Category Archives: Growing Up

A Child Again

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This morning, feeling thankful for family and friends,  and birthday anniversaries and consequently a little sentimental, I pulled this off the shelves and read through it.  It was fun experiencing just a little of the joy, mystery, adventure, seriousness and hope of being a child again.

I remember my mother reciting “My Shadow.”  Other poems reminded me of days sick in bed (“The Land of Counterpane”), reading treasured books, and being read to by my parents (“Picture Books in Winter”), and one childhood activity that I have continued to enjoy, now for over 70 years:

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My copy, an unused library book I purchased (it had never been checked out,)  says that this is the original title page, done by Jessie Wilcox Smith.

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It is a wonderful little book and the illustrations are typical Smith.IMG_2375.jpg

One of the nice things about having farmers in your family, and living in the country, is haylofts!  So this brought back memories too, especially of Salemville, Pennsylvania and the Kagarise farm.

The Hayloft

Through all the pleasant meadow-side
   The grass grew shoulder-high
Till the shining scythes went far and wide
  And cut it down to dry.
Those green and sweetly smelling crops
  They led in wagons home;
And they piled them here in mountain tops
  For mountaineers to roam.
Here is Mount Clear, Mount Rusty-Nail
  Mount Eagle and Mount High,—
The mice that in these mountains dwell,
  No happier are than I!
Oh, what a joy to clamber there,
  Oh, what a place for play,
With the sweet, the dim, the dusty air,
  The happy hills of hay!

 

 

 

A Music Memory

It is such a gift when, uninvited, a pleasing memory breaks into consciousness.  That happened to me yesterday while I enjoyed listening to a couple of friends play a simple piano duet.  In a split second I realized I knew the music and suddenly the memory of my grandmother came into focus.

My paternal grandmother had a piano out in their farmhouse in Kansas.  I don’t remember ever seeing her read music, although she must have, because she had a stack of Etude magazines (that I always looked forward to perusing).  Grandma just played from memory, and probably also “by ear”.  Like Floyd Cramer,  her interpretation was unique.  Several times, over the years, when we begged her to play the piano for us she played Percy Granger’s Country Garden.  Now I recognize that she played much music in this style.

Here is a rather frenetic version of the same song.  In contrast, my grandmother’s was gentle and lilting.

A picture of my grandmother, circa 1980, with her four sons.IMG_4379 (1)

One of my dad’s fond memories is listening to his mother play the piano in the evening, after the kids had gone to bed.