Thursday, February 24, 2011

My 6th grade class
My Father is young boy on the right
My Great Grandparents
My Grandparents and their 13th child
My My family in 1958. I am young girl on bottom right.

I have tried to write a story line several time to go with the pictures and each time something happens to delete it. I am struggling with posting and pictures still. But I am trying.
I want to record my life story for my future generations and anyone who is interested in reading it. I also want to be able to do tutorials on things I make to share with others. I am slow with the learning process of blogging but I am continuing to put forth the effort to do it regardless of those struggles. When i learned to type it was before teh electric typewriter and I don't know what all this stuff on the keyboard is for except the alphabet and numbers. Fortunately I have spell check to correct any misspelled words.
I hope this gives you a little glimpse into the past and until next time I leave you with Just This...Alice

Monday, February 21, 2011

autoMobile Monday

Just got back from having to buy two new tires for my vehicle. $145.00 ouch. No gas to go anywhere now but I've got tires.

I think I said I would tell about my experience with the electric fence while on vacation one summer.

I was living in New Orleans at the time and came home to Florida for a vacation. While here my oldest brother and I with our pickup trucks went and got hay for the fall and winter. Pa had a very small heard of cattle at the time. Of course he was all of Eighty years old and still worked his gardens, livestock, etc. He had quit raising and cropping tobacco when he was sixty seven and just had concentrated on his large vegetable garden and had a little time to sit on the front porch in his rocking chair watching the birds eat the seeds he had scattered for them. OK back to the story promised. We decided we could get all the hay Pa needed on both the trucks if we stacked it high and drove slowly home from the neighbors farm about a mile away. Well we did just that and my oldest brother decided he would unload first so he could get to his second job on time that evening. We unloaded his truck in record time and had it stacked neatly in the pack house. As he drove off he shouted "Hey sis watch out for that electric fence wire overhead now so you don't dance your jig hahahaha" all the way back out of the field. I should have known he had in mind for me to touch it because while we were unloading my truck, I grabbed the last bale of hay on the cab and the blanket used to keep the truck from getting scratched up came with it and as I turned around my foot caught on it and I went flying over the second layer of hay bales and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPP my forehead connected with that dang line and I couldn't move for awhile. My new dance steps were just going in the air trying to get that blanket off my foot. After getting my foot loose I was able to get down onto the ground to find relief for every orifice on my body. My sil was laughing so hard she wet herself. I didn't know what I was going to do about the hay because I told her that blame hay could stay there or unload itself before I got up there again. It took some time to get myself together and try to find a solution to the problem of getting the hay off my truck. We ended up getting a longer pole/tree sapling to raise the line to my satisfaction so we could finish the job of unloading that truck. After all I did have to drive back to New Orleans in it. I told my sil don't you be telling your husband about this, you hear, and she just started laughing all over again. Sure as could be she went inside laughing and ended up telling Pa and them about my buck dance on the hay.
That wasn't my first experience with the electric fence oh no.... my oldest brother always tried to get me by doing something when we were out working in the fields. The first time I shook hands with Mr. E Lectric Fence was when the same brother told me to "lift that wire so I can crawl under it then I'll hold it for you so you can get under it." Since he hadn't been too mean to me that day I just grabbed that wire to lift it up and it didn't want to turn loose. I was a hollering and a crying and dancing around and he started shouting let it go, let it go. He must have felt bad for that one because he told me he didn't think I would pick it up that way, he thought I would pick it up the sissified way with my thumb and forefinger. I let him know the only fence I picked up that way was barbed wire.
We can sit around now talking about all of the old days and laugh til our sides hurt. I did tell them that it wasn't right for me to not get my trip down the red carpet for being the family entertainment though.
Life was so simple back then and we didn't have to make all the decisions we do today because they were made for us. It is hard to believe we have come so far from what we were back then. It was difficult making decisions on my own for the first little while and then along came some real life education. I don't think we started growing up til we got out on our own because it was certainly a reality slap in the face when we left home. Oh the simple days of sitting on the porch on a Sunday afternoon after church turning the crank of the ice cream machine knowing we were in for a real treat when it was done. We all have our long ago yesterdays and some are more fondly thought of than others. Time marches on and we are soon forgotten just as our ancestors were. We do have an advantage of being able to capture those memories and store them for our future generations though. My children and grandchildren ask for stories about when I was young and I guess this is my way to preserve those stories.
Perhaps a story of the polecat and cane grinding would be good for next time. Until then I remain Just This...Alice

