As a child, the now matters so much. As an adult, I try to be present in the now. I also realize who I am now is sewn into who I was then. Talking to my children about my own childhood brings up many memories. Many of them are sweet, perhaps touched with a little sadness but telling these stories bring back so much love and gratefulness in my heart. These loved ones and these places are the fabric of who I am.
One of these places is near Enoree, South Carolina. When I was growing up I spent part of my summers with my family in South Carolina. My Aunt Beverly and Uncle Bob had an old 18th century farmhouse that did not have electricity or running water and sometimes I would stay out there. It was on a hill above the river that was across the dirt road. Time would stand so still on the farm. I loved going in the well house to watch when the water was pulled up and taste the cold water from the dipper. They had lots of animals, including a horse that probably began my life long love of horses. I think that was the first time I ever rode a horse. Angora rabbits with fur so soft you could not imagine anything softer. Goats and chickens and I’m not sure what else. One time my Aunt made ice cream out of the goats milk and didn’t tell anyone. I thought it was just delicious ice cream, I had no idea! I remember walking around their place feeling like the whole world must be just like this. Everything was so beautiful and green.
There was a scary bit though. At night, as you can probably imagine, it was very dark. If you have ever been camping way out in the middle of nowhere you know how dark the night is without electric lights. My MaMa (pronounced MawMaw) would sleep with me upstairs. Daytime was also a little spooky for me. There was a curved staircase that led upstairs, and even going up there in the day, the staircase was dark. My MaMa and I would say the Lord’s Prayer, and chat a little bit while she scratched my back. It took me a long time to fall asleep, even though I always felt so safe and loved with her there. Of course, I would have to get up to go pee eventually. Now if all the dark around wasn’t enough, you had to walk a trail in the woods behind the house to get to the outhouse. We had a flashlight but Oh! my imagination has always been very vivid and I imagined all sorts of wild things waiting for us just outside the small round light that the flashlight cast. Not to mention I always worried about something coming up through the outhouse hole!
When I was talking about this with Dakota on a walk the other day, I felt like it was so important to share. Most kids today can’t imagine a life without a television, so no electricity or plumbing at all? Unless you camp, or live “off the grid” yourself it is an alien thing. Most people would not want to live that way, but there are some of us that do. I think being lucky enough to experience that as a child fueled my desire to create something similar someday myself. For now it is my dream, and also a beautiful memory.
Thank you Aunt Beverly & Uncle Bob.