A series of articles written by :
Wilbert "Bucky" McCoy for :
( Ashley, Illinois )
DuQuoin, IL 62832
January 12, 2009
SPIT AND WHITTLE FROM BUCKYS BENCH
By Bucky McCoy ©
There were ways the Government attempted to do something and what was done helped very much. I was a freshman in High School and there was some sort of a project for some students in which they could enroll. I received five dollars a month and I don't recollect how many hours I had to do janitorial work at the school. I must have helped the grade school janitor because I cleaned black board erasers every day. The normal cleaning time was when they would no longer hold any chalk dust. The teachers got their desks dusted every day. I remember instructions were, "Don't move any thing but dust the desk good." The teachers desk wasn't too large. On top were many papers. There were books. The paddle, rather large with holes drilled to back up their orders. The teacher kept it well polished. Those days a paddle or a razor strop was an important tool in teaching. The globe of the world hung from the ceiling and it needed dusting. We emptied waste baskets and cleaned floors.
Girls were used to earn the small monthly check. Not much physical work for them. I can't remember for sure, but real labor was skipped by ladies and they stuck you grading test papers for teachers. They were allowed to clean black boards. Clean chalk trays and minor things.
Many boys could find some summer jobs. All things were done by hand and little machinery available. Yard mowing from small to large were mowed by a reel type push mower. The yard was double mowed and some times triple mowing was required. The yard was hand trimmed and raked. Side walks were swept clean. The person paying to get the yard mowed would thoroughly inspect. She found fault and you did her request. When all was well she would say, "That's good enough." She would pay you from 25 to fifty cents.+
Quite different today. A quick mow with a power mower, and the cost is $20. Some charge more. It is a rare occasion for less than 29 'bucks'. Was the yard trimmed? Was the walks swept.? Did you double mow? Ha-Ha. Did you have to wait two weeks to mow again?
I have helped make gardens. Every one made a garden and I learned how. The garden was spaded and carefully too. Raked to the owners desire. I learned what crops grew well together. Just how much of fertilizer for a plant. Some plants grew well with others. Weeds had to be pulled. I learned some insects were beneficial. To this day tomato worms sends chills down my back. Most of these jobs paid ten cent an hour. You started early and worked hard and sometimes you were 'docked' a dime if it was thought you did not do enough work. Many times you were told to run to the Post Office for the mail. Run was the correct word. No wasted time.
Every one burned wood or coal for heating and cooking. Jobs were available evenings to carry out ashes, carry wood and coal to the back porch. It was a daily job in winter and the 50 cents a week in the winter time was well earned. Summers, the job paid 25 cents because heating stove fuel wasn't needed.
I found in my notes that most fortunate people could afford a house keeper. This lady worked ten hours a day, got every other Sunday off and earned ten dollars a month. I am sure she earned the ten with out any modern conveniences. Is the going price ten dollars an hour in the year 2009. Isn't breaks provided also.
SPIT AND WHITTLE FROM BUCKYS BENCH
By Bucky McCoy ©
Same Old Song
When people start giving things that will soon be destroyed then I will remove the broken record. I got records and a machine on which to play them. I got old news papers on film at the library and nothing to play them on. I don't have any Washington County Gazettes. You know that too. I bet there are many of them near Ashley. Ain't many old houses left in Ashley. Ain't many can say, "I once lived in Ashley." Many of those youngens have forgotten us. I receive mail from people that I had forgotten about. I heard from Janet Lumpee. Surely you remember. Her dad was pastor of the Methodist Church. The Rev. Wayne Burkey. Now you remember, Huh? There are people that lives near me now that were Washington County people. I have been looking for a picture of the Country School south west of Irvington Illinois for a Downs who attended the school. He lives some miles east of where I now live.
Since I have been researching I have found some strange bed fellers. I wonder if computers are good or bad. Some time ago I was trying to locate a person who followed fairs sixty years ago. I got an E mail and all it said was "my name is Eunice and that was the name I was trying to remember."
You just going to have to give in and come to the Library to listen to some stories. I have some written in composition books by May and Shorty. Even Col. Frank Potter. Bud writes one sometimes for this Paper. Looks like more people would become regular subscribers to the Ashley News. Maybe there isn't too much in it, but since Carmen has took it over she will put new life into it.
May be we can lull ourselves into a sense of false security. This Town in the Deep South celebrates many things. I would like to be here for the Old Time Fiddlin' Convention. I know that will be fun. These towns have historical societies. They work at it. They get grants. Our home town has lost its pep to some extent. I went to a Methodist Church Bible study on Thursday morning. We had 14 in attendance and a snack for lunch. It happens every Thursday. What if they would say "no use to have it nobody will come?" This town I am referring to is half the size of Ashley. The have a grant for a new fire truck being made now. Christmas they baked Pork Butts and sold them for 25 bucks.
We live in Alabama but part of the town is in Florida. Piggy-Wiggly in Florida doesn't charge tax on food. Just north of town the Creek Indian has a huge Casino. This reservation covers a bunch of acres. The reservation is really self supporting; Well the government furnishes some things. I like the Pow-Wow during Thanksgiving week. Tribes from all over the country attend.
Good Old Ashley has a wonderful park. Some things can't be used. A big building can be rented in several sections. We should be known as the town where the action is.
I should do a better job of liking every one. We should remove negative words, negative feelings and make some us projects. I suppose If I don't like things, try to do something about it. What else can we lose? We still have two sparsely filled church buildings and a grade school. I reckon it's up to us to do something? Right? Right!
SPIT AND WHITTLE FROM BUCKYS BENCH
By Bucky McCoy ©
APPLE BUTTER DAY or TWO
The peeling of apples was one by a hand cranked apple peeler. I'll call it a gadget. It was hand screwed on to the kitchen table by a thumb screw. The way it worked was the operator would impale an Apple on three prongs protruding from a shaft and with the right hand he would turn a crank. Three, four turns removed the peel and it was kicked of in a tub or basket. Surprisingly enough a basket of apples could be peeled rather quickly. Two or three people sat around with paring knives and cut the apples in quarters and removed the core and the seeds. These quarters were cooked an hour or so, until soft..
The same day some body would gather tree limbs or any thing that would burn under the kettle. It was piled close by where we were going to make the apple butter. We would take a chopping axe and cut pieces to desired lengths.
