Whitesburg KY

Ohio Valley turned into deep freezer

Southern Ohio

Happy New Year everyone!

It is a rainy, cold, dreary, gray day in the Ohio Valley area, which has turned into a deep freezer! Oh, what am I complaining about it? It is supposed to get worse although we have dodged the bullet of what was predicted so far.

My house is an older dwelling, and of course drafty. My front door is metal and let me tell you, it is cold.

As I sit in my living room with an electric blanket wrapped around me, this brings back so many memories of childhood. How did we all survive in the bygone years of long ago? A fireplace in one room, which would almost go out at night.

I can still recall Mommy making sure the grates were filled with hot coals, then shoveling fine coal on. Then last, putting ashes on to bank the fire.

Mommy would seal the windowsills with old rags to keep out the draft, not to mention never knowing what indoor plumbing was with water freezing in the bucket almost every night and never dreaming about someplace in the house to use the bathroom.

Mom never complained no matter the conditions in which we lived, and it was spick and span wherever we lived.

Another thing comes to mind as I sit here reflecting back to bygone days. How many ever remember school being cancelled, much less a church?

I attended Mill Branch Grade School for seven years along with lots of other children before and after me, and walked to school through snow, cold, or rain. I wore hand-medown coats, and never had a pair of gloves. I would try to pull the coat sleeves down to protect my little hands, and if there were a pair of extra socks I have pulled them over my hands.

I really don’t even remember a scarf except once in a while I would tie a Birdseye baby diaper around my head to use as a scarf.

Daddy would get us a new pair of shoes as it started to get too cold to go barefoot. When the sole became worn out, I have placed cardboard inside, which only lasted a short while.

Grandma Rosa Hall had a remedy for this. When she could find a leather sole or piece of leather she repaired it, as she had an iron shoe last. The only thing with this homemade shoe repair is the tacks would come through the inside.

Once again I used thickness of cardboard to pad it, and once again the tacks would eventually come through, making indentions in your feet.

I never knew what riding on a school bus was until I attended my freshman year at Kingdom Come High School on Linefork.

I read about people my age having television, but I don’t remember watching television until I was 14 years old, staying in Covington, babysitting for a doctor and his wife while lying about my age.

Oh how strange that world was. It had running water, all you had to do was turn on a faucet; a bath- room, no going outside to the toilet; and shampoo to wash your hair. I had always used soap then rinsed with vinegar and water mixed. There I had toothpaste, and a toothbrush, and a bed of my own. I was in paradise, and I even got paid a little money.

I guess that was the first experience of knowing there was a different world outside of the mountains. There have been times I have wondered what my life would have been like, had I never left. I really have only one regret in my life, the lack of opportunity for education, when reading of someone’s achievements.

I sort of took stock of myself, a young girl who came from the mountains without much of anything, to the woman that I am today. I now have a home where no one will ever tell me to leave as long as I can pay the taxes, and adult children and grandchildren with good educations.

So to sum it up, I guess haven’t done too badly.

Belated happy birthday wishes to Hillard Halcomb, who was 91 years young Dec. 19. Somehow I let it slip my mind. I understand that Hillard has one of the finest gardens around, and that he is already planning on getting another started soon.

I bet another man whom I used to tease by saying he was the best looking man on Ingram’s Creek, Bruce Jones, is thinking about planting peas in February.

Chester Chafin and his wife are still having fresh greens from the garden. Chester used to write for The Mountain Eagle some time ago.

I wish someone would go by and whomp Larry Roark for posting all his great looking food on the computer.

Daphne Bradley and I all went to Hunters Pizzeria to see Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers, Les and Pat Wagner along with Larry and Becky Hasty. Polly and little Kelly was unable to attend, and they were really missed by everyone.

I joined a group of friends at Coon Hunters Association out of Hamilton to celebrate New Year’s. It had been a long time since Shirley Godbey, Alphine Stacy, Becky Cummins and I had been together. Alphine, Becky and I danced several times together, and this was the first time I had danced in a couple of months. It seems we have all drifted apart and are going our separate ways. Becky got married, Alphine and Shirley have commitments, and I have nothing to hold me back from going where I want to.

As I am finishing up this column the temperature is dropping and the road is already covered with snow. We have strong winds that are howling and since a draft is coming through again, I am going to hang a blanket over the door.

Jennifer Collins and I were talking about doing this, and I reminded Jennifer of the old saying, “You can take the girl out of the mountains, not the mountain out of the girl.”

I hope my two young readers, James and John, and their parents Mike and Valerie Ison are staying warm. It is such a pleasure having two teenagers reading my column. I’ve often said I wish that in some way I could convey to young people the importance of an education. Who knows? Maybe something I will say or write might make an impression on these two young gentlemen.

It is time to send this on its way. I know I will think of something I meant to say once it is gone.

Glenora Eldridge, I hope you and Kenneth are staying warm. I know last year you had some problems with your oil tank.

I really miss hearing RR2 Band. Bruce Murray, the lead guitar picker, has been very ill for a month or so. I wish Bruce a speedy recovery.

I miss listening to Gary Eldridge singing and playing that small instrument called a mandolin. Gary sure gets a great sound from it.

Jon Caudill of Caudill Construction, I sure wish you weren’t so busy as I could use your expert advice and work on this end of the world.

Doyle and Betty Ison, throw another log on the fire. I may be heading your way if it doesn’t warm up soon

Hello to my brother Jerry and Mattie Hall, and please be careful if you are out.

Until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Road, Harrison, Ohio 45030, email Bluegrassmama4@aol.com, telephone 513- 367-4682.

Leave a Reply