Monday, March 25, 2013

OUR FIRST HOME

My last post got me worrying.

Whoever bought the old Mary Leila Cotton Mill may get the notion to tear down the little old mill house which was mine and Danny’s first home.

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So I drove by there and took a picture of it.

It is a little three room shotgun house. Just three little rooms. Lilies use to grow right there to the right of the front steps you see in the picture. I loved those lilies. I thought they were the only thing that added color to the house. Danny hated them and set his Pawpaw's push mower on fire once trying to cut them down.

The first room was the living room. We couldn’t afford a couch, but we did have a little iron twin bed and one chair that we bought. The next room was the bedroom. I can still see our old iron double bed sitting catty cornered with the string that led to the light bulb tied to  the head of it. ( An easy way to find the string if you needed to get up in the dark.)

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In the bedroom was our one and only tiny clothes closet right next to the fireplace mantle. All our clothes that had to be hung fit into that closet too. Sort of tells you something doesn’t it??  My mama and daddy let us borrow one of their old ( and I mean OLD) wooden dressers and that was our bedroom suit!

In the last room of our little three room house was the kitchen. When I close my eyes I can still see the second hand stove we bought. I LOVED that stove and would love to have one like it now. It was push button and had two side by side ovens! One small oven just right for corn bread or dressing or such and another one that was big.

On top, it had three electric burners and also a deep-well to cook your beans or such in. We had one of those little refrigerators that had a rounded top with one door. When you opened the door, there was a teeny little ice box at the top inside that would only hold two ice trays! It had to be defrosted by hand regularly….by me. I had the kind of kitchen table that had chrome around the edges and chairs to match. Over in the corner was the wringer washer our Big Mama helped us get. That thing could sure wash clothes good. 

To the left of the kitchen was a door that lead to our bathroom. It only had a toilet and a shower in it, but it worked!

My mama gave me an ironing board and iron when I got married. I loved to iron and would iron EVERYTHING! I would iron our mill cloth sheets that Big Mama made for us and iron our towels, anything…..Danny made me stop ironing his tee shirts and underwear though. When permanent press came out, my ironing pretty much stopped. I have an iron now, but very seldom do I use it anymore.

Every morning, before Danny walked across the street to the Mill to go to work, I would fix his breakfast. We would have bacon (or sausage or fat back) , eggs, grits and toast. Sometimes we would just have oatmeal and biscuit toast. I would always perk us some coffee in the little tin coffee pot mama gave us too. It would be so good. I remember that I used Lousianne coffee. Do people even perk coffee anymore?

We didn’t have a car back in those days. We only had to walk under the underhead pass to town to buy our groceries and having little money for extras, we didn’t have to go anywhere else. Our parents,grandparents, aunts, all our family, lived right around the block if we wanted to go see them, so it all worked out okay.

We had a lot of good times in our first little house. We didn’t have kids yet, so it was just the two of us. We played rummy, or checkers, or just sat on the front porch talking.

It was there that little Dan came to be…I remember waking up like I did every morning before Danny and walking into the kitchen to make breakfast for him. I remember well that I had sausage to fry that morning and as soon as it started frying, I got sick as a dog to my stomach and had to take it off the burner and run to the bathroom.

There were no pregnancy tests back then but Lord, I didn’t need one…I hadn't ever felt that kind of sickness before! I knew I was pregnant! 

You know…there are a lot of things that are worth much more than money could buy.

If someone offered me a billion dollars or the chance to walk back in time into that little Mill House again and find my Danny waiting there for me…

Well, I would take that walk back in time in a heartbeat.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Beginnings and Endings

God has blessed me with a new little grandchild. This one makes three! Not bad, considering I didn’t think I would have any. This time HE sent us a little girl!!

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Kenzie Elizabeth Carleigh Kitchens was born on March 07, 2013, weighing 7 pounds 5 ounces and 20 inches long.

I went to see her today. She is soooooo sweet and cuddly. There is nothing sweeter than a new born baby. Well, except a newborn grandaughter!!!  Ever since she was named, I have been having trouble remembering her name; that is until I first held her.

