Tuesday, December 18, 2012


5:30 a.m. “Ethel and Shirley Jean will be here today,” thought Ina excitedly as she came awake. Being a phlegmatic sort, Ina kept her excitement in check, and she knew that Jack was doing the same. She didn’t believe in letting emotions show.

It was still dark. Ina waited in bed until she heard Jack stoking the fire in the old cook stove in the kitchen. When he left for the barn to do the chores, she took the clothes she had laid out the night before and went to the kitchen to dress in warmth by the stove.

The breeze of the night before had become a full-blown windstorm in the wee hours of the morning. As wonderful as it was to have this foursquare farmhouse, it was drafty for lack of insulation, and the wind made the house all that much colder. Ina pulled on her heaviest stockings and finished dressing by donning her old wool sweater.

Then, as she had for the last 45 years, she made a hearty breakfast, except that now she had to be careful about her weight. She fixed oatmeal and toast of “light bread” for herself, but Jack would have four slices of bacon, two eggs, two slices of toast with “Himalayan” or service berry jelly, and thick cream and sugar for his coffee – thank you very much! He had no difficulty keeping his weight down. In fact, she admitted to herself that he really needed the calories that were a problem for her.

The house was in readiness for company. Ina was a meticulous housekeeper, handing on or tossing out those things that would clutter. She dusted and mopped routinely, but those chores might be done less often in winter when the surrounding fields were damp and generated less dust. Good thing, too, because with short days she couldn’t do what she considered a full day’s work. Of course, the rain and snow would make the yard muddy if temperatures were above freezing, but Jack was careful to enter the utility room by the outside door and trade his muddy boots for house shoes. It was a great feature of this house. Yes, Ina thought, she had trained Jack and the children well, and it had paid off, too.

Ina had cleaned the kitchen after the noon meal and was just getting ready to make an apple pie when she heard Jack’s call – “Here they are!” The old car lumbered through the east gate and into the farmyard. KW 

[The setting is 1936 but the photos are 2012. Change is subtle over the years and the colors and effects that we observe today are much the same as Ina observed when she lived here.]


Chris said...

Such beautiful pictures. And of course you're correct--the colors of the season would be the same with only subtle differences. Funny how I often thing everything was black and white back then because of the pictures! :-)

And tomorrow, you will waken as Ina did and say, they'll be here today! I'll be thinking of you and smiling.

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