Favorite Photo

My Generations Cafe challenge for this week is Favorite Photo. I have thousands of photos! How can I pick one as a favorite? 60 years of photos-35mm, Polaroid, 4 x 6 prints! Lucky me- they are all digitized. When we were living full-time in the RV I spent many long hours scanning slides and pictures. I’m so glad I completed that project.

As I think about this collection and about a photo that is meaningful from an ancestry point of view,  my mind keeps coming back to this one.

Joan’s Dad holding the newborn triplets.

That little girl is me, about 5 years old, and that’s my Dad, Jim McDearmid. We lived on a little farmette of 5 acres in Gurnee, Illinois. This was nearing the end of WWII and my parents were striving to provide all they needed for our family following the guidelines  of Five Acres and Independence, a popular book at the time. It was kind of like Noah’s Ark with a few of each animal to provide the food we needed, along with a Victory Garden.
We had the goats for milk and cheese. I hated goats’ milk but I sure loved the goats. They were really fun animals, very playful, easy to take care of. We all were very excited when little kids were on the way but we didn’t have any ultrasound so didn’t know what we’d be getting. I remember the absolute excitement when these 3 kids were born. Triplets!! I had such fun with them. Private, Sergeant and Corporal! I don’t think any other farm animal plays as much as goats. 

Joan with goats at Orchard Ave house; 5 acres and independence!

Adult goats can get a little out of hand when they want to play or want attention but the kids….so much fun. Not so much fun were the geese who loved to chase me, Mr. Big, the rooster, who jumped up at me and Dolly, the cow, who kicked my Dad and broke his foot. Oh wait, I think my Dad kicked the cow! Along with chickens, a lamb and some rabbits we had plenty to eat including milk and butter and cream and all the food we canned from the garden.  We had wool for bed comforters and goat’s milk to sell.
Of course, all this garden and animals meant that I had chores. Gather eggs, feed chickens and geese, water Mary Jane, the lamb, feed and water the rabbits, weed the garden and pick the veggies and fruits as they ripened. The garden included an apple orchard, strawberry patch and raspberry bushes so we had jams and jellies and summertime strawberry shortcake.
My Dad and Mom built the house in the background. I’m pretty sure it was built from a Sears Roebuck house plan.  It had a full basement with a root cellar, 1 bedroom and a loft, bathroom, kitchen and large living room. I lived in that house for 19 years and I don’t remember it ever being completely finished. The kitchen became a bedroom when an addition was built over the garage. The loft became an attic bedroom. The living room was always the same with beautiful bookcases built by my Grandpa Quist. The bathroom is what I remember most about being unfinished. For some reason the gray plaster never got painted. So give me a completely finished home, no fixer-uppers for me!
So many memories are triggered by this picture. I can close my eyes and walk around the 5 acres in my mind. There’s the weeping willow trees my Dad planted by the creek that ran through the middle of the property, the little spring of water in the creek where I’d catch frogs and listen to the bubbling water, the Snow Apple tree that all the kids loved to climb, the Bridal Wreath hedge where my friends and I could hide…special places in my heart.

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