Spring has sprung and area kids are beginning to make plans for summer! As I listen to my daughters' discussions on what they want to do, I take a memory walk. You can join me if you want!
As a child, I grew up believing that since we had 3 cherry trees and a grove of mulberry bushes in our backyard, that everyone else did also. Of course, I later realized that very few people have mulberry groves or even one cherry tree, for that matter. But, oh, how I savor those memories of yesteryore! No matter how Mama and Daddy tried to keep us away from the mulberry bushes, they failed miserably! Lori, Lona Sue and I spent practically all summer with purple hands! Those sweet little berries were just too good to avoid. Not only were our hands and mouths purple but the bottoms of our feet were also purple! Actually, there was so much PURPLE that our feet actually looked BLACK!!! Why, you ask...It was because our idea of summertime meant that we could retire our shoes for the entire season. Well, maybe not the whole season. Our 6 little feet trampelled all over the berries that had fallen onto the shady ground beneath the bushes which were probably 15 feet tall. Little did we know that with a bit of fine-tuning of our stomping and not so much dirt and actually using a clean bucket, we could have created our very own mulberry wine!
And, speaking of stomping, Lori called me the other day to discuss something interesting. She wanted to know if I could still remember Mama carting us off to the hospital an innumerable amount of times to remove rusty old nails (building, not toe) from our feet and how often we all seemed to have to get tetanus shots. When we got to talking about it, I also remembered that I have never had to take any of my three children to the hospital to have anything removed from their feet. Lori hasn't had to take her son their either. (I did have to take Abigayle in a few years ago to have Dr. Alpert remove an unpopped kernel of popcorn from her ear...) We just assumed that all kids were running around in yards filled with rusty nails!
Oh, mercy, how such vivid and great memories once again ran through our minds and hearts of times gone by that unfortunately can never be relived. (Of course, we could live without the nails being stuck in our feet!:)
Life seemed so innocent, pure and happy back then. The only care that we had in our heads at the time was how soon Daddy would be home for another of Mama's delicious meals!!! No one in Wichita County found it necessary to buy door or window locks for their homes. Shoot! We knew everyone and most importantly, everyone could be trusted here! (Of course, that changed on the evening of May 25th of 1976 when our police chief, Carl Simons, was struck down north of town. The next morning, people went crazy in Wichita County as they scoured the hardware stores looking to buy locks. The people who got to the stores too late, made trips out of town to buy locks. The death of so much of our individual trust came that historical night in Leoti. Leotians would never be the same again.)
Early in the spring, Mama would take us to Syracuse where our grandparents lived or to Garden City to buy our spring and summer wardrobe--shorts, sleeveless shirts and sandles. We would live in them for the entire warm days of summer. Sometimes, we even slept in them. By the end of summer, they were ready for the trashcan, which by the way, was constructed out of metal so that when there was a sufficient amount of trash, Daddy would strike matches and the rubble would be reduced to ashes. The girls and I awakened early, donned our "short sets" as Mama called them and charged outside for all kinds of adventures. Oh, and sometimes, we even bothered to put our sandles on! We rode bikes, swang on our swingset or crossed the street to the kindergarten playground to teeter-totter, etc. Of course, it was insane to believe that the three of us could just play with each other! Oh, no! We had to have practically every one of our fellow neighborhood kids over to socialize with, the Bowmans, Tripps, Glanvilles, Dyes, Phillips, Kerschens... Oh, so much fun was had by all of us!!! I actually think that our parents enjoyed our friends as much as we did. They were so happy that everyone came to our house to play! Mama usually gave out snacks and drinks for everyone in our yard. But when she was busy studying for one of her many college classes that she had to take during summer, I would sometimes sneak into the kitchen and create my very own delicacy for all to eat! Here's the receipe and directions: Roll butter, REAL butter, into small to medium-sized balls. Roll in lots and LOTS of granulated sugar! Wella! That's it! Easy, huh? And, oh so delicious!!! All of us LOVED my creations!!! LOL!!!!!
When the cherries FINALLY ripened to their perfect sweetness, we picked alot of them, however, we had to leave most of them on the trees for which Mama, Daddy and us picked for the best ever cherry pies that only Mama could bake! Her mulberry pies were savory also! I can still see her slaving away in our little kitchen with the pink stove and refrigerator! Oh, how I can still taste them in my memory...
Back then, most of us weren't allowed to watch as much TV as kids do today. A by-product of watching little tv is that kids weren't FAT back then the way that so many are today. Plus, kids were forced to use their own imaginations back then. One reason kids didn't stick to TV was because when TV-watchers had to depend on the good ol' antennae, the picture was blurry at the very best. Plus, most of us only had two or three channels back then. It was easy for kids to lose interest in watching soap operas, game shows and very few cartoons. However, many of us ran indoors just long enough in the afternoon to watch our hero, Major Astro!!!
On hot days, many kids went to the county swimming pool to cool off. We very seldom did that. Mama's older brother had drowned in a pond when she was very young. She never became comfortable with letting us do much swimming unless we did it in our little kiddy pool at home with her watchful eyes upon us. The girls and I still hold the trophy for the kids taking the most swimming lessons in Wichita County! We started swimming lessons when we were about 3 and finally graduated from lessons when we were 17! No, we weren't quite that old. LOL!!! Anyway, it was and is such a delight to realize just how much our parents appreciated and took care of us!
As I recall, we were probably the absolute dirtiest little girls in town! Our short sets were caked in dirt, mulberry and cherry juice. Our faces and hair were just nasty. And our bare feet were covered in mud that we had made up to build pies, houses, etc out of.
The lots that our parents had bought across the street from the grade school had once been home to an old hotel and little house. Daddy had torn down the hotel and stacked its wood in the back south corner of the yard. (Oh, boy! The girls and I had a blast playing in that woodpile. It seemed like there were always several little yellow kitties living in it so we had to find them!!!) The little house became a playhouse for us. As I remember our summers there, it seems as if it was our very own Eden. How fortunate we were to have grown up there with such loving and wonderful parents!
Aren't we so blessed to have our memories???