Jackie tells of the many adventures and emotions of a little girl growing up in a large family in the fifties.
Will new experiences wipe away the sadness Katie feels having to leave the only home she has known? She goes to sleep each night with memories she has made of all the things she loved and she can still see the train conductor in her dreams and hear that sound of the train whistle so very far away.
Katie and her sister and two little brothers had all fallen asleep on the ride to the new place they were moving to, up north. Her mom had thrown a blanket over them because the farther they drove the colder it got.
Now her Mom yelled into the back and told them to wake up. They were almost there! The little brothers rubbed their eyes and whined but Katie jumped up to see out as they were turning onto a gravel road.
There were houses on both sides but none really too close to each other. After about four houses on the right her dad pulled into the fifth one and the white house had a large high front porch. The yard, Katie noticed, was large but you could see neighbors on three sides and everything was dead with winter but there was no snow.
Jackie’s oldest brother opened the door and told Katie to hop out while he took one brother and her sister took the other. Her dad was helping her mom up the cement steps and dad was telling her he would fix something to eat and she could lay down awhile. They were laughing and sounded happy.
Learning the Alphabet
There was more room in this house and there were beautiful wooden floors, throughout. There were three bedrooms and a large basement beneath, but not fixed up to live in. It was as big as the house with cement floor and wood tables across the backside. The mower and all her dad's tools would be kept there.
Katie wrapped the blanket around her and walked out the back door. The back porch was closed in with windows, but cold. Steam came out of her mouth to breath. The back yard was very big and there was an unused dirt road back there with dead trees and many green pines. Well, this was Pine Street and she guessed that was why.
She breathed on the windows and drew pictures until someone yelled to come eat. The house was warmed up good now and everyone was talking and happy so Katie smiled if anyone looked at her but she was really missing her grandparents and wondered if they were thinking of her. Would they forget her if she wasn’t there every day?
She had to learn to write fast so she could write letters. Her mom said she could write letters but she must have forgotten Katie couldn’t write anything but her name. It would be next year before she went to school.
When her dad and brother stopped talking she asked her older brother if he would teach her to write and he said sure he would but she had to learn the alphabet first and he would write that for her when he finished the meal.
Well that was something fun, learning to write everything. She loved coloring and writing her name and if she got on a high bed her little brothers couldn’t see what she was doing with the crayons and coloring book. They were not allowed to have crayons because they would mess up the walls and they might get choked too, her mom said. She didn’t believe she had ever been dumb enough to eat crayons, and she even licked one and it sure didn’t taste good!
It's a Boy
Before Katie knew it she was waking up the next morning and mommy had gone to the hospital to get the new baby, her brother said. He was fixing cinnamon toast and cocoa for everyone. Her sister was outside talking to a girl her age. They both were skinny and blonde.
As Katie and her brothers sat down to eat, her sister opened the door and yelled she was going to this girl’s house. She lived where there were thick woods and sandy roads and it would be a few years fun for Katie when her mom sent her with her sister.
First though, her mom brought home a beautiful baby that just had to be a girl. The eyes were big and dark and the lashes so long and curled up. It looked just like a baby doll, but her mommy said no, this was a boy! Well Katie had never taken care of either of her baby brothers with them being almost as big as her but this baby was different.
She fell in love with this living baby doll. She was too young and small to lift or bath him, especially with him being so heavy but she could roll him over when need be to burp and feed him his bottle and keep his face clean. This was Katie’s fun until she started school and her sadness over leaving the only home she had known was forgotten. Almost.
After several weeks the baby became more alert and mobile, her mom let her climb right into the big wooden baby bed and sleep with the baby, even all night. This was really good too because Katie did not have to sleep with her sister who did not like to share anything, including a bed. But things were a little better here than before the move. Katie did not know why but still she kept out of her sister's way and the baby gave Katie a whole new world of fun.
He was such a good baby too and almost never cried but always smiled when she came back from leaving him. Katie could feel his love for her and she adored him. His baby bed was in the living room and now her mom had Katie and her big baby brothers polishing the floors every weekend. She was playing with them while baby brother watched and laughed and she was writing all her big and little alphabet without looking at her brother’s paper!
Christmas as a Child
Katie’s daddy worked all night until early morning. Evenings were really fun and her mom fixed popcorn and snack treats many evenings. She didn't mind if they made noise as long as it wasn't fighting or really loud. Her older brother and sister were now gone again all the time it seemed; as they had been in the last place. It mostly seemed to be just Katie, her mom and three little brothers.
They had a television in the living room but only watched it of the night right before bed and then mostly on the weekends. Many times her mom would tell her about the friends she had growing up and all the fun she had and fun things she did. It was better than television listening to her many stories. Katie could picture them all.
There were three girls Katie had seen on this street that were her age and she would go to school with. One lived with her grandparents and Katie would become very close to them, too. Another lived just across the road and the last at the very end of the road where Katie loved to walk. This friend had an older brother who was friends with her older brother. He had the bluest eyes and Katie thought he was so pretty.
It was a fun time for Katie away from her brothers even if she missed them when she was gone too long. She could write now but she never thought about writing a letter. It was almost time for Christmas and they had helped her mom decorate the tree and the pine smelled so good. Mom popped corn to be strung on the tree and taught Katie how to string it with very long double threads.
Since Katie slept with the baby she would fall asleep every night watching the big lights twinkle and show off all the decorations before her mom turned them off. Katie and her two brothers got to go outside when they saw their first snow and try to catch it with their tongues. It kept falling until it started to stick to their heads and her mom said to come in. She had made them hot chocolate and Katie sat with her mom and looked at the snow falling outside the window.
She realized she now loved her mom like she had her grandparents, maybe even more. She hadn’t thought of the train whistle blowing since the new baby had got there. Now though she and her mom would share many good times together, for many years. Christmas was such a fun time but that wasn’t it. Katie was just really happy.
© 2017 Jackie Lynnley