Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Ramble Down Memory Lane

I never thought I'd be posting a t*pless picture of me on this blog, but at the risk of sending some of my faithful readers away from their computers screaming, "I'm blind, I'm blind!", I took the chance anyway.

Several times over the past year since I started blogging on January 30, 2006, I've written about some of my childhood memories. Like nearly everybody, some of those memories were not as happy as others, but for now I want to focus on some of the good times and just my day-to-day life.

My sister Donna, AKA Zztop, recently posted this photo on her blog. In this picture that's my sister Sue's daughter, M, my sister, Cecil and me in all my flatchested glory. This picture was taken in 1968, I think. I know I hadn't started school yet. M. was 2,
Cecil was 3 and I was 4.

We lived about 2 miles out of town on a gravel road in rural Northeast Arkansas. Those were much simpler and much more innocent times for kids to be growing up. Those were also times of no air conditioning and torrid summer heat. It was not unusual at all to see kids of our age outside playing in nothing but terry panties.

It's a shame those days are gone forever and Mama's are fearful to let their children
play outside fully clothed, much less in just a pair of panties, for fear of them being preyed upon by child molesters.

Having spent the rest of our short lives up until that point in the big city (population around 4,500, I think!) Cecil and I were like prisoners set free when we moved to that old tarpaper shack.We had a big yard and cotton fields on all directions around us. Our new abode had 4 rooms, and none of those 4 rooms was a bathroom. Yeah. When you had to "Go see a man about a dog" you had to go outside and follow the path between the storm cellar and the chicken coop to the little house at the back of the yard. At night we had a "pot" for those needs.

A joke my Grandma often told was this: What's the difference between a city girl and a country girl? Answer: A city girl has a canopy over her bed. A country girl has a can of pee under her bed. :-)

The second picture was taken the same summer. Cecil wasn't very happy about having her picture made. If you'll notice, I've got a grip on her wrist, holding her in place until the festivities were concluded.

We had a hand pump for water and a galvanized bucket and dipper in the kitchen for drinks, hand washing and dishwashing. Any hot water had to be heated on the
kitchen range or wood heat stove, in an aluminum tea kettle. Dishes were washed and rinsed in big aluminum or enamel dishpans. Daddy shaved in an enamel pan that also served as a washpan for hand washing. Mama changed the water a couple of times a day, as needed. Water was too precious and hard to come by to use only once and throw out the back door.

We had a wringer washer in the backyard and all the water had to be hand pumped and poured into the washer and the galvanized washtub for rinsing, year-round, hot or freezing. If you'll look closely at that picture you can see clotheslines of diapers and baby clothes, drying in the sun. All of the water for washing had to be pumped. Now imagine having one or more babies in diapers at the same time.

At the time I never thought about how hard my Mama and older sisters worked to keep their families clothed and fed and their homes clean, but now I think about it a lot.

I never did like to play with dolls, but I loved to play house and Cecil would play with me. We scavenged broken dishes and cans from the burn pile out by the toilet to use in our playhouse. Sometimes Mama would give us an old pewter spoon or a cup with the handle broken off and we would be tickled to have "real" dishes for our playhouse. We made a-many-a dandelion salad and umpteen mudpies back in those happy days. I guess that was the beginning for me of my love of cooking.

Fast forward about 4 years, to about 1972.

This picture was taken at my sister, Ducky's trailer at Blytheville, Arkansas. From left to right: I'm holding my nephew Danny,
Cecil, and Mama and Daddy. Danny's 2, I'm 8 and Cecil is 7.

At the time none of us were in church, so our Sunday ritual involved Mama and Daddy getting me and Cecil up early to make the 50 mile drive to see Ducky and her family. She lived there for several years and we rarely missed a Sunday visit during that time.

These pictures are copies of Ducky's photos and I'm grateful to have them. I treasure the few remaining childhood pictures we have left. I've mentioned before that my Mama and Daddy's house burned in 1987 and they lost everything, including all our family pictures. The only ones we have left are the ones that my sisters and other family members have in their collections. We're blessed to still have those.

I'm grateful and blessed to have had the mostly happy childhood and raising that I had. I'm thankful for all my sisters and their families, too. I love all of you, sisters and family. Hopefully my new printer should arrive here on Thursday according to the UPS tracking on it. I hope to scan a lot of my old pictures to my computer so I can burn them to CD's for storage. I want to give Jessica copies of some of her baby and childhood pictures and some of the more recent ones I've taken of her and Jason. As with the fire that destroyed most of our childhood pictures, you never know what might happen so I tend to make multiple copies of my photos. Of course I'll probably share some of them here on my blog as well.

