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Meanwhile Back at Papa’s

Old Polaroid

I never knew it at the time, but I had an extraordinary childhood.

I grew up a mile or so from my Papa’s house. It was a tiny 2 bedroom house with one bathroom. The bathroom door latched with a hook into an eye bolt screwed into the door frame, and the bathroom cabinet had mercurochrome, or what we called “monkey blood” for curing any scrapes little girls might get on their knees when they fell on the gravel driveway.

Papa was born in 1910, the 11th of 12 children. He had been a share cropper, a pig farmer, and a butcher. I can never remember him wearing anything but overalls, and he always carried his pocket knife.

His father was alive during the Civil War.

At Papa’s house, we played Dominoes, caught lightning bugs in pickle jars, and fished for crawdads. Grandma would give us a piece of string (she always seemed to have a supply of string she had saved) and some small pieces of bacon. We’d tie the string to a stick and tie the bacon to the end of the string. We would take our makeshift fishing poles and an empty coffee can for collecting our catch down to the creek and sit a while.

Grandma would fry up the crawdad tails for us, and we thought we had done something very important by catching our own dinner.

Papa made his own sausage, which he always had a fresh supply of, thanks to the pigs in the pens out back.

There were bottles of cold Coke in the “ice box” and we sat on the “divan” in the living room. If something was done on accident, it was said “she didn’t aim to” to do it.

There always seemed to be company over, usually one of the many aunts and uncles and cousins, so that meant plenty of good food to share. We washed and dried the dishes together by hand. Phone calls were made by dialing the rotary on the big black phone.

Every evening, Papa would  have a glass of buttermilk before bed, so I would do the same, and we would talk. He once told me he remembers the first time he was allowed to wear long pants. Back then, boys wore knickers, and the men wore pants. I wish I had asked him to tell me more stories from his growing up years and stories he was told by his parents and grandparents about their growing up years.

I still love to drink buttermilk occasionally, and I always think of Papa when I do.

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Comments

  1. kristan says:

    Beautiful.

  2. This takes me back to my grandparents house (Meme and Grandaddy) and the smell of their house and mercurochrome and the backyard that had the fenced in garden with the fig tree and the smell of their garage which didn’t smell like a garage and all the pictures around of family I never knew. There is even 1 family picture that has 6 generations in it and one of those is a Cherokee Indian.

  3. Ahhh…. you are describing my childhood too and bringing back such WONDERFUL memories and maybe even a tear or two – THANK YOU! :-) Wish my children’s/grandchildren s life were so simple!

  4. Shannon says:

    I love this! Not long before she died, my Granny and I put together a book about her life. We took it and had it bound, and she gave a copy to all of the children and grandchildren. After that, she started working on a book with my Papa about his life. She died before it was finished, but Papa and I finished it together and gave copies to all of the children and grandchildren for Christmas. He has since joined her in Heaven, but those little books are such treasures for those of us awaiting our reunion one day!

  5. How beautiful. Thank you for sharing these precious memories with us.
    I was delighted to read the word, “divan!” My Mom & Grandparents called the couch a divan. We never knew where they got that word, and I’ve never heard anyone else use it either! :)

    • My grandparents called it the “Daveno- ie, “Where is grandpa?” “He is in on the Daveno”. I always wondered why, so I googled it a few years ago, and found out that it was a couch that came from a particular furniture manufacturer (Davenport Chesterfield) and was so popular that everyone used the brand name to describe any couch, such as we say Kleenex when we’re talking about tissues. I’d imagine Divan came about the same way either as a regional pronunciation of the same item, or from another popular company. I miss my grandma’s basement full of old fashioned “thingys” and rows and rows of pretty canned fruit. I’ll never forget spending spring break with her, eating carrots right out of the dirt, and almost burnt toast (from her ancient toaster) with real butter. I also remember a little white jar full of rubber bands she saved from vegetable bundles. Wonderful memories!

  6. That was my childhood too!! Helping my Grandaddy in his HUGE garden which was big enough to feed most of our county and did feed a lot of them; crabbing with turkey necks; swimming in the river every single day from May til Sept; walking barefoot on gravel roads and it not hurting my feet; sitting on the back of my Daddy’s truck watching men play softball; cookouts on the weekends with lots of country music playing…oh I could go on and on.
    Trying to give my kids that same life. Helps that we live 5 minutes from where I grew up!!!

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What's the big deal about Young Living