University of Nevada, Reno




God watches over children

By Myrtle


MyrtleI have esteemed thy words more than my food.        Job 23:12

After we moved into the new house, we still cooked on the fireplace in the log kitchen, but it was not too long before we had a brand-new kitchen and dining room.  We still had the long table and benches.  The benches had two holes in them that were used to put the loom up for weaving the materials for the boys' clothes and perhaps the girls' too.


I remember seeing some of Leonard's clothes that mother saved after his death.  I think after the grandmothers died, it must have been too much for Little Mamma to card the wool, spin the thread and weave the cloth for so many children and by this time, you could cloth, calico for dresses and shirts, and yellow domestic for underwear, petticoats and drawers.


The log kitchen was moved out under a big pecan tree and used for a play house.  What wonderful times we had out there!  Playing doll and paper doll and walking the joists.


The old kitchen was clean, but it was not very warm in winter but well ventilated in the summer.    The kitchen had big doors and windows with wooden shutters and strings on them you wrapped around a nail to keep the door closed, and the windows were the same.  There was a big hole in one end of the kitchen where the mud chimney had been.  I guess it must have fallen down when the kitchen was moved.


The floor was made of wide, thick cypress planks and the kitchen was covered with cypress shingles that my Dad had cut the tree in the Black Creek Swamp, hauled them out with the ox team, sawed them into blocks, split them, and then took the drawer knife and made them into shingles and covered the kitchen.  The oldest boys were large enough by now to help a great deal.  Leonard and Stewart learned to oxen when they were very young and all they had to do then was hitch the log on the carrylog and drag it out to the house.


The old kitchen was not sealed, so we saved all the newspapers and papered over the log walls.  Here's where I got my start in learning my A.B.C.'s and reading.  Let had been to school and knew her letters and how to read and taught me.  I in turn taught Mary.


Our reading material consisted of the Bible, Democrat Star, the New Orleans Christian Advocate and the Ladies Comfort.


These papers served two purposes.  They not only kept the cold wind out but furthered our education.


The Lord watched over us, as not one of us nor the cousins and nieces and nephews that played with us and walked the joists fell and broke a bone.  We couldn't afford to.  The nearest doctor was 40 miles away.


When we cut our hand or stumped our toes, got snake bitten or bee stung or burned, we just soaked them in coal oil and put collard leaves on it or maybe Sloans linament.  Sometimes when a bee would sting you, Dad would put some of his chewing tobacco on bee stings.  We all lived happily ever after.


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