I received a different but interesting and appropriate gift for Mother’s Day. One of my daughters gifted me with a subscription to “StoryWorth.” The idea behind the subscription is for me to write the stories of my life. Each week my daughter will select a question, and the company will email it to me. I am supposed to write the answer to the question and send it back. The company will send the answer to my daughter as well as combining the answers into a book at the end of the year. I have not posted my story for a few weeks, so I thought I would share a little more of my life.
Here is the question for Week 9: What did you look forward to the most as a child?
I do not remember having many things or events to anticipate. I think that my family generally took life one day at a time and accepted whatever happened that day. I looked forward to completing the chores because we had lots of fun playing games together after we finished. I looked forward to Christmas and my birthday like any child does. I looked forward to visits from older siblings who were living elsewhere. I looked forward to new babies in the family.
I suppose that I looked forward to Friday evenings. (My sister says it was Thursday evenings.) There was no television in the area when I was a child, and my family never had one. I cannot remember whether it was weekly or monthly, but I think it was weekly. The bishop (pastor) would rent a movie with a cartoon and show it for free at the meetinghouse. I think the ward paid for the movie by selling “all day suckers,” candy bars and popcorn. It was a big social event enjoyed by all who attended.
I looked forward to the annual ward (congregation) rodeo that was held at the rodeo grounds about a mile from the farm. It was always held on Labor Day weekend. It was a regular rodeo with all the usual rodeo events, plus some other events such as chariot races. My dad was in the chariot race at least once and my older brother did horse riding events. We had a rodeo queen with attendants, but neither I nor any of my sisters was ever chosen. I particularly liked the fact that Mom would give me a few dollars to buy goodies, but I do not remember what I purchased – probably candy, popsicles, and ice cream.
I think the event that I anticipated the most was school. I did not attend kindergarten, so I did not start school until I was six years old. I anxiously looked forward to the day when I would be old enough to ride the school bus with my siblings. This anticipation did not stop once I was in school because summer vacations were much too long as far as I was concerned. I enjoyed school for two valuable reasons.
One reason was for the social life. During the school year I was able to play with my friends who did not live close to me. I did not see any of my friends except those in my ward during the summer unless there was a special event, such as stake conference, a local, three-day convention, girls softball game, etc. Plus, there were no girls my age in my ward.
A second reason – maybe more important to me than social – was that I loved school. I loved everything about it, but I particularly loved to learn new things. I was much like a sponge in that I soaked up everything that the teachers would present. I was a good student, got good grades, and received wonderful comments from my teachers.
Being too ill to go to school was absolute torture to me, and I did not miss many days of school for illness and even fewer for other reasons. My siblings and I had whooping cough when I was in the first grade and missed six weeks of school. I remember two things about this experience: I went from the top reading group to a much lower one, and Mom would not give us any popcorn because she thought that we would choke on it if we started coughing.
Another time when I was too sick to go to school happened about the eighth grade. I got a sore throat that was really bad. When I told my mother that it felt like I was coughing up pieces of my throat, she whisked me away to see the doctor. He gave me a shot – probably penicillin - in my rear and told me that I could not go to school until the next day. I had dressed and prepared to go right to school, but I reluctantly went home with my mother.
I remember being in the eighth or ninth grade and being told that I would have to stay home when the sheep shearers came to shear the sheep that spring. I accepted the responsibility willingly even though I did not want to do it. I had a wonderful excuse to stay home - one that many children and teens would hope for - but I really wanted to go to school. My oldest brother and his wife were at the house; he would help with the sheep, and she would fix the food for the men – probably five or six. Mom was there, but apparently she was ill, injured, or something. I do not remember why she could not help.
I had a good experience working with my sister-in-law as we fixed the food. I made a batch of bread – probably the main reason that I needed to stay home – and helped with the rest of the meal. I know that Mom and Dad appreciated my good attitude and that my sister-in-law appreciated my help. I also know that they understood that I wanted to be in school. Even at that young age, I knew that sometimes I needed to sacrifice for the good of the family, and I willingly did it.