Talkin' about the Good Old Days

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Ok, lets talk about the good old days, you know, plowing with a mule, washing clothes with a wash boiler and scrubboard, butchering hogs, making sausage, walking 2 miles to a one room school. That kind of thing. Here we go!

Brewers, KY(Zone 6b)

Mary, I am 39 so the good old days are not really one room schools...but I do remember a coke and a bag of chips for about 15 cents and 1 cent candy (sigh). I also remember going to town seemed like it took forever to get there. I remember sitting in paw-paws garden asking him a million questions. And fighting with my brothers and sister to sit or crank the ice cream freezer....that was the good old days. Oh yes, and the book was a van full of books from the library 2 towns over, it would make stops down the road and you could check out a book for 2 weeks! Thanks for the smile, Lisa

Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

Well, I think I've said before that I went to a one room school house. The teacher would ring the old hand bell when it was time to come in from recess. We never rode to school on a horses, but a snow fall in the winter of 1962 I believe was above the fence posts. Our driveway was a mile and we had to ride in and out on a tractor and wagon.
Anybody ever use or still have a handcrank corn sheller? My Aunt and Uncle had one and it was of great fascination to me.
How about taffy pulling? We had a taffy pull at same Aunt's house. Boy was that a mess. Taffy was pretty good though.
One of the things I don't think so many people do together anymore is put up food. We would all set around the kitchen table together and break gallons of beans or peel whatever fruit we were canning. Lots easier when there is a group of people there. More conversations and the work doesn't seem so hard.
We always would set outside on the front porch in the evening. Especially when it was hot. No tv and no air conditioning. I would catch June bugs and generally irritate my older siblings.

Tabor, SD(Zone 4b)

I remember the one-room school. I couldn't speak a word of English when I started. I remember the winter of '68 when the snow drifts were higher than the old car that we had. We would climb up the quanset and sled down. Once in a while we would accidentally sled off the edge of the snow pile and fall about 10 feet into another snow pile. We were lucky that nobody broke their necks.
We had running water in the house, but no bathroom. The outside biddy was it. We put up a lot of veggies over the summer, the church ladies would come over and help us butcher geese and ducks in the basement where it was cool. That was a three day job. I think we had over 100 geese alone. My mother used to sell eggs and then buy all our groceries. I remember milking the cow for cream, having goats for milk too. The kids were fun.
We kids would have to entertain ourselves. I remember climbing to the tops of trees just to freak out my mother. I gave her more gray hair than anybody!!! She had her own grape vines and would make wine. Grape, chokecherry, dandelion, you name it, she could make wine with it. My dad would take me hunting through the corn stalks in the fall. Wish times were that simple again!!

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

My childhood "good ol' days" were spent in the city. Although I loved the huge old library in town, one of my favorite memories is spilling a coffee can of those 1" long toads in my brother's friend's house. Beige carpet, next to the piano (it was an accident, really - he tripped me - his mother ran screaming from the house - we all about pee'd our pants!). ...We used to climb over the chainlink fence, slide down the concrete, gather our toads and walk about 10 blocks up the cement creek to a spot where we could climb out. I think we may have populated the whole neighborhood with those toads as I don't know how they'd ever get out of the creek otherwise. (Well... I like to think so, anyway...)

The rest of my "good ol' days" were spent 12 years ago when I spent 6 years in rural Georgia. Maybe why I have an afinity for cows and corn...

We grew or traded for almost all our own veggies. Sweet corn off the stock, all different kinds of tomatoes, zucchini 'till you couldn't give it away, getting together with the rest of the ladies in town and buying a big truck bed full of peas and spending 4 days shelling and canning them... and sharing the shells to add to the compost piles.

...Taking long walks in the cow pastures and eating lunch under the trees when I was pregnant with my oldest. Being followed by a long line of cows when I had treats (I had permission)...

...getting milk from the big stainless steal milk tank at the dairy - pasturised but not homogenised - cardboard sign, hand written, something like - "milk 25c/gal., leave $ in the amo can when you have it, hose down the floor when you're done." The amo can didn't have a lock and wasn't bolted down. Always sounded like a lot of change in there when I dropped my quaters in the slot they'd cut. Always washed down the floor after (so the inspectors wouldn't complain). Learned that it was much easier to fill a pitcher or two than to try and fill a plastic "milk jug" from store-bought milk. I left a few dollars the first time, 'cause several gallons hit the floor!

I'm enjoying my kids growing up, and all, but I'm hoping to return to the country and create some more good ol' days.

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8b)

I'm personally to young to know first hand about the "good ol' days", but I grew up hearing all about them from my family. My parents are older than most people my age's, and they remembered walking 14 (or however) many miles to school, movies for 5 cents, ect. My parents, aunts and uncles always had large gardens, and I will always remember harvest time, and homemade meals. Since none of my other friends lived their lives this way, I think I rebelled against it a little. I would rather have had canned stuff, ect.

Dave and I started out like most young people do now, in a suburb, fast cars, fast food, fast lifestyles... I guess we saw the light :)

My SIL actually told me that she was jealous of us! Why? I asked. It was because we had the "guts" to leave "normal" life and get out here. She said that it is almost like we went back in time. I think we have the best of both worlds. We did get rid of the cell phones, but kept the computers, TV, and other modern things. Yet, we eat from the earth. We actually know our neighbors, we make bread from scratch. There are times when I think that we are still missing some of the mentality of the olden days.... Bringing food to your neighbors, quilting bees, ect. That's kind of sad that we often still don't take time out of our "busy lives" to do these things. Yes, I know my neighbor's names, but I doubt that neither neighbors, friends, or relatives will be around the circle breaking beans, building barns, bringing food, and quilting together.

To me, the "good ol' days" were about hard work. But we still have hard work today...More important than the work, they were about kindness, friendships, getting back what you put in, appreciation, love of family and of God.....I think we've lost many of these things....They are the same things that bring me back to the country, and the country life. They are the things I want my children to know about.

Would I have wanted to live back then- you betcha! Hard work doesn't scare me...I think we're better off without many "moderen" things...yep, I would go back- as long as I could bring the AC with me! :)

Today's soapbox brought to you by:

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I did discover a spirituality from living in the country. Although I personally didn't farm, I got to see and appreciate the seasons and the cycle of life. Corn planting, growing, ripening, being harvested - partly through the sweat of a person, partly through the grace of God. Calves birthing, growing, and then donating their milk for children to drink - again, through a partnership of the human and the devine. Now that I'm back in the suburbs, I'm trying to hold on to that. Hoping we'll have the "guts" to make the break from the city when our time comes... ok, I'm feeling less depressed now ;-)

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