We spent the day reclaiming the yard, Jonathan and I.
It seemed as if we had been gone all summer, just these past few weeks. The green fresh cut lawn smelled of temporary triumph. Then again, between the sweat and smell of fresh cut grass, there is always an air of success. It’s funny how odors can incite long ago memories to resurface. Just the aroma of grass being cut brought back memories of days gone by. On this day, I easily went back to when I had the privilege to cut the tiny yard next to my Grandpa Tron’s farm, owned by Ms. Wolfe.
I don’t ever recall seeing Ms. Wolfe except at her door when I received the grand sum of $5.00 for mowing her very small yard, perhaps a 20’x20′ area at most. It almost seemed dishonest, being paid that large of a sum of cash in the early seventies when I was barely ten years old. But then again, it was known that Mrs. Wolfe was living quite comfortably thanks to the late Mr. Wolf, who left her enough to keep her happy the remainder of her days here on earth.
So when she handed me the crisp $5.00 bill, I thanked her and looked forward to when the grass would grow enough to be welcomed back for another job. I usually wasn’t lucky enough to get the job though. I had plenty of other cousins who were older and more often available for such jobs. However, this one time was my lucky day, yet I still can remember it as if it were yesterday. Part of the reason the memory stuck, other than the one time job, is due to the book I found there years later.
Mrs. Wolfe eventually joined her late husband in their Heavenly abode. Sometime after, for whatever reason, they tore down the old house. While it was still in the process of being razed, some of us kids became nosey and went over to see if there was anything left behind. Other than a lot of wood in various stages of deconstruction, there wasn’t much left to tell us of the mysterious lives of the Wolfe family; no pictures, no memorabilia, nothing. We continued to look around, almost ready to leave, when I opened the door to what was once a closet. There were no walls, just the door. When I pulled it toward me, there was a pile of debris, like everywhere else in the house without a ceiling. I curiously picked up the top layer and found a small pile of books. My cousin and I opened them and found them to be full of strange writings and shapes. We had no clue what they were or meant. I said to her, “We should take one a piece and see if someday we learn enough in school to understand what they are.” I handed her one and took one for myself. A few weeks later the entire house was gone, with nothing left behind, other than what we had gleaned from the closet on our inquisitive day of discovery.
The book, “Applied Mechanics” by Fuller and Johnston was published in 1915. I happened upon it last week while cleaning out some closets of my own. While in college, studying to earn my degree in Electrical Engineering, I finally had the opportunity to learn enough physics and math to understand the strange writings and equations in the book we found in the closet so long ago. It took nearly twenty years, but I finally found out the meaning and value of this old treasure. No, it probably isn’t worth much in a book store, but for what it represented to me, it is certainly a keepsake.
I never knew what twist and turns my life would take, nor would I have ever envisioned learning enough to understand Mr. Wolfe’s old school book. But it made it clear to me that the late Mr. Wolfe had been a professional in his day, and it was no wonder Mrs. Wolfe had no need for worry or want in her later days. There was a transcript in the back of the book of Mr. Wolfe’s test scores: all 100’s except for a very few 90 and 95s. It was obvious he was quite intelligent, or at least so in this one class. I can rest assured though, he did well in life. Although we never knew him or his wife in detail, just the impression they made upon us little country kids who lived across the pasture was noble enough to make me believe he was a prominent citizen at one time. Besides, Grandma Tron always held Mrs. Wolfe in high esteem and that was enough for any of us kids; and all because we cut the yard today…