I was the skinny little girl stepping out of the car looking up at the two-story farmhouse. We had arrived at Aunt Sandy and Uncle Heck’s farm.
I wondered what would happen during this visit that would stay in my mind for a long time. So, I was already planning to sit in the closet at home, among the coats, boots, and shoes and remember each word, each look, each spanking with the razor strap, from these few days.
they were probably up early taking care of the animals
Aunt Sandy and Uncle Heck had a farm in Indiana back in the late 1940’s. My parents and I lived in Indianapolis. We would pack one suitcase between us, and drive for a little over an hour, to Bainbridge, to visit my mom’s youngest sister. Most times, when we arrived, the house was unkept, no one was around, and always unlocked.
mom is meaner than a pirate
Listening to every word my mom said to daddy, I would watch as she dissected each room. The bed was unmade. The sitting room was not swept, the couch littered with newspaper. Dishes in the sink. Who leaves the house this early and does not clean? Who leaves this house knowing company is coming?
donna jean’s superpower would be invisibility
Mom would begin cleaning, as daddy went out to the barn. But, I tried to be quiet, and invisible, as her personality surfaced. Obscenities seeping through her lips, as her anger mounted, mixed in with the words, lazy and filthy. She was crude enough to make sailors blush. For that matter, she was mean enough to scare them away.
do you know what a razor strap looks like?
The farm had an outhouse, but no bathroom inside. I refused to use the outhouse, so daddy would spank me with the razor strap. When we would first arrive, I would tell him he could beat me if he wanted. I was not going anywhere near that outhouse.
aunt sandy is a jerk
Aunt Sandy did not care because she would not let me poop on her property. Being adopted, she said I was not a blood relative and I would have to poop on paper. The paper would be destroyed. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom in the field where the cows shit.
They did not mow their front yard, which seemed strange to me. Daddy always kept our yard nicely mowed at home. I remember hearing the swish, swish of the reel mower at home, wishing it could lull me in to a nice daydream.
gabby and my fond memory
Gabby was their dog. She loved me, even though I only saw her once a year. She would follow me through the tall grass, always by my side. One memory was me pulling grass and putting it in my pants. I pretended to be a hula dancer, except I had the grass held by my waistband, sticking up towards my face.
They raised bee’s. I can remember chewing on the honeycomb. The sweetest, most natural flavor. I wish to be a little girl for just a moment to chew on the honeycomb. Stand there chewing,and watch the cows swing their tails patiently at the flies. Their bodies were so big and moved slowly, their brown eyes watching me lazily.
keeping milk cold till it sold
All three mornings, because we only stayed three days a year, I would be standing at the window upstairs, wide awake. I would be waiting for Uncle Heck to walk out of the house around 4 a.m. He would go to milk the cows in the barn. When I was allowed to go out, Uncle Heck showed me where he put the milk cans. He placed them in a cement trough with an actual spring running through it till the milk truck came and bought the milk.
lye soap and cold pump water
She made her own soap. Lye soap. It was so strong, my skin should have come off. One night of my stay, I was bathing. No bubbles. No sitting in warm water, relaxing. I stood in a galvanized tub as pump water was poured over me, quickly rinsing the lye soap away. Lye, grainy, soap. Running hand over it,felt like it had sand in it.
These are true stories I gather from family. Do you have memories of how you were raised? Places you went for a few days or weeks out of a month? Please share your memories or those memories from a family member!