As I reflect on my early childhood, several memories are still very vivid and I will attempt to share them with you with this writing.
We lived in quite a large home in the little town of Balta. Five bedrooms on the upper level, the lower level consisting of formal dining, living rooms, master bedroom, Dad’s office, kitchen, etc. A detached double garage was across from one of the two lawns in our yard. The house no longer stands as it was destroyed by fire several years ago.
The public school was located about three or four blocks from home. We had Catholic Nuns for teachers, how they were able to teach in a public school remains a puzzle to me. Dad served on the school board for several years.
I remember my first bicycle, about five years old, and rode it to Church every summer morning for daily Mass on gravel roads,. Grandpa and Grandma (mom’s parents) lived across the street from the Church, which afforded us the opportunity to visit them on a daily basis. Grandpa at one time was the Mayor of the town of Balta. He was a very respected man in the town and the outlying communities. He was the Standard Oil Company distributor for gasoline and oil, the business which he subsequently sold to Dad.
When Mom and Dad got married, Grandpa (dad’s father) gave them a farm just south of the original homestead. After a couple of years or so, Dad sold the farm and purchased a bar and dance hall in Balta. He sold the business to his brother-in-law and he then went into the oil business. Dad’s business provided all the necessities even during the days of WWII. Dad was very generous not only to our family but to others in need.
The family farm, where Grandpa and Grandma lived was about sixteen miles northwest of Balta, which offered us the opportunity to visit them often. As a very young boy probably nine or ten, I would drive a team of horses to and from the harvesting area loaded with grain. Grandpa would be sitting on his favorite chair next to the grain elevators awaiting every trip. When I reached the age of eleven or twelve I drove a tractor pulling the combine. Grandpa had retired and Uncle Nat was doing the farming at that time. Grandpa was not only a successful farmer but also a carpenter by trade. Grandma was kept busy raising all the children and in the summertime tending to her large garden. I enjoyed my visits to the farm where we were able to ride the horses and enjoy Grandma’s delicious dinners…..