God, my mom could tell you about prairie life—the loneliness and isolation—no neighbours for miles and miles.
And winds—always winds—blowing the top soil away, or packing the snow into drifts sometimes as high as the house and so hard the cattle and horses could walk on them without breaking through.
And the poverty; fried potatoes and eggs three times a day all winter because that was all they had, walking nine miles to town with a dime to buy a box of corn flakes and taking the penny change home to her mother.
Wearing hand-me-downs from her aunts—flapper dresses that didn’t fit, the neckline hanging much too low on her gangly teen body. Wearing her brothers’ long johns under her dresses—long johns that bagged and sagged under those flapper dresses (imagine how lovely that looked), her legs rubbed raw from her rubber boots—the only boots she had. Using goose fat to try to cure chapped skin.
And the terrible depression that ensued from it all.
We moved to the city with its modern conveniences when I was ten. Mom was not sorry to leave those “good old days” behind.