Archive for the ‘Childhood Memories’ Category
My first thought when I read the Carnival of Genealogy Challenge for August was “we didn’t have a family business, we had a farm…”
And then I re-thought, realizing that a farm always was (and still is, no matter the size) a business also, though some might say that farming is more of a calling than a career, and for those of us who grew up on a farm, it’s more a part of our hearts than most brick or mortar businesses could ever be.
One of the sayings that I grew up hearing was “You can take the boy off the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the boy.” (Same goes for many of us farm girls, too!)
When my oldest brother was just a toddler, our folks bought the farm where dad grew up with his seven (living) brothers and sisters, and dad’s parent’s, Elmer and Maud (McGinnis) Stocking. My grandparents moved to the nearby town of Mayfield, Kansas with their youngest children and my grandfather Elmer continued his work as a mail carrier until his untimely early death from a heart attack.
Mom, Dad, and my brother Fred moved back to the Mayfield area from Arkansas City (“Ark City”) after they purchased the farm. All of this happened before I was born, or as my brother Harold, Jr. “Fred” would say “before you were even a twinkle in Dad’s eye.”
Farmers then, and farmers now, wear many hats. They must be amateur weathermen/women, watching the weather with an eye to scheduling their work. Their planning, planting, fertilizing, field work, harvesting, and even praying for rain circles around what the farm land needs and when it needs it.
Farmers also need to be bookkeepers, grain marketers, have the ability to supervise their family as workers, as well hired hands if they have some, and during the summer, they often have to put in 60 to 80 hour weeks as well. It wasn’t just sun up till sun down at our farm, it was before the sun came up till the job got done, especially during harvest.
I have always felt that I was one of the luckiest kids in the world, growing up on my folk’s wheat and dairy farm, with 160 acres running room for a back yard! I grew up collecting tadpoles from the buffalo wallows in the pasture (yes, I said buffalo wallows!), chasing crawdads along the creek, roping calves I wasn’t supposed to, and dodging cow pies in the pasture while playing cowboys and Indians, or Yankees and Confederate soldiers with my nephews, who were not much younger than I was.
I also learned to drive a tractor, an old blue Chevy farm truck with a stick shift that my mom nicknamed “WobbleKnees,” and milk a cow by hand as well as with a milking machine.
I was responsible for watering the chickens, gathering the eggs, spoiling our purebred collie puppies and making sure the cats and dogs had food and water.
I loved helping feed the baby calves, and always, always fell in love with one or two each year, wishing they could be my very own pet. I learned to back up straight (after I learned to drive a stick) by backing several hundred feet along a lane, and dumping a half-full milk can of water (about 70 pounds if they were full!) into the calves’ water tank to make sure they had enough water.
I helped hoe the garden, and helped preserve its bounty, enjoying the fresh tasting frozen sweet corn and the better than store-bought canned green beans all winter.
And, lucky me, with my work-at-home folks, I usually either had both my parents home with me, or I was in the field where they were working!
I loved growing up on the farm!
by Sherry Stocking Kline
February 2, 2012
Many thanks to Lorine McGinnis Schultz for her “Sharing Memories” 52 Week Challenge!
Yes, I know that this is the Week 1 Challenge and yes, I know that makes me four (4) weeks behind! Situation Normal for me!
I have four memories that have to be age 2 1/2 or prior. While I’m not sure which one is the earliest, I think it is this one, as it ‘feels’ earlier than the other three. It’s certainly a funny memory, though I was kind of scared at the time!
I’m standing outside, just about 10 feet south of our farm home, barefoot, with my toes curling in the soft grass. I’m about 15 feet north of the outdoor water hydrant, and about forty feet north of the sand pile!
And honestly, I’m just a bit scared. I’m watching my two (much) older teen age brothers who are chasing each other around and around the yard. (They are 14 1/2 and 16 1/2 years older than I, you see.)
In one hand, they hold water guns, each one shooting a steady and deadly stream of water! In the other hand they carry gallon cans (maybe coffee cans) of water for fast refills. They are shouting and laughing and calling threats to one another as they shoot, dodge and refill their weapons of water annihilation. They are loud, they are rambunctious, and they running around the yard and around me as they jump around to try to miss the other shooter’s stream of water.
