I’m told I was a quiet child. That I spent more time watching and listening than participating. which mainly make up my memories from that time.

I did well in school until around the fifth or sixth grade but found it hard to follow directions. And I didn’t like to bring attention to myself by asking for help.

Which meant that I was bored and spent a lot of time staring out the window. Tuning all else out while I resorted to the nebulous confines of my imaginary world.

Vintage photos from the flea market

Simple Food:

We had a big garden that yielded most of our food. I remember sitting in the dirt and watching the wind bend the corn stalks and shake the branches in the trees.

Storms would often follow. They always seemed to come in the dead of night. Sudden loud cracks of thunder and lightning would ominously light up the sky. We’d scramble to the cellar if it was a particularly bad storm.

I recall the blackberry bushes out in the garden. I recall eating those juicy blackberries and staining my fingers. Not all that many berries ended up in my bucket some days.

When I did make it to the house with a bucket of blackberries, soon there would be cobblers. Bubbling with hot fruit and glistening with sugar that my granny sprinkled on the crust.

vintage photos

Simple Times:

We were simple people from a simpler time.

Simple people eat what they grow. They raise their own chickens and eat their eggs. They cook simple meals.

I remember eating a lot of brown beans and fried potatoes. Oh my, that was a good meal. Of course there was cornbread. And in the summer sliced tomatoes and green onions.

We always had lots of pets. Both cats and dogs roamed the property and then came inside with us at the end of the day.

I have a black and white photo somewhere of myself as a toddler carrying around a little dog.

I think that era was was what laid the path to my preferring my own company and that of animals over people.

Even when there were children playing around me. I didn’t seem to have much in common with them. And so I mostly stood aside and watched and wished to be invisible.

PPhotos from Woodward Park

Simple Reasons:

I read a lot and taught myself what I should have learned in a classroom. By the fourth grade I had saved up and bought myself a typewriter and taught myself to type.

I used to be angry about a lot of things. There were unexplained reasons for why I’d been short-changed in the parent department. That I was made to stand out when all I wanted was to blend in.

But now I realize that people from that time saw the world as a place where you simply did what you had to do.

Problems were solved by avoiding circuitous routes. And just doing what made the most sense at the time.

old photos

Simple Explanations:

All that information about my parents, carefully hidden from me, was probably the groundwork that inspired the vivid imagination I have to this day. To my being obsessed with details and facts and finding answers.

And which brings me to write my words to you every single day.

It is the bits and pieces of a life lived and still living, of mistakes made, and of wisdom learned from those mistakes.

“It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he’ll look for his own answers.”
Patrick Rothfuss

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23 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your memories today. I would also try to stay in the background when I was a child. I always would walk down to the creek and inspect the various plants and rocks, or take a walk up the small hill behind us and inspect the flowers. I love the small town living. Life was so simple back when I was a child.

    I hope you will write a book. I love reading your blog everyday.

    Have a wonderful day
    Marilynn and Hayley

  2. You write so beautifully, Brenda, I think if you wrote a book about your life and your tho’ts and feelings it would be a wonderful read. I can imagine it would be an encouragement to anyone who has a similar background. And you know all of us who love your blog would buy it! Don’t rule the idea out yet, my dear.

  3. You are correct about how adults back in those days did what they had to do. They would make decisions without studying all of the nuances. They needed to come up with a solution and move on to the next problem because they didn’t have many resources and had to make the best with what they had. I have heard stories about various children in the family who were more-or-less orphaned, such as my dad and his sister, and in another instance several cousins, because their mothers passed away. Their dads were still around, but they didn’t want the responsibilities of both going to a job and taking care of kids. So these kids got farmed out to whatever household would take them in, and sometimes they were there for a week or two, or a few months or just for the school year, and then would be shuttled off to some other household. And no one worried about how the kids were handling it — it was just the way it was. They all developed some strengths and some weaknesses from their experiences.

  4. I remember when I had to get glasses too in the 4th grade. Everyone had to read an eye chart. I was so mad that I hid the note saying I needed eye glasses. It worked for awhile til that teacher called my Mom and asked if she ever got that note. I hated my glasses and I let everyone know it. They never called me any of those names either. I was miserable enough!?

    I bought contacts when I started working at 16. I wore them for yrs then went back to wearing glasses cuz I would fall asleep with them in my eyes and would get dry and itchy…too dangerous.

    I love the blk and wte photos you have and the old ornate picture frame!

  5. My big s ister, I’m one of many of us who got glasses in 6th grade, after squinting and pulling on the corners of my eyes to see anything far away & getting right up to things to see them. When Leo took us away & life after Mary began, Mrs. Martin who taught 6th grade told him I needed glasses.

    Then I began seeing birds. To this day I’m a fan, spending good money feeding wild birds. Lately big crows…

    I should title my book “Life after Mary”. It’s so curious how many similarities we share.

  6. It’s interesting to me that you had that experience in fourth and fifth grade, which is similar to what I experienced at that age and in those grades. I loved to learn to read, I am a lifelong reader and all I can come up with as to why I fell into being distracted, spent time daydreaming and had feelings of boredom in the classroom can be attributed to family issues at that time. I couldn’t focus and follow along and therefore fell behind and stayed that way because I didn’t ask for help. One thing that did help change things was getting eyeglasses in the sixth grade. I remember teachers commenting on my report card that I didn’t apply myself but I never heard them ask why it appeared to be that way. Simple times with only two answers as to how a child is doing in class…good or bad.

    1. I finally got glasses at about 13. But I know I needed them before that. Also I think I just had trouble following instructions that had more than one or two steps.

  7. Simple, times, sometimes better sometimes not so much. It is interesting reading about your memories and how they shaped who you became. You are a strong, resilient, compassionate woman.

    Have a great day with your beautiful Ivy and charlie.

  8. Today’s post is very well done and has many different themes. I am so impressed with your writing, and so all I can say is thank you. You leave us wanting more!

  9. Have you thought of writing a book? Not exactly a memoir but perhaps a combination with some introspection, some self-help -restorative/therapeutic commentary and some decor advice. Boy, does that sound convoluted or what! But I do believe that is why I love to read your blog.

    1. I suppose if a publisher asked me, I’d be interested. But it’s all I can do to write here everyday without concrete interest from someone looking to publish.

  10. I have found over the years that memories are a double-edged sword. Some happy, some cut us to the quick. I don’t know about others, but I find it hard to reconcile my childhood with the person I am today. My childhood was not great, but I do have happy memories scattered around in the miserable ones. Thank you for sharing…love those old photos! Love and hugs!

  11. I too love simplicity. I was a quiet child and my sister said I could enter a room full of people, pick up something from a table and not be noticed; stealth! I also love simple meals; I prepare around 7 soups/stoups in my crockpot that are on a rotation basis and that is pretty much what I bring to work for lunch, I have oatmeal with fruit for breakfast and either soup or a smoothie for dinner. Simple and easy. Enjoy your Thursday afternoon Brenda.

    Carol and Molly
    xoxoxo

  12. I love the idea of a simpler time, a simpler life….yet of course things were much tougher back then also. Think about a time before washing machines, microwaves, dishwashers…and going farther back, before running water or electricity. Yes, simpler times, without today’s many issues, but also tough times. And yet I still crave that simpler time, which I guess is why I left the city and moved to the mountains.

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