In 1960/1961 I loved to help my dad with yard work. The riding mower he used fascinated me. I was way too young at five or six to operate the mower. However I so enjoyed sitting on dads lap as he mowed the 5 acres of lawn. It was so fun!
Dad also had a rather large garden. He planted lettuce, onions, potatoes, corn, cabbage, beans, cucumbers, watermelon and cantaloupe. Most of the vegetables were canned. Mom would set up in the basement where she had a stove used for canning. First she would sterilize all the Bell jars and lids. Then after cooking the vegetables she would pack them into the jars and place the jars into the pressure cooker. After the pressure reduced she would take the jars out of the pressure cooker and let the jars cool. Then she would press down on each jar to make sure the jar sealed during the process. If a jar failed to seal she would open the jar and return the contents to the rest and try again on the next batch. It was an all day affair that went on for weeks in late autumn. It was like a production line down there in the basement. When it was over we had two shelving units full of canned vegetables. Enough to last through the winter.
One of my best friends was Carol Washington. She was my age and very much a tomboy. Later on in her life she would change her own brakes on her car and do repairs on her motorcycle. We enjoyed each others company. We would perhaps swing on the tire swing that my dad had put up for me on the big tree at the back of our property. Or we would ride bikes up and down Jono road playing turnpike. Or maybe play a board game along with Carol’s older brother Carlos. Or perhaps play in the fort that her dad had made over the garage at her house. Or play in the tree house that her dad had made in the large tree on her yard. Or swing from the rope that was hung in the large weeping willow tree in her front yard. I had a great time playing with her and the fun we had was genuine.
Later on she would ride with us on her motorcycle. She could ride as good as any of us boys. She had a Honda trail 50.
Many times before school she would come over and we would dress up in our parents clothes. I wonder if all kids did this or was it unique in our situation. We were the best of friends and did most things together.
The years 1960 and 1961 hold many treasured memories for me.