Linden Tree Leaves

Genealogy and Ancestry Explorations

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Nona’s Stories: The Buttermilk Sunburn Cure

When we lived in North Texas, one of my earliest memories was when I was about five years old. Grandma Burns and my mother decided it was time I was enrolled in Sunday School at the Burns Chapel, which was about a mile and a half from where we lived. They felt I was old enough to walk that distance with Harry and Ralph, it being Spring.

So, for weeks they worked on my outfit I was to wear the Sunday Rev. John Connelly would be preaching at the chapel.

My dress was white, tiers of embroidered ruffles with a wide blue satin ribbon sash. A white hat with blue ribbon “streamers” and blue bows for my hair. I always, even as a baby, had dark hair, and wore it parted down the middle, front and back, braided in two braids. There was even a little white folding fan- (could get awfully hot in that little chapel) – with a spray of pink wild roses on it—and it hung on narrow blue ribbons around my neck—the better not to lose it.

To complete the outfit—white stockings (no one wore sox in those days)- and little black “Mary Jane” slippers, and a child-size white umbrella, with blue flowers and a blue ruffly around the edge.

On Friday morning Dad took me over to Grandma Burns’ house—she lived near the chapel, and she was to take me to Sunday School and church on Sunday and introduce me.

Rev. Connelly had married Bettie Thompson and Alford Falls and also my father and mother.

Grandma kept a black and white checked bonnet she had made for me at her house for me to wear when visiting her, and had knitted long black mittens that came well above my elbows, and had “half” fingers—coming to the first joints of my fingers—and were those mittens hot! They were knitted with “worsted” yarn.

Aunt Em—the big fat negro woman that was Grandma’s “help,” combed and braided my hair—brushing each side one hundred strokes—”to give it shine,” put my bonnet and mitts on me and sent me out to play while she and Grandma Burns cooked—for Rev. Connelly was coming home with us after “preaching” for Sunday dinner. At Grandma’s house “dinner” was at noon, and supper was at dusk—”candlelighting” time.

It soon got hot and I took off the bonnet and mitts.

When Aunt Em called me in at noon for dinner, she took one look at me and threw up her hands in horron and said, in a tone of voice like I had suddenly developed leprosy—”Ma’m” (as she always called Grandma) “come quick! This chile has gone and ruint her face and arms!” Grandma came, and they moaned over how I had “ruint” my face- (what I had done was get sunburned). Aunt Em kept calling on the “Lawd” to help us, and Grandma kept telling me I’d “look a sight” in that white dress—and “what would people think!” Aunt Em supplied the answer to that by saying “folks will think you is po’ white trash!” And, saying indignantly, “Us is quality folks!!”

The impression I got was to be sunburned was the unforgiveable sin, and marked you for life.

Aunt Em wouldn’t let me wash my face and hands, saying the water would “set” the sunburn, and instead, they smeared my face and neck, arms, and hands, with sour buttermilk—to “take the burn out” and keep me from “turning brown as an old shoe.”

I wasn’t allowed to go out of the house during the afternoon, and ever hour on the hour they applied more sour buttermilk. By night I was almost holding my nose I smelled so sour. I can’t remember any discomfort due to the sunburn—but I never smell sour milk to this day without remembering that experience.

I looked forward to bedtime for I was sure I would be allowed to wash that sour milk off as Grandma was very particular about her beds—but I wasn’t to be that lucky. At bedtime Aunt Em skimmed thick cream off a pan of milk and applied the gooey stuff liberally to my face and arms telling me “fine ladies uses cow cream on their faces for the good of their skins.”

They swathed me in one of Grandma’s flannel gowns so the sleeves would cover my hands, put a “night cap” over my hair to protect it. I had a hard time getting to sleep, but next morning to my surprise and their delight, not a bit of redness remained. Drastic as it was, the “cure” had worked, and I was redeemed!

