My Father use to say: "You can't miss something you never had." I don't think that would fit into today, but it did back when I was a child. I was born in 1936. My Mother died of pneumonia a few months after I was born and my Father remarried a year or so later. So my step-mother was the one I remember as my Mother and the one I will call Mother here. She lived to be 98 and died two years ago. I was number 10 in the children my Father had. When he married my step-mother-they had another five children -that lived. They also had two that were still born.
I was born between the Great Depression and World War II. We lived on a farm in the country. We had a wood burning stove. The stove and fire place were the only heat in our house. I can remember getting up on some cold mornings with my bare feet touching that cold floor. It made you get dressed fast and downstairs. We didn't have any indoor plumbing except for a pump for water in the kitchen sink-and it was cold water. When we wanted hot water to do dishes or bathe, we heated it up on the stove. We didn't have showers or bath tubs in those days, so we took our bath on Saturday evening in a large black tub in the middle of the kitchen floor. The girls went first, and then the boys. We didn't change the water between who used it. When all of us children were done, the water was dumped and refilled for Mother, then Father. If you got dirty before Saturday, you took a bar of soap and went out by the outside pump and washed up. You took a bath with your clothes on-outside.
Washing was another job. We didn't have washing machines back then so we used our big tub that we took a bath in to wash our clothes in. Our clothes were washed using a scrub board like the one shown above. In those days, you didn't change your clothes all the time, like today, if you had a spot on you wore it the next day. Only on Sunday, did you dress with your Sunday go to meeting clothes. Your best set of clothes. At that time, we ladies all dressed in black, seven days a week. I still wear black most of the time, because that was how I was brought up. Today my grandchildren like Jean try to get me into a dress with flowers on the front, which I do at home, but when I am going some place outside of our home, I wear black including Sunday. We still all weat black on Sunday.
My parents were wonderful people especially when I look back at 15 children. They treated us all alike. If there were any favorites, we never knew. Although we didn't have much money, we had love, food, meals,clothes, home and meetings (church). We didn't know we were poor in those days.
In my day, you walked to school. There were no buses. We went to the public school, but in our area, the school was a one room school house. I think the big school buildings of today were coming in, but I never went to one. School started in September, but even though school was going we took off the end of September and first part of October for harvest time.. Although school went until June, we left school the end of April for planting season. Only went to school until age 14, then we left. Back then we had to keep a report on what we learned working at home until we were age 16. I believe, it's 18 now.
At home , as soon as we were old enough, we learned to feed the animals and get the eggs. Us girls had to also do chores around the house. Bring laundry for washing, set the table, simple things. The older we got the more important the job. My Mother taught me to cook. Back then, you never thought of teaching a man how to cook. Also, we learned sewing, quilting, knitting, and more. Mother made our clothes until we learned how to do it. Back then, you never thought of going to a store to buy clothes. Rich people did that and we were far from rich. I also knew how to milk cows, work the horse drawn farm machines, planting garden, mow the lawn with a hand mower and whatever else needed to be done. Both boys and girls knew how to do outside chores.
Back in those days, there weren't as many doctors as today and you couldn't afford them anway. We had the mumps, chicken box, measles, scarlet feaver, yellow feaver, pneumonia and in the late 1940's and 50's polio. There were no shots back in those days and you went through them. Mother would make all sorts of medicine with herbs and alike. Some made it-some didn't. We lost one of my brothers with scarlet feaver although all us kids got it. Lice was another we got back then. My mother, myself and Marilyn's mother used the same thing back then but DON'T use it today is gasoline. If we or our children got lice, we washed their hair in gasoline, let it set and washed it out with soap. I use to soap those heads four or five times after that gasoline. Now days you can go to the drugstore or doctors office for lice. If you went to the doctor back when I was a child, they would tell you to cut your hair off-which is against our religious beliefs. Gasoline would kill the lice. So that's what we used.
We had activities back then, too. I can remember sliding down the hill, ice skating, fishing, and even hunting. Albert still calls me a tom boy. I can handle a shot gun as good as any man or so he says. We also went to taffy pulls, dinners, singings and more when I was young. At home we played games, soft ball, and alike. Our yard swing was a wooden board hung from our tree.
Albert and I got married when I was 16 and he was 18. My parents weren't really happy that I chose him. Mother said years later that she and Father had made a mistake in not wanting me to marry Albert. They had the wedding at our home, but weren't happy. Albert stuttered and back in those days they tought if you couldn't talk right, you couldn't learn. I am glad times have changed. Over the years Albert got over the stutter, but still talks soft and a bit slower than most. Albert didn't learn to read until he was in his 60's. School just passed him over, but he did know farming and building. He still figures how much lumber they need for Jean's house, how much nails, etc. Because Jean asked, he will lead the building of her house. He said hers would be the last that he leads, but he's said that before.
Albert and I had 12 children-10 are still living. We have 83 grandchildren, 111 great grandchildren with two on the way and five great great-grandchildren.. Before you ask, this includes Michel and Edward, Jean and David's son and almost son plus David Jr. and Susan. All live close by except two of our sons and their children live out of state. We do have large family picnics.
Well I guess I told you most of my life. We've had a lot of great times and hard times, but the Lord has led us through. Am I glad we have electric, indoor plumbing, gas tractors and more-I sure am. But I never missed what we didn't have-until I got it.