Quilting, Farming, Variety

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Summer Memory

This afternoon, I read about how desperate people are in parts of Texas for water, even to the point of having bottled water trucked into towns. I knew from reading your blogs it was bad; and to think, how I complained!

I can remember a summer, when Daddy and Mama became worried about our drinking water. I was probably nine years old. There had been a few weeks of really hot, dry weather; the branches had almost dried up and Daddy was sure the water level in the well had dropped. The well was a dug well, only eight feet deep anyway, and was in the pasture next to the branch, so it must have had a lot of run-off water in it. So when men at the store began talking about cases of typhoid fever around the communities, and that it could be caught from drinking unclean water, he said, "I guess we ought to take typhoid shots."

The shots weren't something we looked forward to, but we all went to the health office on the second floor of the county court house. I had been there before to get my smallpox vaccination before starting to school, and I remembered the building: the smell of cigars and old, musty papers, big, wide marble steps up to the office, and the tall, red-haired woman, with buckteeth and crossed eyes behind glasses, who sat at her desk, ready to speedily type information onto our cards. She explained the shots to us: "The first time a person is vaccinated, we give a series of three shots, one each week. Then he gets a booster shot each year. They may make you have fever and your arm will be sore for a couple of days." Then we went into another room where the county health nurse was waiting, amid the jars of cotton balls and tongue depressors and the smell of medicine and rubbing alcohol, to jab that sharp, stinging needle into my arm.

The sore arms and fever, combined with the hot, sticky days, made us cross, and each trip to the health office a dread. Wanda and I went to the library each time to check out books, and in the afternoons, when the house with no electricity got too hot, and we had no aspirin to calm the fever and soreness, I took a pallet quilt out to a shade tree, and read the stories to take me away into some adventure where there was no pain.

Daddy, Mama, Charlotte, and Wanda


  1. Charlotte, you are such a gifted story teller. I hope you are saving these for your children and grandchildren to read.
    I just love your stories - and that picture...wonderful!

  2. Couldn't agree more with sweet
    Linda. You have a gift here!
    The family picture is so precious.
    Reminds me of some that my parents

  3. Linda, these stories are taken from my book, "In the Shade of the White Oak", which I did write for the grandchildren. So far, older people who knew my family have enjoyed it more than the kids. Right now they are finding their own paths.

  4. Beautifully written! Congrats on publishing your memoirs. Eventually the grandkids will appreciate this priceless gift.

  5. That was a sweet story~ I could see it in my mind! I agree with Linda... you are a wonderful storyteller!
    What a wonderful gift you've given your grandchildren...

  6. I enjoyed your story. I don't ever remember taking those shots, but I do remember the shot we took before starting school. It left a big ugly scab on our upper arm and if I look real hard I can still barely see the scar it left.