Reminiscing with Mother, Feb. 8, 2007

This is an excerpt from the recording below:

Mother: “We were farming, up there in that—we called em Jennings place—and we raised cotton, and corn & hay for the cows. And by that time we had about 45-50 cows, and we didn’t have a shed to put ‘em under; we had just this one big place where we kept corn and hay and stuff—the milk cows we had to keep in a stall cause we had to keep them separated but the others had to be fed out in the open, it was a long trough, and it had been raining. It was cold. And like I said it was the Depression and he didn’t even have any socks, heh, wrapped his feet in rags to keep ‘em warm. And he went out there to feed to cows and it was cold, raining… He come in and said ‘I’m going somewhere in the mornin’ and I’m gonna find me a job.'”

“So he left the next morning; Kit was already working for Mississippi Power & Light, so he went up ‘ar to work for Mississippi Power & Light, and they hired him—they didn’t even let him come home, it was during the war and they needed people, they had taken a lot of their men that was working, to service, and they hired him didn’t even let him come home. They put him to work that day. And that’s when he went to work for Mississippi Power & Light.”

ST: “I thought he was working at “the Old Camp” –they used to call it…”

Mother: “Naw, he never worked over there. That camp was over there before we ever married. I’m telling this in the book I’m writing.”

“Virgin Timber we called it, big, great, big pine trees, big with heart centers this big (she held her hands wide to show how big).We called it fat lighter, cause after you cut it, it had so much sap in it you could just stick a match to it and it would flame up. And those trees would fall, or they’d go over there and cut ‘em down, and then the Great Southern Lumber Company bought all that timber. They built that railroad through here. But that was before I even got grown–I was still little. Myrtis was about 5 or 6 years old I reckon. Mama had TEN borders. She fed ever one of ‘em supper, she cooked ‘em breakfast, she fixed their lunch for that day at dinner, cooked supper and fixed their lunch—breakfast and supper and fixed their lunch—TEN MEN!”

ST: “They were working at the camp?”

Mother: “They were working at the camp, they walked about a mile, straight through here.”

Tam: “So that was your first Harrisville bed & breakfast!” (laughter)

Mother: “Yeah, that was our Harrisville bed & breakfast. That’s what they had, a bed and breakfast. That’s when we put a—well I don’t think the attic was even sealed, might have been sealed, I think they sealed it partly, but they had five double beds up there and that’s where the men slept. Had four winders on each end– had no insulation, course nobody had insulation then. But we had all kinds of vegetables you wanted, and Mama was a good cook. She had a big beautiful wood stove I got this in my, gonna have this in my book, prettiest wood stove I think I’d ever seen, it was almost as long as that (table) altogether, cause it had a what we call on this end, next to firebox, it had a “rezer-vowee” (reservoir), held 10 or 12 gallon a water, and that water would get boiling hot from that firebox when we was cookin’. It had a oven, and she’d cook that oven full a sweet potaters, baked potaters, and I think that’s what she give ‘em for their dinner, a biscuit, maybe some fried meat, and a baked potater and that’s what they had for lunch. (laughs at the memory). Course, that’s more than a lot of people had back then.”

ST: “this was during the depression?”

Tam: “what year are we talking about here?”

Mother: “This wudn’t the BAD depression though, it wudn’t real bad then we hadn’t been used to any… (this was ’29 maybe?) I don’t know… seemed like it was… Myrtis was born in ’21, yeah that’s about when it was.”

ST: “it was right before the depression, then?”

Mother: “Yeah it was before the BAD depression.”

“We had plenty to eat. We had plenty to eat during the BAD depression.”

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