The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Memories of Walter and Elizabeth

By Ivalien Hylton Belcher © 1986

Issue: January, 1986

Walter and Elizabeth Hubbard.Walter and Elizabeth Hubbard.Across the road from my house stands a stately farmhouse. It was the home of two special people who had a great influence on my life, Walter and Elizabeth Hubbard. They were my neighbors for a number of years and I learned a lot from them.

Walter was born January 29, 1895, the son of Henry Claiborne Hubbard and Mary Alice Ingram Hubbard. His wife, Mattie Elizabeth Agee Hubbard was the daughter of Eden William Agee and Annie Cock Agee. Elizabeth was born August 6, 1900. Both lived the greater portion of their life in the Meadows of Dan area of Virginia.

Walter and Elizabeth lived on a large farm in the community of Mountain View. Their land produced several different crops like hay, corn, oats, buckwheat, beans and the cabbage that the mountains are famous for.

Walter kept cows and sold milk to the Coble Milk Plant in Stuart Virginia. After the milking chore was finished, he always took a pail of milk to the house for their own use. Sometimes Elizabeth saved some for a churning of butter.

Many times I have stood and watched a sturdy figure in bib overalls and blue work shirt carefully make his way across the little creek from the barn to the house with a pail of milk. The last barn that Walter built is still standing and reflects a beautiful picture in the pond near by.

Walter and Elizabeth always had a large garden, fruit trees and different kinds of berries. Grape vines yielded bushels of grapes. Elizabeth did a lot of canning, making preserves and jellies. The shelves in the cellar were lined with the fruits of her labor. Every once in a while she could get Walter to peel a few apples if he came in from the fields. The big "Pippin" apple tree still stands above the house and still has a few apples every summer.

Pippin apples have a taste of their own when they are mellow and juicy. In summer, I walk by and enjoy this old fashion apple from the Walter and Elizabeth tree. In June, Elizabeth always gave me a bag of June apples for frying. That was a sad day when the wind blew that old apple tree down.

Elizabeth loved flowers and had a lot of the "old timey" ones. Beautiful peonies bloomed near the garden fence. I always liked the little monkey-faced pansies growing above the house. The hydrangea still stands in the yard and every year is a sight to behold, with its large white blooms. Blue Phlox grows all over the old garden now in summertime. Elizabeth's hands lovingly tended her flowers and a lot of them are still here for us to enjoy.

I was always impressed by Walter and Elizabeth because they never got in a real big hurry. Although they were always busy and worked hard, they took time to enjoy the things around them and to sit and visit with a neighbor. Walter never did go on daylight savings time except on Sundays. He wanted to get to church on time and set the alarm clock on that "fast time." Walter said, "That time is just too rushing. I don't like it." The big clock on the fireplace mantle always stayed on the slow time. When daylight savings first came into effect, Walter kept me confused half of the time. At my bed time, Walter would be doing the night's milking. Said Walter, "The cows don't know nothing about this new time and I aim to milk on the old."

Elizabeth loved to crochet and piece quilt squares. I have a doily that she gave me many years ago. A tiny crocheted cup and saucer adorns my bookcase and is the property of my son. Although he is gone from home, that cup and saucer is his treasure and rests where he placed it after Elizabeth crocheted it.

I learned a lot about sewing from Elizabeth that has helped me a lot. Many quilts and crocheted works grace her children's homes. In winter time the old treadle sewing machine was left open and always had a quilt square or some type of sewing on it. Elizabeth and I had many nice visits sitting by the warm fireplace talking and her crochet needles clicking away.

Elizabeth always kept several chickens for meat and eggs. Back in those days, the laying mash and scratch (a mixture of cracked corn, grit and small gravel) came in pretty print bags. Elizabeth had stacks of them, washed and ironed neatly. Some were white with a border. You could sew those up the sides and have a nice set of pillow cases. I still have a pink bordered set that Elizabeth gave me. Lots of times when Walter went to pick up the chicken feed, she went to pick out a pretty print for something special. Once she had a white bag bordered with little blue trains. Elizabeth gave that to my son for a pillow case. It became his favorite bed linen. He slept on it until it came to pieces. Whenever I did the washing and that train pillow case wasn't dry at bed time, Ronald would say, "I want my Mrs. Hubbard pillow." There we can see that sometimes the simple little things can make a child happy and content.

After all their children married and left home, Walter and Elizabeth spoiled my son. He loved them both very much. A visit to their home meant a piece of peppermint candy and a trip to the cellar for a juicy apple to munch on. Halloween meant going to Walter and Elizabeth's for Ronald. He knew there would be homemade pumpkin cookies and peanuts in the shell for him.

I always loved to go visit Walter and Elizabeth in winter time, because I loved to sit around the big fireplace. When Walter put that big "back-stick" in the fire, it would make a nice crackling sound as the coals would catch fire and burn. Many times Elizabeth would be cooking a pot of pinto beans. A big black iron pot hanging from a hook over the fire would be sending forth a delicious aroma of pintos and ham hock or homemade vegetable soup. After sitting by the fireplace for a while, I'd start to feel drowsy and be yawning and so relaxed. Just thinking about that fireplace now makes a relaxed feeling come over me. Even after Elizabeth got an electric stove, she continued to use that big iron pot for some of her cooking.

The church played an important role in the life of Walter and Elizabeth. Walter was one of the first deacons at Conner's View Primitive Baptist Church. (This church was organized October 11, 1930.) He was a deacon for over 40 years. Elizabeth was a member over 50 years. She always fixed for the communion services. At their passing, this church lost two faithful members.

Walter and Elizabeth were married March 28, 1926 and had been together almost 50 years before Walter passed away. They were the parents of eight children, all of whom are still living with the exception of "Little Earnest," who died as a young boy. (A rose bush blooms by my driveway, set out by "Little Earnest.")

After Walter's death, Elizabeth was very sad. A series of strokes forced her to have to leave her beloved home. That lady was a fighter. Doctors said she wouldn't walk again, but she did. One never saw Elizabeth walk with a cane. Then, she went to join Walter, August 2, 1985. Our community lost two fine people. We, along with their family, mourn the loss.

Walter and Elizabeth both had smiles that could turn a cloudy day to a sunny one. Walter's eyes would twinkle when he smiled. Elizabeth had a real cute way of chuckling. They were typical of our neighbors in the Blue Ridge. To their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and the Mountain View Community, they leave traditions and memories to cherish.

The stately farmhouse stands silhouetted against the hills. Cattle are grazing in summer and eating hay in winter. Some nice young people live there now, but a clear voice comes echoing through my mind, and I hear Elizabeth call, "Walter Hubbard, come on to dinner."

Precious memories live on....