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

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    The article in a recent "Over The Ozarks" column requesting data on courtship habits of the past brought to mind the courtship habits as I knew them when I was courting age.
    Most girls did not have dates until they were at least 16 years of age, and it was the custom for one to be properly chaperoned, usually by the girl's mother or older brother.
    We did not question a chaperone going along, as it was the accepted thing. My mother always told, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver or gold." (Proverbs 22:1.) It was not the proper thing for a girl to kiss a boy unless they were engaged and then only a goodnight kiss.
    Boys who wanted a date would line up outside the door at prayer meeting or church and ask the girls if they could escort them home. If a boy was turned down, it was called a "sacking."
    Sometimes our courting would be done by mail, with letters and notes going back and forth in a flurry! It was "woe betide" the boy from another community who came into our community to get a girl. The home boys resented the invasion ... so most of the girls in my day marrried the "home boys."
    They now have grown children and grandchildren, and the young folks of today will be the parents of tomorrow. If they have had good training, which I believe most parents of today are giving, everything will be for the best.
    Young people, don't let your parents down ... they have worked so hard "bringing you up."
    I do so like to visit the elderly folks and listen to them relate happenings in their lives. So many of the pioneer people have gone, and with them many skills and hobbies of their time.
    I remembering the old quilting bees when the women would gather at the neighbors to help quilt. And those women were wonderful quilters, too, with every stitch neatly made. That art is fast disappearing.
    Weaving is almost a lost art today. My mother had a loom and she wove beautiful rugs and carpets from rag strings tacked and rolled into a ball. That was our chore in the long winter evenings. I have sat for hours helping thread warp through a sley. It was fascinating to watch the shuttle fly back and forth in the weaving.
    My mother made baskets, too, using buck bush and honeysuckle vines. It proved to be a profitable hobby of hers. She shipped her work to many gift shops over the states.
    I learned basketry, but I did not like the work. The hard part of it was getting the material ready to weave the baskets.
    My mother was also adept in knitting and crocheting and making quilts ... more tedious and time-consuming skills people won't take the time to learn today.
    My hobbies are making rag and sock dolls for the grandchildren. And roaming the fields with them hunting for pretty and odd-shaped rocks. I have quite a collection of them.
    Life can be and is interesting, even in the sunset years, if we keep our bright outlook and spread cheer wherever we go.
    And keep smiling ... after all, age is just a state of mind!

Mellie Peery
September 13, 1966

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