Friday, March 26, 2010

Going back....

My brother Neal has wanted me to try to write this for a long time...it is hard to do and do it right but here goes. This is the house of our nearest neighbor when I grew up. It is as it was when I grew up....this is not a good picture of it. I don't have one...this is just a cropped portion of another one. It was the home of V and V....both their names did begin with V. What are the chances of that?

I don't quite know where to begin...maybe I will say that every now and then, mom and I would walk out there to visit. I know we sometimes stopped to visit in the summer, usually just for a few minutes then. I think we were more apt to go visit in the cooler months. Maybe because mom did not have quite the work to do in the winter.

Going there was like stepping back in time. You just cannot imagine...my words are inadequate. The first thing that always hit me was just how gray the atmosphere was...and I actually think a lot of things were gray. You walked into the what would normally be the living room, and there was the gray floor....I don't know if it was a gray linoleum or if it was actually gray floorboards. The room had little in it...I don't think it had a couch....but I am not positive. It seems there was something to sit on, just not a sofa as we think of them. What was in there was the horses bridle...I don't remember if the rest of the harness was there, but that always struck me odd for the bridle to be there.

We would go through another room, at one time I am sure it was meant for a dining room, but we just passed through it and I know on the one side of the room was a bed. Now, what is funny, we would close the door between that room and the living room...and we would pass through it into the kitchen...again the door closed behind us.

The kitchen is where they lived...they had an a-m radio and a single light bulb hanging down in the middle of the room. I know the table was set in front of the window that faced our house...and I know there was a cook stove in there. The wood burning kind. But I don't remember much else about it other than the walls were covered with newspapers and cardboard, and a calender of course. I would set listening to the talk...talk about crops, gardening, etc.

They did not have running water...they had a well outside where they got their water--the kind you lower a bucket down and bring it up one bucket at a time. She did have a wringer washer...considering everything, I think she must have been lucky to have it. And they had an outhouse...which some college kids stole one weekend. I am sure they probably did not even realize anyone actually lived in the house....my brothers had to go find it and retrieve it....and no, they were not involved in taking it.

Another thing, they didn't drive, didn't have a car. The post office and store were about a mile away. I honestly don't know if this part is true, or if it just seemed to me that Mr. V walked down to the store and post office every weekday...at the least every other day. But he would try to time it to catch rides from neighbors...going or coming. And though he did go most days, Mrs. V very seldom left the home. At the most they might come out to our house and visit. If they had to go to an actual town they would find someone to give them a ride. It goes without saying that they did not have a phone...if they needed to make a phone call, they came and used ours.

Neal and I were talking earlier, as long as we knew him he never worked a regular job. He was in the army at one time, but probably only for a short period...he did not retire from it. They had a small garden, and raised a patch of tobacco. His dad had a tractor and would do the initial plowing...you know where you plow deep and turn the ground over after it has gone through the winter. He had a horse to do the rest of the plowing with...

They were strange...even for down there at that time and place. Their doors were always locked...unless they were sitting on their front porch. They were locked if they were in the house...night and day. If they were out in the garden at the side of the house, the doors were locked. Mrs. V's dad had to stay with them for a while, and they would lock the doors on him and leave him locked in. My dad would go out to visit him and they would have to yell through the door. Then dad remember we had an old skeleton key and took it, and could unlock the door. I don't remember their reaction to that. Her dad was not strange...and neither was his dad....so don't know why they were so strange.

She would see some of us kids out, and hide behind the chimney or an outbuilding...and would peek around the corner at us. At other times, she would go on about her business, and would speak if we were close enough.

Everyone was always good to them...there was always someone to help him load his tobacco and take it to market...even though he always found an excuse not to help anyone. He would condemn television, but yet when they came to our house to visit, if it was on he could not take his eyes off it.

Even though we lived by them all those years, there were things about them that will always puzzle me.

I am leaving out somethings...maybe my brother will comment and tell about them...like Roxie their horse. Right now I am running out of steam and need to close and post this.

14 comments:

dot said...

