The first year the husband and I slowly filled the farm with odds and ends of furniture…finally there was a shiny white electric stove direct from Sears and Roebuck sitting in the kitchen. A couch from here, a chair from there and we were sitting pretty comfortable…he still working at Ekco and I finally had to stop working at Penley’s because their insurance did not cover pregnant women over seven months. Oh, well! A week later, I walked each day from our farm to Dan Cole’s farm in Greenwood Center to work a night shift at Ekco. That lasted a few weeks and I got in my daily exercise! Thank goodness I had someone to offer me a ride home at 1 a.m.!! That was 1957 and I brought Debra Jo into the world on June 25th. I had never held a newborn in my arms, so that was a totally new experience for the baseball playing tomboy !! Let’s add to that fact that she had colic and never stopped crying her first three months. Being so small at 5 lbs and a few ounces, she couldn’t accept a lot of the baby formulas so there was another headache. We managed to maneuver our way through that unforgettable period to discover I was to add to the family again. Well, whoopee! One year and two days later in 1958, Brian Leland was added to the fold.
At this point, Debra had not started walking. BUT, she was potty trained. YAY! This is a part of my life where if I concentrate really hard, I can remember bleary eyes, walking in my sleep and the husband deciding we should have a cow. Did he not remember I hated cows? Somewhere between the two babies, changing diapers,tripping over barn cats, he introduced a cow to the real estate.
Before I could remember to be hostile to him for this act, I discovered we were to have a third addition to the family. So to honor the year 1959, on October 16th, I introduced Gary Herbert to the estate. Things were getting out of hand at this point. The husband was milking a cow morning and night; I was supposed to be taking care of said milk plus take care of three babies.
Let’s not forget 1961..might as well bring that in with a flair..so on June 25th, I gave Debra her 4th birthday present in Alan Curt. We now rounded out to the number 6 to fill up the 13 rooms.
Now you may get the impression that I was overwhelmed. Not at all. I went into a coma after I brought Alan home and frankly remember little until all of them were walking and feeding themselves. Not really..it just seems that way.
If there is any place better than a farm in the hills of Maine to raise a bunch of kids, I want to see it. There was a sand pile in the corner of the yard and for hours, they had their trucks and made little houses out of sticks. They had the pastures to run in and ..scary, but Gary loved to find old dumps and dig up treasures to bring home to me. Later on, he became an archaeologist. Go figure.
On windy days, after school, I joined them in running the field and trying to get the kites to fly. I saved box tops and labels and got some dandy Green Giant kites in the mail..what fun we had! The badminton set was erected on one side of the lawn and many a time four kids watched as their mother hit the earth trying to return the birdie over the net.
I cannot remember a day when any of my four said they could find nothing to do. Their imaginations ran wild..some so wild I like to forget about them. They soon filled up the old farm with their collections of rocks, sticks, any outdoor memento they thought valuable and I tried to keep any collection of live creatures down to a bare minimum.
I can still see them sitting on the stone walls watching the chipmunks play; Debbie bringing me a fistful of dandelions or apple blossoms.
The old farm was coming alive; four kids, six or seven barn cats, one dog, one or two cows ( I refused to count) and usually one pig a year. It had just started to get interesting.
Sometimes, I have to admit, I just lay in bed at night and wondered if I could still make a double play if I had the chance to play ball again!…and followed it up with Thank God I still have my Red Sox on the old radio.