The school bus lumbered to a stop at our mailbox. I lightly bounced down the steps and ran toward the house across the small bridge that spanned the ditch. Through the years Daddy had taken my six siblings and me to school every morning and come to pick us up every afternoon. This year, only Betty and I were still going to school so we started taking the bus. I was in sixth grade.
Autumn sunshine was slowly turning the world golden. I raced to change my clothes so I could play outside until supper. When I burst into the living room, I found my brother-in-law Jim plugging in a television set. Shock made me stop and stare. Our neighbors had one, but Mom and Daddy had repeatedly said they didn’t want a television.
Jim looked over his shoulder and said “Hi squirt.” Seeing my surprised expression, he explained, “This is my television set. I’m giving it to your folks because I rejoined the army. Agnes and I are moving.” Continue reading →
Rummaging through a box in the middle of the kitchen, I said, “I’ll make lunch first, then we can get down to work unpacking the bedroom and bathroom boxes.” I shouted with triumph at finding a kettle. In a nearby box I found dinner plates. I knew there was sausage in the refrigerator, but where was my silverware and the canned goods? I wasn’t about to eat kielbasa without pork and beans!
My Mom, who had come to help me unpack boxes, entertained Niki, my 18-month-old daughter, as I searched for and prepared our first meal in the new house. My husband Arnie had done all the heavy lifting the day before, but today he was steering clear of the household chaos.
When we finished eating, I stacked the plates alongside the sink and said, “I’ll wash these later today. Right now, I want to unpack as many boxes as I can.” My toddler was standing at the dining room doorway. Impulsively, I leaned down to give her a hug and a kiss. At the same time, my daughter joyfully threw her hands up to receive my embrace.
In that one fraction of a second, my plans for the day and my future took a dramatic, unwanted twist. One of Niki’s fingers poked into my left eye. The sudden, severe pain was unlike anything I had ever experienced before in my life. Involuntary tears gushed out of my eye, while buckets of water ran out of my nose. The slightest movement of my eye or eye lid caused the already incredible pain to increase. Continue reading →
I stood and stared uncertainly at the flowerbed under my kitchen windows for a few minutes. My hands holding the shovel clenched. I was scared to start dismantling it, but just as scared that if I didn’t start working on it soon I’d chicken-out. This flowerbed hadn’t been dug up for more than eight years. Would I be physically able to pull the dense vegetation apart, let alone out of the ground?
The original four small Russian Sage plants that I’d planted there now dominated 75 percent of the bed. Jammed between them were great whorls of purple bearded irises and purple spider wort that had gone crazy by sending roots to where there wasn’t even soil. Fat clumps of double daffodils fought for space with tall stalks of quack grass and even taller yellow mystery flowers. Continue reading →
My dark age years began one evening when I was about six years old and fresh from the bathtub. I’m sure Mom didn’t expect me to slip outdoors and timidly join the game my big brothers and sisters were playing. I was afraid of the dark and had never done it before.
My siblings called the game “seven steps around the house.” They didn’t stop to explain the rules of the game to me, but I quickly gathered that a player was not to be seen by the person who was IT taking more than seven steps. The overall goal for each player to run around the farmhouse, starting at the back door and ending there. The person who was IT couldn’t stay at the back door to tag players as they ran away and returned from their run. He or she had to run around the house, too.
Bushes in the flowerbeds beside the house quivered as giggling siblings hid behind them in the darkening yard. I heard scampering footsteps pounding the dewy grass when players thought the coast was clear. What fun I had! My clean, bare feet turned muddy. My fresh nighty picked-up a grass stain. Continue reading →