Washington County, Illinois

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  A series of articles written by :
Wilbert 'Bucky' McCoy for :
Ashley News
( Ashley, Illinois )
Box 0184
DuQuoin, IL 62832

By Bucky McCoy ©

I have often wondered about a deceased persons death Certificate, cause of death: Natural causes. If this is a reason it must be from those home remedies we old people took internally. Rubbed on or sniffed, just to think of some makes me ill. Now I remember some that were not so clean and I wonder if they killed or cured. Most people hacked a nd coughed through the long winter months. Dr. Sanders or Dr. Hagebush would give s ome sweet tasting syrup. It was called "Sip Often" by my parents. The directions on the bottle were "Sip often as needed for cough." These were often filled at Seiberts drug store. (Can you call those places drug stores?) My dad thought a half pint of Rock and Rye whiskey did a great job for him self. Mother would not taste it, nor would she allow we children to use it. There were times he would buy from a local vendor who made his own. Fifty cents for a full pint. Many times it took two pints to run through the winter.

Why were children blessed with pin worms in their system I never hear of them to day. Dad was the family practitioner and he would give a teaspoon of sugar soaked in kerosene. Some used turpentine and sugar. I am thinking of the bottle you could buy at the drug store (Oops, I mean pharmacy) My memory isn't serving me well, but the bottle was rather small and had a picture of the good doctor who was in charge of its' being manufactured. Vermifuge was the name. Now you remember? Mom had something she thought was the best. There is one that had a pretty good taste too it. She would put a small handful of cloves in a pan and add milk. She watched it closely, as you know when hot milk decides to boil over, not much stopping. We drank a small glass for two or three days. We would sneak sugar and stir it up with milk and cloves. Not half bad. It seems that it exuded through the skin for a week after taking.

I have written about my uncle Bert on several occasions. He was the one that was to light for heavy work and too heavy for light work. He was self employed with the aid of a dog and the rifle. He would harvest a nice young skunk Many in the South call them Pole cats, any way he would take the fat and it was passed around to relatives. I believe it was for colds when a mixed with sugar. Goose grease was used too, and more of a pleasant taste.

I don't know why so many children had the earache. Dad would blow pipe smoke in the ear and that would help. Mom would use a drop of Sweet oil. I have seen this happen. Heat a dab of yellow liquid and put it in the ear. I always thought the salt was what helped.

Dad thought the spring time was for thinning and adding something to the blood. He would go to the country and dig some Sassafrass sapling roots. They had to be red and not the white kind. These pieces of wood were boiled for quite some time. I used to enjoy its flavor, but it had to have sugar added.

A poultice was always in order for just about any thing. A layer of Vicks salve served a purpose on the chest. Smeared and covered with a piece of white flannel was a sure cure for a chest cold. Some things that were used for poultices are too yucky to mention. I reckon that when we hear that butchering animals for food, nothing is lost but the squeal. Think about the Boils people had. A bacon skin put on it and wrapped was better than that black salve the doctor ordered

When you stop at the Ashley Library Historical room, I'll tell you more. We need your support.

By Bucky McCoy ©

The Church buildings that were filled to over flowing seventy five years ago are moved and used for storage, some are torn down and a few still sets un-attended. Those days were ones that were counted important on Sundays, even though a wagon full of family went to church and many made it an all day service. Worshiping God was really important. This year of 2006 find Sundays as a day of rest. Well, a day of something. Fishing, boating, visiting and many things that you know about and don't have to be reminded. There area some that are trying to remove God from every thing.

I like Hymns. While visiting a Church this past winter a man my age and my self would sing before the congregation. We liked to sing, "Lord build me a cabin in the corner of Glory Land." I thought on that song we got with the program.

I was ten years old and our house was next to a lady by the name of Lottie Golden. She worked out, but every summer Mrs. Grace Summers spent the summer and made quilts. Beautiful quilts. She would quilt and rock at the same time and sing Hymns to the top of her voice. I listened to so many so often that they are etched in my mind. I have her sing, "Glory Halleluh I shall not be moved. Just like a tree that's planted by the water, I shall not be moved." How I loved to hear her sing, "The little brown Church in the dale. I think the part where it says come, come, come and it does so 19 times. Her face would get red and she seemed to almost lose her breath. She made it sound like that there was no other place like the little Brown Church in the dale. I don't have space enough to list all the songs. Some times, not very often she would sing about," Go tell aint Rhody the old gray goose is dead." That's isn't a Hymn but she never missed a lick. I think that is what musicians call it. Never missed a lick.

