Stories & Recollections of Etowah . . .
as told by ~ Wanda Sumner Love
b. 1940, Etowah Native
Memories of Growing Up on an Eade Road Farm
including School Days and Church Life
My parents (Charlie and Pauline Dalton Sumner) and my maternal grandparents (Lula and Zeb Dalton) shared a home on my grandfather’s farm in the Clear Creek area of Henderson County from the time of my parent’s marriage in 1934 until Grandpa sold his Clear Creek farm and bought a farm in Etowah in 1939. The farm was located close to the Transylvania County line and ran along the north side of Highway 64. By 1944 Grandpa sold this Etowah farm and purchased a 110 acre farm on Eade Road in Etowah.
My brother Wayne was born in 1937 before the move to Etowah. My brother Dean (1944) and I (1940) were born while at the first Etowah Farm. My youngest brother Glenn (1950) and sister Gail (1948) were born after the move to the Eade Road farm, at which time our family moved into a house separate from our grandparents.
We five siblings lived in our Eade Road house until we each left home for college and eventually married. After Daddy died in 1990 at 87, Mama continued to live in that house until her death at age 93 in 2006. In 2007 the farm and the house I grew up in were sold. I, alone, of the five siblings remained in Etowah where my husband, John Love, and I had bought a few acres on the edge of the farm from Grandpa Dalton and built a house in 1976. The house I grew up in has been renovated and is now home to the second young family of three. The farmland is now dotted with houses and my neighbors have become many.
My memories include:
. . . Going to the barn to shell corn for the chickens and sometimes jumping in the hay in the hay loft.
. . . Picking grass for the chickens and plantain for the pigs (I liked picking plantain – the large leaves filled the pot much sooner than did the grass – Mama would check to see if I had packed down the grass to have a good amount).
. . . Lying in the pasture and imagining shapes of objects or animals in the clouds.
. . . A black snake running over my foot when attempting to hoe in the garden (Mama loved the outside work and I was content to do the inside chores – she let me off the hook of hoeing).
. . . Going to the dairy barn with Daddy to try my hand at milking (every time that cow lifted a hind leg even though there were clamps between her back legs to prevent kicking I cringed – needless to say I was not successful at getting any milk and daddy didn’t make me go back but brother Wayne was good at it).
. . . Wayne helping with other farm chores including plowing behind an old mule in a rocky field of corn.
. . . Daddy taking metal cans of milk in his truck as he left to go to work as a carpenter each morning and leaving them on a bench he had built at the end of Eade Road, where it joined Highway 64, for holding the cans until the Kalmia Dairy milk truck picked them up (Daddy and Grandpa Dalton had a small dairy for several years).
. . . Walking half a mile to meet the bus in the morning and back again in the afternoon, rain or shine; by the time I was in high school, the bus traveled Eade Road and I no longer had the half mile walk twice a day (I had perfect attendance nine of my 12 years at Etowah School; in the other three years I was absent a total of 9 times).
. . . Going to Grandma Dalton’s house for a homemade snack after school.
. . . Selling seeds to get the premium of a small bride doll.
. . . Watching Grandpa Dalton peel peaches under the shade of the front yard trees (it fascinated me to see him take his pocket knife and peel the peach with only one spiral at the end).
. . . Building playhouses in the pine woods with brother Dean (what a smell when we decided to open our canned goods, water and weeds packed in baby food jars - phewy!).
. . . Watching a pig being butchered, cut up, salted, sausage made and canned, livermush made, lard rendered out with the cracklings left over and used to make wonderful crackling cornbread.
. . . Watching mama wring a chicken’s neck in order to prepare for our usual Sunday dinner – fried chicken – my piece was the wing – still like the wing today – just plain fried – not covered in sauce.
. . . Pinning clothes to the outside line to dry.
. . . For a few years, going to the outhouse and having my Saturday night bath in a tub in the kitchen.
. . . Sprinkling down the starched clothes and wrapping them in a sheet to keep them wet until each piece got ironed.
