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Old 06-15-2013, 01:05 PM   #11
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Summers from second through 8th grade consisted of swimming lessons, the weekly movie double feature, library trips, 2 weeks of a camping trip with Dad and three weeks of staying with my 3 Grandmothers, three girls three Grandma's we got a week with each and my parents only saw us on the weekends. I also had 3 years of Camp Fire girls camp. After 8th grade I started working summers on my Uncle's dairy farm for $300 a summer. I had plenty of time then for 4-H and having a horse, learning to barrel race.

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Old 06-15-2013, 07:13 PM   #12
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Our summers we filled with self made fun, lots of learning and a few new experiences each year. We were the only non-Japanese family on the block so we participated in a lot of Japanese rituals during the summer months. The three of us (girls) played all the usual dolls, Queen for A Day, circus, bike riding, roller skating etc. Sometimes we would get to go to the park for day camp where we would make cool things and have lunch. Towards the end of summer we always got to go to Girl Scout camp for 2 weeks. Our weekends were either spent doing yardwork or camping and water skiing. Every couple of years we would take a vacation and go to Granny and Grandpa's house in Surrey, BC. We sold lemondade one year and that was fun. We were pretty busy but always managed to squeak in a few bouts of trouble between all the fun !

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Old 06-15-2013, 08:23 PM   #13
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Whew, read that too quick.
I thought you said you rode a surrey to your grandparents' house
Give us this day our daily bacon.
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:07 AM   #14
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With the town kids just getting sprung this past Thursday (and heading back August 28th) I feel sorry they have shorter summers than I did. And boy did we need all that time to cram stuff in. Before we moved when I was 7 my best friend lived right behind me, but on the cross street to mine (we were each adjacent to the corner gas station). I'd have to walk in a small space between her garage and our hedge of forsythias, always pretending I was having to navigate some jungle. We'd dig in dirt and make mud pies - my Mom was always looking for her aluminum jello molds! Guess I started "baking" early.

We moved to suburbia when I was 7 - a suburb right next to Cleveland and right on the bus line. Not only were there more kids to be friends with, but I had more freedom. Learned to swim at the local pool. Played outside until the streetlights came on. My Dad kept the nicest, softest lawn on the street and in the afternoon the tree from two houses over would cast the best shadow on the front lawn, so you would find me on my tummy reading. With no A/C you looked for cool everywhere! Spent a lot of time in basements playing board games. Even better, my friend Betty had a ping-pong table! One summer I arranged a dog show in our back yard to raise money for the Cancer Society. I think we made $8.55. Had no idea at the time my great aunt and Dad would each develop the illness.

Dad was a delivery man so he got Wednesdays and Sundays off. With one car, Mom got the car on Wednesdays if she had shopping to do that was further than the local indoor merchants market. Sometimes I'd go with her but most of the time I was left home with Dad. That was OK because he'd make me lunch and play checkers with me. Loved spending special time with him. A lot of Sundays we'd go for rides. How Mom loved her rides! I saw no reason to just sit and ride for scenery since we seemed to visit the same places regularly, so I read in the car. Usually when going somewhere different Dad would find a dicey neighborhood. Sun shining, 80 degrees out, and Mom would say "quick, roll up your windows!". Then there was the time the lift bridge started to lift...and we were still on it! Have had a fear of bridges ever since.

Thanks for letting me reminisce MrsL. This was fun!
"Cooking is the art of adjustment." ~~~Jacques Pépin
“A party without cake is just a meeting.” ~Julia Child
"A dream is a festival of lights within your mind." ~~~ Joan Walsh Anglund
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:15 AM   #15
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You haven't learned, um, coexistence until you've traveled in an unair-conditioned car with 4 siblings and your parents for over 800 miles. There are no words to describe that experience. Yet, we always made it both ways without killing someone.

