Sunday, March 31, 2013

Field of Dreams

I wish this old photo was clearer. That's me center front with my arms spread wide. I don't know what I was doing or who took it-probably with a Brownie camera. While it is blurry you still can see the field that led from our chicken coop clubhouse to our grandparent's old farmhouse. The chicken coop would have been to the left of me.

Trudging through the hayfield is my fellow-cousin-girls-club-member-of-the-chicken-coop leading two of our little students back through the field-probably on their way home after class. They look like they were dressed up so it might have been a special day at the chicken coop schoolhouse. It looks like everyone had a great day. Stools seem to have been gathered outside for some reason. You can see an old record player with a collection of 45s waiting to be played. Funny thing about that-the chicken coop clubhouse didn't have electricity. But when you use your imagination-that doesn't matter. Maybe that's what I was doing-singing? Anyway, you can see the water pipe that stretched from the pumphouse to the barn and my uncle's old car parked up by the back door.

But it's the field that stirs the most fun memories. It was not just a hayfield. It was a field of dreams; a field of pure imagination as we'd run and hide and fight the bad guys and make hay houses and talk and dream and wonder about the world around us and it was all free-like the wind rippling over the field.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Tulip Stealer in the Tulip Patch

Right outside the kitchen door of my grandparent's farmhouse there used to be a tulip patch. I don't remember it growing up. I've only heard the stories-especially the ones concerning my older brother who was the first grandchild and who loved that tulip patch. Despite being told not to pick those beautiful, happy flowers he couldn't resist them and neither could anyone resist taking a tulip when he offered one. Dressed in his little short and sweater outfit with that little cap on his head and with his red hair and freckles, he won the adults over every time.

The backdrop in this photo offers another glimpse of my grandfather's barn and opposite that-the granary. Although it's just a partial glimpse of the barn it instills the comforting feeling of the family farm and how family would gather and enjoy the simple things-like a tulip patch complete with a tulip stealer. Before heading up the small incline to those buildings there was a wide area of flat rock which provided yet another source of fun for us as we grew up. Once our imaginations took over, that flat rock turned into anything we wanted it to be. After a rainfall, the puddles left behind offered even more of an opportunity for play!

The barn, the granary, and the tulip patch are all gone now. That's why old, glossy photos are treasures to be savored and appreciated.They recorded a history in their own, unique way for after taking the photos you had to wait-and wait to see which ones developed. And when you finally got them back, the anticipation of opening up that envelope and seeing your photos was like Christmas morning. Anticipation is good. You appreciate all the more what you receive.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Swinging Our Pearls for Suffrage

Way back when-according to those cars in the background-my cousin and I participated in a summer event-a grand parade which was the crowning event of a week-long celebration. The parade seemed to last all Saturday afternoon. There were high-marching bands and high school bands and drum corps with amazing majorettes from all over the place-even Canada-sending their music all through our downtown which rambled on for blocks. There were horses and tractors, cars and trucks, police and organizations-beauty queens and their courts and floats-all kinds of floats.

From what I can remember we were part of a float highlighting Women's Suffrage and the 19th Amendment-which is what that plackard my cousin is holding represents. I don't remember where those dresses came from-or those pearls. I do remember thinking why it would have been a question that women or anyone would not have the Right to Vote. Isn't that what that flag behind us symbolizes I thought-freedom, and in this instance, Freedom for Women to Vote. Not really. The Constitution left that up to the States.. Now that I am a bit older I understand what we were representing-years of women like Susan B. Anthony fighting for that Amendment so that she and other disenfrachised women had a Voice; the same Voice passed down to me and my daughters and my granddaughter and so on and so on.

Summer parades in small communities are joyous celebrations. Along with the hot dogs and cotton candy, trinkets and clowns, there is a Spirit about them-a flavor of a country with all kinds of rights. That's what we were doing; recognizing and celebrating-even if dressed in funny-looking dresses and swinging our pearls on a Saturday afternoon in a downtown that represented so many other downtowns-way back when.