As I was growing up, I always looked forward to going to the Spiker farm. Many of my early memories centered around Marjory. As a child, I didn’t really think about her age. I just knew she was always very friendly and fun to play with. She would make little dolls from hankies by wading up a tissue in the hankie and fastening it with a rubber band to make the head. When we weren’t playing with these dolls, we would often cut and paste pictures from magazines and put them in scrapbooks. In the evenings we would catch lightening bugs. There was also a large shrub (probably forsythia) at the front edge of the yard that had an opening to the inside, much like a tent, which made a great hiding place. Marjory always seemed to look forward to my visits and was eager to spend time with me.
Another favorite memory was when Grandma Spiker would bake her wonderful homemade bread. The smell of bread would fill the house as we would wait eagerly for her to get the bread out of the oven. She would slice the bread, put butter and homemade jelly on each slice, and place it in our outstretched hands. To this day, whenever I smell homemade bread baking, I think of her.
Grandma Spiker was very good with growing flowers. Many of the flowers she planted are still flourishing around the farm. She had planted a lot of daffodils on the hill above the house and the flowers spelled out “Daffodil Farm.” I remember my dad telling me that Grandma knew the names of every plant, shrub, and tree that grew on the farm. She was also very crafty. One of the crafts I remember was when she had strung seeds and had wound them around bottles and painted them. I also admired her beautiful quilts and hand sewing skills.
Whenever the cousins would gather at the farm, we would spend a lot of time at the river. My favorite spot was down river from the farm where the “old man of the river” was located. It was an old, dead tree that had large holes in it that looked like it had eyes, a nose, and a large mouth. I’m not sure who named it, but I think it was Marjory. It was always fun to wade in the river, but I made sure I didn’t wade at the bridge because of the big black snake that lived in one of the culverts. We would also swim in the hole just below the swinging bridge. The water always seemed to be muddy, so one of the games we would play would be for one person to go under water while the rest of us tried to guess where the person would come up. It was also a lot of fun to run across the swinging bridge, timing the steps with the rhythm of the swing.
Another favorite memory is one that happened more recently. During the Spiker reunion on Memorial Day weekend, after I was married and had two children, I was on the “river patrol” where some of the grandchildren were fishing below the swinging bridge. My son, Chris, who was preschool age at the time, was fishing with a little pole that had a little fishing worm on it. He was dipping the line at the river’s edge, trying to catch a minnow that he was watching. The minnow went for the worm and all of a sudden a very large muskie went for the minnow. Chris began reeling in as fast as he could with everybody jumping around with excitement. We never did see the end of the fish as it just kept coming out of the water, but it looked at us, broke the line, and swam off with the bobber flying up in the air. While we were disappointed that it got off the line, it was probably a good thing, considering the size of its teeth.
Although many members of the Spiker clan have passed on, memories of them will always linger in my heart, particularly when I’m at the farm. We have a proud heritage and I’m so very thankful to be a part of such a warm, loving, Christian family.