We’re back after a brief hiatus!
“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane.
The following interview is with Christine Lisa Becraft (age 46), interviewed by daughter Sophie Kona Becraft (age 11).
Where did you live when you were eleven?
Well, I lived in northern New York, the middle of nowhere. The more-cows-than-people kind of place called Turin. There were no stop lights or stores, just a little cafe and gas place, and a ski area called Snow Ridge. I did not learn to downhill ski until I was a senior in high school. Winter still is not my favorite season, and there were six months of it up there!
What was a typical day?
I was in sixth grade attending a new elementary school. There had been a reshuffling due to student numbers. I was happy that my best friend was going there as well. I would get up and find a breakfast for myself, get dressed for school and get out to the bus which picked us up early. I was pretty well behaved in class and liked most things about school.
I liked coming home better because I was able to spend time with my first pony, a pinto named Patchwork, who trained me in all things horse like throwing hay, cleaning stalls and hauling water to the barn every day.
I remember watching Gilligan’s Island on TV, virtually nothing about homework, and helping out with my little brother and sister.
Cartoons were only Saturday mornings. I really remember the colder months because they required keeping the wood stove running—the ceilings in our old farm house were twelve feet high and that’s where all the heat went. I spent a fair amount of time getting warm in front of the electric oven during the coldest months!
What did you worry about most?
Technology was so different then. News came at us in a different way and at a different speed. The nightly news was an event and I remember learning about Africa and specifically hearing about Ethiopia’s famine. I saw the pictures of starving children and it affected me. I felt truly helpless and that made me angry. I think that may have had an impact on my idea to become a vet because I wanted to save someone.
What did you think your future would hold?
See above! I thought my mom’s teaching job was a good idea as a back up (funny that 20 years later I become a biology teacher!), but I was focusing on animals. That, and the very real scary thought that I would be going into seventh grade which was located in our high school. The place seemed enormous and more than a little frightening! The future seemed immediate and too far away at the same time. And besides the new school worries, my best friend had warned me that there would be so many new people there that we might not be as tight of friends. Crazy what we remember. I also thought I would marry Michael Jackson.
How do you look back at that age now?
I think I was pretty fortunate with where I grew up. My mom always made me feel safe and secure. I could explore forever in the back fields and rivers and ride my pony and simply be a kid. I didn’t always feel this away about home, and spent most of my time thinking and planning to move away, which I did. Once I left for Cornell, I visited home less and less. And once my mom moved from there, I stopped going entirely.
Post-interview note from Mom
Sophie and I share stories often, so the big picture was there, but she liked hearing the details about the schools and what I did for fun after school. Sophie is an MJ fan, but currently is hoping to marry Justin Bieber. My “acting” career began and ended in fourth grade as Wanda the Witch whereas Sophie has great confidence performing on stage and continues to live out what I only did in my imagination! Sophie also plays piano, soccer, basketball, draws, designs fashions, and is a great little cook!