Last time we talked about Rex and his care for us kids and that the merchants he visited sent him home with bone. One day Rex crawled home after he was hit by a car. The vet came to the house and said he could not fix his injuries. Dad told us that the vet would give Rex a shot and go to sleep forever. I wanted to have his head on my lap, but I was sent away. I didn’t go far and hid by the railroad tracks behind our house and cried until Rex was taken away. I cannot listen to “Old Shep” without bawling. I am not sure I could get through singing it at Karaoke, but someday I may try.
Okay! How about something funny, not a lot funnier, but such is life as a child of the 40s! My mother told me, “Never get into the car with a stranger!” When my mother said anything, you really should listen! Girls were not allowed to “Hitchhike!”
Remember, I told you about going swimming at Lake Wassokeag? We were allowed to ride our bikes to the lake. Most of us had to walk our bikes up the fairly steep hill, and many times we rode like the wind coming down. We were pretty good, and we only got a few scrapes and bruises from spills. One day I gave a friend a ride, and contrary to good sense, I rode barefoot. We were just heading down a slight grade hill when my foot slipped off the pedal. I ended up on the bottom of the pile with my friend on top of the bike. Unfortunately, my ankle was badly cut from the sprocket. She was trying to get the bike off me when over the hill came a car and swerved just in time to miss me.
The nice gentleman stopped and took the bike off me and, seeing my bleeding foot, tried to get me into his car to take me home. You guessed it! Mamma’s words rang in my ear, and I fought the poor thing tooth and nail. He managed to get my address from my friend and bodily put me in his car and took me home. After seeing the poor man covered in my blood and his car not in much better shape, she let him take us to the Doctor’s office. Dr. Taylor put four stitches in my ankle; I still have the scar. I was supposed to stay out of the lake for the summer to prevent infection and I had to walk on crutches.
Dexter, Maine, is still a small town, and it was tiny in those days. I never heeded any of the Doctors advice! I fell in the lake every time I was near it, and I hobbled around without crutches. On the 4th of July, the Doctor caught me without my crutches, and I lied to him and said I laid them down and would go get them.
We bought a 15-acre farm with a 100-year-old house, a chicken house, and a barn on the property. It was heavenly! We had chickens, which meant we had eggs; we raised one cow for milk and had a steer for meat. Mom had a one-acre garden, and everything was canned! We had a root cellar where all the canned food was stored along with a huge jug of cider. I grew so much that first year; I had stretch marks!
Our farm was in Corinna next to Dexter and about 8 miles or so away. It was in the middle of the year, so The school bus would pick me up at the city line, and I walked the rest of the way home and to the bus in the morning for several weeks until we could move into our house. Of course, my brothers could hitchhike, but I had to walk the whole dang way. One time a guy in the milk truck tried to get me to let him give me a ride, but I said no. He tried to convince me he was an uncle, but I didn’t recognize him, so I refused. Later I learned he really was an uncle. Double dang!
The house wasn’t much to look at., but it was home! It had a living room, kitchen, pantry, a bedroom and a half down, and one bedroom upstairs. There was a line strung over the big wood kitchen cookstove to dry wet clothes. We had a large slate sink in the pantry and a pump to conveniently supply water until the well ran dry every summer. Then we hauled water in big metal milk cans.
We lived in close proximity to three lakes, and they were all good fishing lakes in summer and winter. We worked hard, but we also played hard. The property across the street had a stand of Maple trees, and we were given permission to tap them for sap. Mom cooked the sap to made syrup. We were rich and didn’t even know it. We were warm in the winter, had all the fresh food we needed, went swimming in the summer, and had 15 acres to play on.
That should hold you for a week until I do the next blog about school.