The Old Red Barn

The Bloganuary challenge today is indeed a challenge for me: What is the earliest memory you have?

You see, I have many bits and snatches of early childhood memories, but which one is the earliest? Impossible to say, so I’ll go with my memory of playing in Grandpa Forsyth’s old red barn. This one was built in 1917 when Grandpa and Grandma Forsyth came to the Melfort, SK, area to farm and it looked like a zillion others that dotted the prairies when I was young.

These folks weren’t really my grandparents, but because I was raised by Dad and Mom Forsyth, I refer to his parents as Grandpa and Grandma, though I never knew either of them. My birth parents (Dad Vance being a sister to Mom Forsyth) being dirt poor, lived in a small trailer on Grandpa Forsyth’s yard. I had a brother Jim, who was eleven months older than me, and we were inseparable. Donna, 2 1/2 years younger, would have been the baby.

Apparently before I was four, Jim and I were left to pretty much run free on the farmyard. I still remember that one of our favourite things was to run into the barn and into the part aside which was the chicken coop. Here the ladder to the hayloft was hung. We’d climb up this ladder and jump down from the big doors of the hayloft, get up and do it again. I can’t tell you the exact distance to the ground, but it had to be a drop of at least a dozen feet (3 metres). I don’t know what Health & Safety would say these days about 2- to 4-year-olds leaping from barn lofts, but we survived and had great fun.

At least until Dad and Mom Forsyth moved to BC when I was four and took me with them. We came back to the farm later, but then moved to the city when I almost six. After that my connections to my siblings were limited to summer and Christmas holidays. Folks visited the old farm for a number of years –in summer to gather the orchard fruits– and I still remember the old red barn.

4 thoughts on “The Old Red Barn

    1. There are parents and there are parents. Some are concerned with the children’s welfare; some only want the kids out of the way because they have so many other issues going on. About 16 years back I tutored a little girl who was six and knew nothing of colours, numbers, books, didn’t even know her left hand from her right. She and her sisters were left to fend for themselves as best they could until Social Services removed them from their mother’s non-care. That’s the kind of mom we had.

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