Monday, August 11, 2008

Old Photos and Memories

**I don't expect anyone to read all the way through this. I started typing and my words kind of got away from me **

I'm mostly just putting off cleaning my house. So I sat on the computer while Tralee was napping and found this old photograph. I love this picture because it brings back very fond memories from my childhood. My Mom, my two brothers, and me are all in Grandma and Grandpa Steinke's boat with them.

We used to drive up to Park Falls, Wisconsin on the weekends when I was a little girl and stay with my Great Grandma and Grandpa Steinke. Our activities included fishing on the Flambou Flowage, playing card games, riding on the back of Grandpa Norman's old dirt bike, helping in Grandma's enormous garden, and enjoying the vast wilderness that surrounded their property.

Some of my favorite things to do, besides the above mentioned, was play with Buttons-and-Bows, a fabric doll Grandma Josie made. There was a little sewing room in the back of their cabin. In the room was a hamper that had different out-dated toys -- some of them probably considered antiques now. I loved each one of them. There was an old Teddy Bear that belonged to my Great Grandpa when he was a little boy. I wonder were it is now? But, my favorite toy -- hands down -- was Buttons-and-Bows. She didn't leave my side the duration of our trip to Park Falls. I used to sit with her in my Dad's boat and play pretend. She was my daughter, and we were running away. I would sit at the steering wheel of the boat and pretend like the vehical I was driving could transform from a car, into a boat, and into an airplane. Buttons-and-Bows and I saw the world!

In Grandma's sewing room were various little crafts she did, including a rock that she painted this on: "In case of a fire, turn rock over." When you turned the rock over it said, "Stupid! It said in case of a fire!" I thought it was hilarious when I was little. I also liked the book drawer in the guest room, where my Mom and Dad always slept. There were old children's books, and a few more games in the drawer. I always found a book to read, and climbed up on the bed adorned with one of Grandma's old quilts and read.

I also was fascinated with Grandpa's Girly Pen. Grandma and Grandpa didn't share our LDS faith, and Grandpa had an old pen (from the 50's or 60's is my guess) that when held one way showed women from the 50's or 60's in their swimsuits. When you tipped the pen the other way the ladies swimsuits melted away to show them in their birthday suits. I wasn't so fascinated with the actual ladies, just the magic the pen's effect had on them. I remember wondering "how do their swimsuits just disappear like that?" I think I must have tipped that pen back and forth a thousand times trying to figure it out.

Jimmy's favorite activities included shooting things with his BB gun. One time he shot Grandma's decorative glass bulb in her garden. She wasn't too happy about that. I think he also shot a window out of one of their sheds. Every time we were there Jimmy would catch a snake, and make it his pet for the duration of our visit. He claimed he had "tamed it" by the end of our stay. I also remember my parents explaining to him why we couldn't take his new pet home. Everytime we left, Jimmy had to say goodbye to his new found friend.

Sometimes Jimmy and I would play store together. Jimmy would be the store keeper and pick different flowers and plants from around Grandma's garden -- there were plenty to choose from. He would lay them out on the ladder attached to the side of Grandpa's shed. I would pick leaves from a tree, and wrap them up in my purse (it was just a rag from Grandma's kitchen). Then I would visit Jimmy's store and buy various items from him with my leaves as cash. I remember one time Jimmy said, "Let me check in the back" and then took me down the stone stairs leading to Grandma's Garden. I decided the item I wanted was, in fact, in the back, and Jimmy picked a new flower for me to wrap up in my purse. We could play store for hours.

One important lesson I learned while up at the Steinke's was when my mom took Jimmy and I fishing at Sister Lake. We were catching tiny little fish, too tiny to eat, but also too tiny to survive swallowing our hook. When my mom threw them back into the lake, they just floated back to the top. She explained to us that we must respect the animals we kill, because they're giving us food. She told us we couldn't fish anymore, because we were killing these fish, without using them for our benefit. So we left the lake that day.

One day after a fishing trip to Flambou Flowage there was a large bucket outside that had our catch of the day in it. We were going to eat the fish for dinner that night. I listened to Grandma prepare the kitchen table for filleting the fish as I stood above the bucket watching them swim in circles. For some reason I wanted to see what would happen if I dropped a stone on one of the fish's head. I picked up a stone from Grandma and Grandpa's drive way, and dropped the stone directly on a fish's head. It knocked the poor guy out. I felt horrible, and was afraid to tell anyone because I was sure this didn't fall under the category of "respecting the animals we kill for our benefit."

I was always terrified that I would come face-to-face with a bear while we were on the Steinke's property because they always told us stories of bear encounters over the years. I never did see one though. That's a good thing.

I found this old photo as well. I never noticed before, but it looks like Great Grandpa and I ` are sharing an inside joke. I do remember laughing at the silly things Grandpa Norman would do to make me laugh.

Years after these photos were taken, and after both of my Great Grandparents had passed, I was lucky enough to be baptized in the Chicago temple for Grandma Josephine. I also witnessed a young man in my ward get baptized for Grandpa Norman. I know my Grandparents had a very difficult time accepting the church in this life. In fact, we were told we couldn't tell Grandpa that we belonged to the church we did, because Grandma was afraid it would kill him -- literally, he had a bad heart. However, I can only hope that on the other side they were able to open their hearts and accept the gospel into their lives. They're wonderful people who have blessed my life with fond memories. I can't wait to see them again!

This turned into a much longer post than I anticipated. The memories just kept coming, so I kept typing. I don't expect many people to read all this, but I just wanted to write down these memories so they're documented somewhere.

I had a pretty great childhood!


Jim said...

I really enjoyed this post.


Boom said...

Thanks for getting this down. It's a wonderful memory fpr all of us! I love you!