Sunday, January 22, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 22nd Installment

his boots at the light switch and quite often would hit the switch just right and shut off the light, as he did tonight.

       “Nighty night.”

       “I was thinking,” I started.

       “You think too much in my opinion,” Russ said.

       “This new house is sure nice with central heat,” I mused.

       “Go to sleep.”


        “What!” patience wasn't Russell's long suit.

       “Nothing,” I said. I was thinking of the old farm house in the winter, and how miserable it had been when it was below zero, like cold, cold, cold. There had been no heat, only the potbelly wood stove in the main room and the flat top wood burning stove in the kitchen – nothing in our room, Linda’s room, or the parent’s room. I remember listening to Edith and Vernon discuss building a new home with central heat, a modern kitchen with an electric stove, and most of all indoor plumbing, while I was playing under a nearby free standing storage cabinet. It was a good place to fool around but an even better place to eavesdrop on parental discussions. Indoor plumbing! I was dreaming of doing my ones and twos inside the house, and how we could tip over and demolish the old ‘two–holer’ outhouse and bury the hole. I hoped the Old Man would let us do it; sort of closure for all the discomfort in the cold, the stink in the heat, and the fear wandering out to do potty in the dark. For now we were living in a building that had only walls, a roof, and a ‘fire up your own stove’ for heat. I remember if we had a cup of water in our room, it would be frozen in the morning; the only way to keep warm was to pile on all the blankets – “stack the quilts deep and try to sleep!” In the mornings, the Old Man would have the potbelly going, and Edith would be firing up the flat top kitchen stove. We would listen for the 'clank' in the stove door closing, then one of us would yell, “Three, two, one, go!” We’d jump out from under the pile of blankets and hightail it to the stove where we’d left our clothes the night before, dress in a flash and all the time try to stay as close to the stove as we dared without touching it.

       “Get water,” Edith would call. Of course, the house had no running water and no indoor plumbing. We had a two–holer outhouse way out back we called the ‘thunder box’ in the summer and the ‘shiver shanty’ in the winter. You don't sit long when it’s below zero. Also, you had to make sure your butt wasn’t wet or you could be frozen to the seat until spring. We’d shrug on our heaviest coats, don our stocking caps and pull on our gloves even though we

500 more words tomorrow

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