For today's tag challenge at Kard Krazy, the theme is circles. I went in a bit of a different direction here.
(click for detail)
Yesterday I did some acrylic painting and had these "skins" left in the teflon pan I had used for mixing paint. The background is chalk inks and rubber stamping, with bead gel medium, acrylic paints, wire, metal bird, and found objects.
Sixth in the series of Tuesday stories, this week's story centers around my twelfth birthday.
My birthday is in July which generally means that if it was my year to have a party, the guest list was small because school was out. With six children in the family, my parents had decided that to accommodate the family budget, each child would have a big birthday party at 6, 10 and 16 years of age. Otherwise, it was a small family affair with perhaps one of two neighborhood children. (Side note here - they realized later having a party at 16 was going to be a REALLY big time event, so it turned into a special dinner out instead!) The summer I turned twelve, though, was an exception to the rule for me.
As I mentioned before, my mother was from south central Pennsylvania and we didn't get to see our relatives up there very often. That summer, my parents had planned a two week family vacation with a trip northward. On the way to visit my mom's family, we stopped in Washington DC to see the sights and I remember my brother and I walked to the top of the Washington Monument, reading all the inscriptions on the wall on the way up. That can't be done now, I'm sorry to say. We spent a couple of days in Washington and I fell in love with my country's capital city.
At this period of time, there were no interstate highways connecting South Carolina and Pennsylvania, so I admire my parents fortitude driving on their vacation with six children and no air conditioning in the car. As we drove around the Beltway of DC, we used to get a lot of stares as people would try to count the number of children squeezed into the car. We made a sign that read "SIX CHILDREN" and took turns holding it up. People would read it, laugh and wave. We kept that sign for the whole trip.
My mother's family were farming people in a lovely part of Pennsylvania. We stayed at her cousin's home, which was a very old farmhouse, deep in the country. We drove down a dirt road to get there, and when we unloaded and took a deep breath, it was amazing how different it was! The country quiet was something I had not experienced - no automobiles, no noises, no sounds of industry, nothing except the tall corn across the road whispering as the breezes stirred their leaves. It was magical to us. Then we found out something that we thought was hilarious - the bathrooms were out of commission and we would have to use the outhouse in the back!
I don't know how my parents must have felt about that with two children still in diapers, but perhaps since they both came from farms it didn't bother them. We older children though thought it was a lark - at first. It was a "two seater" and I still don't know today why there were two seater outhouses, who wants somebody in there with them?? We made a great deal of noise about the smells and thought it was quite an experience for the first few days, then the novelty wore off and we complained about not have 20th century conveniences.
The outhouse was one small part of that wonderful trip. They had a huge barn with hay, and we could swing on a rope and jump into it. We took turns riding on the tractor and feeding the animals. At night, the adults would sit out on the wide porch and talk while we chased fireflies. There were holly hocks in the yard and we were shown how to make a firefly lantern by pinching the petals at the top of the flower after slipping in one or two fireflies. They would make the flowers glow a lovely pink and I still remember how enchanting that looked.
My birthday was right in the middle of the visit and I was treated to a celebration. My relatives gave me gifts, but the only one I remember is a very large, two layer box of Whitman's Chocolates. Of course I was admonished not to eat it all, to share, etc. etc. but all I could think about was that this was MINE and I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into each variety. I would offer some to everyone, but not before saying "Don't take this, it's my favorite" or "Don't take that, I haven't tried that one yet" all said out of my parent's hearing of course! Often during the day, or at night when I was supposed to be in bed, I would sneak in to where it was and snatch a piece. That candy was long gone before we ever left the farm!
Years later, I drove my mother and my daughter up to Pennsylvania to see my grandmother, and we stayed at that same farm. It was still peacefully quiet and still had a working tractor and a large pile of hay to jump into and I love the pictures I have of my daughter enjoying the farm as much as I had. However, the best part was that it had two modern working bathrooms, for which I was very thankful!