My parents' telephone operator career had come to an end in 1954 with the advent of new phone systems. It's all they'd done for a living since shortly after my birth in 1944, with a couple of very brief interludes of Daddy's being a hired hand for Ted Davies, in Iowa.
So when the Eagleville switchboard closed, Daddy became the hired hand on Glenn Wyant's farm, just outside Eagleville, and we lived in an old two-story farmhouse on the place. Just like everyplace we'd ever lived, there was no running water or inside bathroom.
I had always dreamed of living on a farm, so I was in heaven there. I loved having a wood stove instead of coal oil because it made me feel like a real cowboy; how lovely to smell the wood smoke in the mornings when I'd wake up and hear Daddy stoking the fire and tossing wood in.
Glen had a black, dairy-cross cow that he let Daddy milk; we kept her calf in the barn, and I made him a pet. It was in that barn that I first saw baby kittens being born. Since I hadn't heard anything at all about the facts of life at that point, you can imagine my confusion!
Wild blackberries grew in the edges of the woods, and wild strawberries along the roadside in the ditches. I was free to wander to my heart's content while Daddy farmed for Glen and Mother worked at a dry-goods/grocery store in town. Aunt Ruby and Uncle Lloyd lived less than a mile away, and I sometimes walked to their house. It was one of the happiest intervals of my childhood.
Glen's son, Kenneth, wanted to build a new house on the farm where the old house sat. So it was decided to move our house and outhouse across the road to a clearing in the woods.
You talk about an adventure! Mother battened down the hatches, securing anything that might fall over during the move. She went to work that day, but since it was summertime, I was there to see our house being ever-so-slowly towed down the hill, over the ditch, and across the road. One cabinet fell over, breaking a couple of favorite souvenir glasses. Other than that, there were no mishaps.
I remember how strange it seemed the first few days, waking up in my usual bedroom but with a totally different view outside my window. It was a very other-worldly feeling.
I imagine we only lived there for nine months or so before we moved on to Kansas City, but I can remember detail after detail of things that happened during that time: Playing with the landlord's grandson, Billy, in the dirt pile made from excavating for the new house; wandering in the woods behind our house after it was moved; riding with Daddy on the tractor on cold winter days to feed pungent ensilage to Glenn's cattle; raising a baby robin, and so much more.
It took quite a long time for this small-town/country girl to settle into crowded city life. Although I learned to like certain aspects of our various homes in Kansas City, in some ways I never did adapt.
I'll admit this poem is pretty crummy, even for a twelve-year-old. But I remember crying as I wrote it.