A strange family for sure but in a way maybe they had the right idea. lol. Take life easy and not work, ride with your neighbor, ignore all the things other people had and be happy with what little they had. I hope Neal can add more to the story. Like maybe what happened to them in the end.

don said...

A fine picture to go along with your narrative. You've made an interesting start. I say start, because as you think about what you've written more and more will be recalled (at least that normally happens with our memories). I enjoyed reading your post today and fond it to be very interesting.

George said...

Very interesting memories, Rose. I hope you will tell us more when you have the opportunity.

A piece of news said...

Mental illness, maybe? Well, not for all of what you wrote. But I thought of her peeking at you at times and then other times going about her business as well as locking the doors.

Tricia @ Bluff Area Daily said...

They do sound very strange, indeed! Maybe they weren't all there, mentally? I don't know, but they do sound a bit backwards, especially her hiding behind something at times when she'd see ya'll & not at other times. Maybe he was mean to her & stayed home all the time cuz he didn't trust her, I've seen that happen at times. Looks like a nice spot in the country though & beautiful land w/ that mountain in the background - They shoulda got out more & enjoyed the view, maybe that would have 'learned em a thang er two'! Heheheee
It really is hard to believe they lived like that though - I take it they didn't have kids?
I've read a lot about things similar to this story & maybe she'd been molested as a child & was extremely withdrawn, had no confidence in herself to find someone who would take better care of them both better - That was my 1st thoughts as I was reading it.
Just a thought.

Leedra said...

I think the doors were closed because they were only heating the kitchen.

Nice post.

EG Wow said...

Very interesting to read, Rose. I would love to know what Neal remembers.

Jacob said...

What a fascinating story! Reminds me a lot of some of the people who lived near my Grandma in northern Minnesota many years ago. I think isolation can do make people a bit strange if they weren't that way to begin with.

Carletta said...

I do wonder Rose if you know what happened to them.
Like Dot says they probably closed doors because of what rooms were or weren't heated. My Grandma and Grandpa did that.
I wonder why they locked the doors. Back at that time didn't we all hardly ever lock the doors?
Thanks for sharing some of your memories Rose.

Neal said...

Here is another picture of the house. Rose did a good job of telling the story. They were really strange people. Even his brother (who was one of my best friends) thought they were strange.
I'd be willing to bet that they never had an electric bill that was above the minimum because they would sit at night with that one 40 watt light on. Any time we walked up the railroad behind their house you just depend on the fact that Mrs. V would be peeping out a window trying to stay far enough back so we wouldn't see her.
My older brother and I (probably around 16 and 13) were working on the barn we were building one day and we were right on top when a car came down the road. Mrs. V ran to hide but when she hid she was in plain sight of us so we started laughing out loud. She hurriedly got out of hiding after the car got by. Mr. V was also very jealous (don't know why....it wasn't like Mrs. V was beautiful:) ) so he came out to our house one day after he had gotten home from one of his trips and asked dad if he had seen Mrs. V. Dad, being one that liked to joke around, told Mr. V that he had see Mrs. V and some man up on the hill above our house. I think Mr. V about had a heart attack before dad told him he was just kidding.

I would tell what Rose said to him one night but she might get mad at me. :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Woo---between you and Neal, you all did have some very strange neighbors... Makes you wonder if they had mental problems --or what... Kinda sad that anyone would live like that....

If you two think of more, tell us... Wonder if either of them are still there??? What would happen to one of them if the other died????

Hugs,
Betsy

Judy said...

What an interesting story Rose...I would love to hear more what Neal has to add.

dot said...

Come on Neal...tell all!

Tom said...

There must be so many folks like this... and not all of them living in isolation.. I've seen some folks like that here in our town in England and not just one family as well. I am sure there are others in other areas, it is as if something as affected their lives so much it as altered them... you mentioned the man being in the army.. maybe theres a story in that fact... and the lady could have suffered abuse. It is so sad when you think of it... Rose your mother was a kind soul to visit and it must have meant so much for the lady to have someone to talk to.... I think things like this should be wrote down and kept... one day story's like this help others understand history and realise how times change.. or maybe not change.

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