I was raised on a farm in Nebraska. Obviously from the picture above, we were a John Deere family, not an International family. (Farm folks will understand.)
Several years ago, my wife and I found a shoebox full of old prints and negatives in the house I grew up in. She had them all digitized and put on CD-ROMs, which she gifted the family. There were hundreds of pictures, many I’d never seen before. It was a trip.
I’ve still never organized them all, but thanks to Google Photos I can now find myself and any family members in them. Some gems:
I was third-born out of four. We had a nice house, lots of brown clothing, and a very cute St. Bernard. We generally had one and only one dog, and they always lived outside. (This indoor occasion was rare and only for photo purposes.) Farm dogs don’t last that long — at least ours didn’t. I remember a few St. Bernards, a German Shepherd named Festus, and what I think was a Golden Retriever, who I saw get hit by a pickup truck after following me across the road.
My brother Lincoln was older, bigger, sportier, and more “Nebraskan” than I ever was. We wore the same brown clothes, though. I’m not sure why for this formal photo the idea was to hide in the plants under the stairs.
One thing I loved about growing up on the farm was biking. I loved bikes. I loved riding bikes, jumping bikes, tearing apart bikes, fixing bikes. One of my first business plans was to open my own bike shop right there on the farm. I tried to talk my dad into it, but he wasn’t buying that people would travel from miles around.
One of the main places I’d ride my bike to is my grandma and grandpa’s house, which was just a quarter-mile down the road. Here I am with my cousins and the tetherball pole. It seems to be missing the ball, but I remember it always being there.
We had a pond (aka “sandpit”) that we went swimming in. It has a rope swing and a volleyball court. Every other Sunday during the summer, we’d have a party there. The adults would play volleyball, and the kids would swim and drink soda pop. It was great.
We didn’t travel a lot, but a big treat was the occasional trip to Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, which was about five hours away.
This was every boy in my class on my 7th birthday.