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This is Chuck. My memories as a teenager growing up on the farm are about the best one could ask for. When my dad retired we moved to a farm in Grayson County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in an adjoining county, Ohio County. So when dad retired from working in Northern Indiana he moved the family back to Kentucky near his old home place.
We had 150 acres, more or less as the deed read, so we had plenty of room to move around and explore, play, run and work. We did all that.
I had already started the 8th grade when we moved. But it was a little different moving from the “city” to the country. Our rather large school in Indiana had roughly 20-30 students per grade whereas when we started in the school in Kentucky all 8 grades fit into 1 room of a 4 room school house, where there were perhaps 15 students in the whole school. Mrs. Ira Young was our teacher and what a wonderful personality she had and truly a wonderful teacher. It was great growing up in that kind of setting. Everybody knew everybody.
We raised a big garden with lots of vegetables. Mom canned and put all kinds of vegetables in the cellar. Some of my best memories are of breaking beans under the shade of the old maple trees getting them ready for mom to can. We had fruit trees so my mom made jellies and preserves, canned various kinds of pickles and I can almost taste the bread and butter pickles she made.
Some might have thought we were poor but I don’t believe it. We had so much freedom and fresh air, friends and family who loved to come and visit. We always had a roof over our head, plenty to eat, clothes to wear and shoes on our feet, what more could one ask for.
I can truly say I loved my life growing up, my parents, my brothers and my sisters. Those were wonderful times in which to live and I certainly cherish the memories.
Some have asked about my work ethic and other parts of my childhood. I can thank my parents for that because of their example and their teaching me that work is not something to be dreaded.
An example for me was when I was probably 7 or 8 years old my parents thought it might be good for me to learn how to pick tomatoes and make a little extra money. So one Saturday they took us to pick tomatoes. My younger brother was maybe 5-6 and my very youngest was perhaps 3-4. We were about 2 years apart.
So it seemed we picked tomatoes all day long and they kept emptying out our baskets of what we picked, not fair at all. By the time we finished we were all very tired, but we did make a little money. And it’s become one of my favorite memories of my childhood.
Another summer I had a paper route and I was pretty good at it. The neighbors all liked me and kept giving me cookies and tips when I would go around to collect. I do remember my mom had to help me one time because it was raining and she did not like that at all! But all in all it was a good summer. I saved a little money and bought myself a bike. Another great memory.
My mom was an excellent cook and had worked for a restaurant, Sauzer’s Waffle Shop in Indiana, on US Rts 30 & 41. Sauzer’s is no longer there but Teibles Family Restaurant, which was on the other corner is still there today.
One summer when I was 15 and in high school and we had already moved to the farm in Kentucky, I was able to stay with my cousins who still lived in Indiana. That summer I learned the art of dish washing at Sauzer’s. Now I did learn other skills like how to peel potatoes and make homemade french fries, the real thing, and how to mop and clean up other peoples’ messes! The kitchen floor always seemed greasy and needed to be mopped. That summer I enjoyed meeting some very nice people and seeing them hustle also made a lasting impression. That was a good summer also.
I had many opportunities during my adolescents to learn about work ethic. It was easy on the farm since there was always something to do. In the spring we would plant corn, soybeans or maybe sugar cane. The year we planted and harvested the sugar cane was when we made sorghum in the latter part of the summer when the sugar cane was at its peak for harvest. Making sorghum is another story I might share sometime.
In the spring we would also plant a big garden. Potatoes, bush green beans and pole green beans, onions, carrots, radishes and lettuce. We would plant the pole beans and after they got 3-4 inches out of the ground we would go around and place long poles or stakes in each hill of beans and tying 4 of them together at the top so that it looked like a teepee, then as the beans grew they would climb up the poles, quite a site. And my those pole beans after they were picked and broken later in the summer, and the way my mom prepared them fresh from the garden made them so delicious.
Breaking those beans was another chore we did as a family under the shade of the maple trees. We would keep a few pounds of fresh vegetables in the refrigerator to eat on during the week. Mom would always can the bulk of the vegetables, aside from the fresh ones, and once they were cooled we would put them in the cellar, an under ground room with shelves, which had a constant cool temperature to preserve the canned fruits and vegetables from spoiling.
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