I've been talking to my mother a lot this week. My dad has pneumonia, and I want to check up. But I can't seem to get on the phone with her without gabbing for an hour. So what did we talk about last time? It was about her growing up on the farm.
We were talking about how we need to get over to green energy; how our country needs to make a concerted effort and sacrifice to do this. I said the country hadn't done that since the effort in WWII. That started her reminiscing about that time. She was a child then. She said they loaned out sections of the farm so people would have a place to grow victory gardens. She would sell the extra cottage cheese they made from their cow door to door. The only money coming in was from her mom who worked in the library (our family LOVES books). That shocked me. I thought the farm was so much bigger. I thought it was what brought in the money.
I had visited it when I was little. I don't remember much: sitting on the tractor, running through the orchard, the grape arbor, all the little things a three (?) year old might vaguely remember. As a child I thought the farm was huge. But my mom said it was just to feed the family.
I figured it was the farm that had been in our family for generations. I know our family had farmed in the Ohio area for generations (seven I think, but I'd have to look it up to be exact). I know one of my ancestors was swindled out of his farm at one point. He went to the city and made enough money to come home and buy another farm. But after that I figured they stayed on the same farm and it would be big, or at least big enough to make some of their money from. Maybe it had been divided over the years? Or maybe it had just been let to go fallow when they weren't farming for a living. (Update from months in the future: My mother said the farm was very recent. Her grandmother or was it great grandmother, was a nurse and took care of a rich old man before he died. As a gift in his will my great grandmother and great grandfather were bequeathed the farm.)
Sadly the farm was sold about forty years ago. The farmhouse was torn down for a road into the new development. The farm was turned into apartments. The last time I was there was for my grandmother's funeral. My brother and I went to visit the spot. The only sign of it was a small forest of huge evergreen trees. They were all planted close together in rows. They towered over the path that goes through them. The trees were planted by my uncle. They were meant to be sold as Christmas trees and used for his college education. Obviously these got a reprieve.
None of our family farm anymore. The kids have all flown the coop and are scattared across the US. No one even lives in Ohio anymore. All of the rest of them moved out west. My cousin and I are the only outliers. She lives in Paris. I live in Boston. I still garden though and dream of chickens. Years ago I dreamed of chickens and goats, now I only dream of chickens. Ok and maybe some apple trees and gooseberries and strawberries that are miraculously not eaten by chipmunks and . . . .