Mrs. Summers has gone to meet God and is buried in Noble Illinois.

To many things vie for Gods time. Ask a question. Do you know God? If the answer is well, not really, I've heard about him.

I am reminded of interviewing a prospective man at work. He volunteered. I know the man that is in charge here. I answered, "You do. I don't believe you do. What is his name? He answer was, "Mr. McCoy."

I said unto him you don't know Mr. McCoy for I am he. He sat for a few seconds and said, "I have heard of you."

I know not why the phrase comes to mind, "The best things in life are free". It doesn't cost very much to listen to a pastor as skilled at preaching as our pastor, Rev. Ken Jaynes. He is at the Baptist Church in Ashley, Illinois every Sunday Morning. If you claim to be Methodist their pastor is Rev. John Clark. If your choice of worship is Catholic their fine Church building is in Radom. Only a few short miles South of Ashley.

I have made mention over the last seventy five years about better things in life are the least expensive. Too, I might add is there will come a time in persons life he will need the services of a preacher. May not be yeserday, nor today nor tomorrow, but some day, some time the occasion will arrive when there will be that need. On this same page is Carmens' devotional. Read a little and learn a lot.

By Bucky McCoy ©

One Ringy Dingy, a short one and two long Ringy Dings, long ones and a short Ringy Ding. Why, that's Uncle Ralphs number. I wonder what's wrong ? I will eaves drop. That was a party line. It was like having company at all times and you knew kind of what's happening now. Auntie always checked the calls of other people. There were several problems with a party line. The first was "No privacy" and the other was no one wanted to take care of the telephone line. I think it cost a dollar a month to be a member.

It was better than none at all for I remember that people visited if in hollering distance just that way. Most people could talk a half mile away by just yelling back and forth. Was the next best smoke signals? Many farmers had what they called a dinner bell but when rung at any time except around meal time it was a distress signal. Every bell had a little different sound and when some one was in need and rang their bell neighbors hurried to his call.

I remember that in my younger days you could purchase a two party line and it was maintained by a private company. You could purchase the private line and no one but you and the operator at the office knew what was going on. Our number was 93x. It was a simple procedure to make a call. A crank was on the side of the phone box and with a crank the operator would ask, "Number Please." You gave the local number and she would ring. If no one answered she would say, "They don't answer." Sometimes adding I am sorry. Doing a long distance call was different. When the operator answered you would say, "I'd like to place a long distance call." Most times you did a Station to Station call. This was cheaper and any one there would talk with you. I could also talk Person to Person. The call was more expensive. You spoke to the local operator and give her all the numbers and information. I can hear the operators along the line doing their part. I did nothing.

How confused a City operator must have been when I wanted to call an unheard of City to place a call. A long distance call seemed to go by sections or areas. To call New York the call may have to go via St. Louis, Chicago, Cleveland and another city or two. What a shock to an operator when the number being called was two longs and a short and a long. Many never heard of it. When the final operator answered and said, "They are not at home." They are at the basket ball game. Want me to call there? To some it must have been mass confusion, but when the person was reached, I can just hear operators say, "I've heard it all."

Things improved. These phones became obsolete and we got a dial phone. We wore it out calling people in town to see if it was fool proof. This left the long distance calls to the local operator. I believe those were the days. You gave the operator a number and she did all the work. No complications. The time came when I could dial an out of State number and some one would answer. These operations had a phone system of their own and the person would be found. Most businesses had their own operator.

Now I am confused with the variations of calling. I ring and I hear, "if you are looking for Shipping, press one and if looking for the ware house press two and so on and generally I take my phone to look for a number to press and the automatic Operator has lost me. I wait and I hear, "If none of these fit your needs dial "O".

I am confused at the pay phones. I some times add money and some times I get some in return. I forget my long distance four numbers. All I can say is, "Woe is me." I'll just mail a letter, if I don't forget it.

