Family Memoir

Story of Childhood


I often hear about people reminiscing about their pasts. Whether it be about how they met their husband, the birth of their children, or moving into a new home, they always tell the story with an unbelievable amount of passion and remembrance. When someone asks me to tell as story about my past, I usually do not talk about any of those things I listed above. Although all those events are important to me, they are not the most vivid events in my life. If I had to tell a story about the one thing that I remembered most about my life, I would tell the story of the simple, everyday things that occurred at my house when I was growing up.

The only people who have heard of Germantown are the people who live there. With a population of barely a thousand it is one of the smallest towns in Illinois. My family was a happy group, and we worked hard and sometimes had only enough to get by.

Every morning, just as the sun would be coming up, everyone in the house would slowly awaken from a sleep that was sure to be sound and full of dreams. I was the youngest of ten, but I still had chores to do. My job was to go out to the hen house and collect the eggs that the hens had laid the night before. I would get up with all my sisters and we would all get dressed and head out to the yard ready to work. I would walk across the porch which faced east and I would always note the sunrise that particular morning. Then I would go out and do my chores. After the morning chores were done we would wander back into the house and my mother would be cooking breakfast.

The boys, who had been up for a few more house than us, would come into the kitchen and we would all sit down to eat breakfast. We usually had oatmeal, toast, or something small. Every once in awhile my father would surprise us with a big basket of apples or some other kind of sweet fruit, and we would all get extremely excited. Breakfast was our time to relax, but relaxing only lasted about an hour, then it was back to work.

One benefit of being the youngest was that I had permission to work inside for the rest of the day. This job usually consisted of me and my mother doing simple clean up procedures around the house. We would go around and flap all the rugs and towels outside to get the dust out of them, or help clean and put away the dishes from breakfast. Sometimes the dogs were especially dirty, and would need a bath, and other times I would help to re-arrange the living room, my mother liked change, she never was happy when things stayed the same too long.

The one thing that set our family apart from everyone else’s was our love of cards. We would have card games that lasted for hours upon hours. No one ever got bored and that was the treat for a hard days’ work. I learned all the German cuss words you could possibly think of during those games. As my brothers got older and brought girls home, my sisters and I would have bets on who would beat her in the card games. Lou, the second youngest, always won. She was the best card player ever. She still is!

Just as it is today, school was essential. My brothers and sisters walked to school, everyday. We went to a strict Catholic school and were taught by nuns. It was almost like something you would see in a movie today; they all wore the big habits and would slap your hands with rulers if you were to misbehave. We would pray the rosary every single day before and after class and homework usually consisted of memorizing a prayer or two. We were very holy people I guess you could say.

Dinner was a very sacred time. My father insisted that we all eat together every night. It was always a little more formal than breakfast and we always sat in the same places every night. Even when the boys were grown, we all were to eat together. If the boys had a date, my father told them to eat twice. I miss that the most. When I met your grandpa and we went off together that was the one thing I was the most sad about missing.

Everyone has a story, one that touches their heart in a way that no one else could ever imagine. My story is my childhood. Although the work was hard, the hours were long, and the days were hot, I loved every minute of it. I think that whenever I felt sad in my life, no matter the circumstance, I just think back to that sunrise coming up as I stood on my porch. No matter what happens in the world, I’ll always have the sweet memories of life with my family to hold on to.

Published on February 23, 2009 at 7:09 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This was great, and a really laid back story! but there was no emotion from the characters. also the intro and conclusion build it up to a story bigger than it actually is. it would flow a lot better if those two parts were chill too and fit the same style of writing

  2. I really liked your story. I liked how you talked about the childhood in general, instead of one particular thing that happened. There were a few spelling errors and some of the paragraphs could have been tied together a little smoother, but it was still a very good story.

  3. I enojyed the vivid story line but I felt like we didnt get to know the characters that the narrator seemed so excited to remember. It was nice to hear about a peaceful and happy story. You may want to watch for once or twice when it seems like they are directly to you instead of a general audience

  4. A very nice story but I would like to see more depth or more emotion. The story is very tidy but it feels glossy and I think it would be fantastic if all the little activities added up to something more or told us about members of the family. Also, I felt like the introduction needed some polishing; I understand what you were trying to say but feel it was a little rough/choppy.

    Great work!

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