Friday, October 18, 2013

This is Home, Part 28 - Electricity, mail, Mom shopped, the lunch counter, crops, gardens and pesticides, no irrigation, the plane in the pasture

This is part 28 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.


President Roosevelt's rural electrification program worked. Somewhere around my Freshman year, we got electricity, as did our neighbors. The white light was lovely compared to the yellow lamp light.


The men had moved the mailbox up by the garage. The carrier came by in his Model A. I used to run out and get the mail and he started holding out Edgar's letter to me and saying, "He sent you a letter today."

Sometimes, when it was cold and bad, the mail carrier would come into the house, sit by the fire awhile, and have a cup of coffee and talk.

Edgar and I used air mail stamps on our letters. They were five cents. A regular stamp was three cents.

Mom shopped

Sometimes, Uncle Doc would take mom to town while we were at school. When we got home, we would find new skirts and blouses on our beds. Sometimes, we would have sweater sets instead. Socks, too, with either.

I liked -- and still like -- wool skirts because they fit well and feel good. Of course, they had to be dry cleaned.

The lunch counter

When I was in college, I had a friend, Nancy, who worked at a pharmacy. They had a lunch counter she worked behind. I used to eat there everyday. I could get a grilled pimento cheese sandwich or a ham salad for fifteen cents and a Coke for five cents. No tax. Sometimes, I would have the chicken salad sandwich for 20 cents plus a Coke for five cents.

Things were a lot cheaper then, but income was less.

Crops, gardens and pesticides

Crops and gardens were never sprayed with anything on either farm. No other farmer in our area sprayed crops, either. The noise of a plane close to the ground and a cloud of what looks like dust is not something one could hide.

The soil on the big farm was very acid. Sometimes -- years apart -- Daddy would lime the fields to improve the soil. I can only remember this happening three times, but it could have happened when I was gone.

Actually, I think the acid soil was responsible for the beautiful color of the flowers and how well everything grew.

Daddy planted more grass in the yard for several years, then waited a few years. He had a sort of sack-like thing with a strap over the opposite shoulder that he put seed in and threw it out by hand as he walked around the yard. The yard was planted with bluegrass and some other grass. I keep thinking rye, but the description in the dictionary doesn't sound anything like the grass we had. The grass was very tender, cool blades that were single. It actually felt soft. The yard was covered with grass. So were the pastures.

No irrigation

There was also no irrigation. Water was provided by the frequent rains.

We had a changeable, capricious weather pattern. There was a saying back there: "If you don't like the weather, wait a while and it will change."

The plane in the pasture

One summer day, a small private plane landed on the rise in the pasture. This was the pasture between the house and the mailbox. The side David and I saw.

The men must have seen it come down, because by the time the pilot walked to the house, they were all coming into the yard. They got the container or containers of gasoline the pilot needed and he invited all of us to come see his plane. So we all walked over in the pasture with him and admired the plane.

See, one never knows what interesting thing will happen on a farm! I must have been in late grade school or early high school at that time.

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