My mother and her two sisters grew up in Oklahoma on a very humble farm. They learned how to cook and sew, how to bale hay and milk cows, how to scrimp and save, how to love and live. They grew up in the 40’s and 50’s when everyone wore hand-me-downs, everyone walked a mile to school, and most people had a party line.
Today, hand-me-downs are trendy retro clothes from a second hand store. Walking is done for exercise on a treadmill. I suppose a party line is now pretty much Facebook. Today, everything is easier, everything is immediate and everything is accessible. It is better? Well, in some ways, yes, but when you look at these photos I challenge you to know a better life than you’ll see in the happy faces of these little farm girls.
They didn’t have much, but they had kittens to play with, open fields to run through and creeks to wade in. Life was hard in a way we don’t know now, but it was simpler, slower and I believe in some ways more satisfying than most of us find in our lives today.
Above, mom with kitten in hand, which was most of the time, I think.
I have designed a little collection called Chick-a-Doodle-Doo that has been directly influenced by these farm girls. It’s got icons from their farm: red from the checkered apron, chicks from the chicken coop, and flowers from the open fields surrounding their farmhouse. There is a quick story to the red checkered apron—their aunt (who lived on the same farmland) would occasionally get frustrated with the girls (mostly my mom and her younger sister, I think) and threaten to “turn them over her checkered apron” and I think you probably know what that means. I’m pretty sure the threat was usually about as far as it would go.
Here is the complete collection above of my farmland chicks. Click on it to enlarge.
These farm girls grew up when hankies were a part of the daily wardrobe. Please, can’t they be again? Well, I’m doing my part to revive them anyway.
I don’t have many photos to share with Aunt Judy in them, Mom’s younger sister, as most are with her older sister, Aunt Donna. However, I do have this rare studio portrait of the three girls.
I also have this darling photo of Aunt Judy’s granddaughter, sporting apron and headscarf, baking in the kitchen, much like her great-grandmother did years ago in the Oklahoma farmhouse. I think this little chick-a-doodle-doo is just too cute and as sweet as they come. :) And now she is the youngest family member to influence my art.
Whether you grew up in the last century, or are growing up in this one, remember your past fondly and take pieces of it to use in the recipe you make for your future and the future of your children. Simplify, slow down, and become more satisfied with the life you have today.