Rain = feeling lazy and sleepy.
Or, at least that is how I am mentally conditioned (thank you mom). We, my twin brother & sister and I, grew up in a rural community, in Ohio. My parents moved to Ohio when I was three years old; my brother and sister had only been born a few months. Living there until my grandparents failing health impacted the decision to move back to help out in Virginia. Imagine, transplanting three predominantly northern raised children in to the south west mountains of Virginia. (Other stories for another time)
Summer weather in Ohio can be tricky business. I think my mom pretended it was nap time in order to gather us together in case a summer storm took a turn for the worse. On the occasion they did, we would head to the basement. Anyone living on the Ohio River Valley or any part of tornado alley areas know and understands exactly what I mean.
During that time, Holgate was a small community, surrounded by extremely large farms. Farmers grew things like soy, corn, alfalfa and beans. The size and extent of those farms seemed to go on and on for miles. The farming equipment they use is very large. A, must have, in order to work those massive sized farms. Some of the machines are as large as coal mining equipment which I see used for stripping coal here in SW Virginia. AG ED was a big and important part of the life. My children laugh at the notion of AG (agriculture) Ed (education) being as a big deal as it was. But, it was, and for all I know, it still is today.
There was a train track that ran through our town. Main street was the central location of the farms and houses surrounding its perimeter. Anchored at one end by a large grain elevator and the opposite end by an immigration camp. The bins of the grainary stored the produce which was to be hauled off by train and the camp area is where migrant farmers and their families lived.
This immigrant camp, was mostly a temporary living arrangement for the farm hands. Sometimes, more than one family lived together in each house. I would describe them, as small, shanty like buildings, not really even houses. They were not as nice as the coal camp houses of the south, that I have seen. Most migrants only stayed long enough to work a season, moving on when the work was finished. Some would chose to stay with their families and make homes. Their children became part of the community, schoolmates which I played, befriended and grew up with. It never occurred to us to think of them in any way, except friends.
During the 70’s, a lot of changes were happening. But as a kid, I was too young to understand most what the “hippies” were all about or what being termed a “baby boomer” meant. I was a kid, playing softball, riding bikes and hanging out at the pool with my friends. Our biggest worry was rainy days, not having enough money for ice cream and whether of not “the cute guy” I was crushing on liked me or not. For me, living in the seventy’s came and went without much disruption or understanding. That is, until I grew a little older.
But as the seventy’s drew to an end and I was growing more aware of the world around me. The conflicts in the news seemed a little more real as they grew in proportion with my understanding. The issues became world-wide scaled and more important. From the hostage taking in Iran, Three Mile Island catastrophe, and the imminent fear of a nuclear holocaust, we watched, listened and grew as the Vietnam War veterans seem to fade from existence. The seventy’s were definitely a decade of change.
Living in Virginia was confusing and a culture shock for me and my brother and sister. I realized quickly there were large differences between what I had grown up learning and accepting as the norm and what changes had not yet become part of this area of Virginia. I listened and observed and adapted. Times were changing, the beginning of new exchanges and interactions between my friends and neighbors of the new spanish speaking residents began trickle into and become a part of this region. Change is always difficult and often uncomfortable for most. But, as time marches on, as with all things, people adapt. Albeit, slower in some places than others.
Today my post has been a story from childhood and growing up during in the 70’s. When I’ve made a little more progress with my art work, I am looking forward to sharing that with you.
In the mean time I hope you enjoyed my story on this rainy weekend.