Monday, January 5, 2009

Farm Girl in the Thirties

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I went to visit my Aunt Marie and my brother Everett (whom we've always called Buddy) this past weekend. This picture is my aunt holding my brother in front of our family home about 1935. There's a little snow next to the sidewalk and Buddy is wearing a knit cap, so it must have been late winter or early spring. Aunt Marie seems to be wearing either her dad's or one of her brothers' hat and overalls. She probably had been working outside. She looks quite dapper in that fedora.

My mom and her sisters and brothers had to work very hard on the farm. They raised crops to sell in town and had cattle and hogs and chickens to take care of in the winter. Aunt Marie was the youngest of eight and I think she got off lightly compared to the rest. My grandfather was a tough taskmaster and they weren't allowed to shirk their duty. They had to work in the fields and barns before and after school, beginning before dawn and until sunset.

Mom only went to school until ninth grade. She stayed after school one day to watch a ballgame and when she got home, Grandpa whipped her and made her quit and stay at home to work full time. Those were the days.

As I said in a previous post, my brother still owns the farm. It has never been out of our family's possession since it was built in 1887. It has gone through a few changes. Buddy added indoor plumbing and a bathroom when he bought it from my mother and dad in 1961. He also added new windows and siding as he could afford it, and he enclosed the back porch for a laundry room. Some of the outbuildings such as the corn crib, the chicken coop, the smokehouse and the old outhouse are all gone now, but basically the house still looks the same as it did in this picture.

Aunt Marie is the only one of her siblings still living and she is ninety years and counting. My mother passed away in 1987 and Aunt Marie has been a surrogate mother to me since then. I always tease her and say I'm her favorite niece and she teases me back and says she's my favorite aunt. She's right.


Ruth said...

Hey, this Hart is the youngest of 8 too! Will our connections never cease? (Hope not.)

But I can only imagine the toughness of life back then. My life was soooo easy. It's popular to say those hardships made stronger people. I wonder if it's true.

Love the connection you have with Aunt Marie. There is nothing quite like that between an aunt and niece.

Love the nostalgia of the picture and your words.

Susan said...

Ruth, I think we were destined to be friends. I wonder what fate has in store for us.

I don't know about most people who had hardships in their lives growing up and whether it made them stronger, but I do know my mom was one tough lady and so were her siblings. Even though Mom was tough, she was one of the most gentle and caring women I have ever known.

It seems my blog is turning into a remembrance of things past, but that's what has been on my mind a lot lately. Visiting my family brings it out even more.

BTW, Jaye said he would need a little more info, such as your dad's birthday, to find out if we have a connection. Our Harts all came from Germany. Were yours German Harts or English Harts?

Amy said...

I love that hat on your aunt! Our relatives certainly lived a tougher life than we do now. But they weren't nearly as obese as we are now either.

It's wonderful that the family farm is still in your brother's possession. I hope it remains in your family for generations to come. Twelve Acres has been in our family for 3 generations and it will be passed on to my son when I'm gone. I think it's so important to hang onto family property.

Your aunt sounds like a wealth of stories and family history. What a gem! People like her are living encyclopedias. I wish I could still talk to my grandma and ask her about her life when she was a young woman. I have her diary, thank the Lord, and tons of family photos and letters. It's all priceless to me.

I so enjoyed meeting your Aunt Ruth!

Susan said...

Amy, I agree with you about family farms. I'm glad that yours will stay with you and your son. Every time I visit my brother, it's like reliving my early childhood. Yes, a lot of things have changed, but so many things remain the same. He and my wonderful sister-in-law even let me rummage around upstairs in the bedrooms when I ask. When Buddy and his wife are gone, the farm will pass on to one of his children or grandchildren.

I'm glad you liked my aunt. She's really fun and interesting. I always take her out to lunch and if we have a male server, I always tease her and tell her she's flirting with him. She thinks that is so funny!

Ruth said...

Your blog is a reflection of YOU. Has to follow where you go, to be genuine.

We thought our Harts came from Germany too, but that was just based on what we'd heard, no hard facts. My sister Ginnie went to Ireland a while back and was convinced we were Irish or English. Captain Thomas E. Hart (my great grandfather, I think), who came to Hartsville, SC, sounds English, no? I can't remember from my little book that elementary students in Hartsville use, and the online resources don't say where he came from. My dad's birthday is 1-2-17.

Cindy said...

I have acquired many of the old family photos. There are so many memories there, that I'm sure it will be all consuming when I get around to the process of organizing them. My Mom was one of nine children raised on a farm in North Dakota until the age of five when her family moved out west. My grandfather owned many acres of land not far from where I live now and he willed it all to his sons. His daughters each received $500. Now that hardly seems fair to me!

JackeeG4glamorous said...

I think as we approach "middle age" we leave behind all the "what if's" and live in appreciation for the here and now. That includes the retrospection and looking back over the lives we have shared with family. I appreciate your sharing it! Lovely!

Wrensong Farm said...

I love old photos, I don't even have to know the stories behind them...and enjoy trying to think about what inspired the photo.

That is a great one of your Aunt Marie! How wonderful that she is still alive at 90+ and you two can enjoy each others company!