I remember being terrified that they might ‘shoot’ me, too, and yet I remember wishing that I had a water gun so that I could join in the fun. I don’t remember any more than that tiny little vignette. Our mom is not in my mind picture at all, so I don’t know if she was in the house or watching nearby, and I don’t remember how it began, or when it ended, or what any of us did next. I wish I did.
2. Another early memory I have is my mother and I stopping at my great-uncle’s home near Wellington and visiting with my great-grandfather, Roderick Remine Stocking, who passed away shortly before I turned three. He was the only grandfather still alive when I was born.
Great-Grandpa Roderick was very tall, white haired, and very distinguished looking. I think it was this combination that put this memory into my mind and also the reason it ‘stuck’ there. I recall that we visited him twice, and then I remember going to his funeral, or perhaps the funeral home shortly before I turned three and seeing him there in the casket. My parent’s had great respect for him and my mother was very fond of him and perhaps that is another reason that his memory has remained with me to this day.
3. One of my favorite early memories is going to the hospital to see my brand-new little nephew, Daryl, my oldest brother’s son! He was born in February, when I was 2 1/2 years old and he soon became my best bud and partner in crime! His little brother came along two years later, and by that time they had decided that children of our age were a danger for contagious illnesses and we were no longer allowed to visit hospitals and so we were not allowed to go see his little brother Brad, or his little brother Marlon, nor either of his little sisters, Tammy & Kris.
4. Looking back over these memories, I remember one more that had to be when I was in the two-year-old range when Gary, the youngest of my two brothers had surgery on his hip in a Wichita hospital and Mama took me along to visit him in the hospital with her. To bribe me, and to convince me to sit still, be quiet, and be good and patient, (not qualities I was long on as a two-year-old toddler) she bought tiny little toys for him to give me to play with while we were there.
Even so, I remember being bored quickly with the ‘be quiet’ and ‘sit still’ required in hospitals and I remember asking Mama “Can we go now?”
by Sherry Stocking Kline
October 12, 2011
My Mama was a really, really good cook. So when I asked myself what favorite food should I write about, it was a challenge to pick between her home-made ice cream, cinnamon twists, snow white divinity, or many other yummy foods.
But sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, I remembered that Sunday was my favorite meal of the week because we always, always had roast beef for Sunday dinners, usually along with home-made pies or cakes. And I loved our own raised-on-the-farm, cooked till it was juicy and tender roast beef.
We almost always went to Sunday School and church at the Mayfield Federated Church (Methodist & Presbyterian combined) in the nearby little town of Mayfield and we weren’t home in the morning to cook Sunday dinners, so Mom used her trusty electric skillet, set on low, to make the best, lightly browned, tastiest roast beef dinners cooked with potatoes and carrots.
She started out with our own farm-raised beef and added in potatoes and carrots (sometimes from the garden, though by the time I came along, the potatoes and carrots were almost always store-bought ones) and then all we had to do was come home and cook some fresh corn on the cob or home-canned green beans, slice up a few tomatoes (all usually from our garden), stir up some gravy, pop in some brown and serve rolls (or home-made rolls) for a fast, tasty Sunday dinner that was my hands-down favorite meal of the week!
Mom always had room at her table for more, and food enough for an army if one showed up. If company came home with us we weren’t expecting, we just added more veggies, an extra quart of green beans, a few more ears of corn, and a few extra tomatoes to make enough. And if Mom was expecting company, there was room in the skillet for an extra roast and more potatoes and carrots.
It may sound like a simple meal now, no duck a l’orange for us, but my mom had a special touch with everything she made, and it was just one more thing that made Sundays special for me.
My mother is still alive, (Praise the Lord) but with just three months to go before she turns 100, it’s me in the kitchen doing the cooking now, and I have to confess that I don’t have my mother’s love of cooking, nor her magic touch, but we do still enjoy lots of garden fresh veggies, though usually not from our own garden!
by Sherry Stocking Kline
18 May 2011
My cousin Maxine and her son Larry loaned me a HUGE box of photographs. It’s so heavy that I can’t lift it! I’ve spent the past 2 – 3 weeks scanning off and on, and some time this week to re-organize and locate the ones that I have questions about.
