leo is just one of many animals featured in this book, including a baby lion named Trader Horn, a gentle zebra, a baby chimpanzee, and the monkey who terrorized a St. Louis neighborhood.

Joanne Rains graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. While in Columbia she met her husband, Ewell Rains, who was a student of engineering. The couple moved to St. Louis, where she took evening classes at Washington University. After a transfer to Cincinnati, Ohio, and the birth of three children, Mrs. Rains continued her education with graduate work at the University of Cincinnati. She taught for many years at the CAS college of the University of Cincinnati, where she achieved the rank of Associate Professor of Psychology. She retired from the University as Professor Emerita. Rains now lives in Fairhope, Alabama.