BnP 2b-02: Living in the Barn

“Bits ‘n Pieces of Me: Memoirs to retain identity in the face of growing dementia” — unpublished page Part 2b-02:

1971 Sep Living In the Barn

The spectre of death clarifies perspective even at 13 years old.

I started out at a new town for my freshman year of High School.  I should have been embarrassed to be living in a barn, with no running water, and few of the “modern” amenities.  I wasn’t.  Maybe it was the new perspective and surprise of having my father not only alive but spending time with us during the day (while recovering from his cancer surgery).  Maybe it was partly because we spent a lot of time helping with details on our “new house”.  We painted all walls, set flooring tiles, etc.  I was enthralled with the way blueprints turned into a house, and played with house plans, blueprint symbols, and construction ideas from that time until now (when I personally drew up the blueprints for the house I live in).

We kids slept in the hay section of the barn and the front was an open room which we used as kitchen, dining room, living room, (and my parent’s bedroom).  The back section of the barn was used for milking our family cow.

Mom cooked our meals on the antique wood cook stove that her great grandmother had used.  We had no heater, but I remember the wonderfully warm spot of heat reflecting between the cook stove and the old white metal cabinets that held our cooking supplies.  There is something special about the smell of food being cooked on a wood stove; the hot cast iron metal and the burning wood integrated with the smell of the cooking food.  That same wood stove has an honored place in my kitchen today, altho it is used for storage instead of cooking.

One day Mom set out to make biscuits but discovered she had no baking powder so she made “dough gobs” instead.  She mixed up bread dough then separated it into mounds (“gobs”) for rising, and those heavy cast iron skillets were again filled with lard for deep-frying of that wonderful bread.  It made a wonderful breakfast with hamburger gravy, but it was even better covered in syrup or sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.  Dough gobs became my favorite treat!

Written 2013 Jul 18 about my life in 1971 Sep

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