Today’s blog post is brought to you by the word “childhood”!!
Do you ever have trouble remembering your childhood? I remember certain events and sometimes even smells or colors, but it’s like the every day just escapes me!
I guess my childhood was typical for the time and the area we lived in. I went to school, I had chores, we had family time, we went to church. My Momma taught us to read before we started school, so I’ve always been a book-lover. I can remember the school librarians holding out books they thought I would like. I also remember thinking it was the grandest thing that we could go to the public library and check out stacks and stacks at a time!
I loved playing house and office and school. I adored my baby dolls, but I was not an outdoor person like my sister. As a matter of fact, as part of my punishment when I got older, my Mom would ground me and make me go outside!
I made up songs a lot and sang nonsense words to them that I thought sounded like another language. I pretended it was French or Latin or even Cherokee, but I had no clue about any of those languages at that time.
We used to watch old movies and musicals on PBS. We only got four channels on our television and if you wanted to watch the fourth one, someone had to climb the hill and turn the antenna while someone else stood at the door and yelled whether it was coming in or not.
We lived on a hill behind our grandparents and great-grandparents. There was a field between the two houses that was sometimes used for horses or hay or setting up gun targets! In the summer, the grass would get high and wildflowers would grow in spots. I used to run down it and pretend that I was Laura Ingalls-Wilder in the opening credits of Little House on the Prairie. I had long brown hair like Laura and I thought it was cool that I had a blonde-headed older sister like she did. I was a little disappointed sometimes that my sister’s name wasn’t Mary. She wasn’t blind either, but I don’t remember ever being disappointed about that!
I remember going to family reunions and having fresh watermelon and rhubarb pie. I remember sitting on the steps of my Papaw’s store and pouring packs of peanuts in my Coke. I also him remember telling us we could have anything we wanted out of that store and then getting mad when we got the little glass bottles of apple juice made for babies! I don’t think it was the juice we really wanted…it was those little glass bottles!
Sometimes we would buy a loaf of bread and sliced bologna and have an impromptu picnic. If you had a fresh tomato, it was all the better!
I never wanted to be outside in the summer unless I was near water. We waded in creeks and rivers. We knew to watch out for snakes and snapping turtles, but if the water was clear and cool, we forgot to watch. I remember camping at the lake and being sunburned because I stayed in the water for hours–even after my Momma told me I had to get out or I was going to get a sunburn.
I remember going to the public pool in town and two of the “swimming holes” out in the county. You had to pay to get in, but the bottoms of them were rocks instead of concrete and there wasn’t nearly the amount of chlorine that the city pool had. Still, you had to be careful or you would skin your toes (or nose, if you were diving under) on the bottom.
I always loved staying over with any of my grandparents (I had two sets of grandparents and a set of great-parents with me until I was pretty much grown) and waking up to big country breakfasts. I also loved sleepovers with my aunts or my best friends–those kind where you stay up half the night acting silly and then get up the next day and act silly some more!
I spent a lot of time watching my Mom and all of the Grandmothers cook and they usually found a way for me to pitch in and help. I never minded that though.
We always spent part of the summer in North Carolina until my great-grandparents finally moved back home. It was always colder there, but the fishing was good and sometimes we got to walk to the park all by ourselves. Plus, there was always an abundance of Cheerwine to be bought at the store across the road.
My sister and I had our own playhouse and there was a rope swing hanging behind it. It was on a slope, but it still hurt like heck when you fell off!
There weren’t very many children our age around. We spent a lot of times roaming around in the woods behind our house. There were Indian mounds there and the grave of a little baby who had died on a train passing through. We were told not to bother them, but we would sometimes use flowers and rocks to decorate them. My grandparents eventually bought a marker for the baby, but I don’t know that anyone ever goes up there anymore.
Every year, we worked in the gardens. (We had a small garden and then there were “family gardens. If that wasn’t enough, somebody or other always needed help in theirs!) I hated working in that hot summer sun, but I loved the fresh corn and beans and tomatoes.
It’s amazing how much more I am remembering as I write this. All in all, I didn’t have a bad childhood. At least, I never thought it was that bad. Just like any part of life, there are moments I wish I could change and things I wish I had known to do differently. Most days, I just wish life was still that simple!