A look back at 1988-1989

Susan Manzke
Columnist Susan Manzke shows her latest book "The Growing Years 1988-1989" which features accounts of her growing family and more.

I’m always telling people to write down their stories, that those accounts are their history. This is very true.

My weekly column has turned into a way of saving family stories from Sunnybook Farm. I never expected that to happen, but over the years it has.

In the past, I’ve collected past columns and put them in books. Just this week my third collection has been published. It’s called The Growing Years 1988-1989.

I had forgotten many of the happenings of those years. Our children were young: Rob (13), Rebecca (Becky 11), Russell (8), and Rachel (6). Fun things took place during those two years, and not so good ones, too. As I do today, I shared the good and the bad with my readers.

Today I’m sharing the funny.

Buzz off: August 19, 1988

I can tell how close our children are with their friends by the way they play together. The closer the relationship between friends, the more they argue.

Especially close friends practically live at one another’s homes. During these never-ending play situations the children become so close they treat close friends like siblings. Translation: some days they want to kill each other.

Becky has one such close friend. Her name is Missy.

One minute Becky and Missy can laugh and play together, excluding all others. The next thing I know they draw swords, pledging never to cross each other’s path again.

I’ve learned never to interfere in their petty squabbles. Disagreements between the two usually blow over in a day or two. But the other afternoon everything changed. I watched as a friendly disagreement ended with physical blows.

It was hot, as usual. The two girls decided to explore an almost-dry creek. They started out by arguing about taking bikes over walking, and then about carrying a radio for musical accompaniment over silence on their hike.

With much relief, I watched the pair as they walked, radio-less, out of the yard, and down the road.

I looked up from my book every so often to keep track on their progress. All seemed well.

Suddenly, I observed Becky running back and forth across the road with Missy right behind her. They were both waving their hands in the air and yelling at the top of their lungs.

From my vantage it looked like their friendship would be put on hold for a few days. Though I couldn’t quite make out the words, they were obviously having one heck of an argument.

With shock and horror I watched as Becky’s right sandal came off. Missy grabbed hold of it and whacked my daughter in the head a number of times. This cruel action called for a mother’s intervention.

“What’s going on?” I demanded.

Though red-faced, both girls were smiling as they approached our yard.

“Did you see what happened, Mom?” Becky ran her fingers through her hair several times. “Thanks, Missy.”

I scowled at both of them. “Why are you thanking Missy? Didn’t I just see her smack you in the head?”

“We were going past the bee hives down the road when some of the bees came buzzing around us. I thought I’d die when one got in my hair. I gave Missy my shoe so she could hit it.” Becky grinned with relief and then added, “It took her three tries before she killed it.”

Becky learned her lesson the hard way: friends are always handy to have around in an emergency.

I didn’t remember this until I reread my own column clipping and I laughed out loud.

Now this and other stories are in my new book. The Growing Years can be found on Amazon, on Kindle and Sissy’s in Seymour. I’ll also bring books when Bob and I go to Wisconsin Farm Technology Days on July 10th. We’ll be at the Wisconsin Gannet Newspaper booth for the Wisconsin State Farmer in AgriBusiness Tent A booth #140. We can’t wait to see everyone.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;