By Lettie • August 27, 2020

The summer before my 10th birthday my father and mother moved our family of nine children to a farm! We had always lived in a small city, in the house my dad bought from my grandparents. But he wanted fresh air, healthy food and lots of room for his children to play. He'd worked multiple jobs at a time and saved for many years...and could finally afford a place in the countryside. Now a minor concern: the house had no running water or electricity. But there were 150 acres to run around in, walk through the woods in, swim a creek in, and otherwise yell, sing, giggle and laugh in every day!

That first year my dad put in electricity, because my mom flat-out announced, "I won't have kerosene lamps with children running around!" Indoor plumbing had to wait another year (an outhouse came with the property). Different friends, who my dad knew from work, asked if he'd take their large dogs who couldn't run free in the city. So we all now played with a big tawny boxer and a sporty German Shorthaired Pointer, who we simply named Billy and Molly. Absolutely all our clothes were hand-me-downs, bananas and oranges were "exotic" fruit that we'd see at holidays, and there was ONE birthday party a year! We'd take turns...once every 10 years a child would have his/her own party!

We thought we were rich. My mother was always singing, yelling, hugging, or praying. And she told us we were blessed with plenty! To this day, each of my siblings remember those years as a an abundance of chores, laughter, arguing, making peace, and playing together! Every challenge was a game to outwit, and any failure was chance to learn. Money was so scarce, but joy was everywhere.


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