My aunt, CJ Garriott is our guest blogger for today. She is Gail Lee Martin’s youngest sister. She’s sharing memories that were triggered by an internet questionnaire.
Well, what can I say? I’m older than dirt! A few I didn’t experience: Milk was not delivered to our house because we always had cows! and as for ice, we lived in company housing, and had electricity and refrigerators by the time I was in 1st grade, long before farmers and others did. I DO remember the day we got an inside bathroom (when I was in high school), and no longer had to use the outhouse. I thought we had truly arrived.
In looking back, I’ve realized how good we had it in the Depression Years. I was born in 1934, and my Daddy not only had a job (oilfield pumper), he had a job that came with a house! We always had cows, chickens, and a big garden. We bought baby chickens that we had to collect from the post office, and when they were fryer size, Mother “harvested” them, and froze them in cardboard cartons filled with water. Never had freezer burn; always tasted fresh.
My oldest sister bought block ice for their icebox. I don’t remember if Gail did that too, or if they had electricity when she married?
All this certainly brings back memories–since we lived in a rural area, we weren’t able to have newspapers delivered. This doesn’t mention listening to the radio–I hurried home from school to turn on the radio and listen to Tom Mix and The Shadow Knows. And we had (and used) a record player that you cranked! Enjoy this trip down long-ago memory lane! CJ/Carol
(Memories by Virginia Allain, previously published on List My Five)
In my case, childhood was a good many years ago, but the memories are still vivid. My memories will vary from your own experience, so I challenge you to write your own list on this topic.
Walking Miles to School In Deep Snow –
Actually, for us, it was only a quarter of a mile walk to where we met the school bus. It sure seemed a lot longer, but then our legs were pretty short back then. We trekked up the hill through drifts of snow, then waited by the highway with the wind whistling around us. Those were the days when girls wore dresses to school and that Kansas wind would whip up under the gathered skirts and freeze your knees.
Sliding on the Frozen Creek –
The wind blew most of the snow off the ice, so we had great fun seeing how far we could slide. We didn’t have skates and it was only a small area, but it kept us amused. I’m sure we fancied ourselves accomplished skaters like the vintage pictures in the Currier and Ives book.
Snowball Fights –
Our older brother could throw more powerfully and further than any of us, so our snowball fights were pretty one-sided. Many kids remember building snow forts for their snowball fights, but I don’t remember that.
Bringing In Firewood –
We lived in the country and had a wood-burning stove, so wading through the snow for an armload of wood was an unwelcome chore. We kept a stockpile on the back porch but sometimes had to go out in the snow to replenish it. Returning with the wood, we stamped our feet on the porch to remove as much snow as possible. Still, we tracked some in on the linoleum that covered the floor in the big country kitchen.
A drawing by Karen Martin showing the black wood stove that heated that drafty farmhouse.
Taking Care of Our Pet Rabbits –
When it snowed, it was also cold enough to freeze the water crocks in the rabbit hutches. What a chore it was to drag all the frozen, heavy crockery to the house to thaw and then return them to the hutches. Then we carried the buckets of water down to fill them. After school, the job often had to be repeated.
Our rabbitry on a chill winter day. Fortunately, there was no snow on this particular day.
Laundry was a big chore with eight people in the Martin family. The wringer washer and the washtubs for rinse water moved to the middle of the farmhouse kitchen on wash day. Baskets of wet, heavy clothing, as well as sheets, and towels were lugged out to the clothesline, hung up with the wooden clothespins, and later brought back inside.
On freezing days, it was difficult to gather the stiff, contorted clothing, shaped by the Kansas wind. We thawed them inside, but of course, they were still damp. Actually, the dampness made them just right for ironing.
Since wash day was such a process, Mom opted for a simple meal. Often it was a pot of navy bean soup. She soaked the beans overnight, rinsed them, then let them simmer all day long. For supper, freshly baked cornbread slathered with butter accompanied the hearty bean soup.
This all came to my mind today as I made a huge pot of bean soup using the ham bone left from New Year’s Day dinner. I use a package of 15 kinds of beans. Here’s my 15 bean soup recipe. I’m sure Mom would have loved it.
Virginia Allain’s 15-bean soup