Growing up during World War II wasn't the easiest way of life
for most citizens of America. Our family was no different in many
ways. The main sacrifice was the absence of my daddy, who
joined The Marine Corp the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed
by the Japanese.
I was too young to remember very much about those months
after daddy left. Oh, but I DO remember the nights brother and I
slept with mother; the three of us crying until sleep overcame us.
Mother began trying to sort out just how things would be in our
family with daddy away. It was decided that brother and I
would go to live with grandmother and grandpa.
Although we missed our daddy and mother terribly, especially
the first few months; life on the farm was DELIGHTFUL:-)
There was no electricity, no indoor plumbing (if you catch my drift:-),
and cooking & heating was on an old black iron wood~burning stove.
We used kerosene lamps for lighting.
Bath water had to be heated on that old stove, too.
Grandmother bathed us in a number two washtub which was no
small feat. Because of these circumstances, brother and I
had only about two "real" baths a week. The other evenings we'd
just get "wash~offs".
On the days we'd find an old cardboard box ~ flatten it out
to make a sled . . . there you'd find us flying down the hill onour make~shift sleds having the time of our lives.
Quite some years before television, but, we did have one of
those old~fashioned radios. It was battery~operated, therefore,
time~rationing was very important to grandmother.
Grandpa loved to listen to The Grand Ole' Opry on Saturday
night and there was preaching both of them enjoyed hearing.
In preparation for a Saturday night's funtime, grandmother
always provided delicious treats upon which to feast:
caramel popcorn balls, apple fritters, roasted candied pecans
and home~made cookies of all sorts. WHAT A FEAST !!!
After radio~time, we'd gather around her upright piano for a
sing~a~long. I recall Christmases she allowed us to
help her make decorations for the Christmas tree. We strung
popcorn, painted pine cones, dressed a cardboard angel for the
tree top and grandmother would place a few candles upon the branches.
What PRECIOUS memories:-)
Warm, fuzzy feelings also often return to me when
I think of those marvelous feather mattresses piled high
with grandma's quilts and feather comforters in the wintertime.
Cozy & snuggly were we as we enjoyed hot chocolate &
home~made goodies with which grandmother tucked us in at night.
Ohhhh, we had our share of sulphur & molasses, too, when
that was called for ~ plus a number of other good ole'
"home~remedies". Our grandmother just KNEW how to make an
ailing child WELL ! Even THOSE times are remembered dearly.
In the summertime, grandmother thoughtfully sprinkled the beds
with fragrance~enhanced water to cool the sheets. After prayers,
Brother and I drifted off to dreamland with the fragrance of heather, lavender,
rose, rosemary, cinnamon filling our noses. Ahhhhhhhh, sweet memories:-)
I remember how grandmother and grandpa would
"wake up with the chickens" ~ literally:-) They raised chickens,
turkey, guinea, a few cattle, ducks and PIGS. Also, they
farmed vegetables and operated a small dairy.
It was at the age of eight I fell madly in love with PIGS.
The sows had several litters during our time on the farm.
The hogs were OIC breed ~ totally white with pink noses and ears.
I remember holding each little piglet ~ I was literally
in "HOG'S HEAVEN" :-) I named each one and grandpawould allow me to tag along with him down to the sty to
tend the hogs. Even in his busyness . . . he would take time
for me to hold the baby piglets (against their mother's
better judgment, may I add:-). Nonetheless, this was a childhood
delight and very special time for me.
Brother had his chores ~ I had mine. Brother usually helped
grandpa in the fields (although sometime I would get to tag
along there, as well:-) Sugar cane ~ watermelon ~ canteloupe &
every kind of vegetable you can think of ~ they raised.
Row after row of corn ~ peanuts ~ potatoes ~ onions ~
beans and peas are just some of grandpa's crops.
Grandmother also planted and tended her own "Victory"
Churning was one of "my" chores ~ what a laugh ~ for I dearly
LOVED IT. It surely was NEVER a chore to me.
I loved the sweet, creamy butter we received from my
"labours". Also, delicious buttermilk with which grandmother
taught me to bake buttermilk bisquits ~ not to mention
cornbread. I helped grandmother can whatever vegetables
and fruit were in season. I remember the rows of brightly
colored jars lining the shelves in the cellar. Not only were
they lovely, but DELICIOUS. We also had a root cellar ~ home
of onions, potatoes and such. Also, a smoke house for the meats.
One of my fonder memories was grandmother's brass bell.
She'd get out on that back porch and begin ringing that bell ~ calling
grandpa in from the fields. He would be dragging from hours
spent plowing. Here he'd come with brother bringing up the
rear. Grandpa'd be awhistlin':-) How grandpa loved to whistle.