Gee, does that sound familiar. Mom used to make me sit in the middle so my two sisters wouldn't kill each other. We had a weird window a/c unit one year that you had to fill with cold water and pull a chain, and we'd all have to duck and cover, because the water sprinkled everywhere.

We always lived in military base housing when I lived at home, and it was usually fairly remote with no public transportation and Dad had the car. So it was make-your-own-fun. Our friends always liked to be at our house, we had a kiddie pool that, even as teens, we'd sit in to cool off. Best times were at evenings when we'd all fill dish detergent bottles with cold water and have water fights.

One favorite meal in those days was Mom boiling corn and a watermellon split. One placed we lived (Utah) we somehow had a local farmer friend, and knowing our financial situation, he used to call my parents when his fields needed to be gleaned. We'd pick green beans, strawberries, whatever he had. Then we'd sit on a porch swing, under a plum tree, and relax. One year I remember that the cherry crop was ruined because of too much rain, all the cherries split (different farmer). We gleaned his trees and came home and I swear I pitted tons of cherries for the freezer. Baby sis ate so many that the farmer swore he was going to weigh her before and after.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:46 AM   #16
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At Granny’s Farm
My mother’s family is spread over and along the West Virginia/Maryland
border. Most of them were farmers and miners until my generation, which
is spread in every direction, vocationally and geographically.
I was practically raised by my maternal grandmother and my mother’s two
youngest sisters. My Granny’s name was Cora. She looked like anybody’s
Grandmother, dressed in long dress, always with an apron. Her hair, a
million shades of gray, was pulled up in a bun, and she would have made a
good Mrs. Claus. I saw that bun undone only twice in all those years, both
times in the middle of the night when she had to come in the room because
I was sick or some such. I never knew her to be sick. When I was little,
say five, I realized that my grandmother always had, and probably always
would, smell like cookies.
Every summer until I was thirteen was spent on my grandparents’ farm.
They raised chickens and sold the eggs and, to a lesser degree, the
Chickens. All holidays were spent there. EVERYBODY came "up home"
for the holidays.
Granny’s kitchen was big as three normal living rooms. There was no
running water, just a cold sink. There was a pump on the porch, and a
springhouse just across the lane from the house. The first thing that grabbed
you, as you came in the door was this HUGE, black wood burning stove.
What a monster! When we were "little" this was our favorite winter place to
play; in the space between the stove and the wall. Granny worked what I still
consider being small miracles with that big old iron stove. How she
controlled her temperatures in that oven, just by pouring a little water into a
small compartment in the outer wall, in my view ranked right up there with
brain surgery. When I was about four or five, all twelve of her children
kicked in and bought and installed an electric range. She used the oven that
day, but I don’t think that stove ever got used again, except to hold a lot of
noncooking items on the top and pots and pans in the oven compartment.
Only the kitchen was wired for electricity; it was coal oil lamps in the
rest of the house. That stove was the primary heat source in cold
Weather; that, and a coal pot belly stove in the living room. Upstairs, you
slept between blankets in winter, not sheets, on a straw mattress if you were
a kid, a down one if you were an adult.
I loved being at Granny’s. I got to eat really neat stuff, like venison,
Squirrel, wild Greens, big, round loaves of bread. Granny utilized a lot of
The things nature provided. There was a walnut tree halfway out toward
the "hard" road that gave us some great snack items every year. Granny
said I was a great walnut picker. Granny had a small assortment of
Shoemaker’s tools that was perfect for getting at the meat.
There was plenty of cooking and canning happening almost all the time as
Things came to maturity. And every Sunday, I would help Granny put down
four chickens or so, which would go for Sunday dinner, a pot pie and maybe
soup for later in the week. By age ten I had learned to appreciate the
many manifestations of a Chicken carcass. I also learned very early on that
a Chicken doesn’t need a head to still run around a bit.
Granny never worked with complete recipes. She didn’t use measuring
Spoons - she used the cup of her hand. She had a regimen; Monday Wash
Day, (there was a wash House.) etc. to Friday, which was baking day. On
Friday, I hung about the kitchen a lot, but I didn’t learn a thing... except a
Pavlovian lesson or two. I’ve since learned that, while Cooking is an Art,
Baking is a Science!
I flunked Science!
I inherited Granny’s six cigar boxes of hand-written recipes. I almost
always have to flesh out a "procedure" paragraph when I type up one of her
Gems. Granny wrote recipes as if you already knew stuff that she knew,
But of course we didn’t, and still don’t. I must have a reasonable handle on
it tho’; the recipes almost always seem to work out, somehow.
A typical summer day.....
I’d get up as soon as it was light. The house would already smell like it
knew I was hungry. I would eat breakfast and do my assigned chores;
