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Childhood Memories of Reading on the Farm

Reading has long been a major passion of mine, starting at about four to five years of age. It didn't matter what I read, only that I read something. The Bible, labels on cans of food, Burma Shave signs, just anything.

About a mile down a lane from our home on a Texas farm lived a lady who subscribed to Ranch Romances. Mrs. Wallace would give me her read and re-read copies and I would pore over them during the day and in the evening by the light of the fireplace and coal oil lamps.

I had a little pedal car given me when we lived in Jacksboro, Texas. Riding it in town on pavement was very different than trying to ride in the country, but I kept struggling anyway.

What else did I have to play with? A very dull knife for mumble peg, top and string to spin on the baked Texas earth and my Ranch Romance magazines to read. Mother was too proud of her Bible to let me go outside with it to read.

We had an old paint mare that I rode over to Mrs. Wallace's ranch house to get the reading material and an occasional letter which was sometimes delivered to a rural mail box on the road. We didn't have a saddle, bareback was the only way to go and a stump was the way to climb on her back.

Part of my work was to pull and feed what Dad called 'careless weeds' for the hogs. When they grew too big to pull out of that hard ground, my dull pocket knife was used to saw them enough to break off most of the plant.



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