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Fear is a reaction.

Courage is a decision.

Winston Churchill

            Once Upon a Kentucky Farm:
         Hope and Healing from Family
     Abuse, Alcoholism and Dysfunction

                             (a memoir)

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"Once Upon a Kentucky Farm: Hope and Healing from Family Abuse, Alcoholism and Dysfunction" Cover Image

Cover Design by Lewis Agrell

Back Cover Description


In the 1950s and ’60s, Americans placed faith in the idea of progress. However, the aftermath of WWII, with its echoes of trauma, played out in many families behind closed doors, including the Hogans.


Connard seeks harmony and escape from his parents’ marital conflict over his father’s binge drinking and physical abuse of his mother. He finds respite during visits to his maternal grandparents’ Kentucky subsistence farm, where life appears peaceful. There, he experiences unconditional love from extended family members and the exuberance of large family gatherings, and gains appreciation for nature and the rhythm of the seasons.


Over time, however, Connard is forced to grapple with his role in killing both domesticated and wild animals. In addition, family tragedies leave him no choice but to face issues of death and personal loss.


Connard shines a light on the struggles of those living with trauma and encourages appreciation of the healing powers of unconditional love.


Connard’s trauma survivor journey as a Vietnam Veteran and an adult child of an alcoholic, assisted by his work as a recovery therapist and as an enthusiast of outdoor adventure, has led him to writing, primarily nonfiction. He hopes his writing inspires others struggling to heal from trauma.

Book Blurbs

(What some have said about this memoir)

“Deeply personal and written with heart, Connard Hogan’s Once Upon a Kentucky Farm shines a light on the many levels of trauma. It’s one of those stories that oozes vulnerability and courage, sharing some of the deepest wounds anyone could ever carry. Heartbreaking, inspiring, and told with a thoughtful tone, this memoir radiates a deep understanding of the importance of moving beyond our painful circumstances toward the boundless possibilities of healing. It is a book of truth, helping others to free themselves.”

        - Cherie Kephart, award-winning author of A Few Minor Adjustments

"Not only does Hogan's narrative expose the insights of a young boy exposed to the harshness of alcoholism and spousal abuse, but it also transports the reader into farm life each time Connard visits his grandparents. The endless chores, constant need to attend to farming tasks, and the slow moving, lazy evenings with the absence of TV and electronics are all part of the story, bringing to life an era from long ago. One that few will recognize. But for those that do, the tale renders a step back into time. Into lazy dog day summers, quiet living, and nights without TV, devices, or electrical gadgets. The simple life."

        - Martha Louise, author of Married to Merlot: A Memoir with a Message of Hope

"Connard Hogan's Once Upon a Kentucky Farm gives readers a front row seat to a heartfelt search for truth, meaning, and healing in a world where the wounds remain unchanged regardless of the "progress" generations of humans have made. The good news is the discovery of a cure that is also unchanged: unconditional love."

        - Matthew J. Pallamary, author of Spirit Matters

“Hogan's extraordinary decision to chronicle his life as a young boy in the mid 1950s struggling to survive in a family ravaged by alcohol, violence and both emotional and physical deprivation has produced an emotionally compelling work. Connard’s honesty and exacting attention to the day to day life he endured opens up his world to the reader in a way that most authors can't. It took courage and determination and will to get this down on paper. The reader will be faced by the extremes of existence. This is a way of life you may have heard of, may have thought you understood, but this book will take you farther than that into the experiences of the moment, into the life as it was lived. And extraordinarily, Connard doesn’t stop there. He takes you with him as works his way through to an understanding that he will not only survive but will learn from it and will ultimately rise above it. A powerful statement of transformation.”

        - Rebecca Robins, journalist and author of The French Laundry: A Critical Study of the Relationship of Ethics to Excellence in Restaurant Organization

"If you were to say Once Upon a Kentucky Farm is a memoir about being raised in an abusive household, you would only be partly right. Yes, Connard Hogan’s father was an alcoholic who physically abused Connard’s mother and emotionally abused his two sons. But equally important was the counterbalancing effects of Connard’s grandmother and grandfather and their farm where he spent many of his weekends and holidays. The farm was an oasis, an escape from the tough realities at home, where nonetheless he learned essential life lessons. This touching memoir is a testament to both the damaging and healing effects different family members can have on us. Particularly poignant is the ending where Connard fully realizes the weight of these effects and celebrates those who nurtured him while forgiving those who didn’t."

        - Dale Griffiths Stamos, author, filmmaker and award-winning playwright

"Childhood is supposed to be safe. Scary stories should be the only scary thing for a child. But what if the scariest thing is your own father? Once Upon a Kentucky Farm shows us a childhood that is partly exactly what it should be—a young boy growing up with a loving extended family— and partly a struggle with a father unable to truly come home from war. Young Connard is caught between a home beset by alcoholism, violence, and poverty, and the only refuge he knows, his grandparents’ farm. Can he navigate a path to adulthood and still find a homecoming?"

        - Lorelei Armstrong, author of In the Face

"Connard Hogan’s Once Upon a Kentucky Farm is a story more than 'once upon' but one lived by many families who might find comfort and hope here. Hogan shows how family dysfunction can come around in time with courage and love. Told from Connard’s perspective, growing up from age 5 through high school with all the usual childhood joys and pitfalls, we follow his awakening that something wasn’t quite right, and how it changed him and his family for the better once he said 'Stop!' to his father’s alcoholic rages. This is a gripping story where any reader will find parts of their own lives within and be glad for the eventual redemption."

        - Perie Longo, Marriage & Family Therapist, poet

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