REFLECTIONS

Home Life In The 1920s And 1930s

  An evening in our house, as well as most homes, was spent in playing checkers and dominoes. Cards were not allowed, so when Irvin and Sherman and the girls would want to play cards, they would wait until my grandmother went to bed. Then they would bring the cards out from under the table where they had them hid.

  The women, especially my mother and aunt Laura, made their own clothes most of the time. They would make dresses and aprons from the gaily-printed sacks that feed came in. Everything seemed to be much slower then than now. The days were longer; there was a lot of time to play. Sometimes I would be playing and find darkness coming and not have the small chores done that were assigned to me. Then they would be accomplished using a kerosene lantern. Did I mention that we had no electricity and had only the kerosene lamps and lanterns? The chimneys would get smoked up if the wick was cut at an angle or got too long. Evenings were long because there was not a lot to do. Of course there were checkers, dominoes and cards. Since most of the women were opposed to card playing, that had to be done after the mothers were in bed. We did not have a deck of cards in our home, but my dad loved to play checkers. The only drawback came when he or anyone else played with Uncle Russell, he liked to win, if only by cheating once in a while. My mother was always making something. In the summer it was pies, cakes and candy. In the winter it was ice cream.

  A fun night was when we popped popcorn. Mother would get an iron skillet, grease it with butter, put a lid on it, and then move it back and forth on the stove top so that it wouldnít stick. Soon you would hear it popping against the lid. A treat was taking the grains that didnít pop and grinding them in the coffee grinder. She would then put sugar on what was ground and mix it up. It was something I always looked forward to.

  In the winter, when we made fire in the cook stove, we would peel potatoes, slice them, and lay them on the stovetop. When they got brown on one side, we turned them over and did the other side. They too were a treat.

  Mother experimented quite a bit with the Rumford cookbook trying things that she thought would be good. Many were great, but one turned out differently. We all loved apple fritters, so one rainy day, all three of us were in the house wondering what we could do. She found a recipe for making potato fritters and we all thought they would be good. It didnít turn out that way; they tasted terrible, especially to me. My dad ate them but he asked if mother took the recipe from the book. Mother said she had taken the recipe out of the book. Dad replied that it was good she did - and to let it out. We never had potato fritters after that.