Friday, February 11, 2011

Finding Friday

It seems like I have lost Friday. I went to bed and didn't get much sleep last night. So I made my usual dose of medicine and drank it down leisurely. A cup of coffee seems to work the exact opposite on me when I'm tired. I laid down to take a nap around noon and didn't wake up til after 4:00pm. I have not had this much sleep at one bedtime in months. This week has been a very rough week for me with the weather and all. I didn't realize how badly the weather affected some parts of our bodies. As a child it was the rain on our tin roof that gave me such good sleep but now it aggravates my broken down body to where I can't sleep. I'm thankful for the rain to water the earth when we need it and lately our area of the country has needed it. Sometimes the weather dictates no working for the day.
However I can remember a time as a child that rain was no excuse to keep from hoeing the fields and getting rid of the weeds in our crops. When we awoke one day to find it raining (granted it was just a drizzle) we thought we wouldn't have to go hoe in the field for that day. Pa quickly told us a little rain never hurt anybody and we best hurry up and eat our breakfast and get to the job at hand. The morning was spent hoeing and grumbling about being wet to the core and why did we have to hoe in such nasty weather. We heard the holler for dinner time at noon and we all took off running to the house. We all took turns washing up and changing clothes then sat down to eat a good hot meal. Fried pork chops, collard greens, rice with gravy, butter beans, and homemade biscuits with home made butter slathered in the middle when it went on our plate. Back then there was no talking at the table by anyone. It was a sit down hurry up and eat then get back to work type of meal for us. Oh how I hated hoeing in the field and the rain made it even worse. Anything worse.... there is nothing that can compare to cropping sand lugs (the first leaves of tobacco next to the dirt) to finish filling the tobacco barn in a drizzling rain. My armpit would be full of sand, the tar from the leaves, and I couldn't wait to wash it all off.
It brings to mind the whole process of planting tobacco. First in March we would make a huge seed bed and plant tobacco seed. Then Pa would have the smallest child (which was me this time) walk lightly over the seed to pack them onto the earth. We would then cover the beds with gauze to keep frost off the seedlings if the weather called for frost. It also kept the birds out. I was 5 years old and my younger brother (age 2) and I were the only ones at home and the other 4 were in school. That is how I had the task of walking on the seed bed that day. As it was always do the job right or don't do it all and get a whipping for your trouble with Pa, I was terrified of doing it wrong. That was my lucky day because Pa told me I could go on up to the house to help mama with my brother. I started running and Pa hollered something to me and turning my head to look back while still running, I veered off course and fell over the logs that were nailed together to make the tobacco beds. Then I hollered and felt pain like I had never felt it before. On the outside of my left leg was a deep gash and I was bleeding profusely. Pa looked away and told me to go to the house to get mama's help. Mama turned away also and told me to go to the porch and rinse it off with water. She couldn't look at it either but told me what to do to help it. I never knew at that time both my parents would faint at the sight of blood running from a wound. My older brother and sister must have got that problem too cause they would faint too. Many years later I was told they had that problem and couldn't help it. I responded with it sure would have helped me to know that when I was 5 and had to deal with a wound to my leg. Life happens and we do what we have to do to make it in this ole world. When the seedlings were sprouted and tall enough to be out of danger we would remove the gauze and the sun and rain did its job in making them grow. When they were ready to be transplanted we would take crates to the tobacco beds and pull the biggest and best seedlings and pack them in the crates. Then we would get the mule and sled rigged up and ready to go plant our bounty. We had this thing called a tobacco planter to make it easier on us to get the job done. It was cone shaped with a divider so we put the plant on one side and when we pulled the handle