Posted in Life, Stories

My Past Life… – Thankful and Blessed

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My very early childhood was unusual, to say the least.  My brothers, mother and I moved a LOT.  I’ve been told I was born with wheels on my butt.

My mother left and divorced my birth-father when I was very young.  My father was a timber-faller.  We lived quite modestly. 

Mom then married a man a that was a migrant worker.  As a family, we followed the fruit, picking as we went, to earn a living.  We lived in Picker’s Cabins or tents or the back of the station wagon.

This was in the early 1960’s.   Although many black people did this type of work, people don’t realize that in the 1960’s, a large percentage of the migrant workers were white families, just like mine.  Today, the migrant workers are mostly Hispanic.  The working conditions are no better today, in fact in some instances, they are worse.

Most of the Picker’s Cabins had no running water or electricity.  Women cooked on communal stoves or over open fires.  The toilets, if there were any, were few and in disgraceful disrepair.  In a lot of cases, there were only outhouses.

There were few laundry facilities.  Most of the time, clothing was washed by hand and hung to dry.

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In some of the cabins, the property owners provided bales of straw to use as bedding and insulation.  In some instances, you didn’t even get that.  The more generous ones provided crude bunk beds.  

I was lucky.  My mother and step-father were prepared.  We had a nice canvas tent and bedding or sleeping bags.

My mother became very adept at cooking over an open fire.  She was amazing!

Washing and sanitary conditions were a challenge.  The water came from a single faucet for all the workers in most instances.  Water had to be carried for washing, bathing or cooking.

I have 3 brothers; two older brothers and one younger one.  My brothers and I spent our days out in the fields with my parents.  We weren’t much help as far as the picking went, but my mother could keep an eye on us as she worked.

I can imagine the hardship on her with 4 children living in these conditions.  My younger brother was just a toddler at the time.

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The migrant workers were exploited at every turn.  Many were uneducated and illiterate.  In some instances, the workers would end up owing more money to the owner’s ‘store’ than they had earned; thus, keeping them working for little or nothing instead of moving on.

There was often times a “boss” on the farm that the workers reported to, depending on how large the farm was.  Sometimes the boss would skim off the top of the worker’s wages.  They would be quoted one price upon arrival at the farm, but when payday came, they were at the mercy of the boss.  If they complained, they were simply run off the farm.  This meant they were out of work.

There were many horrors that took place on these farms; anything from rapes, to murders and exploitation.  These people were at the mercy of the farmer.

I was fortunate.  This lifestyle didn’t last long.  I think we were on the road for a couple of years.  I was also lucky that I was so young.  It’s just the way life was; I knew no different.

This is a part of history that most Americans have forgotten or don’t know about.  This is a shameful, dark part of our own culture.

If you’d like to learn more about this time in American history, I invite you to watch this video. This video was broadcast on Thanksgiving Day in 1960.  It’s called “Harvest of Shame”.  See it HERE. While most of it is set in Florida and the east coast, I was on the west coast as a kid.  It is still an eye opener.  

*There was a followup video made of the 1960 version called “Harvest of Shame Revisited“.  This was made in 2010.  While the conditions and pay had improved, it is still a very hard way to live. You can see that video HERE.

**With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I felt that this post, originally from 2014, but modified here, was appropriate.  Although I had a rough start in life, (Another Life to me) I feel that it has shaped me into the person that I am today.  A person that I am grateful to be, with a life that I am so very blessed to have.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.  

Copyright (C) 2022 Penny Wilson 

Posted in Life, Stories

My Body Has Betrayed Me!

At what point did my body start betraying me?

I used to be able to party until dawn, get home just in time to shower, change my clothes and go to work.  Yeah, I’d be hung over as hell, but I could do it!

Now, I wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing!

I get pissy if someone wants to have a “late” meeting or dinner, say, 8 or 9pm?   I’d think, “What the hell?  I’m on my way to a bubble bath and my comfy jammies by then!”

Continue reading “My Body Has Betrayed Me!”

Posted in Life

Cherish the Moments

Happiness is dished out in tiny dessert dishes, not on serving platters.  It’s the tiny moments in life.  It’s the day your child learns to tie his shoes.  It’s getting your high school diploma.  It’s a sweet kiss from your spouse of 30 years.

Happiness happens in a moment, an instant.

If you are looking for Happiness to be this big piece of your life, you are going to be terribly disappointed.

The ups and downs in our lives, IS our life.  The tiny Moments of happiness are the cherry on top.

Cherish the moments.  This is Happiness.

