EMZ-Piney Post

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Contents of the Shed

The old house had been left clean.  Oh there were a few half empty lotion bottles and such, but no clutter.  We never intended to live in the house, but our grandson and his wife and baby girl had thought of making it their home.  Then when he began seeing what needed to be done to put a new floor covering on the kitchen floor, the termites appeared and the cost of repairing everything was more than they wished to spend.  Instead, they moved their RV onto the land after the storm.

Behind the house, a nice shed had been built to hold gardening tools and things: things that were no longer used but had some sentimental value to the person storing them.  You know how that goes, "I don't need this, but someday another person might be thrilled to find the old item."

Upon opening the door, we were met with a room full of clutter: papers, books, walkers, watering cans, faded jigsaw puzzles, a big pile of quilt batting,  an old wobbly dresser, twin bed frame and  mattress.  The mirror for the dresser was still good and surrounded by an ornate frame.  The one piece of furniture that caught my eye was a pie safe, ruined with a coat of white paint; even the tin in the doors had been painted white!  Why do that?  And lurking in tiny, dark, secluded places were brown recluse spiders, many of them.  Several old dress patterns, mostly in the shirtwaist style, were held in their fragile envelopes.

And then there was the black, fragile garbage bag which held stacks of letters.  Letters written from an Army solider to his love who would become his wife.  The first letters had postmarks of 1942, then early 1943 and on to 1944.  I was so curious about the words inside but somehow it seemed if I read them I would be treading on the couple's private lives.  But I did read enough to learn how much he loved her and missed her and that he was sick.

There was a little slip of paper, which wasn't a letter, with these dates on them:  married-Nov. 20, 1943 (the next letter was postmarked Nov. 23, 1943, which meant he was only home three days before returning to duty), sick-Dec. 1943 and died-Oct. 1944.  I also read letters sent from Red Cross workers telling her of his condition during this time: "Sgt.__died very suddenly, his heart suddenly failed due to venticular aneurysm".  What a sad, sad story and how much comfort she must have had from those letters; she never remarried.

Now my question is, what do I do with the letters?  It seems I can't stand to burn them, nor do I want to keep them.  One of her nephews lives in our community and I wonder if he would take them.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Big House

2019 went by so quickly I have to refer to my daily calendar to see what happened.  When I began my blogging break, the date was Sept. 2018.  I have made a note of some of the highlights of our lives to use for posts, beginning with the date of November 20, 2018.  Future posts will continue on into 2019.

November 20, 2018 ~ On the spur of the moment we bought the big house.  It had ten acres with it.  I had always loved the house, built in the early 1900s, and commented many times, that to me it was the prettiest house in our community in spite of larger more elaborate houses.  The roof was very steep with a chimney no longer in use.  A covered porch surrounded the house but had been  interrupted by the addition of a bathroom on the west side and a storage/closet room on the east side.  Large old oak trees shaded the yard for years.

The farmer had known the family who lived there almost all his life and when we built our own house, it was just down the road from the old house, so I could see it every day.  And now, after wondering how it would be to live there, I could hardly believe we owned it!  Of course we had no plans to move; we had purchased the house and land because it joined our property and to keep the place neat and tidy.  (We've had our fill of renters who go off and leave a building full of their junk.) The inside had been renovated with new kitchen cabinets, carpet, central heat and air, all a far cry from its beginning.

Fast forward to May 1, 2019 ~ During the night a terrible wind storm blew through and with the light of dawn we could see what damage had been done.  Several roof shingles and strips of vinyl siding had been ripped off the old house.  But the worse damage was done when the big tree on the west side of the house was split and the top branches crashed onto the corner of the porch, bringing down that part of the roof and the porch floor.  My heart was broken.  What had once been a grand old lady took on the look of a haunted house.

Sadly, we have no intentions of trying to do repairs.  Please don't condemn us for this decision. We had no insurance on the house, termites are eating away at the aged floors, water from rain coming in where shingles are off has caused ceiling tiles to fall.  We'll clean up the mess on the porch and we've worked up the tree branches into firewood.  But, I still wonder, what could have been.

