Diggings: Level 9

I remember writing a letter, shortly after I arrived at Thornton Farm, to my mother and father telling them that I was desperately lonely and wanted to return home. My father wrote a letter asking me to be patient- to try and make friends in my new school and promised that in a brief time I would be less lonesome and more amenable to staying for the year. He reminded me of his childhood. His parents died within a few months of each other when he was 12 years old (1892). His Uncle Andre (first wonder of the gold-headed cane. passed down to all Andres), sent him to boarding school in Canada. Daddy recounted how lonely and sad he was to be away from his brothers and sisters as well as his dog Bruce and goat Nanny back in Manchester, New Hampshire. But he also encouraged me by explaining that when he became involved with hockey, new friends etc, he was no longer unhappy.

Soon, Uncle Hugo began to give me riding lessons. He was a purist and I learned to ride bareback.. Actually, I spent more time on the ground than on Little Joe.. my darling, patient horse. When I graduated to a saddle, I was then permitted to ride solo around the property.. which was my favorite activity after school. Arle was a solitary child who spent her time being tutored, doing homework, riding, or telling herself long involved stories. I played with the tenant farmer’s wonderful children, Joe and Cathy and another little boy whose name I’ve forgotten. We had glorious times in the barns jumping down from dizzying heights into fresh hay or playing hide and seek or football!! Or swimming from fat vines across the stream which we would dam up and use as improvised wading pools. Watercress grew along the edges of this sparkling stream and we gorged ourselves on its sweet yet tart taste.

During the thirties, robots became quite a popular theme. So, one day while wearing my usual winter green snowsuit with a large orange V on the front, I walked like an automaton back and forth in front of the Zimmerman house often enough to make certain that the children saw me. Later I went back to the house and asked if they had seen my robot- which was an exact copy of me. This seemed to terrorize these nice playmates but I thought it was a really great trick to play.

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