Monday, March 3, 2014

Slice of Life Challenge - Day 3 - From Brownies to 4-H

THANK YOU, Slicers, for such a warm welcome to SOLSC!!
In case this is your first time reading my slices, here is my focus for the challenge: my fifth graders and I are going to participate in the Slice of Life Challenge this month, and they're writing memoirs.  I thought I'd do the same kind of writing - memory writing - throughout the challenge.  My new writing idea/goal is to write an early chapter book series based around a character very much like me, so remembering my childhood stories is very important for that project.  I'm going to be writing around photographs and memorabilia.  Day 3:

     I was a Brownie.  I'm the tallest one in the back row.  What I remember about Brownies was macaroni necklaces, macramé, and assorted other crafts. I know that craft-making isn't the only thing Brownies do.  In fact, those memories may not even be entirely accurate, but that's what I think of when I think of my Brownie days.  I love this picture, though.  In it are people who were my classmates all the way through graduation.  The girl up front is one of my best friends today!  I love that.  We journeyed through Brownies together.  Brownies, though, was not for me.  I eventually made the switch to 4-H, which I LOVED!

     In 4-H I could do what I loved: raise animals!  Here is one of my first batches of chickens, kept for the first several weeks in our house. ;-) It is 1975, and they are New Hampshires and Rhode Island Reds, destined to be very handsome, entertaining, and rewarding birds.  We raised Plymouth Rocks and Pekin ducks, too.  I loved visiting the Mt. Healthy Hatchery to pick out chicks and ducklings.  The earthy smell of poultry would fill my nose, the sweet cacophony of peeps would fill my ears, and the excitement of taking home those little downy creatures would fill my heart.  They would stay in that box with a heat lamp for awhile, then a small crate as they hit their awkward, tween stage and started getting in feathers - I think we moved them to the garage for that stage, and then, when almost full grown, were transported to the barn, where they fulfilled their destiny of egg-laying and Warren County Fair showing.  I loved the 4-H members in my club - they were my idols, mostly older than me - I think I was the only one raising poultry.  The others raised cattle, sheep, and pigs.  I poured over the books we had to complete and study about our projects, anticipating the 4-H meeting when we took a tour of everyone's farms to see their prized animals right before the fair.  The fair was ALWAYS the hottest week of the year, but I didn't care.  It was the most exciting.  I only liked the animal barn side of the fair.  The poultry barn was filled with crowing and clucking, the sheep barn with bleating, the pig barn with grunting and snuffling (they really don't oink), and the cattle barn with mooing.  Sweat, dirt, pony tails, cowboy boots, plaid shirts, big belt buckles, and ball caps abounded.  Those were happy days.  I don't live in the country anymore.  I live in the suburbs.  But those days caring for creatures who depended on me every day shaped me in all kinds of ways - I believe they built compassion, selflessness, and responsibility.  I am a better mother and teacher because of those experiences.  Thank you, Mom and Dad, for supporting me during those 4-H days.  It couldn't have been easy, but I think it was worth it.
      Just a little taste of the Warren County Fair:


  1. You can tell that you love animals, Holly. My kids raised chicks, too, in third grade - such fun for my suburban kids to have that experience.

  2. This post brought back fond memories of 4-H for me! I think this may inspire a 4-H post from me sometime this month. Now I need to see if I can dig up some pictures...

  3. Oh my gosh. I could be in the front row of that picture of Brownies. I could be the blond-ish girl with straight hair and a banged bobbed. I could be. I loved Brownies: badges and adventures and cooking and animals. I also loved raising chickens when my son was young. We order bitties for many years --they are lovely fluffy babies. How fun that you are retracing these memories for Slice of Life! Thanks for bringing my own memories to mind.

  4. Wow, your post took me back - Brownies and 4H - what fun memories!