water would come out at the bottom along with the plant. Then one of us would cover the hole made by this piece equipment. Those little seedlings looked so good all in rows of fresh tilled soil that we thought wouldn't have very many weeds it it. Ha! the joke was on us. That field had just as many weeds and we had to hoe the devil out of them that year. Perhaps it was the manure tea we poured on the ground for fertilizer. With hoeing the weeds out, rain, sunshine and back breaking work,it became time to start harvesting the tobacco leaves. Nothing is easy about that for sure. We started out cropping sand lugs and rushing to get away from the field. Later in the season when it was not as bad when cropping the boys would grab a horn worm off a leaf of tobacco and sling them things at us girls backs and we could hear them splat and feel the wet. Of course they were being boys and we were being girls but it became another matter altogether when they grabbed sand spurs and flung them at our backs. At that time it was no longer funny because it was too painful. We girls would take turns with pulling them off for each other. There was always one highlight of the day for us when we cropped tobacco. Someone went to the little store for RC cola or what ever kind of drink we wanted and a bag of salted peanuts to pour in the drinks after taking a big swallow of refreshing drink. That was our break and it gave us enough energy to finish the day (til dark thirty) time. The tobacco had to be strung by hand on sticks set on tobacco horses not to be mistaken for saw horses. These were taller and narrower and just the right height for a stringer to comfortably string while standing all day. The younger kids handed them the tobacco and another stacked them for putting in the tobacco barn when the croppers came in from the field. Our tobacco barn was much taller than most and some young guys were afraid of heights and would argue about who was going to take the crows nest position (the very top layer of rafters for hanging the sticks of tobacco) and when I was about 10 or 11 I jumped up and climbed up to the top telling them "Alright you chickens bring it on I'm tired and want to get done so don't make me wait on anybody for a stick of tobacco to hang." Pa couldn't believe how fast we filled that barn and of course it was expected next time as well.It was not difficult to decide who would take the crows nest spot after that. Pa would light the kerosene burners to cure the tobacco leaves. Kinda like an oven bakes bread but it made the leaves not so crispy or that would be a bad thing. When it was time we would take the tobacco down from the barn in reverse and pack it in the pack house til time for us to remove it from the sticks and pack it into big burlap sheets ready to take to the tobacco warehouses for sale. This was always a good sign of fun for us as there was always a street dance after tobacco season was done. The whole street by the courthouse was blocked off and we would have entertainment from some of the Grand ole Opry folks like Minnie Pearl, Little Jimmy Dickens, String Bean, The Stanley Brothers, and more I can't remember right now. After the entertainment there would be a drawing for prizes then dancing. Oh what fun that was. We didn't know how to dance but we surely gave it our best effort to do the dances we saw others doing. Square dancing was also popular back then and we did know how to do that dance. We all were so disappointed not to win anything but then they said we have one more prize and it's the grand prize of the night. "The name drawn is (Pa's name) come on up and claim your prize. We were so excited when we finally realized they meant Pa. Jumping up and down, squealing, laughing and the whole crowd got in on it so happy for us. We didn't have TV and someone even donated a used antenna so we could watch it. We thought we had hit the mother load with winning that console color TV. I can still remember watching Red Skeleton along with others on the Ed Sullivan show that first time. If you can imagine all of us sitting around a big box in our cowhide chairs staring at such a funny character as he was and laughing over his antics. Other entertainers came and went over the years and finally The Ed Sullivan Show went off the air. That was a very good tobacco season for us. Maybe next time I'll tell you about my experience with the electric fence when I came home on vacation one time. Until then I leave you with Just This...Alice

