Culkin Academy High School Vicksburg, MS
Classes of 1916 - 1965
TODAY IS MONDAY, JULY 7, 2014
...........Just a ride back into yesteryear!
Any time that I leave my house, headed to Walmart, Kroger, or the like, I always continue my usual notation of things around me. I promise myself to observe my surroundings and always find many things to be thankful for…….all the usual things, the air I breath, the eyes that allow me to take in such a beautiful world and just all of those things that God naturally provides me with daily.
Suddenly my mind becomes flooded with all the wonderful blessings that have come my way since the very first moment that I drew a breathe. I am so very thankful for the union that created me, my Mama and Daddy, and my upbringing. Gosh…..where would I be today without them. I could not have special ordered, more meaningful love and guidance.
Growing up as a child, we didn’t have a lot of material things…..I only realized that after I was all grown up. It never occurred to me that we were of average means. In my mind, I lived in a brick house, even though it was only red brick asphalt siding. The fact that in my younger years, the toilet was out the back and over stepping stones leading to an outdoor adventure, didn’t bother me. Shucks, I still remember happily skipping along those concrete stones, handcrafted by my Daddy from bags of cement, and remember vividly, the day they were poured into makeshift molds. After they’d set up a bit, we’d scratched names and the date in each of them with a nail….just so everyone knew who had business there! It wasn’t until years later that I would realize the conveniences that were missing.
What a blessed time it was to grow up in the country, where my parents literally raised everything that we ate. Oh yeah, we went to John Black’s store and bought staple things like flour, sugar, spices, etc., but most everything else was raised and grown right on the acreage that surrounded our small 5 room, wood frame house, which really seemed large to me at the time. In my small mind, we lived in a castle.
When it was bath time around our house, what fun it was to drag that old galvanized tub onto the back porch and situate it where buckets of water could be hauled up from the cistern that stood nearby and poured into the tub. In the summer, it was placed there early, so the sun could heat it a bit before the sun got too low on the horizon. In the winter months, the tub would be brought in the kitchen that was just through the back door and water was heated on an old wood stove, to take the chill out. Of course, the kitchen was always the warmest spot in the house, because it seemed like Mama cooked from morning to night. We had three full meals every day…...I honestly can’t remember ever having sandwiches in those earliest years.
Sitting down to a meal in the forties and fifties was a blessing in itself. Daddy always had cows, pigs and chickens…..sometimes goats and sheep (though we never ate them)….the goats were raised as "bush hogs". Believe me, they would eat anything and everything in sight. Make no mistake about it! That’s why, after we had goats, we no longer had blackberry cobbler anymore. Nearly seventy years later…..we still don’t have blackberries…….they destroyed them, briars and roots! Oh, but they sure were funny little varmints to play with. When I was little, they were my best friends!
As a child, when you are experiencing things and have a country girl’s existence, as I did, it just never occurs to you that you are missing anything. Heck, I thought everybody in the world had all this great food to eat, and in those summer months when the temperature began to rise, it was just nice to have screen on windows and a screen door that would allow the air to circulate. Yeah, it was hot then, too, but it just didn’t seem to bother us, because we were used to it. I do remember a small black wrought iron looking fan that we used, oh, and the big blocks of ice that Daddy brought home from the ice house on Jackson Road, where he put it in the upper compartment of our icebox. There somehow, it kept things from spoiling in the lower part. I do remember that if for some reason, for a brief time, the ice would sit in front ot the fan…..it blew really cool air. That was just a brief moment in time though!
My blessings meter climbs to the top when I think of how hard my Mama worked in the summertime to preserve vegetables for the winter. Her days were long and hard, for she would gather the vegetables in the morning , which was the coolest part of the day, and between cooking meals for us, she was shelling, snapping and silking.. After supper, still going like the Energizer Bunny, she was canning, way into the night on many occasions.
Mornings came early for everyone…..there were animals to be fed, milking to be done and we always started with a good breakfast with fresh eggs, home raised pork sausage or bacon, biscuits made from lard rendered from those same pigs, and fresh milk, right outta’ the cow. These were all blessings, all wrought from other blessings. I never one time thought it could be better…..at the time!
As time continued, so did the blessings keep coming, all of a different kind…...first, the blessing of indoor plumbing…..Geez, how had we done without this? I was so happy to share this with others, only to find out that they’d had it all along. Oh well, I thought! I’ve had an experience that they never had. That in itself is a blessing.
I’ll never forget when we got our first television. It seemed like we’d just been given the gift of a lifetime to be able to see what we’d been listening to all along, even with all it’s snowy, black and white glory. Suddenly the radio didn’t seem so special anymore, even though before. it had been our main connection with the outside world. Just a blessing of a different kind. By this time, we had a refrigerator, with the capability of freezing our own ice in neat little trays with a handle that would lift and release a couple of dozen small square blocks of ice. Who would’ve thought it? As well, we had our own deep freeze and Mama’s preservation of food had taken a new turn…..that of freezing in little square and oblong containers….sometimes cardboard and sometimes plastic. At any rate, we didn’t have to take our food to Vicksburg Frozen Food and rent a locker to put it in until we needed it. Nope, now it was kept right at home…...the blessings just kept on coming.
Home air conditioning would follow soon, though it had been in the stores for awhile before we acquired it. My folks were skeptical about it, because even though, by now the house has had some rooms added, the older part didn’t have proper insulation and they were afraid of cooling more of the outside than the inside. But alas, they bit the bullet and we were blessed with cool air. That’s certainly been one of the more revered blessings of material things.
Now. In all of my ramblings, I’ve left some of the best until last. While I enjoyed an absolutely wonderful childhood, and have already shared the blessings of having grown up with loving parents, who met all my needs ……. that was only the beginning. Today, my life is without a doubt, as perfect as anyone’s. I am so richly blessed to have a husband that truly is my best friend, and one who has provided for me through the near fifty years we have been married. We have been blessed with a beautiful, talented daughter that has truly given our lives together meaning. She is married to a most terrific man that makes us count our blessings every day and last but certainly not least, they’ve given us the most wonderful grandson in the world. We have a roof over our head that provides a comfortable life for us and we are right next door to our children…..Just as an added bonus, we have some phenomenal friends. What more could life have offered me? Yes indeedy! I am truly blessed beyond measure. If it were possible to go back and change anything about my younger years, would I? Absolutely not…..that part of my life is what molded me into what I am.
• Billy Miller (1960) 8/2
• John Henry Grove (1961) 8/3
• Buford Evans 8/9
• Jo Ann Hodges 8/9
• David Williams (1962) 8/12
• David Wright (1958) 8/19
• Richard Beasley (1952) 8/22
• Johnny Wilkinson (1962) 8/26
• Pat Daughtry (1959) 8/29