Posted by: patwogan | February 2, 2014

Civil Rights in the Forties

After I worked at Woolworth’s, I worked for a time at Wallgreen’s Drug Store in Independence.  I worked during the summer and I worked at the lunch counter.  I remember a customer who came in every morning for his breakfast.  He was some sort of “big shot” in Independence, but I don’t really know what he did.  I just remember that he always had scrambled eggs, toast, and coffee for breakfast.  He always left me a ten-cent tip.  When he died he left $80,000. to Independence for something very civic-minded.  Before you think he was a cheap-skate, just leaving me a ten-cent tip, remember I was making forty cents an hour.  

But I digress from civil rights.  While working at Walgreen’s lunch counter, I was told the store policy was not to seat negroes.  So if negroes came in for a sandwich or drink, we were to tell them that they would have to stand behind the stools to order and then I would pass their food to them there.  We also did not serve them on china or glass dishes/glasses, but on paper plates and in paper cups.   I thought nothing about this at the time as that was just the way it was.  No one ever challenged me on it.  

I lived through the Civil Rights Movement, but it was only when I watched that movie the other night that it dawned on me that I was a part of it.  I don’t know what I would have done had I been challenged like the people who staged a sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter.  I had attended integrated schools since Kindergarten.  Perhaps, just as it seemed perfectly natural to me, it must have seemed perfectly natural to the people I served.  

 

 

 

Posted by: patwogan | January 2, 2014

Carnival

Whenever a carnival came to town, it set up in a field somewhere on the west side of town.  I had a boyfriend and he asked me to go to the carnival with him.  I looked forward to going and figured we would ride on the rides, etc.  

Well, we did etc.  We went up to one of the games of chance.  If I remember correctly, it was the one where you throw the hoop over the prize you want to win.  We did that for a while and he won some dinky little prizes for me.  Then we went to the baseball pitch game.  This is the one where you knock over the milk bottles.  My boyfriend was a baseball player and thought this looked  easy.  He was in full show-off mode.  He started throwing and naturally since the game was rigged, couldn’t do it..  He kept trying and trying until he had “invested” about twelve dollars.  Now he, like me had a minimum wage part-time job as an usher at the movie theater.  I kept trying to get him to quit, but he knew he could knock those bottles down.  I really began to feel sorry for him and also thought he was a little bit dumb to spend all his money like that.  I finally told him I was leaving and I did.  I left him still trying to knock those stupid bottles down.  As I think back on it, I wasn’t very nice.  But, he was dumb!

Posted by: patwogan | January 2, 2014

New Beginnings

2014, another new year.  I wonder what it will bring.  Will this year be memorable?  Will it be better than 2013, which was pretty good…or will it be just an average year.  By the way, whatever happened to 2013.  It seems to have flown by as have the last several years.  

I once asked Old Grandpa Williams when he had turned 100, what that felt like.  He responded, ” It took a long time to get here, but as I look back, it was the blink of an eye.”  I now know what he meant.  I am 81,  and it took a long time to get here, but as I look back, it was the blink of an eye.  

It is funny what we remember of our lives.  We remember the big things, but the ones that stand out are the little mind pictures we have  of things that were seemingly unimportant.  I remember the lay-out of our house at Glencliff.  It had three windows facing the south and they had a window seat in front of them.  The kitchen was a kind of porch that was at one time screened in.  The screened in part was replaced with windows, which meant it had windows on two sides.  The back door came into the house from the south, and that was the door we used.  The central room of the house was a dining room and to the north of it was a living room.  My parents’ bedroom was off the living room.  My bedroom was east of the dining room.  I visited the house a couple of years ago, and although I did not go inside, I was somewhat surprised at how small it was.  It was the house I was born in and lived in until I was eight years old.  I know it did not have an indoor bathroom.  I know it did not have running water, unless you count the pump at the sink in the kitchen. I know we took baths in a number 2 washtub which was placed in the kitchen and filled with water heated on the stove.  We had a wood stove in the dining room and that was it for heat.  We were a little bit fancy in that we had a “government” toilet out back.  A government toilet was one that had a deep hole lined with concrete, a concrete floor and a built up seat.  It was like we see now in National Parks in the wilderness.  I do not remember using that toilet, although I am sure I did.  I do remember dropping something down it and only once did I do that, for it was “lost forever”.  There was a bucket of lime in the corner of the toilet and my parents frequently put lime in the toilet to help disintegrate the solid waste.  