By Bucky McCoy ©

I have written this page for several years and I am always thinking of something new and interesting. Some will be celebrating the 4th of July and as I thought about it I read a poem some seventy five years ago at school. I am to the opinion it had a lot of meaning that I tried to read into it. It thrilled me to read, "Hats Off, The Flag is Passing by." Then I thought about hats and how important they were to some people.

Ashley had two places that made hats. The very west end of Madison and I believe it was Spanglers residence. The spacious white house still stands today, 2006. The other being on Main and South East Second Street and the Seibert Sisters made and sold fine ladies head covering. It was a no-no to be in Church with out a hat and it was wrong for a man to wear a hat inside a Church building. No man wore his hat at home. He removed it just as he entered the house.

That isn't exactly what I wanted to talk about. Ladies hats were made in so many shapes and colors. We could tell ladies by the hat they wore and out siders hats always had a different look than locals. It looked like these hats were made to match outer wear also. Hats were worn mostly for looks. Hatpins were run through the hat and ladies hair to keep the wind from removing them from their heads unexpectantly.

I liked the thin, wide brimmed ones.. There was such a wide assortment, however the ladies and of course nature. A nice fresh flower.

Now a bit about these men. One thing you could count on. A gentleman was certain to remove his hat in the presence of ladies. The hat was removed for many other occasions. The mans hat was used for protection from inclement weather and also kept away Sun Burn from the head. I remember that many men like a hat called the Panama hat mad in Equidor. It was of a straw like material and was extremely pliable. There was a hat that was made to one shape and it could not be moved. We called it a straw Katy. I know not why. Many men used a plain old straw hat. It was loosely woven and let air get next to the scalp, kept out the Sun and was rather cool. They came with a wide brim and with a wider brim and with wide, wider brim. Rail Road men wore straw hats. They seemed to go for the more narrow brim. Some even wore felt hats due to their being exposed to wind and they blew away rather easily. Years gone by some men wore what they called Cowboy togs. Had fancy stitching on shirts and tight breeches and the hat was one of a kind. The brim was on the wide side and was most times made of a felt like material and were quite expensive. Younger guys like a sharp looking hat with a large colored band and most time with a feather in it. Hats were bent to a certain shape. If you knew what you were looking for you could find gamblers wore a different ht. I could tell one. I never liked the hats that were worn by my brother-in-law. He wore a very large hat and with a one inch brim. The band always was adorned with a small red feather. Men hats seem to change very little. I can't see the change in hats due to fewer hats being worn. I see group pictures that were taken many years ago and in many instances all men have hats. Years ago many young boys wore head coverings in the hot weather. Those being caps. Seldom did a boy wear a hat.

Rail Road men running those large steam engines wore striped caps. They set on the head a just the right angle and by his clothing you could tell he was a rail roader, but the Denium pin stripe cap made him an engineer. Most of the time the man who fed the engine coal wore such cap also. He was called the fireman. People in the service of the United States wore special caps or hats. I am not a hat man

But I do have a new Historical room at the Ashley Library. Some pictures with people wearing hats.

By Bucky McCoy ©

I can recall things about Ashley Illinois that are difficult for me to believe. I was in the first grade when the school building was still new.

Well, almost new. I was in the first grade the school building was less than ten years old. My, my what a nice building. Heat was furnished by steam and radiators. The rooms were for the most part cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Most of the time we drank water from a well. Pumped and some times caught in a pail as not to waste it, but we had a little collapsible aluminum cup of which we drank our water. Some times we had no water because upper classmen took our cups. I still think about the boys that took my cup and I have little love for them.

There was little time for recess. By the time you waited your turn to use the outside toilets and get a drink of water the school bell rang indicating time was up. When asking if I could go to toilet the teacher would say, "You should have went at recess

Lining up for the returning to school had all the students in line and the man running the bell would release the bell for one ringy-ding and we entered the building.

Later years saw many changes. Indoor plumbing. Water came into the fountains of which to drink. I have at the Ashley Library historical Room the top of one of the wood banisters that is half worn away. I remember the basket ball playing was out side. Real High School Base Ball games. Later years the Gym was built. Was not the year 1929? If not the exact date it is very close. I liked the track part. Some records were set by Ashley students. May be some still stand today. No student had any spare time for any thing of their own. I believe some met them selves coming or going if that is possible.

