November 19, 2008 It occurred to me recently that I should be sharing a few little tidbits of my childhood with my grandchildren for posterity. Not that there is anything monumental, but some are worthy of mentioning. A little idea popped into my head. How about every-now-and-then I would send off a little Grannygram to them....call it a "Granny's Grannygram." That I did this snowy afternoon and you might get a kick out of it.
We moved to the farm at 5476 Shoemaker Road in March of 1927. I turned 9 years old that August. It was probably the following summer that my Mother made me a playhouse above the granary, climbing a ladder to get up there. My Father didn't build the steps until a little later.
"Daddy," as I lovingly called him, had taken the shutters off the house because as real working shutters, they banged too much on windy nights. They were stored above the granary. With the help of wire, Mama stood them on end to make a partition between the living room and kitchen of my playhouse. I also had a bedroom with a real white iron bed that had been stored up there. It had been my little bed.
My neighbor was Herman, the little screech owl. Screech owls are small, only about 10 inches long but, have a weird trembling call which runs down the scale (and ran up and down my back). Quite easy to imitate. One night I heard him outside my bedroom window and went to listen and imitated him. Guess I must have done a pretty good job as he flew towards my window, scaring the beejeebers out of me. He spent his days perched on a length of board between two joists supporting the ceiling above the storage shed connected to the granary.
At first Herman made me feel uneasy, staring down at me with those huge eyes, like he might attack me. Soon we were ignoring each other.
Many years later another screech owl took over a knot high in the trunk of the north maple in the front yard. I named him Herman also. If I went out to the mailbox alone, he would simply watch me with those huge eyes that only point forward, he had to move his head to watch me. If I took our dog Heidi with me, he would hunch himself back in the knot, out of my sight.
Herman would capture much of his food alive, mostly mice, tearing them into pieces while eating. Later he would throw up pellets of bones and fur and I would find them beneath the maple tree.
Soon raccoons found our maples and Herman left.
That is my Grannygram for this week. Sometime I will share another.