I bathed and got rid of that sour smell, though I still imagined I could smell sour milk—so Aunt Em brushed my hair—not forgetting those hundred strokes for each side—and dusted a tiny bit of cinnamon on my hair “little girls don’t wear perfume—just a mite of spice to make them smell nice” – I got dressed and they both seemed well pleased. Aunt Em thanked the “Lawd,” Grandma took my hand—seeing to it I stayed under that little umbrella—she wasn’t taking any more chances of me getting sunburned.

So we walked the not far distance to the chapel.

It didn’t seem to me that Sunday School rated all that preparation and trouble– and I thought the sermon would never end, but finally it did and Rev. Connelly walked home with us for dinner.

Afterward, while they “visited” I was told I could go outside to play.

I had decided I’d wear the bonnet and mitts, preferring prevention to the “cure” but Aunt Em had some ideas of her own– she sewed the bonnet to my hair on top of my head so I couldn’t take it off, and sewed the mitts to my upper sleeves—”does you think I is gonna send you home to your mommy redder ‘n a beet?”

I kept my thoughts to myself; however, remembering the sour buttermilk ordeal and not wishing to go through that again.

Thereafter, weather permitting, I walked the mile and a half to Sunday School each Sunday with Ralph and Harry, joined along the way by other children.

Grandma was always at church and inspected me to see if I was sunburned, so, fearing she would take me home with her for a “buttermilk cure”, I was careful to use the little umbrella to ward off a sunburn.


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Nona’s Stories: Old Man Cole

When we lived in North Texas, and before I started to school—I must have been five or six years old—there appeared in what was called “The Bottoms” – some land belonging to a man named Wilson (some people inelegantly called it “Wilson’s Bottom”) – a man well past middle age. He had curly, gray, bushy hair that reached almost to his shoulders, and his face was almost covered with a bushy gray beard.

This “bottom” land was along a creek, thickly wooded by tall trees and underbrush, with wild roses climbing over them.

No one knew who he was or where he came from. This Bottom land adjoined ours on the East—with only a patch of clover and a small field between. The first we knew of him being there was when we heard chopping of trees and hammering coming from the Bottoms. Mr. Wilson was a friend of Dad’s and when he was asked if he was clearing the Bottoms, was the first he knew of the strange man being there. He went to investigate. The man told him his name was Cole and he was going blind and wanted to build himself a little cabin.

Mr. Wilson told him he could go ahead and cut logs for the cabin and live there free of charge as long as he didn’t bother anyone.

So he built a one room log shack and he and an old brown hound dog lived there.

He called the dog “Mr. Brown.”

Soon, one evening, he came to call on us, bringing along his violin. He played beautifully—anything he was asked to play. It was plain that he was an accomplished musician. Even I, young as I was, realized he was a well educated man with “polished” manners. This made it even more strange for him to be living alone in the “Bottoms.” During the course of conversation, Dad asked him where he was from—he merely answered “many places” and changed the subject.

After this he often came to visit, always at night, bringing along his violin and “Mr. Brown.” I heard Dad tell Mother that the violin was a fine and expensive one. He asked Dad if he would “be so kind” as to get the supplies he needed when he (Dad) was going to town. So Dad took his lists of needs and got them for him. He always paid Dad in cash. He never had anything to do with any of the other neighbors. He never went anywhere or received any mail. When we asked him if he had any family, he just said “I’m alone,” and nothing more.

Most people called him “Old Man Cole” – but we were instructed to call him Mr. Cole by Dad and Mother.

He wore dark, almost black glasses. Since he always came to our house at night, he never carried a lantern and returned to his cabin around midnight. I was terribly concerned about him being bitten by copperhead snakes or cottonmouth water moccasin snakes—both almost as poisonous as rattlesnakes (there were no rattlesnakes in North Texas—winters are too cold there for them). We children were constantly warned about copperheads—he sat me on his knee and explained to me that day and night were all the same to him—both were dark—and that the reason that he always brought “Mr. Brown” with him on a leash was because “Mr. Brown” walked ahead of him and would warn him if there was any danger. I felt better about it after his explanation.