The next day after mamma had scoured the big copper kettle with baking soda and vinegar it was set on an iron bracket. I can't remember if it was three legged or four, but it set about eight inches off the ground.
Dad had an amount of wood, ready to light. Newspapers were under to make the wood burn. Dad fires it off and others dumped in apples. A few at first, but a person who was skilled at stirring manned the paddle. It was attached to a pole about six feet long and the cooking process was on its way. Apples were added gradually until the kettle couldn't hold any more. Apple butter was in the making. There was no let up of stirring until it was finished. Several people had been delegated as stirrers. The change out every twenty minutes or so. This was a hard job. Great care was exercised to keep the apples from burning and sticking. Stir, stir and more stirring. After three or four hours the experts determined when to add the sugar. I can't remember the amount of sugar, but a dash of oil of cinnamon was added. Three ounces or a bit more. The so called apple butter experts decided when it was finished. When all signs of sugar disappeared it was stirred another half hour. When the sugar was added some fire was pulled from under the kettle. Little fire at a time was pulled away and after all fire was gone it was stirred a few minutes and "Presto" it was done. Hand clapping an cheering was the order of the day. Some body would yell out, "Time for sampling. Bring on the bread and butter". Festivities were over. Time to fill the old green fruit jars put on the jar rings and the Zinc lids. Screw the lids on real tight. Ready for the fruit cellar.
SPIT AND WHITTLE FROM BUCKYS BENCH
By Bucky McCoy ©
Pondering the Good Old Days
Homes need one piece of nice furniture. A Seth Thomas clock was a nice piece of furniture and a great gift for special occasions. It was called a practical gift and would last as long as you needed. What a beautiful work of art. I look at what these clocks cost. Some were selling for $5:50 and the most expensive was $165. They, for the most part were eight day meaning they could be of service with out winding. Made of Mahogany and brass and fancy worked. The larger homes had larger clocks and many times set inside the front door for visitors to view. There are some that have served the house holder faithfully for a hundred or more years.
There is such a clock in the Historical Room at the Ashley library and never misses a minute, unless Bill Shelton forgets to wind it.
Any one who has attended the Ashley Schools can see it again at the Library. There is a banister cap for those who have touched it hundreds of times. It is half worn away.
What else do I remember that really served a purpose? Many things that are not around. The old kitchen range. Many were large and many were larger. They served the entire house hold. They could cook the most delicious food on top. They could bake flaky crusted pies. Hot water from the reservoir on the end of the stove. Kept the kitchen hot and furnished soot that fell on washed clothes hanging on the drying lines. This same stove cooked rabbit and gravy, fried chicken that had been cooked in pure ( no-no) hog lard. Delicious sausage and eggs complimented by biscuits that just came out of the oven. Always on the table was a half gallon of sorghum molasses recently warmed on the back burner of The Old Kitchen Stove. This stove worked 24 hours a day, never tiring. I can taste to this day the pork Back bones cooked with Great Northern beans or back bones and home made Saurkraut. This stove heated water in the copper wash boiler that covered the two front burners. Many of the dirtier pieces were cooked in this water and it used lye soap. Where was the lye soap made? On the old kitchen stove, of course.
I remember my Mother called every thing old. We lived near the Rail road. We had many visiting bums searching for food. Mom would say, "tell that old bum I'm not at home. Carry some water to the old Cow. Run that old Rooster off my clean porch, give these table scraps to Old Spot, or the old Chicken Hawk is trying to catch an old hen."
I am old but no one tries to catch me. I had a wonderful winter. Met many different people. Subscribe to this paper for some one.
SPIT AND WHITTLE FROM BUCKYS BENCH
By Bucky McCoy ©
It won't belong Now
It not only brings friends and neighbors together to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. I have seen pies, breads, jellies and jams on tables. These farmers greeting their last years with greetings, smiles and hand shake. Their garden offerings are of the hardiest type and as time went on they offered more tender items. There are times one may find a large coffee urn and some paper cups offered to friends. Every one has a favorite vegetable or fruit. Mine being green beans and pink tomatoes. I happened to enjoy fried Zucchina, but this a versatile veggie.
Some of the people offering their wares do it as a hobby. There are offerings to earn a few dollars. Those who grow large quantities could sell it to whole sales, but the fun would not be there. I have heard some great stories while getting a bakers dozen of sweet corn. I hear some say, "Let me give you something new to try. If you like it I will have plenty next week."
People that return every week are "regular customers." They have been around for years and their children who used to run around and knock off a tomato on occasion are now coming with their shopping bag and a child. There are signs around saying, "These vendors grow what they sell" Vendor talk about how they spray for insects and how they plant kinds of produce to deter them. I have heard about how great Lady Bugs are for the garden. Never kill a Praying Mantis.. They eat harmful insects. Bees are important to fruits and vegetables.
I liked these vendors that have good stories to tell. Many stories may be told, but they best prove a point. Every item is price marked.. This man had strawberries. One kind kept well in the frige. Another kind made good preserves but the one he sold the most of was the best to freeze. Great care must be given and use very little sugar. They were almost too sweet. He offered you a sample, but these berries were more expensive.
I like sliced Cucumbers, sliced and covered with ranch house dressing carried by most stores. I have seen some bottles at markets and the vendor would go into ordeal about how good one was with the other. I can't always find "Mush-Melons", but Water melons are available. Not many people remember those large "Tom Watson" Water melons we drove our Model "A" Ford to Carmi for ten of them. Best in the west, we would say These Farmers Markets are great for the stomach.
In Ashley on the west side, John Mattews had a large truck patch. A large supply of produce was under a roof and priced self service. Laying close by was a hammer and piece of iron. A sign saying, "Hammer here for John." Another sign said,"Pay for in this jar."
Did you order this paper for the childs birth day? $18
This article was written for :
Good Old Days Magazine
Hog Killing Time
By Bucky McCoy ©
Small Wild items in seasons only lasted a short time. Morrell Mushrooms, Wild Greens, Wild straw Berries, Walnuts, Hickory nuts, Black Berries. In the spring we caught fish from the pond. Blue Gill and Catfish. All these foods were delicious, but I chose Hog Killing Time for the best.
