Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Travelling Man

My parents are taking a creative writing class at the local college where they live in California. It's a class designed for older students, and is to encourage them to write their memories down. Many of the stories my mother has already shared with me, but my father is not that way, so his stories are new and fun for me to read. He just turned 77, and was raised in a small town in northern Utah called Richmond, located in Cache Valley. This story, which was for the given prompt of an early childhood memory, I found so endearing. I could picture my father as a small boy as I read this, and wanted to share. Enjoy .......

By Arland D. Hillyard

My Mother was a stay at home mom, as was every mother in the town where I grew up. But, her responsibilities, besides raising me was summer canning, raising a garden, caning eggs, and the list goes on and on.

One of the first memories I have is my almost daily trips around the neighborhood. In my home town the city was laid out in square blocks. Here were no house numbers and no mail delivery. I remember that four trips around the block equaled a mile.

Almost daily I would leave the house, and walk a half block the Aunt Tea's home. Aunt Tea was not really my aunt, but a widow lady who count read Danish. She would transcribe our letters from Denmark into English. If there were letters from Denmark, it was my official duty to be the courier within my neighborhood. After my arrival, I would stay for a while and be given a cookie or two and visit. I would then go to the Bullen Home next door to the south. Louie had been a barber, but lost his left leg to diabetes I think. His wife, Maude, was in poor health, staying in bed in a warm room. I hated going in there because the odor was quite unpleasant. Louie would sit out on the front porch whittling. He was a nice guy that used to tease a lot. If he was not out on the porch, my friends and I would go check behind the columns on the porch to see if he had left one of his completed carvings which we all cherished.

In the next house, lived the Ag. Teacher at the high school, I remember him because after he moved intro a newer house, he was the only person to own a power mower. His children were a lot older. I don't remember his wife, hence I bypassed this place on my travels.

I would then cross the street and end up at my Aunt Mary’s place. Her cookies & pastries were five star. She also had 5 & 10 cent toy cars I could play with. My Aunt Mary and my mother would exchange magazines and books which I would transport back and forth.

A side note: Aunt Mary was my father's half sister. They both came to the United States as small children. Although separated during their younger years they got together married, and lived a half a block apart. The two couple’s first child was a boy, born in the same year. Their second child, boys, born 4 years later, their third baby was a girl, 4 years after. My parents four child was me. Since I had no counter part I chose a life of travel.

I know what I have written is true. I was reminded by the two families about how I would wonder around the neighborhood collecting my bag of goodies.

1 comment:

Rach said...

Wow, no house numbers or mail delivery, children wandering around the town. How different times were back then.