Jackie tells of the many adventures and emotions of a little girl growing up in a large family in the fifties.
Big Changes in a Little Life
Katie was five now and her daddy had worked in dangerous coal mines many years as a boy and now after getting home from war, that was all there was to be had. It was a really bad time then and there were no jobs to choose from to support a growing family, which was now with five children. Her mom really worried about him because he had already lost an eye in an accident.
Her mom had written their Congresswoman and just told her about all the sadness and desperation they were starting to feel and that Congresswoman found Katie's dad a really good job! Both her parents were really happy their prayers had been answered.
It was hours from their present home though, so they would have to sell their house and move north. A house would have to be found and all they would take would be clothing and bare necessities. They could barely all fit in the car with all they had packed in the trunk and all around them.
It made all the children sad not really understanding the necessity of the move. Katie would not be able to run out to her grandparent’s house as she did now. Her young aunt who had still been at home had gone off to a city up north to work but that still left two young uncles who were fun for Katie to be around.
It was very sad to this little girl who had so much freedom for one so young. Things would change now and she wasn’t really sure how but just picking up conversations here and there from parents who were trying to hide any fears from their children. Katie knew life would never again be as she now knew it.
The Way of Life
Here where they now lived was sort of a small farm although the house was not very large; there was plenty of land to roam. Katie was not allowed to go near any animals. She loved the baby pigs but was told never to go near them alone since grown up pigs might hurt her very badly if she messed with their babies. It made sense and she always minded what she was told and fought any temptations to go peek at the babies.
Her grandpa had given her dad the land and he had built the house before Katie was even born. It was a hard time for everyone so raising some of their own food made things easier and they would never starve at least; with a few livestock, chickens, pigs and a large garden. Food was canned and put back for winter and chickens Katie saw roaming around were never connected to the delicious meals they made at the kitchen table.
Katie looked out a window one day and saw her daddy pointing a gun at the small baby calf tied to a tree and she started to scream. Her mom ran and pulled her away and said he wasn’t really going to shoot it but Katie heard the blast and she ran and hid while the tears poured. She knew he had shot it but of course she did not know why. It just seemed a very cruel thing to do, why would he shoot that beautiful baby calf?
Her dad did not like her to act like a baby and things were just as they had to be. He had no tolerance for children who did not act grown up. He took care of his children and he wanted them to have all they needed but he did not show affection. The only times he paid any attention to them was when they ate to make sure they ate well. Sometimes he fixed special good foods or in a special good way and he would smile when he saw that his children liked it.
So even if Katie didn’t like something she always said she did; but she really did in fact like most foods and almost always her daddy’s specialties; except for a fish with round hard bones. She could never make herself like that, but no one ever knew.
No children ever cried for things they could not have, in fact, they probably did not even have a desire for anything. Parents gave children all they needed and so there were no wants.
Katie Was No Tatler
Katie had two older siblings, a brother the oldest and then a sister, several years older than her, who were born before her daddy went to the war. She had two brothers now; born after her at this house. Katie was born at home in this very house and was the only one born at home.
Her older brother stayed at her other grandparent’s house very often, helping them out. He had become very close to them while her dad was gone and they were much older than the grandparents who lived nearby. This brother had become a big help to them and now they wanted to keep him as their own, which of course they could not. It made the grandparents, her brother and her daddy angry many times and Katie understood some and some she never would.
These were her daddy's parents and he had been born to them when they were old and that was the reason her dad was spoiled sometimes she heard her other grandparents say. She did not see how he was spoiled but she would never repeat things she was not supposed to hear in the first place. Sometimes her mom would ask her questions about things that were said but somehow she knew not to be a tattle tail. She loved her Mom's parents as much as her own so her loyalty was equal. She also would not tell her grandmother things she would like to know.
Siblings Who Fight
Katie really hadn’t much memory of her sister and brothers here, maybe because she did spend so much time at her grandparent’s house and the older brother and sister, when not at school, seemed to always be somewhere else with relatives nearby.
Her older sister would sometimes be mean and hurt her when she was home. She was a lot bigger and did not like having a younger sister, ever. She would push Katie down or scratch her and she always made sure their mom did not see and if Katie told she promised a worse punishment for tattling.
Now that she would not be able to escape to go to her grandparent’s house so often she wondered what it would be like at this new home with nowhere to escape and be stuck with her sister all the time.
She would have to stay where her mom could always see her. Her mom was going to have another baby soon and Katie so wished it would be a girl. She would love to have a little sister and would never ever treat her mean!
Christmas on It's Way
Time was getting closer to move and sometimes Katie's heart would race not knowing what to think about it. Her mom and dad said she would like it at this new place and would start school there in another year and be with lots of boys and girls. She tried to think about that but she didn't know what to think. She had never seen a school and the only teacher she had seen was her uncle's wife who was very hateful and always found something wrong with Katie. She would never want a teacher like her!
They would be spending Christmas at their new home and there would be lots of snow, daddy said. It was warm where they lived now; even most of the winter and at Christmastime, too.
It was too cold now to swim but Katie went down to the river to wait for the train. The conductor had taken notice of her at the river by now with her there so often and if he saw her he gave a big wave and then pulled his whistle and Katie took it to mean it was especially for her. She always stood high on her toes and waved him out of sight.
Today she did the same and she was sorry she could not tell him this was really goodbye.
© 2017 Jackie Lynnley