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

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Between Today and Yesterday

    Halfway between today and yesterday, I remember my grandmother's way of living. She was left a widow with four children. They lived in a log cabin when my grandfather passed away. There was lumber on the ground to build a new house, and with the help of neighbors she built a large house with two huge fireplaces. The rooms were 16 by 18 feet.
    Grandmother owned 160 acres of land and with the children's help she raised cattle, hogs, and chickens. Also she had a team of horses.
    She raised wheat and corn and had a large orchard, a cellar for the milk and butter, and a large smokehouse for meat and other things. She butchered enough hogs for meat to last until the next year's "hog killing."
    My grandmother was very resourceful and had a vast sense of humor. She always was busy at something and always found time to go to church and to help anyone in need. Her home was a "gathering place" for her grandchildren. She was a great influence on our lives.
    Grandmother stressed the need for work as well as for play and we children worked along with her. She would tell us stories of her young life. I often have wished I had written what she told us. It would have been so interesting to read today.
    I remember her putting us girls to churning with the stone churn and its dasher.
    She loved to cook on the fireplace in winter. She had a Dutch oven. It was a large iron skillet with three small legs and a lid. She would pull the hot coals to the edge of the hearth, set the oven over those coals, and put hot coals on the lid. How delicious those bisquits or cornbread would taste! Also she used the Dutch oven to bake sweet potatoes or a molasses cake.
    Grandmother's coffee grinder was fastened on the wall. Coffee came in the green stage and she would roast it in the oven. The coffee was made by boiling it. As children we were not permitted to drink coffee at home, but O when we went to Grandma's!
    She liked to cook in an iron pot in the fireplace. The beans or peas she would simmer in that old pot with a large piece of meat were something to think about.
    She didn't have carpets on her floors, but she kept them pretty and white, using sand when she mopped them.
    I remember the old spinning wheel sitting in the corner. I would watch her spin cotton or wool. The whir-r-r of the spindle when she would make the thread was a fascination to me. She had a loom where she wove cloth with the cotton thread and wool to make the lindsey woolsey dresses and the blankets.
    We had happy times visiting with Grandma. She had a phrase she would say to us, "What is to be will be and what will be could happen." I think most grandchildren miss something today that we had in our time. We lived close to nature and when we walked to school we had more time to enjoy nature.
    Housework is so much easier today than it was in my grandma's time. We enjoy our modern conveniences and would not want to do without them.
    However, folks seemed happy in those days. There were no wars nor rumors of wars and they were a progressive people trying to make things better for their children--and did.
    My grandmother's old house has been torn down. Nothing but the old cistern is left with the worn place in the cap rock where we pulled the water up with a chain.
    I live nearby and passing there often causes a tug at my heartstrings.

Mellie Cole

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