Music was one of the better things, so I thought. I remember Mr. P. D. gave all his time to the band effort. Most all students could play some instrument. During basket Ball games many of the members of the band were also on the team. They had little rest at the half of the game.

Gone is all the excitement of sports and band. Many students had to be driven home because they had to practice and miss the bus. Parent and teachers were always busy with these activities.

Away games were well attended by Ashley People. Many times I have seen more Ashley followers at games away than the home team could muster.

I reckon all these things happened in the olden days. How good were the olden days. I am not so sure about an answer, but I know how important it was to be a cheer Leader. To be on the first five of the basket ball team. To be the fastest runner in the hundred yard dash. Too run a five minute mile consistently. Throw the discus and the shot put. At one time there was javelin throwing. Many other sports were equally important. When was there time to study? Any given spare minute a student was looking in an English book. History or Math. Many learn now watching television

I always liked Mr. Hartley's way of teaching history. Not much study time so he lectured most of the class. If you did not learn you were in trouble. To be able to participate in sports, good grades had to be attained.

Many a student had to set out a semester due to a failing grade. When they learned this rule was enforced many worked double hard to keep grades up. Visit your Library! Catch up on your reading.

By Bucky McCoy ©

I've written a few articles about chickens and I exaggerated a bit about the four legged fryers and the double breasted fryers and ones with four wings.

Eighty years ago we were allowed to keep different things in town that should have had a home in the country. Many homes had twenty four or more chickens. They kind of had free range except during garden season and this was the time it was better if they were fenced in. These chickens furnished enough eggs for a family and with the right handling The old setting hen on 17 eggs would hatch out little peepers after 18 days of keeping the eggs warm. With moms management we had meat and eggs the year round. I like chicken and dumplings, but the best I ate in the last twenty years was made by a friend of mine, Clara.

I know it was a difficult job to get the baby chicks to grow up. There was always a cat that would snitch one and the same for a rat. Chickens grew to a three pound size in ten weeks. Dad was able to separate the Roosters from the Pullets. The latter was set aside for the laying and the Cockerels for food. Most of the time they were ten weeks old dad would sell some, but we kept many for our own use. Ten week old fryers were sold for a dollar.

Mom was the expert on getting them ready for the frying pan. I watched her do it for years. She cut the chicken up into nine pieces. The pulley bone made the ninth piece. I liked fried liver and not the gizzard. These were soaked over niter in a brine and then rinsed real well and soaked in Butter Milk for a while. The pieces were dipped in flour that had pepper and a touch of garlic salt. The cast iron skillet was about half full of hot lard. Sweet, fresh hog lard. I have forgotten how long the pieces were fried, but until mouth watering and crispy brown.

I do remember how she made milk gravy. She drained off the fat, most of it and scraped the bits that stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Several tablespoons of flour put in the hot pan and stirred around until it was a wee bit brown. Then whole (Sweet) Milk was added and constant stirring was required. When it appeared to be too thick more milk was added.

I just as well talk about the meal that chickens are causing. Mashed potatoes. You have not eaten mashed potatoes, unless they were prepared by an old timer. Here is the way. Peel the potatoes, plenty of them and put in a pot and boil until done. Drain off the water (save it to make Potato bread) add some home churned butter, a little milk and beat them with a potato masher. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. I liked a little bacon grease also.

As long as I am eating, large biscuits are a must. Mom always said, "I won't take but a minute or two for me to make biscuits." She had a special pan to fill half full with flour, mix in the baking powder (Clabber Girl) along with a bit of salt and pepper and a dab of sugar. She would hollow out this mixture and add Butter milk and if the milk was a bit sour a pinch of baking soda was added. She had her biscuit pan ready with some fat in the bottom. As she pinched off the biscuits she would dip in fat and turn that side up. Ready for the oven. When brown they were done. Ready to eat.

I liked a leg and a thigh, A huge glob of potatoes, half plate of Gravy (with sugar on it) and plenty of biscuits with butter and a big glass of milk.

I started this story with chicken and ended with chicken. Try it some time.


