741 Flint Street, Brightwood Park, c. 1894
Emma Lucretia Miller, c. 1877
Lillie and Charley Beck, c. 1902
The August Voith family, c. 1904
Gus Voith and the Soldiers' Home Band, 1914
Lillie May Beck, c. 1914
Ferdinand John Voith, c. 1916

Family. Home. Memories. Lillie Voith holds these values most dear.

Family: Cherished only child of Charley and Emma Beck, she is the unlikely issue of an improbable union. Beloved wife of Ferd Voith, she is the happy mother of a tribe of nine, and newly expecting her tenth. It is the family of her earliest dreams.

Home: Seven Forty-one, the house that Charley builds on his little plot of farmland just outside of Washington City in the District of Columbia, is the only home she’s ever known. So vast before, the house seems to shrink with each new child, until Charley wonders that they’re not all tumbling out of windows.

Memories: In a ritual established over so many babies, Lillie celebrates by having Ferd bring down her memory box, a carefully collected treasure of the lives of those she loves. She knows by heart every word of the letters, every entry of the diaries, every detail of the photographs, and she traces them again with each new life, to instill a sense of place, of family, of history. Good and bad, all that came before makes us who we are. Little baby, you are the sum of all our joy.

Emma’s miracle, Ferd’s universe, the beating heart of the household: When Lillie is stricken in a fall, her family hangs suspended by a thread of longing for her, and Lillie finds herself deep inside memories she has never found before, memories that flow from those most closely connected to her.

Charming, lyrical, and evocative, by turns funny and heartbreaking, Up the Hill to Home sketches an enduring portrait of four generations of the Miller/Beck/Voith clan against the backdrop of Washington, D.C., as the city itself grows from a dusty pre-Civil War cowtown to a national capital in the throes of the Great Depression.