bring in wood to fill the Wood Bin, gather eggs and feed the chickens. Then
I’d take 15 eggs to the Bowers Farm in a molasses can and return with a
gallon of milk. I’d drop off milk and...
On some mornings, if I hurried right back with the milk, I’d be able to go
with my Uncle Delmar when he went to check his traps, a chore he did
first and last thing every day. Mostly he’d get muskrat, groundhog,
possum and such, but once in a while, he’d strike it "rich" and snag a fox or
Lynx. Uncle Delmar stretched, dried and scraped the skins and then,
every four or five weeks we’d pile them up, and walk to the farm of Mr.
Cooley, who would buy them.
Some days it would be back to the Bowers’ for play. They had three kids -
Ronnie, one year older than I, Jimmy, my age, and Jenny, one year my
Junior. One of our favorite pastimes was "calf rodeo." We rode ’em, roped
’em, wrestled ’em, and generally made their young lives miserable.
Sometimes we’d cut a melon away from the vine, and take it down to the
Creek (pronounced crick) and weigh it down in the stream with a big rock.
Later, we’d return and bust that booger open and...
Sometimes, we’d go back to Granny’s and raid her Grape Arbor, or her
Strawberry patch. You had to be a commando of sorts, because that patch
was visible from the kitchen and Granny would see you if you stood straight
up. Sometimes, by myself, I would lay in there for an hour, just "a-pickin’
and a-grinnin’.. She had turnips, scallions, leeks, tomatoes and what-all,
and we’d eat anything right off the vine or out of the ground. I remember,
at one point, we Kids kept a pilfered salt shaker and an old boning knife
hidden for these banquets. I used to love eating a turnip like an apple, but my
teeth aren’t up to it any more.
After lunch (we called it dinner, for some strange reason) I needed to slop
the hogs. Then I could...
Some afternoons were spent exploring, through the woods, upstream or
maybe down. Some days we’d go squirrel, rabbit or crow hunting. The days
were always full, and I don’t recall ever being bored or lonely, even if I
was alone.
Some days I’d go with Granny. She’d take a basket and we’d be off to the
Wherever to collect ramps, fiddlehead ferns, dandelion greens or whatever
else. She’d dig ’em up and I’d carry the basket, and Lord, I wish I’d paid
better attention at the time......
Granny made wine through all the warm weather. Dandelion wine, fruit
Wines and Clover Wine. Her jugs of wine were the inspiration for a ’macho’
game that Ronnie and Jimmy and I played. The gallon jugs of wine were
lined up on a "low" roof (one easily accessed from ground level) and, Laws,
did these jugs ever attract the bees! I understand that the American honeybee
is near extinction, and that in some growing areas they even have to hire a
Bee truck to park next to the fields for a week so that the vegetable flowers
will get pollinated. Well, not back then, and not around Granny’s wine jugs.
We three would see who could "jar" the most bees in say, 15 minutes -
dangerous work, even for a ten year old who’s gonna live forever!
Usually after supper, I’d ride back over to the bowers’ and help with the
Milking. They were dairy farmers, and I think they had about a million
Head. Mr. Bowers also sold compost on the side! (For every one of Mr.
Bowers’ cows, Mrs. Bowers had a cat.) Sometimes I’d stay after milking
and we’d all play at one game or another, outdoor games or parlor games,
depending on the weather. Needless to mention, Jenny Bowers was my
first crush.
Back at Granny’s house, there was lots of stuff to do at night. The two
Youngest of my aunts were still at home at this time, Janet (16) and Hazel
(13), and on those summer nights they taught me to play Rummy,
Crazy eights and such. Chinese Checkers were big, or there was granny’s
Jigsaw puzzle, and we competed to see who could put the first piece in.
Granny would still be chugging away, getting something ready for
Tomorrow’s something or other.
Weekends always brought reinforcements in the form of kin. I had a lot of
Cousins, within three years or so of my age, and my Cousin Shirley was
even born on the same DAY as me, but not, of course, in the same place. So,
the House was always loaded with kids on weekends. Granny’s table would
Seat six kids along one side.
In the winter at Granny’s there was sledding, Skating, and plenty of room
down in the meadow for some really awesome snowball fights. In cities,
the snow is just not the same. The meadow was good for 200 snowmen or
three or four snow-forts, with plenty of Ammunition for each.
Granny kept a huge jigsaw puzzle working, on a card table against the wall
in the kitchen. That table was there from my earliest memory. Today I
can still conjure up an image of me running full tilt UNDER that table. I
went away to the Navy. When I went back to the farm to visit, I
commented that the puzzle table was gone. I was told it had been gone
longer than I had been gone, I just hadn’’t noticed. I wonder at what point I
stopped paying attention...........
When Granny Shelton died in 1988, her obituary listed 38 great
grandchildren and 13 great-great grandchildren.
Walk with the person who's searching for truth........ run from the person who says they've found it !
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Old 06-16-2013, 02:21 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
Whew, read that too quick.
I thought you said you rode a surrey to your grandparents' house
I'm old but not that old .. we had a car LOL