By Bucky McCoy ©

I talk about going on a diet, but when I was young I think I was on one all of the time. My Mother cooked all the time. The kitchen had a big kitchen range as they were called and always a fire in the fire box. Some times the fire was kind of put on hold. It was called laid by or banked. Always something was cooking on slow. A cast iron kettle of white beans and they had to be "Great Northern Beans". Most of the time they were flavored with a piece of bacon. Bacon rind was the best. Plenty of flavor and very little fat. I was thinking a few days ago that beans were most delicious if cooked in water from a big rain. This water was called soft water. The meal courses consisted of one main dish. Few dishes were on the table. The big bowls were filled from the kettle on the stove.

My mom baked many loaves of bread. She used a lot of flour and penny yeast cakes. Seems like the stove was fired up rather hot. Her temperature gage was sticking her hand in he oven and see how long she cold keep it there. That was the temperature gage. There was one in the middle of the door, but she didn't trust it. I wonder how we ate twelve loaves of bread three times a week. Some times neighbor kids ate with us. She always took a little piece of cloth and wiped 'grease' on the loaves so the crust would be tender. This oven furnished lots of pies. Not many cakes. Left over food was not put in an ice box, but was put in a space over the stove called a warming oven. I wonder why food never spoiled. Most of the time cleaning off the table amounted to taking off the dirty plates and silver ware and cover it up with a Table Cloth. Under this was jelly, Sorghum, Oleo (white) and most of the time was peanut butter. Milk was hung in the well in an empty ten pound syrup pail. No refrigeration. For snacks we were allowed to eat sandwiches of peanut butter and jelly or (lasses). When we carried the sandwich out side the flies ate as much as we.

On the back of this stove was a water tank that held five gallons of water so we always got hot water from this kitchen Range. My sisters usually kept it full of water. Many houses had a pitcher pump in the kitchen. Many houses were built over a well for this purpose. It sure was better than getting a bucket of water from an out side well.

This stove had a spot for the granite coffee pot that simmered most of the time. Eventually the coffee got weaker. She solved this by putting a cup of fresh ground coffee in and more water. Coffee cost two pounds for thirty nine cents. Brewed, this way it was good to the last drop.

This stove could make the best meals. I always enjoyed the home made fresh sausage. Dad was real particular about the spices. Mom had a huge iron skillet. She made sausage cakes as they were called and cooked more than we could eat. We had our own chickens, so we had more eggs than we could use. Mother broke them in this skillet of hot fat and kept tops covered with hot grease. She put them on a serving plate and you were welcomed to eat all you could hold. Some mornings she made biscuits as big as your fist and they were so tender and good. She knew just how many to prepare for seldom was any more than three or four left.

This stove was well cared for. It was wiped clean every day. Once a month is was covered with stove finish. Was it called Blacking? It needed new stove piping about once a year.

Did you order the Ashley News? Fourteen dollars a year. Do it now. Makes a good present.

By Bucky McCoy ©

At my age I am still fascinated by the Illinois Central for a few short years. I worked for this Rail road. This was in the early nineteen forties. This was still the times of the steam engines. Freight Trains used 6 men to keep things in operation. The train crew consisted of the engineer, Fireman, Head brakeman, Conductor and he was in charge of the train. There was the rear flagman and the rear brakeman. These trains were really run by a dispatcher and he sent messages to various stations telling them how he wanted the train to operate. These messages were called train orders.

Ashley Illinois had an important role. The Louisville and Nashville and the I. C. had a crossing here. The business was handled by Tower men. One hundred twenty trains used this crossing in a twenty four period. Some trains were privileged and they carried produce from the South. If my memory serves me correctly Banana trains prevailed. Some other trains of edible produce were as equally important. There were times a passenger train would take siding to let a train of perishable for Chicago be on its' merry way.

These engines sometimes doubled because the load was too heavy for one. The Box cars were filled with freight and a rail road seal was placed on each door. Many were the cars that carried coal in the trains line up. They hauled just any thing for a fee. There were special made cars for animals. Ashley had what was called stock pens and at certain times animals had do be unloaded for food and water. Seemed like there were more cows than any thing else. Some cars contained wild horses, mules, sheep and hogs

Watermelons were shipped in cars that had wire covered doors. I always wondered how huge loads of chickens were shipped in any kind of weather, I expect the meat was tough when those chicks were butchered . Some trains were made up of refrigerated cars called Reefers. They had a place for ice on each end and was always filled to keep meat and other perishables from spoiling. Sides of beef swinging from the ceiling on meat hooks and I wondered how many sides of beef were swinging as the train rolled on its way to destination.

