There are photos taken of Gaylen and me as youngsters on the front lawn of my grandparents Reikofski’s home after Aunt Evelyn was married, and another where I may have been holding an Easter basket. (It looks like a bird nest.)
Grandma and Grandpa Reikofski’s house in Neligh was always warm in winter (except for the unheated bedrooms) and cool in the summer, with a nice breeze flowing through from south to north.
Grandma treated me with her rice and raisins that simmered on the heating stove during the day. However, I could not eat or drink the Carnation Evaporated Milk they served on the rice or ate with their cereal. The canned milk was okay in cooking because it was disguised.
They used Oleo, under a quarter a pound in the 1950s, on everything. It was so different from the butter that Mom cooked with. That explained why Mom loved butter. She even spread it on her own cinnamon rolls, which were delicious for me the way they were. Grandpa Reikofski prepared French toast, especially for me those times during high school when I stayed in town instead of going home to the farm. He served the toast with not only syrup, but added crushed pineapple.
There was a big absence of photographs through my childhood until a Christmas when I may have been twelve. We stayed in Neligh because Mom and Dad had gone to an Ice Follies production at Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha. Uncle Mike Mosel trained the poodles that performed in the ice shows.
We were under the care of Aunt Vi and Uncle John Ingram at the home of his parents, Martha and Merritt Ingram. The older Ingrams and David, their youngest son who was a year ahead of me in school, were vacationing in California. Their upstairs was a lived-in space, exotic and alien, romantic, and adventurous.
I remember asking for a piece of chocolate cake. Aunt Vi said, “Oh, no! That cake is at least two weeks old.” Why was it still there on the counter?
Mom and Dad returned and we celebrated Christmas Eve in town that year. I have a fuzzy photo. My brothers are wearing long woolen underwear for pajamas. Renée is in figured flannel pajamas and I’m decked out in my faded red chenille robe.