A little aside here, my Mother did not have indoor plumbing until we moved to North Second Street when I was in the ninth grade.  She said she went into the bathroom, sat on the stool, and thanked God for modern plumbing.  

Perhaps this does not go with the title of new beginnings, but it was where I had my beginning.  There have been a lot of new beginnings in my life.  l went to Riley School in Independence through the third grade and then started to Peebler when my Mom and Dad moved to Great-Grandmother Hudiburg’s house across the road from Grandma.  Grandpa had died and we moved there to take care of Grandma.  That whole situation was another new beginning.  It was a great beginning of a whole new lifestyle.  It was a bigger house, a new school, and some new sleeping arrangements because I stayed the night at Grandma’s house.  It was because of this sleeping arrangement that I became very close to Grandma Hudiburg.  We slept under heavy wool comforters and on a feather bed.  Once you got into bed, there was no way you could turn over.  You were sunk in and heavily covered.  Grandma liked ghost stories, and to me the ones she told were true.  She also told me about a lot of murders that had happened in our area.  Those really were true.  I think I was really glad that I was hidden in that bed and had Grandma in there with me.

 Grandma had rheumatism….what we now call arthritis and she rubbed her joints with Absorbine Junior and Ben-Gay.  If she had a cold, she also used Vicks Vaporub.  Quite an assortments of smells.  I especially remember the Absorbine Junior.  If you, dear reader, ever get a chance to smell Absorbine Junior, you will understand why I remember it some seventy years later.  

Posted by: patwogan | November 21, 2013

Memories of Not So Long Ago

I don’t know if I have blogged about my best friend in Kindergarten or my Kindergarten experience, but here goes.  My best friend was Dion Schofield.  She lived across the street from the school in a small (most houses were small back in the day).  I thought it would be so neat to live in town.  Anyway, I do not remember ever visiting her in her house.  I honestly don’t know why she was my best friend.  I really liked her name.  At that time, I was Patty Jo.  It was a rather plain name and I thought the name Dion was glamorous.  (Now do you understand, Kathleen Dion.)

I attended Riley School even though we did not live in town.  I came to school every morning in my Daddy’s car as he went to work.  Also in the car being taken to HIgh School was a very handsome negro boy whose mother was the housekeeper for the big house at Glencliff.  She was a live-in servant and her son lived there, too.  I wish I could remember his name.  What I remember about him was that he was a star athlete in Track and Field.   I say he was Negro, but he may have been Native American.  All I remember was that he was brown.  Being a star athlete, he was also quite well built.  I had a big crush on him.  I also remember that one of the track events he participated in was the pole vault.   As far as I know, he never knew about my crush.  He was always nice to me, though, because that was who he was.

When I say I had a crush on him, I don’t mean that he was the only exclusive object of my affection.  I loved Danny Anzelmo.  He was the leader of our Kindergarten Rhythm Band.  He had a cape and a hat that had a feather on it.  He was so handsome in that uniform that it was no wonder I had a crush on him, too.  None of these crushes were significant because I was going to marry my Grandmother’s doctor, Doctor Bullock.  He had red hair and at that time I loved red hair. He had gone to school with my father but his age wasn’t a deterrent to me….neither was the fact that he was married.  As you can see, my Kindergarten romances were quite complicated, because I also loved Louie Warnock, my next door neighbor who could walk up and down stairs on his hands.  He was married, too, but I didn’t let a little thing like that stop my dreams of romance..I think I have written about his wife, Maxine, who wore high heeled Wedgies and ate argo starch.  I ate it with her.  She ate it because she was pregnant and that was something she craved…but I diverse….back to Kindergarten.