Rail roaders were a proud lot. You could tell what his occupation was by looking at him. The engineers and fireman wore a cap that let you know they were rail roading and their jobs were engines. I have ridden in a few engines and for one it now sets in the Centralia Park for all to view. Most every time the train was on a stand still the fireman was greasing the engine and wiping it in places. The engines were usually clean. When the trains had a caboose it was called the crummy. Some times the words fit it well. The caboose carried supplies for the trains needs. There was a stove in it and coal was provided to keep it warmer. I liked the cupalo ond here the rear brakeman and flagman road. The Conductor was always doing paper work.

Most trains that were called Locals did all the freight from town to town. Every town on the line had places to do business. No matter if the town had ten houses the train stopped. If you lived in the country you could get the train to stop.

There is a book at the Ashley Library about the History of the Louisville and Nashville Rail road. This is the 1870 era and it was called The St. Louis and Southeastern

You will never know about the Treasures at the Library if you don't visit The Library.

By Bucky McCoy ©

Several years ago the threshing machine was an important part of farm machinery. Seldom used, but just a few short years ago some friends of mine threshed some Red Top Seed, but the machinery is hard to find.

We drive through the country and say, "That wheat will soon be ready and a week or so later we go by the same spot and say, "That wheat is harvested." So what happened ? The wheat came and went and we hardly knew it.

Fifty years or more ago the whet was left in the field and when it was determined the time was right the wheat was cut and put into bundles and men hurried behind and shocked the wheat. I know not how many bundles were in a shock, but it was capped and left to dry. When the shock was just right, along came the threshing machine. I well remember the steam engine pulled all the equipment into the field and set up. This old steam engine was a quiet work horse so to speak. It slipped ever so easy in to its' place and the huge belt was hooked to the threshing machine. Some wagons went to bring in the bundles. Some times two men and some times three hauled huge loads of bundles to the machine. It was kept rather hot for it required steam to get it to perform its duty. Men knew how to handle those three tined forks. Some of he horses worked with out much instructions, but some teams were rather fractious and this wagon usually needed a driver. Some wagons whose horse only needed four commands and they knew what to do as well as the men. A gentle Gee, Haw, Giddyup and Whoa was all that was needed. Some teamsters were so confident in their verbal commands that they folded up the driving lines and hung them on the harness. Going in to unload the driver walked along side and talked to the horses. They understood each other and knew what to do. When there was a wait at the threshing machine the owner might divide a bucked of water for the horses. Maybe a handful of shelled corn for each that he had in his pocket. There was a love for each other.

When the huge straw stack was getting large the rig would be moved to the closer wheat shocks. This took some time but it paid off in the long run. I can't remember how many men worked, but the food was no problem. Mid morning there was food carried to the men. They ate and drank and rested for fifteen minutes. The noon meal was a large one and every one went to the house to eat and horses were watered and rested. All the food was first class. After eating their fill they rested for a few minutes and back to the work of threshing.

This work went on for some times a month or so because all the farmers helped each other. There wasn't any thing as hiring out. Money was a scarce item and if not it would have entailed a lot of book work. Each one helped the other.

Most of the time the same water person worked on every threshing job and he or she was part of the threshing rig. The rig owner furnished a water boy. Many times it was done by a gentle old horse and a spring wagon and a ten year old and occasionally by a girl. Keeping a can of cold water and made rounds over and over and the men drank their fill. The person did not to seem to be in a hurry, but every thing was planned and water was tendered just at the right place at the right time. Boys and girls desired this job and it was usually done by a ten year old that was dependable. On occasion the same person did the job every day but most of the ten year olds soon graduated to farm hands and did hard labor.

Lets see if we can get more people to purchase this paper. It would make an excellent gift for fifteen dollars. The address for ordering is in this paper. Do it today. Can't we have a newer kind of paper drive?

