Mary Esther’s Diary
By Cassandra Waugh
As I had interviewed my grandmother, she was the inspiration for this “journal entry.” I put myself into her shoes, and had imagined what it would be like to live a day in her life in the year of 1964. While doing the interview, she had shared information about her life as a teen, which made me learn more about her as an individual.
May 7, 1964
Today was a pretty exciting day. The weather is becoming very nice, and I am very happy that the temperatures are getting warmer each day. I am still overjoyed that my older brothers surprised us with a visit last Sunday; I can’t wait to see them again.
This morning, I went out with my brother, Lester, and sister, Betty Anne, and collected the chicken’s eggs and milked our cows. Lester and I had gotten the eggs, and had carefully placed them in the woven basket to be carried inside. Lester had intently watched Betty Anne milk our cow while I had taken the carrot that Daddy had given to me and I fed one of our work horses. I love our horses, and always find it fun and amusing to watch them chew.
I took the eggs into my mother, and left them on the kitchen table. I ran to the bathroom, splashed cold water on my face, and brushed my teeth. I constantly remind myself of how fortunate I am to have running water and plumbing, as my older brothers and sisters never had them. I dressed my thin, five foot six frame in my box pleated skirt and white collared blouse, and walked into my kitchen. My mum had cooked bacon and eggs for breakfast, with her homemade raisin brown bread. My older brother, Dale, was sitting at the table with my sister Betty Anne, my father, mother and Lester. Fred, Helen, Reta, Johnny, and Irving, had all moved away, and had begun to start finding work, and making families of their own.
As I had reached for a piece of raisin brown bread, my father had filled my glass with milk. I sat quietly, daydreaming about the Sunday dinner we had had just days before. Forty-two people had showed up, which is typical for any Sunday meal that my mum was making. She was very hospitable, friends, family-even strangers were welcome into our home. I was so excited to see Fred and the others, that I had mindlessly ironed my skirt for over half an hour without realizing it. I had put on my skirt, which was my Sunday best, and my family and I went to church, where I played the organ. Sunday was very nice. The weather was very warm, and there was not a cloud in sight. Our priest had a very nice sermon, as usual, and then we came home. Upon our arrival, my mother had taken it upon herself to begin the cooking at once. While I had cleaned up around the house, I couldn’t have been more anxious for the arrival of my family, as this would be the first big gathering we would have together for a whole three weeks, as it was impossible to get everyone together… until now! At three thirty, everyone had finally arrived, and our picnic table on our porch was covered in a spread of turkey dinner with all the trimmings, homemade donuts, rolls, and glasses of ginger ale. We had so much fun. We turned up the TV and after giving thanks, listened to an array of country music, ranging from Loretta Lynn, to Don Messer, played cards and checkers…
My daydreaming was interrupted by my mother kissing me on the cheek and saying that it was time to go to school. As I am in grade ten, I take the bus along with my other siblings to school in Blackville. Unlike some in my class, I love school. I keep an average above 90, and take pride in doing well. After I graduate, I think that I would like to become a teacher, however, I get painfully homesick, and I think I would miss Peter, my boyfriend, too much. He had plans on becoming self employed to work with machinery after this grade, and not returning for grade eleven.
The bus ride to school took no time, and the first two morning classes flew by as well. I am always kept busy, because I sit beside Margery Walls. She is blind, and because I am her friend, I copy all of her notes as well. I have been doing so since grade five.
I was so fidgety throughout my last class, arithmetic; I thought that my teacher might have been getting annoyed with me. I was so excited because it was a Thursday, which was also my favorite day of the week. Every Thursday after school, Lester, Betty Anne and I would go to see Earle Porter. Even though we lived on a farm and didn’t have many neighbors, Mr. Porter was the closest, and lived just a bit further down the Howard Road than my family. He was a music teacher, who had had arthritis, which had forced him to retire early. Every Thursday after school, we would go to his house for music lessons. Lester plays the drums, Betty Anne plays the violin, and I play the piano and violin. Mr. Porter helps us improve our skills, which makes it less nerve racking to play in front of people at church.
When we had finally arrived at Mr. Porter’s house, we had run inside. While Lester learned a steady new beat on the drums, Mr. Porter had showed Betty Anne a new style of how to stretch her fingers up and over the violin strings. He had then come over to me and the piano, and had showed me a new playing technique, where the left hand crossed over the right to play in the higher register.
Walking home, we were all smiles. The three of us were so excited to show my mother and father what we had learned in just one hour! By the time we had made it home, I had had to help Mum with supper, and had gladly told her about what Mr. Porter had showed us this week.
Supper was finally over, and I was stuffed with the chicken that my Mum and I had made. When we had started to wash the dishes, she had brought up something that had slipped my mind; my birthday was nearing! She grew teary eyed as she had come to the realization I would be turning fifteen. “I still remember the day you were born!” she said. “On a warm day on May 25th, I could tell that you were kicking harder than usual. I had felt a slight pain, and all of a sudden, I knew I was in labor! I had given birth to you at home, without a doctor, I might add!” I had begun to blush. She continued by saying, “It’s just like it has happened yesterday, my, my…”
We walked into the living room, and turned on the TV to listen to Loretta Lynn, and I had quickly but carefully finished my English and history homework. The time flew, and I had just looked at the clock to discover that it was already 9:30. I had kissed Mum and Daddy on the cheek, and scampered to my room to get ready for bed, and here I am, writing about my day. Tomorrow is Friday, and I am overjoyed that it will be the weekend. So goodnight, diary; I will write tomorrow.
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