Hog Killing time provided so much and what a variety. Naming some. Brains and scrambled Eggs Head Cheese, Pickled pigs feet, Back Bones, Spare ribs, Fried liver, Boiled Tongue, Leaf Lard, Cracklings, Tender loin and my favorite, John McCoy's Pork Sausage
Not every butcher knew the secret ingredients. Seventy percent of assorted lean pieces and thirty percent fat coming from the special pieces were run through a hand Grinder using a course blade. Added carefully was pre mixed spices. Black Pepper, Red Pepper, Salt and Sage. Meat was fed into the Grinder again and carefully emptied in a tub. It was formed in a large ball and set for twenty-four hours. After this it had a better flavor. There were many ways to make delicious pieces. I like Head Cheese after it cured for a month. It is made with scrap pieces of Pork.
I liked a toy that was the product of butchering. The men saved the bladder and cleaned it well and filled it to capacity with air. Then it was tied tightly and let dry for a few days. The balloon would take a lot of rough playing. It held air well and it would be usable for several months.
We had delicious meat and lard into summer time. Nothing better than cured ham, sliced thick bacon and these pieces were so tasty when used as seasoning. Mother canned cooked Pork Sausage in glass fruit jars.
By Bucky McCoy ©
We had things with which to till soil. What was a breaking plow? It was a plow that was pulled by a nice team of farm horses. We had ten horses and part of them would work with a certain horse. For team work. Others did not seem to care, but some would work on a certain side. These horses had their "Druthers."
A few of these animals would "Druther" not work at all and it was traded away when some one would take a chance with it. Most lazy horses had a mean streak. They were like a model 'T' Ford car. When you tried to start them you could expect a kick.
I have read farm sale bills of modern times. A farmer decides to sell all his Equipment. Today, I don't recognize the equipment, but I have a bill at the Library's Historical room. It is dated 1849. The reason for the selling was he was moving to Oregon. Some items listed as a Spinning wheel, 40 pounds of soft soap, a 40 gallon barrel of whiskey, 6 oxen, 6 hound dogs and five were soft mouth, an Ox cart, a rifle and 20 gallons of brandy. The other item was listed was 4 Slaves. I have seen slaves listed else where selling for $900 was the price.
I like to read poetry. I thing that most poems tell a story. I like the one, namely the old kitchen stove. Thirty two verses. I never learned to recite it in school. Why did I learn "The Village Blacksmith?" I reckon it was due to expecting a "Whuppin" if I didn't learn it. (I wonder if teachers took a college class on how to properly do Whuppins?)
These modern day farms don't have many horses around. What would a farmer use one for? They had one years ago to do odd jobs. Plow the garden. Plant "Taters". Pull a sled to the creek to get water. Keep grass eaten out of the yard. Some times for kids to ride. I am an old kid and never rode a horse. I had a brother-in-law , Simon Christmas, who trained and drove trotting and pacing horses as a livelyhood and never rode a horse.
A hundred years ago you either used live horse power or walked. What an improvement over a team of oxen. Where did the ox come from? Stop by the library and I will explain it to you. You can help a friend by giving the Ashley news. For 18 dollars it gives for a year. Address is on this page.
By Bucky McCoy ©
I read in an old Ashley News that the first McKenzie reunion was held on the fourth of July The year being 1940 with fifty four in attendance. Some of the McKenzie tribe may have attended Number one. Did you? This stemmed from an annual affair of celebrating Aunt Mandy McKenzies birthday. She was born on October 5th. This loveable and likeable old lady was the wife of the late Stephen McKenzie, so this made them parents of Pete and Monroe McKenzie They spent their entire life in the area.
This affair stemmed around a home cooked meal, I guess we call it POT Luck. Aunt Mandy was born in 1847 and she passed away in 1947. That was a month or so of being a Centurean, I think that is what they are called. I don't know if that's the way to spell it. Any way
This reunion has been held in various places through out Southern Illinois. Ashley seems to be the favorite place due to available facilities.
The gathering used to give prizes for various things that happened Mamie McKenzie gut the prize for the oldest there. I guess she was born before any one else, Huh? Leroy McKenzie had daughter Denice in attendance and she was youngest. Two years old.
The passing of time has just about removed any names who attended the first reunion. I can remember talking to some of these people, Mom, Fern McKenzie and daughter of Charles McKinzie (He spelled his name with an I) and Martha Mirinda Mckinzie (nee) Church wasn't much on Mixing with anyone. I take after My Mom. (Bashful Bucky)
This editorial I'm talking about had all the names of people in attendance and if you were on the list I did not recognize it.
I hope that some way you can get a copy of this paper. I was hoping I would have sample papers and some body there to inter view some of the McKinzie-McKenzie clan. I will be there and between me and Francis, Maybe Mary we got stories to tell. I have a friend, not here, his first name is Walter and he is older than I. He is an inspiration for he always says before any thing else, I tell you the truth. 'I like that.'
I say, "I tell you the truth about my starting a Historical room at the Ashley Library and It's loaded with area History. I did not get much monetary help either. People like 'us' McKenzies have lots of stories you could send me. You have pictures you could send me of relatives and people, places and things from the area. If you bring me $18 dollars I will see that the Ashley News printers gets it and you can read some good stories in it. Thats for a years worth of information. To some this story ought to be worth eighteen dollars. Most of you know Francis, The man sitting in an Electric wheel chair has the information on this "DOUINZ". Have him show you Bucky McCoy. So don't forget Sunday, May 24th at the Ashley Park."YUNDERSTAND?"
This article was written for :
Good Old Days Magazine
I made Candy
By Bucky McCoy ©
I still buy this bar. It is still eaten the right way. I have to search, but its there. When I give directions on how to eat it you will remember when you could buy a four ounce piece for a dime. I buy them now for a dollar plus tax. These pieces were made in Centralia, Ashley, Montgomery and Sulphur Springs. I did not forget to give the directions for eating because you know picking peanuts from the caramel and eating each peanut. The caramel was so delicious because it was cooked to perfection with quality products. The fudge was so yummy. I haven't seen a Butter Nut in years. I don't know how many million I have helped make.
While readers scan this story they will ask them selves this question? Do I know this writer? He must be ninety years old and they are right.
To make a tasty, quality and a candy bar you enjoy takes many peoples input. Each person during the manufacturing process has a job that must be done exactly the same over and over. Doesn't take long to use a tanker that has forty thousand plus pounds in its tanks. A Railroad car of sugar. A rail car that contains corn Syrup. These are not secret ingredients. Many candy makers use them plus so many other ingredients that are too numerous to mention. We need to mention I have an old Cook Book that will allow a Chef to make food from a recipe. The ingredients, some I have never heard of. Measuring was by dollops. Hollow handful. Butter size of an egg, salt and pepper to taste, four fingers scoop of lard. Heat oven until you can hold hand in and count to ten. Cook until done. My wife whose mom lived in Anna Illinois could cook but to get a recipe from her, she would say, "You will just have to watch me. I can't write it down." I can't say the dishes she cooked did not always taste the same.
