Reflections on life in 1957 in the country life was hard, but we had love and core values
|It is incredible to look back on my life Sixty-two (62) years ago and see it from today's vantage point:
Cotton fields, peanuts, tobacco, beans, corn, sugar cane, hogs, cows, chickens, gardens, pears, peaches, tomatoes, grapes, plums, persimmons, and the list goes on and on -- we worked the fields for others, and then came home to work ours.
You got $3 for working in the sun all day and picking 100 pounds of cotton. You cropped tobacco all day long for $5 a day. You got .50 a day for a basket of peanuts, and about the same for a bushel of beans/peas. Hard work -- out in the elements all day long.
You rode on the back of a truck. You sat on the tailgate, and occasionally hit a bump that threw you off into the road. You ran to catch up and jump back on with everyone laugh and reaching for you so that you could make it. There were no potty johns, no toilet paper, and indeed no place to watch your hands when you finished. Did I mention that there was no refrigeration in the fields to store your lunch that you got on credit from one of the only grocery stores in town owned by the same family?
Then you finally returned home to chop wood, start the fire in the woodstove, cooked and served dinner, sat around the or played or went to visit the sick and shut-in and share your food. You finally went back home and started the cycle all over again after listening to the radio (if you were lucky enough to have one). If you lived at my house, summer and work were not time off from books, reading, Bible study, learning all of the words in Reader's Digest for Saturday's quiz, and other learning tasks including learning how to type on a manual typewriter.
I am tired just thinking about the trips to the woods to pick dear tongue, pick up pinecones, and to pick blackberries, huckleberries, and anything else that was determined to be good for you or could be preserved or sold.
Everybody had a job, a chore, and a responsibility. Everybody had to carry their weight. Those too young to work had to take care of those that were younger than them and were held accountable.
Life was hard, but there were love, learning, family, and relationships. There were core values, integrity, respect, honor, responsibility, accountability, and yes, there were consequences -- sometimes very harsh consequences.
We were dirt poor (I did not know it then), but we were a community, and we watched over and took care of each other.
Was it heaven on earth back then? Were they really the good "ole" days? I would say that it depends on your perspective as well as what parts of it brought you joy. I would not trade my life lessons from back then for it's those lessons that allowed me to survive where I chose to make my home.
The work is different, the pay is a little better, but the people are very much the same -- the have's, the think they have, the have nots, and the down and trodden -- in a Country that should be ashamed to have people living on the streets, eating out of garbage cans, sleeping over grates, and dying for lack of medical care and attention.
It is incredible to sit in my home tonight and reflect over how much things have changed in my lifetime while remaining so much the same. Different cotton and tobacco fields, but the same mentality. Higher expectations with more restrictions. Failure built into the system, but blinders and indoctrination still in place to limit the view and the opportunities to achieve success. Death to creativity, independence, differences, and, yes, economic freedom!
The desire to break out of the mundane is killed softly every day without being recognized -- go south same shopping centers, go west, same shopping centers, go east, same shopping centers, go north, yep, same old shopping centers. Same housing stock. Same schools. Same clothes. Same rhetoric.
Does anybody remember George Orwell and his book 1984?
Something to think about, if you are from that time zone, and even if you are not! Someone once told me that if I did not know where I'd been, then I probably do not have a clue to where I am going!
I know where I have been. I know where I am now, and yes, today, as I look around at the world that we baby boomers have created, and the millennial are st in motion to run, I know where I am going.
Peace and blessings always.
Does anyone see any shade out there? How about an HVAC system? Even the trees stayed way off in the distance.
This was written for my cousins (north, south, east and west) to remind us of where we came from, and the farm that our grandparents were able to secure for our family.