Posted by: patwogan | August 3, 2009

Memories of Grandma’s House

I think that it is odd that I can remember incidents that happened in my life when I was very small and yet if I’m not careful I lose the TV remote.  Oh, well, if I have written this blog before forgive me, as I don’t remember.

I have a distinct mind picture of Grandma’s back yard.  Let me describe it for you.  You won’t know whether it is accurate or not, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Grandma’s back door faced south and it was actually the door from the screened in porch.  There were two steps down to a brick area which we would now call a patio.  Across the brick area was the wash house.  It had the storm cellar under it and there were doors just like the cellar doors in the Wizard of Oz movie.  There were probably seven or eight steps down into the cellar itself.  The cellar was dark as there was no electricity down there and it was lined with shelves.  These shelves held the bounty of the summer garden which had been “canned” by Grandma and Mom.  There were literally hundreds of jars of corn, beans, peas, sauerkraut, tomatoes, lima beans, crowder peas, and other vegetables.  Then there were also jars of fruit which had been canned..and pickles…how could I have forgotten the pickles.  There were sweet pickles, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, and watermelon pickles. 

The wash house located on top of the storm cellar had a wringer washing machine, three wash tubs on stands, a gas two-burner hot plate stove to heat the water on, shelves which held the bleach, soap, bluing, and starch used on wash day.  There were also baskets that were used to carry the clothes to the clothes line to dry.  The clothes line was on the east side of the wash house between it and the outhouse. 

 Now, the back yard was large and the outhouse was on the far east side of it near the fence to the pasture.  It was far from the house for a reason which those of you who have had an outhouse will understand.  It was not really called an outhouse, but was called a privy.  I think the name privy kind of referred to the fact that there was supposed to be some privacy.  But a contradiction to that was the fact that most privys were “two-holers” and Grandma’s was no exception.  The only furnishings of Grandma’s privy consisted of a Montgomery Ward catalog and a Sears catalog.  They were the out-dated catalogs, of course, but they served the purpose of present-day toilet paper.  The pages were torn out and rubbed between your hands until they were somewhat softened.  At the time we did not know about toilet paper so it served the purpose, I suppose.   You notice I have not mentioned a heat source.  There was none.  In the summer the door was sometimes left slightly ajar to allow the air to circulate.  In the winter, you hurried and no more time was spent than was absolutely necessary.  It was cold!

Grandpa’s work shop was also in the back yard.  He repaired broken toys, furniture, and anything else tnat needed fixing.  It was full of old stuff.  There were also a lot of tools, although none of them were powered.  This was at the time before power tools. 

There was a swing suspended from a limb of a big tree.  In fact, there were two swings.  One was a tire swing and the other was a sack swing.  The sack swing was a gunny sack, or tow sack, filled with straw and tied closed with a rope which was then hung from a stout tree limb.  You straddled the sack and hung onto the rope and swung. 

Grandpa had also made a teeter-totter out of a two by ten.  It was fastened with U-bolts to a galvanized pipe which was suspended between two huge poles.  Holes had been drilled into the poles and the pipe was put through the holes and fastened some way.  All I know was that it was a really neat teeter-totter.

Grandma had a flower garden on the east side of the house and every morning she dumped the used coffee grounds on her flowers.  She had a ferny like flower that I thought grew from the coffee grounds.



  1. Oh, how funny, a coffee ground flower!

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