When candy is made and the formula is followed, there should be no variation in finished goods. I told my people that a pound was a pound. An ounce was an ounce. Cooing to the degree reqired meant just that,
I read labels on most items I buy. Try it. You might enjoy it.
Illinois Central Signal Gang
By Bucky McCoy ©
I worked from Centralia to Cairo Illinois and Bluford to Fulton plus any branch line,
The work was not easy because I wasn't skilled. Starting out as a laborers helper. Skilled personnel were wireman, pole climbers, lead men. If you showed any skills or interests your pay increased with qualifications.
Our new home was called living quarters were not the greatest seventy years ago. They were free and water and coal was free.The cars in which we lived were called bunk cars. There were beds of sorts built in and each employee furnished his own bedding. II don't believe there was air conditioning nor plumbing. We ate meals in the town in which we worked. Those were the days we ate three meals for a dollar. We worked five and a half days each week.
I was hired at Ashley Illinois as well as Al Wreath.
I remember that the crossing gates were put in plus the Tower and Depot work. I can't remember what else. We worked in different towns. The camp cars were moved on Saturday after noon. I am thinking that we stayed in some towns for three months and others just one week. Many changes were being made and for the better. We spent a lot of time on the Bluford section installing spring switches. This allowed trains to exit passing tracks with out labor. I started climbing Poles. These were installed on the I.C.R.R. Cut Off. Many poles I have climbed and did line wiring. I once made a statement I had climbed every pole Centralia to Mounds, Bluford to Fulton, Kentucky and Carbondale to East St. Louis.
Ashley Illinois was full of rail roading people. There was a hundred twenty rail road checks twice monthly. (Grey Hound had fifty checks for Ashley.)
These Signal gangs were what kept rail road wheels turning safely. The I. C. had two gangs on this division. The other was 'Bossed' by a fellow called Bulldog Yates. The L & N had its' signal gang and it was run by James W. Millspaugh.
Many Railroad jobs were handled by Ashley residents. The list is too long to try to list them. The over the road men, to name a few were George Martz, Engineer, Railway mail clerk, Charles Logan, Edward Barrett was a baggage man..
I am at the library Historical Department and if you stop by I can furnish you with many Rail Roaders names.
Do you remember when Ashley was the Cross Roads of Mid-America? How many different Ashley Papers? Have you decided to give this paper as a gift?
I don't mind the rat race, If I could get a little more Cheese
By Bucky McCoy ©
I visit the Ashley Cemetery, for the time being on a temporary basis. I was parked where my wife is interred and a lady woke me by shaking me. I came to life and she asked, "Are you all right, are you all right?" I answered by saying, "I think so." She countered with, "It looks like you can find a better place to nap". Why uh why here? My wife, Mary was buried right there and I pointed to her grave sight. I was sleeping to see if I was going to like it. I am being buried right there too.
I have no thoughts as to who she was, but she looked me straight into my eyes for a few second, turned and went to her car and drove away. I hesitate to say what state issued her license plates.
This cemetery fascinates me because My mother spent a lot of time visiting graves. She always took me along. She would tell me about people she knew. She had uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters. Seems like years ago every one was related, if no more than just a name. Some ladies were aunts and others were Aints.
We walked to the Cemeteries about three times a week. We would crawl through the fence into a jungle of under growth or over growth into a bigger jungle. On most graves in the Woodrome Cemetery, the only markers, if any was a saw mill cut slab of wood with information burned on them. Time took care of those markers and now only God knows who is where. I have searched for something that indicates where people are buried. I have not found any. My only hopes is searching for buried tomb stones.
There are answers tucked away in your old camel back truck that is so important to the City of Ashley. People are keeping it from Ashley Library Historical Room. Bucky has so much gathered in one place. You can visit and see and tell or bring something to add.
We have plenty of looking and reading space. I have it hard to believe we have pictures of all High School Graduating Classes.. Even the 1936 year book that was made by June Gurney Potters dad. We have all of them. The Old School Clock hangs on the wall of the History room. Melvin Schindelar, a former student repaired it twenty years ago. It keeps time as good as ever. That is if Bill doesn't forget to wind it once a week I sure would like the paddles, razor strops, pointers, yard sticks, rulers and pictures of hand prints that Miss Addie used on me. She got a lot of exercise trying to correct Buddy, Willard, Red, Bucky and some not so regular. We thought she got her daily exercise that way and girls were locked in supply room, cloak room, stand in corners, to principal office and standing in the hall. Some had the advantage of wearing Dunce hats.
You can give a copy of the Ashley News to a friend. Come to Library Historical and remind me of some Truths from long ago.
Who has the police equipment? Tell me about "Movie" The minor league base ball player. Where is Winnies Fiddle?
By Bucky McCoy ©
Eighty years ago I had over a hundred nice pets. White Rats. They were fun with which to play. I had cages for half of them and the rest went where ever they wished. I gave some of them to friends. My neighborhood had so many rats that many people tried to locate the Pied Piper. There was enough cats around to use the white pets but they seemed to love the white ones. I would see a cat devouring a rat, but always a gray rat. These cats kept the white coat clean on their little bodies.
Every one enjoyed any small animals for pets. Some time past I wrote about my pet crow. How we came about having him. There was a severe wind-storm that blew trees down and how he was blown against the garage door. He grew to full sized, and he learned to talk. He was such a pest. He always wanted to sit on some bodies shoulder and how he bothered the umpires at Base ball games.. He would take marbles out of our games. Candy from our pockets.
My sister, Helen would find a birds nest and especially Red birds and help feed baby birds. It did not take but a few days until the nestlings loved her. Sooner or later they became a nuisance. These birds hung on the screen door and chirped loudly. They refuse bird feed from their real parents. It was a full time job to feed hungry birds. They soon began bringing friends.
This one time it was fine. Most stayed through the winter. When it was nest building time again all built homes. What a chatter of bird talk. Dad determined that a cook out would be great at the camping grounds ten miles away. This is the time I learned birds were mind readers. The place where we had Cook outs at home; Seeing was believing. What a mess. The floor was covered with nesting material. These birds kept the area white washed. We determined coming Saturday we could go to the State Camping ground.
