Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Little Bit About Me

[I decided to move this out of my profile and make an actual entry so that I could expand upon some of the themes.]

I grew up in a nursing home! Well, back in the 50's nursing homes were more like boarding houses, with every level of care given. It didn't necessarily start out that way in 1955. I think someone just asked mom if they could rent a room, and it grew from there. Grandma Moss had the same type of nursing home in Onawa and I think that's where mom got her idea from. Anyway, we ended up with about 40 patients in all between two houses, with my family living in a third. (Luckily all in a row.)

Turin only had about 98 people living there, but it had a 3 room school that I attended until 6th grade. (For those who don't know... that means one teacher taught 3 grades and one row was a grade.) Recesses were spent sledding down the hill by the school in the winter or playing on the huge merry-go-round in good weather. At one time the grades went up to 8th, but by the time I attended, it only went to 6th. Then, in 1964, our school consolidated with West Monona and closed permanently. They (whoever "they" are...) tore it down several years ago, and in my opinion, the town is less without it.

Turin is nestled among the Loess Hills and was very pretty. Elm trees lined the streets until Dutch Elm disease took them all. Men were always gathered at Adam's blacksmith shop or Hinkle's Cafe. (Grace Hinkle made the best peanut butter pie!) There were two gas stations, two cafes, a feed store, a grocery store, a hardware store, an elevator (grain, for you city-folks), a lumberyard, a telephone office, a church, a school and (of course) a nursing home.

We got dial telephones in 1968 or '70. Before that you went through an operator who connected you to your party. ("Hello, Linda? I need to speak with Francis.") I was in Europe one summer with a school study group and wanted to talk with my mommy (I was homesick). I rang up the overseas operator and asked her to dial 34 (34... that was my phone number...) She thought I was playing a joke on her and almost refused to do it. She only believed me when I started crying! With a stern warning about playing a joke on her, she rang into the office and asked if there was a number 34 there. I can't remember who was working, but I remember she asked the overseas operator if it were Sally calling home and chatted with the both of us for a minute before ringing my house. Needless to say, the overseas operator was astonished. Mom said when the phone rang, she looked at the cook and said, "There's Sally". Wierd.

I was a "horse nut" from my earliest memory and I owned horses from the ages of 9 to 21. Luckily there was a barn on the property, so I kept my horses in my back yard. The surrounding hills were my playground. I remember riding to the top of one hill in particular to sit and watch the day go by. I could look down at the fields of corn and beans criss-crossing the bottom and the clouds slowly passing overhead. ["The bottom" is what the valley between our hills and the hills of Nebraska were called. Long ago the Missouri River cut a wide swath between the two, leaving fertile ground behind. I'm guessing it was about 15 miles wide and FLAT, FLAT, FLAT! Onawa is located on the bottom. I think that's why I always hated that town - it was too flat.] I once asked mom if she ever worried about me - being out all day on my horse. She told me "No...the horse will come home if anything happens to you." It was only later that I realized that, the horse might come home, but how would she know where the hell I was! Those hills were big and I went everywhere in them.

It was the perfect place to grow up, even by '50's standards. I was very lucky, and I miss it still. If I ever win the lottery, I'm going to buy one of those hills and move home.


tanna said...

What a wonderful growing up! It reads like the start of a novel. Thank you. So glad to have found you.

tanna said...
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Sally said...

tanna - Thank you so much for your kind comment. I hope you stop back soon.