Thursday, April 17, 2008
A WANDERING MIND
Maybe I am a little antique as some of my grand children say. I saw in a magazine where tomato plants could be planted upside down. So as my husband and I were planting them in two planters upside down - our grandson, John, walked over. He ask "Nanny what are you doing? Don't you know those plants are going to reach for the sun?" Then teasingly he said, "Nanny, that's crazy." Maybe it is nuts but when you get to be an antique I think you should have the privilege to do crazy things! That's the fun part of being older. If things turn out a mess you can always plea insanity. Right? Sure enough, the tomato plants are reaching upward toward the sun, but we will wait and see! My mind wandered back when I was a child. I remember going outside to play by myself. My two sisters were too young. And the stinking boys were doing boy things. I just went out under some pine trees that Louisiana is so noted for. I gathered up pine straw and starting building a playhouse. I partition off rooms with little rows of straw, making sure to leave spaces for open doors to go into. When that was done I looked for some old logs or pieces of wood and made my table and chairs. What else did I need? Oh yes, dishes! I did not have a tea set but that was the least of my worries. Pieces of old broken plates or whatever I could find that resembled dishes was fine. So I made my tea set and set the table. I needed to dress up for my tea party so I ran inside and got whatever I could find before Mama caught me. Not much, just something to throw over my shoulders for a shawl and I put my shoes on. I decided I wanted high heels, so I found two old cans and pushed my shoe heels down into the cans until the sides of the cans pressed in toward my shoe. When they took hold I had my high heels. (I wander how many other girls did that back then? Would be interesting to know!) I played for hours out under the pine trees. What fun! I remember walking the railroad track for probably a mile. I went to town one day with an Aunt. She was fun to be with. I told her it would be a shorter distance to town if we followed the tracks. No train was due so she agreed. Then we decided to see who could walk the tracks the longest without falling off. I don't remember who won, but she sure could walk those tracks. I went to Hammond with her on the town bus. I don't remember having been on the bus before. When we got to Hammond she told me to pull a small rope that was hung above our heads. I did and about that time a noise went off and the driver looked at me. I starting saying, "She told me to, she told me to." Then my Aunt started laughing. She looked at me and told me that rope was to signal the driver when a person wanted to get off. That was news to me! I remember flour came in big cloth covered bags. They had different prints so they could be used for something in the home. Mama sure made use of them. She made me flour sack dresses! Even after I started to school! The cloth was pure cotton and if Mama didn't have enough material she would tell Daddy to get the same print next time so she would have plenty material. When the dresses were made up they sure didn't look like flour sacks. I guess I wore them with pride because I don't remember being embarrassed. At our class re-union a couple weeks ago we were talking about our younger days. One of my class mates said' "Does anyone remember the flour sacks?" Right away I knew what she was talking about. She also had worn flour sack dresses and bonnets. I'm quite sure we were not the only two. I wander if printed flour sacks came back how many Mothers would know what to do with them! Most Mothers don't know how to sew, much less make flour sack dresses. I was surprised at how many of my class mates did not know how to sew. Between Mama and majoring in Home Economics I'm glad I know how. Guess being poor had it's advantages. I say we were poor but we really were not. One of the classmates had some pictures of our early years. He and I had the same 1st grade teacher. His wife worked for the school and as they were throwing out some old files and pictures she got the ones that we all were in. He had our 1st grade class picture. As we were meeting to plan the re-union he made the remark that he had the picture and most were so poor they did not have shoes to wear. I told him I was in that picture. He said he would look for me. That night he called and said "Aliene, you are in the picture on the front row and guess what, you were one of the kids that had shoes on." (I just suspect some of them took their shoes off to play.) We played Jacks, pop the whip, jump rope, later doubled jump rope. I could jump double rope good but the catch was-we had to name a movie star before we cold go. I didn't know many movie stars but I soon learned.