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Connected to the Earth


Connected to the earth…

I am so grateful that I was born early enough (1947) to remember a world that is long gone. In 1950 both my Grandfather Jeffery’s farm and my Grandfather Bratcher’s big house just up the road in the little town of Lanton still had outhouses and no indoor plumbing. My Grandmother Bratcher had a big kitchen with a wood burning stove and a well house connected to the kitchen. The stone well had a bucket on a rope. However, the sink in the kitchen had a hand pump which was state of the art before faucets. You could never escape the fact that water came from the earth. Yes, during heavy rain storms they would catch water from the drain pipe in washtubs. Her stove was a huge cast iron wood burning stove. I remember her telling me that she would use pine for cooking breakfast because it would burn hot and fast—especially for bacon which we would have every morning. She would use oak for baking cakes because it would burn slower with a steady heat. Baking a cake on a wood burning stove took a lot more skill than turning on the oven. Their food happened because of the burning of trees and of course the garden. They raised most of their food from potatoes and tomatoes to eggs, fried chicken, milk, beef and bacon. Stores were only used for coffee, sugar, salt, pepper and of course toilet paper.

I can’t imagine my very elegant Grand Mother Bratcher ever using anything else but store bought TP but just down the road at the Jeffery farm TP was a luxury item only used after the crops were sold. For country farmers cash flow was not a constant. No weekly pay check. You only had cash after the crop sold and first you had to pay off the bank who put up the seed money. That’s how it worked. So you would save money any way you could—even if it meant using last year’s Sears catalogue as TP. In 1950, nickels and dimes would actually buy something—like coffee and salt—which they couldn’t grow themselves.

These were small town country people connected to the earth. They knew, without thinking about it, that their food and water came from the sky and the earth, passed through them and returned to the earth. Their finale return was the State Line Cemetery where my Grandparents: Gus, Dora, Elias, and Laura are buried. I love them so much.



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