Memories (installment 1)
So, all the stuff that is going on with my mom has really started me thinking about how we grew up. I don't think we had a really exciting life, but it made me who I am. For that, I need to remember.
I was born in February, 1969, the first child of two college graduates. My mother majored in Spanish, and minored in Russian, and was invited to translate at the United Nations. My father graduated with a degree in Textile Engineering, and went to work for Regal Textiles, in a little bitty town in South Carolina. Right before I was born, they bought a farm, and settled down to raise their family. Daddy was just starting a new job, and Mama had quit her job as a 5th grade teacher, and was settling into life as a mother and housewife.
Thirteen months later, my brother was born, and my parents started making some major changes to the homestead. The house on the property was up very near to the road, and they didn't want to be that close to traffic with toddlers. Arrangements were made, and the house was taken off its foundation, and moved 300 yards away, to its new resting place, with a basement under it.
The night after the house was moved (I was 2 by this time, and my brother was about 11 months old), while we were sleeping in the house, it shifted on its foundation. My parents were concerned enough about the shift that we all finished the night's sleep in the car.
Sometime soon after this, my parents became dissatisfied with the direction of the Presbyterian church they were attending. I remember visiting a couple of churches...the Southern Baptist church in town, and the local Mennonite church. Before long, we found ourselves attending the Mennonite church, learning about this new way of life, and I began attending the Mennonite school.
The year that I was in first grade, another child was added to the family. My baby brother was a happy little guy, and we really enjoyed him. The family and doctors noticed something was wrong with him, and after some checking, it was determined that he had a heart defect. At 5 months of age, surgery was attempted, and my baby brother died while in surgery. That was a tough year. Daddy also lost his job that year, and they almost went bankrupt paying off the medical bills.
The next year, my other brother was born. He was healthy, and really added a lot of life to our family. When he was close to 2 years old, my parents bought a dairy farm, and we moved there in February. Our 5 years on the dairy farm were a LOT of work, a lot of growing, and financially devestating. I loved the animals...we had chickens, goats, horses, 100+ cattle, cats, dogs, and I had some pet white mice. We all worked our butts off....the shortest work days were 12 hours long. At various times, we had people working for us, helping with the milkings, and my parents sponsored 2 families of Cambodian refugees.
At the end of our time on the dairy, the whole industry was going thru some very hard times. The government instituted a buy-out program, to help small farmers get out of farms that were drowning in debt, and to slow the glut of milk on the market.
After selling the farm, we moved back to my parents' farm a couple of miles from the dairy. Daddy got a job working at a retirement home in town, as a maintenance person, and we settled back in to life, hand-milking our one cow, and caring for our chickens, goats, horses, and the cow. My brothers and I were attending the Mennonite school still, though things were not all well on that front.
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