Virtual Photos III

We’re on a boat in a pond. My father and me. He says I have to learn to swim and pushes me over the side into the water.  (He was like that. My aunt, his sister, remembers how he made her jump off a high diving board, or maybe pushed her,  even though she was afraid).

I’m getting in the laundry and the sheets hung on a line behind the house are stiff as boards. It’s January.

Biking down the road to deliver eggs from our chickens. Each chicken had a numbered ring  and when it went into the box to lay an egg the shutter came down. When I released the hen, I would note the number and if say number 37 hadn’t laid an egg for too long, she went into the soup pot.

I’m looking from a window in that little cabin where I’m quarantined because my sister has scarlet fever. (did we have polio vaccinations yet? Certainly not for measles. Polio vaccinations came in the 1950s. A girl in my class had had polio and wore a brace on her leg)

My sister has just slid down a plank on a little cabin temporarily parked in front of the big farmhouse. Onto a nail! She doesn’t want to tell our parents but does and then gets an anti-tetanus shot.

My mother is wrapping me in wet sheets to get my fever down. (I do look rather like a mummy)

My cousin Tommy peeking out of the apple picking bag. I am about to open it so he can escape through the bottom hatch. (He was too little to be recruited as “slave labor”)

My sister and I are cracking hickory nuts that have fallen from the tall tree in front of the house, not that it’s easy to get to the meat unless you have a little silver pick. (During the hurricane my father put in an iron cable to make sure the tree wouldn’t fall on the house)

I’m dressed in my mother’s yellow evening gown for a dance at BJC. I was a student for free since my father taught there. I also have an orchid corsage, gift of my father since it is my birthday, but I was pretty much of a wallflower. (I didn’t have much in common with the students who all came from wealthy families and I never had a boy friend)

Here I am making apple pie. The stove is still a coal stove and in the winter at night when you remove the rings to feed it coal, it glows red. The shortening was Crisco or lard, the apples were our own Macs. (For butter we had margarine and I remember mixing in color capsules to make it look like yellow butter)

My mother is feeding the sheet into the ringer that I’m turning. Who ever heard of an electric washing machine. She and I were the washing machines then. (The laundry would then be hung out behind the house)

It’s spring. Don’t know where this picture of a rare pink lady slipper comes from. You could find them if you looked hard in the hemlock grove. (Maybe I had been given a Kodak Brownie.)

There I am walking on the roof of our 3-story house, feeling relatively safe because the wisteria vines run across the edge, making me unaware of the drop on the other side. (Guess my father figured I was old enough to help with the new roofing. Don’t think I would do that with my sons now – but my sister and I did survive an education of this sort)

I’m giving my mother her birthday present. I had found a recording of one of her favorites, Debussy’s Claire de Lune. (There was a big bouquet of her beloved asters – and I might have baked a cake)

The End

One thought on “Virtual Photos III

  1. I can almost see the images. I remember hearing about yellow food coloring to be mixed with oleomargarine. I have seen lady’s slippers here at the Arboretum. Thanks Erika!


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