RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
She grew up on the vast plains of Western Nebraska, on the homestead her grandparents pioneered. Her own mother churned butter and cooked on a wood- burning stove, while raising five children.
ELLENE MONTAGNE: I was the baby.
MONTAGNE: You were doted on by your older brother John and you ran around with your youngest brother Val.
MONTAGNE: John's the one that taught me how to swim. And I have a picture of...
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MONTAGNE: I learned how to swim in a horse tank with floats on. And then when I got tired, John take me out, put me on the ground, take care of me the rest of the day.
MONTAGNE: So, what was it like being a kid on this farm? I mean, you were really in the middle of nowhere in a sense.
MONTAGNE: It was great. We made our own good times on the farm. I do remember once, when I decided to stay away all day and see if anybody missed me. So, I hid in a haystack. And time went by and nobody called me, and finally when I went in the house, not a soul had missed me. So, I sat in my room and cried because I didn't think they cared about me. I was quite small and young.
MONTAGNE: What was your dream when you were on the farm as a young girl? What adventure did you dream of?
MONTAGNE: Well, I think when I was about 10 - that was when the airplane was new - we called them barnstormers. They'd come into visit different towns, do their stunts and rollovers, and then they'd give a free ticket away for a ride. So, I won a free ticket and got to go up, do all the stunts and I'll never forget that. And I was planning on going to aviator school when I graduated from high school, and get my license. And then I was going to be a mailman.
MONTAGNE: You'd fly mail as a job.
MONTAGNE: Be the mailman.
MONTAGNE: And you did learn to fly and you did fly.
MONTAGNE: Later on, when I was working and living in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, a friend of mine and I decided to learn how to fly. So, we'd go out to the local airport, take a bus every time we had enough money, and fly for an hour or so.
MONTAGNE: You know, doesn't seem to me that mama, my grandma - who everyone knew, in Hay Springs, as Mama - it doesn't seem that she was adventuresome. Where do you think you got the sense of adventure? I mean, do you think it was because you were the youngest and so, in a sense, the freest?
MONTAGNE: I was forgiven the most, probably, which allowed me to try anything I thought up. Well, you have to make your own fun out on a farm. You don't just sit around and read all the time, which we did do a lot of reading. But I think I passed it onto you, Renee. But you've certainly expanded it on a lot more than I did.
MONTAGNE: Yeah. I love you, mom.
MONTAGNE: Love you.
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MONTAGNE: Tomorrow, we'll listen as Sean Lennon talks with his mom, Yoko Ono.
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MONTAGNE: It's NPR News.
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