Here’s another photo from Pamela Barefoot, of my mom pushing me in a stroller up a hill at Hayes Farm, a 2200-acre soybean farm in King William County, Virginia. My parents rented a house there until I was seven. The driveway to our house was a mile long, and you passed this barn on the way.
I remember one day, when I was in kindergarten or first grade, they sent us home from school early because of the heat, and my mom wasn’t at the end of the driveway to walk me home (she didn’t know). Living on the farm, Sky and I were forbidden from doing a lot of things. We couldn’t go in the boat without our parents. We couldn’t ride on farm equipment with the Chartier grandkids. We couldn’t go in the barn. So of course, when the bus driver dropped me off, I went in the barn. I found a cat’s skeleton, which is its own kind of punishment.
A few things strike me about the photograph. First, the blue of the sky and the green of the grass and weeds. Second, my mom (she’s an artist) used to paint these barns a lot. Third, I swear my mom still has these same overalls.
It’s 1977 in the photograph; she’s only had a driver’s license for a year. When my parents first moved to the farm my mom was not a country person; a few years later she would grow very attached to the show Dallas. She had to sew her own pregnancy clothes, and she said she got so lonely one winter, while my dad was at work, that she tried to run away. She walked to the end of the long driveway and tried to hitchhike, but “nobody drove by, not even a bread truck.” This was before I was born and before she had the driver’s license, of course. Who hasn’t wanted to run away? I guess having kids improved things. She looks very jaunty here, from behind.