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He heard the wail of the distant train whistle and started off in that direction, hoping it would be the right way back to the south side of town… He paused at the orange ramp in front of the Mission and looked down to read the hand-painted words on the sidewalk: “Behold, how good it is, and how pleasant, where brethren dwell as one! Psalm 133.”

Abandoned by his father in the unusual town of Waitnsee, Willy is burdened with a terrible secret. Lost in life with no family that he can trust, the homeless men of the Union Mission become the family he needs. These homeless and hungry men, particularly the aged and legless Elmer, help Willy to put aside the pain of his secret and find a new way of looking at the world around him. The light of the cross on the Mission’s roof, and the wail of trains that passed nearby on a regular basis, become anchors for Willy as he endures prejudice and poverty—and learns the power of forgiveness—while discovering his true calling in life.

Set in Middle America during the Great Depression, during that period when the country was recovering from World War I while preparing for World War II, Deanna K. Klingel brings to life that awkward era of American History honestly and unapologetically.


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2 reviews for Waiting with Elmer

  1. MC Brady

    A young teen, Willy Sykes has suffered hunger, and homelessness. Abandoned in the small town of Waitnsee, Willy is befriended by Elmer, an aged and legless man who takes him to a mission for homeless men. He gets a hot meal and a bed where he can sleep safely–and to his amazement–for more than one night. From Elmer, Willy learns that people are much more than they seem. Elmer gets him into school, and another man, a former math professor, helps him with his homework. Though he learns to trust them, Willy is unable to tell the men about the terrible burden of guilt he carries and how he came to be in their town. Moving Willy through changes and experiences that help him learn and grow, Deanna Klingel blends history and Christian inspiration with profound insights into the human spirit.
    M.C. Berkhousen, Author of 90% Human

  2. Barb Szyszkiewicz

    Willy, a homeless teenager with a criminal father and his own burden of guilt to bear, winds up in Waitnsee, an unusual town where a man named Elmer mentors him, leading him on a journey of growth, faith, and reconciliation. This book, set in the Depression era, features a wonderful cast of characters, including Father Flanagan of Boys Town.

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