Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summertime in Texas in the Fifties

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What do children and young teens do during the summers in the 21st Century? My grandsons will attend soccer camp, take scuba diving lessons, and spend long days at the family's lake cottages with numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

People who survived the Great Depression and two world wars reared their children quite differently. On the High Plains of West Texas where I grew up, my parents were determined that we three girls know how to survive if ever there should be a food shortage. Mother, especially, believed it was her God-given responsibility to teach us to gather, harvest, can, and freeze large amounts of food.

My younger sister and I had such lessons every summer. It seemed that our older sister was born knowing how to do these tasks, but we, the younger two, were completely ignorant.

During the peak season of vegetables and fruits, Mother would take us out to a "truck farm" that allowed anyone to come out and pick and gather bushels of the current produce--for a fee, of course.

We were the pickers and the gatherers.
One week we'd find a field of corn. We'd fill our baskets with the corn with the shuck still on, and head home. Mother proceeded to arrange us on stools around the baskets to demonstrate how to shuck corn and pick off the silk. When clean, Mother used a heavy sharp knife to slice off the kernels, and all were in a pan, she'd use the edge of the knife to run it down the sides, releasing a sweet corn liquid.

The next week, we'd pick black-eyed peas, take them home and spend the afternoon shelling peas. The next trip, we'd find peaches, or okra, squash, or green beans.
Some of these fruits and vegetables were packed into pint-sized plastic containers and put in the big upright freezer. Black-eyed peas and green beans were canned in quart-sized Mason jars, using Mother's huge cast-iron canner. Such a scary apparatus.

Yes, we grumbled and griped, stepped on grass-burrs and goat-heads, and got sunburned. But when we all sat down at the supper table, we ate like kings.

I never learned how to cook like my mother did..probably because I bought food, including fruits and vegetables at the local Piggly Wiggly.

It was just not the same.
 Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas


  1. Hi Celia,
    Enjoyed this blog post, as always.

  2. Hello again,
    I'm trying to test my blog photo. This will be the first ...if it works!

  3. No, Celia,yea Kaye. She finally did what we had failed to do following your perfect instructions to no avail. She SAVED it. So now I want to confess that I have never canned anything but it is a skill I wish I'd learned from my mother who used to can using a pressure cooker. Home canned food is truly the best.