"Grandma, we've been thinking about it, and we
don't think you had such a wonderful childhood. As far as we can tell,
all you did was work, work, work! Didn't you ever have any fun?"
"Oh my goodness! I guess I did give you that
idea. That's not really true at all. In the first place, a lot of that
work was really a lot of fun. But we still had plenty of time left to
play. Remember, we didn't have a television to sit around and watch. If
I remember right, that's what started all these conversations in the
first place! So, let me think. Why don't I start out by telling you
about the favorite thing I did with each of my older brothers or
My oldest sister, Ruth, was 12 years older than me.
She used to spend lots of time with me, teaching me how to play the
piano. I never learned to play like she did. She was really good. My
favorite song she played was Moonlight Sonata. It was part
of a really long melody called Rhapsody in Blue .. or were
those two titles the other way around? I really don't remember.
I had another sister, Edith, who was 10 years older
than me. We used to go on walks together down to the creek. The creek
ran along two sides of our property. The part we walked to was very
shallow. There were big rocks that we could wade out to, where we could
sit with our toes in the water and daydream. We would just sit very
quietly and think about places we would like to go, things we would like
to do, and friends we would like to make.
My oldest brother, Edward, was 8 years older than
me. He had a motorcycle. He called it the Jitterbug! He took me on so
many rides. I really thought that was fun.
My other brother, Ralph, was only 6 years older
than me. We spent a lot of time down on the creek also, but on the other
side of our land. The water was deep there, perfect for a good old
swimming hole. He taught me to swim, and tried and tried to get me to
dive off the diving board. I'd stand on the end of that board for ages
and ages, but then I'd hold my nose and go in feet first.
I played a lot with my sister, Milly, who was only
2 years older than me. I think our favorite thing to do was to have a
tea party for our dolls. We had the most beautiful china tea set. I
named my doll Judy. Would you believe it - I still have Judy! We really
didn't get too many toys, so they were all extra special.
Most of the time we played outside. Ralph, the
brother who taught me how to swim, also made us a wood toy shaped like
the tree bears. He cut out holes between their legs for us to shoot
marbles through. I still have that toy, too. We jumped rope a lot. When
there were three of us playing, two hold the rope while the third did
the jumping. We had a really long rhyme we kept time to .. wish I could
remember it. We very seldom managed to get to the end of that long rhyme
before we stumbled.
I wonder - did you kids ever play Hop Scotch? You
didn't? That was lots of fun. All you need is a piece of chalk, a small
rock, and a sidewalk. Let's go outside and I'll show you how.