3/28/2005

Transitions

My little bro was old enough to run well, probably almost two. He was six years younger than me, so that makes it the summer I was almost eight.

We were going to have to move. The landlord wanted to sell the little, yellow house. Some where in here my parents started having problems I was aware of, fighting, dad staying gone a lot and such.

I know I probably don't have the sequences right, memory fails me often. We spent that summer in my Great Grand's cabin "up north", I believe, and moved to the big white house in the fall of that year. Around '63. And that's how I do math.

The cabin was not really a cabin, it was just a small, single story house with that brown gingerbread tar paper siding on it. There was a kitchen with a single light bulb hanging by the wires over the table, a sink with no faucets and a couple small cupboards. There was a window by the table and a small window over the sink. A tiny refridgerator sat in one corner. I think we had a wood cook stove. I know we had a wood heating stove.

A little door lead into the next room, the living area. To the left of the door sat a big, wooden pump organ! We did love that contraption! Knobs to pull and pedals to pump made it a fascinating past time. It took two of us to work it, one to push the keys and one to pump with their hands. We'd play at it till we were too exausted to take turns anymore. (Then we wonder when Mom seems a little "off"!)

There was a couch and one chair, a trap door with a rope hanging from it that pulled the drop down ladder out. It lead to the attic, where we four girls slept. Off the living room was a little bed room where Mom and Aboy slept. On the wall by the kitchen door was a funny knob that looked like a baseball hat with two bills. It turned on the one ceiling light. By the bedroom door was another that you could turn it off with. Very tricky!

The cabin had a large lilac colony out front that shaded the two front windows. There were wind breaks of trees along one side and across the back yard. It always seemed dark inside the cabin to me. Thinking about it now I guess that coming inside from the bright sun would have made it seem darker than it was. I know we kept candles around. What little power we had went out with every wind or rain that passed by.

The pump was around the corner by the back wall of the kitchen. We had several buckets for hauling water to the house. It took at least 4 buckets to do dishes and keep the jug filled in the fridge for drinking. The water all had to be heated on the stoves for cleaning and baths.

I HATED bath days! We took baths by two's in a round tub to use less water. Makes my arms ache just to think about it. It wasn't that the buckets were heavy, it was that you had to pump forever to fill them. I could run the pump and keep my feet on the ground, mostly, but the little girls would do it by two's be cause the handle went up so high they had to jump to catch it. It was a team effort to keep the water running...lol, mom's effort to keep her team busy and out of mischief! Laundry was done in a nearby small town, bless their little laundry mat!

The out house was further back by the trees. Yes, out house.

For the really young out there it was a small shed far out back of the house with a hole dug under it. Their was a bench seat built against the wall with a hole cut into it for doing your business. There was usually a bucket of lime and a shovel near by. You layered the lime over the business every other day or so to keep the smell down. When it was full you dug a new hole and moved the shed.

Ours was a solo seater, pretty small even for small people. There was no light in it. Pretty scary even for big people. All kinds of critters lived in the back yard. There were moles, skunks, possoms, owls, snakes, mice, cats, stray dogs, coons and assorted invisible terrors that only made noises and were never seen. There were bats in the evening and barn swallows in the daytime. Every trip was an adventure.

At night we use "chamber pots" for the nessesary needs. That was a mess for me, too. Being the oldest and largest, it was one of my jobs to take it down the ladder every day and up each night. Totally ick! You did get used to it and it wasn't so nasty feeling, just another job.

What's really funny is that it seems like it was such a wonderful time while we were there, even looking at it from the present, when I understand more about what was going on.

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