Grapes of Wrath Years

My family was living in Marsing when I was born in Nampa, Idaho, on April 15, 1953.  John mentions that he was not even aware that a baby was coming until Dad came back from the hospital after I was born and informed them.  He said that I struck him as incredibly cute and an altogether pleasant surprise.

At some point during that time, we moved from the Clatonia place to a farm with a much smaller, unpainted house near Jump Creek, south of Marsing.  Both farms were leased, as Dad was still trying to assemble the necessary means to buy his own farm.  The Jump Creek place was woeful.  The home had running water in the kitchen but otherwise lacked facilities  There was an outhouse across the dirt farmyard to the rear.  Baths were a Saturday-only event--in summers we took them in a galvanized steel tank outside the back door; in winters in the kitchen in the same tank.  The house had a kitchen, a front room and two bedrooms.  Our parents slept in the one next to the front room, where I had a crib, and the other kids slept in the one behind that.

There was no milking parlor, so Dad built some stanchions at one end of the corral and milked his cows out in the open.  John remembers a dark memory of that time when dad was sick with the flu, milking cows in the dark in a driving rain.  He asked Mom why Dad was out in such conditions,  sick and all.  She had a sad look on her face as she told him he had no choice.


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