My teacher’s name was Miss Gladys Smith.  She wore her hair in a bun with finger waves in the front.  She was very business-like and I don’t recall her being very loving toward anyone in the class.  I don’t think she had a teacher’s pet, but if she did, I might have been it.  By the time school started, I had been waiting in the auditorium/gym/gathering room for quite a while.  Opening exercises consisted of Miss  Smith calling the roll, after which we said the Pledge of Allegiance. guided by the Principal over the intercom.  Then came our health inspection.  Did we have our handkerchief pinned to our clothing?  Were our fingernails clean?  Were our face and hands clean?  If it was Monday morning, we were asked if we had gone to Sunday School and church.  The answers to each of these questions were entered in the grade book.  I think the grade given was under the heading of Citizenship.  We did not necessarily learn to read in Kindergarten.  We learned the alphabet, the sounds of the letters.  Our math consisted of learning the numbers and learning to count to one hundred.  We also had story time which was slightly different from story time today.  We had to tell a story to the class, standing up in front and reciting it.  My first grade had a U for Unsatisfactory  in Story Telling.  This brought my mother to school to investigate why.  The reason was that I had not yet had an opportunity to tell a story.  My Mother got that grade changed to reflect that fact, and I soon got to tell my story and received an S for satisfactory on my grade card.  Yes, my Mother was one of “that kind of parents”.  I have mentioned that Danny Anzelmo was the leader of our rhythm band.  I played the triangle for a time and then was transferred to cymbals.  I liked the triangle, but I really liked the cymbals better.  Some people played the sticks which were hit together in rhythm if things went right.  We had uniforms with purple satin capes lined with white satin..   We wore white blouses/shirts and I know the girls wore skirts and the boys pants, but I don’t remember what color.  If my life depended on it, I would say white.. White shoes finished off our ensemble.  Oh, I forgot the hat.  It was purple and had a white feather sticking up in the front,

I remember the names of all the teachers at Riley School.  Kindergarten, Miss Smith; First Grade, Miss Lowery, Second Grade, Miss Street, Third grade, Miss Mibeck, Fourth Grade, Miss Greer, Fifth Grade, :Miss Slocum, Sixth Grade and also serving as Principal, Miss Pitts.  ( I must admit that some of the older children referred to their particular teachers as “Old Lady”. Had I ever done that, I would have been paddled at home.  We only went to school for half a day and had a rest period in that time.

At lunch time, Dad would pick me up and take me home.  I really envied Dion Schofield because she could just walk across the street and be home.

 

 

 

Posted by: patwogan | November 21, 2013

My Nieces

I had one brother who was younger than I.  I also had a sister who was much younger than I.  My little brother joined the Marine Corps after attending one year at the local community college.  He married a delightful girl and they had three children.  This blog is about two of their children, Dana Jo and Donna Joleen.

Linda came back to the town I lived in.  It was there that Dana was born.  I did the father duty of waiting in the hospital for her arrival.  Maybe that is why she is so special to me.  My son Larry couldn’t say Dana as he was about two years old, so he called her Damya.  One time Larry went to Neodesha with Grandma Sumner to spend the night.  It was a Friday and Mom was going to bring him back Saturday.  I got a call about nine o’clock Friday night.  Larry wanted to come home.  So I got in the car and drove the thirty-nine miles to Neodesha to get him.  He told me he didn’t miss me and he didn’t miss Nam ( his name for Linda) and he didn’t miss Damya but he was afraid he would miss the TV show, The Twilight Zone.

We had a cabinet in the kitchen that had a lazy susan and it was low.  If we wanted to get rid of something like cookies, or crackers, or other food, we would put it in that cabinet and the nieces would get it out and eat it.

One time Walter was home on leave and he was fixing something on the car.  He had this tarry stuff out and Joleen got into it.  She had it on her hands, her clothes, and in her hair.  They had to use kerosene or something to get it off.  I laughed at the sight and Linda informed me that it was not the least bit funny.  Dana and Joleen were at the age that they were into everything.  I remember especially that Walter kept saying Dana Dammit so much that a stranger would have thought that was her name.

