All But the Waltz: Duck Creek School

We started at the Duck Creek school, where my father had gone. It was eight miles away, out of our district, but our own school lay on the other side of the Judith River and was out of the question. Getting us to Duck Creek meant a twice-daily drive, often through gumbo mud or snow. Our dirt road twisted up through the cutbanks, teetered along the edge of the bluffs, and cut across the prairie under the butte where the snow blew and drifted in the winter, when chaining up and shoveling through the drifts could make the trip an hour or more, each way. (52-53)

Blew, Mary Clearman. All But the Waltz: Essays on a Montana Family. New York: Viking Press, 1991.

About the Book

All But the Waltz

First published in 1991, All But the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family is comprised of 11 virtuosic essays about hardship, death and survival on the rugged plains of central Montana.

While the settings in All But the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family clearly reference actual locales, it is understood that the book—including its places—is ultimately the product of the author’s imagination. The intent of this literary map is to enrich the reading experience by interpreting those places, not to render them literally or definitively.

About the Author

Mary Clearman Blew

Mary Clearman Blew grew up on the site of her great-grandfather’s 1882 homestead, along the headwaters of the Judith River north of Lewistown, Montana. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri and is the recipient of numerous awards for her essays, memoirs, short stories and novel—including