Imogene, The Farm & City Kids

I hope that when you are reading this I am visiting or about to visit Imogene in Indiana.

She’s the only Grandma I’ve ever known as my mom’s mother passed away when I was just six months old.

I’ve been lucky enough to be the keeper of some very special family photos.

Side note: Volunteer to make an album and relatives might give you some precious pictures.

My mom grew up on this farm and I grew up as a city kid who was lucky enough to visit the farm.

FarmAlbumPage

Imogene sent me a thick envelope of pictures in 1995 and I love what she wrote and I included it on the album page. Grab a magnifying glass, it’s worth reading!

My cousin Dayna captured the essence of us city kids visiting the farm by writing this story for the family reunion album I created almost 15 years ago.

For a little girl who lived in the city, the farm might as well have been Disney World. There were so many things to explore and never enough time. From the gravel road you turned into the driveway which had a bridge over the pond. Never mind that there was probably only inches of water beneath it, I always held my breath as we went over it because there were no sides to this bridge and you just never knew how good a driver your Dad was! Up the hill stood the farmhouse and many, many other buildings just waiting to be explored. There were skinny sidewalks that surrounded the house and sometimes led to nowhere. There were so many doors and porches on that house it was amazing. Of course, one sidewalk led down to the outhouse which was, to a city kid, unbelievable. The darkness, smell and bugs in the corner were just enough to make you wish you were back home! Then there was that huge big tank in the yard which you never fully understood what it was used for. It was best for telling your little brother or sister that if they hit it too hard, it just might explode the whole farm! What a great place this farm was for me. I can remember every little detail about it as if I were just there yesterday. It’s all in my heart and memory forever.

My Grandad passed away the year I married PhilBillPaul. We continued to have family reunions on Labor Day weekend at my Uncle Jack’s farm for more than 25 years.

Now it was my turn to bring my city kids to the farm. City kids getting to see pigs is a big deal.

KidsatFarm

But the bigger deal has always been spending time with extended family. The stories. The pictures. The memories.

Here is one of my favorite quotes I included on the album page that was my Grandad’s last Labor Day reunion…

Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
–Robert Brault

All those reunions were the big things. I always knew that. I still know that.

My mom is the second youngest of seven children who are all still alive.

(I won’t mention names but ages range from 81 to 59…can you hear my slow whistle? It’s impressive, we know!)

13 years and one month flew by and we didn’t miss the irony when she was the first to lose her spouse, my dad, at the age of 60.

Meanwhile, the years continue to pass by and time doesn’t stand still.

I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. I hope this will be a soft whisper and a gentle reminder.

Last year as I made my way back home from The Black Hole, I stopped in to spend the afternoon with Imogene. We went shopping and out to eat and before I left I snapped this picture of her standing by my car with my camera phone. At age 91, my bright blue VW Bug matches her personality.

ImogeneMay07

Imogene is funny and spunky and I have always loved spending time with her. To get to spend one-on-one time with her is a sheer delight for me.

Of course, the time I get to spend with her is rare since we moved from Indiana when I was in the 3rd grade and I’ve never lived there again.

Kids and life have a way of getting in the way of visiting.

I’m making the time to visit this week. It is a privilege that I don’t take lightly.

Notice I said I’m making time. It’s not in the budget. It’s not on the schedule. The teenagers will probably think of new reasons for me to take Valium while I’m away. Maybe I should leave some Valium for PhilBillPaul…

But I’m going because I can’t stop time and on my list of priorities, this one is right at the top of my list.

Hopefully I’ll get to see Uncle Jack, Uncle Jerry, Aunt Jane, Sally, Dayna and anyone else interested in seeing me while I’m there. As you can imagine, there are a whole lot of relatives in Indiana. But I’m starting with the oldest and most favorite first. 🙂

Dysfunction still abounds but…

There’s a magical tie to the land of our home, which the heart cannot break, though the footsteps may roam.
–Eliza Cook

And I’m bringing my good camera this time.

Life Lesson (LL): Life is short. Make time, take pictures and don’t forget to write down the stories.

Share a Life Lesson (SALL): Share a favorite story about your grandparents…your memory might help someone create a family memory for their family!

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One year ago..

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Comments

  1. 1
    Melinda says:

    What a wonderful story, Sherra, but then that doesn’t surprise me in the least because you are a true storyteller. Every time I read one of your posts, it inspires me.

    I too have a large family and wonderful memories. My DH and I are planning a trip to TX this summer so that our kids can see where he grew up. He’s another one from a very dysfunctional family and he has strayed far from his roots and doesn’t stay in touch so I do what I can to help my kids know both sides of their heritage.

    hope you have a wonderful trip. I look forward to hearing about it in a future post.