By Bucky McCoy ©

Why can't we put on paper some of the things that happened so many years of the past. They are so entertaining but it was a way of life. We could not have made it through our life with out them. We can tell school stories and many people say, "That did not happen." I have come by Seventy five penny Pen Points. I never knew there was so many. I got seven Pen Holders and one ink blotter. I wanted to find some palmer Method books with which we learned from Miss Addie those compact two spaced ovals. I recently purchased two bottles of ink from Beattys in Nashville for four dollars each. I haven't looked for a slick paper tablet for a nickel, and I doubt if I find one. Every day we had a penmanship class. We used the muscle in our forearm and never scribbled with our fingers. There was a standard way to hold the dip pen and every one did it the same way. How many people today grips a pen or pencil properly. Many oldsters remember how the teachers counted to keep time or hit the desk with a ruler on your knuckles if you were no doing the exercise properly. Many times the exercise did not satisfy the teacher and you stayed after school for half hour or longer. Many of the farm boys had chores to do at home and if they begged to leave all they would hear was why did not you think about in class.

Neatness was very important. Very. Great care was used to keep the paper neat and clean. This was my favorite class. I liked drawing. The school furnished construction paper and patterns. They furnished paste. Usually the same person would go to each desk and leave a small glob of paste. Mind you, it was seldom enough and some kids ate it. It had a good smell. I like to draw horses, rabbits and animals. We would cut them out and paste them to a larger piece of paper. One problem. Some children wasted material. Most of us were the most artistic near Valentines Day. We could address and put in the valentine box. Most tried to make a special one for the teacher and one for a good friend. Most of us made one for some one we did not like and you can imagine what it looked like. We did pictures for Christmas, Halloween and Thanks giving.

These special occasion pictures were placed on the windows. There was not room for all, so teacher picked the best ones. Some times a parent was invited to judge the pupils handiwork. Much of the time the identification was just a number. Students knew their own work.

I must mention the subject I enjoyed. Orthography. Long ago it was eliminated from the curriculum. It was a subject that taught how to spell, How to use punctuations. You could learn the meaning of the words. Who cared? Most every one like Spelling Bees and some students knew about every word in Websters big dictionary. Using this book was one of the few privileges we were allowed with out permission. There was another. A globe of the world hung from the ceiling and could be lowered or raised. This was an important instrument in Geography classes. There were some maps in racks that we used to find Countries.

Recess was an important time of the day. Few got to take advantage of them. Some students spent recesses making up work. Straight A students did not have time to take this time out. The toilets were out side Jobs, so many Just wouldn't use them. Some students can't remember too much about their school years. The ones of Country schools and with one teacher for all grades. Remember? Lets attend the Ashley Library. Your missing a lot by not stopping by.

By Bucky McCoy ©

I talk of fun times I remember well. Some people have passed along stories to me at the Historical room and they bring back memories. Mary and I camped with the Raccoon Ramblers Camping club for twenty five years. I miss the many friends that we made. Two days of fun time a month. I still liked the Weiner roast and ice cream. We always had a fire going and sat around it. It may have been little more than a wisp of smoke. It was a Camp Fire. Most of us were Church People, we had Sunday Morning Church services. Marion was an ordained minister, Two of the ladies could play the portable piano and the Ashley Baptist Church furnished the Hymnals. Many times the Ramblers had twenty five camping units and Marion would ask neighboring campers to attend. The also came and every one had learned that you always had to furnish their own chairs. Seemed like always fun time. Usually ten was bed time and going to sleep to the voices of crickets, Whipper Wills, Coyotes yapping and other mysterious insects voices and very much fresh air caused most of to sleep later than usual. Most of the time the residents of two camping units would fix breakfast.

If you haven't camped out under these circumstances, your missing it. You have to participate to see what goes on. Nothing like you let your imagination lets you think. Next time a bunch of Campers ask you to visit, take advantage of it.

I like the hot dogs cooked over smoldering coals. To be extra good it's best to never purchase cheap wieners. An excellent stick as we call it is a leaf rake with round tines. Stick on a pound for kid because children waste too many on a wood stick. They either drop them in the fire or burn the dog until its crispy.

This weiner placed beween a fresh bun and smathered with condiments makes for a might fine food. There is a gadget made and can be purchased at most sportiig goods places that makes delicious hot pie. Butter two sclices of bread on the out side and the inside use a spoonful of fruit filling. Put the bread together with butter on the out side. Put them in the pie maker and stick in the edge of the fire for five minutes or less and you have made an excellent tasting pie.

