Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2001, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

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Good Old Days?

    The good old days? As I grow older, I wonder how they could be called, "The good old days." But perhaps, in one sense of the word, they could.
    In remembering when I was "growing up," we had no bills coming due the first of the month, and all we paid was a small tax on our land and personal property. We owned a farm and most of our food was raised. It took much work. We children helped on the farm milking cows, feeding hogs and other chores. It was expected of us and we knew it. We didn't have time to get into serious trouble, though we created our own kind of fun-loving mischief.
    There were no wars, or if there were, we didn't know much about them as we only took the local paper. No radio, nor television sets and I believe most families had a "togetherness" that is absent in most homes today.
    We had a few community activities, such as church and Sunday school, and we were thankful for that as it enriched our lives as nothing else could.
    We went to school five or six months of the year. We were taught, both in the home and school, that we had to get along with people. The Golden Rule was taught and observed, along with love of God and country.
    Now to relate some of the things I wouldn't want to go back and relive in the "Good Old Days"!
    In the hot summertime, the cooking was all done on a wood cookstove, heating the house until it would hardly cool all night. That part I am glad to be without.
    And using a kerosene lamp for lighting. How did we ever see to read or study? Sometimes, now, when our power "goes off" I light my antique oil lamp. What a dim light it gives! It surely makes one appreciate the good electric lights we take for granted.
    Do you remember when we had company? We children always had to wait for "second table." (Bess Crank Nunn had a poem in "Over The Ozarks" a short time ago, remembering "Second Table.") It seemed the older folks would never get through. Today, my grandchildren eat with us, even if I have to bring in an extra table due to lack of space at the dining table. We were always so hungry and had to wait and wait. Forever, it seemed!
    I remember being in homes where they had no window screens. When the table was set, the mother would get a peach tree limb and someone would stand waving it over the table to keep the flies away. No, those were not such good days.
    I remember how my mother would try to "beat the heat" in the hot summertime. She would do her cooking in the early morning hours. Sometimes she would cook an iron pot of fresh green beans with a big slab of bacon or ham. She would serve them cold for supper with a big pan of cornbread and cold buttermilk brought from the spring or cellar.
    We loved her stacked pies made of apples, cherries or peaches. Custard pie was another favorite dessert. She would make potato salad and have sliced tomatoes with cole slaw and onions.
    Mother always baked homemade bread using yeast foam. The aroma of the baking bread made us so hungry we would hardly wait for it to be done. Mother would cut us slices and spread them with good old country butter ... yes, some of those days were good!
    Sometimes there comes over me a sentimental, poignant yearning for a return of the past of our childhood and the happy home life with the absence of cares and worries of the present.
    Isn't it too bad we can't combine the best of both eras and enjoy them all?

Mellie Peery
July 19, 1966

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