Copyright (C) 2022 Penny Wilson All Rights Reserved

Posted in Life

A Bit of Faith

I am not really a religious person.  I have my beliefs and try to live my life the best I can.

But When it comes down to it, isn’t it all based on faith?

When do we really feel secure?  How long does it take for a child to feel secure the first time they let go of their parent’s hand?

Are you secure, wrapped in your blankets at night; sure there will be no fire, or intruder?  How many paychecks are you away from being homeless?  Most of us are not many.  Are you secure that your children will not be bullied or molested when they leave your home?

What gives us security is our faith.

It’s Faith to look in the eyes of our beloved and believe what they say.  Faith to send our children to school and pray they will come to no harm.

We are a society of faith.  We believe the walls of our society will not crumble.

Faith is what holds us together.

Have Faith, my friends. Your faith will keep you strong.  

Copyright (C) 2022 Penny Wilson

Posted in Life, Poetry

The Sound of Songbirds

To listen 
to my heartbeat 
and feel my lungs 
fill with air. 

To have nothing 
I have to do 
no place 
I'm expected 
to be. 

I want to listen 
to the 
quiet. 

The noise 
of this world 
has grown  

and I cannot endure 
much more. 

I wish to listen
as the stars 
find their path 
across the sky. 

I want to watch 
the morning dew 
dissipate 
with the rise 
of the sun. 

The sound 
of songbirds 
is enough 
for me. 

Copyright 2020 Penny Wilson
Posted in Life, Writing

Spring and New Beginnings

With today being the first day of Spring, I thought it a good time to write of New Beginnings.  Spring is my favorite time of year.  All around us, we see new birth new growth and new beginnings.  

My last post here was in November.  Since that time, a lot has changed for me.  In early December, I lost my job.  It was a mutual parting of the ways and it’s a good thing.  I was burnt out and ready to do something else.  So I retired. 

I put my house up for sale and with the equity I had in it I was able to pay cash for a home away from the hustle & bustle of the city.  I bought a “fixer-upper”.  My house is about 100 years old.  It said 1925 in the listing, but looking at some of the woodwork, etc., in it, I’m told that it’s probably older than that and that accuracy of building records back in 1925 were iffy at best. 

I love the house and could drone on and on about it here, but that is not my purpose of this post.  I was speaking of New Beginnings. 

When I lost my job, it was quite a shock to me, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise.  I went through a period of having a self pity party.  I also had a milestone birthday approaching, which did not help my mood.  So I crawled into my cave, quietly pouted and licked my wounds.  

Now, having emerged from that cave, I see life with a different point of view.  A New Beginning with new opportunities and new winding roads to explore.  

My dining room (my favorite room in the house), has the most amazing morning light.  That, I have decided, will be my place to write and create once again. 

Writing is something that feeds my soul, exhilarates me, consoles me and gives me purpose.  I need it.  

You will be seeing me around WordPress more often, my friends.  As I crawl, then stumble my way back into an upright position in life.  

As Always, Thank you for joining me on this journey.  

Penny ❤

Posted in Life

Doing Nothing

This past Thanksgiving weekend was a very different one for me as I’m sure it was for most everyone this year.  It’s 2020.  What more needs to be said.  Right?  My weekend was different for me for reasons other than the ongoing awfulness (I don’t know if that’s a word) that is the year 2020.  This was the first weekend since I bought my house 3 years ago that I didn’t plan some major project to do during the 4 days that I had off.  I can’t hardly believe that I’ve been in my house now for 3 years!  It’s gone by so fast!

Rather than painting a room or laying flooring or building shelves, I rested, relaxed and Enjoyed my house and myself.  Other than some laundry, there wasn’t a thing that I HAD to do.  So I didn’t do anything much.  Certainly nothing constructive and I think that just doing almost nothing was good for me!

I puttered in the kitchen and cooked a nice meal for myself for Thursday.  I took my dog to the park for walks.  I watched TV, catching up on some shows and I watched a couple of movies.  I started a new embroidery project.  I called and talked to both of my brothers and my BFF and had nice conversations.  I sat on my swing chair on the back deck and watched my little dog wander the yard and soak up the sun when he could.

I don’t remember the last time that I had a weekend that was as relaxing and peaceful as this past one was.

I think that with the state of the world these days, most of us tend to look at things differently.  We see the value in the little things more.  At least I think that most people do.

I am feeling very Blessed and quite happy and content with life.

Yes, I think that sometimes, doing nothing, is just exactly what we need to do.

Copyright (C) 2020 Penny Wilson