A Blast of the Past #11 — Savona Stay


This blast from the past series is several parts nostalgia, several parts historical, and several parts guesswork.

Does anyone remember these line from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi:

Obi-Wan: Your father… was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and “became” Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true… from a certain point of view.

Luke: A certain point of view?

Obi-Wan: Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

I am not bringing up this quote to encourage subjectivity to the truth. But in looking at these various pictures, I have been quite aware of what things I do and don’t remember about the backstories that go with each one of them. Selectivity of memory means, along with difference of viewpoint, mean the same event can be different, and remembered differently, by different people.

So those who share these moments, if you remember something different, please speak up. I and we can learn much by the process. In certain ways, the past is in flux as much as the future, as we remember and recreate it, for good or ill.

What does that philosophical reflection have to do with the Savona House? Nothing specific, and everything generally.

Great room of the Savona House

Great room of the Savona House

The Savona House was the first house we lived in after we were married. We didn’t own, it wasn’t a rental. It was part of the salary for working at Hopkins Dairy that one year I did so from March 1996 to March 1997.

The kitchen had quite a bit of space.

The kitchen had quite a bit of space.

The job came with the house to live in, which was a block house, that included a great room, kitchen, one bath, one main bedroom and either a second bedroom or small reading room. It also included a two-car garage and a covered enclosed breezeway between the kitchen and the garage.

The sun room was long and narrow.

The sun room was long and narrow.

I remember us moving our stuff in, and the pot-bellied stove we used to heat the place (another perk of the place was the ability to cut firewood off  their property to heat the place). The place was a cold place, but could be kept comfortably warm with the wood stove. It helped having a heated waterbed to sleep in, of course.

Back view of house. To right is the back of the garage where I grew all those tomatoes that summer.

Back view of house. To right is the back of the garage where I grew all those tomatoes that summer.

One of my specific memories of the Savona House was my planting six tomato plants against the blocks of the south-facing garage wall. We canned something like 50 quarts of tomatoes from those six plants, and brought in a host of green tomatoes into that reading room (with its south-facing sun exposure) that ripened through most of the winter. That was in a cold climate.  I have never been able to grow tomatoes so well in the warm climate of Missouri. I am not sure why.

My daughter was born in that house — though she does not remember it, since we moved out when she was two months old. So it has a lot of beginning memories. I’ll probably get to more of them when I get to pictures around Carly’s first days.

That said, I remember our summer in that house. Betsy was pregnant with Carly, yet she was always out there on my “free time” and “days off” when I was out there operating the chainsaw to cut the firewood and help haul it in. I always hated using the chainsaw, but I always felt very good with Betsy there working along with me on the firewood.

Which brings up another story from those days. The work on the farm was poor, didn’t pay a lot, and we didn’t have insurance, so in those days we got WIC and Medicaid for the pregnancy. Between the WIC counselors and the doctors Betsy went home in tears. The doctor would say she was gaining too much weight. The WIC counselors would say she was not gaining enough.

To addd insult to injury, (warning, political statement coming up) the WIC funds were designated that you had to buy so much of certain items — one of which was milk. Now I worked on a farm, and got all the milk we could use for free. But we still had to buy milk with the WIC funds. So Betsy bought powdered milk with the coupons. We finally used the last of that powdered milk about 5 years ago. We also received free beef periodically when they butchered, so we didn’t need a lot of extra meat either. But WIC didn’t take either of those facts into consideration. Like most government programs, WIC wasn’t adaptable it individual needds or circumstances.


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