We always had several milk cows, so had plenty of milk and butter. Every day it was my chore to churn—we had a big crockery churn with a hole in the crockery lid through which the handle of the “dasher” fitted—the “dasher” was like a broomstick with a “cross” of wood paddles attached to the bottom of the stick or handle.

Of course, in those days we didn’t have electricity or ice delivery—we lived two miles from town—Trenton– so milk, butter, etc. were kept cold in a hand dug well about three feet from our back porch—which was really a side porch. We didn’t use the water from that well for house use. The ground was a sort of cream color clay and water in this well was always very cold. Food, milk, and butter were let down in the well with ropes and pulleys in airtight tin buckets that were really honey buckets for we had two big bee apiaries.

Old Man Cole was very fond of buttermilk (I’d lost my fondness for it after the sunburn experience), so late every afternoon Harry and I were sent down to Old Man Cole’s cabin with cold buttermilk, butter and eggs for his supper.

Part of the trail leading through the Bottoms was overgrows with “horseweeds” – these were 8 to 10 feet tall—and the juice in these strange weeds was blood red– I’ve never seen them anywhere else. They grew so thickly it would have been impossible to make ones way through them—there was just this narrow trail or path. We always ran through this part—it was really scary. Aunt Em declared it was “hainted” by the ghost of a woman that once lived in a little house that had long since burned down—on the edge of the Bottoms.

It seemed she was demented and had fell or jumped in the well there—all wells in that area were hand dug ones. Her name was Becky Jones. She hadn’t been found for some time, so when she was found, the well was just filled in with soil and she was left there.

In the Spring there were marsh daisies—white, pink and purple ones, purple, white and yellow violets—I’ve never seen yellow violets anywhere else—in the deep shade under the trees and pink wild roses blooming on the vines climbing over the trees and brush.

Harry complained mightily about how I delayed him because I was always stopping to pick flowers. Sometimes I gave them to Old Man Cole, he always thanked me and seemed to enjoy them. He would put them in a coffee cup on his crude home made table.

One afternoon it looked so stormy Mother sent Harry and I to take the milk, etc. to Old Man Cole early—when we walked up to the open door and knocked, Old Man Cole was almost waist deep in a hole in the floor– it was an earth floor.

He suddenly stood up—and he wasn’t’ wearing the dark glasses—his eyes looked white—he had been digging and bending over so his bushy hair was standing almost straight up and he didn’t have a shirt on—he really looked like a ghost.

He didn’t say a word—I don’t think he could see well enough to see us or know who we were—he looked wild and scared. We didn’t say anything—we were too shocked—and scared, too, just sat the milk pail down and ran.

We told Dad and Mother about it and Dad said it was strange he would be digging in the floor, but he had a right to if he so wanted.

Old Man Cole never mentioned it, and we didn’t either.

It was a few months later—along in the Fall, we were awakened one night by the weird, mournful howling and wailing of the hound, “Mr. Brown.”

School had started and Ralph, Harry and I had to walk the two miles to town to school, and it was too late when we got home to take the milk to Mr. Cole before dark, so he usually came after it at night. He hadn’t come to the house for several nights, tho.

Dad got up and dressed and told Mother something must have happened to Old Man Cole, as that was a “death howl” of the dog. He took a lighted lantern and went to see about him. We all stayed awake until he came back.

He found Old Man Cole dead. So he called our doctor—Dr. Thompson (related to Bettie Thompson Falls). Since the doctor had to come by horse and buggy the two miles out from town, it was nearly daylight before he got to our house. Then he and Dad walked on to the cabin in the Bottoms—there was no road in that part of the Bottoms.

Dr. Thompson said Old Man Cole had died of pneumonia.

