Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Early Days on the Farm




Howdy, You All,


I thought I would write a little bit about our early days out on the farm, when we first moved into the country at New Market, back in December of 1947.



We had moved from Knoxville, and it was quite an eye-opener for John and I, because we didn't remember a lot of life as it had occured in Possum Valley when I was in my very early years, and John was even younger.

Now, we were 14 and 11 years old,respectively, and everything was a whole new ball game from living in Knoxville for the past 6 or 7 years. Out here, in New Market, in our house there was no electricity, no running water, and of course, no indoor bathroom. We just had 3 and !/2 rooms and a path. The water came from a cistern on the back porch, and in the summertime, it often went dry and we had to carry water from our nearest neighbor about a half mile away.

The water in the cistern was actually rain water that ran into the cistern when it rained. We also had water barrels at the end of the house. We used that water to wash our hair and to take our Saturday night baths. Yes, that is when we bathed. We "cleaned up" in a wash basin during the week.

The day we moved, we rode out to the farm in the mover's truck, and it was raining. The farm looked desolate in the rain, and the house looked more like a shack than a house. (actually, it was. ha.)

We moved on a weekend, and I was half way through ninth grade, and John was half way through sixth grade. We went to school on the following Monday, and met the other children. I am sure they looked on us as "city kids".

We both had a lot of catching up to do, because the kids were way ahead of us in the schoolbooks. When we would come home in the evenings it was already nearly darktime, and we would have to study by lamplight at the kitchen table. No radio to study by, as we had done in Knoxville, listening to "Terry and The Pirates" and "The Lone Ranger" and "Jack Armstrong, the all-American Boy".

I soon gained a reputation at school for being smart, because I had to study so hard to pass the semester tests right after Christmas and made really good grades. I always raised my hand in class to answer questions, and pretty soon I had made some good friends, some of whom I still know and am friends with. I studied hard, and my brother, John, who has a Mensa IQ, never carried a book home.

My mom had to continue on working in Knoxville, so she would come home on the weekends, riding the Greyhound bus, and getting off at New Market and going to the grocery store to get groceries for the week to come, and the delivery truck would bring her to the house with the groceries. We always looked forward to seeing her come home on Friday evening or Saturday morning. She rented a room at one of our Aunt's house, a sister of my dad. She had to be at work every morning (M-F) at 7 a.m. and then she got off at 3 p.m. On Sunday afternoons, she would walk back the two and a half miles to New Market and catch the Greyhound back to Knoxville.

My dad farmed, along with us kids helping him. My sister, Margaret, who was 22 at the time we moved, helped him in the fields sometimes and also kept the house and rode herd on the rest of us kids. My brother, Hugh, was still in High School at the time we moved and he stayed in Knoxville for one year during the week at my Aunt's house as well, and finished his last year of school.

During the summer time, John and I had to help, along with Hugh, to chop out corn, and tobacco, and in the spring time, on the weekends, when mom was at home, we picked wild strawberries, wild dewberries, and in the summer we picked wild blackberries. She and Margaret worked hard putting them into jams and jellies, and pies, of course. There were some apple trees in a little orchard, and we picked those and my mom made some of the best apple preserves anyone could find. Yum. I can still taste them.

My dad plowed with two mules, Joe and Jerry, and I never went into the barn lot when they were out. I was scared to death of them. Where we are living now, I can look across the road and see the barn, and I remember how our life was then.

I am placing some pictures at the top, of my dad, and my mom and the old house we lived in. Hope you enjoy them. More story tomorrow.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. God bless each of you and give you a good night's rest.

3 comments:

Judy said...

I love the pictures and your stories, Grammy. Your mom had to be a strong woman. When my girls dad and I moved to the farm we had a gravity flow cistern that caught rain water at the barn on top of the hill and flowed down to the house. We went for 6 weeks in the winter one time thinking the pipes were frozen but we had lost the prime!! You had to pump water up the hill to get it started flowing back down. We live and learn!!

Grammy said...

Dear Judy,
Yes, she was a very strong woman, physically, mentally and spiritually. She had determination and grit. I learned a lot from her, as did the other children in the family.
Yes, we had to learn to prime the pump, too, but fortunately, our parents already knew how to do that, so we learned pretty quickly.

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