Jackie tells of the many adventures and emotions of a little girl growing up in a large family in the fifties.
The terrible sickness of her two baby brothers was still deep in Katie's heart. She also has heartbreak from having to leave the beautiful farm she was sure to be a Heaven on earth.
A Storm on the Rise
Mother Knows Best
Katie and her family had been through so much with both baby's lives in danger. They were so lucky to have survived and become healthy but nothing else was back to normal. There seemed to be no smiles and laughter anymore. Her mother was not the jolly fun person she used to be.
She had seen her mother go through such turmoil and suffering while the babies were in the hospital and then recovery. Katie was sure no one really knew as well as she did how terribly sad she had been. It seemed she went from baby to baby to always make sure they had no fever or a sore throat even weeks after they were well.
Then that suffering turned to anger and determination to get her children out of danger's way. She was sure it was the well water that was pumped inside the house. She did not even trust washing hands or bathing without boiling water. That was becoming a major job and she wanted to move.
Katie could see not even her dad would dare argue with her and he was the boss of everything. He would just look concerned about finding a place and shake his head. But he told her he would find somewhere with good water and room for them all. Even if he did not put it into words or many of his everyday actions, Katie knew he loved his children.
A house became empty on the same road as the farm and Katie's dad grabbed it to rent for them. It was at the very end of the dirt road with the highway visible where they would catch the bus. At least that was one good thing. In the fall Katie would go back to her old school and another brother would start school. Her mother could watch them to the bus to make sure they made it. Otherwise, their fighting would make them late every morning! They would go to the one-room school until they reached fifth grade.
Those were the only two years Katie caught a bus and went to school with a sibling. Being so much younger than the two older siblings and just the right bit older than the younger ones, put her alone. She got up in the mornings with her mom in the cold. Just as the house was warming for the little ones she was leaving for the school bus.
She was so happy to be going back to the former school and see her old friends. She had made a couple of new friends in her community that she met at the post office/grocery store. Then there were those friends made at the school here that would be going to the big school for the first time. Now she had many more friends and tried to not be so sad leaving the farm.
Katie would so miss the farm and all she could do there. Nothing could ever equal it she knew. She could still play on this dirt road and go near the farm to perhaps look at it. Being alone though she could not take any chances of being hurt like climbing trees. She would not be within shouting distance of her mother or brother if something bad should happen. Not even a neighbor would be near enough to hear.
She would look at a certain tree she loved to climb and close her eyes. She put herself at the top of that tree looking out. She could remember the view so well. It was not near as good, but fun to relive.
There would be no more babies and Katie was so disappointed, always hoping for a baby sister.
This move had not been really hard on Katie. She knew she would never be so lucky again to live at a place like this farm. Except for wintertime when it was so cold outside, Katie stayed so busy there.
She always had her chores to do. Then keeping three of the younger brothers occupied and watched over for her mom a few hours daily. It gave her mom time to do what needed her whole attention to not worry about the boys getting hurt.
The big baby was really not big enough for the two biggest to play with but he wanted to. They were still rough and fighting all the time and he would get right in the middle of their fights. They never seemed to hurt him but Katie worried and warned them continually. She and her mother worried he was not quite right since his polio and they both kept a protective eye on him.
The small baby now was walking and had curls past his ears. Finally, Katie was getting close to him, too. She loved to tease him and watch him make faces. Sometimes she would put her hats, hair bows or a scarf on him to make him look like a girl, but actually, she had done that to all of her brothers. This one did look like a girl. She so wanted a little sister, but it was never to be.
Her mom said there would be no more babies. That made Katie so sad to give up that dream. She wondered how her mom knew that for sure. Children did not ask questions about things like this though, she knew. Her mom would certainly never lie to her. It would truly be hard to take care of another little one, but for a little sister, Katie would have done anything. Her mom didn't mind if she pretended this one was a sister sometimes. With his long bouncy curls and long gowns, he could have been.
The kitchen table was by a window and Katie loved to sit there and watch the silver maple just outside the window. With the slightest breeze the leaves seem to shimmer and twirl. This would always be one of her most favorite trees.
A World of Wonders
The new house was very big and pretty. It did not have the varnished floors and walls except the staircase and one bedroom, but it was clean with huge rooms. It had a roof that made the sides of the house look like an acorn. It was not a farmhouse but more modern. It did have a staircase and two rooms upstairs. Downstairs was a kitchen, dining room, living room, and two bedrooms. There was a long porch on the front and a short one outside the kitchen.
They did not have many acres where they moved but it was a very big yard and empty fields on both sides. Now the two fighting brothers were free to go as many places as Katie did. She was still responsible to watch them but thankfully they did not tag along with her. She climbed trees with them some but she liked to go on her own and investigate new things. They would spoil the fun in a minute somehow it seemed, so she kept her secret places.
She had discovered tadpoles turning into frogs under a bridge in the road. They would develop little legs. Watching to see them make that last transformation she would sometimes become so sleepy. Laying in the hot sand and sun to watch them she would sometimes fall asleep. She never once thought about snakes liking a place like this too.
There was always fun things to do if you looked for them. Katie never had to look too far. Life was so full of wonders!
© 2017 Jackie Lynnley
Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on September 15, 2017:
Thanks Bill, great to picture you with a silver maple. They are so very beautiful aren't they?
William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on September 15, 2017:
Well, Jackie, I finally got here. This past couple of weeks have been so busy. I like your description of the silver maple. We have one in our back yard, and I can picture the scene you painted so clearly. thanks for another job well done!
Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on September 13, 2017:
Thanks Eric, moms were like that some. ha ha Just want kids out of their hair I guess. Glad I could bring you some nice memories!
Kids are so different today Dora, but I hope you are right. Thanks for sticking with me. Only one to go!
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 13, 2017:
I guess that teachers and parents would like to read these stories to the kids because they illustrate respect and positive attitudes among family members. Also, some may not experience a happy childhood except through Katie. All good!
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 13, 2017:
A great chapter. I only had to be near the house around dinner time. But my dad put in a big ship bell that you could hear for a mile. It would be sleeting and muddy and cold and mom would declare to us children that it was a wonderful day outside so go play.
This brings back so many memories I just love. I had Becky and Mimi that Katie reminds me of.
Thank you Jackie.
Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on September 12, 2017:
Thanks so much Linda!
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 12, 2017:
I suspected that Katie's story was either true or at least partially based on reality. She has a lovely attitude towards life and her family. I'm glad that I met her.
Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on September 12, 2017:
Glad to hear that Rasma, imagination is so important I am sure!
Not sure about that Bill but I do appreciate the ones who do love to read about her.
Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on September 12, 2017:
Good for Katie having a life that has many wonders. My childhood was the same and at that time I greatly developed my imagination.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 12, 2017:
Katie deserves a book of her own, and hopefully she will be shared with many of today's children. This is the kind of book that should be required reading for all elementary kids.