Wednesday, May 21, 2008

About me

Click to enlarge.

I am Rose, or Rosemary, depending on who you are talking to,
the daughter of Sarah and Ellison,
youngest of eight children that survived to adulthood,
of those eight I am one of the two that was born in a hospital,
and probably the only one that does not actually remember living without electricity.

I lived in the shadows of the East Tennessee mountains
till adulthood
Claimed by them as if a part of the evening shadows that filled our yard so quickly come evening,
Filling me with their peace
till no place else can ever totally claim me.

I feel as if I were a part of the very earth from that place that will forever be home.

I grew up knowing how to sew on treadle a sewing machine
and do the wash with a wringer washer,
and sit by the fire and dream.
Helping to raise about all the food that we ate,
Planting, hoeing, picking, cooking, eating, canning, freezing
Making sure every jar on the place was full and the freezer so full it was almost hard to close.

I ate mustard greens and cornbread, and still do to this day
And ate fried taters and soup beans and considered them as fine a meal as could be had
Grew up watching my mom make biscuits from scratch,
never measuring a thing
She made pies and dumplings and cornbread the same way.
Oh, what I wouldn't give for some of those biscuits or the chicken and dumplings...
the cornbread I actually make myself--the same way--never measure a thing.

For entertainment there were swings in the tree,
Barns to play in with hay in the loft
Creeks to wade, a pond to swim in, fish to catch
Calves to play with
a horse to pet, dogs to hug,
And each other
We had hide-n-go seek on summer eves after dark,
Sitting on the porch and talking,
Listening to the whippoorwills
While planning the work for the next day.

And there was ball--baseball, basket ball, football, and wiffle balls. I must have drove my brothers nuts,
But with four of us, we could always play something
We didn't own a baseball bat,
but would find a stick or short board and whittle a handle,
That served the purpose just fine.

The three siblings that were close to me in age were my brothers George, Neal and Robert
So some of what I like about myself is due to them
I am not a woman that is afraid of her shadow
I can use an axe or gun or rifle as easily as my sewing machines
I come from a home that had guns and hunting
and that was just a part of life.
We were taught to be responsible from a very young age...

We didn't get fireworks on the fourth of July--too afraid of starting a fire
Our time for firecrackers was Christmas--at night
We always hoped for snow, but it didn't matter
Just build a fire and
have a brick of firecrackers and a few M-80s to made a big bang
Specially when you collected the firecrackers that didn't go off the next day
Unroll them and collect all the powder, get a piece of fuse, bore a hole in a piece of wood, poor in the powder, place the fuse, and make or find something to make a plug
and Presto, you have an even bigger bang

And we survived it all!


  1. So much in your post fits me as well - never thought about writing it down like this - wonderful post!
    This music is really growing on me!

  2. Hi Rose.. old womtig as a grin from ear to ear reading this.

    Don't get me wrong here Rose I grew up in a brick built 3 bedroomed terrace, inside toilet with gas and electric... We had houses and folks right next door on both sides.. Dad worked in a mill... and mum kept house as women did then. We knew hardship but never realised what being poor was when every home was the same. That house, and the fields and railway line still have a pull on me like a magnet.. I said to your Neal in a comment I get homesick now for the past as much as the 'home' if you know what I mean.
    I miss the freedom of life back then, it was carefree, and we had no real responsibilities. I tried to install the values we had back then into my own lads.

    I see young ones today where I live in gangs.. they think they have freedom... and can do what ever they like.. yet what they have done is built their own prisons.. put up their own walls and are in fact unsafe to move from out their own circles. I'm sure this happens all over the world now. It is little wonder we long for by-gone days.. maybe our parents had the same fears for us.. A lot changed in the 50s and 60s and for parents of young children they must have worried about us to you know. I now long for a place away from others and they noise and attitudes I care little for. :O) My I've go on a bit here.. ;o)

  3. Beautiful post! It's hard to believe in this day and age that we had such freedom to enjoy as children.
    That music is growing on me too. There is a sound there that takes you back to better times. Yes they really were better times!!

  4. You've got fabulous memories of your childhood, Rose. I wonder what today's kids will feel nostalgic about. Ha! I can't imagine them waxing poetic about their computers and cell phones, but maybe they will.

    We were lucky to grow up when we did, I think. Life was much, much simpler.

  5. Dear Rose, I've just found your About Me post. I love it! Sounds so like my upbringing, except we didn't live in TN. Your remembrances make a wonderful read!

  6. Hi Rose,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment! Please come back and visit. Although I'm much older that you, this post sounds so much like my childhood. Thanks for taking me back and maybe inspiring me to write about mine someday.

  7. A lovely post Rose and you had one of those wonderfully idyllic existences growing up. It sounds very similar to that of my father-in-law who grew up in depression era North Dakota. He lived on a farm, never went hungry because of it, didn't own a pair of shoes but never felt poor because everyone was in the same circumstance. The common denominator here is that he grew up happy and so did his eight sisters and brothers. Thank you for sharing your life with us, it has put a warmth in me as I leave your blog. Have a great weekend.

