Iowa was, and I know that Gaudino thought it was too, middle class. But I thought so much of it different than my experience. First of all, this was true throughout. I’m Jewish. I grew up in a Jewish home. Not a particularly observant Jewish home but real Jewish identity. From the time I left Sharon, Mass., and went south I was the first Jew that a lot of people had ever really known. To me it was just totally other. I was struck by how profoundly religious a lot of people were. In Iowa I went to church and Sunday school with the Legores every week. Even in Appalachia we said grace before every meal. These were things that were just totally foreign to my experience. So I remember writing at one point that I felt as though the Northeast was this little island in the midst of a great sea of sort of deeply Christian life in the country. I was just totally struck by the fact that this was a really Christian nation. Well, nobody I encountered overtly felt, maybe they felt, but overtly said to me that they thought I was going to go to hell because I was Jewish.

Jon Kravetz '74