I Remember When…

Being a young woman in the 50’s wasn’t an “equal” time.  Damn, I was devastated when I learned that I couldn’t pitch for the New York Yankees. I survived that disappointment and many more.   I tilted at some windmills and others I just accepted or worked around.

Life on the farm was hard in many ways, but in others it was fun.  I never understood that “woman’s work” was inside when I had to work outside too!

Yes, living in the country meant that you got up earlier to walk the proverbial mile to the school bus and then 8 long noisy bumpy miles to school.   Usually we arrived before the school was unlocked, which meant we stood around stomping our feet to stay warm.  It wasn’t so bad for the boys as they wore dungarees.  Since we were “ladies” we were not  allowed to wear dungarees.  After much protests we finally were allowed to wear pants to school, but had to take them off during classes.

All summer we worked in the garden, helped haying, and fed animals .  We had chickens and even though it was fun gathering eggs, the hens often took offense at us stealing their eggs and pecked us.

Our well was only about 30 0r 40 feet deep and was located about that far from the house. Every summer it ran dry.  We always had a bucket of water by the pump to prime it or you wouldn’t get water.  We kept a couple of metal milk cans to haul water for us and our animals, when the well went dry, we loaded the milk can in the back of the car off we went  to our back-up water source.  It was an artesian well not far from the house.  It was really just a hollowed out place in rock only about 3 or 4 feet deep.  It never went dry and the water was clean even though it had no cover over it.  We caught a small fish and every year dropped it in the well, as long as the fish was swimming we drank the water.  Doesn’t sound sanitary, but I am still alive.

This is a picture of me with two of those cans:

scan0273

That’s Mon and Dad priming the pump.  BTW the milk cans were empty.  I was strong, but not that strong.

There used to be a row of Maple trees across the road that every year we tapped for the syrup and cooked it to make Maple Syrup.  I can almost taste those big thick pancakes with fresh home churned butter and smothered in real Maple Syrup.  We did a lot of fishing on Moor pond in the background.  Bass and Pickerel in the summer and winter.

One summer I swam across the lake and back. My brothers were bragging about them swimming across it and I took the challenge and started my swim.  Mom was mad (and probably worried about me drowning) that I was swimming alone and she sent the boys after me with the boat and told them to make me swim back.  That was the one and only time I swam it.

I learned many things the hard way.

I Remember When …..

Life was in the slow lane, but was good.

I remember the time I went to “the ole swimming hole” on my bike (peddle power only) and decided  to give my girl friend a ride home.  Remember we only wore shoes during school, so I was barefoot.  She was on the seat and I stood up peddling.

We came across a rise in the road and started down, my foot slipped off the peddle, and I fell  on the road, she fell on top of the bicycle on top of me.

Up over the rise came a BIG car (they were big then) and slammed on his brakes so not to hit us.

The nice man jumped out of his car to make sure we weren’t hurt.  He got my friend and the bike off me to discover that my ankle was bleeding profusely, the sprocket had  cut my ankle.

I was told by my Mother “Do not take a ride with strangers” and no matter what he said I said, “NO.”

He begged and pleaded to het me to let him help me.  But if you knew my Mother, you knew her word was LAW!  There was no way I was getting in that car.

Finally, over all my objections and after a lot scratching and hitting , he got me into his car.  My friend told him where I lived and he took me home.

I was taken to “Ole Doctor Taylor’s office” and he did the stitches in his office.  No emergency,  or hospital!

I was supposed to be on crutches all summer long , we were so poor, my Dad make me a pair.  I was so ashamed of them that I would conveniently “forget” them and hobble around.

I was also told not to go swimming in Lake Wassookeg Lake so not to get infection if the wound, however I “fell in” on nearly every occasionally got near the water.

I remember hobbling like crazy trying to stay out of Doc Taylor’s eyesight on Fourth of July.  I neglected to bring my handy dandy crutches, and Doc Taylor knew ALL of his patients.

Those were the good old days.  It is so sad that we will never see them again.  Now it is a Corporate Medical Business!

 

I Remember When…

Wash day was a big deal!  First you dragged the machine with its attached ringer out to the middle of the floor, and set up the rinse tub close enough that you could use that handy dandy ringer after rinsing.

Filled the washer with Hot Water usually heated on the stove, added Bleach and Soap!  First you dumped in the sheets, they were always white.  Let the good old machine agitate until you felt that they were as clean as they could get.  Ring them out with the ringer and watch your fingers!  Rinse them once Ring them again.  While the towels are agitating, you carried the sheets out to the handy dandy clothes line and  hang them out.  Winter or summer.

Once the towels were as clean as you could get, you start the process all over again.  Finally you got to the colored clothes, all in the same water, usually.  So by the time you were done everything got bleached.  Sometime a change of water was in order if it was yucky.

My most vivid memory is coming home from school and seeing my one and only Cashmere sweater hanging up over the stove.  To my horror it had undergone the torture of the ringer and Hot Water.

I Remember When…

I remember when buying a new car was not a knockdown drag out fight to the death of your entire savings.   You took pride in your “vehicle of transportation” and could have it paid off and enjoy it for years before it needed tons of work.

We never had a “new” car when I was a kid.  My Dad maintained it forever, until our poor car had congestive heart failure and died and not matter how hard my Dad tried he couldn’t save it.

Usually there was only one or two dealerships in a town and 2 or 3 garages.  You could change your own oil if you were handy.   It didn’t cost an arm and a leg to have it done.

BTW, none of the cars came with seat belts.  There were no child seats.  We drove just as fast as we do now, and our biggest distraction were lighting cigarettes, and hollering at kids.  Nobody ate food in the car unless it was a sandwich brought from home.

Next time I’ll tell you about my first brand new car and about my first used car.

I Remember When…..

Now try not to faint, but I remember the Fourth of July celebrations that were small, but fun.  Lots of food vendors and we used to buy Lobster “all you could eat” for $1.00 a plate.  That’s right one dollar.

Of course the wages were considerable smaller.  Although not that smaller.

My Step-Dad worked on the Railroad making peanuts for hard labor.

My husband’s family used to go down to the coast and purchase a washtub of Lobster and bring them home for a big cook out.  We always dipped them in hot melted butter with a touch of lemon juice.  Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Now go eat.

I Remember When….

Going shopping was only to get flour, sugar, salt, beans, salt pork and sometimes a “store bought treat”.  The operative word is sometimes.

We lived on a farm and grew everything.  We had a garden that was at least one acre and my Mother canned everything!  We always had chickens….so we had fresh eggs.  We raised at least one steer….so we had meat, btw that was canned too.  We had a cow….so we had milk, butter, and cottage cheese.

Until I was an adult, I never went to a restaurant for dinner, never had spaghetti, Pizza was unknown, and an Ice Cream Sundae was a dream.

Don’t feel sorry for me, everyone was paddling in that same canoe.  I wonder sometimes if America evolved too far from that simple life.