Visiting Grandmother’s House Part 1

10 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

When I was about eight years old, our family went to Louisiana for a summer visit with my dad’s family.  Grandmother Lites lived in the same house where she and 1my grandfather had raised 13 children in the late 1800s.  The original acre homestead was located in the central part of the state, near the little town of Many, about 80 miles south of Shreveport.

Grandmother’s house was typical of farm houses during that period; single story, square white clapboard, with a breezeway down the middle, living room and kitchen on one side and two bedrooms on the other.  There was a small front porch with room for several slat rocking chairs, and a narrow screened 2back porch that ran the width of the house and was just wide enough for a couple double beds,

Running water in the kitchen for washing and cleaning was gravity fed from an overhead cistern behind the house.  Drinking water had to be hand drawn with a bucket from the well.  The only heat in the house came from the fire place in the living room or the old  wood burning stove in the kitchen.

3At some point electricity had been added to the house which was the source for the single bare 60-watt light bulb and pull chain in the center of each room.  The old wall mounted crank telephone was a novelty for us kids when the operator would come on the line and ask what number we wanted.

Slop jars were used at night and the two-hole outhouse during the 5day.  Baths for us kids were taken in a round galvanized tub in the middle of the kitchen floor.  The girls got to go first, since they usually didn’t dirty the water as bad as us boys did.

One of our main toys was an old tire that we rolled along 6most everywhere we went.  We had races with them, tied them to tree limbs for swings, and stacked them high to climb on to get at things out of reach over our heads.

The one most memorial visit for me was the year when the U.S. Army was holding one of their war maneuvers in the woods around my cousin’s and grandmother’s property.  My cousins and I would sneak off to the camp when nothing was going 7on, and wonder around checking out all the neat equipment and asking the soldiers questions.  The men were really nice to us, even letting us eat with them when the officers weren’t around.

Sometimes they would drive us out of the “restricted area” in one of their jeeps when they 8were getting ready to fire their howitzers (with blanks of course).  Even after they dropped us off, we were still close enough to get goose bumps every time one of those big guns was fired.   Wow! What a thrill that was.  We even got to play on them sometimes when the soldiers weren’t around, pretending we were helping win the war.  We didn’t know it at the time, but many of our country’s top generals attended those Louisiana maneuvers over the years.

I got a big kick out of helping my mother and grandmother make butter in the handcranked butter churn.  It always amazed me how the milk magically turned into butter and left that yummy buttermilk.  I loved buttermilk and drank it every time I got a chance.  Then there was the time the cows got into the bitter weed, and it made the milk so bitter I couldn’t drink it.

 

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—–To Be Continued—–

4 Responses to “Visiting Grandmother’s House Part 1”

  1. oldthingsrnew July 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    I loved going to my grandfather’s farm. I learned to tell him in the farmhouse kitchen, woke up early to watch my granddaddy milk the cows and watched fascinated as my grandmother strained the fresh milk and made butter. I have her old butter churn. Boy did the milk taste awful when the cows got that weed. It ruined my whole vacation that year. I looked forward to that fresh milk! Thanks for bringing back great memories.

    Like

  2. DiVoran Lites July 10, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    That was a wonderful post, dear. Very well written. I felt as if I were there, too, running with the boys. I would have liked that very much.

    Like

  3. miltonlites July 10, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    Brings back some wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing.
    Milton (cuz)

    Like

  4. Louise Gib son July 10, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    You stirred up old memories, Bill, of my own grandparents’ home. The kitchen was the focal point of most all family activities. I still wonder how my grandmother never failed to present her family of six boys and three girls three nutritious meals a day, including coffee cakes, hot biscuits, sausage, bacon, etc. all prepared on a wood- burning pot bellied stove.She always spoke German, but her heart spoke “love”.

    Like

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