|My two oldest sons in 1973, a little after this story|
But tuna was cheap, culled apples could be had for $1.50 a bushel, honey was $25 for 5 gallons, and the drive to get these things was a beautiful one through the country to Front Royal, VA . Closer to home, milk was $1 a gallon with the cream on it from a local dairy farmer. I bought day-old baked goods by the bags-full for $1 a bag. I made butter, learned how to make applesauce, and somehow we ate well on that budget.
It was early spring by then, an April day. We were still broke and I was eight months pregnant with my third son and in the kitchen of the little log house we lived in at the time, near the banks of the Occoquan River in Virginia. The trees were just budding out, and the plum tree in our backyard was in bloom. I had the Dutch door (one of those that opens at top and bottom) open to the back porch, and my two little boys were playing outside. The pale blue and yellow calico kitchen curtains I had made by sewing by hand were blowing gently in the breeze.
We had good food, a cute little house in the country, healthy little boys, and we were happy. What more could a person ask?
Ten years, another son and a move to West Virginia later, the marriage was over; we were two people who had married too young and no longer knew each other. But that one day stands out in my memory as a day of complete content, a day when I found a self-confidence I had not known before. It would perhaps not be earthshaking to anyone else, but I believe it was the starting point for my journey to both self-sufficiency and self-discovery.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.