A Child in Stringtown

Return to Stringtown, West Virginia: A Brief History of a Pre-World War II Rural Community.

This account was written by Barbara Vineyard.

I was born on a 50-acre farm in Stringtown, West Virginia, which belonged to my Grandpa Dye. It was a pretty place, at least to me as a child. All the neighbors were nice people and we got along real well together most of the time. I loved to play in the river behind Grandpa’s house, which was called Pocatalico River. We called it Poca River. It was a pretty river with large rocks and there was one place shallow enough to wade and catch minnows and that was my favorite place to play. I would catch minnows and baby catfish in my hands and keep them in Mason jars. There were also baby turtles, frogs and other fish I would catch and keep in jars. They would die even though I changed the water every day because it was not their natural place to be in a jar. When the river was clear you could see big fish swimming up the river in the summertime when the river was lower. There was pike, muskies, largemouth bass and other kinds that would come up from the Kanawha River that Poca River emptied into in another county near Charleston.

There was a place in Poca River that was near Aunt Olive’s house called Perch Rock. My cousins would swim there in summer and dive from it because the water was real deep there. It was a big rock in the river and was a pretty place. We would go there for school picnics sometimes. There was a place down the river that we called the Bathtub and was a round place in the rocks with a sandy bottom and we would take soap there sometimes and have a bath. My favorite place to fish from in the river was what we called the Sunfish Rock. We would always catch Sunfish there and we would always fish there in the spring when the river was muddy. We would also fish near the swinging bridge down from Grandpa’s house. It was a pretty place around the bridge with big trees and that was where Mother and Dad would meet to talk before they were married.

Across the bridge was the road to the church and some of the other neighbors’ houses. Up the river from Grandpa’s were flat rocks where the turtles would sun themselves in the summertime. Grandma Dye would like to eat them but I didn’t think they tasted very good. One time all the neighbor women and children decided to wade up the river as far as we could. It was summer and the water was lower and we would wade as far as we could and if we came to a deep place, we would get on the bank and walk for a while and then get back in the river when it was shallow again. We had a good time and it was something different to do. When Ron and Rich and I went fishing I had to bait my own hook with fish worms; they said I couldn’t go with them I didn’t bait my own hook. I never had too much trouble with that but did have a time getting the fish off the hook when I caught them.

I went everywhere my brothers did and tried to do all that they did but did not always succeed. Once they decided to climb one of the oil wells on a little ladder that was on the well that the workmen used to work on them. I got up about halfway and got scared and dizzy and could go up or down. I had to climb back and never did try that again.

We lived in a little red house on the hill from Grandpa’s and next door to Woodie Jett. He was Grandpa’s hired man on the farm. They had two boys, Gene and Charles. They were ornery boys, specially Gene, and once Frieda, his mother, was trying to catch him to spank him. He climbed up the oil well and she couldn’t reach him. Frieda had a real temper and would have bad quarrels with Woodie. Once she chased him with an iron skillet and Mother thought that was a real low class way to act.

We had a real pretty woods out from the red house and would go walking there in the Fall and Dad would take me squirrel hunting with him sometimes. I would carry the squirrels he got and I was too young to realize they were dead, I guess. I wouldn’t want to carry one now. We kept turkeys up there and they were always going to the woods to lay eggs and make nests. Mother and I would go and try to find the eggs and bring them back to our house. We had to pen them up at night because the foxes would get them if we didn’t. Turkeys are not too smart and we really had to take care of them a lot.

Grandma and Grandpa would buy us things we needed and Grandma would buy me dresses for church but Mother really needed to have some help, too. I guess Mother didn’t tell Grandma she needed things, too. She was just too proud, I guess. We always had what we needed and plenty to eat, which was more than a lot of people then had.

When we would eat at Uncle Lote’s on Saturday, the grownups would have fried ham and the kids would have fried bologna. It was the thick-sliced kind and really good. Of course, we had better food on the farm but thought that bologna was real special.