My name for Dana is Dana Dearheart.  I don’t know when I started calling her that, but that is what she is to me.  Being part of a military family, they moved often.  Several times we went to visit them in various places.  I remember when Larry, Kathy, and I visited them at Quantico after Ray died.  We all went to Virginia Beach to go camping.  Linda and I wanted to camp right on the ocean, but Walter missed the turn and wouldn’t go back so we camped about a mile from the ocean.  That night we were caught in the tail end of Hurricane Agnes.  The storm lasted about four hours.  There was a lot of destruction at Quantico from that storm.  Luckily we sustained no damage.  I yelled out to Walter, did they want to come in the trailer to ride out the storm and he told me he was writing a letter to Montgomery Ward that he would send if the tent didn’t blow away.  Linda and the kids did come in the trailer to ride out the storm.  I don’t think any of us had ever been in a hurricane before.  That was quite an experience we shared.

We also shared the experience of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.  The hike we took was the day after Larry’s birthday.  We had celebrated his birthday by the usual cake and ice cream plus we blew up balloons and tied them to a line we strung from two trees.  They looked quite festive.  The next morning we set out for Sky Pond.  It was a fairly long hike.  I took a wild flower book with me and whenever I wanted to rest, I would find a flower and say I had to find it in the book so I could classify it.  When we finally got to Sky Pond, Linda and I jokingly plotted that maybe one of us could break a leg and when the helicopter came to take the injured person down, the other one could go for comfort.  It was a beautiful hike.  When we came down, all the air had gone out of the balloons and they looked as droopy as we did.  By the time of this hike, I had married Kert and Kristen was a little baby.  We had set the playpen up at the campsite and she kept reaching out a getting the dusty dirt.  Her nickname at that time was Grubby Gertie.  Kert carried her up the mountain in a back pack like carrier.  Kathy got her feet wet in the snow at the top of the mountain and Kert had to carry her down.  Walter carried Kristen down.

I titled this post My Nieces and it is mostly about memories I have of times with them and the rest of the family.  I will write another post about our experience tubing in Colorado with my brother’s family.  I know I have rambled in this post, but these are some of the memories that came to me as I wrote.  Please forgive the rambling.

Posted by: patwogan | November 21, 2013

Cows

I know I have written about building a sod house in the pasture. It was a good project until the cows came and “chased” us out. I may also have written about milking the cows. I don’t think I have written about my very own calf.
My very own calf was a hereford heifer. She was kept in a pen in the barn lot. I don’t know why, but I do know that a small building in the pen was used by me as a playhouse. Frequently I would try to ride her as at that time I was preparing to be a rodeo rider. She must not have known how important it was for her to at least stand still until I had mounted her. Every time I tried to get on, she would move away from me. I finally succeeded in getting on only to have her buck me off. l didn’t give up, tho’ and tried and tried again. If I did succeed in getting on, she bucked me off again. I did finally give up because Dad saw what I was doing and put a stop to it. I think he stopped it for the sake of the calf and not me.
When my Mom and Dad got their divorce, they had a sale of all the cattle, equipment, and everything to do with farming. My calf was on the list of cattle to be sold. I understood this had to be done and I was kind of okay with it; however, when she was sold to the man who transported dad’s cattle to the stockyards in Parsons, I was not okay with it. I know now that a hereford heifer calf would not be killed for meat. I didn’t know that at the time and I cried so much over it that Dad had to buy her back from him. He had to pay three dollars more to get her black than the man had paid for her. I honestly do not know who finally bought her, but I realize that Dad had to pay auctioneer fees twice plus the extra money to buy her back. I was satisfied with the second buyer apparently because that is all I remember about the sale.

Posted by: patwogan | August 17, 2012

Our Injustice System

I just finished reading Alice Sebold’s book, Lucky.  It made me want to read more, so I also read “Lovely Bones”.  These books jogged my memory of an “incident” when I was in high school.  

