My Parents Values is a narrative about the lives of the authors parents, Ethel Bendix Annear and Wilbur Annear. The author has created a vivid fictionalized account that begins in 1907, when her mother was born in Illinois. By the time Ethel is in first grade, her mother has died in a sudden accident and her father decides to send her to be raised by her aunt and uncle in North Dakota. Ethel forms a lifelong bond with her cousin, Hazel, who later pens a memoir, Along Paupay Creek, which the author uses to compose her story, along with Ethels diaries and letters.
The story follows the courtship and marriage of Ethel and Wilbur, the building of their cabin by Wilbur and his brothers, and the birth of Carol in 1938. While raising her family, Ethel teaches in a one-room school. Everyone shares in the work and responsibilities living on a farm entails, from checking on grazing cattle to feeding hired hands, separating milk, and tending a garden. Carols daughter, Sara is born, and with the birth of Sara, is born, and with the birth of Saras daughter, Amanda, a fourth generation embarks on learning the values that shape this family. In the words of the author, We learn from the past, live in the present, andeven though it is unknowndo our best to prepare for the future.