I was always glad to get back to the farm after being in town and getting down to the river to play. It was so pretty there in Spring and there were lots of flowers growing there. There were Sweet Williams, daisies, and other flowers growing there. There violets, too, and in Fall, there was a fuzzy blue flower. Some of the places on the farm were called by strange names. There was the Granny Field and a place near Aunt Olive’s called Jug Run. I don’t know how it got that name, but it was a dark and creepy place with a little creek running down it to the Poca River. Maybe someone hid a jug in the creek that ran down and that was where the name came from. It was a real dark place with trees and sort of a deep ravine running down to the river. There was Ridge Road up the hill from Grandpa’s that was so pretty to walk to in the Fall when the leaves were in color. There was a place down the river from Grandpa’s that had a big elm tree in a large meadow. That was the biggest tree I ever saw! It was so big that the limbs touched the ground and I think there was an Indian burial ground near it, too. I think Dad’s Grandfather’s house stood where the burial ground was. Where Grandpa Dye’s house was once there was an older house owned by a man who was the mill owner for people wanting their corn ground. An old story was that he murdered a Jewish peddler who would go from house to house selling things. When the miller’s wife had a baby and some of the neighbor women were looking for baby clothes in the attic, they found a peddler’s sack. I don’t know if the story was true or not but a rumor started that he had buried the peddler behind the old smokehouse and that the place was haunted. My Grandmother never saw anything and my Mother or any of us didn’t either so I don’t think the place was haunted. It may have been true about the murder though because that was a long time ago, back in the 1800’s, and there wasn’t much law and order that far from town particularly if no one saw it happen and it couldn’t be proved.

When Mother was about two, the oilfield came into Stringtown, which at the time was called Shambling’s Mill. It was named Stringtown after the oil boom because there were houses all strung along the river and that was why the name, Stringtown. It was an exciting time then, with all the workers coming in with equipment for the oil wells. They brought in supplies on wagons pulled by oxen or mules. That was before they had trucks and a truck couldn’t have gotten in for the mud anyway. Mother and Aunt Ruby weren’t allowed out of their yard but could stand by the fence and hear the men anyway. They would yell at the poor oxen and use bad language sometimes and I guess Grandma didn’t know they were hearing all of that talk. All of my uncles worked at one time in the oilfield and Dad did in his younger years. Grandpa’s first check was $2,000.00 for a month and he got that much for a long time, when the oilfield first started up. When I was little, the oil boom was over but the men still came in 3 times a week to pump the wells and in the summer they would come and pull the pipes out of the ground and clean them. It was interesting to watch them do that. There was one oil well in Grandpa’s back yard and it was a real close place to watch them work.

We had some bad thunderstorms in the summertime. I remember one time a tree in Grandpa’s yard was struck by lightning and it split the tree in two. That really scared me and I’m still afraid of lightning. My Grandma wouldn’t let us have anything metal in our hands when a storm was going on and she would put a pillow over the wall telephone during a storm. A man who lived down the road had his house struck four times by lightning. He finally put up lightning rods on his roof and don’t know if that stopped it from getting struck by lightning or not.

We always had a picnic on the last day of school, usually up on Clay Lick. We would have lunch and play in the river there. Once we had hot dogs and bologna that the teacher brought for the picnic. Some of the kids got into them and ate most of them before the teacher saw them doing it. We still had enough to eat without the ones they ate. I always looked forward to the last day of school because I didn’t like going to school all that much.

I remember walking barefoot in the gravel road when the road scraper had gone by. The road was smooth then and felt so good to bare feet. I would look for tadpoles along the road in the ditch. I would catch them in my hands if I had a jar with me. There would also be tadpoles in the oil well water tanks each summer. The tanks were to cool the water coming from the oil well engine. The tanks were real big and were out a way from the oil wells. We weren’t allowed to climb up to them without an adult being with us because we could have drowned in them if we had fallen in.

I really liked summertime when I was a little kid and did not mind the hot weather at all because I could always cool off in the river when it got too hot. We would go wading in the shallow part that we were allowed in and that was deep enough for us to cool off in. Sometimes after supper they would gather at the swimming hole and adults and kids would swim there. I never learned to swim but one of the adults would help us paddle around in the deep water and hold us to keep us from going under. Once I saw a turtle there and an eel. The turtle was the hard shell kind, not the kind that we saw in the rocks up the river a way.

In October each year we would gather black walnuts and hickory nuts. We would also find wild grapes that were really good to eat. The leaves were so pretty along the Ridge Road above Grandpa’s house and up the hill from the barn. It went back along the ridge a long way and I think was a road originally for the oil field people to use to bring in equipment for the oil wells. Up there was a spring out from the road at the top of the ridge that was good to drink from. Once I was about to drink from it and saw a crawfish in it. I didn’t take a drink because I can’t stand crawfish. I think that most wells have crawfish in them and springs do, too. Anyway, I didn’t like to drink from that spring with the crawfish in it.

