I Was Nine Once

I walked in on a conversation between my 90 year old mother and 9 year old granddaughter.

“Things have changed so much.”

Samantha picked up her head and looked at Mom instead of her laptop.   “What Grammy?”

“When I was nine, we didn’t have things like that.  We had to entertain ourselves.”

“Why didn’t you watch TV?”

“We didn’t have TV.”

“Why didn’t you?”

Mom chuckled softly.  “We didn’t have electricity.  When I was nine…”

Sam put her laptop on the table and was curiously staring at Mom.  “No electricity?  Didn’t your Daddy pay the bill?”

Mom laughed.  “We didn’t have a bill to pay.  We didn’t have any electricity in our house.  We didn’t have it in our house until we were almost 14.”

“How did you get water if you didn’t have electricity to run the pump to get the water?”

Mom put down her coffee.  “We would walk to a spring almost a mile away, carrying pails, so we could get water.  Then my  mom would put it in a big pot to get hot and we’d pour it into one big tub.  The youngest would get their bath first, then on up by age, and we all used the same water.”

Sam’s curiosity was really eating at her.  “How did you go to the bathroom if you didn’t have water.”

“We had an outhouse in the back yard.  That’s an outdoor bathroom.  We’d bundle up, put on our shoes and hats, if it was cold, and run down through the yard.  It didn’t matter how cold, hot, rainy, or snowy, we had to go there.”


Mom laughed.  “It’s yuk to me now too, but it wasn’t then.  It’s how almost everyone I knew lived.  It was normal.  I remember running outside if we heard a plane go over, just to see if it had a message on a banner trailing behind it, it was like going to a circus.  Life has changed so much.”

“What did you eat Grammy?”

“I was in a three room school.  It had all the kids from town there.  At lunch time we would run home to get our lunch.”  She sadly looked out the window, then glanced over to me.  I was frying hamburgers for their lunch.  “We would sit down to bread with lard and sugar, or if it was berry time, Mom would crushed the berries with a little sugar and pour them over the bread.”  She smile.  “That was my favorite.”

“I like strawberries on cake.  Nina taught me how to bake a cake, but Mommy does hers from cake boxes.”

“No cakes.  We couldn’t afford the sugar, milk and eggs for such luxuries as a cake.  If I stayed home from school, and I hated school, so I played hooky quite often, I would bake ten loaves of bread before my mom got home from the farm.”  She started to get up.  “I remember how excited we were when Dad would bring home government cheese and powdered milk and powdered eggs.  Then my mom baked a cake.  That was a once a month treat.  Or, sometimes, Did would be lucky to get someone on his train who would give him their food basket to take home because they were stopping at a place that made food.”  Her head shook as she talked.  “They were rich to us.  They could ride on a train, and buy food.”

“Were you big then Grammy?”

She wobbled slightly as she grabbed for her cane.  Her rheumy eyes trying to focus on where it was, and her arthritic joints protesting, she slowly raised from her chair and moved from the table.  “I was nine.  It was 1935.”

She walked back to her bedroom and sat down.  “Life really has changed since then.”




One comment

  1. http://www.salpa58.wordpress.com · November 12, 2016

    Sounds to me like Grammy has many stories to tell, and I hope someone write them all down. :o)


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