    God speed…

  2. 2
    Karen says:

    All of my grandparents were great and, sadly, all are gone. I spent more time with my dad’s mom – mamaw. Yep! That’s pronounce mam-awwwww. I am from the deep south.
    Mamaw put tamaters in her winder to ripen, “sewed up” a great quilt, took her laundry off the line when “a thundercloud” came up, used her “hose pipe” to water her tamaters, and every day she wore a house dress and no shoes (spring, summer and fall – in winter she put on a sweater and shoes). I loved her with all my heart and she loved me right back.
    I spent many joyous days with her in Rome, GA. I haven’t lived there since I was 19 – I am 54. Recently, when visiting my parents in Rome, I went by the house where she lived to take pictures and the one where we lived a short 8 blocks away. It was a mill village where my mamaw lived in a four room house and we lived in a five room house.
    I’ve begun to write down my memories of those fun days and the activities that filled those days. My mamaw taught me how to cook cornbread, play solitare and jacks, enjoy a rocker on the front porch, shuck corn, snap green beans, shell butterbeans, the value of quiet time on the front porch in a rocker, the value of honesty, cleanliness – clean when it doesn’t look dirty but there might be germs, how to speed-straighten a house when company is coming and many, many more things.
    My favorite story about her is that she told only me (at age 12ish) that she was off to marry for a second time (she was in her sixties, my papaw (pap awww) had died in his early fifties). She swore me to secrecy and to only tell where she was if someone decided to call the state patrol looking for her. I did, and I had to admit I knew where she was just before my dad along with aunts and uncles started to call the Ga State Patrol to report her missing. I was in deep trouble but I kept my promise!
    Thanks for creating a place to share. 😉

  3. 3
    Sherra says:

    Melinda » Where in Texas? PhilBillPaul and the kids might want to tag along so they can visit his family. 🙂

  4. 4
    Sherra says:

    Karen » Ahhh what sweet memories of your mamaw. So glad you shared and even more glad you are writing down your memories!

  5. 5

    I miss the farms of my youth.

  6. 6
    Tammy says:

    This article hit so close to home and aligned with a morning motivational newsletter I get that posed the question: If you were to die today, what would be the most important thing you should do or finish? This coupled with your post make me realize that I need to realign my priorities with the tasks I do daily. Sometimes the day is just gone and you realize that, though you got a bunch of “stuff” done, none of it moved you closer to your goals and your personal truth.

    Our time here is finite and we need to make all the memories and tell all the stories and record all the history we can. I am going to make some time to visit with my grandma this weekend. Thanks for the reminder Sherra. You are such a gift!

  7. 7
    Sherra says:

    Tammy » So glad you went to visit your grandma. For those of us still fortunate enough to have grandparents to visit – it’s so worth making the time to be with them. Sometimes we get so darn busy with the “urgent” that we neglect the “important” and I’m as guilty as anyone!

  8. 8
    Terry says:

    I am not sure if this is a lesson, story or comment so you decide. The other day my 17 year old daughter asked me about my childhood. I am sure something happened that day to spark her interest in my youthful days but since I am no longer youthful I cannot remember what that was. Anyway I began telling her crazy stories about my hillbilly family and all the drinking and stupid things they did. As I told her, she laughed and then all of a sudden proclaimed that she would like me to put all these stories in writing. You know like a book. Yikes I can’t write I told her. She actually knows this fact because whenever I do need to write something I ask for her assistance. At my age and being a self employed antique shop owner I don’t have to write such important things like people who work in the corporate world but still I believe the writing I am usually forced into is important enough to require her help. I write letters to the Editor a lot because people piss me off and I need to vent and I write to our congressmen, state representatives, etc about things I don’t agree with or think need to be changed to suit me. I also write to the local energy company about the absurd rise in our electric and heating bills. They make me mad because my husband works for them and at the end of each year brings home a report showing how much the CEOs of the company made for the year in salary, bonuses and stock options. It is always in the 1.5 million dollar range. Now this warrants a letter from me because they have just recently sent me a letter informing ME that they need to increase my budget plan so they can get their money two months earlier than the initial scheduled agreement. Oh I say: I understand because God forbid the CEO would get his bonus cut down to 500,000 per year instead of 800,000 because they couldn’t tidy up all the consumers budget bills by end of the year. Ok yes I went off the subject a bit so I will get back on track. The book I am suppose to write about my childhood memories for my daughter is the subject. I am working on it but is not easy. All of a sudden these memories are making me wonder how I survived my family’s craziness. I do have to admit I am laughing about most of the stories. So now my point in all of this is should I have told these stories to my daughter in the first place because now it has become a job for me. That I guess is the lesson part, the rest is just a bunch of rambling. Sherra you gave me grief for not participating in this blog thing now you will probably wish you hadn’t peaked my interest.

Trackbacks

  1. […] am back in town from a week in Indiana visiting Imogene and some other relatives. More on that visit on […]

  2. […] As I shared last week, I went back home to Indiana to visit Imogene. […]

  3. […] in the day. I certainly remember that he and my uncle and cousins would go squirrel hunting and Imogene cooked it. I’m getting queasy […]

  4. […] Thanks in large part to my Uncle Jack. […]

  5. […] My dear Uncle Jack passed away suddenly on Saturday afternoon. […]

  6. […] I wrote about her in 2008… She’s the only Grandma I’ve ever known as my mom’s mother passed away when I was just six months old… […]