Sunday, April 22, 2007

Small Town Memories

I have spent a lot of time this past week in thought about what's been going on in my life trying to decide or plan where I am going and what I want to do. Kind of like a goal re-evaluation sort of thing. I hurt someone's feelings and broke their trust this week and it just about did me in. It was done completely unintentionally but it happened never the less and I can't undo the damage. So I have been sitting and stewing and thinking and realized how much simpler life was in the "good old days".

I grew up with in a family of 6 children. my dad was from a family of 13 children and my mom a family of 8. I grew up with both sets of grandparents, numerous aunts and uncles and cousins living in the same farm/town. Every Sunday was spent at the grandparents home for supper. You went to church without fail, went home for a big Sunday dinner, had a nap then went to the farm. My uncles would get their instruments out and everyone sang and we danced till meals were ready. Every birthday and holiday was spent together.

Every spring part of the farm land was rototilled and all the families would gather to plant a communal garden that we tended all through the summer months and all the families harvested it together. Spring was meant for branding the cattle and riding horses in the pastures to round the calves up. Holidays were meant to shove our city cousins out of the hay loft into the bull pen below to scare them. Butter was a treat to churn and we would fight for that honour. We all had our own little cups that we got to stick under the milk separator to get the first milk fresh from the barn.

Our meals were breakfast dinner and supper not high tea or dinner at 5PM. Our doors were never locked. You could leave your purse on the front seat of your car all night with the windows down and it would still be there in the morning. It was a given that all the girls at 14 became candy stripers at the hospital.

We never had a curfew when we were little cause all the town children knew when the church bells pealed at noon and 6 pm it was time to go home. When the street lights came on it was time to go home at night. We all had the same rules. Rush hour traffic meant there were 2 tractors coming down main street (all two blocks of it) at the same time.

Every time we went home (after I got married) for the weekend Keith would be up at the crack of dawn waiting for Lemieux's Hardware Store to open. It was a kind of old fashioned general store. It sold dishes, furniture, saddles, cowboy hats, records, jewelry, vet supplies..... it had a table on the one side that the old men sat around chewing the fat and talking about old women while they played checkers. Keith loved to putter around and always had to be kicked out at noon as all the stores in town close from 12-1 so all staff can go home for lunch. Even the banks close at noon.

Our children would get so excited as they never had to tell us where they were going to play as the whole town was a safe play land. They were thrilled when my mom would give them 20 dollars and tell them to go to the store to get milk or bread or something that she made up just so they had the experience. They would go and the clerks would notice someone that was visiting and they would ask who are you here visiting and they would say Memere and Pepere and they would already know who that was.

You had to walk to the post office to get mail and it took you 5 minutes to walk there from any direction but 20 minutes to get the mail as everyone knew the mail was put in the boxes by 10am so you had to visit with everyone there. You were raised that everyone was Monsieur and Madame and yes please and thank you. You were raised to respect your elders and you never talked back to them. We never shot anyone in our schools unless you counted spit balls behind the teachers back.

No one was kidnapped no one got murdered, every one watched out for one another.It's so ironic now at 50 years old as I reflect back to my good old days and I realize what I so desperately wanted to run away from when I was a teenager that knew everything is the same thing now that I would give anything to be able to run back to.


Carmen said...

What a beautiful picture you have painted!!