But just one of the treasures that they’ve loaned me is here below, a photograph of my great-grandfather, (and my cousin Larry’s as well) Roderick Remine Stocking.
I was between 2 and 3 when Great-Grandpa died, and I remember him as a very tall, white-haired gentleman. My mother, his granddaughter-in-law, dearly loved and respected him.
He and his wife, Frances Hitchcock Stocking homesteaded in Sumner County, Kansas, just west of Mayfield and the Chisholm Trail.
Their first home was 10 X 12 and they had to put the table out at night to put their bed down, and their oldest child, my Grandfather Elmer Leverett Stocking was born while they still lived in that home.
I think he is a very handsome and distinguished looking gentleman. And I sure wish I had had the opportunity to get to know him better.
And to ask him all the questions that I now have about family history!
by Sherry Stocking Kline
April 1, 2011
Week #13 – Sweets Week 13: Sweets. What was your favorite childhood candy or dessert?
Have your tastes changed since then? What satisfies your sweet tooth today? This challenge runs from Saturday, March 26, 2011 through Friday, April 1, 2011
Deciding what my favorite Sweet Stuff was when I was growing up wasn’t easy! Several things vie for first, but the most special sweet that I enjoyed eating at Christmas when Mom made pounds and pounds of it,was divinity!
White, airy, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth divinity!
Mom knew just when to stop cooking the corn-syrup-rich mixture, when to pour it over the whipped egg whites, and just how long to beat it. Mess up, and it will become a sticky caramel-like substance that tastes good, but you need a spoon to eat it.
Get it right, and it’s the food of angels.
Mom usually got it right.
A favorite with many, it was a ‘best-seller’ at the Mayfield Federated Church Lord’s Acre sale, often bringing high dollar bids. It was also a huge favorite of my nephew’s as well. For many years while he served in the Navy, Mom sent him a large box of divinity at Christmas time. Once he confessed to opening the box, hiding it from everyone, and eating the entire three pound box all by himself!
Can’t blame him for that!
by Sherry Stocking Kline
I’m trying to blog along with the “52 Weeks of Personal History and Genealogy.” As you can see, I’m more than a little behind.
Week 12: Movies. Did (or do you still) see many movies? Describe your favorites. Where did you see these films? Is the theater still there, or is there something else in its place?
This challenge runs from Saturday, March 19, 2011 through Friday, March 25, 2011.
I grew up on a wheat and dairy farm, about 10 miles from the nearest theater, and my folks were not rich, so we didn’t attend movies a lot.
They used to show movies on the side of buildings…
I learned after I was grown that many of the small towns in our area used to show movies on the side of a building and folks came to town, sat around in cars and chairs, visited, snacked, and made a Saturday night get-together out of it.
In fact, that used to be one of the ways that the merchants ‘lured’ people to town to shop, and then they stayed open on Saturday nights.
My husband remembered doing that, and him just a year ahead of/older than me, but I sure don’t remember it at all. I wish I did. It sounds like a wonderful way for small towns to spend some Saturday night fun together.
I Remember When We Saw Old Yeller…
I was eight years old, which means my brother Gary would have been twenty when “Old Yeller” came to our local historic Regent Theater (now newly renovated re-opened)
My brother asked me if I’d like to go to a movie with him on Saturday night.
And I’m all like “Me and you?”
And he was like ‘Yes, me and you!”
I thought he was kidding, I mean he usually went out on a date or out with his friends.
So, he got all Saturday-night-dressed-up, and I did, too, and we met up with one of his friends who had also brought along his little sister.
They bought us popcorn and pop, and sat us two rows in front of them. (Close enough they could watch us along with the movie, but maybe not so close that everyone knew we together, you suppose?)
On the way into town, my brother warned me that the movie had a sad ending, and that “Old Yeller” was going to die at the end.
With all the superior wisdom of an eight-year-old that knew that Disney movies did NOT have sad endings, I told him he was wrong, that it wasn’t going to end that way.
And of course, he said “yes, it does.”
