Believe it or not the little 2 year old girl in this picture has added 67 more years to her life. I remember so well that little plastic stuffed lamb, which I treasured and kept her in my room for years until we made one too many moves and "little lamb" got lost in the bustle of life. Seems like a lot of other things got lost in the hustle and bustle through the years. But most of all I feel like I/we lost the simplicity and uncomplicated pace of life more than anything.
I miss the joys of being able to play all over our neighborhood, about a 9 block radius, without being afraid. I miss my mom ringing that old cow bell when it was time to head home for dinner. I can hear it like it was yesterday. I miss the fun of making up our own games with wooden clothes pins, pine cones, rocks, scraps of fabric, grandma's aprons, an old wash tub and anything that our minds could imagine at the time. I miss visiting every neighbor on our block to take fresh home-made meals when they were sick. I miss Mrs. Gonska's, our elderly neighbor across the street, coconut lamb or colored egg shaped cakes at Easter time. I miss Mr. and Mrs. Schellenberger digging up all the grass in their back yard and turning into an asphalt playground, so that we could roller skate, play hop scotch, jump rope and shoot basketballs to our heart's content. I miss Mrs Copeland babysitting for me, when my sweet Granny died because I was too young to go see my Granny like that.
I miss the years at Camp Awana, in Fredonia, Wisconsin. This is where I came to know the Lord as my Savior in 1951 and then spent a month or more each summer at camp as camper, worker,then leader and lifeguard. I still have the pleasure of the friendship of my oldest friend, we've known each other since we were eight and still remember each other's birthdays and every Christmas. We also talk on the phone as often as we can, sharing our joys, heartaches and just plain life. I treasure Dolly with all my heart and can say that we have never had an argument in all these years. Friends forever means friends forever.
I miss spending a couple of weeks in the summer with Grandma and Grandpa Gleason in downtown Chicago. At a very young age, probably starting around five or so, my Grandma would pack Grandpa's lunch in his old metal, rounded top lunch box complete with the glass lined thermos of hot coffee. She would send me walking on my way to the gas station that he owned, about three blocks away from their house, so that I could spend lunch time with him and his old black dog, Midnight, he always smelled like oil because he loved going down in the "pit" where Grandpa changed the oil and worked on the cars. While Grandpa ate his lunch, I would pump gas for the customers (full service gas stations back then) and Grandpa would lift me up by the back of my britches and put me on the hood of their cars so that I could wash and squeezegy their windshields. Even got to wear his coin changer belt and make change for the customers, grandpa didn't have a cash register back then (and computers weren't even thought of)--I learned to count on my fingers and in my head. Those were the days!!
Another week or two, each summer, I would go to spend with Grandma in the Country, I never really knew her real name until I got older, she was always Grandma in the Country to me. She lived in a small town of 90+ people--actually I think that included all the dogs as well, in Indiana. There I learned to work in the garden, go "pickle picking", churn butter and put it in a bucket down the well to keep it cool, picking those luscious tasting grapes to make jam, sometimes eating more than we brought home, taking a bath in the wash tub or a sponge bath from the pump, also used the outhouse for other "hygiene items". Grandma never had running water in her house, until she was into her late 80's--she was content to live life simple. I loved the "smell of Grandma in the Country", Hattie Crowder, clean and crisp from the lye soap that she made. She taught me how to milk a cow, across the road at the Holly sisters' milking farm and taught me how to shoot my first rifle for the just in case times. Never knew what kind of "critter" you might come on while out in the field. A special trip to Grandma in the Country's sweet little home, in the winter, meant sleeping under huge down comforters and feather bed, brewing hot chocolate on top of the wood burning stove and enjoying all those home made cookies made from scratch. Those were the days!!
All of this to say I would not change my life all these years since those memories, but there are times that I long for the simpler, uncomplicated life. Life when everyone knew everybody's name and a hand shake meant something, it meant a binding contract, didn't have to write it on paper--your word was as good as that. When neighbors knew neighbors and all of your friends' mothers were your mother, when you were at their homes and they didn't think twice about getting a "switch" from the closest tree, for the back of your legs if you misbehaved or even thought about talking back to them. And when you got home, you could be sure your mother would have the "switch" in her hand, just for good measure. Oh, that we take time to soak in the joys of friendships, slow down and visit awhile, learn to listen and "weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice". Yes, so Simple and Uncomplicated!!
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