Most of my young life was spent in small towns, where Mother and Daddy were the telephone operators. In Iowa, daddy also worked as a hired hand helping an old codger named Ted Davis milk his cows twice a day. I loved to go along and see the milking done. It was a primitive operation: they actually milked the cows out in an open lot, by hand. I'm not sure how they got them to stand still; maybe they gave them some grain.
We moved to another small town, in Missouri this time. We were close enough to Grandma and Uncle Leo so that I got a taste of farm life quite often.
When the modern telephone system came to our town and put Mother and Daddy out of work, Daddy became a full-time hired hand outside town; included in the job was a farmhouse we could live in. Finally we were living on a real farm! Mother went to work in town at a grocery and dry goods store to help make ends meet, which left me pretty much free to roam the fields and pastures. I learned where blackberries grew, and found wild strawberries along the road in season. Daddy was always around somewhere, if I needed him. But nobody bothered me in my meanderings. That was one of the best summers of my life.
I didn't have a clue that we were "going under" financially.
So my heart broke when we had to move to Kansas City. We had to put my old dog, Cookie, down. She had a huge tumor on her belly that dragged the ground, and there was no place for her in an apartment anyway. I was allowed to take one of my barn cats when we moved, to console me.
I'd almost forgotten the desolation in my twelve-year-old heart for our first few months in the city until, going through old photos today, I found this poem Mother had saved. I wrote it in 1956. By the way, my penmanship hasn't improved much since then.
While I did not go back to that particularfarm, I realize today how much of my life has been spent making that dream come true. I've had almost any farm animal you can think of, at one time or another, thanks to the cooperation of my husband.
And when I roam our woods and fields, whether alone or with dogs or grandchildren, I am twelve years old again.
Dreams do come true.