Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Occasionally Fresh Eggs (Part 3)
My parents moved to the farm a month after I was born. Along with the 100 Roosters, they came with two white cats--Fats and Skinny, and another resident of the Whiting Hotel named Eddie. Eddie was very clear that he was a hobo and not a bum. Hobos would work, he claimed. He worked. That year the promise of Spring was portentous. They put in a massive garden. Planting every seed sold in the feed store. My first memory (which must have been the following summer) is of being in a little pen watching them work in the garden. My Dad made a little enclosure for me as they were afraid I would wander into the road. Afraid: always afraid. It was in part fear that led us to this particular Farm. There first choice had a brook running along the outskirts of the property. They decided against that place. They were always afraid I would drown. Images of that property were always the other modality, the other possibility, when I was a child. In that alternative world-- my Mom's other children Marty and Jessica lived with us. We would play together in the brook. That Marty and Jessica didn't live with us was the great felt tragedy of my early life. Yet, I was not a particularly lonely child. The neighbors had three boys. When I was small the two older boys would take turns coming over to our house to play.
Later, I hope to be able to insert here my Mom's description of that first summer on the farm. But, for now I will just point to the existence of these writings. My Mom wrote several scores of notebooks filled with poems and short stories. She used to wake up a three in the morning. She would drink coffee, smoke, cough, and type. When I was seven she published a book of poems called Pale Ponies. I, of course, was sure that she would soon be famous. I gave those books to everyone!
Those books and poems always included that small farm as a main character. The farm was ten acres. However, the barn was a glorious old barn--it had a barn swing, a loft where truly free range hens would hide their eggs, and a pig pen. The garden was nearly two acres that first summer.