Saturday we had every thing in the car and ready to go. Mom said, "This is one Saturday we can have fun."
We arrived at our camp sight feeling great. We started unloading. Baskets of food were set on the tables and we were happy. Happy until dad asked, "Am I seeing things?" The birds had found us. They had begun checking food, White washing the table and they presented plenty of bird chatter.
Mother exclaimed, "I have had enough". We all agreed and dumped the food. This made the birds happy. They were eating with un-invited guests. They seemed quite angry, but contented until two hungry Raccoons appeared on the scene. They were really angry when birds were chased away. Was it a day of chasing. We cleaned our area, loaded the car and on our way. Dad turned the car onto the PUB parking lot. Inside we had a delicious meal. Our birds watched through the window. Some sat on the cars roof. What a day.
Reunions and Stories
By Bucky McCoy ©
Just a few Sundays ago I attended a family re-union. It was a fun time for me to hear people say, "Did you know?" I told a few of what I called funnies. People laughed. I wondered why some laughed until they cried. Kathy and I talked a bit about writing and things we liked. She enjoyed science-fiction. The fiction I like, well you'll see. I am thinking that this column is some time humorous to me is because I am a bit on the illiterate side. I throw over the fence, the cow, some hay. If you know what I mean, Verne.
Was doing the laundry by a newlywed a very scientific operation? It must have been because nearly a hundred years ago. I heard the
Monday lessons on proper ways to do washings. It may not have been the right way, but I heard many of the wrong ways. I have heard women talk
about Someone's washday. Never about their own perfect wash. New neighbors and newlywed ladies were the topics of conversations and washing
wasn't left out.
Many times a young couple had more faults than any one living inside a square block.
There were some ladies saying I wish that kids Mom would have (teached) her to hang out a washin'. Another said, "Who ever heard of hanging shirts by the shoulders. She never wiped the line. Every piece will have a dark streak. She don't hang nothing together." This was a lot to say about hanging out clothes. I can see it's little she knows about sorting clothes. She was not finished talking. I guess she doesn't know that washings are done on Monday. Auntie said, "Never a washing on Sunday.for, Gods sake." She needs to be told that un-mentionables are to be hung behind sheets. We know how nosy neighbors talk. Mom said, "She doesn't hang clothes out when it's freezing. She doesn't know they will freeze dry."
I decided I would ask what was, "Don't wash clothes on Sunday?" Mother answered with, "Shut up your mouth. I'll tell you." "Some Day."
I insisted she tell me more. She did. "Shut up or go in the house."
Auntie said, "You had better listen to mom." I listened what Aunti told me. I did what I was to do. Be seen and not heard.
This lady, and I will leave her nameless said, "She never takes her clothes pin bag in the house. They are not the good type either." I wasn't going to mention it, but last summer a Wren built a nest in it.the bag and that kid there tore the nest up." He was asking about Sunday washing. May be he can explain some thing he knows about. Tearing up a poor little birds home. ON SUNDAY.too." The only one he had. Poor Little Bird.No home. I was sent to the house and as I left I heard, "Wait till your dad hears about this. In fact I'll let you tell him." Of all the Nerve. I told Dad. Mom was never the same because dad said, "Take good care of my Boy." Too make the story short Dad Said, "That was good riddance Was that bird what caused those spots on my work pants?" These words were added, "From now on I want my work clothes ironed,"
I liked the part where daddy patted me on the back and said, "You are a fine son. My favorite son. You know maybe you ought to take my boy to Church.and no more bird nest stories. Tear Um All up, Son."
What, Where, Why
By Bucky McCoy ©
I lived to be ninety and still don't know much about what is going on. I believe that the least said is the easiest mended. I could say things that are not news worthy, but fun to read. Things that are written in this paper isn't read in many homes due to not spending $18 for a subscription. If you don't read the Ashley news there is something missing in your life. I have written stories for years. I don't know what that has to do with the paper. I can't do much that's correct. I try to sell subscriptions. Many times I hear, "I didn't know Ashley had a paper. I am not familiar with the news items because I don't know very many people." I know what the devotional by Carmin means.
I could write copies of stories that I send to out of state papers, but its different. One thing that sticks in my mind is Hurricanes. Who cares about them in our town. The list is long. The Mayor wrote a piece about what the town has to offer, but for the lack of space he had to omit some things.
The thing I like about these important jobs is the pay. We have things and are asked, "Where did you get the money?" You just don't say who gives what. Many times when a mission is accomplished we hear, "We didn't need that." We need a museum and we can have a building and lots for the asking. Free. I don't know what that has to do with Library support. Richview is in the Library district.
We once had it and now e lost it. Ashley had a large school district. I can't believe some facts like Ashley had tuition students. Woodlawn seniors came to Ashley High School Du Bois, Beaucoup, Irvington students came to High School District 100.
I have said that a driver could purchase gasoline in fifteen different places. Ask me what the main street in Ashley was called. How many places in Ashley to buy food not including John Mathews vegetable market. Yes, five Churches in the area. Three doctors of Medicine, Three dentist. Numerous places to eat. Carrie changed locations often, but had home cooked food. We have at the Library Historical the Dental License of Albert Berry who was also a carpenter. 1916. The year the new School building opened and we have all High School Class pictures. The old school building burned in 1913.
There are many questions people have about the area and the answers are at the Ashley Library. Some questions don't have a good answer. Several years ago I was talking to some young boys and one asked this question. What did you watch on television when you were a little boy? That little boy is well grown up and I don't remember whom he was. If you remember tell me who you were.
I keep hoping we will have more people visit the Historical department 70 Nth Second St. in Ashley. If you haven't been there, please come armed with questions and pictures and be pleasantly surprised. I have questions too like "Bugs bunny, did you find a picture of Henry Symons?" That is a logical question. Few know Symons farm was east of Ashley. A big dairy farm in its day. He delivered milk and products on door steps in Ashley. How many boys in town learned to fly a plane? Thanks Scrivy. Where was Golden Rule Grocery Store? Progress Pigeon Farm?
