Friday, December 13, 2013

Memories of my Childhood (Continued)

After breakfast the men would gather in the front room.  Grandpa would sit in his rocker by the warmth of the stove.  The women would all stay in the kitchen putting away leftover food and washing up dishes.  The girls that were big enough would go out to the well and bring in another bucket of water.  I liked to sit by the kitchen wood stove.  The rooms seemed so large when I was a child.

After washing up was done Granny and her girls including mommy would sit at the table and talk.  The little girls sat and listened.  Granny always had a container of Nestle or PDQ that we could put into our glass of milk to make chocolate milk.  We never had that at home so it was a real treat.  Next on the list of chores was making beds and straightening up the house.  By this time the men were all outside either chopping wood and filling the wood box on the back porch or getting ready to go squirrel or rabbit hunting.  If it wasn't too cold the children were allowed to play outdoors.

Lunch and dinner was always a mix of whatever the men had brought home from hunting.  Always a meal of fried squirrel, biscuits and gravy, green beans, brown soup beans and possibly cornbread.  Back then, same as now, I hated squirrel meat.  When it's fried up it's like trying to eat shoe leather.  Just give me the biscuits and gravy!  Granny made her biscuits with Hudson Cream self rising flour, a little buttermilk and lard.  I don't think biscuits taste right made with Crisco.

We kids had the run of the mountain.  No one minded where we went.  We could be gone for hours and no one worried.  We always made sure to stay within ear shot of the house so we could hear someone yelling for us to come back for lunch.  Granny called it supper time.  Dinner was later in the evening.

There were only four rooms in that house.  It was built by hand in 1943 by my Grandpa, Granny's brothers Estil and Wilbur.  Even though Wilbur was confined to a wheelchair he was could still oversee the job.  Great Grandpa Levi Neely and his three sons were carpenters.  Almost all of the children came down with polio in the 1920s but it hit Wilbur the hardest.

Grandpa Pack's mother inherited the farm after her second husband, Chapman Farley, died of cancer in 1928.  The old log house on the farm was built by Andrew Farley and wife Anna Cook (Chapman's grandparents) after they married around 1820.  In 1921 Chapman asked Lithena to marry him (they were both widowed) and she agreed to take care of him and his invalid son in exchange for the 200 acre farm.  In 1942 Grandpa, Granny and their three little ones moved to the farm to live with Grandpa's mother.  The log house was hard to heat and they decided to build a new house and tear down the old one.  As a family historian I look on this as a bad idea but it happened.  I know some of the logs went to building the pig house, the corn crib, the sheds and out buildings where Grandpa kept his farming supplies and hung hams to cure.  The outhouse was not built until the 1950s but that's a whole other story.

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