Memories and Remembering Precious Links from Our Youth

A family photo taken one Sunday at my grandparents a few years after we had moved from the mountain to the mill village. I am the one wearing overalls and barefoot.
A family photo taken one Sunday at my grandparents a few years after we had moved from the mountain to the mill village. I am the one wearing overalls and barefoot.

Memories One that Just Popped into my Head

Precious Memeories is an old gospel song I heard and learned at church as a boy. The song is nostagic with a haunting melody and remains one of my favorites to this day. Our memory is a precious gift given by our Creator. We seem to retain in them all the good and bad of our lives. Admittedly, this may include some memories we would all like to forget and/or erase. There are those happy memories like our wedding, the birth of our children or our grandchildren. There are sad memories too. Who really likes to think about the assasination of JFK or 911 or the death of a parent or a tragic loss or some emotional hurt that left irreparable scars which still hurt when they surface that created a difficult period in our lives. Others are for learning and protection that teach and remind us to not touch a hot stove.

Blessed and fortunate we had loving parents. We were poor by all modern indicators which measure financial success but the reality is something which can't be measured in dollars and cents and are the ones which we value most. Daddy was by his nature a quiet man and when I was born we lived in a house he rented on Mount Olivet. My first memories are those of the cold winter when I was only 2 years of age. Daddy was helping a neighbor slaughter a hog and mama had dressed me as best as she could to keep me warm that day. Even then I hated overalls, especially; when nature called, those gosh awful gallouses were nothing but trouble . I even remember wearing those bibbed ovleralls and little boots she had put on my feet for me to walk to the neighbors house through the woods and the toboggan I wore on my head to keep my ears warm. The toboggan did little to quicken my nose from running however. She would help our neighbors wife butcher some of the hog and cook dinner for the men folks.

A short while later, dad moved the family to Tuxedo. He worked in the cotton mill, Green River Mills.at that time during the early 1950's. He worked in the same mill until his 70th birthday retiring only when the plant closed. Green River Mills was sold to J P Stevens after a labor union strike forced the family owned business which had its beginnings some where around 1903. Stevens then sold to West-Point Pepperell which closed operations in the early 1980's.

When we first moved to the village, it was mom, dad, my oldest sister Wilma, and our Aunt Vernon, mom's youngest sister and our baby sitter while mom worked in the cotton mill, who lived in the four room house on Park Avenue. Dad loved to hunt in those days. He hunted squirrel, rabbits and his first love possum hunting. He always kept a few hounds for hunting. My sister is only 18 months older than me and in those days daddy would often sing us a nursery rhyme when he would go hunting. Funny thing about memory how it comes and goes but today this memory came back to me and the little nursery rhyme as well. I looked on the internet and found it. This is the rhyme and I always thought daddy sung it for more my sister rather than for me, heck I was barely out of diapers and still used a baby bottle.

Bye, O baby bunting Daddy's gone a hunting To get a little rabbit skin To wrap his baby bunting in Bye, O baby bunting Daddy's gone a hunting To get a little lambie skin To wrap his baby bunting in Bye, O baby bunting Daddy's gone a hunting A rosy wisp of cloud to win To wrap his baby bunting in

We ate lots of squirrel he killed while hunting with those special dumplings mama made to go with them when I was young. Daddy liked the brains and I remember how he would take a serving spoon to crack the squirrel head to get at the sweet meat as he called it. When I was 14 he bought me my first shotgun. I still have it today and soon will be 63 years old. It is a single shot 20 gauge Winchester with a modified choke. As a teenager dad always gave us $2 for our school lunches. It didn't take the full $2 so for me it meant I could buy 2 shotgun shells at the company store. Like dad, I had found squirrel hunting to be something I enjoyed and almost everyday after school I would hunt the woods on the mill watershed near our house inn the village for squirrels often just sitting under a big Hickory or Oak and just watching them play tag with each other. On many days darkness would overtake me before I ventured home. I would clean and dress my squirrels and mama would fry them for breakfast. She always made gravy and her morning biscuits made for some fine eating.

Our memories are precious and I'm thankful there are so many good ones in mine. Often we ponder our past and without doubt our lives have been a work in progress shaped by life experiences stored in our memories.






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lucybell21 profile image

lucybell21 5 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

I really enjoyed reading your story. Memories are a wonderful thing to have. I always hope when I am old I can remember them.

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