I have to say that this thread has been so cool to read. To see how much fun there was, how much work there was, how many fond memories we all have ... makes me want to go back for just a short while !
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:08 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by MrsLMB View Post
I'm old but not that old .. we had a car LOL

I have to say that this thread has been so cool to read. To see how much fun there was, how much work there was, how many fond memories we all have ... makes me want to go back for just a short while !
It is always interesting to see what children remember. The one thing that I notice in almost every response is that it did not take much money, it is about family, friends, imagination and a chance to be independent in some small way.
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:32 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
It is always interesting to see what children remember. The one thing that I notice in almost every response is that it did not take much money, it is about family, friends, imagination and a chance to be independent in some small way.
You are so right. During the war, I didn't know it, but those clams we brought home each day meant that my mother could save her meat ration stamps and put them toward next month. I loved being at the beach and digging for clams. I just didn't realize I was contributing to the family's needs. It was just fun for me and my friends. And when our pails were full of clams, we could build sand castles. Or go in the water. Look for colored glass in the sand. Find interesting rocks or shells. By September we were all brown as could be. And there were no adults to watch over us. We just knew to be careful and we knew about the buddy system.

There was an Army base at the very far end of the beach in Winthrop. Every so often a bunch of soldiers with their guns would come and chase everyone off the beach. So one day my mother told me why. A German sub had been spotted not too far off the coast. At night they would patrol the beach all the way from Winthrop to Lynn. No one was allowed on the beach at night.
Illegitimi non carborundum!
I don't want my last words to be, "I wish I had spent more time doing housework"
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:34 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
It is always interesting to see what children remember. The one thing that I notice in almost every response is that it did not take much money, it is about family, friends, imagination and a chance to be independent in some small way.
The only money spent by my parents was on the weekly Movies, special tickets that lasted all summer and a dollar each for movie treats. Everything else was free or we paid for it ourselves, I started babysitting when I was 12.

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