Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hill Country, Polly’s Reflections on Her Grandparents

Here is an essay by my friend Polly.

Family Memories
As I drive down the road toward the land which once held my Grandfather and Grandmother’s house I wonder greatly about their lives.  Grandfather came from Scotland.  As he headed west ward he worked in the Pennsylvania coal mines.  He was also assisted by the Amish.
Desiring to move on, he ventured into the hill country of southeast Ohio.  There he found land, in a holler, outside of town.  He met and married a tall refined woman, from up the hill, where the upper class lived.

Grandpa was about seventeen years older than Grandma, but they lived a united life and had seven children.  They lived in a house where a small creek ran in front of it and flooded nearly every spring. 

Once Grandma was due to give birth and it flooded.  She had to walk up the hill to where her child was born.  Then walk back down into the holler after giving birth.
They had cows for milk, a garden for vegetables, and a small cave in the side of the hill for cold storage.  Chickens wondered freely about.  A goose laid eggs which the children had to get up early to claim if they wanted a goose egg for breakfast.

All the children, four girls and three boys, slept in the loft of the house.  This could only be entered by a ladder on the outside of the house.  The floor was covered with loose straw to sleep on.  Every night they had to shake out the straw because of rattle snakes.
A small church was just down the road, from their home, which the family attended.  Grandma was from a family which migrated from Wales and very strict.  Grandpa could barely read or write but he knew almost all the Holy Bible.  There was a school down the road which housed the first six grades.

Grandpa bought a retired race horse for the wagon.  One day Grandma felt like visiting a friend down the road so she hitched up the horse.  Everything went fine until she passed in front of the school and the school bell rang.
Grandma said, that was the most exciting ride she ever had.

After all the children were grown; the family moved north.  Each one went their own way.   They often said, “You can take a person out of the hills but you can’t take the hills out of them.”

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