Friday, September 3, 2010

What Do Kids Know?

This is a picture of our family in 1972. Dad had just sold our 120 acre farm in Kentucky, and moved to St. Simon's Island,Georgia. This was one of only three time we were all together at one time, from that point on.

The first four children had already married and left home when Dad made the move to Georgia.The five remaining children grew up in Georgia, with a totally different lifestyle than what the first four had on the farm in Kentucky.

There were nine kids in my family.Five girls and four boys.I am the second child of the nine. I had already married and left home two years prior, when Mom had her last child.Our childhood was typical of these parts, as far as we knew. I suppose we were considered poor by lots of folks, but only poor in matters that involved money. My Dad was a farmer/bull dozer owner/operator.I think it was around 1954 when Dad got his first bull dozer. He had several different pieces of equipment after that. The only trouble was getting good dependable help. He worked his brother from time to time, but the brother had a drinking problem,as did many of Dad's family, so as soon as the brother would get his pay,he would not return to work until the money was drank up and he sobered up.So that left Dad to struggle keeping jobs going and bills paid.But as kids go, we knew nothing of all that until years later.Dad always seen to it that we had a house that was ours and no one could force us out for lack of rent money. The houses were never real nice houses, but they kept us all together,in a home that was our own. We always had land. We always kept a few animals. Not sure if Dad kept them for food later, or to keep us kids occupied, but nevertheless it worked on both counts. We always had eggs,milk,meat,and a huge garden at all times. Not to mention the fruit trees and wild berries. We could have easily passed for Amish, if we had worn those type of clothing. We were always barefooted. Shoes were saved for school and church. Dad never attended church that much when we were kids. He did go to a revival with the family,when I was about 12 years old, and was saved, along with his father,a brother, a sister of mine, and myself.We were all baptised during that revival. Dad continued to go to church with our family, for awhile, until there was a big blow up in the church.For what, us kids never knew for sure, but the church split, and Dad stopped going.Mom had seen to it that us children were in church from the time we were born until we left home.No matter what the occasion. If the church doors were open, we were there. Mom never learned to drive,only the farm tractor, then not that good,but she always made sure we had a ride to church. She still attends church every time the doors are open, and she is 84 years old.Many of us kids have fallen by the way side and stopped going, but Mom prays for our souls daily.
There was never a dull moment around our house. We didn't have a lot of free time to play, but when we did, we always had lots of neighbor kids coming to visit, and on occasion, we would go to their homes to visit and play. There were several farm families in the surrounding area. All of our farms joined at some point, and we knew our way around the country pretty good.We had picked berries and played over all of our 120 acre farm.We all knew the farm like the back of our hand.
We never had new clothes like some kids did, but we always had lots of clothes. Different folks we knew would always remember us, and bring us their children's outgrown things. That worked well for us, and we hardly knew the difference. We always had nice enough clothes for church and school.
Some of the kids, especially the older 3,which were girls,helped Mom tremendously in whatever needed to be done. We participated in every aspect of raising the family. Most of us know how to can and preserve food. Not all of the kids do today, but we do know how.We had so many mouths to feed, we were never short on canned goods. Every nook and cranny in the big old houses where we lived would be filled with boxes of canned squash,pumpkin,apples,green beans,tomatoes,and jellies and jams of all kinds. Mom was raised in South Louisiana.Her childhood was not good at all, but that's another story, for another day.She grew up really hard, but I have tremendous respect for my Mother and Father for keeping us together and fed and clothed as they did, during the rough times we had.As far as we knew, we were just an ordinary family doing ordinary things, but the truth would all be known later, as to how Mom and Dad struggled to keep thing that way.
This is only a slight glimpse into my childhood. I could write for days on the life and times of our family,as could most folks, but I agree with you,Brendie. I thought we were as normal as any family we knew, and I guess during those times, we were.Thanks for sharing and listening!


  1. nice, made me smile. i remember the hand-me-down clothes too, that did the rounds of the cousins, and the barefooted lifestyle. photos help you to remember, one year my cousin would have "the dress" on then next years photos it would be my turn, mum made most of them. if you write a whole book i would buy it :)

  2. Thanks sawn for the glimpse into your childhood. I am the youngest of 6 kids. I grew up in town, but there were fields and creeks in the neighborhood where we would go play. I, too, ran barefooted most of the summer when not in school. I don't know how my Mom and Dad did it either, with 8 mouths to feed on a milkman's salary. But they always made sure we bought a family swimming pass to go swimming while the pool was open. And I think part of that was so we would keep out of Mom's hair during the summer! LOL We always had plenty to eat, and clothes to wear, and went to Parochial schools all thru our schooling yrs - where Mom came up with the tuition I'll never know. She could certainly stretch a dollar. And, yes, hand me downs, which a lot of I got from my brother because I preferred his clothing, and also the way I am built fits better into boy's clothing. I, too, would buy your book if you decide to write one. And thanks for always stopping by my blog and leaving comments, you're so encouraging and supportive, and I do appreciate that! Take care, from Fayette Co KY.

  3. I enjoyed reading about your family.