Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summer of '74

Our summer of '74 is the inspiration for Elizabeth's summer of '84 in Old Wounds. We lived in the barn while John, with the help of various friends and relatives, built our house on a bull-dozed site in what had been part pasture, part tobacco field We had just three months in which to get the house dried in before returning to Tampa for one last year of teaching.

John built a shed on to the barn and a picnic table for our meals. This is Ethan, our older boy at not quite three. Like Laurie in Old Wounds, he had a fenced off corner of the barn with a rug and a bed and lots of books and toys.

My 'kitchen' in the barn was a table with a Coleman stove, a cooler, and lots of cardboard boxes of provisions. Dishes were done outside with water from the branch that had been heated on the stove. Baths were in the branch (very cold) for the brave or in a zinc wash tub in the barn with heated water for the less brave. There was an outhouse a little way up the hill and a second barn where our friends and relatives camped out. Once a week we went to town for groceries and to the laundromat. Maybe once a month we would go into Asheville and marvel at the big city.

It was an amazingly pleasant way to live -- getting up and going to bed with the sun, preparing every meal (and they were really quite good) a little victory, learning that one can get quite clean with only a little heated water, enjoying the nightly show of the lightning bugs rising out of the grass.

Thirty four years ago -- ay, law!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good times