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Re: Excerpts from How We Used To Live

I grew up "southern" in the North -northeastern Oregon, that is. We were poor, working class. Our families were loggers. Our house had glass windows and electricity, but no indoor plumbing. Wood heaters warmed the house during those bitter cold winters while mama and grandma cooked three meals a day on the big wood stoves. (How did they keep the stove temperature right to make those perfect biscuits, breads, and cakes?)

When we were small children, we bathed in the #3 galvanized tub! My sister and I bathed first (the youngest and, presumed cleanest, I guess). Then, the water went up the age chain to my brothers.

Because we were rural/small town poor, my father and grandfather killed deer and raised hogs for meat. We rented a freezer behind the local store.My Dad and granddad cut the meat into various cuts. Mama and grandma wrapped it in freezer paper and stored it in the rented locker until we needed it. Bacon was sent to a smoker. We bought local beef, flour, salt, pepper and spices at the market.

We grew massive gardens and canned greens, beets, corn, and assorted beans for the winter. On weekends in the fall, we would scour the woods for wild apple, peach, and pear orchards from which we made jellies and jams.

More in the way than not, my sister and I used to sit with our grandmother and Mom around the quilt frame piecing and quilting for the winter. We loved seeing last year's clothes in the beautiful quilts -great new life for a favorite dress that I had outgrown or worn out.

Our roof was that tarpaper stuff that looked like very thick sandpaper. But, we still could get the sweet lullaby of raindrops on the roof and window panes in the fall and spring.

We did not get indoor plumbing until the 1960s when, I guess everyone's lives improved. Indoor plumbing and gas heat sure made a difference, particularly for those responsible for keeping the home fires burning. And, a flush toilet sure beat an outhouse or slop jar in the winter!!


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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