When we lived in the house on the hill, Mother would give us a bath outside in the summertime in a tub. We really could get cooled down that way and liked being in the cool water. Once we got to live at Grandpa’s house, though, we took baths in the bathtub. Up on the hill, we had an outhouse and Grandpa had an inside bathroom. That bathroom was great in winter when we didn’t have to go to the outhouse any longer. We had a potty sometimes in winter to use, too, when we slept in the cellar top room. That was a big bedroom above the cellar that we slept in.

When I was a kid, I had cloth body dolls and toy stoves, dishes, and nurse kits. My favorite thing to play with, though, was a toy farm I got one Christmas, and also a metal chicken that would lay wooden eggs when you pressed its legs down. Ron would cut open my dolls to see what made them cry and I got in the habit of hiding my toys when other kids came to play. I got in trouble about that because Mother said that wasn’t nice. I was just trying to protect them and thought all kids would tear them up like Ron did. There was a red clay bank up from Grandpa’s that we would on in summer. We would make roads there and play with toy cars and trucks. We got so dirty that it’s a wonder we ever got clean again. I know it had to be hard for Mother to get those clothes clean. She always washed down at Grandma’s house on the old Maytag washer. Sometimes it wouldn’t start because the gasoline motor would get flooded from Mother trying to get it started. There was a man who came three times a week to pump the oil wells named Paul Gobel and he would help her get it started. He was a good friend of the family and was a real nice man. Finally when she would get out the washing, she would hang it up on lines in the back yard. One of my first chores was ironing handkerchiefs and pillow cases. We ironed everything, even the sheets back then. We would wash on Monday and iron on Tuesday. We had irons heated on the stove, but didn’t have any electricity, just gas heat. We had gas lights and a gas stove in the kitchen. In each room was a little gas stove for heat.

We had really good food on the farm because we had our own hogs and a large vegetable garden. Mother canned things from the garden every summer and we really ate well. We had at least two large hogs we killed each fall and had homemade sausage, hams, and shoulder meat. We would can the sausage partly browned and then warm it up when we were ready to eat it. It was put in Mason jars and was really good with apples for breakfast. We made our own mincemeat and made pies from it. We also had salt fish for breakfast and would have to soak it overnight to get some of the salt out and then would fry it for breakfast. We also had fried apples or homemade apple butter with the biscuits. My favorite thing was hot blackberry jam with biscuits. It was made like gravy except it was berries with flour to thicken it and some sugar in it. We had such big breakfasts that it’s a wonder we weren’t all fat, but the grownups worked it off and the kids played so hard that they ran it all off. By the time mid-morning came every day, I was ready for a snack of cold biscuit and apple butter.

We had apples from the orchard behind Grandpa’s house and made a lot of things from them. We had dried apples, which were good for fried apple pies, homemade apple butter, and canned apples to have in the winter for breakfast. We had a lot of things from the big garden we had and canned everything in it. We had tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and other vegetables. We made homemade pickled corn and pickled green beans and our own homemade kraut. It was all so good and was better than anything from a store. We had other fruit trees such as peach and pear trees as well as blackberries. We would can at least 100 quarts of blackberries each year not counting the jelly we made from them. We had grapes which we ate fresh and made some into jelly. There were also black walnut and hickory nut trees on the farm and we used them also in cooking. Black walnuts are really good in any baked goods. We had gooseberries and rhubarb also.

We had hot bread each meal, biscuits or batter cake for breakfast, and biscuits or cornbread for dinner and supper. Batter cake is like biscuits except the batter is poured into a pan and cooked like cornbread. It is a thinner batter than biscuits and tastes good when it is hot. We had a tomato sauce or gravy that was good over cornbread or biscuits. It was made like gravy with flour to thicken it but was made with canned tomatoes and a little butter in it. When Sunday came, we usually had fried chicken because we had our own chickens and that was pretty good but my chore was to help pick the feathers off and I didn’t like that at all. It turned my stomach against chicken and I still don’t like it very much.

When we lived in the red house on the hill, we were still at Grandpa’s at least part of the day. Mother always went down to do her washing on Grandma’s washer then we would come back up the hill in the afternoon. We had to pass the oil well out from our house on the hill. The well had an exhaust pipe that would blow air out with a lot of force. I was afraid of it when I was little and thought it would hurt me. Mother lost patience with me because I would stop and not go by it. I wasn’t afraid of many things but hated bugs and crawfish because Ron and Rich would try to put them on me all the time. I would get so scared that I thought I would pass out. I just couldn’t stand any kind of bug and crawfish. I would even look for crawfish when I waded in the river and would the other way when they came near me. I was never afraid of the dark like most kids, though.

