List the things that made you happy as a child:
- Books! They were my favorite gift, my greatest treasure. I loved books even before I could read. I loved the colors, the feel of their spines as they stood in the bookcase, and the promise of a treasure inside.
- Make-believe. Whether it was playing house, playing school or playing church, make-believe was a common activity in our large family. If company were coming, we’d plot in advance what the game would be. Lots of young children? We’d plan to play school, as we’d have lots of students to boss around. If Uncle Al and Aunt Mary Lou were going to visit, we could play house, as there would finally be boys (beyond our one uncooperative brother) to be the husbands that we could send off to work. When we had candy wafers to be the communion hosts, playing church was always the order of the day. As we got older, we played make-believe through our Barbie dolls. We created elaborate apartments out of the shelves in our upstairs bedrooms, took lots of time-outs for costume changes, and let the dolls be the characters in whatever action we designed.
- Sunshine. I’ve always been buoyed up by a bright sky.
- Gleaning. I wouldn’t have known – as a child – to call it by that name, but I enjoyed picking berries, or picking peas, or even catching pan fish that could make a small meal.
- Bicycle riding. I was old – maybe nine or ten – before I learned to ride a bicycle, but I really loved it. I’d go around and around the house, front yard to back, for hours it seems.
- Christmas season. Our house always seemed calmer somehow, when it was decorated for the holidays. The light was softer, the rooms were cleaner, and all of us were making a huge effort to be on our best behavior. Anticipation was high, and so were my spirits.
- Vacation. Always on Beaver Island; always in August; always special.