Next post I'll share about the contents of  an outside shed...


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Quilt Beginnings

It seems, had I been born in the winter, I would have been born under a quilt in frames hanging from the ceiling. That's how quilting memories began for me. Mama's frames were four simple wooden strips, held together at the corners with nails and hung from the ceiling with cords. As she progressed with the stitching, the nails were taken out of the holes in the corners, the strips rolled, and the nails replaced. At night, when we were all inside the small room, the cords were wrapped around the ends of the strips and the quilt was raised high enough for us to walk under. If time permitted, the quilt was let down the next day and stitching started again. My aunt came on some days, and her little boy and I played under the quilt while they stitched; the room was so small there wasn't anywhere else to play. I'm sure we caused many a finger to be stuck with the needle when we stood up and shook the quilt.
Mama started quilting at an early age. I have a postcard on which she wrote, when she was a teen, "I have quilted three quilts this winter." Off and on, as I grew up, she pieced tops, but it wasn't until she retired from her "town" job that quilting really became a passion of hers. She made one quilt after another, and soon began selling them. Some went to states far away. When her heart began giving her trouble, and the doctor told her not to do anything, she gave up quilting the tops; however, the morning after she passed away, we found a little basket of blocks she had been working on, at the end of the couch.

So, it's no wonder that I took up quilting. I don't claim to be a wonderful quilter; I see all my mistakes. I especially enjoy making scrap and string quilts because of the great color variations. I make all sizes: bed quilts, baby quilts, and doll quilts.

Have a good day! Charlotte

Thursday, December 26, 2019


Friday, September 7, 2018


Today I'm feeling weary; blog weary.  It has reached the point where I don't seem to be able to come up with any subjects of interest to anyone.  Oh, there are the faithful few who comment each time I post something and I'm thankful for them, but it really isn't worth my effort or the time it takes to prepare a post now.   I know a lot of people have gone to Facebook, which I don't do, nor do I text, so perhaps that has taken its toll on blogging.

When I first started writing for the blog, it was to be about my quilting, but I never found many women who wanted to share words with me about this.  I made a few dolls, doll clothing, and stories from my childhood to write about.  I'm a FarmHer, and only one other person connected with me on work I do in the chicken houses and on the farm. 

I don't travel, I don't have a pretty place to walk, my flowers are not pretty enough for pictures;  I guess I must be a boring person. :)

So, for now I'm going to be absent from my blog.  I'll leave it open since my daughter is a co-writer and might want to use it.  I'll continue visiting your blogs.

Thank you, and may God bless each of you.

Monday, September 3, 2018

A Day in Town

Dear, dear Sally asked for another repost, so...

If you remember, I have posted about our family not having a car when I was little. This was somewhat troublesome for us, because Daddy had to ride with his brother to work at the cream station on Saturdays. Since Mama didn't drive, whenever she needed to go into town, she and the girls had to ride in with the men and spend the day, waiting until they got off from work. So our day could have gone something like this:

The streets were always busy on Saturday mornings. Folks had come from far and near and visited with people they hadn't seen for a while. On the courthouse square, a preacher had parked his car, with loud speakers attached to the top, and now he could be heard for several blocks. Few people stopped to actually listen but now and then there might be some old men, leaning up against a store front, cigarettes in hand, listening but not understanding.

Today Mama took the girls shopping for new school shoes for Wanda. "Would you like an oxford or a slip-on?" the clerk asked, and Mama told her we'd take an oxford. Wanda wanted a pair of slip-on shoes. She had always had "good, durable" shoes, but when she stood in front of the little mirror on the floor, and pointed her toe and turned her foot to one side, she had to agree, the shoe did look nice. Mama paid for the shoes and asked, "Now, how can we spend the rest of the day?"

