The other day, mom and I had a girl to girl talk as we looked over old pictures. We talked about her childhood and what she liked the most, as well as what she hated the most.She talked a lot about why she left the farm my grandparents built and why going to school was that much more important in her books. When I was little and complained about homework, she would tell me we wouldn’t be where we are or have what we have if it wasn’t for her going to school and getting a good education. I admired that in her – I still praise her for her efforts and dedication she always showed.
She talked about the struggles she’s gone through and lost childhood play time because she was sent out on the communal pastures to watch over cows… when all she wanted to do was sit home and read a whole lot of books!
She talked about being in charge of meal preparation while my grandparents were out in the fields cutting hay or turning or baling it… when all she wanted was to go play with the neighbourhood kids.
She talked about washing all the clothes and bed sheets and blankets by hand. Waiting for them to soak and pray that colors won’t bleed… when all she wanted was to enjoy the weekend before school started.
Then she told me “I don’t want you turning out like your grandmother”. She explained herself by adding that I needed to still hold a steady job with a steady income to not depend on others and not to stretch myself thin working with animals. She said she felt I would be left to do it all on my own and will come to hate it and then what!? She said I need to maintain my lady-like appearance and not act like I don’t care about myself…
I let her finish her thought and my reply was simple… “but grandma’s life is all I want”. I wish I had all her wisdom and be able to live simply. Her creativity is what made my summers so enjoyable at her place! I want my kids to experience that too (even though I have a feeling they will try to run away just like my mom did). Modern times call for modern farmers, but the basics still stand and we need more of that! There’s no app for real living… You learn from doing it!
just like anything else, for that matter
My childhood playtime consisted of watching cows with friends AND making up games so we can pass the time… we also made fires and baked potatoes and had them as snacks with a little salt. Fingers were black from the charcoal and burning from the heat of the potato. I am a great fire starter for any occasion 😉
I embraced the art of cooking from my grandmother – turning fresh, backyard grown onions, carrots, potatoes, greens, into a delicious soup. Or fresh baby cucumbers, dill, salt and water into fabulous, most juicier pickles! I experienced the hay turning and baling and it was hard work, but food tasted so much better after! I always looked forward to that piece of side bacon, fresh onion and a big piece of bread! Best stories were shared at the shade of a tree while taking a break from the hard work. At times I was in charge of keeping a small fire going next to the horse to keep the flies away. Grandpa taught me to add hay slowly, slowly so there’s a lot of smoke. I used to talk to the horse and pet it, and brush it, and make kissing noises!
Grandma taught me the art of soap making and watching it wash the clothes was a science project. Ya, I hated the chore at times too, but more times than not she made it into a fun activity for us to do together.
We counted peeled potatoes and figured out how many eggs we need for a pie. We kneaded dough and rolled it nice and thin to make homemade pasta, and we picked raspberries together and turned into jam!
The best memories I have of my childhood are from my grandmother’s place…
Why would I ever want to follow someone else’s steps?
PS. mom’s achivements are worth mentioning, but my heart needs more than a 9-5 job and 2-3 weeks of vacation per year… The wealth will come from other sources