When the river would flood, the water would get up in the cornfield up the road from Grandpa’s and once it got almost up to the oil well in his back yard. They told the story of a setting hen having a nest in the oil well and about its nest almost getting washed away. I think they had to move her nest. I remember seeing fish stranded in the cornfield up the road that were left when the water went back down. We would go fishing when the river flooded because that was when the fish would bite best and we could catch more fish then.

I started to school when I was five and it was a one-room school with all the grades in one room. I didn’t like school because it was too confining and I wanted to be out playing in the river. The older kids teased the younger ones at recess and I didn’t like that much. There were kids there who were real poor and weren’t too clean, which was not their fault but I didn’t realize that when I was a kid. My teacher was Aunt Olive and I loved her a lot and admired her very much. She was a widow with three boys; her husband had died when they were real small. I would walk home after school to Grandpa’s and then on up the hill. Once I came home early from school because Aunt Olive had given me permission to leave. Mother had told me before that if I came home early again, she would spank me. I didn’t believe she would really do that and she did spank me and made me go back to school. I remember being so mad because I really had permission to leave from Aunt Olive. I never came home early again.

When we lived in the red house, once when I was about one year old, I guess, they found me standing under the cow, just looking around. She was really gentle and didn’t hurt me. She was standing real still and waited for me to walk away. They had left the gate to the yard open and I had walked out of it. Once we had a red wagon and were sitting in it eating peanuts, Ron, Rich, and I. We had a little Eskimo Spitz dog that was trying to get the peanuts from us. Ron got mad and was trying to hit the dog, Tubby, and hit me instead in the head with a hoe. Mother came out and saw my head bleeding and got real mad at Ron and said she was going to spank him when she got my head fixed up. I knew he hadn’t meant to hit me and told her so. I don’t remember if he got spanked or not. He did have a real bad temper and I guess she just assumed he had been mad at me. My head got all right, though, and I guess it was better me than the dog because the dog would have been hurt real bad. As it was, I was the one to get hurt. Ron was always getting in trouble for his temper and once he got mad at Paul Gobel and Dad for laughing at him. He had stepped in a cow pile and they laughed at him. He got mad and threw a rock and hit Paul with it. He got spanked for that, but it didn’t cure his temper very much. When he was real little, he would hold his breath until he was blue in the face. Mother would get all excited and scared and the doctor told her not to pay any attention to him, that he would eventually get his breath and he did.

We had wallpaper on all the walls in the red house and Grandpa’s house had wallpaper, too. We would put up new wallpaper each spring and it always looked really nice.

In spring, the apple trees were in bloom behind Grandpa’s house and the bloom was so pretty and smelled so good. There was an apple tree that I would climb and eat green apples from in June. The rest of the apples ripened in the fall.

We would go up to the cemetery after dinner at family reunions to put flowers on Uncle Romeo’s grave and Shirley Anne’s grave. She was Aunt Pearl’s little girl who died when she was just a little girl, about four years old, I think. Grandma Dye had a lot of pretty flowers in her yard.

When we would walk back up the hill to the red house from Grandpa Dye’s we would stop to rest under a big oak tree before we walked the rest of the way up the hill. The hill was pretty steep and we needed to stop a while and get our breath to go on up. The red house was all the way up the hill and it was fairly level when we got to the oil well out from the house. There was a level place out from the barn where a lot of black walnut trees grew and then the hill went up really steep from there on.

In spring, the boys at the school would play marbles behind the schoolhouse every day at recess. They would really have some big marble games. I remember walking home after school across the little bridge that crossed the branch down from Grandpa’s house. Once I got off the bridge and was down by the branch walking where I shouldn’t have been. I fell and cut my knee on a piece of tin there. It was a long cut but healed up all right. I should not have been walking there anyway.

Grandma’s yard was so pretty in spring and summer with all the flowers she had. There was a row of maple trees in front of the house and they were really pretty in the fall. At the corner of the yard was a Chinese elm and out from that was a holly bush. There were also maple trees in the side yard, too.

I remember going blackberry picking with Mother each summer and eating them as soon as they were picked. I was always on the lookout for snakes but never saw any when I was berry picking. There were wild strawberries near the Sunfish Rockc just out from the end of the apple orchard and they were so good to eat.

