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Families share memories on FacebookPosted Tuesday, August 9, 2011, at 11:10 AM
This photo was taken in the late fifties on the Alvin J. Smith farm near Pyletown. My sister Kathy and I are standing in front of the country home that my family rented in the mid-to-late fifties, before Malden Air Base closed.
My sister has recently started the impressive project of scanning all our mother's old photos and posting them in an album on Facebook, that amazing online social network which has hooked so many of us (for better or worse).
Each of us use this new method of communication for our own purposes. There's no doubt of its addictiveness. We hear of the abuses every day in the news, however, the remarkable website has revolutionized the way we communicate.
My sister has always used Facebook sparingly--until recently. About a month ago, she dragged out one of my mother's scrapbooks and started scanning old photos and posting them online.
Oh, please--let Facebook never die!! The photos are priceless! Several members of the family have joined Kathy's list of "friends," so they can download copies of old photos that they've never seen.
The old farm house in the above photo is no longer standing on the Pyletown Road, but it was a happy place in the fifties, when my family lived there.
My younger brothers, sister and I roamed the huge yard and the big old barn, which is still there. The boys went to school right across the street at Boyd Elementary, and my sister remembers riding the bus to Pyletown to a one-room school. I was in high school by that time, so I never experienced the one-room school house. I'm sorry for that, as I've heard many good things about country schools.
I recently met one of the family members, and he told stories of how cold his upstairs bedroom was. Funny, but I don't remember that! In my mind, the old house was idyllic! I had the bedroom on the top floor, southeast corner. My two rowdy brothers had the top floor across the big upstairs hall. My grandmother lived for a time in the little bedroom with the Murphy bed, and my little sister slept with her. Mom and Dad slept in a downstairs room that had a fireplace we never used. We functioned with a bath and a half, which was relatively luxurious in that day and age, though the downstairs bathroom was an add-on and wasn't insulated.
By modern standards, I'm sure the house left a lot to be desired, but we thought it was wonderful. Of course, it wasn't air-conditioned, but I don't remember being hot in the summer. There always seemed to be a breeze up on the hill.
The Putnams lived down the road, and their son Bobby and I dated for awhile, until his classmate Dale DeJournett climbed into the back seat of Bobby's parents' old blue Ford, while we were parked at Leon's Dexter Queen one night.
The rest is history--some happy, some sad.
I can get lost in reverie on Facebook now, browsing through the old photos. The past comes back, vivid and clear. When I look up, I have to shake my head to realize where I am and in what decade. I look at that old photo of my sister and me, and it feels like yesterday, as if I could transport myself back to that time and relive those happy days before our world fell apart.
In her later years, not long before she died, my mother admitted that she never recuperated from the move the family had to make after Malden Air Base closed. Mom took my brothers and sister and moved back to the family home in Springfield. and Daddy went to Ft. Rucker, Alabama to keep flying. I had the happiest choice, I guess, as I went off to college to join that young man who had crawled into the back seat of Bobby Putnam's car.
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-722-5322.