One of my favorite memories is sitting on mom’s lap while she read us a story. Her lap was wide and soft and her arms enclosed Hunky and I as she held a big book in her outstretched arms.

The back of the chair was shaped like a cloud and came just to the top of her curly brown hair. The cloud was held in place by six pencil thin rod spindles made of worn, dark wood that disappeared into the curved seat of the chair. The arms were smooth and curved down like a clenched fist. The chair moved as mom’s small feet touched the floor and bounced back up, back and forth, back and forth. Donna and Rita clung to the moving arms, one on each side. Doug sat on the floor by her feet, leaning away each time her feet touched the floor for another push.

Her voice was warm and soft; it rose and fell as she mimicked the characters in the big book. Before turning to the next page she would open up both wide pages and show the pictures to all of us gathered around.

All too soon she read the last word on the last page. Slowly she would close the book and look at each of us and say” wasn’t that a good story?” Now off to bed.

Sometimes we would all go together to return the books to the library in Wilton. The Library stood proudly on the banks of Wilson stream. We quietly walked across a little bridge hand and hand to the sounds of water splashing on the rocks below. We climbed several wide gray granite steps. A big, heavy door guarded the treasures within the

cavernous room lined with shelves and shelves of books. The room smelled of wood polish and warm wax. The wood on the shelves and floor shone yellow and orange from the sun shining through the tall dark framed windows.

The children’s section was down a dimly lit stairway. The room was cool and smelled of aged paper and damp pages turned by many little fingers anxious to read the next page.

We would all choose a book from the shelves often choosing a favored story over and over.

A favorite story of mine was of a Swiss family in their home high in the Alps. One picture showed a large family gathered around the table for supper. The girls had braids in their hair and the boys wore short pants held in place by suspenders.

Another picture of the family was bath time; the yellow haired girls were being scrubbed in a round silver tub on the same kitchen table. The tub was small and their knees were bent up in front of them. That scene was foreign to us because we were bathed in a basin in the sink. Our hair was washed by lying on the side board and mom would pour warm water over our heads as we wiggled and squealed while she scrubbed out the week’s worth of outdoor playing dirt.

One day dad said,” Go pile in the car we’re going down town”. This was always a treat for us to go downtown!

Dad drove right up to the train station in Dryden, and he said “well there it is!” On the platform was a shiny oval tub, our very own bath tub! Not a round tub like the Swedish girls had but a body sized one.

That night every big pot and pan we had was filled to the brim with well water and heated on the wood stove. The water was dumped into the shiny new tub with great fanfare; we all gathered around to watch it swirl around as the pots were emptied one by one. It was decided that the girls would bathe first. Rita was the oldest she went first then Donna and then me!

It was glorious to sit in the tub my feet barely touched the other side when I stretched my legs way out. The water was warm and came up over my belly; I laid down in the wonderful warm soapy water and kicked my feet. I stopped splashing when mom appeared with a pot of warm water to pour down over my head. Mom washed and rinsed my hair as I scrubbed my arms and legs. But all too soon it was time to get out because Doug was next in line then little Hunky. Bath time was over for another week.

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