Dad got some of the neighbor men to go with him to the cabin to search for names of Old Man Cole’s family so they could be notified—but none were found. Also no money was found, though the dirt floor was soft where it had been dug up, they dug down to hard earth but found nothing. They figured he—Old Man Cole – had hidden his money under the dirt floor, but knowing we had seen him in that hole, had removed his money—he always seemed to have plenty of cash—and hidden it somewhere else in the Bottoms. So far as I know it never was found.

So Dad paid his burial expenses, casket, etc. and had him buried in the Burns Cemetery.

People started remembering odd happenings  just before Old Man Cole appeared in the Bottoms, and putting two and two together to make four.

There was much whispering that we children were not supposed to hear. It so happened that a short time before Old Man Cole appeared, a mail carrier had been killed and the mail robbed of a large amount of money—cash.

There had been a fight at a country dance between this mail carrier and a grandson of an old lady that lived about ten miles from us—he was one of twin boys. Their parents had died of typhoid fever when they were three years old, and the grandmother had raised them. This mail carrier and the grandson had a fight over who was to take a girl home after the dance. The girl had been going with the grandson, and had come to tho dance with him but had “fallen” for the mail carrier and he was going to take her home. The grandson had threatened to kill the mail carrier, and a number of people had heard the threat. The grandson was accused of the murder, tried and convicted on circumstantial evidence and hung at Bonhana County seat of Fannin County—Trenton being in Fannin County.

Many people believed Old Man Cole had been the one that robbed the mails, but it was only guesswork. None could prove it—or disprove it.

And there were many that didn’t believe the grandson had killed the main carrier. And there was lots of hard feelings against the jury that convicted him, especially the foreman of the jury, he was a neighbor of the grandmother.

Her house was down in sort of a valley and the foreman’s house was a couple miles away on a hill or “rise” as it was called. A few months after all this took place there was a tornado at night.

The funnel traveled along, rose up in the air over the little valley, touched down on the hill, destroying the house of the jury foreman, killing him, his wife and three children. People said it was an act of God in retribution for convicting the grandson of a crime he didn’t commit. Of course, what happened was the nature of tornados. It’s normal for them to pass above valleys and dip down on higher ground. God didn’t have anything to do with it even if Aunt Em firmly believed in it. She said “I knowed it! I knowed it! He done got his punishment! Chickens sho’ do come home to roost sooner or later!”

The grandmother’s house wasn’t damaged at all.

Dutch wrote recently that Ralph had been checking the National Census records of the time Old Man Cole lived in the Bottoms but the closest record would have been 1910 and there was no one that was listed in that area that could have been him.

Anyway, no census taker would have gone into the Bottoms, even if he knew someone lived there. But Ralph thought Dad or Mother might have listed him. I don’t think Old Man Cole was there in 1910.

I imagine Old Man Cole’s blindness was due to cataracts on his eyes—his eyes looked so white, they probably were grown completely over his eyes. Back then operations were not performed to remove them as is now done.

And Cole probably was not his real name.


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Nona’s Stories: Haley’s Comet

In 1910, when I was five years old, Dad awakened me in the middle of a cold night, wrapped me in a quilt and carried me outside to show me Haley’s Comet. It was almost directly overhead, just slightly to the South. Very bright, with the tail pointing Eastward. He told me to take a good look at it for I’d never see it again. It is still imprinted on my memory, like a photograph.

It was really beautiful. The night was clear and cold. Mother, Ralph and Harry also came out into the yard to see it.

That was the only time I saw it, for a snowstorm had moved in by the next night, and Dad didn’t waken us again. But I’m glad I got to see it that once.

Dad explained what a comet was. I guess that was the beginning of my interest in all the strange things way out there in the wild blue yonder.


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Nona’s Stories: The Rock Springs Tornado

RockSpringsTornadoPictureSummer passed, and in early Winter Ray was transferred to a new plant the Power Company built at Miranda City, about 60 miles from Laredo, as Power Dispatcher.

Hanel Peterson remained at Laredo, and another man was hired as maintenance man at the new Plant.

The Company built two four-room houses near the Plant for us.

