“It was a lonely life. But there were woods and creeks and meadows and places where you can just sit on a hill under a tree and let the sun shine on you…”
Produced by Rich Elliott.
Transcript for Growing Up Rural
I live in the country, it’s halfway between two towns, Valparaiso and Chesterton. One, a medium-size city and the other just still a country town full of snobby rich people. And I’ve lived here all my life. I grew up two houses south of me, and I always thought I was going to wind up somewhere in Europe or on the West Coast or somewhere in Connecticut maybe or someplace exotic, France, who knows, but here I am still sitting in Indiana eighty years later.
Essentially, we were just farmers with kind of a higher educational bent. Most of my family were school teachers. We actually built schools, taught in schools, and managed schools. My father worked in the steel mills, as did my grandfather, and his father worked on the railroad, but they all farmed. They all had sheep or gardens or fields. Farming wasn’t big in those days. If you had 80 acres or 120 acres, you had a medium-sized or good-sized farm.
Growing up rural, you don’t have the sidewalks, you don’t have the weekday trips down to the corner grocery, or go down and get a Coke or something to drink. Everything was supplied right here on the farm. For most of my life we had one car, and that one car was used as transportation to work. The rest of the time we were stuck at home.
That’s pretty much how I grew up. I played with some neighbor kids; they were few and far between. Some boys lived here in this house that I played with. They were all ages, but they were farm kids, expected to work, and I was only here to keep them from working, I guess. But there was a little girl who lived across the street from me, and she was only 4 months older than me, and she always let me know that. And she was the prettiest little blue-eyed blond, and of course, as things would have it, she was my first girlfriend.
But that was it. It was a lonely life. But there were woods and creeks and meadows and places where you can just sit on a hill under a tree and let the sun shine on you, and you wouldn’t hear anything but birds and things in the grass.
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