From My Memory Bank


When I was fifteen years old my parents sent my sister and I to our Aunt Mary’s farm to stay for a month. I learned a different kind of lifestyle. We lived in the city and things were not as modernized at our Aunt’s house.

Aunt Mary lived in an old rustic, wooden house.  The kitchen was separate from the main house, and there was a long narrow porch leading to it.  There was a large, round well by the front porch of the house. This, of course, was the only source of water.  There was no indoor plumbing of any kind, no air condition, and there wasn’t even a single fan in the house.  However, there was electric lighting.

All lights were the kind that you put a light bulb into a fixture attached to the ceiling.  I always hated this type of lighting. They provided enough light to see, but it did nothing for the comfort of the room.

As for the bathroom, it did not exist.  You had to take a bath by using a large bowl of well water and a wash cloth!  Oh! There was some store-bought hand soap to use.  Naturally, there was no toilet either.  When you had to relieve yourself, you walked outside to the out-house.  Now, this was an experience I could definitely have done without!  It was old, weathered and extremely small. There were cobwebs, and of course, spiders in there. After sunset, you had to rely  on a chamber pot.

Aunt Mary always made some really delicious meals.  She cooked the food on a wood stove and the heat radiating from it made the kitchen almost unbearable.  I was fortunate enough to not be included in helping prepare the meals.  In fact, I stayed as far away from the kitchen as I could get, except of course, when it was time to eat!  I did my share of that!

I remember her fried chicken and biscuits as being the best.  The chicken was always fresh since it was killed and cooked on the same day.  Aunt Mary had chickens roaming all over the front yard and back yard.  She would take one and wring its neck, then pluck out the feathers and prepare the meat to fry in her large , black cast iron skillet.

My days consisted of getting up at five in the morning and leaving the house by five thirty to go to work.  I went to different farms to hand tobacco.  There were always three people on each side of a small trailer which held the freshly cut tobacco leaves.  One person stood behind them and took the tobacco leaves from them after they took one out of the trailer and put it behind their back. It was then tied to a long, narrow wooden board.  The boards were hung in a barn so the leaves could dry and turn brown. After the leaves dried , they were processed into loose tobacco.

The day of handing tobacco did not end until all the trailers were empty, which was usually around three thirty or four in the afternoon.  After work I went back to Aunt Mary’s house, and after dinner I went with my sister and cousin to the local teen center where everyone went dancing. We usually stayed to dance and talk with our friends until almost midnight.

I learned a lot that summer. Life was harder there and certainly lacking the things I had always taken for granted.  I had become more appreciative for the life style I was use to and had a better understanding of the other type of life style.

Copyright © 2015 Written by Jessie Cross ~ All rights reserved

One thought on “From My Memory Bank

  1. Well written. It took me back to the few years we city kids experienced farm life. The conveniences were certainly not what we left behind in the city and we were overjoyed to eventually go back to enjoy those conveniences again. But being able to range over long distances, sometimes by horse, foot or tractor were treasures to a young child. The rural folk were simple but sincere and to be trusted. They would do anything possible to help their neighbours, sometimes travelling distances to do so. It was a good experience and carries pleasant memories to this day. You would have appreciated that old wood kitchen stove in the winter time I’m sure.


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