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> Issue 35 > Page 5 - Hattie Carmichael of the Meadow Road

Page 5 - Hattie Carmichael of the Meadow Road

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/12/1 (351 reads)

I never worked very much away from home. Only a few months that I would work here or there. Housework. I never went far away. (What could you get for housework?) For goodness' sake, don't ask me. Who in the name of time saw a lot of money in those days? Will you believe this? The first time I ever went out of home to work, where I looked after a young child, I was getting a dollar and a quarter a month. Now you talk about much money! I went to work when I was doing housework, I worked for 5 dollars a month. I worked hard. I worked, then, for 10 dollars a month, and I was doing work that the next year again, three girls were doing it. My size wasn't much, but I could work. And I was just thinking about it today here. You know, when you're old and you're alone, doctors tell you it's not good for you to be looking in the past. Look ahead. That's the way. But if old people don't think about the past, what are they going to think about? (And if they don't share the past....) That's right. (I think what the doctor means is if you dwell on the past....) Maybe so. (But if you share the past, doesn't the past become something useful today?) Yes, but how can you share the past with people that don't know any? thing about it? (Would a woman have anything to do with haymaking?) Yes. Well, goodness, couldn't she go out raking it and stacking it? They stacked the hay, you know, built stacks with a pitchfork, to be ready if it would rain through the night. And then they'd scrape it down on the sides, so if it would rain, that the rain would run down better, that the hay wouldn't get wet. Oh, they were up to their work. The women could do that, yes, they often did. And then in the morning, you'd go out and shake it out, shake it out with a pitch? fork. Take those stacks, take them apart and open them out so it would dry. If it was very wet, you know, they'd shake it out more, further on the ground. It would have to be perfectly dry going in the bam. (Would she load the hay wagon?) Oh, not very much. Might throw a pitchfork full. But I never saw a woman making a load, of hay or grain or anything. A woman could go and tramp the load. Yes, many's the time I did that, and many's the time I was tired of it. You were tramping all the time. (But it would be a man that would throw the hay up.) Oh yes, that was rather heavy- work for a woman, wouldn't it? (Didn't wo? men do rather heavy work?) A lot of them can do heavy work. My mother-in-law, at the house where they lived, there were 3 steps to the back door, before you got to the pantry. And she had a house full of boys, and her husband. And in those years you wouldn't buy a little bag of flour; you'd buy a big barrel. You know, in the fall of the year, we used to get 4 and 5 barrels. What would be the weight of it? 90 pounds, I think, is half a barrel. A barrel is heavy, and it's big. She never (5)
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