This is an actual event that happened in my younger life.
It will be one of many short stories that will be part of my
Memoir: A Journey of Roses and Thorns.
and post notes and photos about your poem like Elaine George .
"Yes! The Jehovah Witness Lady said. "Maybe you should all go to the Doctor for a checkup anyway."
"Where did you say the well is," Mum asked.
"That road right there," she said pointing out the window. "Go down there about a quarter of a mile. You will see an abandoned house and barn on your left. There's a path that will take you right to the well. The pump is a little hard to work, but once you get the hang of it, its no problem. It's just a stone-throw past my place. Hey! why don't you come with me, I'll show you exactly where it is."
"Elaine," you go, I'll stay here with Hal. Here, you'll have to take the mop bucket until I can buy another one. Rinse it out good when you're down there," Mum said.
In a few minutes, I was on my way to the well. The pump was a big old rusty iron monstrosity covered with ice. It took all my patience and all my strength to push its arm up and down, but when I got the hang of it, it was fun. Unfortunately, parts of the pump leaked like a sieve. Water got into my boots and on to my coat and mittens. I looked like an icicle by the time I got home.
Mum offered to pay me ten cents a week to lug water. I thought that was a great idea. Mum bought two new buckets. It will be easier to carry two buckets she told me. It will keep you balanced.
When my younger brother discovered I was getting ten cents, he wanted to lug water too. Mum bought two more buckets.
Every day before supper, my little brother and I, between us, lugged four buckets of water half a mile for ten cents a week. We thought we were the luckiest kids in the world.
Hal, being younger and smaller than me, had a difficult time lugging water. Unless he bent his arms upwards at the elbows, the buckets would drag on the ground. Most of the time his buckets were half empty by the time we got home.
He wasn't the least bit upset when mom offered him a different job as a janitor. He was more than happy to dust, sweep and mop the apartment.
Now, to keep up with the amount of water we needed, I had to make more trips than I did before. Mum upped my pay to fifteen cents. I was ecstatic.
In the winter months, it was already dark outside when I went to get water. The only light was the light coming from the houses along the way. Every shadow became a monster. Every howling dog became a wolf who wanted to eat me.
On one such evening, on my way back with the water, I got the scare of my life. A gangly looking creature made its way towards me. It was just one of the school kids. I wasn't sure if I should run or not.
"Hi Elaine," he said in a friendly manner. "Here, let me help you carry that water."
Friend or Foe? My gut was telling me Foe, but my tired arms were telling me, Friend.
"Sure," I said, handing him a bucket. He took it and promptly emptied its contents over my head. Then he took off like a bat out of hell. I could hear his cackling laughter ringing in my ears the whole way home.
We never knew what time dad would get home. He didn't own a car. He shared the cost of gas with his buddy(Suds) who did. Unfortunately, that car was as Dad said, (a piece of junk) and broke down often. Many times Dad and Suds would have to hitch-hike home.
If Dad didn't show up by 7:00 pm, we ate supper without him.
Without having a proper stove and only a hot plate to cook on, dinners consisted of things that came in a can or package.
That year, Christmas consisted of a party put on by the Canadian Army. I had never been in such a large building before. There were rows and rows and rows of tables and foldup chairs. According to the Master of Ceremonies, Santa would arrive by helicopter. Apparently, all the reindeer were sick with Measles.
There were tables at the front of the Barrack, ladened with platers of sandwiches, cookies and fancy little cakes where you could help yourself. You had a choice of white or chocolate milk. There were tea and coffee for the adults.
After lunch was over, all the kids stood in a long line, waiting to sit on Santa's lap. He gave each kid a present and a bag of candy.
A couple of days before Christmas Dad brought a spruce tree home. We decorated it with the Christmas cards our family from the East Coast had sent. Mom cried and said they made her homesick.
We lived for weeks on end in a world covered in snow. One storm after the other brought things to a stop. The plows couldn't keep up with it. The county closed the schools several times that winter.
On those days, I stayed home with Mum and my brother, all of us huddled in the kitchen with blankets wrapped around us as the wind whistled and blew in beneath the door sill and through the broken seals around the windows.
That winter dragged on and on. I thought it would never end.
It wasn't until February with Valentine day just around the corner that I began to perk up. With my fifteen cents, I bought a scrapbook of valentines. All you had to do, was cut them out and fill in who they were to and from in the spaces provided.
At school, an hour or so each day for the next week was spent making boxes in which to receive all the valentines the other kids would give you. I was thrilled, for I loved making arts and crafts.
When the big day finally came, the teacher presented us with a huge cake decorated with fluffy white icing and tiny candy cinnamon hearts. I thought I died and went to heaven. I hadn't had a piece of cake like that since we left the East Coast.
FOR THE CONCLUSION, GO TO PART THREE.
Copyright © Elaine George | Year Posted 2018