Sunday, October 11, 2015
Fall proved to be just as much fun especially with cornfields spreading out as far as we could see. It was the cornfield next to our grandparents' farmhouse that got most of our attention. Being little, it seemed massive. Once we entered it, we disappeared which is probably what we wanted to do so no adults could see us as we each found our spot and made homes in the corn. We'd move cornstalks aside-bring them down and then stomp on them until we felt we had enough space. Then we'd create a kitchen-a living room-a bedroom with a cornstalk bed. We'd play in the middle of the cornstalks for what seemed like hours. We'd visit each other. Create imaginary friends. We'd even spy on adults not too far away. Besides making our homes, we had fun just running through the field. We were making corn mazes long before it was a popular thing to do. Running as fast as we could, most times we'd keep our eyes shut and our heads down because the leaves on those stalks were sturdy. They'd whip us in the face-scratch us most anywhere we weren't covered up but that never stopped us. That was the price we had to pay for playing in those tall stalks with funny tassels at their tops waving in the breeze.
Our grandfather never said a thing about the crushed cornstalks in the middle of that field when it was time for harvesting them. But then, he never said a thing about our hosting circuses in the barn or sitting on his tractor and pretending to take it out back-down the hill-and across the plank bridge to the backfields. Maybe we amused him with our playing. Maybe he understood what Mr. Rogers was saying about Play. We certainly did. We were quite serious about our work no matter the season..
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Growing up we were aware that no garment was too old to be considered a candidate in one of her braided rugs. Before anything was thrown out, it would go to my grandmother. She would make the decision if it would get that second chance. More often than not, it survived her test. After that initial 'interview' a garment would be stripped of buttons, zippers, bias tape, rick rack-anything that could be recycled and used again. From this process came a great collection of zippers and tape and a button bag brimming with buttons of all colors and sizes. That bag came in handy when we'd play, "Button! Button! Who Has the Button!" Once the garment was clear of bobbles, my grandmother would cut and rip it into strips. Then the strips were rolled into a ball until there were enough balls of strips of fabric from other garments to braid together and create a rug. It was common to see her sitting in her chair with strips of fabric spread out on the floor and as she wove them all together the strips became shorter and shorter. Her rugs were like the storyline in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There were small rugs-medium-size rugs-and great big rugs. When one was finished, it would sit on the floor for awhile so it could be stepped on to eventually get the stitching evened out.
Those rugs provided my cousin and I with a game of seek and find. Lying on the floor, we'd inspect new rugs created-looking to see if we could recognize any old pieces of clothing woven in to place. It was fun finding what we'd considered something old and tattered given new life and a place center stage for all to see for years to come. Discovery led to stories about that garment-who it belonged to-certain times when it had been worn. When my aunt who lived with my grandmother passed away years after we'd lost my grandmother, those rugs were given to family members. Those stories continue to be told. Included in the stories are memories of the woman who'd created the braided rugs while sitting in her rocking chair-using her hands as instruments-weaving stories that will never be forgotten.
Friday, October 2, 2015
The use of notebooks continued as I grew up. And so did the use of typewriters. I loved the process-the art of typing. Loved the sound of keys hitting the paper and the bell dinging at the end of a line telling me to pull the shift arm to go back and begin another line. White out was a blessing. If I didn't have any I'd go looking for an eraser. If I couldn't find an eraser I would pull that particular sheet of paper out-put a new one in and start all over. That never bothered me. That was the way it worked back then.
When computers started edging their way from offices in to homes, my daughters told me over and over I should buy one. That way I could store all my material and when comfortable I could use one to not only write my stuff but send it, tweet it, zoom it around the world if I wanted to. At first, I had no interest. I still had my typewriter in its case although typewriter ribbons were getting harder to find. I still loved using legal pads to write out whatever I was working on-and then rewrite it using my typewriter. I had a system. I'd never have use for a computer. Not me!
Now I can't imagine writing without using a computer. I started reluctantly with a laptop after my daughters kept at me. I wouldn't admit it, but I fell in love with that thing the minute I turned it on. After a few instructions I was on my own. I was told I couldn't break it. I was advised to save stuff as I went along. They were right. I haven't broken anything yet. I am now tweeting and writing and saving and shifting sentences and deleting and downloading and amazed by the time I save and curious as to what I ever did without my computer.
I wonder if some day I'll find a discarded antique called a computer decaying next to a barn with no one to care about it but the meadow moles and chipmunks and rabbits as rain turns to snow and the wind swirls about its silent keyboard.