Monday, January 23, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 23rd Installment

would be out for only 10 excruciating minutes. We needed the gloves because at 20 to 30 below zero anything moist would immediately freeze to anything metal, like the pump handle, especially your tongue. Every child has experienced this crisis of painful entrapment to some extent in the northern territories above the 43rd parallel. The pump house was just a wood shed that enclosed the pump jack. Because the only convenience we had on this primitive farm was electricity, the Old Man had wired up an electric motor to a gear driven jack that would run the pump rod up and down until water would rise out of the well, slosh down the spout in spurts and into our 10 gallon can. It would take most of our frigid 10 minutes outside to fill the can; then we’d yank the knife switch to shut off the motor, grab the milk can handles and run–walk, hefting the 80 pounds of water into the kitchen. The wood stove would be warming the kitchen nicely by then, and we’d pour about half of the can of water into the hot water tank built into the stove and put the ‘optimistic can’ (a can half full) in the corner by the water dipper for everyone who needed to get a drink.

           Our little farm family was growing. Our parents bought the farm, I believe, early in 1947, – so Linda and Russell were born in Idaho Falls, Linda in May of 1945, and Russell in January of 1947. I was born September 19, 1948, born ‘to farm’ on the farm. Then there was a five year gap before the next baby arrived. Our folks were, apparently, too busy with toddlers and a new farm to consider a new baby. Vicki was born October of 1953. Then came another long gap of time and Eddie arrived in March 1957, and he was the last youngster to arrive while we lived in the old house. Jerry was born in February of 1959, and Carma, the last of seven children, arrived in July of 1961. Both were born while we lived in the new house. The parents… now this is a hard one to figure what year, but I do know they were born on the same date, March 26th but in different years. Edith was in 1926 and Vernon, I was told, was eight years older--that would put him in 1918.
All the kids got a bath every Sunday night in a 30 gallon wash tub – whether they needed it or not. After Sunday dinner was cooked and devoured, the water tank attached to the stove would be steaming, and the whole house would be warm. Edith would drag out the wash tub, put it by the potbelly stove, and fill it half full. Then she’d wash baby Eddie’s hair while holding him in the water and she would always get wet because Eddie thrashed his feet splashing water all over.

500 more words tomorrow

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