I can well remember back to when I was three years of age. My family members were small farmers living in a three-room wooden house on a dirt road, one mile from the closest store and four miles from the post office and doctor's office. It was about three miles to the Cumberland River and Cumberland City was the name of the nearest town. The high school was located there. The grade school from primer through eighth grade was in a one-room schoolhouse just a few yards from my home.
I can remember at three years old when my first brother was born at home, as were four other girls before me. I was very jealous at having a new baby take my place. When I saw his little head, covered with black hair, resting in my mamma's arms, my first thought was to feed him to the pigs. At the age of three I could see this in my mind's eye and it did not seem bad to me at that time. As time went by, however, I learned to love him and we enjoyed many good times together, as I will tell you later.
Within my next few years, I remember following my pappa around a lot. He was my idol. I followed him to the fields, to the woods, to cut trees for lumber, to clear new ground, to look over acreage for new crops, to smoke tobacco in the barns, to plow, to feed the stock and pigs, to shoe mules, to mend fencing, or just to walk and talk, which we did frequently. He taught me in object or comparison lessons. Even though he had only three or four years of schooling, his knowledge was superior.
There were more babies after my brother, three girls and two boys, eleven children in total. My mamma was always tending babies or expecting one, while cooking, washing on a washboard, milking, churning, canning, helping in hog killing, sewing, quilting, helping neighbors or birthing their babies.
My baby brother Gordon died at the age of 6 months, and my second sister, Sadie, at age 26. Sadie left three children; the oldest was 5 years and the youngest 10 months. We took these in to raise also. My mama took her paralyzed half-brother, Tom, in his old age and kept him three years before his death. She allowed my grandma, my pappa's mother, to move in and out several times before her death, even though she was very cross and bossy.
My mama just took it all and smiled as only she could.