Thursday, July 1, 2010
The Good Old Days
It's July and for a lot of people in this area, it's head north fromb Detroit, or Flint or Saginaw to the cabin "up north". Back in the 1930's we did the same thing = we were eager to get out of the heat and humidity of New York City suburbs and so we headed for "Stone House". Well, actually the village name (and I'm not sure it was big enough to be called a village) was West Pauling in Dutchess County of New York. The picture above is of our house. In the lower right hand corner you can clearly see my brother and I am almost out of sight in the bright area. I think I was four or so at the time.
There was no electricity - no TV - no radio - no refrigerator - though there was an old-fashioned ice box that used real honest to goodness ice from an an old fashioned
ice house down the road a piece. We used the rain barrel for water to wash with - and had a hand pump for drinking water. No bathrooms - an outhouse in the woods
which were scary for a little kid. (You know, 'lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my")
Each of the bedrooms had a pitcher of water (from the rain barrel) and a washbowl.
After use, the water was tossed over the second story railing. Under the washstand in each bedroom was a chamber pot which saved a trip out back into the woods at night. (No, the chamber pot was not dumped over the porch railing - the residue in the pot was discretely and carefully disposed of in the proper place the next day.) Oh, I forgot to mention that the outhouse was the home of bees, wasps, and hornets
just to make things a bit more interesting. And yes, as the story goes, we had a few Sears ROEBUCK and Company catalogs in the outhouse. Not just for reading, of course.
Our kitchen was extremely primitive - just the bare essentials - and cooking was on a huge cast iron wood-burning stove. It was a wonderful way to spend a summer - even if my father severely cut my leg with a scythe and I ended up with a scar I bear to this day. By the way, I think the picture may have been taken around 1935. Anyesy, time and lifestyle's have changed a lot since then. Believe it or not, the old house was refurbished and upgraded - in the seventies we drove by it and the house was beautiful. The man of the house actually was out in the yard using a power mower on the yard. And the house even had a TV antenna on the roof.
For some reason, I like the old house better the way it used to be. Yep, it was a primitive way of life - but it was simple and happy - and it makes for a great memory. And I guess that we were really fortunate in those terrible depression years to have a place like it with all the pain and suffering that many others endured during those years.