A long time ago, before computers, way back before television, two children of the Great Depression, Jean Ellet Grimes and Alice Marie Compton were married. It was 1945, near the end of World War II, Jean was a Captain and pilot in the air force. He liked to be called Ike. It seems like I can almost remember him landing his big air force plane in my Grandpa Jude’s pasture, except he didn’t. Funny how memories get mixed up.
The old farm house my parents took their new born baby Bill back home to in August 1946 was so drafty that on cold nights during that first winter, they say the water froze in the drinking glass in my bedroom. My aunt Ann says I was “colicky” and cried a lot. No wonder.
The next year they moved to a better house a mile away, still on the farm, where my 90 year old mother still lives today. The third year my brother Jim was born. I don’t remember mom being pregnant, or Jim’s birth but I remember having to be careful not to hurt the baby.
I remember the cow Dad milked, and he taught me how, and the gray barn cat that would come to lick up any milk we spilled, and I remember the smell of straw and hay and cow…and Mom separating the butter.
Every once in a while a baby lamb was rejected by the ewe and we bottle fed them. They were so warm and soft and cuddly. I liked that.
My parents were good. They taught us. Even when they made us do hard things. They knew it would be good for us. They wanted to help us grow stronger and better.
We had a good old short haired pointer quail hunting dog. Doc. A neighbor had a good hunting female short haired pointer. The female came to live on our farm for a while. One day that female had 12 puppies. It seemed like 22 puppies. We kept two of the puppies, Spot and Speck.
One night Spot and Speck got into our sheep and killed one. Dad had to shoot Spot and Speck. Jim and I dug their graves.
They made us do hard things because they knew we had to learn from them. Even when it caused us pain. But they got us another young pointer we named Louie.
We had a cute little black cocker spaniel named Gypsy that followed us everywhere, and we still had good old Doc.
Jim and I had chores to do growing up. I’m sure other kids worked harder than us but we did our chores without complaining. Dad taught us about working in a nice way.
I remember we made friends with the Bazzani twins from Waveland. We went to the same church. Larry and Garry got us in trouble by playing cowboys and indians in church. We were laughing and enjoying church more than we ever had before.
That is when I first remember learning about discipline. Mom and Dad never spanked us when we were growing up. That’s part of what I’m proud about them for. They raised us in a nice way.
But they did teach us discipline. I still remember the red and white kitchen step-stool. Mom made us take turns sitting on that stool for 15 minutes with out us making a sound. If we made a sound we had to stay another 5 minutes. It was torture. Particularly for Jim, being younger than me. He would play around when it was my turn on the stool trying to get me to laugh or say something or make a noise. That caused me to squirm around to keep an eye on him.
Then Mom put a book on our heads so we couldn’t squirm around. If the book fell, it cost us another 5 minutes on the stool. Every Sunday after, while the Bazzani Boys played cowboys and indians, we had to sit like we had books on our heads. Every one remarked about how well behaved we were. Mom was proud of us.
Thanks to Mom we discovered the Waveland Library. She took us once a week. My life changed in the library. I devoured every book about Bomba the Jungle Boy. The only reason I’m not half wild is because of the way my parents raised me
I rebelled against that discipline several times in my life. But a little discipline is good. For instance, I don’t have to talk too much. I’m a good listener.
Thanks Mom and Dad, I’m proud of you for teaching me the joy of reading and bringing me up with just the right combination of the good things in life and a little discipline. A large part of what I am, I owe to you.
I’m proud of my parents
Bill Grimes, oldest son of Jean and Alice Compton Grimes
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