Learning to weed: Oma’s story

Her grandmother/Oma was born in the early 1920s in rural Latvia and lived on the family farm. Her Oma used to share this memory very often - retelling it over and over again - and she just found a recording of it, transcribed here: 

The girl grew up in a Latvian countryside, on a family farm. She helped her mother around the house from as young as she could remember herself. She started weeding in the fields at the age of six already. Weeding next to her mother. The rows of potatoes were so long, she could barely see the end. Mother was weeding her own row, and the girl had her own. Mother was weeding very well, no weeds left at all. The rows of potatoes left so clean! The girl wanted to stay next to her mother, but could not keep up with her. The mother was moving further and further away. When the mother looked back at the girl, she raised her eyebrows, shook her head, and said, “Annele, who was weeding this row? “I was!”, the girl proudly replied. “What a shame! When the neighbors pass by, they would be pointing their fingers at our fields… thinking that we don’t take good care of our fields.” The mother asked the girl to start weeding from the very beginning and make sure that no weeds were left behind. The girl went back, her head down, tears running down her face. This time, she was no longer lifting her eyes to see where her mother was, no longer trying to catch up with her. Instead, she moved slowly and deliberately, looking intensely into the row of potatoes overgrown with weeds, making sure no weeds – even the tiniest ones - remained behind her. After a while, she heard someone moving right ahead of her. She lifted her head. It was her mother, weeding the girl’s row of potatoes from the other end of the field! The girl’s tears dried up and she smiled. She felt so happy that her mother did not start another row, but instead was helping her. She felt very grown up, because her weeding was now as good as her mothers. She was still very slow, but soon she would learn weeding at a much faster pace. Soon she would be able to keep up with her mother and make her proud.