My Life Growing Up in the Country
My Country Roots
I was born in a city, and then I moved with my parents to a small town in the country. We lived next to my grandma and grandpa, on the same property. My two younger brothers were born, and then we lived there until I was in 8th grade. At that time, we moved to another city a couple of hours away, in the suburbs.
I have many fond memories of my childhood in the country, and some sad memories, too. Even a few scary ones. But here, I will share my favorite memories from my childhood growing up in the country, on nine tenths of an acre.
The Fruit Trees
One thing that sticks out in my mind, when I remember my childhood, is my grandparents' long, winding driveway, lined with fruit trees of every kind. There was a cherry tree, an apricot tree, a peach tree, a lemon tree, a persimmon tree, and many others. We also had an almond tree to the right of my grandparents' house. I remember how I loved to climb in the trees and pick the fruit. We would eat some right there, and also put it in bags to bring into the house to be washed. Then grandma and my mom, and my great-grandma (who had come to live with my grandparents) would make such yummy things out of the fruit, like pies, cobblers, and jams. My favorite fruits were the cherries and apricots. We even had a strawberry patch at least one year that I can remember, and we grew watermelons in my grandma's garden one year. I still love fruit of all kinds to this day, and feel I owe that to my grandma and grandpa, who loved having fresh, ripe fruit around all the time.
Playing in the Irrigation Water
My grandparents' property spanned nine tenths of an acre, with lots of trees that needed to be watered frequently. Thus, my grandfather would irrigate the property from time to time. When that happened, my little brother and I got very excited, because this meant we could get our swimsuits on and run and play in the water. We had such great times together, running all over the property and getting soaked. I guess it was another version of running in the sprinklers (which we also did plenty of). However, we were warned never to play in the irrigation ditches, of which there were two on our property. They filled up with water, and could be very dangerous. I hope it gave my grandpa joy to see us having so much fun playing, even as he was doing the hard work of maintaining his sprawling land.
Swingset and Teeter Totter Days
When I was a kid, I remember my grandpa and my dad building a special teeter-totter for us, next to our swingset. It was so much fun to play on that with my brother or friends who would come visit. Our swingset could provide hours of fun for us kids, too. My brother Daniel and I would pretend we were Jasmine and Aladdin, since at that time we were obsessed with the Disney movie. We would ride on the basket swing, imagining we were flying over the beautiful cities in the movie, in that scene where Aladdin takes Jasmine for a "carpet ride". Daniel wore my jean vest, which was too small for him I might add, and pretended to be Aladdin, and we also had a "magical carpet", which was really just a plastic mat meant to drive toy cars on (complete with roads, etc). But it was good enough for us - we let our imaginations take flight! We would sing at the top of our lungs and run around the yard, caught up in our imaginary worlds together. We are 5 years apart in age, but we still played a lot together and had the best times. Little did we know that Matthew would be born many years later, and we'd have another little bud to play with.
Going to Visit "The Big House"
When I was a kid, living next door to my grandparents but on the same property, we would often refer to my grandma and grandpa's house as "The Big House". We would often say, "I'm going over to visit The Big House" to announce our departure. It was wonderfully convenient to pop next door to say hello. Usually, one could find my grandma and great-grandma sitting at the kitchen table, doing crossword puzzles, sitting across from one another. Just as often, both would be playing solitaire, once again sitting right across from one another. One time I asked them why they didn't just play a card game together. In unison they both exclaimed, "She cheats!" What a laugh we all had with that one.
On holidays and birthdays we would often have family gatherings with all the cousins, aunts and uncles at the "Big House". Thanksgiving and Christmas were always special times. My grandma and great-grandma would bake delicious pies and holiday food, and everyone would feast. There was the "grown up table" and the "kids table", and everyone seemed to be vying to sit with the adults. The funny thing is, even as an adult I usually ended up sitting at the "kids table", usually because my little brother wanted me to sit by him. It's funny what type of things seemed important back then, from a child's perspective.
In any event, a good time was always had by all, and we made great memories that will stay with me forever. I hope to continue to have the same kind of joyful gatherings with my family throughout the years, especially now that I'm a mother and can pass down some fun traditions, as well as make special memories with my husband and my son.
I'll Always Remember My Country Days and Nights
Living in the country was so much fun. It was a great way to grow up, with plenty of space to run and play, adventures to have, and trouble to get into! Living in the country was quiet and peaceful during the day, and at night, too - although you could often hear the howl of a coyote in the distance, or even a mountain lion! During the day, you could see a beautiful view of the mountains, pretty trees all around, and wide open spaces, with blue skies and puffy white clouds. At night, many stars were clearly visible, due to not having any light pollution out there. I will always remember hanging out on the screened in porch at night talking at night, playing outside during the day, picking vegetables and fruit and flowers, without a care in the world. I will always remember the hammock my grandpa put up between two trees, where I laughed and played with my sweet, cuddly kitten. I'll always remember special times with my brothers and cousins. Although I love living in the city and experiencing all city life has to offer, I wouldn't trade my time in the country either, and I highly recommend raising children and families in a country environment. I know my childhood shaped who I am today, and I'm really grateful to my parents, grandparents, and older cousins for the blessing they've been in my life and all they taught me during those long country days.