Pearls of Wisdom
Written by Pearl Harris
This cold snap reminded me of the winters when I was a kid. It seems that the winters have been really mild the last several years. It has been a while since it has been this cold, but we were very fortunate that all the rain, ice and snow didn’t happen this time. I get “cabin fever” really easy sitting on this little hill when I can’t get out and go. I don’t know if the winters were really cold or it was because we lived in a “big barney” old house. I don’t suppose they had ever thought about insulation then. Our house was up off the ground and the cold wind came up from under and all around and the cold wind came up off the ground and the cold wind came up from under and all around the windows. They would really rattle when that north wind blew. We would “chink” them with matches to cut down on the rattles. The rooms were sealed and the room we lived in had been papered with wallpaper, but it had been torn off. My dad sold wallpaper and papered other people’s homes but never had time to fix ours. On Saturdays when we had our weekly bath we would hang a quilt on the wall to make it bearable to bathe. It’s a wonder icicles didn’t form on us. Of course, we didn’t get a “full washtub” bath in the wintertime. We had a ‘foot tub’ and were required to wash our feet every night before bedtime. The only time we got a tub bath was in the summertime when we put water in a washtub out in the sun to get warm. We would get some one to help us bring the tub inside and really get a “soaking’! When it was getting cold in the fall we were required to put on “union suits” – long handles. And we didn’t get to take them off (except for a weekly washing) until May. ON top of the union suits, we girls wore homemade black sateen bloomers. And we had to wear black stockings over the long legs. Sometimes we would snag our stockings and those white union suits would show through. Boy, did I hate that. I must have been about 10 years old and it was snowing and my Dad went to town and brought my sister and me a “store-bought” coat. Hers had a fur collar and mine didn’t. I remember I was not very happy – but I think that was the first thing I had ever had that my Mom didn’t make. She knitted sweaters for us and I wore my sister’s “hand-me-downs”. But that was the way it was back in the “good old days”! We also had snow more often I think. I remember my Dad shoveling out a path to the “outhouse” and the front gate to get to the road. As I’ve said before I really can almost feel how cold that “outhouse” was. That really must have made an “impression” on me.
There were outside chores that had to be done and we were expected to do them no matter how cold. My job when I was really small was to bring in the “splinters” to start the fire with. The older kids brought in the wood and drew the water. Sometimes I would help feed the chickens. As well as I can remember it was not a whole lot colder outside than it was inside. I can’t help but be thankful that we can have a good warm home to live in. I realize a lot of people still do not have those privileges today. We were not considered “dirt poor” in those days because most of the people lived like that back then. A very few people were privileged to live a better life. I think sometimes everything goes along so well that we forget what a privilege it is to live in this great and wonderful “America”! Let’s not forget to put God always first in our lives and help other people who are not as fortunate as we are. Stay warm!