Chores were long from over though . . . off he went to call up the
cows and herd them into the barn for milking. Cows had to be
milked morning and evening along with all the other routine
for dairying. Everyone pitched in on the milking in the evening
'cause it was near supper~time.
We LOVED suppertime. Grandmother knew how to
prepare food fit for a king. Her meals were never hap~hazardly
prepared. Grandmother took pride in everything she did.
She was a wonderful cook ~ a fabulous seamstress ~
artful gardener ~ supreme home~maker !!! Not only that . . .
she was so well respected by everyone in that community.Her advice was often sought for all manner of things.
Grandmother wasn't "educated" in college (few women were at that time) . . . but she had WISDOM. God~given wisdom and good common sense
gave grandmother gifts and talents for which she was greatly admired.
Grandmother must have been kissed by angels:-)
Grandmother would have quilting bees, in which several of
our neighbor~ladies would participate. I recall the quilting frame
was suspended from the ceiling and the ladies gathered round
to fellowship and quilt. Grandmother would prepare "special"
treats to serve during "quilting" and taught me the
finer points of "serving" guests. What a special time
this was for all of us. I can almost smell the fragrance of
fresh apple, cherry and blackberry pies baking in that
old iron wood~burning stove . . . YUMMY !!!
Blackberry pickin' was on the list of "favorite~things~to~do",
as well. Brother and I carried our pails and off we'd go
into the woods in search of those tasty blackberries.
To this day blackberry jam is my favorite bisquit and
I shall never forget one disaster that occurred during
our blackberry picking. There we were . . . just minding
our own business, filling our pails with luscious berries, when
to our horror, hornets began swarming all over brother (he'd inadvertantly
stepped upon a hornet's nest). Of all the hootin' ~ hollerin' ~
screaming & crying that went on as pails went flying one way
and brother and I running the other as fast as our legs could carry us ~
hornets giving chase !!! Brother was stung quite a few places
and in MUCH pain by the time we arrived at the house. I've often
wondered why the hornets did not sting me. I thank the Lord they
Our darlin' grandmother "took the bull by the horns" and
immediately began doctorin' brother. I shall never forget what
she used to take the pain out of those stings. Of all things ~
grandpa's earwax ~ can you believe it? And what is even
MORE shocking ~ IT WORKED:-) She told grandpa to
dig out some of his earwax and he accommodated her.
It seemed to immediately begin soothing those stings, for
which brother was SO grateful. Blackberry pickin' would
have to wait for another day.
Church is another very fond and sweet memory for me.
Grandpa would hitch up the mules to the wagon and off we'd
go dressed in our Sunday best. We were there every time the doors opened. Grandmother played piano for
both The Methodists and Baptists ( shared the same church
building). She also taught Sunday School.
It was an ole' wooden country church with wooden benches
for pews. Ladies carried those old~fashioned fans and
made good use of them throughout services.
I suppose there just WERE NOT any BAD cooks in that
little country community:-)
Sometimes we'd have all~day~singings with dinner~on~the~ground:-)
My, my, my ~ ~ ~ what cherished memories are stored in
my treasure~chest. The tables would be set up with white
tablecloths filled up with the most delicious soul~food anyone
can imagine. Fried chicken was always my favorite of the meats.
Potatoes have always been my favorite tubers.
One just can't ruin a potato as far as I'm concerned. Then every kind of vegetable cooked in a variety of ways ~ ALL just mouth~watering ~ not to mention DESSERTS ~ NOTHING store~bought for SURE !!!
Praying~ preaching~singing~then outside to the other "goodies" !!!
Babies tucked away in cradles with teens left to fan them to
sleep ~ menfolk taking their plates to sit under a
spreading oak tree to settle the problems of the world.
Ladies fussing around with the food making sure everyone
had a plate. Then and only then would their plates be filled
and a time to visit with one another talking over the sermon
(and lady~talk) while the children feasted and frollicked.
Beautiful moments ~ beautiful memories that shall last me
Dedicated to my loving grandparents:
Oscar L. and Mary J. Bowlin
now making their Home in Heaven
Mary Carter Mizrany is a published author of poetry, short stories,
devotionals and other writings. Mary's online activities include
On Wings of Faith Ministries, through which she publishes a
bi~weekly devotional. She is also moderator of two prayer groups.
Mary's writings have been published in poetry anthologies,
books, magazines, ezines, websites and other genre.
Visit Mary and receive a blessing:-)
Love in Jesus,
By Mary Carter Mizrany (MusingByMary@aol.com)