I have a special desire for Home Mae Ice crème. Each camper has a special way to make it. Some make the inside with raw ingredients and some use it cooked. To me both are better than the other. You get the metal container, (Mine held 6 quarts) and fill it two thirds and set it in the freezer of course with lid in place. Pack chipped ice around it and add ice cream salt. The salt added to ice makes it freeze hard. Some freezers are electric, but one of mine is made by turning a handle. Turn. Turn, Turn until it can't be turned any more. The electric will shut off by its self. Pack ice tightly around the inside pail. Cover with a sack or and an old rug. Let it set until its real hard, May be 2 hours.

Getting the cream ready for use required special care. Just a bit of salt will ruin every thing. Ice on top be very careful and get it all off. Lid off it was time to pass the dishes. It melted rather quickly due to warm weather. Never can you get your fill of ice Cream.

Camping at a regular camping site it a fine way to go. Most of them have patrols all night long to find out how safe ever one was. Camping is fine way of life.


By Bucky McCoy ©

What happened to the old Victory Gardens, at least the know how for production. Sixty five years ago every one that had a small space it went into a victory garden. Great care was exercised to get the most from the least. The yard that was once mowed with a reel type push mower was converted to a place for six tomato plants and two pepper plants. Rows of Kentucky Wonder Pole beans were super. These beans grew on long vines, in fact Sassafras sprouts made super poles and beans climbed, bloomed and soon beans hung by the peck. These beans had to be picked, stemmed and strings removed. Most that are reading can't remember the taste of beans cooked with a big chunk of smoked bacon A few real small onions put with the water and beans. "Bileum" 2 hours and dump them in a cast iron skillet and fry them down. Some new potatoes about the size of a quarter with the beans. Leave the peelings on. I know most of you haven't eaten this kind of 'Grub', but it's far ahead of a recipe I saw on the Tube. Not taking the space to list ingredients, but for the last fifteen minutes the main ingredient was added. Fresh Green Beans. I was told how delicious they were. She must have only heard about how moms cooked these old time Green Beans. Seldom does any one say, "Yes and don't forget the 15 pods of okra on the beans for the last fifteen minutes."

Earlier I spoke of Tomatoes. Does any one not like vine ripened tomatoes. Let me say that I think the have a better taste when finished ripening off the vine. There are times restaurants serve fried green Tomatoes and customers rave about how tasty they are. Some of the best I ever ate was what we kids made in the summer time fried on a rusty piece of tin heated over a pair of bricks. The recipe is still a secret. My mom used to make what she called just plain Chilli. The recipe was as follows. I have made a lot or two of it. Starting with a peck of peeled and ripe tomatoes in a granite pan. Break up the tomatoes and let them simmer for 30 minutes. Chop 6 nice sized garden onions and eight large bell peppers. Hot peppers as you desire. Toss in a Table spoon of tumeric. ATable spoon mixed pickling spices. Let this mixture until it looks done and add a cupful of brown sugar. And canning salt. Now it needs watching and a lot of stirring. You can put it in canning jars while hot. If you don't can it right a way and you start sampling you will eat it all with a spoon

I like sliced tomatoes with mayo. Tomatoes just don't need the peeling. I like these after a bit of refrigeration. I like Tomatoes.

Do you know of any one who has a recipe for breaded tomatoes? No, not the one you got from a friend. I am talking about the one like mom used to make. I have been told Marys' Café still knows what breaded tomatoes is supposed to taste like.

I once liked moms ketchup. It was so good that it was the drinking kind. She kept it in an old flour chest. It was under lock and key. Some one was always begging for it. It was at its delicious tops on fat back pork that had been cooked with white beans all day on that hot kitchen range. We never see fat back pork. Dad stripped out the pork loin minus the fat. Dad called this lean meat 'Tender Line.' It was the best part of the whole piglet. This chill as we call it was for special cuts of pork.

Some families dried their tomatoes for winters use. The gardens had seventy five producing tomato plants. A far cry from the four plants I first mentioned. Many small tomato plants came up on their own. Red, Yellow, and pink. These were used for Tomato preserves. I see the same tomato today, I think, and are called grape, cherry and other names, but I like their flavor

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© 2006 Wayne Hinton

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