Monday, February 7, 2011

Move over Monday I'm not done with Sunday

We've all had those days that we wonder just where did all the hours in the day go. Today I stayed in bed most of the day feeling yucky and all the pain of my disability. I would have gotten a lot done if it wasn't for that. Would've, could've, should've but didn't. I know..., one excuse is as good as another.

I will say i got my daughter and granddaughter's purses done and the coin purse to go with them on Saturday. Pictures????? That's the problem I'm having. I have a non working cell phone but the camera part works and I was coached on how to get the one picture posted. If it isn't written down for me to follow every time I go to do something I can't remember how. Does anyone know of a book or a site that gives instructions that I can print to have to add photos and write in the same post? Those purses were something I lay in bed thinking about one night when my daughter asked for a Gator Team purse. I have made many a rag bag and regular tote but not a purse. Her request was easy access from the top ( top is made like a tote). A big pocket on the outside with some trim on it and different than the square ones (pocket is gathered on the outside with a liner that isn't and the Gator grosgrain ribbon on the edge to keep the opening from stretching). The little coin purse is just one of the fold over ones you see all over the blogs. I didn't know how to make it but just winged it and used Velcro for a closure. My granddaughter's purse is so adorable. This will be her first big girl purse now that she is all of 4 going on .... The bag has a gathered front and straignt sided back and lining. i did put a necklace chain on it with a long loop from strap side to strap side. To this (if you can imagine hanging clothes on the line), I sewed Gator emblems I cut out and prepared from a piece of fabric. Her little coin purse was made the same way but smaller than my daughters. My daughters reaction "Mom (squeal here) I love them. You never cease to amaze me with the stuff you can make. Thank you so very much." That was all it took to make me feel on top of the world that day. It's painful for me to sit up so I have to do it in batches and it takes me a long time it seems to ever finish something. The stuff I can do while reclined back on about 20 pillows on my bed I can get done faster. Quilts and crocheting, and sewing by hand are the things I can do while in bed. Oh and draw sketches of what I'd like to do. That is how I did the drawing of the purse, laying back in bed. I might even get done with the crochet blanket for my son by next Christmas. His favorite color is white and I had made him one about 10 years ago to fit his queen sized bed. It ended up the last year being a sleeping blanket for his dog that ended up passing away from a very fast acting cancer. In three weeks time a quarter sized lump he took her to the vet about was the size of a grapefruit when she died about three weeks after finding it. I am so thankful he had a compassionate vet to help him through all this when she told him there was nothing that could be done for her.

OK enough of that tear jerker where was I???????? Oh yes about moving over Monday cause I'm not done with Sunday. It seems the older I get the more I can expect those kind of days but I don't want to cause I am not old enough to sit back in a rocking chair and give up. I'm only kissing 60 in May. All my life I have worked hard at jobs some men won't do let alone women so I could take care of my children. I guess you could say my growing up and working on a farm gave me a good constitution as Pa would say. It certainly helped me handle a lot through the years. Anywho.... I am up in the middle of the night (1:00a.m.) writing about not being done with Sunday. The light bulb has gone off and Monday arrived right on schedule and until next time I leave you with Just This...Alice

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thoughts on Thursday

What a day to sit and think about my life as I lived it.

Imagine if you would a backwoods country family of seven youngins and the parents living in a one bedroom house built out of the pine trees Pa cut down. The front of the house faced south and there was a long driveway. We had a long narrow kitchen/dining room with a door leading to the back porch which had the only spigot we had for water. No indoor plumbing in the house. There was the old cowhide chairs that sat around the dinner table at the head and one side. The side next to the wall had a long bench Pa made for five of us to sit on when we ate out meals. There were two double beds (full sized as they are called today) and one single bed (twin) in the one bedroom for us girls to sleep on. There were five girls and two boys and everyone used to sleep in the bedroom until we got old enough for separating the boys from the girls and at that time Pa closed in part of the front porch to make the two boys a room of their own. We all had to use the outhouse before dark and then the pee pot was put in the bedroom at night for us girls. Mama and Pa slept in the living room on a double bed. Since it was a large living room their bed was against the wall separating the living room from the kitchen. They had their dresser and a night table. Around the rest of the room sat two cowhide rocking chairs, a settee (sofa) and cowhide straight back chairs for us youngins. In the winter time we would sit around the fire (the only heat we had) and shell pecans for Holiday cooking and dry peanuts for Spring planting. Sometimes the fire would pop so loudly it sounded like a gun going off. One time when my oldest sister was sweeping the floor she swept the dirt into the fire and all of a sudden that noise went off and she grabbed her neck saying ouch. A bullet from the 22 shot gun had managed to get swept into the fire and it grazed her neck by her carotid artery. That frightened everyone. We would bathe in pans of water and put on our flannel nightgowns and stand in front of the fire to get warm before going to bed. When the back side was good and warm we'd turn around to warm the front which had done got cold again. It looked like we were on a rotisserie the way we were turning. I hated getting into that ole cold bed at night during the winter and I didn't like the other girls arguing over who got to sleep with me because I was their heater because I generated heat and they would all pile on one bed and tell me to get in the middle to keep them warm. Being hot natured it always made me feel like I was smothering in a can of sardines.

