Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ridith (Baby)

I wonder how it feels to be seventy, eighty and still be considered the baby of the family. Ridith was new to the class last week, and when I asked her to tell us about herself, she said, "I am the baby of the family."

Helen usually reads first since she always comes in prepared with pages of "homework." To keep the class exciting, we changed things up this time. I made little slips of paper with one senior's name on each slip. The idea was the name that gets drawn is the person that gets to read next. Well, Ridith finished writing first. (She wrote easily - the whole time she was writing she was smiling. You know how when some people write about the past, they frown trying to squeeze out memories? Not Ridith, memories flowed right out of her onto the page.) Because Ridith finished first, she got to pick out a slip first. And of course, she picked out her own name! Youngest in the family, newest in our class but first to read. She wasn't shy at all. She read as easily as she had written. What a natural. When you listen to her, you don't realize it at first but you drift right with her to another time, another place. When she describes her family on the farm, I am right there. I feel like I can smell it.

October 22, 2009

Growing Up in a Large Family

I was born in the state of Georgia.  I came from a family of 11 children.  There were 6 girls and 5 boys.  And also, I was the youngest in the family.

Growing up in such a large family and living on a farm, there was always something to do.  For instance, we raised chickens, cows and hogs.  There were always chores to do like feeding chickens, hogs and milking the cows.  On the farm, we also planted corn, cotton, peanuts, peas and watermelons.  As each child became older, we had to work on the farm.  My brothers had to do the heavy work.  We had horses and mules, which were used on the farm.

My mother and I would take walks to visit neighbors down the road, since I was the youngest child in the family.  Growing up in the South and on a farm, neighbors always shared with each other, especially the vegetables that we grew in the garden.