Growing up in the middle of the past century on a farm that included a flock of ducks, a herd of cattle and a brother who occasionally agreed to play Brenda Starr, reporter, provided me with as great a childhood as one could wish.
Of course, I didn’t know any different at the time.
My brother and I attended school in the big of city of 80 inhabitants and a slew of dogs just two miles up the road from the farm, a short walk according to my mom and dad who weren’t always able to pick us up after school.
My best friend in grade school was Roberta.
Roberta was not my best friend because we were so much alike but because she was the only other girl in my class of seven.
My brother had his friends in town, just as I did, but really, we were all friends.
There were no such things as cliques.
There weren’t enough kids to produce a sizeable clique.
At recess, the girls played jacks or jumped rope.
After we finished our sack lunches, we all played softball, the girls often the last one’s to get picked, although not always.
Jeannie, a girl a year ahead of me in school, was always one of the first ones to be picked for a side.
I never understood why she got to guard second base, and I was so far out in the field that I couldn’t see who was up to bat.
I loved the social aspects of school, but summers on the farm were great, even though we had chores and missed time with friends.
We did have sleepovers when we spent a night with a friend, often in town.
The dad of my friend Roberta was the postmaster in town, so a sleepover at her place meant discovering the secret on how the mail ended up in the tiny mailboxes where the locals picked up their mail each day.
Life on the farm was work, but it also was open spaces, fresh air and a freedom to grow, to explore and discover who we were and maybe even who we wanted to be — or not to be.
As a child, I never thought about what kind of childhood I was having.
The days, the months, the years passed and one day, as an adult, I began to wonder.
Were we rich or poor growing up? If we were rich, who among my classmates were poor?
If we were poor, who among my classmates were rich?
I had no idea.
I realized my little town and surrounding area had no mansions like those I see on today’s television shows.
Other than Roberta’s father, who was the town postman, I had no idea where other fathers who lived in town worked.
I am pretty sure I knew what the mothers of my friends did.
They did what my mother did — housework, cooking, gardening, sewing, etc.
Who among my classmates were rich and who was poor?
Who was rich and who was poor was not a question asked when guarding the softball field in the far corners of the school ground or playing jacks on the sidewalk, or swimming at the swimming hole down the road or gathering eggs in the evening from old hens who liked the taste of soft fingers.
We may not have had the answer back then, but I have it now.
We were rich for having grown up back then.