Monday, January 28, 2008

Were You Raised in A Barn?

My older boy is able to answer that question affirmatively, if not entirely accurately. He did live with us in this barn for three summers -- the last summer stretching till the end of October.

The first summer was 1973. Our son was not quite one, not quite walking. We had just bought our farm and were camping out in the upper part of the barn, getting to know the place and our neighbors. The following summer my husband and a friend were building our house -- getting it to the 'dried in' stage before we had to return to our teaching jobs in Florida. And the third summer, we were back with all our belongings and various helpful friends and family, making the big push to finish the house before cold weather.

Unfortunately, it began to get cold toward the end of October and when we awoke one morniong to find snow on our sleeping bags, we moved into the unfinished house where we at least had a wood stove. What bliss!

It was a wonderful experience though, living like in the barn -- cooking on a Coleman stove, bathing in the branch or in a washtub, the big entertainment at night watching the lightning bugs. When we moved to the house we actually said that we should move back to the barn every summer -- but of course we didn't.

I made use of the experience in Old Wounds -- the barn that Elizabeth's family is living in is based on our barn and that dark rectangle there on the front is a shutter which, when pushed up is the window Rosie sat at to watch Miss Birdie and Cletus come up the road.

And my older son has an excuse for all time for any less than polite behavior he may commit.
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