Looking through my own family photos I find that many of my family photos were Christmas pictures! Everyone dressed up – and apparently I liked to put the bow on myself sometime during the evening while at my Aunt’s house too! I definitely remember those hot wheels, and riding them around and around the house. That’s house one corner of the fireplace bricks got broken off! I’ve forgotten that red cowgirl outfit, but seeing it makes me want to make myself a new one to wear again!
Christmas and Thanksgiving were the times of year everyone got together in my Aunt’s basement. There was no invitation that I ever remember seeing, we just all knew to go. Coats were piled in one of the bedrooms down the hall, and I’ll never forget my father’s reminding us as we left each year to leave with a better coat than we came with.
Kids would get passed around and the teens would hang out by the pool table at the back around the corner in the basement. The brothers and sisters mostly all sat at the one table at the end, though my aunt Linda, if memory serves was usually around the couch or moving around. Most of the cousins as we got older would hang out by the fireplace. I have no idea if there was ever a fire in it, but I remember sitting on the floor near it and talking to everyone.
The kitchen was always full of potluck from everyone, and by kitchen I mean the second kitchen down in the basement. – Though when I think of it, I can’t remember what was there other than lots and lots of food. My favorite was always my Aunt Tootie’s noodles! I would look for them every year.
I know other parties happened at my Aunt’s, just not that many pictures were taken. Parties also occurred other times of the year, but Christmas was the biggest treasure trove. I especially remember cookouts with Lemon Chicken (turns out the main ingredient was beer). where everyone stayed gathered in the back yard and barnyard.
We also gathered many times at my grandfathers years earlier, and get together at the pond where my aunt Linda now lives. There were also summers at my Uncle Franks – that included all sorts of things like snapping turtle… and of course 4th of July at my cousin Buddy’s!
Growing up my dad always had a pocket knife with him. He used it for everything from cutting up fish to slicing apples right from the trees to take a bite. I have absolutely no clue how many things that pocket knife went through, but my dad would use it for everything – including things to feed us. Cutting watermelon up, apples, anything that seemed to need sliced, peeled or scraped.
I also remember the times I got splinters and my dad would offer to get them out for me. I had seen my father dig them out himself with his knife, but my aunt had taught me the trick of using a straight pin and pushing a splinter out from the opposite direction. So much easier than letting my dad near my hand with a big pocket knife that had probably been through more animals, wood, and anything else that needs sliced.
Surviving childhood always amazes me when I think of the things we did as kids. Germs, dirt, raw food it was all just a part of our life growing up in the country. I remember seeing a picture someone shared of some farm kids out all licking the salt lick from the cows in the field. Growing up it wasn’t something we would have even debated as strange or dangerous to try it. Carrying eggs that had come straight out of chicken and then immediately having them for breakfast, wasn’t something to find strange…. I even took a few hard boiled to school, including goose eggs. Leaving eggs on the counter for a few days until we use them wasn’t abnormal. – Eggs unwashed will actually last quite a while.
I can still picture that pocket knife though I have no idea where it has ended up – brown with it’s gold trim at each end. My father’s hand around it as he closed it (it was one that you had to squeeze it to close). I know the thought crossed my mind every time I tried one that I was for sure going to cut my fingers off trying to close it, but for my dad it didn’t even seem to cross his mind. That pocket knife was a staple in his pocket as well as his wallet in the other pocket – that I’d swear would have moths flying if he had ever bothered to pull it out and open it. I think I ever even heard of my dad opening his wallet twice in all the time I remember… once was to get a rabbit for my oldest… That pocket knife though…. it was out every day!