When you experience a death of a parent at a young age, your life gets measured into two pieces. You see your life before the event, and then after. It’s like there’s a crack in your personal timeline that you have to hop over each time you recall memories.
At least it’s that way for me. When I look at my life and think about my past everything is measured as either Before Mom Died, or After Mom Died.
I was thinking about the farm we had when I was a kid in Michigan, when I was telling a friend that I grew up “organic”. It sounded romantic and like my parents were cool and wanted us to have the best, but really it was because we were poor.
My Dad didn’t have fancy equipment or money for chemicals to spray the crops. But he did have a bunch of kids, which he put to work. If the potato plants had bugs, he would hand us a coffee can with a little kerosene in the bottom and we would head out to the field and pluck the potato bugs off and put them in the can. I actually liked that job.
He also fashioned a way to easily mark the rows for planting. He used a long wooden pole and wired chains to it every foot or so. We would grab an end and walk, preferable in a straight line, the freshly plowed field carefully marking the rows for corn, or beans or beets or whatever he had laid out to plant.
There was no need for anything but manure in the rich soil of Michigan, so organic was an accident, but a good one.
All of my memories of the farm are BMD. I don’t know if my dad quit working the land AMD or if I’ve just lost the memory of it. I loved growing up on that farm, but AMD I couldn’t get away fast enough.
I wanted to distance myself from the farm girl label and try on a new one. And so I did. But something strange started to happen to me too. The farther away from the farm girl I got, the more I missed her.
When my boys were just beginning elementary school, we were living in a lovely home on a golf course. Just outside my oldest son’s room we could hear the whack of balls hit off the tee, and the occasional swear word that would follow. It was a nice home, but I was longing for something different, or maybe something more familiar.
I started thinking more and more about my life BMD and longing for my own farm. Little did I know at the time, memories of my farm life BMD would look a little different than the ones I was about to make of my own little farm.
…to be continued
PS…I have photos for this post, but not in digital form. The one above was taken last year, looking back at the farm. I’m traveling and won’t be able to add pictures, until I get home. And, oh, do I have some good ones. 😉