The first time I ever spent the night away from family was at Alene’s. She invited every girl in the class, about 9 or 10 except one girl. We walked to her house that afternoon. She lived over at Sheffer’s place. I didn’t think much about it then, but later I thought it wasn’t very nice of her not to invite her. She said something about that not being a very nice family. I am sorry I went and I was sorry before the night was over too, cause one of her brothers got in bed with one of the girls. Thank goodness he didn’t try that with me. I never went back again.

It was common to walk places and especially on Sunday afternoons. I would walk down to Mrs. Polk’s house and back. Sometimes to the bridge on Belmont Rd. Evenings I’d walk in the woods back of the house. No one thought anything about going in the wood or really anywhere. It was safe and I felt very comfortable going by myself. Often I’d go to the springs where Dess would go sometimes to get white clay. She used that to white wash the hearth where we had a fire. A “good housekeeper” kept a good white hearth. You mixed the clay with water and took a rag and washed the hearth with it until it was white. She did that at least once a week. But the creek was pretty and with the spring the water was clear and cold and ferns and flowers and pretty rocks made a serene setting. Before my time (the icebox) they kept milk and other things in the spring to make it keep longer. Caroline was one of the springs. I’ve often wondered who it was named after and who she was and what her life was like.

I loved walking in the woods and kicking the leaves and hearing the russel they made. I always found something I considered a “good find” on these treks. An especially pretty leaf or rock or maybe a stick with moss growing on it. The woods were beautiful and so peaceful. I think it was like music is today to people. There was no music unlimited like it is today. The radio had some but I really don’t remember back then hearing music at all very much. Mama Dess did have a victroler and lots of records, maybe 20 in all. You could wind it up, put on a record and listen. I did that pretty often. It was in the front living room and they never went in there to listen to it, but she said when they were younger they enjoyed it a lot. She later sold it to I think and black fellow that wanted it for a few dollars. She felt she needed the money more than she needed the victroller.

Dess did a lot of sewing, mostly she made dresses for folks in those early days. For a long time she made them by hand by Uncle Harry saw her doing that and one day here he came with a peddel sewing machine. She was so happy. Years later she made slip covers, drapes, bedspreads, and all kinds of things for the homes of many well to do people in town. I know it was the main income for them.

Fess did patch farming and had cows and hogs those early years. At one time they had about 5 or 6 mules, a good number of cows and hogs. He always planted a huge garden. The big garden was fenced in and had flowers also. I thought that was the prettiest garden I’d ever seen. It had sage and dill and  things I’d never seen before. Dess always had baby chicks coming on. The brooder was built up high so animals couldn’t bother them. The floor was a think tin and she had is covered about two inches with sand and in the bottom a kerosene lamp to keep the sand warm so the chicks would live. We keep water and food (chick mash) in special containers. In cold weather we had to watch carefully to make sure they stayed warm enough. The large chickens ran loose. In the evening we would sprinkle corn and grain out in the yard for them. I would sometimes help gather the eggs. Fess had a long row of boxes build for the chickens to lay in. These were filled with wheat straw. Sometimes a hen would peck you as you gathered the eggs.

I felt like we were really well off, we had eggs, milk, mean from the pigs, and vegetables from the garden. Dess canned everything. I don’t think anything ever went to waste. It was all good too. I never had the feeling that we were poor or lacked having things. Of course you didn’t sit around then and wish for stuff. You didn’t even think that way, or maybe I didn’t know enough to think that way. I had the best clothes I’d ever had. Dess made me some but most she remade from her dresses. Aunt Mae always worked in a dress shop where real nice clothes were sold. She had lots of good clothes and she would wear something a while and then give them to her family. Dess recieved many of these and so in turn she would remake some, that were suitable, for me.



Later on, about 1938 we moved to Ashburn where Daddy had a chance to begin working for himself. We lived in a nice house on McLendon street. It had built in cabinets in the dining room. I had never seen anything so grand except for the double french doors to the dining room in the house at Ariba. It also had a real in the house bathroom. I’m sure we were all very impressed with this upscale life. Daddy took us in the modern bathroom and gave us specific instruction on how to use it. Especially on the amount of tissue to be used. I’m sure there would be some stopped up plumbing in the days ahead.


Even though the house was the best we had ever lived in the times were much slimmer for us with Daddy going out on his own. Of course he still was preaching at country churches every Sunday. These church people had little money so often we would get potatoes, beans, syrup, and sometimes a quilt. We were glad to get these things and they were certainly used, but gas money was hard to get. I remember a few times when Daddy actually had to borrow money to get gas to get to the church. They were most always a good drive from home and that meant you stayed all day till after church night service. Back then you had Sunday School starting at 9:30, then preaching service. Everyone was back at Church by 5:30 for BYPU (Baptist young people union) and preaching (which could last longer than one hour) which meant you did not get home till around 9 or 9:30 pm. Folks didn’t think it was worth while to go to church and be there for just an hour. But church was not only a time of worship. It was a time to visit, to socialize and get to really know one another. After all there was not many places in the community to get together other than the church. Young people filled the church and if there was a balcony it was alway full of young people. But of course there was no TV’s, bowling alleys, movies (not on Sundays), not fast food places, no pizza either. I didn’t know anything about pizza until I was grown, married and had a family. So yes, one could grow up and live and survive without these really wonderful things.


When I would go with Mur and Daddy on Sundays it was fun until I got older. We were invited to different homes to have lunch, spend the afternoon and have supper before heading back to church for BYPU. Most families we great, had wonderful meals, neat homes and made you feel welcome. Many we visited often through the years and came to feel very comfortable to be with. However there were a few that made lasting impressions on us. One house, as we were coming in the front door, the husband of the lady, who had invited us, was going out the back door cursing and he ran down thur the field to the woods, where he stayed the rest of the day.


Mostly the food was so good and better than what we were used to, but occasionally it was pretty bad. The place wasn’t very clean or maybe downright dirty. It was had to try to get a little bit down. One time this family was having a big BBQ- meat and hash. It was summertime, probably July, and it was all outdoors. There was some big shade trees but still hot and of course gnats were doing their thing. Back then grown-ups  ate first, children came later so by the time I got up there not too much food was left and no silverware. I don’t remember how I ate but I’m sure I found a way.


I know one church we went to, a large country church with a big membership, always had a larger than usual bunch of teensagers. One of the really cute boys ask if he could take me home one Sunday night. I asked him did he know how far away I lived. I was sure he didn’t want to drive that far, (at least 20 miles on way). He assured me he did and that was okay. Two of his friends (a boy and girl) went with us. Guess that was when I first learned a few miles meant little if you wanted to go somewhere or be with someone.