In years gone by, most farmer’s children worked on the farms of their parents. Many still do, but the way they worked has change quite a bit. Back in the old west and beyond, the fields were plowed on foot using team of horses or oxen to assist in pulling the plow through the hard ground. It has hard work, and usually resulted in the blistering of hands that were not used to it. In those days, the women didn’t usually work the farms, unless there simply was no other choice, and women with calloused hands were looked down upon and thought to be…well, not really a true lady…at least, not by Eastern standards. They just didn’t understand what it took to build the West. Many times, people moved out West with the promise of a homestead, and 5 years to prove the land. Money was scarce, and you did what you had to do…including setting your children to the task of helping out on the farm.
It is my opinion that the way things were done in the old West better trained the children for adulthood. I have watched so many kids go through life without having to shoulder any responsibility, and then continue on in life in the same way. Some becoming “professional students” so that they won’t have to get a job, while their parents pay their way. It’s a sad, sad situation, and one the parents find themselves having trouble getting out of.
The kids in the old West understood that their help was needed or the family was not going to make it. School became a luxury and one that often ended after the eighth grade, if not before. Their time was needed elsewhere. Things have changed dramatically since then. Farm equipment has made the work on the farm much easier, and the children aren’t needed to the degree that they used to be. That is a good thing in that more kids finish school.They also have time to just be kids these days. I’m still not sure which is better…or maybe there is no better…just different.
When you have a family member in a nursing home, and you visit them often, the other residents of the nursing home soon become…almost like your family members too. You get to a place where you know their names, their personalities, and their funny little quirks. Of course, I’m not going to tell their names, even though I know them, but there are the two old ladies that didn’t know each other until they went to the nursing home and became roommates. Now everyone calls them the twins, because they are inseparable. They may not know where they are going, but they will be going there together…and together, they wander the hallways, always smiling and totally happy.
There is the little old lady who is often the first one to tell you hello when you walk in the door, and she doesn’t mind giving medical advice if you have a cough or some other simple ailment, because “she raised 7 children, so she knows what to do for a cough” and for just about any other ailment. She isn’t pushy though, she just wants to be helpful. There is the little old lady that walks down the halls and out of the blue, she just starts dancing a jig, and can even click her heals. While her mind doesn’t work as good as her body, she is perfectly happy and content in her surroundings. Of course, every nursing home has the sad ones and the grouchy ones, but many of them are happy and cheerful, and they always put a smile on my face.
The one that really surprised me the most though, was my mother-in-law’s roommate. She is a happy little lady and quite talkative when you get to know her. She will tell you that she was “born in Oklahoma 94 years ago, and that is the place where the tornadoes are…you know”. It wasn’t the things she said or the way she acted that surprised me, but rather…the way she looked. I mean, who would have guessed in a million years that my mother-in-law would end up sharing a room in a nursing home with a woman who looks so much like her mother-in-law. Yes, grandma was 10 years older than mom’s roommate, and Grandma never made it to 94, but I can easily imagine that she might have look just like her if Grandma had made it to 94. It makes me feel kind of good about mom’s roommate, because when she talks to her, it seems like she knows her, and maybe she thinks she is her mother-in-law. The other day she told her, “I was wondering if you were coming in.” It was just like something she might have said to her mother-in-law…like she thought her roommate was her mother-in-law, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she did.
Often, when we ask about the events of someone’s life, it is amazing the seemingly little things about them, that were really big things, and yet, we did not know about them. My Aunt Bonnie is like that. There are a lot of things I knew about her, like her talent for cake decorating. She made my 25th anniversary cake, my girls wedding cakes, and so many cakes for other people. So many wedding receptions were made beautiful because of those cakes. They have endeared Aunt Bonnie to all of us for many years.
But it was not the cakes that I found out about recently, but something else…and I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me, because of the way she was with the cakes…giving them as a wedding gift to the couple. It was that years ago, when Aunt Bonnie was 13 or 14 years old, she did some volunteer work. My mom wasn’t sure exactly what the work was, because she was married and living in Wisconsin, but she thought it had to do with making phone calls and service men. I’m sure that my story will bring to light the whole story, but Mom told me that it was important work, and Aunt Bonnie was very proud of the work she did. I never knew that she had anything to do with volunteering for the USO or the Army.
As I said, my story brought out the real story, and Aunt Sandy called me to fill in the missing details. I want to thank her for her assistance in getting to the whole story. Aunt Bonnie worked in the Airforce Filter Center. Her job was to keep track of where each company of men were to pass on to their relatives. I agree that her work was very important…especially to the families of the soldiers who were deployed. I am very proud of my aunt’s service to our country, and to our soldiers.
Another thing I didn’t know, is that Aunt Bonnie did some acting in plays as a young lady. She was a part of a local theater group. Acting…a far cry from what I would have thought. It isn’t that I can’t see Aunt Bonnie acting, because she has so many talents, that it makes sense that acting was one of them. I would love to have seen some of the plays she was in. Who knew?? Maybe I can’t say I knew herthen, but I can say…I know her now!!
Today is Aunt Bonnie’s birthday. She is a very special lady, and bring much joy and beauty into the lives of all who know her. Happy birthday Aunt Bonnie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!