One evening in April we sat on our front porch steps and watched an awe-inspiring eerie storm cloud, which we knew was in the direction of Uvalde. It was a huge cloud, the lightning was continuous, making the cloud look as if it was aglow from within.

We were joined by neighbors, and watched with concern, fearing the storm was at Uvalde.

There were no radios then and none of us had telephones. So we didn’t know until next morning that it was a tornado that struck Rock Springs, above Uvalde in the hills.

Among the list of the dead were many people we knew, and one close friend Charles McMains, his family had lived near the Milam ranch, and he had gone to school with Ray.

A two-by-four was driven completely through his body as he was trying to rescue the children of the people he was working for. All in that family were killed.

We couldn’t see the tornado funnel from where we were, as it was more than two hundred miles from us, but I’ll never forget the sight of that cloud. It was about the worst I’ve even seen, dar, rolling, boiling clouds. Having gone through tornados when a child, I knew something of what one is like.

Once, when we were living at Victoria, we stood on our front porch and watched nine tornados at one time.

However, they were on the coastal plains between Victoria and the Bay where there were no houses.




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Nona’s Stories: Jack, Aunt Em, and Uncle Jim

One summer afternoon, a Mr. Hood—a childhood friend of Dad’s—they had gone to school together when they were boys—came back to Trenton on a visit to  old friends. He had been living back East somewhere.

He rented a horse and buggy from the Livery stable in town, and drove out to our farm to surprise Dad. But, I’m afraid it was he that got surprised!

Ralph, Harry and I were sitting on the front porch steps when the man drove up in front of our house, got out of the buggy, hitched his horse to the hitching post, came through the front yard gate –when he came through the gate, Jack placed himself in front of us kids, bared his teeth slightly, and raised the hackles on his back.

All our friends and neighbors knew and heeded this silent warning—they knew they better! For, to Jack, nobody could come too close to us kids, and especially not touch us—and to him nobody meant Nobody.

Mr. Hood was a big, jolly man, and walked up to us with a loud “Hello! There!” and reached out to pat me on the head—like lightning Jack leaped and caught his wrist, and held on.

Mother heard the man and came to see who it was. It took a lot of persuasion on her part, and Ralph’s, to convince Jack Mr. Hood was alright. And, even then, Jack kept a suspicious eye on him all the time he was there.

Jack had been trained to go for the throat of any man that tried to harm us kids, and Dad was always worried that Jack might kill some man that really wasn’t entending any harm to us. He had warned all our friends and neighbors to back off fast when Jack bared his teeth and raised his hackles—they might not get a further warning. Jack took his protection role seriously, and, when he warned anyone, he meant it.

Jack almost never barked. Sometimes there was a low, rumbling chest growl, but he never barked at anyone. The only times I ever remember him barking was when some of the mules would wander into the yard. There was a wide gate from the drive in the yard, opening into the horselot, so Dad and the men could drive the hay wagons to the big barn to unload hay into the hayloft. Sometimes they didn’t close the big gate and a mule would come into the yard. Jack would bark and drive it back into the horselot. If it came back into the yard, he didn’t bark—it got nipped and put back where it belonged. It usually stayed there.

There was little protection from the law in those days, simply because there were almost no telephones in the country homes. Dad had to pay for running the telephone lines from the two miles from Trenton to our house, so our telephone was the only one around there. When people needed the Sheriff when a crime took place, they had to go into town after him—by the time the Sheriff got there—the criminal was long gone.

At harvest time the farmers had to hire help in harvesting their crops, one man alone couldn’t do all the work. They helped each other as much as possible, but all the crops had to be harvested at the same time. They had to hire help—these men were “drifters,” both black and white—they just drifted from one place to another. No one knew who they were or where they were from. There had been some serious crimes in the county—robberies and even a few murders. Dad was concerned about the safety of Mother and us kids. So he wont to Dallas and bought Jack. He was a registered, pure bred bulldog. And he had him trained there to protect us. He was well trained and a good protector. He especially hated strange men, and wouldn’t even allow the neighbors to come into our yard unless Dad ordered him to let them in.