  The sister of one of my friends brought rape charges against one of the popular jocks in the senior class.  He came from money and she did not.  He was popular and she was average.  He was good-looking and she was, too.  He was a star football player who had his own car…something a little bit unusual at that time. 

  I don’t remember all the particulars of the when and where although I think it had something to do with a dark make-out area in Riverside Park.  My imagination put the rape at the Lone Chief Cabin, an area far from the more public area of the park.  

  The main thing I remember of the story is that my friend was ostracized because of his sister’s supposed guilt of lying about Mr. Popular Jock.  Of course, the strategy at the time was to shred the reputation of the so-called victim.  The gossip mills soon made the jock the victim.  He got his friends to testify for him at the trial.  They testified that she was an easy mark and undoubtedly asked for it.  I know now that even if it were true that she was easy and even if she had had sexual intercourse with the whole football team, she was allowed to say “No” to Mr. Jock.  I don’t believe she was “easy”.  I believe the cards were stacked against her.  

  Probably you have already guessed that he was found not guilty.  He continued going to school at the Community College and his distinctive car was in evidence around town.  He later went to a prestigious college.  She and her family moved away.  

I have no idea what happened to either of them as I also moved away from my home town after graduation.  I have often wondered what happened to both of them and having read Mrs. Sebold’s book, Lucky.  I wonder if the girl had any after effects of the incident.

  In Mrs. Sebold’s book, the rapist is finally brought to justice, but only after a very traumatic trial and an almost total destruction of the victim.  The mention of PTSD in the book reminds the reader that combat is not the only traumatic event. 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: patwogan | July 9, 2012

Gone With the Wind

I have always loved to read!  I read all the books in our school library which isn’t saying much.  I still love to read, although I am a little more selective than I was then.  I like non-fiction history, but don’t care for historical novels, you know, the bodice-tearing, big hunk hero kind.  This was not always the case.  I loved Gone with the Wind!

We had a big over-stuffed chair in the living room and I liked to read by leaning back on one arm and putting my legs over the other.  I was often told to sit in the chair right, but it wasn’t as comfortable that way.  To me, I was sitting in the chair right.  I think my Mom and Dad finally got tired of telling me and gave up.

When I was elven or twelve years old, Gone With the Wind came into my life.  I think Aunt Anna may have included it in one of the boxes of stuff she sent from New York City.  I know she sent books at times.  In fact, one of the series she sent me was the complete Frank Daum series of The Wizard of Oz.  I don’t know what happened to those books, but I do know what happened to Gone With the Wind.  My daughter Kathy has it, having bought it on E-Bay when I sold it.  That’s another story.

Anyway, one Saturday morning I picked up Gone With the Wind and started reading.  I got comfy in my reading chair and was immediately entranced.  I did have chores I was supposed to do on Saturday, and Dad was home.  His job was to remind me of my chores when I forgot.  This day I didn’t forget, I just couldn’t tear myself away from that awesome book to do them.  I read and he reminded.  When I absolutely HAD to, I got up from my comfy chair and did a chore or two….not well, but I did do them.  Then it was back to the chair and the book until he forcefully reminded me again.

Anyone who has read Gone With the Wind knows that it is a long, although easy to read, book.  I would rank it as one of the best books ever written.  I can’t give it the absolutely best, but at the time, it was the best book I had ever read.

Keep in mind at the time I was reading everything by Horatio Alger…Phil, the Fiddler, etc. a series of books that followed the same plot.  A young boy, always a boy, never a girl, as the hero.  He was alway a poor boy from a bad background who by virtue of hard work became a wealthy man.  Now there was only one kicker to the plot.  The hero always came to the attention of a wealthy philanthropic  man who helped him up the ladder of financial success.  ( As I think about it now, I wonder what the man got out of the relationship….in today’s world, it would have been looked upon with suspicion.)

