Tuesday, September 09, 2014

My Peripatetic childhood, continued

We moved a lot, but we spent enough years in the Guss switchboard and in Eagleville so that I have fond childhood memories of both places, and I think of both places as my childhood home.  When I consider all the moving we did, Eagleville was the first place we stayed in one place for three years straight!  We spent as many years at the Guss switchboard, but not all at once; we would move away and then move back.  I imagine it was hard to get people to take on the switchboard job, since you couldn't go anywhere without hiring somebody to stay with the switchboard.  In the first place, the pay wasn't that great, and if there was an emergency call in the middle of the night, my parents had to get out of bed and put the call through.  Of course it was a small community, and people were thoughtful about waking "Central" at midnight.  So unless it was a real emergency or someone got drunk, most nights were uninterrupted.

Then modern telephone technology came along and my parents no longer had jobs.  And now we come to one of my favorite places to live, one that my mother totally left out of her records.  When this came to mind I realized we only spent two years straight at the town switchboard, not three, because we moved to Glen Wyant's farm, just a couple miles outside of Eagleville.  Daddy became a hired hand for Glen, and Mother took a job at Vanzant's grocery and dry goods store.  Also for a brief time she, as well as my aunt, worked at Laura Reed's Cafe.  

I have always wished to live in the country, and I thought I was in heaven during the year or so we spent on the farm.  With my mom at work all day and Daddy doing field work and farm chores, I was on my own:  I wandered through the cornfields and pastures, discovering blackberries and stepping barefoot on snakes more than once.  There were kittens in the barn and wild strawberries growing in the ditches at the roadside.  As at all our residences, Mother kept chickens, and I had fun playing with them.  The winter we spent on the farm, we had a wood stove, and I pretended I was living like little Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I've always had a vivid imagination, and I was living my dream.  I was still attending the same school, only instead of walking there I had a short bus ride.  We must have lived there for a year or thereabouts because I remember the winter there and a full summer of leisure, doing whatever I pleased... except that I had to wash the dishes every day before Mother got home from work.  

Glen Wyant's son was going to build a home in the location of the old house we lived in, so movers were called in and the old two-story house was taken across the road and set in my dream spot:  THE WOODS!  Wow, just when I thought things couldn't get any better.  Not to mention the pure excitement of waking up in the morning and looking out the same window you've looked out of for months but seeing a whole different landscape.  Or the adventure of seeing your house being pulled across the road by a bulldozer!

I'm sure my parents weren't having as much fun as I when we lived at the farm, but I was in my own little world, and I had no idea I was going to be torn out of it before long.  Kids don't think about the future.

It wasn't long after the house was moved that we became city dwellers, and home was a three-room apartment.  Daddy shot my old dog before we moved because she had a large tumor on her belly and was old.  I was allowed to take one kitten with me to the city, but she disappeared within a couple of months.  

But I will save the move to the city for the next entry and leave you with a poem I wrote tearfully, as a twelve-year-old.

The friend mentioned in the first verse was Glen's grandson, Billy, who spent a lot of time at the place while their new house was being built.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I'd never hear that word before, but you have some great memories of your childhood.

krueth said...

Love your poem...and yes, you are the Queen of your little farm with your cows, chickens and cats. Wendy

Ramona I. Lynam said...

Donna - I remember staying at Grandpa & Grandma's during the summer. They were on the Guss telephone system. I learned that you DID NOT call anyone after 9:00 p.m. unless it was an emergency. It was impolite to bother the switchboard people. To this day if the phone rings after 9 p.m. my heart jumps; I'm so sure there's bad news.
If there was a storm that knocked out the telephone lines, Grandpa was the one in their area who went out to find where it was down and fix it.
You were obviously a poet at a young age. Love your memories. Thanks for sharing.


And an animal kingdom you have had. Isn't that wonderful to realize a dream you had as a child.