MORE MEMORIESI left my story of the long ago with a description of our Sundays and now I will go on with the work in the home.
Mother braided rugs and carpets. We children cut and sewed the rags. Even the smallest pieces were used so nothing was lost. Father said it was not safe for a man to go over the hill if he wore a ragged coat for mother would be after it.
The work of drying apples went on all the fall. We cut apples day in and day out. How we hated it! Nothing was wasted. It was save, save, save. The dogs did not get the bones in those days. We leached the ashes for lye to make soft soap. The bones and scraps of fat were put in the kettle and boiled with the lye. It was then strained and it thickened as it cooled. This was carried to the cellar and put in two troughs about ten feet long that had been hollowed out of logs. This was all the soap we had except some long yellow bars which we used as hand soap.
|Grandfather, Zebulon Bryant, 1879, age 99|
Warming pans added to our comfort on the cold winter nights when the mercury dropped away below zero. Coals were taken for the fireplace to fill them and mother would go around to all the beds. We had many all wool blankets made for the wool of our own sheep.
|Overshot coverlet made by Myra's mother,|
|Warming pan used to warm the beds|
is one of the a keepsakes saved by Myra
when she left her home in Maine.
On the farm, oxen were used exclusively. Father would have them broken and fat, then trade them off or sell them. Horses were used only for riding.
When calves were slaughtered the hides were tanned. A shoemaker would come to the house and stay two or three weeks making shoes for the family.
The men wore the long legged boots that had to be pulled off with a bootjack, a thing quite unknown now. This shoemaker, named Lathrop Soule, was nicknamed "Creeping Soule" because he had lost the use of his legs. He had a brother, Martin, who had no legs below the knees and was called "Jumping Soule".
|Milk pail from Maine; battered, dented and soldered.|
|Cow bell from the farm|
|This is the conch shell horn carved with a mouthpiece. It was|
used to call the men from the fields for dinner. They were used
also to warn of Indian attacks or a warning system for warning
Mother would occasionally have a quilting party when there might be a dozen women from the immediate neighborhood. Then there were sometimes parties that were not combined with any kind of work except for the housewife, for another bountiful supper would be served.
Mother was a pretty woman, very fair with red cheeks. I remember so well a dress she used to wear. It was plum colored alpaca with a satin stripe. When going to a party she would arrange her hair in short curls over her ears while the back was done in a "French twist.
|Her mother's old sugar bowl with|
|Myra's mother's decanters. Contents not original!|
There were nineteen or twenty in the primary class whom I had no time for so I would have one of the older pupils take them into the adjoining room and hear their lessons. The salary was very low and nothing paid until the end of the term. I was the first woman teacher in this school. The men could not control the pupils but I had no trouble. They were always helpful and seemed to do well.
|Myra in mid-life. notice the stenciled|
photography studio backdrop.
Bryant Paine 1838 – 1941
******************************************************Near the close of the nineteenth century a decision was made to leave the farm and move to Massachusetts to be near their only child, my father. A few things that were of sentimental value to Myra were brought but most was left behind in storage in a barn that later burned.
|Water color of Myra Paine's house in Massachusetts painted by Myra's great|
granddaughter, Connie Crosby of Dayton, Ohio, taken from an old photograph.
|This old table came into the household around 1840|
in lieu of rent. Originally in old red paint.
They began a new career as cucumber growers, raising cucumbers in their greenhouse to be shipped to the Boston market.
|Myra's cucumber greenhouse next door to a gentleman farmer's property.|
It was known as the Bryant Farm but not a relation to Myra's family. Her
house and barn are in front of the greenhouse.
In the 1930s she broke her hip and was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life . ( And what a wheel chair it was!) That ended the greenhouse business but did not slow her down mentally or socially. By the time she reached 100 years old her birthday had become a town-wide event and continued for each year until her death. The whistles blew and the selectmen gave her 100 yellow roses. There was an open house at her white pillared home. She already was the holder of the Boston Post Cane given to the oldest resident of each town in the Commonwealth.
|Myra at over 100 in her old fashioned wheel chair |
with flowered upholstery!
Grandma Paine is a very old dame.
She sits in a chair because she is lame
and thinks of the years gone by
when she was young and very spry.
She could jump the rope and swing high.
She could knit and she could sew.
She could spin wool or tow.
She could weave and she could spool
and thought herself nobody's fool.
What of the girls today?
They cannot, they cannot spin.
But they can dance and they can swim.
With bobbed hair, blouse and breeches,
such a complex!
It's hard to determine the sex.
If you would please the men
just don your dress and be a girl again.
As bare legs are so shocking,
put on your garters, also your stocking.
Modesty was once a charm.
Now the lack of it causes alarm.
Between broad fields of waving corn
In the dear old home where I was born,
The apple trees lean against the wall,
And the grapevine wanders over all.
There’s the shaded doorway still,
but a stranger’s foot has crossed the sill.
And the barn, as in the days of yore,
I can smell the hay from the open door.
And as ye view the high barn eaves
think of the countless harvest sheaves
that have passed within that open door
to gladden eyes that are no more.
The house, the barn, the fields, the birds,
the pastures with their lowing herds,
the maples in the yard, so tall;
my heart still lingers over all.
Ye strangers who daily cross that sill,
step lightly – for I love it still.
I hope you have enjoyed this travel back in time with my grandmother, Myra Paine. I love sharing it with you.