My Place in History
During my slice of history, we experienced huge transitions in the outer world. From rural to urban, nature to concrete, free range animals to genetically engineered food, automobiles and trains to space travel, radios and television and on and on.
I grew up in a rural town of 40,000; Danville, Illinois. My dad – who grew up on a farm – was a man of the earth and made sure we had several acres of land. He created a large garden, an orchard, a grape arbor, a clay tennis court, and grassy areas.
We three girls and the neighborhood children created our playtime. Once a year my older sister would write a play and we would produce it in our backyard. We sold tickets to the neighborhood parents and the children were in the play. We had a charity that the proceeds would go to. My dad popped buckets of popcorn we had grown. We secured the stage curtains in two end posts used for a hammock and had the shade from our enormous elm tree. The event I remember most was when my younger sister was playing the role of a town jester and was supposed to jump out of a large box. Somehow her weight was too far forward when she jumped up out of the box and she landed splat on the ground. However, the play went on and we were never discouraged from our fun.
Another neighborhood event we hosted was before the first frost of the year. The watermelons and cantelopes in our melon patch that were small, but ripe, became the focus of a neighborhood celebration. We would all gather in the patch with forks and salt shakers while my dad cut the melons open for the feast.
Indoors, we girls created elaborate activities of broadcasting stations with microphones made of erector sets, or tinker toy sets made into machines run by motors, or grocery stores filled with shelves of boxes. Our mother would let us keep them up until cleaning day and then these special creations would have to be broken down and a new idea started.
The three of us also created worship programs for our family. My older sister printed the programs and I drew the covers. We chose a theme, read Bible stories, Bible verses, and sang hymns accompanied by my sister on the piano. The altar always had fresh flowers or greenery from our gardens.
These homemade family activities are ways I feel have changed during my time in “history.” We all played musical instruments, participated in sports and had other lessons which are common today – but, the creativity of our play I don’t believe is that common today.
I’m grateful to have had these loving experiences with family and neighbors.