Friday, June 3, 2011

Cousin Richard

I was 11-years old when my cousin, Richard Childs, was born. I thought he was the most perfect and beautiful baby I had ever seen. I loved holding him, singing to him and, in general, just admiring him. When he was born the family still lived in Price. So it was easy to be with him every day.

Aunt Renee nursed him and I liked to just be there when he ate. He had light blond hair, but not much of it,  more like peach fuzz and blue eyes the color of sky. I learned to change diapers and to cuddle him so that he would relax and be happy.

As he grew, he became even more perfect in my eyes. He had such a cute personality right from the start. When he started laughing, Garth, David, and I (especially me) would do whatever we could to make him laugh. Then he started crawling and we became aware that nothing much was safe. The doll I loved was dragged around the floor by one leg. But I could never be upset with him. I think I rather fancied that I was his other mother.

As he got old enough, I liked to feed him baby food and then mashed potatoes and eggs that had been mashed with a fork until they were just tiny, tiny bits. Only Aunt Renee could do that to eggs. I actually liked her to do it to mine when I was little. I honestly think that Richard never could eat and keep his face clean. But I did try.

I was broken-hearted when I learned that Aunt Renee and Uncle Max were moving to Huntington. I really thought that my life was ending. I didn't understand how my "brothers" could be taken so far away from me. However, though I didn't always see them every day, I did see them often. Aunt Renee was sympathetic to my sorrow and so was Grandma so there were lots of trips back and forth.

One nice thing about Huntington, was that the boys could have a dog. He was a hound, I thought a Dalmatian, but he was white with black spots whatever he was. Richard was his special pride. He would not let him get far away. That was a good thing because they lived on Main Street in a big old white house on the corner. (There is a grocery store there now.) They had a lot of property and even had a steer they raised for beef. However, if Richard would start toddling toward the sidewalk and danger, the dog would grab him by the back of his diaper or his pants and drag him back to safe territory. I carry around a picture in my mind of that dog dragging Richard and Richard giggling while he was being pulled.

How fun it was in the summer to sleep in sleeping bags on the big old porch. There were pillars that held up the roof and a wide expanse of porch to enjoy. All four of us could sleep there though, at first, I know that Richard was kept inside. I always felt sad about that but, I suppose, he could not have been trusted to me, even though I thought I was his mother. I slept very soundly and, in those days, I had not learned to rouse myself at the sound of a waking or wandering child.

Another fun vision of Richard is of him playing ball. Even when he was still a baby he could manage a ball quite well. That was one thing that the dog and he had difficulty over. The ball was a temptation for the dog to grab and gnaw and it was a toy that Richard really didn't want to share.

For me those were such happy days. I look back at them now, through the angle of my age, and it seemed as if everyone was always happy and the sun was always shining. There had to be rain. There had to be crying but I thought my little world was perfect and I don't remember anything that was tarnish. It was all gilt.

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