Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Day for Us! By Aunt CB Kinsella


It's Aunt Gladys' Birthday Weekend, so here is a story for her, by her cousin, CB Taylor Kinsella:
Gladys and I were 15. I’d just finished my summertime job of keeping five little kids occupied while their mother was in the hospital, so I grabbed three days and bused to Center Lisle. I needed my summertime visit!

When the bus pulled up opposite Aunt Lil’s store, Gladys was hanging out the door and we collided in the middle of the road. The bus driver laughed!

What to do? Where to go? Didn’t matter, our mouths were busy. We decided to head on over to see Aunt Nell a bit, then go up to Grandma’s. Aunt Nell was always a joy to visit, loved us just as we were. She was always ready to hear our tales of whatever. Now I realize we were a welcome change in a quiet life but then, we just thought we were special, and to her we were!

Later, walking up the hill to Grandma’s, we followed a zig-zag pattern as we tied to step on every tar blister we saw in the road. We hadn’t stopped talking yet!

Up by Belle Barrow’s we snuck an apple from her orchard. They were pretty green but didn’t matter to us. Walking by the patch where Doris had promised me a money tree would grow, when years before I’d lost a quarter Uncle Elmer had given me, we gave it a good reconnoiter but no luck yet! Beliefs are hard to let go!

Finally at the farm, we arrived just in time to help get supper. Grandma sent us out to harvest a summer squash for the meal and a late growing cucumber if possible. The garden this year was across the road, near the garage. As we hunted for the cuke Gladys shouted, “Watch out, you’re walking through a window!!” Confused, I looked up and light dawned, this was where, four or five years before, we’d fashioned ourselves a “house” by outlining its walls with stones, old pieces of wood and metal that we’d found in the trash heap. Also found several old broken dishes and pans so we had a “home!”

Roaring with laughter, we remembered how Grandma was amazed at what we’d done! (read that “not too happy”) We returned all items before I had to go back home that year!

We started to go to the barn to help Adin clean up after milking when into the driveway drove Aunt Lil in her old car. She drove any car more or less as an old one! Having basically taught herself to drive, she made pretty much her own “rules of the road.” She’d remembered to bring my suitcase, had left Emily and Elmer in charge of the store, and planned on a meal and a nice visit on the front porch afterwards. That was fine with us.

Adin was about through with the clean up. He greeted us with the news that he’d made $3! (said with a wicked grin!) We knew how he’d made it, he’d peeked into the little pocket some cows had under their tail and between their hind quarters (after he’d reached in his own pocket) and with great surprise, extracted it in dollar bills from three cows! We followed our routine of amazement and raced out the opposite barn door to try to find some of those cows ourselves but they were long gone down the night’s pasture path! Meanwhile he finished graining the cow stantions for their morning meal, we fed the horses, patted and stroked Pet and Reba, told them we’d see them tomorrow and let them out to enjoy the evening air.

Supper was Grandma’s usual “groaner” meal! She’d opened a jar of her canned beef, made gravy to go over boiled potatoes, fried up the summer squash we’d picked and sliced the cucumber in vinegar and salt and pepper. Gladys and I set the table. Aunt Lil sat in the rocker to rest her feet and enjoy the first respite she’d had all day.

Supper over, dishes done, (now mind you, Gladys and I were still jawing away, hardly halfway through solving the world’s troubles). We all adjourned to the front porch, Adin, Lil and Grandma in the rockers, Gladys and myself the front steps, shredding daisy petals to discover whom we’d marry (remember “doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief, etc.!?) Now we sat in silence, listening to the trio of adults comb the neighborhood of gossip. Every once in awhile you’d hear a “zing” as a bug flew too close to the porch light. I didn’t know many of the people mentioned but they were familiar to me as names. However, the day had begun early for me and we’d been busy every minute. I was tired.

Soon Gladys and I said our good night to all, climbed the stairs to the front bedroom and fell into the welcome bed. As we curled around one another, Gladys said, “I’ll scratch your back, then you scratch mine.” “No,” I said, giving her a hitch as I turned to circle her back, “I’d better do yours first or else you’ll never get me awake to do it later!”

Thus ended a perfect day, one she and I would always remember for we didn’t get many for just us. Somewhere in the future we’ll meet again and then there will be no more paralysis, no more blindness, no more deafness, no more heartaches, just the joy of being together and our jaws will see action again!


Pat said...


Love this vignette! I can picture you all on the porch.

Thanks for sharing this memory with us!


Susan Kinsella said...

What a wonderful picture of that day! I felt like I was running right along with you. Loved "seeing" you both! Now I'm crying!


Kathryn said...

Long before Earth day, this day was my Mom's birthday. One year my youngest daughter got my Mom an Earth day card for her birthday. Kayte just put a 'B' in front of the 'Earth' on it. Ma put it on the wall of a room upstairs.
I was so pleased to see and read this story. Mom and CB were so close. Ma had CB in just about every story about her youth. The picture of the 2 of them is so 'right'. I couldn't tell how many times I called to catch up with Ma, and she would tell me about CB calling. I will always miss my Mom. I know that CB will too.
Thank you CB for writting this loving rememberance of my Mom. I love you lots!

CB/Mom said...

I had forgotten about those lovely skirts in the first picture! They are our broomstick skirts! We made them and were so proud. You wet them and wrap them around a broomstick until dry and they turn out all crinkly and wrinkly!

Kathryn said...

I want to expand on something. Back in the late 70's I worked for Xerox in Cleveland. I was trying to do something I was not trained for and I had 2 little girls at home. I drove 1 hour to work and 1 hour home every day. At home I still had to do all the cooking, cleaning, etc. I needed someone to talk to in the family. I knew I could not talk to Mom, because she wanted me to move back home from the first. Xerox had Watts lines. So I would, on occasion, call Jack on the watts line and we would talk. I do not remember what we talked about, but I needed those calls. Jack, you helped me a lot then and I want to thank you now.
CB and Jack, I love you both very much.

Kathryn said...

I should have added - to my Kinsella cousins - hug your parents! They are awesome!!
I love you all lots!

Pat said...


I DO have terrific parents! Great story about Xerox--I think I remember those Watts lines.


Tom K. said...

What a great story, Ma. Thanks.