But I digress….back to Gone With the Wind.  I read and read all that week-end, with minimal time outs to do chores.  Dad kept saying, “Get your nose out of that book and get your chores done.”  He may have finally given up.  I don’t know, but I do know I read the entire book in one week-end.  I loved Rhett Butler and didn’t think Scarlett was good enough for him.  She, with her big attraction to Ashley Wilkes, definitely did not deserve Rhett’s undying love.  Melanie was the perfect foil for Scarlett as she was so good and pure hearted.  I don’t know which of these many characters I related to, but they have all stayed in my memory for all these years.   I lived this book for that week-end, seeing in my mind’s eye the scenes described.

Years later, Doris (my best friend) and I went to the movie at the Booth Theater in Independence.  We took snacks and candy…yes you could take candy into the theater then…as the movie was very long.  It had an intermission in the middle.  Anyway, Clark Gable played Rhett Butler.  I should say, he WAS Rhett Butler.  He was my favorite movie star and his portrayal of Rhett Butler, my fictional Prince Charming, was spot on.  My , how I loved Rhett Butler.  There was nothing that he couldn’t do.  Scarlett was still as stupid as ever for not appreciating what she had!

Just as the book had been my favorite, so the movie was also my favorite.  I have watched it several times since then, and still enjoy it.

(Aside:  We went to the movie when Kristen was very small.  Afterwards, often when there was a lull in the conversation, Kristen would say, “Scarlett fell down the stairs.”  It didn’t fit into the conversation, but I guess Scarlett falling down the stairs made a big impression on her and she wanted to share .)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: patwogan | July 7, 2012

More About the Chickens

I hated live chickens!  I loved fried chicken, baked chicken, chicken salad sandwiches, and chicken and noodles!

I hated gathering eggs!  It was a job that a young child could do, and so it was one of my chores.  In the springtime, hens want to hatch eggs.  After all, that is basically why they lay eggs.  When they have decided to hatch the eggs, they are called setting hens.  A setting hen becomes very possessive of the eggs she is trying to hatch.  Grandma had a different theory about the eggs.  She thought they should be gathered twice a day and brought into the house.  Some of the eggs were sold to the hatchery and some were eaten by our families.  

The person responsible for gathering the eggs had to reach under the “setting hen” and remove the eggs.  Now the hen did not think this was fair and tried by the only means she had to keep from having her eggs stolen.  She pecked the gatherer….me.  Chickens peck hard and often.  I hated being pecked, and consequently I hated chickens.

Another hazard of gathering eggs was snakes.  Black snakes like eggs.  I guess all snakes like eggs, but the main offender at Grandma’s was the black snake.  Now farmer’s like black snakes.  Egg gatherers hate them.  You never really knew when you reached into a nest whether you might encounter a snake.  Grandma did not like snakes getting her eggs, so she had a “darning” egg that she used to put in the nest when the snakes were especially active.  A darning egg is used to put in the toe or heel of a sock when you darn (mend) it.  Often they were onyx and egg shaped.  Grandma’s trick was to put the darning egg in the nest in the hope that the snake would think it was an egg and try to eat it.  Naturally, it wouldn’t digest and the snake would be killed.  I think Grandma thought an egg eating black snake should be eating mice or rats and not her eggs!  

I hate snakes!  I hate encountering them when I don’t expect to.  I hate being pecked by chickens.  No wonder I didn’t like the chore of gathering eggs.  

One of the things I remember about Grandma’s chickens was a time when I was very little.  My cousin, Charles, who is three years older than I, but was still a little boy, was in the chicken yard when he did something to “offend” Grandma’s big Buff Orfington rooster.  The rooster jumped on Charles’s back, began pecking him on the head, and also flogging him with its wings.  I can still see (in my mind’s eye) Grandma coming to his rescue.  She grabbed that rooster, and in one fell swoop, she wrung its neck.  We had chicken and noodles the next day!

