Memories of Yesteryear……
I am now in retirement, sitting back in my rocking chair, enjoying the winter years of my life. I find lots of time to let my memories of yesteryear flow by. I can see our old family home with us seven children running around with both my parents busy at their daily activities. This stirs up the memories of my childhood.
We were raised in Mason County, WV in a little white home near Rockcastle.
My parents were farmers and we children would do what we could to help our parents out. We would build the fires to heat our home. I used to love to get up around five in the morning to throw wood in the fireplace and listen to the Grand Ole Opry. We would feed the chickens, cows, pigs and the other animals with great pride. Of course our father helped us but we felt a great part of it. Come Sunday we all attended church.
We children went to a one room school house in Rockcastle. I was about eight years old when I was janitor of that school. I would go early so I could build the fire to warm the school house and I would clean before school would start. I was a proud janitor. We had no school buses back then; we would walk the two miles to school every day. No one seemed to mind the walk; we were happy students and excited to be attending. I fondly remember my school teacher Lottie Barnett.
My dad sold Raleigh products and was a substitute mail carrier besides farming. When I was older I helped him. Back then we used mostly horses to deliver the mail, though there were times when it was too rough and we would have to walk some of the route. I remember him tying cream cans on the horse for delivery. Mail was delivered no matter what the weather was like. The old saying, “through rain, sleet or snow” was very true. Even through deep mud, it was delivered.
Times were different back then. We did not have the modern appliances of today. Our mother would wash our clothes by hand on what was called a scrub board. They were proud to own a gasoline powered Maytag washer when they were made. It made Mother’s life a little easier. I can remember her throwing wood in our wood stove to cook our meals. She made lots of biscuits and cornbread in that stove. I can remember my mother baking 25 to 30 pies at a time. There was always plenty of food around and no one was ever turned down, even the transients.
Televisions were not known back then. Our entertainment was bringing a car battery into our home and hooking up our radio so we could listen to the Grand Ole Opry, Renfro Valley Barn Dance and other shows like Lum and Abner, Jimmy Allen and several more.
We all worked together, be it in the house, fields or in our garden. We would go out in the field working the land with hay rakes pulled by horses. There was none of the modern machinery of today.
Now those reading this may think that they would never want to live their life that way. Let me tell you, I have beautiful memories. Without all the modern things that we all enjoy today, we lived a closer family life. We never complained that it was hard as there was no other way at that time. We enjoyed each other and always found something to do. On a farm there were plenty of things to keep one busy and out of trouble. We did not need any of these fine games that seem to be of interest today. We spent plenty of evenings with each other sitting together as a family talking and listening to the radio. Memories that will be cherished forever. I would not trade any of my past for a different life, if I had it to relive.
by LeeRoy Shinn