The events of our childhood shape us

Is there any greater memory than of your childhood? Think about it.

Every age of our lives may prove interesting, and if honestly and happily faced, we can get the very best and most out of the accumulated years that are allotted to us. The important thing is to not waste any of those years. Each age can supplement the other.

Today we are going to think about our childhood and how it shaped our lives forever.

I feel sorry for those who did not have a happy, eventful, interesting childhood. They missed out on a lot of joy. What wonderful memories they are missing of grandparents, parents and siblings.

I was so fortunate to have been born in the era I was and to live on a farm and have family that I enjoyed. Things were so very different then. We worked hard and we played hard and could hardly tell which was which. Every day brought something interesting and exciting.

From the time I was about 3 or 4, it was my job to gather my little bucket of wood chips or corn cobs to start the fire in the heating stove every morning. That was a very important job! If it had not been for me, our family would have been cold and would have had to dress in a cold bedroom instead of making a bee-line to dress by that warm stove every morning in the dining room.

I also had the responsibility to feed the cats and kittens in their little dish every morning and night with fresh milk after the older siblings and Daddy did chores. Chores consisted of feeding the cows and milking them. Then they separated the milk and fed the “blue” milk to the hogs and chickens. There was always feeding to do for all the livestock and chickens and turkeys, etc.

Feeding the cattle in the pastures took Daddy most all day to do. He threw out bales and bales of hay and “cake” and in the winter cut ice. When I was a kid, this was no easy job, because it was done with a wagon and a team of horses. First one had to bring the team into the barn and harness them and hitch them to the wagon. Then and only then were they ready to really work. I know cutting that ice and calling in all the cattle and counting them and lifting all those bales was not easy, but I never heard my father complain. That was his chosen vocation after the family grew and he could provide for all of us better farming than teaching school.

But from his experience teaching, he believed that education was never wasted and wanted all his children to have a collage education. Most of us did and the two that did not were very successful in other businesses. We never stopped learning and keeping our minds busy.

Mother worked sunup to sundown keeping the house running. She sewed all our clothes. She did thousands of loads of laundry and ironed everything until we got big enough to help her. She kept a huge garden and canned all kinds of fruit and vegetables along with meat and fish. She seemed to relish her responsibilities. It was so much fun being her “sidekick” and learning from her.

Mother, along with us girls (five in all), helped cook for hired hands in the summer, and that was what I loved to do. The food didn’t have to be fancy, but there had to be a lot of it and I loved to cook in big batches. Still do. Sorry to say the ironing didn’t appeal to me much. Still doesn’t!

For fun there was always something to do. My sister, Marianne, and I played in the playhouse every day. We cooked so many mud pies and everything imaginable. We “entertained” often. I still have the ironstone dish we served cookies in. (Some may question that large coat buttons were cookies, but they lasted a lifetime. I still have them.) We made pots and pots of tea with water and hackberry leaves that smell like tea. It was tea to us. We gathered flowers for the table every day in the summer. We played in the sand pile. We climbed trees. We talked and talked. We would simply sit in the grass or on the steps and watch the ants move or grass grow. Mother said we always played so well together. And we did because we enjoyed each other. We still do, although now we expect real cookies and real tea.

As I grew older, we rode horses and went swimming or waded in the puddles of water around the house. We walked in the rain. We cut paper dolls out of catalogs. We practiced piano and sang. We were always singing. I was never ever bored. Still not.

In a note from my brother this week, he said, “It ought to be a law that grandchildren could not live more than one hundred miles from their grandparents.” It is with grandchildren that we get to experience childhood again. We teach them everything we know and share all our experiences.

When I visited my great-granddaughter in Texas, I took matching aprons for her and me so we could cook together. We trimmed the bread for the dressing on Thanksgiving and made four pies and a double batch of yeast rolls. We saved the crusts off the bread to take to the pond to feed the ducks. Before we left to walk to the pond on the golf course near her, I suggested we take off our aprons, but Landry said, “No, Grandma. Let’s leave them on so people will know we are together,” as if they wouldn’t know since we held hands and hippity-hopped down the street singing. Oh, what wonderful times we have. What a blessing. Every child and grandmother should be so fortunate. Children keep us alive and young at heart and interested in things. And they know technology!

I know this article is all about me and mine. But I truly believe the heritage of childhood should be a happy one whether working or playing. It is the child’s inherent right!

Landry and I have made batch after batch of these cookies. You will too.

No Bake, No Fuss, No Leftover Cookies

Mix:

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 stick butter

Bring to boil and boil one minute. Remove from fire.

Add:

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

3 cups uncooked rolled old-fashioned oats

Drop by tablespoons on waxed paper. Let set about 15 minutes. Makes four dozen. Note: Sometimes we add cocoa powder to make them chocolate. Guess at the amount.

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Goodrich writes a weekly column for the Enid News & Eagle​. Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.
 

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