In 1957 I took my teaching certificate back to the land of my mother.
She was raised on a cattle ranch in the north central area of Nebraska. The
famous Sand Hills. It was there I found my cowboy and we ranched for fourteen
years on the eastern edge of the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. The
teacher in this story is my mother's sister and our experiences at the Indian
Government School of Spring Creek during my early years.
In the year 2002 Cowboy and I moved to a very special town, Harper,
Kansas. This town is just a few miles down the road from the memories of my
Kansas childhood. How lucky to be able to have all of these memories and with
the help of God maybe another dozen or so years down the road I'll have another
set of memories to pass on to another generation.
Yesterday I was sitting at my computer working when I looked out of
my magic window
and noticed the swing set. The wind was fiercely blowing up a gale and the
swings were rocking to and fro. That didn't bother me, but when I saw the glider
was in motion, I didn't even have to close my eyes to picture the children playing
on it. They weren't my grandchildren. They weren't my children. They weren't any
children I could recognize, but I felt blessed. I didn't care who they were, they
And then I thought back. Back to the reservation. I could hear the
laughter of the Indian children, but whenever we came into view they would run to
hide behind their mothers or grandmothers and peek around at us. Some of the
older ones, seven, eight, nine or ten year olds would line up in front of the shack
or tent to stare at us.
I can still see them dressed in faded, wrinkled, soiled clothing.
Disgards from who knows where that ended up at the mission. Their large
round brown eyes staring from behind the greasy scraggly black hair. Some with
their dirty fingers stuffed in their mouths. The little ones clinging desperately to
the skirt as they peered around at us, always had snout trailing from their nose,
and their feet were either bare or encased in shoes three sizes to large for them.
I don't know if it was a tradition of some kind but it seems, in my
memory, there were never any men. Only women and children came forth. I
have my ideas where the men were but I shall not go into that here.