We grew our own food and would sometimes get up very early and go to the field and plant, hoe, and pick til it was time to wash up and get ready for school. We had rocking chairs lined up on the front porch and when we picked vegetables from the garden ( 3-5 acres of each), we would sit and shell butter beans, speckled butter beans, peas (several varieties) and string beans green and yellow on the front porch. We would each have a big pan for shelling the vegetables in and sit and rock in unison at times. We didn't have a vehicle ourselves, we rode in the mule and wagon til we got a tractor and trailer, then we rode in that. It was a treat to hear a vehicle coming down our dirt road and we would try to guess who it was as very few people rode down our dirt road. Well one day we were all sitting on the front porch shelling peas and we heard what we thought was the neighbors youngin on his motorcycle. Now our closest neighbor lived a half of a mile away from us across the paved road at the end of our dirt road. The son would rip down our road on his motorcycle and rev it up as he passed our house. We heard what we thought was the neighbor kid while we were shelling the peas and it seemed to get closer and closer and we were all guessing when we would be able to see him. The noise got loud to where we were sure we should have seen him coming by the house and no one went by. The motorcycle sound kept going and going and my next to the oldest sister was laughing and we all asked her what was so funny and she told us that motorcycle we heard was her whistling dixie tail talk. We laughed til we had tears streaming down our faces over that. For some reason it just gave us the giggles that day. Pa got upset with us and said "Don't y'all know that is the height of ill manners to do that in the presence of someone else? You save that for the outhouse." Now our outhouse was a two seater opened back outhouse and we thought we were right uptown over that as most country folks only had a one seater outhouse sitting over a deep hole. Every Saturday we would clean because cleanliness is next to Godliness and that meant we raked the yard and hoed up any grass that crept in through the fence. I later learned that was why we had to sweep the house so much due to all that sand being tracked inside. We would get the ole wash pot fire started and use the scrub board and then put them in the wash pot to boil the dirt out of the whites. After the clothes were all hung out on the clothes line, we swept the house then scrubbed the floor and then mopped it to rinse it. Then it was outside for the other Saturday chores. Some would rake the pine straw out of the yard and some got outhouse duty. We had to rake everything out and then Pa would come with the kerosene can and light a fire on it. The used corncobs would sometimes smolder and we couldn't leave it til it was all out. Of course no one wanted to do the outhouse chore. And when we upgraded to the Sears and Roebuck catalog we thought we were rich folks. We tore off a page and wrinkled and scrubbed the page together to soften it up and it felt so much better than using those corncobs. I didn't know what toilet paper was til I went to school. Anyway when the floors and clothes were dry we would take them in and iron everything with a big ole heavy iron. Most of the ironing wasn't too bad but the boys dungarees were so hard to iron and stiff they were stiff. We had a bottle with a metal stopper that had holes in it for sprinkling the clothes before ironing. I often wondered why we didn't take the clothes off the line when they were still damp and iron them. Well that was the way to iron back then and that is what we did. No wonder it took all day to finish the Saturday chores. Then we would wash up cook, and eat supper, then clean the kitchen. We heated water in big pans for washing and rinsing the dishes and then we dried them and put them away on the shelf. Now this is where I would dread being in the kitchen. My oldest brother would put a hat or bonnet on a mop and walk by the window acting like a ghost and scare the daylights out of me and send me running from the kitchen to the living room. Of course I was told to get back in there and finish. Well I would and we only had electric wire hanging down with a light bulb over the two tables. The one where we prepared dinner and washed dishes and the eating table. To conserve electricity we would only use one at a time. So when I was finished with the dishes on my turn I would go to the light over the eating table and putt the chain and then go back to the other table to pull the chain to turn that one off. well when I reached for the light to turn it off my pesticating brother would reach up and pull the other light chain which left me in total darkness and he would run and hide behind the door and shut it which left me a hollering and carrying on to let me out which was entertainment for the rest of the family. I thought to myself one day "I'm gonna fix his little red wagon and get him by making it to the door before he closes it. He almost got it closed but I was fast and pushed on that door with all my might and it slammed open with him hitting the wall and the door hitting him. For his trouble he almost got a broke nose. That was the last time he did that little trick on me. There is so much more to come but for now I leave you with Just This...Alice