It was prioritized in that important things were intentionally planned and taken care of. It was practical in that everything, important or unimportant, was simply handled the best possible way every day, whether unexpected or planned.
In completing one of those personal heritage blank books that is titled along the lines of Mom, Tell Me About Your Life Growing Up I came across a page that requested that I list home remedies or commonly accepted first aid and health-related truisms. The list:
- If you fall down, get up.
- If you get cut, get stitched if it’s gaping wide open about a half inch.
- If you are bleeding, stop it.
- If a tree falls on you, get x-ray’d.
- If a bee stings you, kill it.
- Don’t walk further than you can walk back.
- When climbing ladders, keep one foot on the ground.
- Don’t climb on the roof if you didn’t have lunch and breakfast.
- Drowning is very bad. Don’t.
- Don’t play with matches.
- Sewing needles work for getting slivers out.
- The best treatment for a bad headache is ice.
Pragmatic simplicity seemed to govern life on the farm in the 1950s and it made things possible that later generations would miss out on because they didn’t have enough time or couldn’t do it at a platinum level. In the summer of 1943, my parents and their six (at the time) children attended a parade in a neighboring North Dakota town, about 45 miles distant. This was The Town Where The Creamery was, where our five gallon cans of cream were delivered by the daily train from our smaller town. It was also The Town Where The Stockyard Was.
It was a simple Children’s Parade and my sister, about 8 years old at the time, was the first place winner in the Doll Buggies section. I can’t find the picture today, but I have a black and white photo of her, wearing a paper dress with about 6 layers of ruffles from the waist down. The dress had little cap sleeves and was made of bright yellow crepe paper. She had a matching bonnet, and the doll buggy was decorated in the same yellow paper arranged in ruffles cascading off the buggy on all four sides.
A newspaper article from a couple of days later (transcribed, below) tells us there was a war theme for the parade that day.
300 Youngsters In Parade Here
–First Annual Lions Club Kiddies Parade Held Friday Afternoon Here–
Nearly 300 Williston youngsters garbed in all manner of costumes, walking, riding bicycles, tricycles and ponies, took part in the first annual Lions Club Kiddies parade here Friday afternoon.
The parade was the first such event staged by the local Lions club and President R. T. Bennett declared he was well pleased with the event.
“We were especially gratified at the large number and wide variety of costumes,” Mr. Bennett said, “and wish to thank the children and their mothers.”
“The success of the first parade virtually assures a repetition next summer, when we hope there will be twice as many children taking part.
First, second and third prizes were awarded in each section of the parade, and there were several honorable mention awards in each group. Prize tags were given to the children telling them to call at the Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. store for their war-stamp prizes.
Each child received an ice cream bar and a package of candy at the end of the parade.
A special award was made after the parade to a neighborhood group from East Broadway in which 17 youngsters combined to form one entry. Mary Pettis was dressed as Uncle Sam, pulling a wagon on which Tillie Lou Anderson, dressed in white, was seated on a white throne, with June Ellen Schultz riding in the rear of the wagon. There were 14 others in the group, each bearing a placard with a war slogan.
First second and third place prizes were awarded in the following categories: Bicycles, Girls dress-up, Doll buggies, Floats, Tricycles and Pets.
What I would love to know is how Mama E Dot (my mother’s nickname in the family) found the time, interest, energy and paper to do this for my sister, and how the whole family took an entire week day off to drive 90 miles round trip (milking cows before they left in the morning, and milking them again when they got home in the evening). These six older siblings of mine would have been a 1 year old, and the others from 6 to 15 that summer.
They never tried to live anywhere but in today, now, and everything flowed from that, so the time, the interest, the energy and the paper just resulted naturally.
That kind of bare perspective of life has blessing to it and fed the thoughts about life advice that I listed on another page of the book I mentioned earlier, including these:
- There really is such a thing as truth–don’t try to reinvent it. Find it.
- There really is such a thing as joy–experience it
With today’s MBOB I honor my mother’s life and her memory, acknowledge her hard work, her love, all the dresses she sewed–paper or fabric, all the dresses she crocheted for me that I wore until I was about 6 years old, all the fried chicken dinners she made, all the piano lessons she got me to, all of the prayers she prayed, all of her life–including the 39 years which were lived before I was born. She laid aside her earth suit sixteen years ago today and entered her Heaven Home.