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Since then, it has stuck fast in my heart and soul.

( Her daddy named her Kenzie and I think she already has him wrapped tightly around her tiny little finger. )

Being sick with the crud that has been running like wild fire all over Greene County lately, I forced myself to wait until I was sure that I wouldn’t pass it on to her or the rest of the family. I don’t know what I had, but it knocked me to my knees so to speak and put me in my bed for days. I very seldom miss work, but I missed all three days with this evil stuff.

Little Miss Kenzie was suppose to wait until March 11th, but I guess she decided she was coming when SHE wanted to…which was a week early. When Amanda called me that day and said; “ Mama, I am on the way to the hospital to have the baby”, I was running a 103 degree temperature. Without thinking, I squeaked out, “You can’t… I am sick!” 

So for the first time ever, I could not be with my daughter when she had her baby.

I think I have learned that one of the hardest things a mama can do is force herself to stay away from her child…for her child’s sake. Of course I knew that I could not go to the hospital in the shape I was in…but I cried all that evening that Kenzie was born, all the next day and most of the next. Along with being sick as a dog, I also felt soooooo guilty for not being there for my child when she needed me.

A mama is suppose to be there.

One day when I had to take Amanda to her c-section Pre-op at the hospital, I had the boys out in the lobby while they did all the tests on their mama. In the lobby were three big Lego blocks about a foot long each. Wyatt took the blocks and turned one up on it’s end for a refrigerator and the other two down flat for a sink and a stove. He and Will had the best time pretending they were cooking. I told them that maw maw was going to hunt them a play kitchen and darn if I didn’t find one the next day at Goodwill for $8.00! I went on to Walmart and found a basket of play food for $5.00!  So, I have been waiting to give them their gift that I promised them.

Today I took that kitchen set down there to the boys and they had the best time. Even though little William was sick, he still played right along with Wyatt for a good while. We put their kitchen on the screened-in front porch and it was such fun to watch them coming in the front door with various foods they had cooked for us. They even brought us donuts and coffee!!

After they had played for a while, Wyatt came in the door and came up to me all serious and said, “Thank you maw maw for our kitchen!” and then went over to Dan and told him the same thing and went right back outside to ‘cook’. To know that he loved this kitchen so much to stop his playing and come inside just to thank me, without being prompted, well it about made me cry. They are such good little children. When I told them they needed to eat, a very hungry Wyatt said, “Chef Wyatt and Chef Will’s kitchen just closed!!!”

( Poor little Will didn’t feel like eating, but instead went to sleep on the couch. )

While walking my dogs this evening, I glanced over at the Mill and it looks so sad. I thought about all the hard working people that worked there. My Granny, and all of Danny’s folks worked at the Mary Leila Cotton Mill making ‘Mill cloth’. When Danny and I got married, his grandma, ‘Big Mama’,  gave us Mill cloth sheets and when my babies were born, she gave me Mill cloth diapers.

This evening,  I walked over toward the gate and stood there looking up at the back door of the Mill…

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I could still see in my mind; Danny at 17 years old running down the steep metal steps to get his lunch from me and I had to swallow hard to keep from crying.

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That Mill supported so many families. The work was hard and everyday Danny would come home and immediately take a shower to get rid of the cotton lint in his hair, his ears, his nose, his throat and everywhere else it could find to lay on him.  I think the mill took $7.00 a week out of his check for the rent on the mill houses we lived in. We painted every room in every house we lived in. They were constantly moving us from house to house and looking back now, I think they did this so we would paint them! lol The first one was the house right in front of the Mill near the underhead pass. It is a little shotgun house and is still standing. ( They were called shotgun houses, because there were only three rooms which ran straight through.) I keep meaning to go take a picture of it before it is too late. I remember that I had a wringer washer when we lived there. It washed clothes better than any washer I have had since.

                         my house

                                     My little Mill Town home

I know it will never happen, but I sure wish the mill could come back to life and I could hear the mill whistle blow again. Just think of all the jobs it could create…all the families it could help.

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I still live in Milltown and there are sooooo many memories and ghosts floating around this place.