Do you remember?  I see a lot of posts on Facebook showing things of days past. Of course, I am an old guy and I remember them all. This has been a long winter with a lot of stay at home days--a good time to go through stored away items. Here are some things from my boyhood I will share with you. Do you remember?

Love never fails. (NIV) (1 Corinthians 13:4a) - - - - - When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:11-13).

Left: My dad always had 7 or 8 milk cows. We ran the whole milk through  a hand turned separator. We  saved some of the cream for our own use. I always had real cream on my oatmeal and freshly picked strawberries. My mom used real cream in cooking and baking and she made butter in this hand cranked churn. We sold the rest to the local cream station (that was the name of the business) in Anthon. One more thing--there was no market for the skim milk--we fed that to the pigs.

Right: We always had a huge potato patch so planting and harvesting potatoes was a family affair.

When I was young we almost always had fresh eggs and fried potatoes for breakfast. A noon or evening meal without potatoes was unthinkable so this potato masher had a lot of use.



Now--tell me the truth--have you ever used one of these? It is called a stitching awl. I looked awl up in Wikipedia and it is described as a tool used to punch holes in leather or heavy material. Well, this must be an All-in-one-AWL. It is complete with punching tools, sewing needles, a changing key and a spool of thread. When you are done, pick up all of your tools, screw off the wooden cap and put everything back in the storage box carved in the wooden shaft. This was an important tool during oats harvest. My dad would often get a tear in his horse drawn grain binder canvas (conveying platform) and he would repair it with this awl. Awl right?

It's only appropriate that a farm boy would start out with this. During my boyhood days, my dad farmed with horses. Harvest time was a labor intensive job. This is a husking strap for picking corn. Dad would open the corn husk with the hook, twist the ear from the stalk and throw it into the wagon. The wagon was equipped with a backboard (bang board) so he didn't have to look each time he tossed an ear. He walked between the corn rows and picked two rows at a time. When he got to the end of the wagon length he  would just say "gitti-up" and the horses knew it was time to move ahead until he called "whoa."

Sounds easy, doesn't it?

Left: Till the cows come home! Now where is your milk cow herd? You just tie a bell around one cow's neck and send them all out to pasture. That makes them an easy find. However, this cow bell was never used to my knowledge. When milking was completed in the morning, we just opened the gate and sent them out to pasture. When evening came, I would round them up with my pony and the dog.

My dad grew up in Southern Illinois. He was from a big family. He dropped out of school at an early age to help full time with the farm work. When the other kids were old enough for field work, he moved on to Arkansas and Kentucky. He had an interesting life and did whatever he could to support himself. He ran a restaurant one winter, did all sorts of day work and temporary labor jobs. One of his adventures--he went to trade school and became a barber. Here are his old barber clippers (left).  He wasn't the indoors type so he gave that up and moved to Iowa to work as a farmhand. You can guess the rest of the story. He married the farmer's daughter (my mom) and thus returning to his roots and took up the life he loved--being a farmer. Nevertheless, he brought his old barber tools with him and cut us boys hair as long as he could see to do so. He also continued to shave with a straight razor and shaving cup (right) as long as he lived.

Left: One year, in his wandering days, my father's summer jobs had ended. He found himself out of work so he set up a shoe repair shop in Paducah, Kentucky. When he came to Iowa, he brought his iron shoe last with him. I always wore my shoes until they fell apart (and still do)--but I never had a hole in the sole.

Throughout  their lifetime, my parents had very few "wants". But I guess this may be called their prized possessions--my dad's Hamilton pocket watch which he secured in his bib overall pocket with an old shoestring and my mom's beloved kitty salt and pepper shakers. Now tell me--"what more could you want?"

Right: Spices delivered right to your door--way better than Amazon.  This huge container provided us with lots of hot cocoa on cold winter days. He also sold real vanilla, a complete line of spices and more. Our whole family looked forward to the peddler's monthly stop. His timing was right on as he always arrived at our house promptly at noon and my mom would invite him to  dinner. I suppose he had a real name, but to us he was "The Watkins Man."

Left: I bet I gotcha on this one. It is something I had never seen before. This lard press belonged to Jeannine's grandparents. When I was a kid people butchered their own hogs and made their own lard as a cooking fat. My mom rendered her lard and I remember it was a huge and smelly process. I have no idea how Grandma and Grandpa learned to use this machine, but maybe they did as I did. I watched a video on You Tube!

Right: No electricity when I grew up, but you can be sure my mom always had oil in this kerosene lamp. I studied many nights by this old lamp and my math assignment was always turned in on time. Of course, that may have been my parents idea--not mine--but it taught me discipline.

My view of my youth days: Many of you will not recognize the items above--but I do.  I was born on a farm near Anthon in Western Iowa in 1932. My parents (like many other people) had lost their farm during the great depression. But they didn't give up--they just moved on and rented a 160 acre farm where they lived until retirement. Those were "hard to make a living times." They worked 14 hours a day just to feed their family. They didn't complain--they just kept on keeping on. During my working years, I had little time to think much about my earlier days, but this has been a long cold winter and I  sorted through pictures and the few remaining items of my youth days. It was sentimental--but not sad. I find out as I get older, my mind filters out the difficult times and all that remains are fond memories of my growing up years.

P.S. We didn't have electricity, indoor plumbing or running water, but NOW I can't figure out how anyone could put up with an automobile that doesn't have heated seats!!!!!!

Right: My well dented aluminum baby plate. Look--A "cheat-sheet" on the rim. Do you suppose I learned my alphabet before I learned to walk?