Up on the hill from the barn were wild azaleas that were pink and orange growing on the red clay bank. There were also wild roses growing in Clay Lick and other places around the farm. Bluebells grew in the spring and bloomed in late April. There were a lot of pretty wildflowers and I would always look forward to spring and the flowers I would pick.

In the winter, we had really big snows that stayed on a long time. We would have snow ice cream and it was so good. We would always look forward to snow and going sledding down the hill and playing in the snow and making snowballs. We usually had several good snows each winter.

I remember all of the furniture we had in that red house. We had a Magic Chef stove in the kitchen that was green and beige, a large kitchen table, the kind with a porcelain top on it, a large kitchen cabinet with a porcelain top, and in the living room we had a brown wicker couch with two matching chairs. We also had a large radio that sat on the floor. The bedrooms had a set that Mother had before she was married that was walnut, I think. In the other bedroom was painted white furniture with a large crib that we used when we were babies. I really like that little house and it was where me and Ron and Rich were born. We also had a nice front porch which had vines growing in front of it and it was real cool in the summer. We had a cellar out back and a pump in the yard. We had an outhouse and a barn near the house and out from that was the hog pen and chicken pen. Up on the hill from the chicken house was the turkey pen.

Rich was a big crybaby when he was little and wasn’t too well. He had strep throat when he was six months old and almost died. It left his heart weak and he didn’t get spanked as much as Ron and I did. He took advantage of this and would cry over the least thing that happened. Once I told him the oil well was falling on him and he started crying harder. When you looked up at the clouds, it looked the oil well was moving, too. That was real mean of me, but I got tired of his crybaby ways.

I would go with Grandpa a lot of times to feed his cattle. He always wanted me with him because, I think, I reminded him of Mother when she was little. I enjoyed just being with him; he was so nice and what a good Grandpa should be. He really loved kids and was patient with them. He was not too fond of some grownups, though, and if he took a dislike to someone he didn’t ever change his mind about them. He raised Hereford cattle and would always take us to see a new calf when it was born. They are so pretty when they’re small with that red and white hair on them and we really liked to see them. I liked all of the baby animals on the farm, especially the baby chickens. Once we had a horse that had a baby colt. It was so cute and was the first baby horse I had seen. Grandpa would let me ride the big farm horses named Bob and Gyp, but they were so big I would slide off and couldn’t stay on very well. They were so big, but were very gentle. I would go to work in the hay with Grandpa sometimes. I didn’t do any work, but just went along. The sweat bees would finally get to me, though, and I would go home. It was so hot there, too. We had a cedar tree that Grandpa planted in front of the red house on the hill and he called it my tree. I guess he spoiled me a lot, but I really loved him so much and was lucky to have him as a Grandpas. I think he spoiled mebecause I was the only girl grandchild around there.

When the oil field started, it must have been like a frontier town. There were three general stores, a boardinhouse for the single men, and a lot of houses there in Stringtown. There was about 300 people there at one time and I just couldn’t imagine that many people there.

There was an old house that Aunt Olive lived in until her new house was built. It was called the Lamb place and it was where Great-Grandpa Smith lived. He was a Baptist preacher and would ride his horse to preach all over the county. He would have to hide his horse in Clay Lick during the Civil War to keep it from being stolen. Aunt Olive lived there until her new house was built and it was really nice when it was finished. She had a refrigerator and it was the only one in Stringtown. It ran on gas, I think, because we didn’t have electricity. She lived part of the time in an old corncrib one summer while it was getting built and finished. I remember once we went to visit her and we had to stay out there in the corncrib and outbuildings. She had ducks which could swim in the river. Grandpa never liked ducks and wouldn’t have them around his place. Aunt Olive’s boys, Ross, Chub, and Bill, were almost like older brothers to me, we were all so close. Sometimes Ross would tease me too muh and make me cry. I was so mad at him. Chubb was a real cutup and once sent a pigtail to a woman at Stringtown and signed another woman’s name to it. It was tied up like a Christmas gift and the woman who got it was so mad, she stopped speaking to the other woman whose name was on it. They finally found out that Chubb did it and his mother made him apologize to both women. He was always doing something like that. Ross was about as bad. Once he poured a bucket of water on Woodie Jett when Woodie went into the horse barn to give them feed. Ross was hiding in the barn loft and Woodie didn’t see him. Ross then ran to the back of the barn and climbed down and ran and hid somewhere down the bank from the barn. Woodie never did find out who did it.