Jack Mackey and Lawrence Johnson were the only ones of our hired hands he trusted—except old Uncle Jim—Aunt Em’s husband. He was an aged little black man. Aunt Em had white hair, too, but somehow, to me, she never seemed old. She was a big, fat woman, but very active. No one dared call her a servant—she was Grandma Burns’ “helper.” And considered herself one of the family. She often said she was born into the family.

Her mother and father were slaves of Grandma Burns’ family back in Tenn. The Connelly family came to Texas by wagon train in 1851, and Aunt Em and Uncle Jim came with them.

Grandma Burns and Aunt Em told me stories about the wagon train trip, and Indian attacks, even after they got to Texas.

For some reason the kitchens used to be built separately from the main house. Aunt Em told me how the Indians—which she called “heathen” shot arrows at her as she ran from the house to the kitchen, and she was kept there most of the day. She was the only one that had any food, as the others were in the house, and had nothing to eat.

However, they never had any real serious Indian attacks—that is, no one was killed, though the Indians did steal some of their livestock and once burned their barn. But there was the ever threat of a possible Indian attack. All the men wore side arms, and the women had guns in the house and were taught how to use them.

Aunt Em told me once she was busy in the kitchen cooking when she looked up and saw an Indian man looking in the window. She said “she let out such a bloodcurdling scream” it must have scared him half to death, the last she saw of him he was going over the hill running like a lion was after him. Grandma Buns said probably the Indian just smelled the food cooking and was hungry. Aunt Em said she was the first black woman, probably, he ever saw, and the “heathen” must have thought she was some kind of evil spirit after him. Anyway, as far as she knew, that Indian never came back there. She said bet he had to change his pants when he got back where he came from!

Watching Aunt Em cook was my first interest in cooking. I couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old, for I had to stand in a chair to watch her make “tea cakes” as she and Grandma Burns called them. They were really cookies, and I guess the reason they called them “tea cakes” was because they always had them with their afternoon cup of tea. It was always hot teas—no one had ice in those days.

I wasn’t allowed to have tea—”it wasn’t good for me” so I had a glass of milk with the “tea cakes.”

When I got married, Grandma Burns sent me some family recipes—the recipe for these ‘tea cakes’ was among them. I still have it and a copy is enclosed.

I’m sure Aunt Em could not read or write. She said she cooked “by guess and by gosh.” But, boy, how she could cook! I’ll never forget how good it was. She said her mama taught her how to cook when she was a child, and she had done a “mighty lot” of cooking since.



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Nona’s Stories: North Texas Weather and Food


Ralph took this picture of a “Texas Blue Norther” in the 1920’s.

We were sometimes caught in one of these famous (or infamous) “northers” – really a winter storm—on our way to or from school. Ralph, Harry and I started to school when we lived in North Texas. I was six years old then. We had to walk the two miles to school and then two miles home after school. Dutch didn’t start to school until after we moved to Uvalde.

There were no school buses then, and no cars—or bicycles.

It is very cold in the wintertime in North Texas—and very hot in the summertime.

The roads—they were not highways—were unpaved. The soil was black—and wagon wheels cut deep ruts in the muddy roads.

In Winter the ground froze and the walking was difficult.

When we were caught in one of these “blue Northers” or a snowstorm—and it snowed a great deal—we had to hold each other’s hands to keep from getting separated and lost in the storm. Sometimes our feet got so cold they were so numb we could hardly walk—and our hands really were numb—and how they hurt when we did get to school or home, it was unbearable to get near a fire.

We had to first “warm” them by holding them in cold water, and someone rubbing them to get the blood circulating.

School didn’t close until 4:p.m. and the days were short in Winter, so by thy time we walked the two miles home it was dark.

We had to get up before daylight, and leave the house right after daylight to get to school on time in the mornings, and those mornings were bitter cold, below zero, often snowing.

