The last few weeks have been. . well let's just say intense. New schooling, a mini vacation, and taking a kid far far away to college has been. . . an adjustment. I intend to post about these things sometime when I can get my head wrapped around them, and find a few minutes to compose them into legible sentences. but I just had to share this.
Lydia's first writing assignment was to write a memoir. I love her take on this story, even if she has taken a bit of artistic licence with some details. She is just a gem.
Moving To West Virginia
“Well, I’ve done it,” my grandfather announced, proudly, during dinner one night.
“Done what?” Mother replied.
“Bought land to build a farm, of course,”
Mom and Dad dropped their fork. “Did what now?” Dad said in shock.
“Bought land to build a farm,” Papaw answered, simply, as if he were discussing the weather.
In the year 2004-2005 my mother’s parents decided to pick up their belongings and move four hours from Akron, Ohio to Wild and Wonderful, West Virginia. This subject had been on the table for mere months, but Papaw, being Papaw, bought it without a second thought. And so began our new adventure.
I remember one time Mom and Dad took me and my two brothers to visit the new farm. The mini-van had about a fourth of a tank of gas. So poor Mother, having no clue about country life vs. city life, decided to pull into the first gas station she could find. There were, of course, no gas stations unless you went into town as all the locals knew. We, predictably, ran out of gas before reaching the land that was to be our new home. Papaw and the neighbor, John, had to come to our rescue with a can of gas and snacks.
Not long after our visit, my father took a job selling music, pushing him to join my grandparents in West Virginia. My mother began packing up our little duplex with the help of Kellen, my eldest brother. Three months later we were settling our lives in a single wide we shared with my grandparents. Soon after that we switched to tents on our new 104 acres of land and finally graduated to our own separate mobile homes. By that time Mother was hugely pregnant. My baby sister, Vivian and spring had come with them hundreds of oak, maple, and ash trees leaves.
Our first animal was small mutt puppy, named Pac. Pac was the first of many creatures to join the team. My favorites will always be the ones that ran around in John’s barn and pasture. Papaw had left early one morning to pick up a sofa from some odd town a few hours away. When he came back that afternoon he had twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face.
“Lydia,” he whispered to me, “I have surprise for you, but you must promise to share it with your Mamaw, OK?”
“OK,” I replied.
Everyone piled into the car and headed to the barn. Instead of a sofa, Papaw brought home a tall brown horse, who was very pregnant. I was beyond ecstatic. Mamaw named her Sophie to remind Papaw that the horse was not part of the plan. After Sophie gave birth to Biscuit, Papaw decided that he should have a friend, and so came along Diamond and eventually Diamond gave birth to Ruby.
Years passed and we had acquired piles of junk, that no one had any use for. Cows were constantly escaping the fences that we had no time to fix. The goats were heavy with milk because we had no time to milk them. The sheep were sweating bullets because we had no time to shear them. So we downsized to gardens, pigs, and chickens. We battled them for another four years.
In late fall of last year we went back to Akron to visit some friends. The day after we got back Kellen and I caught Mom looking at houses in Wadsworth, Ohio. And so began a whole new adventure. By spring we had house and two acres of land.
My father always said that “Failure is your friend.” We had failed many times in our years of farming. Small failures such as a cow escaped the pasture, a raccoon hunted a couple of chicks for his dinner, or the mothering sow lost a few piglets after giving birth. There were big failures too like not ever building proper houses and just living in mobile homes that were way past their prime, not going through our messes that piled up after eleven years of living there, or not being able to keep up with the farm after Papaw and Dad passed away. We may be back where we were in the first place, but we’ve learned and we’ve grown and now we are living the life in front of us.