Charlotte was hungry, so Mama bought some crackers and a few slices of cheese for their lunch, and when Mama suggested they sit on the steps of a church building, Wanda was embarrassed. "No Mama! Let's go eat in the car or inside the cream station. Some of my friends might pass by and see us here!"

"I don't want to eat in there," said Charlotte. "It stinks like steamy milk!"

Mama said there was nothing wrong with friends seeing us there, and anyway, the day was so pretty it would be like having a picnic. So Wanda ate quickly and waited for Mama and Charlotte to finish. Mama combed their hair and took them up the steep flight of stairs to Anderson's Photography Studio to have their picture made. Afterward she counted the change in her coin purse and said there was enough to buy tickets to see a movie. The lobby smelled like fresh popped corn and they bought one bag to share. Charlotte soon fell asleep and before she knew what had happened, Mama was waking her up. "The movie is over. Let's go meet Daddy and go home. The old milk cow will be waiting at the barn for me."

A lot has changed around the courthouse square since those days. A few fires took out some of the old buildings which were replaced with big, modern ones. With the arrival of Wal Mart, businesses like the Sterlings store and the Ben Franklin store closed completely as new business owners felt the need to be in the shadow of the giant and moved off of main street. But I miss meeting up with people I know and having a little chat while I'm shopping; too much hustle and bustle for me now and I hardly ever see anyone I know when I go to town.

Has your town migrated from the town square to be near a Wal Mart store? Do you remember the crowded streets on Saturday mornings? I'd love to have you tell me about your town.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

County Fair ~ a Repost

It's time for the county fair! School has started, and even though it's still hot, fall just seems to be close.  We've never gone to the fair too many times over the years; more so when the girls were in 4-H and entered the things they had made.

The following is an account of how a trip to the county fair could have been for me when I was a little girl; the wolf, the ride on the Ferris wheel and merry-go-round are based on actual facts.

Daddy said he would borrow Uncle Dewey's car the next day, and asked if we'd like to go to the fair. Of course we would! and Mama said we would look at the exhibits first then we could go to the carnival.

Wanda and Charlotte patiently followed Mama as she went inside to look at the quilts and dresses, the canned green beans, peaches, tomatoes and jellies. Ribbons of blue, red, and white had been placed on the entries. Then Daddy told Mama to bring the girls outside to see something. Charlotte saw an animal which looked like a big gray dog. It was curled up inside a cage and had a terrified look in its eyes. A man hit the cage with a stick and the animal snarled and snapped. It was timid and frightened; Daddy said it was a wild wolf. Charlotte felt sorry for him; he'd been caught and now people came and stared at him and poked him with sticks just to hear him snarl.

Wanda was ready to ride the Ferris wheel; Mama and Charlotte would ride with her. The big wheel turned slowly, and their seat began to rise off the ground. Charlotte gripped the bar in front of her as people below them grew smaller and smaller. Then they went over the top and back down. She felt better; now they could get off, but before she could stand up, they were going up again! She clung to the bar with white knuckles and sweaty palms, and grabbed Mama's arm. She closed her eyes, then realized the wheel wasn't turning anymore. Good! Now she could get off and she wasn't going to ride again! But when she opened her eyes, the ground wasn't under her feet. The Ferris wheel had stopped and they were sitting at the top of the world! She was frightened, and trapped, just like the wolf!

Wanda thought it was fun. "See those mountains? We live on the other side of them!"

Charlotte was thinking, how were they going to get down? What if they fell out of the seat? Oh how she wished she was back over those mountains at home! Wanda told her the wheel had stopped so other people could get on to ride. Then the wheel began to turn and their ride ended.

When Mama took her to the merry-go-round, she was still afraid, but Mama promised to stand beside her, and as the music played and the ponies swayed up and down, round and round, the fear left, and when Mama asked if she liked the ride, Charlotte said, "Yes! Can I do it again?" So Charlotte rode again -- and again; Mama finally had to make her get down because it was time to go home.

Blessings, Charlotte