  8. Nice to "meet" you Rose! I just loved hearing about how your grew up.

  9. Rose, what can I say. This is the best "about me" page I have ever read.

    You obviously had a great upbringing yet I know how much hard work you must have endured. I also know that even though it may have been hard sometimes, it was both satisfying and fulfilling.

    Being self sustaining, enjoying life to the fullest and not being afraid to do what needed to be done. Those were the days!

    Maybe, someday, we can get back to that place where people treat each other with respect and help each other out whenever the need arises.

    I hope so. Thanks again for your thoughts.

  10. Reading your 'About me' post was like watching a movie. Almost heard the sound of a rocking chair on the porch. You painted the picture of your youth beautifully.

  11. I love your "About me". That is a wonderful read !

  12. Your roots are revealed to us with clear pride and justly so. Yours is a life very different in mine in a few key ways, and similar in some others despite different times and settings. Rose, I enjoyed reading this revelation.

  13. Well written and very interesting! I don't know how I missed this before, but am glad that I read it now. I was nodding my head along with much of it, but some of it shows how much braver you were...maybe it was the brothers...I had 2 sisters. Good reading!

  14. My dear Rosemary!

    You are a wonderful writer as I've discovered from your more recent posts and I truly hope you will be able to put some of your stories and childhood recollections into book form someday soon.

    This poem is absolutely superb. I was thinking it could serve as a guide for your stories...the poem could be placed in front of the book and then you could write vignettes of your life based upon parts of the every chapter would begin with a verse of the poem...and your stories would follow.

    You are very talented in so many ways!

  15. Can you believe this is the first time I have seen this? I love it! You're really good at story telling. I was looking for a way to contact you by email.

  16. It sounds like you had a great childhood - so different from most today of Wii's and TV's. Thanks for visiting "my barn" post.

  17. So VERY nice to meet you Rose.
    A fine read this was indeed.

  18. about half of this story could be me, except it was in South Eastern KY not far from where you were. and there were only 2 of us kids, mother had some kind of funky blood and back then, with that blood docs said only two kids. but all my friends had families the size of yours. and i did most of what you did, no sewing i hated it. learned to shoot a rifle at age 8 but never shot anything but cans and bottles and targets.

  19. I enjoyed reading this very much!

  20. A very idyllic way for growing Rose, I loved reading this. Thank you :)

  21. Hi Rose,

    Don't know why I never came to read this before, but for certain this is the best "About Me" page I have read EVER.



  22. Hi Rose,
    It is very nice to meet you.
    Your about me posting is without a doubt the most beautifully written posting I have come across.
    I can almost feel the wind on my face from the mountains and the sound of the rocking chairs on the pouch.
    I too miss carefree days of yesteryear.
    beautifully written.

  23. I love this piece about you and how you were raised. I suspect we are about the same age. Though I was born in Chicago and raised in a small town in Indiana on the lake, I suspect we were raised to have the same values and appreciation of life, never taking things for granted.

    It was nice to meet you. I suspect you will get to know me too, if you want to.

    Merry Christmas.

  24. Nice little bio, Rose.
    We used to tie twine (or jute) around 'homemade' firecrackers back when I was a little boy.
    The powder came from ones that didn't explode.
    It can be fun, but sure as heck one needs to know what the limits are :)
    Nice to read this intro.
    Peace :)

  25. Loved reading your bio, Rose, as I am just getting to 'know' you. This is the way every child should be raised - they grow up with good, honest values, not afraid of hard work and not feeling 'entitled', knowing what is the most important things in life and valuing the little things like a Mom's good home-cooking. So beautifully written and inspiring. x Karen

  26. Oh, this is wonderful, Rose! What an amazing way to introduce yourself to us!

  27. Rose this is a wonderful post . . . sounds like you had a delightful childhood. Thanks for following me back, I appreciate it.
    Your memories are inspiring:)

  28. Thanks for letting me know about your post here.
    So nice reading about your childhood.
    Sounds like a great way to grow up though I'm sure it was hard a times.
    God Bless You.

  29. Seems you had a idilic childhood and not too different from mine apart from I was an only child who live in a village with a lot of friends. My mother never used any scales and her food was heaven. I also remember my gran making bread in Ireland measuring by eye and baking over an open peat fire. The bread was heaven to eat with lashings of home made butter. I used to go out in the moring and only come home when I was hungry my mother never knew where I was unless I was at school. Worst thing that heppened was I grew up.

  30. Truly wonderful ... I had none of this except excellent food (I hated soup beans but love them now; my mother made the finest chicken and dumplings ever, but I haven't tasted that meal in fifty years). Oh and we also frequently had a dog to hug ... I love dogs although my mother and sister dislike them intensely. One thing we could always agree on was love for books and reading. We were rich in that regard. God has always been good and He has blessed my life in ways I never could have imagined. xoxo

  31. I so enjoyed your post. Thank you for sharing your memories.
    I grew up in southwest va, and we traveled to the Smoky mountains every year. Love the area.

  32. Just came over to this part of your blog!

    What a wonderful, wonderful childhood you had!

    And I'm sure you know this, very well.

    Gentle hugs...


  33. That is the nicest "About Me" post I have ever read. I felt calmer just reading it! I just started reading your blog. I know I will enjoy it. Take care of yourself. Bun


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