Still struggling with my computer so another short and sweet post about something really special that happened this weekend and still on hold with the last division of my project — the psycho-social!
Most of you don’t know that I grew up in a fairy tale type world– 35 miles to the closest town and months and months of not going to town because my parents went to town for groceries and supplies while we were at school. And we never felt deprived or left out!! I was about 9 or 10 before we had a TV and it was black and white and got 1 or 2 channels!!
My ‘school bus’ was a feisty fun little pony named Flash who was incredible and we went– rain, snow or sleet. Sometimes the snow was belly high to him, but we never though about calling off school! Only a blizzard would cause such a special day and it was announced by a long ring on our phone. See, we turned a crank on the side of the phone to “call” our neighbors and each of us had our own “ring” such as a long and a short, or 2 shorts and on and on, till each family on the party line had their own signal. One long constant ring was notice for everyone within hearing to jump on and hear the news meant for the community– such as, “Teacher can’t make it in to school,” or “John broke his leg and his family needs help with harvest” and so all the neighbors rallied about to lend a hand!
School was a one-room building with students from 1st to 8th grade, and while one grade was reciting or having spelling, the rest of us were studying. Recess and lunch breaks were time for all ages to run and play and the big kids played with the little kids and you were so glad to have ‘friends’ to play with, you never cared that there were no age limits to the games! Bathroom breaks were to a cold outdoor toilet so they were usually short and to the point!
Eventually we had to move closer to Valentine and my fairy tale world was only available to me for short visits in the summer time to my best friend and her family’s farm. Now the purpose of this little snipet into my past memory bank is so that I can share with you a wonderful weekend I just completed.
The Harkins family was a wonderful family that had 7 children (2 boys and 5 girls) and a three bedroom- one bathroom house that was ALWAYS warm and fun and friendly and had room for one more person!! We gathered eggs and rode horses and helped with chores and played house in the grove with no thought of anywhere in the world that could be better!! Through the years, all of them have scattered throughout the country, living a variety of adult lives, but once a year the two boys who still work the farm have a big Bar-B-Q and friends,family and neighbors from near and far come for a fun day of re-acquainting, and catching up and this past weekend was that weekend!
I hadn’t been able to attend for several years, but this year worked out so that part of us (sister Nancy and our Mom) could make the weekend so we jumped into Nan’s car on Saturday and went on a trip back to a different time and place. Now the home place has GROWN and is beautiful, but even without our playhouse in the grove and the tire swing in the back yard, it still was full of wonderful fun memories! We saw all of the family (the kids– Jerome and Louise– parents– were there in spirit) including some of their kids and grandkids!!, plus lots of old neighbors and friends. The stories were endless and laughter rang throughout the large shed where the endless tables and chairs were located. Food was lined along all the walls and last count was over 100 people had come to join in the fun. Finally it was getting dark and everyone had pretty much left so we gathered ourselves, gave tons of hugs and promises to return next year and headed to the car. As we headed to the car, Joanne (between sisters Corliss and Nancy’s age) summarized things perfectly when she said. ” We were so blessed to grow up here.”
Our old home place was about a mile away and on the way back to Valentine so we pulled into the long driveway but could only get about 2/3 of the way to the house, stopped by a fence and gate because it is now a pasture full of cows and baby calves. Through the trees we could still see a bit of our old house that was still standing. Strange feelings flooded through me– memories of picking (and eating while picking) buckets of mulberries, of my sisters and brother as babies, of going with my Dad to care for the animals– driving the tractor while he threw hay to the cows, checking our cows for new babies and occasionally having to help with pulling them, of mean momma sows and sweet cute baby piglets, of the smell of the warm barn and the cats that waited patiently for a squirt of milk as we were milking the cows– and on and on and on. Yes it is true you can never REALLY go home again, but for a day I did and it was wonderful! Now occasionally my family accuses me of remembering things a bit different that the rest of them, but I will tell you that I don’t care because these memories ARE MINE and they are so special and so wonderful and I am so proud and pleased to share them with you!!