Life Doesn’t Always Have a Happy Ending…
Well, come to the end of the movie, and us little girls are sitting there sniffling about that little boy having to kill his dog, “Old Yeller” because he has rabies, and he’s all like “I tried to tell you”, and I’m sniffling and saying “they didn’t have to kill him….”
I think maybe that was my first introduction to the notion that movies, and life, doesn’t always have a happy ending, and that sometimes you simply have to do things you don’t want to do.
But when I look back on it, it was a good memory, and a really unselfish thing for a twenty-year-old big brother to do.
I wish he were still here so I could say “thank you….” one more time.
by Sherry Stocking Kline
April 1, 2011
Cars were an important part of our lives on the farm. They took me to school, helped herd dairy cows, took us to town for groceries, to the elevator for supplies and nickel pepsi’s, and made ‘blood runs’ (high speed trips) to the parts store when the combine or tractors broke down.
Our cars had personalities (some more ‘congenial’ than others) and Mom always, always, named them “Nancy Jane.”
“Nancy Jane, you start now, we need to get to church,” she might say as we hurried off to church on a cold morning.
“Nancy Jane, don’t you dare get stuck,” she’d say as we slid sideways down slippery, muddy unpaved roads to and from our home.
It always seemed to me, growing up, that after Mom called the car Nancy Jane in a firm, encouraging, and sometimes scolding voice that the car made an extra effort to do exactly what Mom asked.
After she spoke to it, ‘Nancy Jane’ nearly always came through for us.
Do I talk to my vehicles?
Surely you jest! Of course I do! How else are they going to know what’s expected of them!
“Come on, Baby, we gotta go pick up the granddaughters from school….”
by Sherry Stocking Kline
March 19, 2011
At first no one knew what the little red, itchy, dots were. They thought it might be allergies and that being the case, my three nephews were exposed right after I came down with “it”, whatever “it” was.
And then they thought it might be measles.
But it was not measles.
It was Chicken Pox. By the time our parents figured out what I had, the boys, my nephews, 2 1/2, 4 1/2 years, and 6 1/2 years younger than I, were coming down with it, too.
So we were miserable together. We didn’t have air conditioning in our little farm home. It was summer in Kansas. It was Hot. How in the world did we ever live without air conditioning, anyhow?
We had what was referred to as a squirrel cage cooler that ran air over water from an outdoor hose. It just barely cooled the air down, and it moved it around fast enough to blow your hair, and you had to talk loud to be heard over it. It also added humidity to the air, so on hot, humid, muggy, days it was like trying to breath under water with that thing running.
No one wanted four miserable whiny kids in the house…
Anyhow, no one wanted four miserable itchy, whiny, hot kids in the house with them, so our parents set up old green Army cots under the shade tree by the water hydrant in the back yard, just a few feet from the back door in the shade and the south wind. They probably gave us some books and coloring books, and then they parked us outside in the breeze.
If we had a television then, and I can’t remember if we did or not, there were only three channels and few things that kids would be interested in watching. I don’t remember much more about that time, except that we were sick, itchy, and bored beyond distraction. We were close to a sand pile and a water source and we didn’t feel like playing, so we laid on the cots, scratched, and whined.
Fortunately for me, I got it first, so I got over it first, and so I was able to escape our exile sooner than my nephews could!
by Sherry Stocking Kline
March 17, 2011
Many of my childhood sounds still surround me.
I grew up on a wheat and dairy farm in south central Kansas and I’ve not moved so very far from where I grew up, so the turtle dove that sings in the evening near my city home reminds me of nightfall on the farm.
When I visit friends or family in the country I hear bobwhite quail calling their mates, cattle lowing as they crop the grass, and occasionally the mournful midnight howl of a coyote.
We actually have fox, deer, and coyotes that roam in our little area of our small city at night, especially near the creek that runs through town. Wander around near my neighborhood after midnight, and you may spot a deer family grazing in someone’s yard or a fox or coyote hurrying to get out of the headlights of your car.
In the spring, summer, and fall in the country you can hear the sounds of tractors running in the fields, and see the dust they stir up blowing in the wind. It reminds me of when I used to ride on the fender of the tractor with either Mom or Dad while they worked in the field, or when I ran barefoot in the furrow behind the plow with our collie dog, Lassie.
