I remember when Grandpa took out the stairs to the hay loft at the barn here because too many people were coming in off the highway and sleeping in the loft. As a kid I spent a great deal of time being blissfully unaware that people (not always good ones either) would wander in looking for food, shelter, and very often gas (which I always found bizarre since were just three miles past a gas station). Playing in the loft was one of my favourite things to do and I’m awfully glad I never encountered anyone else in there. Random highway traffic pretty much continued until we got our security gate a few years ago – what a game changer.
Every so often the Indians would ride down from Morley and camp up on top of the hill, sometimes a couple dozen tents and teepees. Now – not then – I wonder why there? And where did they get their water? We were a bit afraid of them and their children were shy of us too. Our house had a nice big dining room window. One day when Mom had baked a big scrumptious layer cake for dessert, we looked out and there were a couple of families of Indians just sitting down to a meal beside their Democrat which was parked in an open lot outside our fence. My Dad persuaded me to take a plate full of cake out for them. It took all my courage and when they snatched it off without saying thanks, I ran home plenty fast. Most of them spoke little English in those days.
When I was quite young, three or four years old, we had a French lady, Mrs. Moses, working for us and she taught me how to count in French, also the alphabet, and a few sentences. I loved her. She gave me a little fox terrier pup called “Teddy”, my constant companion. Tempanies lived next door for a year or two and there was a gate in the fence between our yards. Louise and I played together. She had a lovely gentle saddle-horse called “Merrylegs”. We always had a couple of pigs and butchered one every time the salt barrel got empty. One time someone who helped my Dad butcher, cleaned out the pigs bladder, put some beans in it, and blew it up like a balloon or large rattle. It survived for ages and was fun to kick around.
In the winter sometimes our yard would jut be a moving mass of snowbirds, especially those little red-caps. I used to put feed out for them and loved to watch them from the kitchen window. One time my Dad put our bird cage out and caught one but it didn’t live very long. He also had a pet magpie for a while, it wasn’t a very nice pet.
Ruth found owning a pony quite a responsibility. Putting it out on new grass all summer, then putting in the the barn and feeding it hay at night. She had a bad habit of putting it off until it got so dark that the hay loft was spooky (tramps used to sleep there) and she coaxed me to go up with her for moral support. One night she stuck the fork into a cat sleeping in the hay. What a roar that was! She nearly ran over me getting out of there, but I don’t think I touched the ladder coming down and hit the floor running.