Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994

7T1RPEY MARH 99

It seems like we always moved when our grandparents moved. Our grandparents
moved to Ravenden Springs, Ark., and then the place where they lived was known as The
Greenhouse because the house was painted green. This place did not have a well on it, but they
caught rainwater in a cistern and when there was a big dry spell, Grandpa would haul water
from the spring at Ravenden Springs, which was about two miles away. We lived about a mile
across the road from them and this is where Lorene Ellen was born and where my Mother
died.
I recall times when my Dad would be off looking for work. He was an uneducated man
who only worked with his hands. He would work in timber, picking cotton, or whatever he
could find. Since there was no money during the Great Depression, people would often barter.
Dad would get a small sack of corn for doing labor, then would take it to the mill, who in turn
would take half for grinding it.
Mrs. Baker, a nice lady who lived in a substantial house near where I caught the
school bus to go (infrequently) to school, would always ask to see the lunch in the syrup
bucket I carried to school. She would empty it of the cornbread and molasses, put in biscuits
and ham, and sometimes a piece of pie! This went on for a considerable length of time, but one
day my Dad found out about the switching of my lunches and forbid me to do this anymore.
Dad's pride just would not let him or his family take anything that he felt he had not worked
for, or earned.
I used to go with my Dad a lot, as I did not attend school regularly. It seemed like
there was no one near to me who would enforce that rule. We would walk through woods and
pastures. I had to spend several hours up in a tree once on account of a big bull who was in
this certain pasture. Once my Dad and I were in a drugstore that had a counter where you
could eat a dish of ice cream, that is, if you could afford it. Since I had never tasted ice cream,
I went over and licked a spoon that someone had left.
During this period of time, the government would send a relief truck through our part
(or perhaps all parts of the country) and the people would meet this truck by the highway. A
package was distributed that was about a cubic foot square and had specific items in it: a pound
of sugar, a package of prunes, a small plug of chewing tobacco, about a pound of flour, a
small box of soda, and a can of Pet milk. This is all I can remember about the box. This was
in 1930 or 1931
One thing I do remember is that my mother would make us cookies whenever we got
this food box. Otherwise we had no flour, just cornmeal for cornbread. In season, we would
gather wild berries and fruit. We had poke greens, and we also ate a weed that was fuzzy and
grew flat on the ground. I forget what this was called. A neighbor lady gave us milk when they
had more than they could use. It seemed that those who had more than they could use always
gave to those who didn't have enough.
Before I went to the Children's Home, I never had a pair of shoes to fit my feet. I
would wear anything (or any size) that I would be given in the winter when it was cold. I don't
guess I was ever more than 70 miles from my birthplace during this period of time, either.
Illness was another thing and there were various ways and tonics to treat sicknesses.
When we had a fever or were feeling sick, there was a quick way for me to get to feeling fine.
Just a mention of a tonic called "666" was enough to do it. It was a bitter dose to take and
from its name, I would call it the devil's brew. For a cough or sore throat there was always
turpentine and sugar. For a sore, sore toe, or a wound, there was a coal oil soaked rag.
Because there were rocks and stones everywhere, bruises were frequent. There would be a
lance with the straight razor and then an application of P&G soap, and the wound finally
wrapped with a rag. Boils were taken care of in the same manner. The only time I saw a doctor
was as a foster child -- never in northeastern Arkansas. Of course, when I went to the

58

STIRPES

MARCH 1994

Texas State Genealogical Society. Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994. San Antonio, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39868/. Accessed July 10, 2014.