Do you remember
By Bucky McCoy ©
I have written some things by request. Many I could write and don't. Its happen more than once, "Bucky, that isn't so." Some of the "isn't so-s" makes me chuckle when I get a letter or call and tell me they had forgotten about the mentioned item.. Some times I may use a name or initials and later I am told about the article. If by phone we can both laugh. I have a friend and if I am in doubt I ask her. She will have me an answer for she will remember. I ask, "Do you remember about" and she may think a minute and say, "My lands yes, I do now but I had forgotten all about." Between the two of us we could tell a lot of I'd forgot all about. I have a friend of which I have few, but when I think about something and she knows but this I like, "Better off to let sleeping dogs lie." I remember those words very often.
I hear from people on the net that I thought was gone forever. Not much to mention about our conversation because that isn't much news. The Ashley Paper is once becoming a news paper. I have hundreds of old Ashley papers. It was in the better papers in the area, but of course it is an opinion and mine are not worth the paper they are printed. These were full of news then
What I like, others called junk. I know a lot of stories that I like, but who cares? A story is just that.I visit some with a man and his grand parents were slaves. Lots of stories I find hard to believe, but I am told he is telling you right. The state took his license and he can't drive any more. He retired when he was eighty and he adds, "that was twenty six years ago." He is an avid checker player and does odd jobs for people. Some times he comes to church and shakes hands with most every one. I think its odd because people don't shake hands with every one.
That isn't news, is it? I like to write 'em. Many don't like "em." I call them, "Space Takers." Not much for news.
The song I used to hear and wondered why any one would sing, "Jimmy cracks corn, and no body cares." Marge has a Puppet at the library and I call it Winnies Grand son. Nuff said about Winnie but we have a raccoon puppet that I tell a "LongTail" about. My grammer is poor, my spelling isn't the best. I think a tail is attached to something, mostly animals. Tales are truth that may not so well told nor under stood.
I like to talk about Celebrities I have met. Don't Reckon I ever shook hands with a President of the United States, but several people have. I could tell about experiences I've had but who cares. I have one about a man in Atlanta to St. Louis flight. A great one. He has several pages on the net.
I did not think in my limited space that I get information from Aged Ashley papers, They are now on state Archives and S I U Carbondale. I have them put on reels of tapes, but nothing to run them with, but I am getting there.
I use the two liner, (WHO CARES). Some Ashley people still have an interest in our City. I could name them that has helped me with Buckys Historical Room at the Library along with cash and material things for which they need thanks,but mostly I hear, "Don't tell any one". I could publish names and that would be news.
I will get around to saying all local areas had a correspondent.
By Bucky McCoy ©
A short time ago the Ashley Library had a book sale. I always buy things I don't need and this little Southern Illinois Town had some of these books. Nostalgia comes and nostalgia goes. I was delighted to see a big book with a brown cover and I know just about all the words I ever heard of was between its shining brown covers. It makes sense that ninety percent of its words had never been scanned with a human eye. I am thinking it was a useless item in its surroundings. I always found that the times I needed a dictionary I was far away from the Library.
I let my mind drift away into my child hood about other things I needed about as bad as a hole in the head.
I like to think about my good times about what, when, where and who, but now food and what is tops on the list. I first get to enjoy food from the Bread of Life on Sunday Mornings. This food doesn't have calories, but who needs calories? Not I said the little red hen. Being refueled with Gods word I need some "grub" if you know what I mean. You can spend time driving around the country and look for a parking lot full and cars with a Clergy sticker on the wind shield. When you find these you are at the right place. The PUB in Ashley is one of these places. Once inside the building a table is a scare item. While looking around you will see chicken bones piled high in front of men. They are wearing black suits and black ties. White shirts, stiffly starched and a napkin tucked in at the neck you are in fried chicken country. Could we carefully choose the right words 'second heaven'. These large and juicy pieces of chicken are the best in the west. Fried to perfection by the owner who doesn't allow the frying to an unskilled cook.. All you care to eat at one low price. Those mashed potatoes have to be red ones. They are seasoned with real butter and that gravy, shut my mouth. Milk gravy. You can't brag too much on the roll and spread but who needs them any way. One word of warning. Too much salad is served and if you eat too much of it there isn't much room for chicken. You came for number one anyway.
Nostalgia? My mom always raised frying chickens. We started eating them every Sunday when they weren't much bigger than a Pigeon. We learned to love the taste of fried chicken. So delicious each piece led to another.
Mother would say,"You don't have to eat the bones."
Talk about nostalgia. Preacher H. W. Sweeten live close to us during childhood. A hells fire and damnation preacher was an Evangelist who preached to twenty five thousand or more all over the world A very large apple tree was growing in his yard.
He insisted we use the very large apples. One of the uses was Apple pie. He would accept a pie mother would offer. Mom used home made butter in the crust. The bottom crust was browned in side and brushed with egg white. Apples a plenty, well sugared and fresh cinnamon and pieces of butter covered with crust number two. Top brushed with egg white and baked to perfection. All four of them. What else can I say?
By Bucky McCoy ©
Many times and it was years ago when Ashley had a lot of Doinzez going on. Pictures on the walls of the Ashley Library Historical department can attest to that.
Men wore suits of clothing and a hat too. Bicycles were also decorated.
There was always a Doinz at the Cemetery on Decoration day, This was the first big on of the year. The Cemetery was mowed. This done with men who were skillful with a mowing blade. Meanwhile carpenters were building a plat form for speakers who came from other Cities. Most always two speakers and a preacher from else where did the talking. Local dignitary and preachers had there time. When meal time came around it was dinner on the grounds. Many people came by the wagon load and set food on the table. Many were carried to the small cemetery in food baskets. The drink was several ten gallon milk cans of water and not too cool lemonade. Food on the table, a blanket on the ground it was time for the blessing on the food. Men were important, so they ate first. Women ate second, but much of their time was waiting on men. Once men were on the ground they did not return to the table. There second helpings and fruit pie was delivered to a, "Hey, bring me." The kids always had over filled plates, on the way to a place on the ground staggering and spilling. There were different ways of eating. Men ate fast and much. Some grunted like pigs and on occasion would say, "That sure is good grub." The children for the most part had lost their manners, if they had ever had any. Most of the ladies ate slow and always more than one talking. There were a few that ate as much as a man. The fourth of July was celebrated the same way. Decorations were different and celebration and parade on main street. Labor Day was about the same. I was the last big Doinz of the year. It was scaled down, but was quite large.
