Mom had made me a real can-can like square dancers wore. (I don’t remember WHY…) It was made of three tiers of tightly gathered red tulle. One recess a couple girls locked me in the outhouse from the outside. My schoolmates told me later how jealous they were because I had returned to that one-roomed country school a bit too citified. So, they locked me in the outhouse one recess. Maybe they were tired of me showing off. I ended up tearing the can-can. Why I ever wore it to country school is beyond me.
Dad’s financial status improved through the sixties and with Gaylen and me busy participating in school activities, Dad hired a man, whom I will call Rex, to help with farm labor. This man’s face was lined from hours in the sun and his body on the outside looked like he had worn out his earthsuit. Since he always wore a cap I never saw much of his hair, but what I did glimpse was steel gray. The grizzled hired hand stood slightly shorter than Dad and carried about 20 pounds less weight, but he kept right up with Dad work-wise. Rex’s one flaw was that he liked the bottle. The arrangement of staying with us all week suited him just fine, because completed work meant freedom to find a tree and sip his bottle of Schnapps.
At his own home if he drank too much his wife battered him, which she could handily do because she was heavier and towered over him. One time he disappeared. The deputy sheriff found him on the banks of the Elkhorn River where he went to fish. He fished with a bottle instead of a pole. I felt his loss because Rex’s work had lightened my outside chore load.
Do you have colorful character in your memories of childhood?