Growing up on the farm, we were two miles from town. The main road was dirt until I was maybe 7 or 8 years old. It was an event to look beyond the large front pasture, “the big field,” and see a car go by.
We had neighbors to the west, not visible from our home, but we knew they were out there because we sat with their kids on the school bus.
We were a large, multigenerational family. Mom, Dad, six kids, a Grannie and an Uncle Fred. “Company” was another farmer stopping by to help out or needing a hand himself.
Going to Oak Bluffs on Sunday to visit grandparents was a trip!
“Social distancing” happened after 3 pm each weekday when you stepped off of the school bus and headed down the long, shell driveway to home.
Home was our world.
Our animals, our books, our toys, our rooms, the hay loft, the kitchen table, the abandoned chicken coop, a newborn calf, the horse drawn plow, Grannie’s blackberry roly poly, and Mom’s kale soup.
Over a hundred wide open acres of varied grasses, black-eyed Susans, ox-eyed daisies, butterflies, grasshoppers, crops, and running.
Endless hours of running.
On rainy days and on the frigid, snowy days of January, the large black coal stove in the center of the living room hosted gatherings of puzzles, books, card games, erector sets, board games, paper, crayons, scissors, and paste made from flour and water.
And, word games — “20 questions,” “Who Said?” and “I am.”
No plumbing and no electricity spawned lively imaginations, poetry readings, blanket forts, and conversation. Lots of conversation:
“Did Grampa ever talk about when he was a soldier in the Civil War?”
“Grannie, what was it like living in a log cabin?”
“VoVo, tell us about leaving your family to come to America.”
“What was it like to work in the big textile mills in New Bedford?”
And, “What did you do when little William died?”
We had each other. We were the world.
Life was good.