The house was made of wood and painted white. A wrap around porch made playing outside even better. On rainy days we just took our toys on the porch and continued our happy day. Granny kept me and my two cousins while our parents worked. She made some extra money baby sitting us so this helped her a great deal. It sure made our lives much richer.
Granny’s bed was something most children never got a chance to enjoy. It was an old wooden bed and Granny had a feather mattress on it. I would climb up onto the bed and sink down about a foot or more inside it. Once I was inside it was difficult getting out of it. Most children never had a chance to enjoy times with their grandparents like I did. Those times are still etched in my memory. I spent each Saturday night with Granny Rushing to keep her company. Her white hair told me she must be very old and her wrinkled skin just confirmed my belief.
The old pot belly stove stood in the bedroom and Granny kept it full of coal so we were always warm. A picture hung on the wall on my side of the bed. It showed two small children walking across a bridge that had missing boards of wood and an angel watching over them to make sure they didn’t fall. I always remembered the picture and prayed those same angels would watch over us while we slept. It worked!
Each year we received a catalog from the Sear Roebuck Company. It was huge and I spent many days choosing all the toys for little girls inside it. It was three inches thick and had everything known to man in it. Back in those days folk didn’t go to town shopping like they do today. They would find what they wanted in the catalog and send their order to the company by mail. I always wished all the toys in that huge book would come for me at Christmas. The joy of seeing all the pretty dolls and bicycles of all colors not to mention all the fancy dresses and shoes made my childhood a perfect one.
Nothing went to waste at Granny’s house. She had raised her eight children by herself because grandpa died very early in life. Granny had to learn to not waste anything and to be as saving as possible. She wore her small silk wallet around her waist underneath her dress. She told me she wore it there to keep burglars from finding it. I suppose Granny Rushing knew because she never lost it.
The kitchen was a wonderful place and all kinds of inviting dishes. All things were made by hand and were a delight to those who visited. A wooden cabinet stood against the wall. It had glass doors so we could see inside. Granny always kept cookies and homemade biscuits wrapped in a basket there. Everyone knew exactly where they were and stopped to eat some if we got hungry.
The living room was a room only for visitors. It had a big fireplace and wicker furniture. I enjoyed the wicker rocking chair most but my feet never touched the floor.
You see I was a very small child much smaller than all the children my age.
In the back yard stood a tall pear tree. Each year it made the best yellow pears but we had to throw rocks to make them fall. I don’t know why but it seemed the best pairs were at the top of the tree. On the left side of the house was a big fig tree.It had big green leaves that provided shade for the figs and for me. It’s branches were so big I could climb up inside and sit on a limb while I filled my tummy with it’s delicious fruit.
Next to the fig tree stood a tall walnut tree. Granny picked them up, cracked the black shells and retrieved the wonderful tasty nuts to put in her cookies.
Granny had what my mother called a habit. She didn’t smoke tobacco cigarettes at all but she did dip snuff. She carried the round tin can in her apron pocket. I read it’s label hundreds of times. The label was white with a train on it. It was called Railroad Mill Snuff. I never understood how she could keep the pinch inside her bottom lip without swallowing the brown powder like substance but she did. I suppose this habit was the only habit Granny Rushing had because she lived to be 84 years old.
The only thing I disliked about Granny’s house was it did not have a bathroom inside like most folk do today. Most people in the rural country did not have inside bathrooms. Granny had a small building outside of the house called the outhouse. Inside the small wooden building was two round holes making the bench type seat. I was always too afraid to sit on one of the holes for fear some dreadful monster lived below and would snatch my bare bottom if I sat there. Next to the hole lay the Sears Roebuck Catalog from the year before. It made colorful toilet paper. It seemed Granny requested those catalogs from friends and family every time a new one arrived. It made the trips to the outhouse interesting to say the least.
In the back yard stood a round well made of concrete. It was much taller than I was and I longed to look down inside it. We were not allowed to climb up to the top of the well or to lower the bucket for cold water. Instead, Granny would lower a bucket by a rope and we would drink the cold water when she pulled the bucket up. We all drank from a single metal dipper but we didn’t get sick. It was almost like Christmas at Granny’s house.
Question: What was the catalog used for when a new one came in the mail?
Story: Written by Sybil Shearin
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