When I was around three or four, we moved to the house that my parents and Little Little Brother still live in, and which happens to be about three miles from where I live now. I remember the day we moved in. The house sat (still sits) on top of a big hill just off of the gravel road and right before a curve. Across the road and back a ways on the property was another house that employed big mean dogs to keep you off of their property. And around the bend from there was my grandparents' house, where my dad had grown up. When the leaves were off of the trees, we could see each others house.
Grandma and Grandpa lived on a huge 425 acre farm with cattle and crops. The house they lived in was built by my grandpa. My grandma tells me that she and my dad laid the real wood flooring while my grandpa was working as a mechanic in town. The big garage out back of the house has my tiny little footprints pressed into the concrete from the day it was poured. There was a 50 gallon barrel that sat at the corner of this garage and gathered rain water. We used to sit in the swing that hung between two giant trees and shuck corn and break beans. They sold this place over 20 years ago.
I remember "running away" once. I packed a little suitcase, put my shoes and jacket on and out the door I went. With shoelaces flopping (because I was too young to know how to tie them yet) I went around the bend to Grandma's house because that was the only place I knew how to get too! As my mom stood at the door watching me, she called my Grandma to let her know that I was on my way. I don't remember what happened after that, but evidently I came back home!
We were on a "party line". I don't know how many people know what that is, so maybe I should explain. I remember there being four different houses on the same phone line. Each house had a different ring. When a call would come in, I imagine that there were people in all of those houses who stopped and listened to see if it was their ring. And, when you wanted to use the phone to make a call, you carefully picked up the receiver to hear if there was a dial tone or someone talking. To this day, I rarely answer the phone on the first ring and I always listen for a dial tone before making a call!
I remember there being a giant mud puddle that would appear in the curve when it rained, and my Big Little Brother and I would always be running through it with our bare feet or with our bikes. Not one time do I remember my parents complaining that we were a mess.
I remember that at one point there were only four kids on the entire 5 mile road. There happened to be another boy and girl who lived a couple of hills over from us. That girl and I became best friends and still are. Our parents used to put us together on Halloween every year. We would start Trick-or-Treating at the beginning of that road just as the sun set. Everyone on the road knew who we were of course. They made, not bought, the right amount of treats for us all. No skimping! House after house had popcorn balls and oranges and still warm from the oven cookies. When we knocked on any door, we were immediately invited in, and while the adults visited, the kids tried to eat as many of the goodies as we could before stuffing the remainder into our bags as we headed out the door to the next house. When we would get to the next house, there would have been a phone call from the previous house letting them know that we were on our way. There was never any reason to check the treats before eating them, because the treat makers ate right along with us.
I remember getting up on Saturday mornings and putting on your "town" clothes. We went to town once a week. I don't remember everything we did while we were there, but it had to be several things since we only went once a week. I do remember going to visit a Great Aunt and Uncle. He always had a pocket on his shirt and I would always find a silver dollar in that pocket! There were always Circus Peanut candies on the coffee table too. We would do grocery shopping while we were in town. I didn't know until after my grandparents sold the farm that you could buy meat in the store!
It is amazing to me how things have changed in just a few years. And I am certain that as I get older, I will continue to wish that things were the way they used to be.
I think that is part of the reason that I live where I live and how I live....because I loved that place. And I want my son to experience at least a little of the same things. I love the memories that I have. And I want The Boy to be able to remember with love when he could look out and not see/hear his neighbors. Or when he was able to have chickens run wild in his yard. Twenty years from now, I want him to look back and wish that he could return to a simpler time filled with things that he wants to re-create for his own children. I know I do.