Good Old Days…The Ties That Bind
by Linda Suit
Imagine the years 1930-1931. That's a long time ago! Jerry Boy's grandparents (his Mom's parents) needed a place to live. On a country dirt road in Arkansas, Mom's brothers came together, cut logs from the property, shaved the bark, then began the task of building their parents a home. You have all heard of log cabins, but this is a very special one. You see, it was the place where Jerry Boy would be born several years later. The log cabin still stands six miles west of where Jerry Boy, Mommy and I now live.
The house was finally built, and the Adams grandparents lived there for several years. In the year 1938, Jerry Boy was born in the front room of this cabin. He had an older brother and would come to have three younger brothers. There was no electricity, no running water. Some would say it was a hard life, but in many ways, a simple life is better. Each person had their own chores to do, and all pulled together to do whatever it took to keep the family alive and well.
Jerry Boy's family moved over on the river for a while and two more boys were born, then they were off to Kansas. They moved back to Arkansas and his youngest brother was born in the same log house where Jerry Boy was born. Sadly their Dad decided he didn't want a family any longer and left them all, a wife and five little boys. Jerry Boy was five years old and had three younger brothers when this happened. Their Mom then bought a place with 40 acres and a house for $600! Her brothers loaned her the money to buy the property. When Jerry Boy's Grandpa Adams passed away, his Grandma needed help, so they all moved into the log cabin with her. All five boys slept in one room. The cracks in the floor were so big they could see the chickens underneath. In the mornings they would have to get wood to make a fire and haul water from the well so their Mom could start breakfast. If it was really cold the water would splash out on their britches and freeze before they got to the house.
Jerry Boy's Mom was an amazing lady and did what it took to care for her boys. They always knew love and that she would do her very best for all of them. She had the gift of making each one of them feel like they were the most special.
So, why am I calling this "Good Old Days" when their family had such a hard life? Because their Mom was a good Mom; she had a good family that supported her in her time of need. She was strong-willed and devoted to her boys. Back in those days, families took care of their own. She had a huge heart in a tiny body. Kind of like me huh?
The Good Old Days were filled with a lot of work, but also times of reading the Bible by oil lamp, praying together, singing together (several of the boys have great musical talent), simple meals were always eaten together. Nope, there weren't any fast food restaurants way back then. In fact, Jerry Boy said he was 16 before he ever ate his first hamburger! Cows were for milking, not eating. Besides, they didn't have refrigeration, so a whole cow would have spoiled before they could have eaten it. Jerry Boy was about eight when he learned how to plow, as they grew most of what they ate. There was no money for most things that could be bought.
A lot of people now don't have a clue how to plant a garden. Jerry Boy remembers on his tenth birthday Grandma Adams told him to come with her to the field to cut and pile brush. What? On my birthday? He thought it was unfair that he had to go work in the fields that day but there was work to be done. Well, guess what he did on his birthday this year? He worked in the garden! 73 years later.
Jerry's Mom taught school for a while. One day she, Jerry Boy, and his older brother rode the school bus home where the three younger brothers were staying with Grandma.
Where is all the smoke coming from? Oh no, the barn is on fire! It seems the three younger lads were amusing themselves striking matches and stomping them out inside the barn. You guessed it, the fire got out of hand and the barn burned to the ground. These boys got their britches warmed a bit that day, but they knew better than to ever play with matches again! A new barn was built across the road, and it just collapsed last year. It lasted a very long time.
Two of Jerry Boy's brothers just came for a visit. Their love for music lives on. There was an Adams reunion while they were here, and everyone was glad to see each other. It was held at the old homestead of Uncle JQ Adams (Jerry Boy's Mom's brother) and Aunt Pearl (Suit) Adams (Jerry Boy's Dad's sister). See if you can figure this out...brother/sister married brother/sister. Their son, Vernon lived there until he passed away. He was Jerry Boy and brothers' double cousin! The house is being restored by their grandson, Robert. So many memories.
It's obvious from this picture you can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy. The goaties took up with them, and even the untouchable Miss Libby Long Legs let them pet her. The day after they left, I was sad. I was missing Uncle Doyle and Uncle Vic.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about Jerry Boy and his brothers, and where they were born and raised. I kind of like my Jerry Boy as a country boy.
No matter the distance in miles, there will always be the ties that bind families together. You don't have to always agree, but always love each other.
Hope to see you next month when Spunky Tales continues.
Love from Spunky Doodle
About the Author
Linda Suit is a city girl turned country. A travel agent by trade, she and her husband, Jerry, live in rural Arkansas with their animals including an amazing pet squirrel, Spunky Doodle. Spunky has brightened the lives of many with her stories. She is quite a character and definitely lives up to her name of Spunky.
Linda has traveled the world. Her passion for missions comes alive in her stories from remote areas. She will make you laugh and tug at your heartstrings.
You can read Linda’s “Spunky Tales” column on the 2nd Saturday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.