Writer’s words preserve memory of time and place
Dated November 18, 1995, on a Saturday evening, my mother-in-law, Irene Walker, wrote:
It’s the author coming out in me. I think I just want to hold on to a memory…the feeling is wonderful…tired, peaceful and quiet.
I drove out to the ole home place to look around I drove by the big oak tree that Daddy wanted to sell but Miss Effie (Irene’s mother) said, “No!”
It’s battered and ragged, its branches drooping from time and bad weather, patiently waiting for the last long winter of life.
The pond. Daddy was so proud of it. He would sit on the front porch in a rocking chair, his hands clasped behind his head, feet propped up on a post. He never had a lot to say. I remember riding his shoulders to feed the horse who threw her head up and gave him a black eye.
The porch swing. I would sit on the swing and watch the big yellow moon come over the trees. I loved it. I would listen for the sound of a car coming along the road. Would it turn in to my house? A fellow? There were no phones back then. You just hoped someone could manage to get a car on Saturday night. Maybe go for a hamburger at Oakland Happy Hollow or maybe come sit on the swing and talk.
Miss Effie was like a sister to me. I told her about my dates and the time we had. Even when I ran over the little red wagon. She said she enjoyed my youth because her mother and father would not let her go anywhere.
There is the tree Tyna (Irene’s best friend) and I rode to the ground many, many times. Now it is standing stunted and bent. An elm tree. They were the best. They bent, instead of breaking. Once Tyna and I were bored and looking for something to do. We found a shallow pond and decided to go sailing in a tin tub. Yes, wet and muddy clothes.
The old barn was made from an old house that had been torn down. The wood was a faded black color so we used it as a blackboard, bringing chalk from school. Grace and I had playhouses. Mine was an old log (one room) cabin, too old to be used for anything. It was next to the barn. I furnished it with things I could find and was sure it would be a very fine house. I asked Miss Effie if I could live there. She said surely I would not want to leave home. I dreamed of having my own house. Little did I know at such a tender age.
When I was eight years old, Mother was pregnant, and big with child. I thought she looked awful in the blue chambray dress made like a feed sack with neck and arms cut out.
One night, October 7, Daddy took me on a hurried trip across the meadow to Grandma’s house. The next morning we returned home. Here was this skinny little baby boy who was to have pneumonia and asthma, to say nothing about chicken pox, mumps, whooping cough that I brought home from school at various times.
Well I guess I will have to continue this until such time that I will go visit the old home place again.
The spell is gone. The phone rang and it was Nelia saying that a friend had died.
There’s a time to live and a time to die…
May we all enjoy each day…
Thank you, Mom! I found this piece handwritten on a yellow legal pad sometime after Mom died in 2011. DW and I recently visited the old home place where now just a chimney remains. It was easy to see that it truly was a very special place.
Mom’s Pineapple Topping
Share with an old friend!
1 15 1/2 ounce can crushed pineapple
2 cups sugar
1 heaping tablespoon all-purpose flour
Cook until thickened. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring. Spread hot on a warm yellow cake for an old timey cake and have a piece!