With The New Year Coming, A Look Back: It’s 1964 On The Farm
On one hand, it really doesn't seem like 1964 was all that long ago.
On the other hand when I see that little boy in my imagination sitting on that linoleum floor in that little farmhouse eating a bowl of Wheaties and watching South Dakota's own Captain 11 after school, well, it seems closer to Laura Ingalls Wilder than to flat-screen HD TV's.
1964. It's quite a year on that 80 acres of rented Minnesota farm dirt.
1) It's a Sunday evening, the cows are milked, the pigs are fed and there we all are in front of the black and white TV, my dad, my mom, my brother, and me. It's time for the Ed Sullivan Show and that's when it happens. The Beatles. My dad's jaw doesn't break when it hit the floor, but I'm pretty sure it's well bruised. My mom just shakes her head. Me and my brother? We love it. Just love it.
2) Jake rumbles that 'ol school bus down the gravel roads around Leota, stopping at the Wynias, the Dooyemas, the Kroontjes, the Vastenhouts and Vander Lindens. If there's a farm around Leota and that farm had little rug rat's runnin' around it, Jake stops. I think he likes me best. He always has me sit right up front beside him.
3) The United States doesn't have a Vice-President this year. Nope. We're still walking around Leota with heavy hearts thinking about what happened last November. The letters changed, from JFK to LBJ, and there's no Vice-President. But next year HHH will be Vice-President and he's Minnesota's own! Well, born in South Dakota, but we claim him now.
4) Church is always full in Leota. And the men and boys wear suits and the women and girls all wear dresses. Mom put's a little of that special Mama spit on her hankie to get that last patch of hair to sit nicely on my head. Everyone sits in the exact same spot week after week after week. And we eat in church, my brother and me, my Dad made sure of that. What's on the menu? Peppermints. After church, all the men stand out front and smoke cigarettes and talk about the price of corn and beans. The women stand around out front and talk about...whatever it is women talk about.
5) A stamp cost a nickel. So whatever it was you're going to send in the mail, it doggone well better be important. Money doesn't grow on trees ya know.
6) When the phone rings at our house, the neighbors also pick up the receiver. And when the phone rings at our neighbor's houses, my Mom picks up our receiver. It's called a party-line kids, and a bunch of neighbors are on it. It's a kind of internet for the rural neighborhood, all with different phone 'rings'. Ours is '3 shorts'. When our phone rings 3 short times, that's Grandma from Edgerton calling. Yours might be a 'short and a long' or '2 longs' or something else. When it rings like that, it's your Grandma calling.
7) The New York Yankees didn't win the World Series! Yea! But then neither did my Minnesota Twins. Oh well, there's always next year. (Which, by the way, they did go to the World Series! But...those dastardly Dodgers!)
8) Dad turned 44, Mom turned 38. I can see them at that age still. Good American timber, those two. He passed away at 86, she passed away at 79. I miss them still.
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