In June and July, if you drive by Kansas wheat fields with their golden stalks blowing in the south wind, you can hear the sounds of wheat harvest: combines running and spewing out the spent stalks from the back and trucks traveling in low gear to get out of the field as they hurry to deliver the grain to the nearby elevators.
It reminds me of hot, sweaty, but fun days riding the combines first with my daddy, then with my brothers, and later my husband as they kept an eye on the clouds, worried about the weather, and hurried to get the wheat cut before the rain or hail came.
It brings back memories of the field picnics we had, much like today’s tailgate parties, with sandwiches and potato chips on paper plates and trying to catch the potato chips that were blowing off your plate. Nothing tasted as good as the cold iced tea from the gallon field jug and no picnic was as much fun as eating in the field when the men stopped for a few minutes to eat, talk about the harvest, eye the clouds for rain, and predict the yields before climbing back on the combines and cutting late into the night.
At night, the combine’s lights shine on the golden stalks as the reel pulls each one hungrily, whooosh, whooosh, whoossssshhhhhh into the combine’s auger and then threshes out the grain and dumps it into the bin behind the driver.
I loved to ride the combines, especially at night, when the heat of the day was gone and the breeze combed your hair with its fingers and cooled your skin with its touch.
And the wheat beards whispered secrets in the wind.
by Sherry Stocking Kline
Sunday, September 5, 2010
There is no Joy in Joyland.
On Sunday, July 18th, I received an e-mail forward from a cousin that said “Stan Nelson, owner of Joyland died today.”
So I checked Wichita Eagle’s website at Kansas.com and found this article by Beccy Tanner “Joyland a theme in Nelson’s life”.
My cousin’s email also included the link to a photo slide show by Mike Hutmacher, Wichita Eagle, with photographs of the long-closed and now sadly in disrepair Joyland. ( Click Here to view the slide show, complete with calliope music.)
It was the sideshow that prompted this post…
The slideshow begins, and there it is, Joyland. Larger than life when we were children; the stuff of dreams. There’s the bridge we used to run over to get to the magic inside. Now it’s covered with wind-blown leaves. Deserted.
And there are the rides. What’s left of them. Where is the Merry-go-Round with its fiery steeds? And where are the bump-em cars that we drove fiendishly into all our friends with all the the precision of drunken sailors? Both gone.
The Tilt-A-Whirl, part of it, remains, looking like deserted teacups from a giant’s forgotten tea party.
Can’t someone please rescue the train…
And the little steam engine train that could (and did) take you around the park, in and out among the trees, over a little bridge, and by your family picnicking in the pavilian, while all the while going rackety-clackety-clack, and Whoooo-uh-ooooooo when it came to a crossing . The train, a favorite ride, sits waiting for passengers to go again. (Oh, please, can’t someone rescue the train?)
And the roller coaster. Falling, faded white boards. Surely this can’t be the terrifying ride that traumatized me so when our eighth grade class went there on a field trip that after one ride up, down, and around on the rattly track I wouldn’t climb back on it , not for all the tea in China and not even for the chance to sit with the cute little green-eyed, blond-haired boy that asked me to go again? Surely this short, faded pile of wood isn’t the same one.
And there’s the ferris wheel, minus the little ‘people buckets’ that swayed and swung as you went up, over, and around and around, terrifying twenty-something young-mom-me, holding onto my tiny daughter for dear life, afraid to look down.
Joyland. Even the name brings back a kaleidoscope of memories: the night my nephew, Daryl, just barely younger than I pitched a fit so instead of staying home with a sitter, we all got to ‘help’ his folks chaperone the youth group, falling asleep in the back window of a car on the way home letting the stars lull me to sleep. (No seatbelt laws then and no seat belts, either.)
Church picnics, family picnics, and ride-all-night-nights…
There were church picnics and family picnics and ride-all-night-nights-for-$5.00 church nights. And my goodness, look at the sign, a ticket for a nickel. The rides are gone along with the prices.
And while the rides may be gone, and the grounds may be deserted, we still have the memories.
Thank you, Mr. Nelson….