What happened? Ashley is one of the best places in the world to celebrate. We have a beautiful park and facilities to match. The Friends Of The Library will have their fourth annual Chili supper the 17th of October. That will be in the air conditioned building in the Park. This is an up town Doinz too. This Chili is made from the best ingredients. The hot dogs ain't the cheap ones either. You don't have to believe me. Ask another truthful person. Imogene and the Royal Neighbors are going to raise money for the Friends of library and the historical department. That big purse she is carrying is full of raffle tickets. If you need a winters supply of grub, win that wheel barrow full of food.
If you can't use all the food give some to me. I don't want the wheel barrow. That means work. I am still too light for heavy work and too heavy for light work I am just right size to eat Chili the 17th of Ocober, a hot dog or two and several pieces of cake. If there is a Doinz you ought to attend, this is it. Ain't I right Charlie? Who said that?
Put this news paper on your Christmas list. WhY do you keep putting it off?
Trains and Food
By Bucky McCoy ©
Eighty years ago I lived in the town of Ashley, Illinois. The only town in which the Louisville and Nashville Rail Road crossed the Illinois Central Rail Road. Many times in a days work a hundred twenty-five different trains used the facilities. Cars were set out for the opposing railroads most every thing eighty years not happening.any more.
Rail was the main way of shipping every thing. Cattle car loads of swine,and some sheep went to St. Louis market via the L & N. Train cars of fresh produce was transported in Reefers, as we called them and was loaded with several tons off ice in each end of the car. Illinois Central had a fast freight or express train loaded with Bananas. The ones who remember it was BC 4.
Anna Illinois surely was the produce shipping capital of Illinois.
Trains would set for hours while being loaded. Many car loads of strawberries, Tomatoes, Peppers, cucumbers. Green beans and much more.
The two rail roads furnished transportation for people. Passenger trains also had mail cars and many bags of mail was loaded and unloaded at Ashley.
Ashley had an Express office and many boxes of baby chicks changed directions at Ashley. Farmers have shipped cans of cream to various places. You could ship by express. I was privileged to see several coops of carrier pigeons came in with instructions saying. Please release these Pigeons at eleven AM. At eleven they were released. The birds circled a few time and they all headed south bound hoping some would reach destination, New Orleans.
The depression was having much affect on traveling men out of work. The trains cars some times carried many "Hoboes". Most were leaving families searching for work. They always needed drinking water. Some ask for a sandwich due to their not being able to buy food. For the most part these men would work, but no one could pay for work. Those were the days when needs were different than now. Can you imagine no farm tractors, No air planes. Very few automobiles. Families raised their own food, had two dozen chickens for eggs, a cow for milk. Every one needed coal oil to use in lamps.
Most people hunted and harvested wild game. Rabbits, Quail. Most families raised three pigs for family meat and lard. Nothing wrong with back bones and kraut. Tender line? Many have never heard of it. Head cheese dipped in vinegar. Livers wurst? Yum-yum. My favorite food is green Beans. Kentucky Wonder pole beans. Four pounds scrubbed and strings removed. I like a piece of Jowl meat chopped and added with some chopped onion. A hand full of chopped onion. Slow cook in a cast iron Dutch oven for four hours. Don't let them boil dry, nor don't let them stick. Time to consume some beans, Barbaras' corn bread smeared with butter. I have to stop talking as I have to quit this computer. The foods take me back a long time
Where did you get That?
By Bucky McCoy ©
I have at the Ashley Library Historical Room many items that bring out the words from visitors. "Where did you get That?" Due to my being around longer than most I know more. I have Albert (Buck) Berrys diploma at the time he became a dentist. I knew Buck through Church. Many years ago he determined he wanted to go to Spain. He did just that by working on a cattle boat. He was gone six months. He did not see too much due to his being in the bottom of the boat. He saw Spain a few short days until he boarded the boat back to the good old U. S. of A. I never knew him to do much dental work. He had a dentist chair in one of the big rooms that was in house near the school. I have one small tool from his assortment. His main occupation was Carpentry and Brick Laying.. One of his handi-works is in the Ashley IOO F cemetery. "A has been" fine brick, steel and concrete vault in which he is interred. The Vault is in need of repair.
I liked him for a Sunday School teacher. I liked him for the monthly meetings we had at his house. I think he is the reason I like oyster stew. He was a good cook and all we boys liked him. He furnished a lot of food.
Those were the days when people realized how badly the Church needed them to attend services. I have mentioned that I need to changed this column from Spit and Whittle to "Who Cares." The Ashley area Church Buildings were filled to capacity. How many Church buildings did Ashley have, Bucky? Ashley had five on going Church congregations. They did. What denominations? I will say there are three buildings left in Ashley. If people want Churches in Ashley and the area something will have to change. A church I know very well started in 1841. A change must take place because the year 2010 will have a sign on the door. CLOSED That's why I say WHO CARES.
Many old timers would be saddened with the news. I wrote some items previously about Places, fifteen of them in the area sold gasoline, seven gallons for a dollar. Candy Factory closed losing four hundred jobs. Ashley had one hundred twenty Rail Road checks two times a month. Fifty Grey Hound bus checks the same way. .There were many places in town that hired from one to a dozen people.
Some establishments were Shanks Garage, Cooper Shop, Three apple drying establishments, Condensory which purchased milk. Three poultry, egg and feed markets. Three Lumber yards, Coal and ice service and a rather large High School. Hy Symons delivered milk to your door.
