Yesterday was Father’s Day
A typical day growing up in a house full of siblings...
I grew up in a large Dene family. Indeed we had a humble beginning. But what we lacked in material stuff, my father made up for by his exciting stories, and visions of the future.
I grew up in a house with ten brothers who all enjoyed reading, so there were always plenty of books around.
I remember picking up one of my brothers’ books when I was 11 and read it. The story was so captivating. As I read it, it unfolded much like a movie in my mind. Instantly I fell in love with books. It was the gateway to escape from the chaos in the home. in the evening when it got dark we used a homemade candle was called " bitch light, which is a makeshift candle made with oil and a cotton rag.
My brother's book was John Stienbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. perhaps this is why I like blogging, chronicling bits and pieces of my life. Possibly my childhood might be boring to most but I am cognizant that it definitely is unique and special.
First, I am Indigenous. Secondly, I had 10 brothers. That in itself is crazy. Not the Indigenous part, but the ten brothers part.
How many people grew up with 10 brothers, in a small log cabin that did not have electricity or plumbing?
But most importantly my mom was a force to be reckoned with and her OCD about cleanliness, that kept my sisters and I constantly occupied with cleaning is a separate story in itself.
When I pick a subject to blog, I am careful to not portray myself as a victim, at the same time, I don’t over exaggerate my blessings. I like things to be simple and straightforward and if you read it to the end and have felt entertained, or learned something new then I am satisfied.
as I mentioned,In my formative years we lived in a small log cabin that my father built. We had a wood stove in the middle of the living room. The woody fragrance coming from the burning logs in the stove and constant flurry of activity around, comforts me as I got older. We slept four or five to a bed. And we had three bedrooms. The boys had their own room.
In the dog days of summer, my Dad would put the wood stove outside so, when my mom baked bread it would not make the house uncomfortably hot. There was no television. We created our own amusement. Music coming from a small transistor radio which my brothers hooked a ground wire to was our entertainment. It gave us access to 630 CHED, a local radio station 24/7. my brothers enjoyed reading comic books, and would trade with the neighborhood children.
In the afternoon my Dad would take my brothers and walk down to the lake to get water, while mom and the girls prepared dinner. Dad fashioned an apparatus out of wood that allowed him to carry two large pails of water, one on each side. the board rested on his shoulders. We could hear their chatter getting fainter and fainter as they walked further away from the house and all that was left was silence. Their phantom laughter often hung in the air until we would hear them again in the distance upon their return as their laughter penetrated the silence.
Summers were enjoyable. Our Cree neighbour would have tea dances, lively music would emanate from their home. We were never invited because we were too young. The dancing fiddle music would last into the wee hours of the morning.
We often would make up stories in the dark about what we thought our neighbours were up to and when we got tired of them, we would make up ghost stories until we were more sleepy than scared, and then fell asleep.