I was raised on a farm in Austria, right on the boarder to Italy in a beautiful, idyllic mountain village. We had some cows, sheep’s and pigs and chickens everywhere. A farmers day starts early in the morning and doesn’t end before late at night. Everybody is needed -no exceptions, there is always something to do. We had acres of fruits trees and fields with potatoes and corn. Grass had to be mowed, fences had to be repaired and fruits had to be picked. The farms were not in calling distance; we had to drive to our neighbor’s house.
We always had food to eat; the pantries were full with cans and preserves. The freezers and fridges were stocked with meet. Fruits and vegetables were stored in the basement.
I had enough clothes, even though some of it might seem very questionable for kids these days. Some were hand-me-downs; some were made by my Grandmother. I had two good dresses for church, one for the summer time and one for the winter time. I had shoes that matched the dresses and a kid’s purse that had some dents, because I had used it to play soccer.
All our neighbors lived the same way we did. Money was tight, there was lots of bartering going on. “I give you 2 cows for this or that”. Everything was paid in life stock. People helped each other and didn’t get paid for it.
One day my Grandmother decided that we could offer room and board to summer tourists as well. She decided to paint our farm house, so it would look nice and inviting, when the photographer would take the picture. A shaky scaffold was put around our house; all the neighbors got together and painted our farm. The men painted, the kids were running around trying to help and the women were in the kitchen and cooked a big Italian feast, which was the pay for all the help.
Having summer guests on the farm was a genius idea. All of a sudden there were free helpers running around, eager to get their hands on a tractor. I never understood, but it seemed like they thought farm work was entertaining. I have to admit, he summer tourists came in handy. They wanted to work on a farm just for the fun of it -some of them turned out to be really useful.
We didn’t have swimming pools or anything else that fancy, we had watering holes and creeks and we used them all. I made some money in the summer time, when I showed the tourists my favorite hiking routes.
There was a movie theater in the next village and later, when we were older, we were allowed to go there at the weekends.
We got ready for winter, iIn October, when the cows came down from the summer fields. Winters were different. For months we were covered in ice and snow. Live was more quiet then, there wasn’t much to do. We kids played in the snow for hours or went skiing. I earned a lot as a ski teacher when I was older.
We were farmers. There was a lot to do, but although lots of fun and laughter. I remember my childhood very well and I wouldn’t have chosen a different one; I consider myself blessed with the way I was brought up. I have so many wonderful memories.
Life was different then. I think we all were poor for today’s standards, but I think we were rich~! All our neighbors lived the same way. “The Rich” the ones with more money, they lived far away in the cities…I met them later on in life.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “West End Girls.”
West End Girls
Every city and town contains people of different classes: rich, poor, and somewhere in between. What’s it like where you live? If it’s difficult for you to discern and describe the different types of classes in your locale, describe what it was like where you grew up — was it swimming pools and movie stars, industrial and working class, somewhere in between or something completely different?