The late 1950s defined America for a post-war generation. Tract housing was devouring farmland, and rock and roll music was dividing the generations. Disneyland, transistor radios, automobiles and televisions were molding a new American culture, and highways like Route 66 were transforming the country into a nomadic society.
Jewel’s family was moving too, from one military duty station in the Azores to another on the shores of Waikiki, but they had to traverse the American continent to get there. Loaded into the family’s new Chevy Nomad station wagon, they began their three-week journey across an undulating tapestry of quirky relatives, motor hotels, blossoming gas stations, chrome-plated diners, national parks, and the turbulent emotions swirling around their own family.
Writing in his Big Chief tablet, seven-year old Jewel documented their coast-to-coast trip, not realizing that he would change faster than the landscape rushing past his window. Along the way, he’d discover a father with god-like strength and authority, who spared no rods and captained the Nomad like a disciplined soldier, and a porcelain mother who threatened to shatter at the slightest bump in the road. Older brother Charlie was a compass to be admired and revered, but never followed. Deep in the soil of his family, Jewel found his roots and learned to appreciate cousins in ways he’d never imagined. He'd also forge his own rules about life and love and family values at a time when it mattered most.
Now, introspective about the journey, Jewel reflects on the outcome of the events and people who were part of the AMERICAN NOMAD. Where did the road ultimately lead everyone? Did they survive into the future with him, or did fires of their own making consume them, and has time given Jewel greater understanding about the events of that single month in the summer of 1957?
AMERICAN NOMAD has delightful humor, haunting images of sadness and powerful expressions of love.