As an eight-year-old, I knew the abruptness of nightfall. We lived in a chicken house while waiting for construction of a real house that was never completed. We had no electricity, no running water, no plumbing, and no bathroom.

Have you ever read under the light of a lantern or a flickering candle? That’s how I did my homework. But daylight’s rapid disappearance gave me an appreciation for morning’s light. There were things I wanted to do, friends to see, and that book I hadn’t finished the night before laying alongside me on my cot. Now, with the sunlight peeking through the window, it was time to attack the world.

I still possessed that passion for morning’s sunlight when I visited my Cousin Wayne at Ridgeway or Cousin Jack at Dodgeville. Because of limited sleeping facilities, I’d join them in their beds.

At sunrise, their fathers would call from the bottom of the stairs, “Jack/Wayne, it’s time to get up. The cows are waiting.” Maybe it was Uncle Amanza’s or Uncle Earl’s call, or maybe morning’s first light, that woke me. I’d sit up in the bed, grab my clothes, and get ready to meet the day. I couldn’t understand why Wayne or Jack hadn’t stirred.

Ten minutes later, the call came again, but except for my movement, the room remained still. I couldn’t understand their unresponsiveness when the call came a third time and maybe even a fourth time. Not until a few years later, when as a teenager I tried to “saw a few extra logs” each morning, did I understand how anyone could be so lazy.


For my Year of Memories project, I am sharing a memory every Monday for a year.  Memories of Wisconsin, of growing up, and of the people and experiences who shaped me. I hope you enjoy these Monday Memories and that they inspire you to reflect fondly on your own stories and memories of the people, places and events that made you who you are today.

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