Sunday, March 03, 2013

This is Home, Part 6 - The Tuley Hill, the Old Home Place, spring, spring cleaning, wallpapering the rooms and Mom, the ice box, the ice house

This is part 6 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

The Tuley Hill

The Tuley (Tooley) Hill was above our house. It must have been close to Roscoe's or Dutch Andre's. There was a two-story house beside the hill at the top. The house looked deserted and lonesome. The paint was about gone. The Tuley Hill was named after the family who used to live there.

Uncle Doc used to take the Tuley Hill to Jacksonville. It was a very steep hill and I don't know why we were using it. It may have been a shorter road to Jacksonville, a shorter way than the road that went by our hayfield.

Mom would sit in the back seat with Jean and sometimes me. If Daddy went along, he sat in the front. Otherwise, I did. Jean and I were small and not in school yet.

Anyway, when we went up that hill or down it, it was usually covered with ice or mud. It was always bad weather when we drove over the Tuley Hill.

Mom was terrified of it. The car slipped and slid even with the chains on. Mom took a good grip on the front seat back (she always sat in the back) with one hand and held on to Jean with the other. She was back there saying, "Oh! Oh!" Then when it slipped sideways toward the ditch she was frantically saying, "Doc!" in a horrified voice.

Uncle Doc just sat there and grimly kept driving. I don't remember if we ever got in the ditch or not.

It was a difficult task getting out when the weather was bad. I always felt safer with mud than ice. One may bury the car in mud, but there isn't much control over it when there is ice. It was an adventure just getting to town sometimes.

The Old Home Place

The Old Home Place was a single story house and some other buildings. It was across the road from the mailbox and down a ways. It was where Daddy and Uncle Doc were born.

I was only at the Old Home Place twice. One time I was only at the house. I was interested to find out it had a pantry. Aunt Opal (Mom's sister) and her family were moving in for a while.

Another time I went with Daddy and Charley while they worked there. I don't remember what they were doing, but I spent the afternoon watching them work while I sat behind the little building, on the type of moss that is flat and green only and grows along the top of the soil. I think I probably tried to take some home with me. Every time I do this, the top of the soil comes up with the moss and when I get the moss home, it dies after a couple of weeks.


We -- Jean and I -- were excited to see spring come when we were little. I looked for blades of grass. By the time we were in school, we had a really good reason for wanting it to come. We had to wear long underwear with long cotton stockings over it during the winter. Girls in those days didn't wear any kind of pants to school or out anywhere.

The underwear wasn't heavy. It was thin cotton, but we still hated it. When spring came and we got rid of the underwear and stockings, we kept looking for grass. Finally, the yard was getting green grass and the weather was warmer. We happily took off our knee-high stockings and stood on the grass, and also dirt or mud if we could find any in our yard. The grass felt fresh and green and cool. We walked around a little. Then we put our shoes and knee-highs back on. We never went barefoot outside and I never went barefoot anywhere. I didn't like the feel of the grass or dirt on my feet. Guess Jean didn't like it either. It was something we did every spring. You would think we would remember from one year to another that being barefoot really wasn't fun. But, oh the joyful feeling of anticipation! Spring was really here and school would soon be out.

Spring cleaning

Every spring Mom did her spring house cleaning. She painted, she wallpapered and varnished things, if needed. She rolled up the "room sized" wool rugs and when the men came home for lunch, she got Charley to help her carry out the rug to the clothes line. In those days they had wire clothes lines. Anyway, the rug was hung over the line and beat with a broom to remove any dirt or dust still in it. She cleaned the floor. The rug was put back and the furniture, too. It took her awhile to do everything, but when she finally got through, everything looked really good.

Wallpapering the rooms and Mom

When she papered the rooms, I "helped" her sometimes. She had to boil starch to make glue. The glue was applied to the wallpaper with a paint brush. My job was to keep the wet, sticky wallpaper straight and off her.

The North and South rooms were so tall that she had trouble papering the ceiling. One year when I was in my teens and out of school (we got out in April), she had two straight chairs with several footstools on them and a board running from chair to chair. I can't remember how she got up there. She had a beginning of the paper strip and a brush. I was supposed to stand on the floor and keep the paper from tearing and most of all keep it off of her by supporting it with a broom. I was pretty far from the ceiling. I don't know what happened, but I dropped the paper. Mom had paper and glue on her hair, face and dress. She looked so funny.

I was better at helping put new screen on the front porch if it needed it. Mom and I pried off the quarter rounds. Screens were wire in those days, not plastic. We measured the spaces without the screen and pulled a wire out of the screen so we would know where to cut to make it straight and the right size. Then, after cutting it with scissors, we put it in and nailed the quarter rounds back on. The screen covered an area about half way down on the porch and it was pretty far from post to post.

The ice box

The house was T-shaped and had long porches that ran along each side. Since we didn't have electricity, the ice box was kept on the back porch. The porch had been enclosed into a long room with lots of windows. The ice box always fascinated me. It was much larger than a large trunk, and was made of wood and painted white and blue. It was very thick, maybe eight inches or more. It was lined with some sort of non-rusting metal. The underside of the top was also lined. The boards of the front, sides and back of the top rested on the frame of the ice box, but the middle of the top fit securely into the box. A large block of ice was put in there. Mom put the butter on it and other things she was especially concerned about. Everything else was set around it. It was really cold in there. It was much larger than my cedar chest. I have wondered if there was sawdust inside the space between the outside and inside boards.

The ice house

We had an ice house. It was over by one of the gardens. It was kept locked. Daddy or Uncle Doc let me look in it one time. There was a single room that went down into the ground, like a basement, with saw dust on the floor. The building itself stood up above the ground with the door standing straight up, like a normal door, with the top near the roof. The building wasn't very tall. I think there was a ladder inside it, so they could go down to the floor of the room.

Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley used to cut ice from the ponds and put large pieces in there for use in the ice box. I remember some of this.

Then we got an ice route through. The man used to bring a large rectangular block in with big ice tongs that stuck into the ice to hold it.

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