Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Christmas Wish for Kids Around the World

I grew up on a farm in east central Illinois. My dad was a tenant farmer in those days, so we didn't have a lot of money. It didn't bother my brother and me very much. We didn't know we were poor. Poverty doesn't have a lot of meaning for a kid if he has a roof over his head and plenty of food to eat. Farm kids were lucky that way.

When I was six we moved to a farm that became my home until I was out of high school. We had an outhouse instead of an indoor toilet. We hand-pumped ice-cold water into the house. If I remember correctly, we only had to get through that first winter before my dad and uncle installed indoor plumbing. Judging by my memory of the freezing rim on the metal chamber pot, it was a mighty cold winter. One of my best memories is the one of my mother warming flannel sheets on the oil-burning stove in the living room and racing into the ice-cold bedroom to bundle each of us up against the cold, then piling blankets and quilts on top. It didn't bother my brother and me that the bedrooms were unheated, as long as we had a mom to tuck us in with heated blankets.

I went to a grade school in a small town at least ten miles from where I lived. My brother and I were the first kids on the bus in the morning and the last off at night. Because of all the farm kids on the route, the trip for us was over an hour each direction. Our school covered first grade through eighth grade, with one teacher for each two grades. The teachers alternated the two classes, and we studied while the other class was in session. We had pencil and paper and books and our minds. We had a ride to school and willing teachers. It never occurred to us we might be deprived because our teachers taught two grades in one room or that some of the books we used were very old.

For kids all around the world, I wish shelter, good food, cozy blankets, a loving mom and dad with high expectations, dedicated teachers, and plenty of books.

12 comments:

Jemi Fraser said...

What a lovely wish list! I echo the sentiments :)

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Thank you, Patricia. That is really the best wish that you can wish for any child anywhere in the world. That, and the ability to appreciate how lucky they are to have all of it.

Happy Holidays!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I second your wish – how wonderful it would be if all kids could have happy childhood memories to look back on.

Mason Canyon said...

I third your wish. That is a wonderful wish.

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season, as well.

Kerrie said...

I love your wish for children and I love that your mom would heat up blankets and wrap you and your brother in them. What a wonderful mom.

carolynyalin said...

What a great list. I enjoyed reading your memories, and could picture them.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Merry Christmas to all who've stopped by so far or will drop by later. I've decided to leave this post up through Christmas Day and spend a little more time enjoying the new snowfall, baking a batch of cookies, and working on my book. My next post will be on Saturday.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

A thoughtful and lovely post, Patricia...just like you.

Best Regards, Galen.

Jeanie said...

Patricia, enjoy the snow, the cookies and your wonderful memories and have a beautiful Christmas.

Bob Sanchez said...

Those are wonderful wishes, Patricia. My wish for you is a Merry Christmas and a happy 2010.

Bob Sanchez
http://bobsanchez1.blogspot.com

Helen Ginger said...

What great wishes. Thank you.

I wish you a peaceful, fun, full of love Christmas, Patricia.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Teagan Oliver said...

Thank you for sharing your memories with us. They are not so different from my mother and father's memories of growing up poor here on the Maine coast. My mother would tell us stories of living in a log cabin that had no chinking between the logs. The wind and snow would blaze in during storms and they would wake up under a pile of quilts in the morning with snow on top of the covers. Thank you again... and I wish you a wonderous New Year!