Sunday, August 2, 2009

Growing up in 1918

And the winner of MaryLu Tyndall's The Blue Enchantress is...Angie Arndt! Congratulations Angie. I know you are going to enjoy this book. But you better plan on buying some more because once you read this one you'll have to read the other two in the trilogy.




My grandmother, Delitha, is staying with me for the next ten days. She was born in 1917 and is a wealth of information. We sat out on my front porch swing yesterday and talked about some of her life as a young child.

She was a little over a year old when the flu epidemic of 1918 hit. Her mother, Basha Bay, died in that epidemic and seven days later her aunt, Icey May died. My great-grandmother said my grandmother wasn't feeling well the day of her mothers funeral and they feared my grandmother was coming down with the flu. However, if she had the flu it was a mild case. The epidemic left her motherless and fath
erless so her grandmother, who wasn't a well woman took her in.

I asked her what her earliest memories were, and I have to say it's funny what the mind remembers. She remembers at age four going to her aunt Pearl's house and eating beef steak and thinking it tasted better than anything in the world. Her other memory at age four was of her grandmother's cook stove. It was a cast iron type where you put the wood and paper inside to get a fire going to heat the four burners on top.She said they had a small hole next to the burner to stick something in and be able to pull up the burner. She remembers her grandmother sticking her finger in the hole and flipping the burner so fast she didn't get burned.

Grandma at age five was given a cotton sack that hung across her shoulder and back to take out to her uncle's cotton field in Missouri and help pick cotton. She said she remembers it being so hot and at the end of the day they weighed her cotton and paid her ten cents, and she thought that dime was wonderful.

She told me she grew up in an age when horse and buggies were going out but some of her family still had them. And she was fortunate to be born when life was starting to get easier. But as I listen to the tales of walking down the street after dark at nine years old to get a bucket of coal to help heat a house I can't help to think how much we take for granted and our children even more so.

A child was expected to work in their youth. So many parents today think that if their children pick up their own toys they've done a great days work. Chores are fast becoming a thing of the past. Allowances are earned for nothing more than being their child. But are we really doing our children a favor? When I see what kind of woman my grandmother turned out to be I can't help but wonder how her childhood helped her become the lady she is today.

Until last year when she had a stroke she was a busy woman. She retired form GM at sixty five. Went back to work once more, this time for a real estate, where she worked for several more years. Retired for a year, got bored and went to work in retail until she was eighty five years old. But don't think she sat around after that. If one of her grandchildren had a project going, be it painting, gardening, lawn work, canning, yardsales, etc. you could bet she'd be there helping. She is a woman who wasn't afraid of work and a woman I am proud to call grandma.


4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much, Debbie! I'm looking forward to reading it (and getting MaryLu's other books, too)!

    Thanks for sharing that about your grandma and her memories. She looks like a lovely lady. How wonderful that you're taking the time to listen to her. What precious memories she must have!

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  2. Debbie,

    I loved reading this post. Your grandmother sounds like a fascinating person, and you made me wish I could sit on the front porch and listen to her for hours. We have lost so much of what the previous generations have to share. They are dieing out, and it is wonderful that you have put down in print he stories. What a legacy!

    Before my dear father passed away on New Year's Eve 2007 - the anniversary of the day he met my mother and knew she was the girl he'd marry in 1939, I wrote down the stories he told me, especially his time of service in WWII. I have written a book of short stories from my childhood and my parents' lives, not for publication, but to pass down to my children and grandchildren (if my boys ever find virtuous women to marry! Know any?)

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  3. LOL Rita.

    There out there. I thought my daughter would never find the right man. And I have 3 boys so I know your worries. We just have to keep praying for them and their future wives. I know we are very blessed with a wonderful, christian son-in-law.

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  4. Debbie,

    I read this a while back, but I thought, there's no way for you to know how much I loved reading this if I don't tell you! So, I'm telling you now. You have such a wonderful grandmother, and what a blessing to glean all these touching stories from her.

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