The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Remember When...

By Ivalien Hylton Belcher © 1987

Issue: February, 1987

Do you remember when...

Folks celebrated Christmas with family gatherings and a big supper on January 6th?

Snow cream was made with milk, flavoring, sugar and pure white snow? Dad would put milk, sugar and flavoring in a Karo syrup bucket and turned in a dishpan of snow until it became ice cream.

Do you remember when we made a big pot of mush on a cold winter's night?

When we cracked hickory nuts and black walnuts around the fireplace?

When apples were in a rail pen covered with leaves and we scratched them out for munching at night?

Do you remember when Grandma made a "hoe cake" in the fireplace? When the molasses from a stone crock were so stiff in the winter that they stood up straight?

Do you remember apple butter stack cakes ten and twelve layers high?

Pie suppers that were held at the schools with fun and games for the whole family?

Do you remember studying and doing your homework by the old oil lamp?

Our pretty dresses were made from the print feedbags and we could go to the store and pick our dresses out while the chicken scratch was still in them. Do you have memories of that too?

The things I remember might not be so different from your memories. Some more of my fond memories are....

Walking to church and getting a peppermint stick for going to Sunday School every Sunday for a month.

Bedtime being called at ten o'clock on a Saturday night date (and that was that!)

Playing ante over ball. Our favorite games were hopscotch and marbles.

The first person buried in the Mountain View Cemetery was an Omar.

A haunted house stood in the field below Mountain View Methodist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Arlie Belcher tore the haunted house down and built their first home from it. It still stands.

We went sledding on a board down the hills when ice was frozen on top of the snow.

There was a doctor located at the old Tom Whorley place (Dr. Kinsley).

We filled a wagon with hay and went for a hayride on a moonlight night, singing all the way.

The girls would wet red crepe paper and color their cheeks and lips.

We had taffy pullings at parties, pairing off with a special boyfriend.

On a cold winter's night we roasted "taters" in the fireplace ashes and stuck a piece of ham on a fork to roast in the open flame.

An old churn at a party was filled with hard cider.

We listened to Amos and Andy on the radio.

When the flu bug came, cough syrup was homemade with whiskey, brown sugar and elderberries.

We went with Grandma to the store carrying eggs and butter, swapping them for staples, and then stopped at the neighbors for a visit and dinner.

These are some of my favorite memories of my childhood. Nowadays I still practice quite a few of them to take away from the hustle and bustle of the hectic pace. I find being a little old fashion is quite relaxing. Some people call me a fuddy duddy. What's that? I don't know. A minister told me, "Well, that may be something good, like a 'Nutty Buddy'." Anyway, I'm glad I'm me.

Editor's Note: We're glad that Ivalien is Ivalien too. The world would be a better place with more caring, considerate people like her. She always has a smile, always has something good to say. There is an old fashioned word to describe Ivalien; Kindness! So, from us (and I would be willing to bet from everyone who knows her) don't worry about changing, Ivalien. We love you just the way you are.
Happy Valentines Day.
Susan Thigpen, Editor.