Some children had to walk a longer distance than we did and by the time they got to school they were so cold they would be crying from the pain of their half-frozen feet and hands.

I’ve never had too much fondness for cold or snow since then.

In the summer time it was very hot and humid—the nights almost as hot as the days. We used to sit on the front porch until almost midnight, since the house was so hot. On the nights when Old Man Cole didn’t come up to our house, and listen to the whip-poor-will calling from the wooded hill across the fields. Often it was very stormy and we were afraid a tornado would strike—and often when we did go to bed, we had to get up and make a run for the storm cellar.

And, in late summer and early fall, Mother would be canning fruits and vegetables and making jams and jellies. Of course, no one had air conditioning then. We had one of those huge cast-iron cookstoves that burned wood—and it really heated up the house.

t was my chore to pick the garden produce—peas, beans, tomatoes, etc. for canning. And, what I dreaded the most—the Blackberries and Raspberries—the stems of the vines were covered with sharp thorns. The only gloves I had were knitted wool ones—no protection from the thorns.

Dutch was two years younger than me and was never required to do any chores as she was too young. Ralph and Harry had other chores to do, so didn’t have time to help me.

All the canned fruits and vegetables, being in glass jars and liable to freezing and breaking in Winter, were stored in the storm cellar. It was lined with shelves.

Everyone raised hogs for winter meat and sausage, so the “smokehouse” was where the meats were stored. Everyone had a smokehouse—it was so called because the hams, slabs of  bacon, etc. were hung from the rafters and hickory wood chips burned to “cure” the meat so it would keep through the winter.

So, food was plentiful. We had all kinds of canned fruits and vegetables, meats, milk, butter and eggs. There were lots of chores, and work, but it was worth it.

In the Fall, Mother and Grandma made enough soap to last all year.

It was made in a huge cast-iron kettle, out in the yard.

This same big kettle was used to heat water for washing clothes.

No one had washing machines—clothes were washed on a “rub-board.”


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Nona’s Stories: Childhood Winters

When the first snowfall of winter came, we would dash outside to get bowlfuls of the clean, freshly fallen snow to make “ice cream.”

Mixed with the rich cream, sugar and flavoring—my favorite was Watkins Mixed Fruit Extract—it is still being made by the Watkins Co. It really was good.

We never made snowmen, but had a running snowball fight all the way to school. I was no match for both Ralph and Harry, but Mae and Gae Marshall lived almost a mile East of us, and walked to school with us, so us three girls could gang up on Ralph and Harry.

In bad weather, tho, they stayed with their cousin, Emma D. in town. So I was on my own. We never dared be late for school, because we knew if we did, we would have to stay in after school and walk home alone—and it would be after dark before we got home.

We were also kept in after school if we didn’t know our lessons, so we made sure we knew them.

My first year in school a little boy sat in the desk in front of me. He always had the most repulsive colds—and never had a handkerchief. It was sickening, and I told myself I was never going to have a cold—and to this day I’ve never had one. I’ve asked several doctors about it, and they have all told me I could be naturally immune to colds , or it’s possible I could have “willed” myself not to have coulds, it would be possible if I believed strongly enough that I would never have a cold. For what ever reason, I’ve never had a cold. I’m thankful I don’t for people with colds really look like they are miserable.

Every morning each of us had a fresh clean handkerchief before we started off to school. Grandma Burns made them of the soft, worn sheets—new material was too rough for handkerchiefs.

She hemmed them neatly by hand.

Nylon, Rayon and polyester hadn’t been invented. There was only cotton and linen, and real silk. Only cotton was used for underwear and slips. Panties were called “drawers.”

In the winter all children wore long sleeve and long leg “union-suits” which were an all-in-one undergarment. They really were needed in the cold winter times—they also wore long, block stockings—also needed for warmth.

But I hated both the “long-johns” and stockings, regardless of how much they were needed, and looked forward to Spring when both could be discarded.