Usually I awaken around 2 am, and just start writing about whatever pops into my head. Never had writer’s block. But this morning, I was indecisive over today’s subject matter. For the first time, I understood what other writers speak about when they struggle over subject matter. In my case, I had so many various subjects to write about, I couldn’t decide which on this special number one-thousand article.
Here it is 9 am, and suddenly it hit me, write the story of my life. Some of it will be repetitious, because I have posted stories about some of my experiences.This will be off the top of my head, according to my memory. My next birthday I will be ninety years old.
I began writing in high school, and wrote a weekly column, published in a local newspaper, titled “Eavesdropping on My High School.” This was in the early forties and I still have some of those published articles. I continued writing throughout the ensuing years, and no telling how many old black Royal typewriters I wore out.
It was five years ago when my son called and said, “Mom, if you will just write, I will furnish you a team of people to assist.” He knew I was almost computer illiterate, and when I agreed to write articles, he set me up with a New York editor, publicist, Atlanta webmaster, editor and etc. He said it will be a blog, titled Octogenarian. My first question, “What’s a blog” and second was, “What’s an octogenarian?” My love of writing prompted me to quickly agree. My first year, I was the subject of several articles in a number of magazines, feature story in a national magazine, and received a call and vetted to appear on the Jay Leno show. I do not fly, therefore did not want to fly to Los Angeles.
Here I am writing issue one-thousand, five years later. All articles still posted, going around the world 24-7 to eighty countries. Thousands of comments from many different countries. I never dreamed when I began, I would write one-thousand articles.
I was born in the country, in northeast Georgia. My parents were teenaged farmers. In 1924, when I was born, life was quite different back then. Because my parents were so young, I had lots of aunts, uncles, living grandparents, cousins, and one living great grandmother who lived with us, after divorcing my great-grandfather. All living near by on adjoining farms.
Back then, no electricity, and no phones, but we had a radio, and received daily newspapers, delivered by a mailman. I read newspapers daily and listened to the radio, growing up, and kept up with goings on around the outside world from those two mediums. From the time I started to school, I was a voracious reader, and interested in so many things.
I attended 12 years of school and rode the bus everyday. The school I attended was a very large county school and most of the teachers were aunts, uncles, and neighbors. I played basketball four years in high-school, and was captain of the team.
After school, I had chores like bringing in firewood for the old wood stove. I did not cook, wash dishes and do housework, my mother and hired help on the farm did all of that. On laundry days, I did draw water from a spring for laundry, and all clothes were boiled in a huge black wash pot. No refrigeration, milk from the cows, was placed in gallon jugs and placed in the spring, to keep cool. I never learned how to milk a cow, just not an animal person.
However, in high school, my father gave me a little white-faced hereford calf to raise, to sell, when I graduated for the expense of such things as cap and gown, graduation invitations and class trip. I think I sold that calf back to my father three times.
Most everything was raised on the farm, including wheat for flour and corn for cornmeal. We had a smoke house where meat was cured for the winter. And a cellar where all the canned foods were stored to prevent freezing in the winter. My mother would can 800 jars every year, using a huge pressure cooker. We had plenty of food and everything, back in the depression of the thirties, when I would read about hungry crowds standing in food lines in the cities.
My mom could do everything, cook, can, preserve food, sew our clothes, and make quilts. I had aunts working in local cottom mills who visited regularly with loads of stuff, like coffee, salt, sugar, baking powder and those necessities not raised on the farm. I grew up with plenty of everything I needed.
Back then it was taboo to talk about money, and I didn’t think we had any. However years later, I discovered the divorce papers of my great grandmother, who was living with us and in the divorce she was awarded ten-thousand in gold, and quite a bit of land acreage. When she passed my mother had all that gold, she never talked about. I still have the divorce papers, stating all she was awarded in the divorce. My great-grandfather was quite wealthy.
My father had a brother attending college to become a doctor, but died suddenly while in college, and my father inherited all his college books. At ten years old, I read those college level books and was absolutely fascinated by them. College books about anatomy, health and healing, philosophy and psychology.
At my highs chool graduation, my class was scheduled to go on a trip to Washington DC, but war had been declared by President Roosevelt and it was cancelled, and instead a trip to the mountains, was my graduation trip.
In retrospect, I had a good, secure-feeling childhood. Over the kitchen door hung an old Civil War shotgun, and I grew up feeling no one would harm us because my father would grab that old shotgun to protect us if needed. Back then we didn’t even lock doors. Always had German Shepherd dogs, who barked when anyone approached.
On Sundays, our family gathered, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. After lunch everyone gathered on the large wrap-around porch, called the veranda, and talked about farming, school, the weather, current events, religion, and argued about politics in general and whoever was running for governor in particular. It was an era of the Talmadge days in Georgia, and my family was interested in everything political. My parents hated Roosevelt with a purple passion, particularly when he ordered crops to be ploughed under, to raise prices of such cash crops as cotton.
President Roosevelt was the first dyed in the wool socialist, and so interfered with the economy, the depression was prolonged, then he declared war and remained president for life, until he passed in 1945.
After high school graduation, I moved to Atlanta, lived with an aunt and my first job was working in the accounts payable for the mail order company, Sears Roebuck, located on Ponce De Leon Avenue in Atlanta. I grew up reading the Sears catalog, and it was heaven for me to be working for them.
Continued in PART TWO
Just me AC