Thursday, April 3, 2008


Happy Love Thursday! My first love today is that I was able to make it through my dental appointment with little whining and no cavities. I have an extreme phobia about the dentist, so this was a huge step.

What I have really been wanting to write about this Love Thursday is a place where I spent a lot of time growing up. I've had this post running around in my head for a while now, but haven't written it out. I'm sort of afraid that I won't get my point across, or it will sound incredibly sappy. So, with that in mind I feel like I might as well just write it and move on.

I love that when I was growing up I got to spend a lot of time at my Grandparent's farm. This post is a love letter to that time in my life.

Some of my favorite memories happened on a farmstead in a very rural area of North Dakota. It's the farmstead where my mother grew up and where my grandparents spent much of their married life. As I became a teen I fought about having to spend time there, I dreaded weekend trips and as our lives got busier we went less often. Now, looking back, I wish that I could still go there.

The farm itself wasn't fancy in any manner. The house, started in 1899 I believe, was added on to for the next half century or so. It was small and the basement scared the begeeberz out of me. But it was always spotless. Grandma was an immaculate housekeeper and as a child it never occurred to me to be worried about mice, or bugs, or anything else. (Except for the crickets, we couldn't keep them out of the place, and I'm still terrified of them!) The furnishing weren't fancy and weren't new. The kitchen still had an old yellow table that now would be quite collectible. The floor I remember most was the black and white tile blocks. There are pictures of me talking on an old rotary style phone sitting on that floor when I was a baby. The living room had an old black vinyl couch and a fun red circular style chair. The dining room had an old blond wood table and matching hutch; that furniture also matched the bedroom furniture in my grandparents room. There was an ancient stone screened in porch on one side of the house that we sometimes got to play in. Up a steep, steep set of stairs were the three bedrooms that family stayed in when we visited and where Papa made me take naps. They weren't furnished with much more than a bed, but there was room to play with toys when it rained and we couldn't be outside. In fact there was room for all of the grandkids to pair up and pick on each other between rooms. (Hello cousins who read here! Please comment on your favorite parts of the farm!) I remember playing playing upstairs and listening to the rain hit the roof. I remember waking up to thunderstorms with Grandma coming upstairs to bring me down to their bed, so I didn't have to be upstairs while it was thundering in the middle of the night.

We spent a lot of our time at the farm outside. Papa and Grandma used to plant a big garden where we could sample fresh peas and carrots whenever we wanted. Grandma used to make huge meals for all of us. She was a fantastic cook. The yard was encircled about half way with lilac bushes. When I was a girl I used to dream of getting married there in the spring while the lilacs were blooming. My cousin, J, who now lives in Vermont (Hello!!), was the closest in age to me, and we used to get to stay at the farm together, sometimes for nearly a week. We had such fun making "stews" in the playhouse with all the junk we would gather from the yard. I used to get in trouble from Grandma for making J laugh too hard. I'm not sure I know why, but I did. Grandma would hang the wash on the line and when it was dry we would help her haul it to the kitchen table to fold it. The smell of that laundry was the best. We would play anti-I-over the playhouse, and Papa and Grandma would play along. As we got older the game moved to being played over the quonsets. We had a 3 wheel bicycle to drive each other around in, and old, old baseball bats and balls to play softball with in the middle of the yard. Sometimes even our Dad's would get involved in the game, and when Papa played we knew it would be a fun night.

There was a large screenhouse that was set up in the summer months. Our parents would sit there in the evenings with the Grandparents while all of their children ran around like maniacs opening and shutting the screendoor and letting the mosquitoes in. There was no A/C in the house, so it was hot! The screenhouse was a respite from the heat, often there was a dog or two there as well. Grandma would make popcorn (on the stove, with real butter!) for us to snack, plus there were nearly always home made cookies of some kind. It's a wonder I wasn't a fat kid.

My writing can't come close to conveying the love I feel for the farm. It was a place where I was spoiled, where family was together, and where my fondest memories of childhood were made. My Grandfather (Papa) and my aunt (and Godmother) are both gone now, and the memories I have of them from the farm are still strong. When I think of either of them, I think of the farm. I can't come close to explaining the wonders it holds for me, or the incredible memories. The pictures in my mind are still as vivid as the days I spent there. I can't remember most of my children's childhood, but my memories of the farm are still bright and incredibly beautiful. Sentimental, yes, but I wish I could go back for just one day and show my children the wonder that I felt for this place.


Anonymous said...

L - I loved this post so much. So many happy memories. You asked for our favorites, so here are a few of mine: I loved sitting on the front step shelling peas into an ice cream bucket (and eating half of them). I loved riding bikes out to the mailbox to get the mail. I loved helping Grama pack up lunch and coffee for Papa and our Dads, and driving out to the field in the pickup or grain truck to deliver it. I loved drinking milk out of a honey bear (remember those?!) and eating a cheese sandwich (on Grama's homemade bun) for a bedtime snack while Papa watched the news. I loved going into town with Grama to run errands. I loved it when Papa chased me ... and always caught me and tickled me! I loved riding the lawn mowers (when we were older). And ... I loved it when you made me laugh too hard. I think you can still make me do that, but we will have to see this summer, eh? :) Thank you for this post. It is a gift to all of us who will always love the farm. Love, j.

Mama Bear said...

Mr 18 and Miss 14 drink their juice every morning from honey bears. That way I can have it in the fridge waiting for them when they get up. :) And Grandma's home made buns! YUM! And the doughnuts... delish! Thanks for the comment!

DeeAnn said...

Thanks for this post L. It brought back so much joy and happiness for me, and happy tears to my eyes. Oh how I loved the farm and spending time there... I only wish I would have been able to take my daughter there. It was the place where I could just let my imagination run wild, and feel safe and secure surrounded by loving family. My favorites are all that you have listed. I love, love loved setting up forts in the Trees, riding the bike around and around and around the circle (which was really a teardrop shape), Taking Papa dinners in the field which often included corn on the cob, and we'd get to drive out to the field in the back of the pickup and eat our lunch hanging our feet off the end... Anti-I-over and softball were a blast. How about staying in the motor home they bought many years later, and freaking ourselves out at night? Cousins J, and J and I stayed many summers and had a great time playing Barbies, or on the rare occasion playing with kittens from a Mamma cat that showed up at the farm. We also spent a few visits collecting baby frogs in the sharmrocks that grew on the side of the house. Or the time that some of us went swimming in the sleugh and came back covered in mud! Grama had a hay day hosing us down! What a magical place, and wonderful gift our families gave us when they let us grow up and be free on the farm.

Mama Bear said...

And Grandma letting us throw our corn cobs into the field! We were bad kids I tell you. Also loved finding old cow bones; although I guess that's probably weird, isn't it?