When I was a young girl, my parents worked on an apple orchard in Michigan. I can slightly remember the time there. Combining my memory with the stories my mother has shared, I get a good picture of what life was like. My brother was just a baby; and I recall the baby swing where he sat swinging the day away. My parents had the really big ladders that would reach the top of the apple trees. Only the men used the ladders, the women, like my mother and aunty, were responsible for picking the apples on the lower parts of the trees. Sometimes you would hear “Timberrrrrr” as one of the male workers went crashing down with the ladder. Now I don’t recall all the parts of this orchard, or my time spent there. As a young girl I do remember green grass and trees everywhere. I remember running around as free as a bird. Maybe that was not the case, but I sure do remember it. I remember the brown log cabins, and strangely I can only associate them with nighttime sleep. Maybe that was the only time we were ever really in them. I just remember being in the log cabins during night, and during the day always being outside under blue skies and puffy clouds.
The worse memory I have of these orchards is the outhouse. Our cabins did not have a working bathroom. So you had to walk up a small hill to the outhouse. Since I was around the age of my potty training days, potty training and outhouses were not a good combination. My parents would be fast asleep and there’s my little self saying “mommy, I gotta go pee.” My poor mother. Can you imagine being woke up in the middle of sleep, only to walk your little one outside, up a hill, to a wooden outhouse. As Jimmy Fallon would say….”ew.”
I don’t know why this is part of my childhood memory. I just know I’ve always remembered it. I sometimes wonder how it felt to be in my parents shoes. So young, raising my brother and myself, living on an orchard, picking apples for rent. Maybe this is why my spirit has always felt so free. Or this could be where my love for the country stems from. One may never know. I just chalk it up to building character within. Not everyone can say they once lived on an apple orchard.