Sunday, February 14, 2010

Journaling Me: Childhood

Where did you live as a child?
(city, country, etc.)

I grew up in the country. You could see the neighbors across the street and down the road during the winter months, but the rest of the year the trees blocked our view. We were surrounded on 3 sides by forest and my brothers and sister and I had a lot of fun times exploring it. We even found a way to slide down the hills in the winter by making a path around the trees - not always with success!  There were a few really amazing winters where we were snowed in and had to dig a way out from the 2nd floor of the house. My dad dug a path down to the neighbors so we could share food and supplies. And every spring we would tap all the maple trees and hang buckets to catch the sap. Once we had enough sap, my dad would stay up all night boiling it down over a pit outside. Then my mom would bring it in and boil it again and strain it into jars, can it up, and store it in the cellar for later.

Out in back of the house we had a huge garden. Dad would plow it up and the kids would help remove all the rocks. Mom had us pile the rocks around a telephone pole to make a strawberry bed. The garden was a big job for us. We had to keep it watered and weeded. And when harvest season began we had to help clean and freeze or can as much as we could. Then dad would plow it all under to rest for the winter.

We had a lot of animals to take care of. We had dogs and cats, lots of chickens, and a pig or two. We even had a horse for a little while. It was a bit more work than we thought it would be, so the horse went to a new home. It was the girls job to collect all the eggs and my brothers fed the pigs. We all helped to take care of the dogs. My mom was the one who slaughtered and cleaned the chickens, and even an occasional turkey. One year my dad and some friends slaughtered a pig - but the kids weren't allowed to watch. I remember watching out a window and seeing the men working by the light of a bonfire and a couple lanterns. I don't remember really seeing anything, though.

This picture of the house was taken in the early 1970s. My parents bought this house sometime after they'd adopted me. I have no memories of the first house we'd lived in. The house now belongs to my sister and her husband. It's been added to, remodeled, and sided over the years. A few of the trees of my childhood have died and been cut down.  My sister has planted two new trees, one for each of her children. And the garden area is now their backyard, complete with swingset and firepit. So now, when I go to visit my sister and her family, it's just like going home.

No comments:

Post a Comment