Living our life

By Evelyn Richardson - Here and There

We didn’t have a lot of the things that today would be considered bare essentials for a good life, but we were proud of what we had.

Electricity did not come to our area until I was eight years old, but we were able to own a coal oil Aladdin lamp for the living room. Its fragile mantle that encased the flame increased the glow dramatically. The lamp itself with the big white glass shade was a pretty fixture hanging from the ceiling. We kinda hated to give it up for a twisted wire and bare bulb.

We did not have running water in the house, but the cistern was under roof on the porch only a couple of steps from the kitchen door. We didn’t have to go out in the rain, or make our way through the dark to a well house, or carry water in buckets up the steep hill from the spring.

Until electricity came, we had no washing machine, but we had twin washtubs mounted on legs of their own—with rollers! They could be rolled to the edge of the porch, the miraculous faucets unscrewed and wash water would drain out into buckets or just onto the ground without any lifting on our part.

Our clothesline was the best. Heavy galvanized wire was strung between sturdy posts set deep in the ground. If it should sag with a heavy load, a pole grooved at one end could be placed near the middle of the line lifting it high above the ground out of reach of passing muddy dogs and where the clothes could catch the breeze better for drying.

Wood for the Home Comfort range had an innovative storage place. My father extended a part of the kitchen wall for a built-in wood box. Accessible from inside the house, it was filled from the outside through a small door at standing level. Less effort, less trash. An added benefit—the tin roof of the wood box was a handy place for drying peaches and apples for fried pies come winter.

In summer, we brought in from the shop a coal oil cooking stove. The oven would burn the biscuits on the bottom if we didn’t watch carefully and much of the food cooked on that stove turned out less tasty, but it surely beat heating up the house to roasting level when the outdoor temperature was rising high, even if fumes did fill the air.

When building our house, my father installed windows with solid glass in the sashes. We were not up to having a picture window yet, but the big panes were so much easier to clean. No digging the dried Bon-Ami window cleaner out of the dozens of corners of smaller panes. Big bold swipes left them shining.

The gate to the barnyard was hinged, not held to the post with loops of wire. Our chickens roosted on poles that could be lifted up for easy cleaning of the henhouse.

I thought we had the best and felt privileged to be living our lifestyle.

By Evelyn Richardson

Here and There

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