Genealogists and family historians get a lot of satisfaction from chasing their ancestors’ stories. Finding a diary, a message on a postcard, or a photo with a name attached is like the sun coming out after a storm. One day we will be somebody’s ancestor. We need to leave our descendants a little bit of sunshine too. So here is my story told alphabetically, not chronologically: Growing Up in Cradock.
Growing up in Cradock in the 1960s was magical. I know that sounds like an exaggeration of how special it was or like selective memory. But trust me – it was the best place and best time to be a kid.
I have written several times about my childhood, so I am trying NOT to repeat. If you have nothing better to do, you can read more HERE and HERE.
On one single block called Frailey Place were 7 houses, 9 if you count my grandparents’ house and the Loudens’ who actually faced Gillis but cornered on Frailey. Six of those 7 had kids around my age and my sister’s age to play with.
|Anne, Mary, Peggy, and me in dress-ups|
Mrs. Allen is the one who gave Mary and me the idea of playing with boxes, shoe boxes, to be precise. We created rooms and furnished them with furniture crafted from match boxes, jewelry boxes, spools of thread, and whatever else we could find. Each box became a different room. We could arrange the boxes in whatever formation we liked. The funny thing is that once we created the rooms, we rarely played with them. The fun was in the creation.
Next to the Allens was the home of Peggy and Rusty Taylor. Their mother Nancy was our mother’s best friend, and very much a second mother to my sister and me. Peggy and I were not very close because she was a few years older and always off to the stables to ride her horse. But she was right there to help me with my bug collection for science class. We had to collect 50 different bugs. ICK. Peggy helped me find and capture them. I didn’t mind watching them suffocate in a jar, but when it was time to pin them to a slab of Styrofoam, I was hopeless. Peggy to the rescue.
Peggy’s younger brother Rusty was my sister’s best buddy. They were always together. Rusty even cut her hair.
|Nancy, my mother, and Rusty getting the croquet game set up|
|Debbie Ellis, Mary Jollette, Donna Cummings|
Katherine’s younger sister Donna was smack dab in the middle age-wise between me and my sister. It could have been awkward having her as a playmate, but she was always easy going and would just go along with whatever the plan of the day was.
Mr. and Mrs. Cummings were like parents to the rest of us too. I can still see Mrs. Cummings standing at her screen door watching all the Frailey Place kids running, skating, and bicycling up and down the road. Looking back, I have to smile knowing there was someone watching out for all of us. As they say, "It takes a village," and on Frailey Place, we kids had many parents.
Over the years, the Frailey Place gang have attended the funerals of each of our parents. We are still Facebook friends even if not social in the traditional sense. The bond formed so many years ago has not been broken.
For more Frivolity, Fantasy and Fun, do yourself a Favor and Find your way to the A to Z Challenge.
© 2016, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.