Ray's Corner

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The Basic Things of Life


    "... ...and I'd always have to go twice a week to the store. Because we didn’t have any stores handy, we didn’t have any hard surfaced roads, we didn’t have any car, we didn’t have any bicycle, when we went any place like that we had to walk. So I used to do that for the old feller. When I got big enough that I left why my younger brothers they took it over and they used to have to run to the store and get his tobacco. So today if somebody asked you to go to the store - run seven miles to the store for five cents - why you fellers would only look at him and laugh, you wouldn’t think he was serious, but in our day five cents was five cents and we done all we could to earn that five cents.


    And I used to go and help the old feller hay in the summer time when the school was closed. I’d go help him hay and I’d rake hay all the afternoon and pitch it on the wagon and pitch it in the barn and when I got done that night at dark, from say from half past 12 till pitch dark at night in the summer time, that man would give me 10 cents for all that afternoon’s work. And I worked a good many afternoons for him and he’d give me 10 cents because he didn’t have any money himself, he was a poor man and there wasn’t much money around. And whenever I could earn five cents, or ever I could earn 10 cents, I’d go do it.


    During vacation we’d go and pull weeds for people had a big garden, me and my two older brothers, we go and pull weeds to earn some money. So we’d go in the garden and we’d pull weeds all day on our hands and knees and we’d pull weeds from around the turnips, the carrots, the vegetables, potatoes, or whatever it was, and when we got done at night time the man would give us each 10 cents. And we worked all day a good may days that way for 10 cents, and today if anybody like our size went out and worked we could have four or five dollars today for them same hours that we earned when we was kids for 10 cents. But we had to have the money because we didn’t have any money home to work with. We had lots of vegetables, and we put our own garden in and we had cattle and we had pigs and hens and chickens, and we’d kill two pigs in the fall for pork, and we’d put down a barrel of sauerkraut in the fall, and we’d put down half a barrel of pickle beans, and we’d put down half a barrel of turnip-kraut, and a barrel of pickled cucumbers, and half a barrel of pickled tomatoes, and we had lots of beets and potatoes in the cellar and turnips and carrots,  whatever you want. So we had enough to eat such as it was but we didn’t have any money to spend to get anything. A scribbler, you'd get a scribbler some kind you'd get for 2 cents, some kinds it would cost you 5 cents. You only used a scribbler when it was examination because the rest of the year you had to use a slate. ... ..."