Friday, February 25, 2011

Growing Up Rich

I’ve never really told anyone this, but I grew up rich. 

L&L Destruction Crew, 1987

But just as there/their/they’re and weather/whether and which/witch does, the word "rich" can have multiple uses and meanings.
I grew up in a beautiful old house that was built in the 1843. It has enough character to be it’s own FFA American Degree recipient and has gone through more renovations than Joan Rivers. 

Now that I think about that, the house I was raised in actually has more character than Joan Rivers, too. 

The House that Built Me

It wasn’t always so beautiful, 
but it’s always been perfect to me. 

Thanks, Dad

Our house was always spacious, too. So spacious in fact, that one summer growing up there were no exterior walls on the first floor. We could stand on the back porch and throw water balloons to the front porch - and the same east to west. That was also the same summer that Mom tried to put all four of us (Dad included) up for adoption. 

It was so perfect that we could tie twine around the necks of our goats and chickens and parade them through the exposed beams of the house. 

Finally, The Circus Came To Rural Greens Fork

Unfortunately, prominent local farmer Richard Cranor, who's family had a fundamental role in building Greens Fork, also came to the house one of those days and the circus production was brought to an abrupt end, thanks to Mom. 

Our apologies folks, no rain checks. 

We were also rich enough to have a daily entertainment show that passed down Garrett Road every day at approximately 10:47am. When we saw the mail car go up the road for deliveries we’d get our cast together. Some days a garden snake, sometimes a chicken, often a crawdad, frequently a frog, more than once a pygmy goat went into our big, tin mailbox to provide a sweet surprise for the mail person. 

I say “person” because we went through four mail carriers during our childhood; I have no idea why? I just assumed it was because of the terrible conditions the winter brought about twice a year, having a snow plow rarely hit our township. Can you image the stress they felt driving in those conditions? I'm thankful we could brighten their days. 

Ironically, today I live on the same, quiet street as two of our former mail carriers. For as poorly as his hip replacement went, Mr. Moore sure hurries off his porch swing as quickly as his walker will take him when I arrive home from work everyday; he's never in the mood to talk. And Miss Cathy....let’s just say she now gets homemade chocolates delivered to her mailbox each Christmas.  

Did I mention that growing up we had an in-ground pool? Oh yes. It was luscious and green and perfect; a lot like Key West. I think....I've never really been that far south. 

The path that got us to the in-ground pool could have ensured our placement on the waiting list to be a contestant on “Survivor”. To get to there, we had to cross the bubbling tar road, wade through a yard filled with walnuts, walk 1/4 mile down a thistle-filled path, enter the woods, climb over two fallen Sycamores and avoid nettles, thorns and poison ivy at all costs. It was very glamorous. By the time we reached the pool we had forgotten about any lurking snakes or even defending ourselves in a water fight - we just needed cold water on our legs and bare feet.

I don’t mean to brag, but Luke and I got a new toy about once a month. I got the top half (colorful, recognizable, fun!) and of course he got the  bottom half (boring, plain cardboard, but stronger!). All we needed was string and and masking tape, and we had ourselves a real-life-double-wagon-cow-hauler. It was always a pretty big day - hauling cows all around the country, also known as our living room, in a Velveeta box.

Rich - like my favorite cheesecake from the small-town  Bread Ladies 
Rich - like the black soil in Preble County, Ohio where Momma’s family still proudly farms

Rich - like never having to buy rubber bands for a science fair project because your Momma has kept every one she's removed from broccoli in the last 7 years

Rich - like wearing footie flannel pajamas with holes in the toes

Rich - like having the very simple things in life that make you really happy

I’ve never, ever believed that having the best 
of the material things makes you rich. 
Since I was young, I’ve always known that being happy, 
means that you already are. 


  1. You are a very talented writer!
    Thanks for reminding me that I grew up "rich" also!

  2. I can't help but notice Luke is wearing red shorts in that picture with the frog....are those the same ones he would wear around AGR? My guess is yes knowing Luke!

  3. This is such a beautiful post! LOVE IT! I guess I'm "rich" too. :)

  4. Lisa Wicker pointed out your blog. Very excellent writing. Yes you are rich. I remember babysitting on occasion for all of you. I remember the big holiday parties and of course super bowl parties at you house. Great memories! (Laura Mendenhall Sherrow)

  5. This is a fantastic article. Thank you so much for helping me remember who i really am and what i believe in. Day by day i often become a little side tracked by the grandeur of the same sorts of people that parade around me. Always feeling like the disadvantaged. (My mother slaves to send me to a private prep school where about 75% are truly wealthy, and the other 25% like to play the part). Well, there are about 5% who truly dont care, including my best friend--well she's switching schools so i guess i cant rely on that...bummer. Lately ive been obsessing incessantly over the image i portray to the world around me. And this article is a lovely pick me up. It takes me back to the days when my--well there's really no describing such a wonderful place. Put all the best things you love about your life, and tuck it away into the memory of this bit. That was how i lived.

  6. What a wonderful story,remines me of my childhood.I guess those was the days that we can share with our kids,grandkids&greatgrandkids.The only thing wrong with the world today is the kids have not got to grow up RICH.Thank You for sharing your story.

  7. Linday,

    Thank you so much for being the small hometown girl, the apple of everyone's eye anywhere and everywhere you are. You are truly an example of someone striving to share the awesome talent that God gave them, never knowing whom it might touch and when. To me this is the best part of aging, becoming "richer" everyday. It also saddens me how we are taking this same gift away from this new generation. Sounds like the times of renovation were making room for more love to grow!