Does any one remember the Golden Rule store? Two gasoline Bulk tanks? Five men in town had a draying business. Livery Stables. Stock pens? There was a Kroger store in Ashley too. Ashley made its own Electricity. Fifty cents a month and only one light allowed. Does number please mean any thing to you? Can you believe as many as a hundred trains went through the city daily. The main High Way went through town. Many things have happened in the last seventy five years. I am one of a few who can remember the depression years. No money and that's the time the word trading was used. People, those were many lived on small farms. They came to town on Saturday and traded their farm items to stores for their needs. Who cares? I do. It is about time
85 Years Ago
By Bucky McCoy ©
EIGHTY five years ago most little towns in Southern Illinois were with out any thing of value and Ashley wasn't any different. Men were with out work and always looked for a way too pass away the time. Ashley had a center of attraction. Bradlys Barber shop. Bob opened at eight o'clock and a group was usually waiting. Filling customer seats seemed to be the norm. Many had long hair, most needed a shave. but none got into the barbers chair. No mater how long the hair nor how bad the whiskers no one had fifteen cents for a hair cut nor a dime for a shave. Noon time came around and one by one they would leave and to return later bragging about the wonderful meal the little Woman had prepared. The truth was they did not have any food. For the most part they all used tobacco and mooched off each other. Many had five cent bags of Bull Durham, Golden Grain or a larger bag of RJR. Nearly all had their own OCB cigarette papers and a pocket half full of country matches. They struck them on their overalls leg to get them lighted. Most of them would work, a few would not. Many who claimed a trade called them self laborers. A few from town rode freight trains all over the United States. They claimed to be looking for work, but mooching food fit their bill better. There was some professional bums that ate better. They had a pot and pan and they cooked food over a small like campfire. They did not share it too often. These men knew how too take carefully from a garden or ask a house wife for an onion, the next house a potato. These men ate better and looked better. Ashley had a few men that not many knew. There would be times when somebody asked, "Wonder what ever happened to old Bill? Never hear about him." Many answers would come up until some one would say, "I was talking to his mom and she ain't heard from him in over a year. At that time he was in California. He had a good job." The truth was he was in a place that furnished food and clothing a bed and a very small room that he seldom left. He was told where, when and what to do with out pay.
Like many towns in Southern Illinois are gone forever. I ead a book with a title about ghost towns in Southern Illinois. Time moves on and towns get smaller. I am a historian,. and do a great amount of research. Eastern Washington County and west Jefferson County. I don't have too many people visit me at the Ashley Library Historical department. I can tell you for a short time Ashley had twenty two hundred .people. Beaucoup was the largest town in Washington County, Ashley had five Church Buildings. Many towns will be on the ghost town list. If you want to know how or why you are in Ashley stop on Monday night for a few weeks. I will show a group how to start a simple beginning of your family tree. Call or stop by the Library and Margie Holtz can give you details.
She can tell you about the DOINZ The Friends Of The Library are putting on the 17th of October.. You could win a quilt. Ask her how!
Here Today - Gone Tomorrow ?
By Bucky McCoy ©
Due to circumstances that only people who care can control. People are not attending Church services at the rate of previous years. People some years ago realized that the Church needed them. Large crowds came to worship God. At one time to ask Him to return to their family one who was away fighting for their country and its inhabitants. I don't know how special our needs are at this time, but I remember many men that were away and had their name on the Service Board between the Bank and Logans Grocery. Many names had a gold star by their name and it meant they would not return. .
The Ashley Baptist Church by name has been around in the neighbor hood of a hundred seventy years and may be closed forever without a 2009-2010 New Years Party. I can ask again. Who Cares? There seems to be a few people who still attend. I think of the many needs. How bad the Church needs you.
And it's impossible to meet the needs.. We don't need an empty building to take care of birds and bees. There are too many places that need occupying. Another, an important one is in extreme danger of closing. With no honor applying I was the last employee out of The Candy Company. We once had something that was also a life line into the Community (So to speak). It was sad day when I put a notice by the time clock costing four hundred people their jobs.
I was the last customer when Regions bank closed. Christine held the bank door open for me at closing time. I am sure many people can remember when they were the last customer at these Ashley facilities. I've before named many buildings and about their closings. To keep the Ashley Baptist Church open it will take people occupying a pew on Sunday morning for an hour and a half. That isn't asking very much.
I'm requesting a life time warranty on any thing I purchase. I think I am entitled to it. How much longer do you live past ninety? I have learned over the years that God offers a life of forever and forever. Don't cost much and at these Church Pastors can tell you how to claim it. My mom told me that she didn't want to live too long. I don't know how long too long is, but I know what it means when I say, "This Baptist church aint gonna be here to long." Or is it? We had a wonderful pastor. Bro. Ken Jaynes, but!
I know what it means to lose loved ones. Some one has to be first and some one is last. I can't control that. I can love every body and I can love God for providing Ashley with a Baptist Church. How do we say this? If you don't use it you may lose it. There are three buildings that housed a Church congregation, What's left? I hear people say, "What's in it for me?" But here today-gone later.
I can list some things we have in Ashley and used little. A fine Library with all the trimmings. Too small? More books than you could ever read. The best Historical, Genealogy department on the East side of the County. Not many people see what we have. Why not. I work for free. Occasionally by appointment on Sunday after noon. Remember I wanted to start a Penmanship class for Seniors using real penny pen points and slick paper. Compact two spaced ovals and all. Recently I offered to do a beginners Genealogy class? Well, it didn't happen. Why? I dunno.
Ashley Baptist Church
By Bucky McCoy ©
I heard a church sermon that seemed to fit our Baptist church proposed closing. I am saddened to think about the Baptist Churches considering closing after a hundred seventy five years serving Ashley. It could well stay open with just a few people more attending the services. I have learned a lot there and I have seen the auditorium filled to over flowing. Right now we are blessed with a preacher that is interested it the Church. If Ashley residents think we ought to have Church buildings, it's high time you do something, let's band together and do something about it. There are many people in our area that can boast to their children saying, "I used to go to Sunday School and Church right there. Now look at that run down old building, windows out, paint peeling and just falling down," Children an remember when, but it doesn't have to be that way. While the building is in good shape and new furnaces and floor covering. People can start to a church in good repair, The seats have been in the church for many years. One seventy.
The church once had a big double front door, had two stoves for heat, hand fans for cooling and coal oil lamps for light. In 1940 some men put a basement under the building. I believe Clarence Schuback and Trevor Setzekorn used tractors an other men of the Church used spades and shovels. All the Church needs today is some interested people.
I am the oldest man who was born in Ashley, went to school in Ashley and am still here. I know about all there is to know about Ashley History. I have had conversation with seventy five percent of people buried in the new Ashley cemetery. I remember all the past buildings in Ashley. I have many old pictures on the walls of the Ashley Library. Area people have old pictures, if only given me could find their place on the walls or in the (too many to count) loose leaf binders under plastic on our shelves. These items came from people like you. That determined they need be preserved for posterity.
I am hoping that the Ashley Baptist Church doesn't fall into the hands of the above paragraph. With little more help than you fill a seat in the Church. That's what it takes to keep it going. Your friend Jesus needs your assistance and if it hadn't been for your family years ago the Church would b gone forever. Can you take up where they left off?
I don't want to see it go, do you?
It appears to me that we can say about a lot of things, "Once we had and now we lost it." Lets don"t lose the Church.