Friday, April 9, 2010

lovely book...

Such a lovely morning here in High Point. There was a hard rain last night, along with a cold front moving in. We really needed the rain to knock the pollen out of the air, so this morning the air is fresh and clean and the sky is bright blue...rather reminiscent of a Maine summer morning, complete with 45 degree temps. Since the kids are still on break, we all walked to a local restaurant-Alex's house- and had breakfast. The dogwood and azaleas are bursting forth, so the walk was beautiful. It was one of those times when I was acutely aware of the fact that having all of us together will become increasingly rare, which then caused me to remember my own childhood...and then I want to "wax nostalgic," as it were.

I have always thought that growing up in Maine was a special experience. I've read that even the worst of childhood memories become magical given enough years having passed between the actual occurance the recollection of them. And so it is with Maine and I.  I love just being from Maine. After all, the population of the whole state (@ a million) is less than that of the metro areas of most states.  There just aren't that many of us Mainers. That, combined with the fact that when I mention I'm from Maine, I almost always get one of the following comments: "Ohhhhh, Maine is so beautiful...we went to____________, and it was so lovely." Or, : "I've always wanted to go to Maine." So, maybe I just have a deluded image of my how great my home state is. Mike has none of that nostalgia for Michigan...

So here's the next "contest." Tell us where you grew up. Tell us if you have wonderful nostalgic memories of the place or if you couldn't wait to leave...or both. Do you go back to visit? Will you-or do you-still live there? Tell me one "frugal" memory that you have of your childhood years. For your efforts, your name will be put in a drawing for a signed copy of my newest book, Twice a Soldier. You have until Sunday night to post; I'll announce the winner Monday.

And my Maine frugal memories? Too many for one blog. I grew up eating deer meat and brook trout. My dad grew a huge garden...and my mom canned small feat when you have about an 8 week growing season. We ate fiddleheads (a type of fern) and dandelions and heated the house with wood. I don't know that I would want to replicate all of this with my own family, esp. the heating with wood part, but I still love fiddleheads and dandelions.

Help me out....what are your memories?


  1. I also grew up in Maine and we go back every summer for as long as possible!! :) I grew up on a truck farm (meaning we sold veggies off the back of a truck)and also pick your own veggies!! So we did lots of canning, too. We also burned wood and actually we still burn wood--it is a pain sometimes, but well worth the effort!! We were very busy (as you can imagine), but we always had Sundays off (it is the day of rest after all) and that meant visiting with family or travelling to visit with friends in the afternoon (but always being back for church in the evening)!! As far as frugal memories I think that they all were--we never really had a lot of "things", but we had plenty of what we really needed--love, family, time together!! :)
    My parents still get fiddleheads--I personally think that they are yucky, but I would never say that out loud at a meal!! There were always other things to choose from (home grown corn, beans, peas, carrots, etc.). My Dad was and still is a hunter--he's only not gotten a deer about once in the last 50 or so years!! :) Venison kind of grows on you after a while!! Moose meat is also very good--if you get a chance you should try it!! I love to go back and visit and there is still so much to see there--it is a really big state!!


  2. I grew up on the far corner of my grandparents' farm. As a kid, @ our house we raised animals for 4-H (everything from breeding mini-lops to chickens and hogs!). My mom always grew an herb garden, but that was about it...because fresh eats was what the farm was all about. My grandfather was primarily a potato farmer, with dabblings (less as I grew older) in beans, berries, peas, and corn. My favorite things to do revolved around sitting in a field of something edible and munching them raw from the plants. Offten this was in only shoes and to be honest, 5 and 6 year old girls don't worry about shirts when you're on a big farm at the end of a dead end road in the country! I used to LOVE raw peas, and when the customers would do u-pick and bring their baskets up to be shelled in the big green pea shelling machine we got to scoop the leftovers out after they took home their peas. ;) One of my vavorite photos of all time is one of me (mostly naked!) riding in the sun on the tractor with my grandpa as he plowed.

    Although my grandfather passed away some time ago, and my uncle who took over only grows grains the farm is still there and we visit often. The fields are farmed partially by other local farmers so there are always crops growing. The woods still holds all the same surprises that it did when I was a kid. We still walk down to the pond to fish, or to the river to wander around in our bare feet. In fact this past week the daffodils that my grandma planted thirty years ago along the woods all the way down the road were blooming in all their yellow glory!

    Sarah :)

  3. I grew up in rural Florida. My grandparents had a three room lake house (main room, bathroom, kitchen) that we spent most of our summers at and every warm weekend at. The main room had beds all around the room and a pool table in the middle. Everyone slept in the same room. We swam all day and played cards and pool late into the night. We didn't have a TV (or phone) but did have a radio we mainly used to listen to the Gator football game on Saturdays. Every summer we would have a major project to work on the house and expand something. One year a porch, new bedroom, tool shed, new roof, dock, etc. I always helped, even when I was really young. I think that helped give me confidence to tackle almost any home improvement project. We also spent summers picking blackberries and wild plums and canning jelly. Those were special times. My parents eventually bought the lot next door and built a house. I lived in the cottage for part of my college years. I look back at what we had for amusement then compared to today and wonder why I pay for cable TV and video games. -Bill

  4. I LOVE this, please keep posting!!

  5. I grew up in Maine and still live here...we heated with wood...had no indoor plumbing until I got married..ate whatever we had..grandparents had a huge garden always..thank goodness. deer, pig, etc...not alot of frivolous extras for sure..but never starved or went barefoot...sometimes hard but thankful for the way i grew up...

  6. I posted a comment on 4-10-10 @ 12:37 pm. but I can't see where it went through, so here goes again.
    I am so blessed to have grown up in Mountain City, Tennessee, a place nestled between two mountains. I no longer live there, but I go back to visit 4-5 times a year. I spent lots of weekends at my Grandma's house. She didn't have indoor plumbing, we used the "Outhouse". In the wiinter we would hurry in and out, but in the summer we would have to watch out for snakes-yipes!!! My Grandma heated the living room with a coal stove and the kitchen with a wood stove that she cooked on. She made the best biscuits I ever ate, and as a treat she would fix us chocolate gravy to go with it. In the winter, we slept under a feather tick, for you city slickers, that is a big comfort with feathers. In the summer we would go up on the mountain and pick blackberries. Grandma would make us a blackberry pie, then use the rest to make jam. We would swing on grapevines in those mountains. God must have really been looking out for us because if one of them had ever broken, they would still be looking for us. Spring was wonderful, everything blooming. We planted a big garden. Summer was never too hot. We always had that cool, mountain breeze. Fall was the most gorgeous time of the year with all the leaves changing colors. Winter was beautiful with new fallen snow. We always killed a couple of hogs. We always had plenty to eat. I could go on and on and on. Writing this just reminds me of how truly blessed I have been and what wonderful memories I have of growing up in my hometown, Mountain City, Tenn. Take a trip there sometime, you may not want to leave. Carolyn Hilburn

  7. I grew up in Ohio. We lived most of the time in small towns with lots of space to garden. We planted, hoed, picked, froze and canned almost everything we needed. We ate lots of deer meat and heated our house with a huge "pot-belly" wood stove. I have wonderful memories of sharing all this with my extended family.
    I don't plan to ever live there again, although I love to visit. Now, I am making these same type of memories with my family in Oklahoma - which has a much longer growing season! Julie McIntosh