Recently, I heard that when you’re 9 years old, you’re the happiest you will ever be.
(Apparently, when you’re 68, you’re just about as happy as you were when you’re 9. I’m going to have to wait a couple of years [decades] to figure out if that is true.)
The first statement was true for me. My 9th year was one of the least stressful times of my life. I don’t remember a whole lot from this time, so I’ll just sort of summarize a few things I remember:
- I adored my baby brother.
- The City completely tore up all the roads around my house that summer, so my brothers and I spent a lot of time watching the construction crews during our summer vacation. As a result of this, my youngest brother became very interested in trucks and tractors at a very young age. This was an interest that none of the other boys had developed. (At least, not that I was aware of!)
- Because Timmy loved trucks and tractors so much, we started to get books about trucks from the library. This was one of our favorites!
One thing that I especially loved during that time was that I got to spend a week with my grandparents without the rest of the family. I did it once with Dave the summer I was 8 and then I went solo for a week each summer for several years after that.
Grandma always had something fun to do — from a sewing project to a baking project to a “Trip to Town.” The closest town with more than the bare necessities was about 40 miles away and that town could be categorized as having the basic necessities. You could buy fabric if you weren’t fussy about your choices. You could also buy fake floral arrangements to put on a grave if you were willing to spend a pile of money on them. My grandparents also occasionally took me to a budding metropolis a couple of times to get cheaper groceries and to get Grandma’s sewing machine repaired. That city was 100 miles each way from where they lived.
I loved those weeks with Grandma. We had a lot of fun, played a lot of games, and I learned a lot of things that a girl can only learn from her grandma — like how to prepare vegetables (picked from their garden!) for freezing. Or how to make an Around the World quilt. Grandma even taught me a little bit about doing Hardanger embroidery.
And, of course, Grandma spoiled me rotten. Cuz that’s her job, right?
Sometimes my visit would coincide with visits from other family. I got to spend time with my grandparents’ cousins, my mom’s cousins and lots of aunts and uncles. It’s funny — years later, I don’t even remember the names of some of the people I met during those visits, but I remember little things like the cousins who were there for a fishing trip teasing me about cooking up their catch for dinner. (I didn’t like that idea at all. I couldn’t quite make peace with the idea of killing something and then eating it. Yes, I realize this happens every time I eat a cheeseburger, but it’s different when you don’t have to see your dinner flopping around as it takes its last breaths.)
Inevitably, I would get homesick and anxious the night before I was to go home and I was really, really happy to see my brothers and parents by the time Friday rolled around.