Heather at One Woman's World is sponsoring another bloggy awards shindig that you can read about here. I've got my ballot ready for submission on Thursday when The Share The Love Blog Awards opens for nominations. Check it out, y'all!

I think I'm done rambling now. Wishing everyone a great week! My love to all...


Big Mama said...

I love all your memories, Diane. I can't even imagine how hard it was to run a household back then. Makes me feel a little silly for complaining about laundry day here when all that means is that I have to throw some clothes in the wash and turn it on. : )

Morning Glory said...

I really enjoyed reading about these memories. I remember playing house a lot as a little girl. It's such a shame that you lost all the family photos and everything else in that fire. At least the good memories are burned into your brain and you can share those.

Susie said...

Hi Diane,
I always enjoy reading the memories of your childhood. Your love for your family certainly is one factor that repeats time after time. I loved the "canopy" /"can of pee"
analogy. Too funny!!
Thanks for the blueb muff tips!!

Granny said...

Those are wonderful pictures. I'm glad you were able to save a few at least.

Dawn said...

I love the memories - and moving from the big city to the country - so glad you were happy, though your circumstances were tough for your mom, I know. There's nothing like good childhood memories. We played house, but dolls as well. I can relate to those really, really hot summer days. It didn't bother us as kids, but I know my mom suffered.

I knew something was wrong, because you hadn't been over to visit for a few days. I hope you get it figured out, but in the meantime come anonymously any time!

Dawn said...

Whoops - it was the other Diane that is having to post anonymously! Several are having trouble this week.

Sister said...

You express yourself so well. I love reading about your childhood memories.

Judith said...

Diane, So good, going back in time to your childhood. Oh, that life was as simple then. But what memories you and your family have.

Couldn't believe all the laundry hanging out to dry. I did laundry like that too. One of Bev's best childhood memories was making "tent" houses with blankets and sheets on the line.

I'm so sorry about the fire.
Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories. I guess sometimes we carry the best ones around in our heads.

Tammy said...

loved your pictures and your memories Di!!

Barb said...

Boy, this brought back some memories, many of which are exactly the same ones you have. Laundry was my responsibility. There were eight of us. What a wondrous day it was when my parents got that first electric dryer. To this day, I love to do my laundry because it's so stinkin' EASY compared to those days. It took three days for laundry to dry on the line in SE Texas humidity.

I love it when you take us back in time with these posts. You always get even the smallest details exactly right.

I'm not even going to ask you if you found that yarn. I'm not even going to think about it. :-)

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful post of some of your childhood memories, Diane. The photos are wonderful.
I'll bet you're looking forward to playing with your new printer! Have fun with that!
Have a great evening...:-)

Jen said...

We use to have a friend who had a holiday house which we would borrow from her when i was a child. It was out in the country and had an outhouse. I still remember the wetas LOL

I still remember my mothers ringer washer

How devasting that fire must have been

I love you too Diane have a good week

zzop357 said...

Tha would be Shelly,Danny's or Patsys,clothes on the lines,I think.I gotta dig up somemore pictures.I know they'rehere somewhere.hehe...Good blog Joe....
love you sister

Meow said...

What great memories and pictures. Thank you so much for sharing.
Hope all is well in your world.
Have a great weekend (sorry, a couple days early ... but we are off for a long weekend).
Take care, hugs, Meow

_Nashty_ said...

hey! i can actually kinda see YOU in you, if you get what i'm saying....

Linda said...

I just love looking back like that. I remember my mom's old wringer washing machine. We have it so much easier now. And you're right - things did seem so much safer then.
Wonderful post (great pictures!!)

PEA said...

Can I open my eyes now????? I just saw you naked from the waist up!!! I think I'll need therapy now! hehe Oh Diane, I so love your childhood memories...that's when I realize what a city girl I was since we had a toilet inside the house! Love the pictures...that's when you wish you were a kid again and be able to have the fun we use to have at that age. Yup, kids of today will never know that kind of fun! I've got my nominations all ready too:-) Hugs my friend xoxo

Linda said...

I love posts where people show their old family photos. You have some great memories. I did chuckle at the family photo of the 70s, though; your mom and dad don't look jolly! Anyway, I enjoyed this post very much.

Rachel said...

I'm blind! I'm blind!!! :)

I enjoyed your pictures and memories! Your childhood had much in common with mine!

Mountain Mama said...

Thanks for sharing, Diane. You brought back memories of my own childhood. I especially remember the little house out back. I sure hated it in the summer heat and also in the freezing winter. Brrrr!
I already sent my nominations for the Share The Love award. I'll check out the other too.