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Memories of Home

Day 5

What is home without memories? Both the memories of years gone by and memories yet to be made are part of how we remember the home we grew up in. They also help us identify the home we try to create.

I have great memories of growing up. While we lived in a few different states, I identify with my time in a little valley in Virginia as the place where I grew up. Life there was magical and I didn’t even realize it at the time.

Life Was Simpler – Or Was It?

forsythiaTimes were so different. We didn’t worry so much then – at least the kids didn’t worry. I can only imagine how hard it was to support a family. There was a sense of community I have never found since. Everyone planted a garden and when one family’s tomatoes didn’t do well because of blight, they could always barter with their abundance of potatoes or cucumbers or green beans.

My paternal grandmother always planted a beautiful garden. On the outer edges she always grew mums. I learned at an early age the importance of rotating the plantings because each plant required different nutrients from the soil.

There is nothing like pulling a fresh cucumber from the vine or pulling an onion out of the ground and enjoying it fresh. As a matter of fact, we ate so many ‘small’ cucumbers it drove my grandmother crazy! I can still hear ,”Don’t pull all the cucumbers or we will never have any pickles!”

Cardinal - 1I have vivid memories of her sweeping the snow from under the cascading forsythia bush and spreading breadcrumbs or oatmeal to feed the cardinals in the winter. Every winter when I see fresh fallen snow yet to be broken with animal or human footprints, I think of my grandmother.

“You should always remember to feed the birds”, she said. And we still do and always will. That’s home.

My Life as a Kid

We roamed the hills all day long as kids. We came in to eat and sleep and that was about it. We ran barefoot. Mom always teased people we met saying the only way we could stand to wear shoes was if she put rocks in them.

We were educated about our environment. We could identify snakes and knew which to be wary of. We swam in the creeks unsupervised. We jumped rocks to cross the creek. We even had a community teacup that hung on a branch by the spring so people walking on the railroad tracks or fishing along the creek bank could stop and get a drink of water. We never worried about what kind of germs lingered there.

We climbed the mountains and swung on grape vines although it was not as glorious as the Tarzan movies we watched when we saved enough pop bottle lids to see a movie. Going to the movie was a RARE event. We did have a black and white television set. We were able to watch one channel if the weather cooperated. If the wind blew too hard, Dad would climb to the top of the hill to rotate the antenna – telling us to yell up to him when the reception was good.

I love the life I had as a child. I think in many ways it prepared me for the time I would ultimately leave home and would need to stand on my own two feet. It is and always has been the foundation on which I built my life.

Anytime I worry about my place in this world, I think about my roots. My memories evoke the sense of home and family. My memories ground me and remind me what every home should be – a safe place to explore and be free.

I am a country girl, but I identify so much with this old song sung by Little Jimmy Dickens and written by the late, great Johnny Cash.

Country Boy

Now, I’m just a simple guy
But there’s one thing sure as shootin’
I hate those folks who think that they’re
So doggone high falutin

I’d be the same in Hollywood
Or right in my own kitchen
I believe in fussin’ when you’re mad
And scratchin’ when you’re itchin’

I’m a plain old country boy
A cornbread lovin’ country boy
I raise Cain on Saturday
But I go to church on Sunday

I’m a plain old country boy
A cornbread lovin’ country boy
I’ll be lookin’ over that old gray mule
When the sun comes up on Monday

Where I come from, opportunities
They never were too good
We never had much money
But we done the best we could

Ma doctored me from youngin’ hood
With epson salts and iodine
Made my diapers out of old feed sacks
My ‘spenders out of plow lines

I’m a plain old country boy
A cornbread lovin’ country boy
I raise Cain on Saturday
And I go to church on Sunday

I’m a plain old country boy
A tater eating eatin’ country boy
I’ll be lookin’ over that old gray mule
When the sun comes up on Monday

Every time the preacher called
Ma always fixed a chicken
If I’d reach for a drumstick
I was sure to get a lickin’

She always saved two parts for me
But I had to shut my mouth
T’was the gizzard and the north end
Of a chicken flyin’ South

I’m a plain old country boy
A cornbread lovin’ country boy
I raise Cain on Saturday
But I go to church on Sunday

I’m a plain old country boy
A tater eatin’ country boy
I’ll be lookin’ over that old gray mule
When the sun comes up on Monday

“When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.” 
― Patrick Rothfuss


7 thoughts on “Memories of Home”

  1. Well, I grew up in the city (in northwest Austin, TX), so didn’t have any experiences similar to yours, but I appreciate them.

    My grandma was close to the land and gardening. My mom, her youngest daughter, didn’t share her interest in the necessities of gardening, but took her daughters hiking and camping, along with my dad — on many summer camping excursions.

    It totally influenced the direction of my life. I’m so grateful for that.

    Thanks for sharing your memories.


    1. I love writing about my childhood. It brings me great peace.

      We went on a lot of hikes, too, and I understand the influence on our later lives.

      Thank you for taking the time to read.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was just remembering, too, the sense of freedom that I had as a child, but that many children don’t have the opportunity to experience today. It was always great to have a group of kids out “exploring” at the botanical garden where I used to work out — they thrived on those excursions.

        As an adolescent and young teen, I was free to roam the cedar scrub juniper woodlands that surrounded our house and beyond (in those days, it was prior to the waves of housing that now cloaks those hillsides for miles and miles), poking around in creeks, and riding my bike everywhere. Wonderful memories.


        1. Memories of home and childhood should be a comfort and I am happy you have such fond memories. We took our grandchildren up to the Arboretum where we checked out explorer backpacks. One chose birds and the other bugs and insects. They had a great day. Exploring is such an important part of growing up.


  2. Maggie,
    Such wonderful memories you have had.
    I raised my kids in the burbs just as I had been raised. Once I tried my hand at growing fruits and vegetables and the soil was wonderfully giving. Sadly what I didn’t know is that we had citrus rats that were the size of a large cat.I saw them early one morning. They ate all the tomatoes and oranges before I could get to them. I called animal control and they said yep, nothing they could do about them.
    It wasn’t funny then but in hind-site I am sure I looked like a crazed woman. I got out a chain saw, cut down the orange trees and turned under the entire garden.
    Thanks for sharing.


    1. Ugh – we had citrus rats when we lived in Florida. We had grapefruit trees, orange trees, tangerine trees and an avocado tree. I don’t think we ever got to eat an avocado because by the time they fell they had been ‘tasted’ by the rats. I didn’t cut all the trees down, but I can understand not wanting to share your space with them. Where we lived was once a citrus grove and they were a very common sight.

      Liked by 1 person

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