Now hold onto your hats for this next one.  We lived about a quarter of a mile from a butcher.  Mr. Bullock was a farmer who also butchered his own cattle and also did custom butchering.  This meant that the carcasses needed to be hauled off.  So every day the Coursey Rendering Service trucks would go by Grandma’s house on their way to Mr. Bullock’s.  They drove very fast and Grandma did not like that, but there was nothing she could do about it.  Anyway, once in a while one of Grandma’s chickens would get run over by the truck.  She would hear the commotion and go out and retrieve the chicken, dress it, and cut off the bruised parts.  This was freshly killed chicken.  We ate road-kill.  Like her peers, Grandma did not like waste.

My Mom and Grandma killed and dressed chickens and sold them in town to the local grocery store and sometimes to people who wanted farm raised chickens.  Grandma also sold eggs to the local hatchery and sometimes to the same grocery store.   I remember one time when Mom was offended because a Jewish friend asked her if the chickens were kosher.  Mom asked her what constituted kosher and the friend in telling her mentioned that they had to be cleaned in s particular way.  Mom was offended thinking the lady had said her chickens weren’t cleaned properly. 

 

 

 

Posted by: patwogan | July 7, 2012

Grandma’s Fowls

Kathy asked me to write about the guineas.  Grandma had them and they served well as “watch dogs”. Whenever a car turned into the fairly long driveway leading up to Grandma’s house, they began making whatever the noise is called that they make.  It sounded like a bunch of old ladies ( I can now use that phrase without sounding like a hypocrite since I am now one) gossiping.  Each one speaking louder than the next in order to make sure their news or opinion was heard.  They were pretty birds, rather weirdly  built, but black and white striped.  Their feathers were very soft, not stiff like chicken feathers.  I don’t really remember whether or not they could fly, but they probably could.  I will have to look them up in Wikipedia and find out.  I really don’t know what purpose they served on the farm as I know we did not eat them.  Maybe their only purpose was to warn us of the approach of strangers.

Chickens were the main stay of the farm and Grandma tended her chickens faithfully.  This past Fourth of July brought to mind the fact that it was that holiday that signaled the beginning of the fried chicken season.  The baby chickens that were either hatched or purchased from the hatchery in the spring had now become big enough to be eaten.  Granted, the first ones were rather small, probably about the size we now get at KFC, but very tender and delicious.  Somehow, even as little children, we did not become attached to chickens.  They were to eat and the hens were to provide us with eggs.  

I have written previously that the whole family gathered at Grandma’s for dinner after church on Sunday. The summer Sunday’s dinner menu was always fried chicken.  We never seemed to tire of it.  There was quite a process to go through before the scrumptious chicken arrived on the platter on the table.  As I remember it, Grandma had a piece of clothesline wire about four feet long.  It had a U-shaped hook on one end and the other end was fashioned into a loop.  In the early evening on Saturday after the chickens had gone to roost, Grandma would go into the chicken house and visually select a young rooster who would become Sunday’s main dish.  I really am not sure how she decided which was the rooster, although I know their comb was larger than the pullets.  This was something Grandma’s knew, I guess.  Anyway, she would take this hook and reach out a put it around the selected chicken’s leg and quickly pull him from the roost.  She would then grab him by both legs and carry him out of the chicken house.  Of course, he would be squawking and waving his wings wildly.  Since one chicken would not feed all of us on Sunday, she repeated this process two or three times until she had the desired number of chickens to make a meal.  Sometimes I was “chosen” to hold the chickens after she had caught them while she got the next one.  I did not like live chickens!  Their wings were hard and hurt when they hit me.  My arms were not long enough to hold them far enough away to keep them from hitting me.  It  was especially bad when I had to hold two of them at a time.  This is probably why I didn’t mind the next part of the process, which was killing the chickens.  

There was a big stump by the cellar door in Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard.  It had a large machete stuck in it.  It also had two large…I imagine 16 penny nails..nailed about two inches apart.  Grandpa now took over the killing part….although Grandma did it after Grandpa died.  Grandpa took the chicken by  the feet and placed the chicken head between the two nails.  He then with one whack of the machete chopped off the head.  Then came the fun part. ( I say this even though it makes me sound terrible.

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