Aunt Pearl would come to visit us and bring Jeanne, her daughter, with her. We would tease Jeanne and tell her that the cows would bite her. Of course, they wouldn’t, and she was afraid of them anyway because she was a city girl. The cows were gentle but she didn’t know that because she had never been around farm animals. It was bad of us to tease her about them. Aunt Pearl was one of my favorite aunts and she was always joking about something. Once when she was visiting, Aunt Olive was courting Luster Godby, and Dad and Aunt Pearl got dressed up in old clothes and knocked on the door and peeped in the windows at Aunt Olive and Luster. I think Aunt Olive finally let them in. They shouldn’t have done that to Aunt Olive, but they thought it was funny. I’m sure she didn’t think it was funny at all. Grandpa Dye thought it was funny because he didn’t like Luster at all. I think the family gave Aunt Olive a real hard time about Luster, and I remember all the gossip about them. I think the family thought he was too young; he was the same age as Ross, her oldest son. In fact, Luster graduated high school with Ross. Anyway, they got married and were very happy together. I felt sorry for her and Mother was the only one in the family who would talk to her for a long time. I was about eight years old when all of the talk was going on about them, but remember the gossip about it. Grandpa never spoke to her again at all. Luster was a school teacher and preacher and was a very smart man. I had him for a teacher at Stringtown before we moved to Charleston. We lived with Grandpa Dye after Grandma died and then moved to Charleston when the war started. I missed him so much because I would go around with him a lot on the farm. I remember going to the livestock sale in Spencer and being the only little girl there and really enjoyed seeing all the animals sold. I mainly just liked being with him.

Mother and Dad would make homemade donuts at Christmas each year. We would have them with milk for breakfast on Christmas morning. We would leave one with a glass of milk for Santa each year. Mother would make molasses taffy sometimes and it was very good candy. Grandma Dye would make molasses cookies for us that were really delicious. They were big cookies and very soft. We always had a lot of good food at family reunions in summertime. One of the aunts would make homemade whipped cream that was just great. The only thing about the reunions was that kids had to wait on the second table for the grownups to eat before they could have anything. We always ended up with the wings of fried chicken but there was always a lot of food so we had plenty left. We would get real hungry, though, before our turn came.

Grandma Dye was a diabetic and couldn’t get around too well, but she would cut out paper chickens for us kids and was always so kind to all of us. She stayed home most of the time and wouldn’t go very many places. She had a hired girl to do the housework and most of the cooking, but she did make us those good molasses cookies.

We would go to town to Spencer on Saturdays in summer and would always have lunch with Uncle Lote while we were there. We would buy things at the store that we didn’t have on the farm and Grandpa would usually get a watermelon to have when we got home or ice for homemade ice cream. It would taste so good when we got back and would eat it on the screened in back porch at Grandpa’s house. I always got car sick when we went to town, but was always able to eat watermelon or ice cream. When I got out of the car, I would go down to the river to recuperate and would feel better when I got out in the fresh air. I think some of the trouble was having to sit in the backseat and also the crooked roads.

Grandma Dye had a lot of pretty flowers in her yard—peonies, roses, lilacs, nasturtiums, japonica bushes, sweetpeas, and hollyhocks. I liked to play with the hollyhocks and would pretend they were dolls because the blossoms looked like a lady with a dress on when they were turned upside down. There was a white part at the top that looked like a face and eyes on it.

The porch at Grandpa’s house had comfortable rocking chairs and was a good place to relax on a hot day. There were three porches, one screened in back porch, the front porch, and a side porch out from the kitchen. There was a swing on the front porch and on the screen porch.

In Grandma’s bedroom, there was an old trunk and a newer one that she kept a lot of the things she had in. There was a stuffed horned owl in the living room that I was afraid of at night because its eyes glowed in the dark. There was a screech owl, too, but I wasn’t afraid of it since it wasn’t so big. There was also a stuffed fox in the living room.

We had good times in the neighborhood and would get together with everyone to do special things sometimes. In the fall, we would all make molasses and they would have pie socials at the school sometimes. Of course, there was church on Sunday and we had Christmas plays at school, too. We would have Santa come with oranges, stick candy, and nuts in a brown paper bag for a treat. All the neighbors would have good times together and it was a good place to live when I was a kid. All the neighbors helped each other with their work when it was needed and got along with each other really well. There were some good people living there and I will remember them all my life.

Barbara Vineyard

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