Growing Up in Montana

Growing Up in Montana

A Story by Diane Lockard
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Growing up on a small farm in Montana with fields of golden grain and blue skies that go on forever...

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I grew up on a small farm in Northeastern Montana with  fields of golden grain and blue skies that go on forever. Dad, Mom, my brothers and I pile into the car. Saturday is the day we go to town, pick up the mail, buy groceries, plus, visit the library.
 
First stop is the Railroad Depot - the sound of the ghostly train whistle drifts to our ears, a big, black steam engine puffing clouds of billowy gray smoke comes chugging into view. It is a sight to see!
I watch Dad unload metal milk cans, full of fresh cream, separated from the cows’ milk and carry them to the loading area for the train. He places them on a large baggage cart. The train takes the cream to a neighboring town where it becomes delicious ice cream and butter.
Our father and my brothers plant seeds;  there isn't any irrigation water  and "pray for rain." Several months later, it is time for the harvest of the wheat. A neighbor brings a large machine called a combine to cut the plants. After it goes through the inside, the grain, collected at the top, travels to silos and mills to process into flour. 
  
In the springtime, fluffy baby turkeys arrive at the Post Office in cardboard boxes with cutout holes. I open the door, ducks, chickens, and turkeys from the back room make a loud racket. A chorus of quacks and peeps greet us.
 
Mom opens our Post Office Box, picks up letters from family and friends, magazines, plus, notices of larger items for a clerk to give us. We look forward to packages of school clothes from  catalogs, fireworks for the Fourth of July, turkeys.....
 
The library is on the second floor above the hardware store. Mom helps me walk up the outside wooden stairs, through the door at the top, and enter a hallway filled with scary shadows.

Bursting with excitement, I enter the small room - rows of books shelved on three walls, within my short reach.  Picking up a book, a new world opens; it feels magical.
Wooly newborn lambs are born in the spring; some of them do not have a mother to care for them. My brother, Jerry and I hold bottles of milk for the orphan lambs that push their heads on us and play tug-a-war while drinking. They are so cute and follow us around, similar to puppies.
The day starts early, there is a lot to do. Mom dresses in warm clothes to milk cows, feed turkeys and chickens. Dad starts working in the fields of grain, depending on the season - planting, harvesting, and taking care of the animals. “The boys” join him after school.
 
We do not have running water or electricity. A member of the family would go to the well, pump water in a bucket and bring it into the house. Water has to be heated for washing clothes and bathing. Mom attaches a handle to a hot flatiron on the stove used for our dresses and cotton shirts.
At the end of the day, all of us sit down to eat at a round oak dining table.  After the dishes are washed,  everyone in the family grabs a book to read, gathers together listening to the radio, and/or plays games, inside or outside. The outdoors is our playground: bicycling, tag, hide and seek until it turns dark.
 
The highlight of the year is going to the County Fair with a Ferris wheel and merry-go-round. Our family enters a building with tables full of canned food, baked goods, and quilts.  I walk over to my 4-H exhibits, “Look, there is a blue ribbon, First Place on my bottle of cottage cheese!”
Our mother sits in her rocking chair, the kerosene lamp casts a golden glow on her face, my brother and I, sitting on the floor. “Please, please, read us a story.” She continues with the latest adventure in the Saturday Evening Post. 
                                                                                                      
We do not have TV. Our family gathers in their places, Dad adjusts the dial on the small radio - Lone Ranger and On-ly the Shadow Knows, programs we like, come alive in our imagination.
It is a treat watching movies and afterwards, go to a café near-by. One of our parents call, "We are going to the movies,” without a lot of notice. It triggered a mad search, look under the couch cushions, shake pockets, and search the whole house to find change to go.
On the Fourth of July, each of us crank the handle of a special wooden bucket to make homemade ice cream. Our eyes grow big and our mouths water watching our mother scoop each spoonful of it into bowls. At dark, sitting on the steps, we o-oh and a-ah; the fireworks set off by the adults, shoot into the skies.
  
Dad and Mom work hard every day providing for us. Friends and family share many hours together at the round table in the dining room: studying, playing games, laughing, and eating.
 
We always have room for one more!                                                                                                                                          

© 2017 Diane Lockard


Author's Note

Diane Lockard
This is a revised version of an earlier story. This would be suitable for a children's story with pictures...

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Featured Review

A very well written piece. The sentences run very smoothly and connects to each other perfectly. The piece is laden with memories of growing up in Montana. I've never been there but I stumbled on a novel by one of my favorite authors who happens to be from the great state of Montana: Larry Watson ( Montana 1948), one of my favorite books. I think your piece could be a good idea for a novel project. You have the skills and the talents to do just that.
It was a pleasure to read. Thank you for sharing
Rachid

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Great account of your childhood in this farming area of Montana. It's obvious from your writing that you have very fond memories of your early life there. It reminds me a little of how we say that the sun always shone when we were kids and you have painted a very idyllic picture.
I enjoyed this peek through your window!
Regards,
Alan

Posted 6 Years Ago


A very well written piece. The sentences run very smoothly and connects to each other perfectly. The piece is laden with memories of growing up in Montana. I've never been there but I stumbled on a novel by one of my favorite authors who happens to be from the great state of Montana: Larry Watson ( Montana 1948), one of my favorite books. I think your piece could be a good idea for a novel project. You have the skills and the talents to do just that.
It was a pleasure to read. Thank you for sharing
Rachid

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Perhaps being a Brit I was taken on a wonderful adventure into a magical place with wonderful pictures and.. joy! You've hung your memories on a magical hook that just drips your history.. so different from mine but.. superbly descriptive.

I'll read your poem again ( am not a child except deep inside me! ) and think of you sitting, writing, perhaps closing your eyes to see this or that,; perhaps nibbling the end of your pen/pencil.. trying to remember a name, a day, a time. Beautiful writing. Homely and dear and a lesson in how to..

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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3 Reviews
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Added on November 15, 2016
Last Updated on May 31, 2017
Tags: Montana, '40s-'50s, country-living, holidays, transportation

Author

Diane Lockard
Diane Lockard

Moroni, UT



About
Thank you, friends, for exchanging stories and poems, plus reviewing my writing. Memories of growing up in Montana - My Mother's Hands, On the Road Again about family reunions, Discover Life's Treasur.. more..

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