. . . Ironing sheets and pillowcases – surely no one does that today.
. . . Before we got an electric range in the kitchen, crawling behind the wood stove which was catty cornered thus making room behind it for a small one to sit in the warmth.
. . . Putting out a shoebox for Santa’s goodies – we didn’t hang stockings – there would always be an orange, an apple, nuts, hard candies, a peppermint stick and a chocolate drop or two. Close by each shoebox would be a toy or two – I especially remember the last doll I got when I was seven - it was a rubber baby doll and Mama had made a wonderful layette complete with rickrack trim, embroidery and ribbons, most pieces of which I have today.
. . . Bringing hay from the barn to leave on the porch for Santa’s reindeer.
. . . Getting warm by the stove located in the dining room and running to jump into bed under a load of quilts.
. . . Listening to a radio program on Saturday night while eating our once a week treat - a candy bar.
. . . After we got a television, watching Howdy Doody, Lone Ranger, Cisco Kid, Lawrence Welk, etc.
. . . Snacking on a mayonnaise sandwich when nothing else was available.
. . . Watching the soap operas in the early afternoon while breaking beans to can (how tame they were then).
. . . Walking home with brother Wayne on warm Saturday evenings after catching a bus to Hendersonville for a Christian youth meeting held at the court house in Hendersonville and led by Bob Jones University students who, in turn, returned us by bus to Eade Road where it joined Highway 64.
. . . Catching a Greyhound bus on Highway 64 for a ride to Hendersonville where I took piano lessons from Miss Kate Dotson (hated “flagging down the bus” for fear the driver would not see me and stop).
. . . Playing Authors, Old Maid, Checkers and Monoply with my siblings.
. . . Cutting out and playing with paper dolls.
. . . Learning to sew on Mama’s treadle sewing machine.
. . . Grandma Sumner teaching me to embroider.
. . . Going on the once a year picnic with Daddy’s sister and family to some “far away” place like Roan Mountain or Grandfather Mountain – a picnic that included fried chicken, potato salad, green beans, homemade pimiento cheese sandwiches and banana pudding.
. . . Walking through the woods path to Allison’s Store (formerly the Whiteside Store) to meet the Bookmobile to check out books in the summer time (I checked out Girl of the Limberlost every summer and as an adult have collected and read many of the other books written by the early twentieth century author Gene Stratton Porter).
. . . Walking that same woods path to Banks Store to purchase items for my grandparents or mother (didn’t like it when I had to buy Tuberose Snuff for Grandma Dalton).
. . . Walking the railroad tracks to get the mail at the post office located at the old Etowah Depot (was always a little afraid crossing the trestle through the tracks of which I could see the creek below – what if the train came and I couldn’t get across – where would I go except jump into the creek and it looked to be a looong way down.
. . . Going to Etowah Baptist Church when classrooms were created by drawing curtains in a crisscross fashion in the one room church with the youngest (also known as the card class) sitting on the pulpit platform.
. . . Playing the piano for the congregation on a Wednesday night the first time –the song leader and I weren’t using the same tempo (wonder who was at fault?).
. . . Attending Vacation Bible School each summer for two weeks from 9 am until noon, Monday through Friday, (cool-aid and cookies for snack and no air conditioning).
. . . Playing under the apple tree on the red clay bank and playing “Red Rover” and “Mother May I” at Etowah School.
. . . Playing in the rhythm band in first and second grade (oh, how I wanted to play the sticks but was assigned the triangle instead; by third or fourth grade I accompanied the rhythm band on the piano).
. . . Getting to be Red Riding Hood and wearing a red crepe paper cape in a second or third grade play.
. . . Getting my very small Sparkle Plenty doll taken from me until the end of the day in third grade (should never have had it lying out on my desk – probably shouldn’t have had it at school – cant’ imagine Mama letting me take it).
. . . Cooking a fancy meal as a project for home economics and brother Wayne making fun of my Harvard beets.
. . . Taking home economics which I grew to like very much and being encouraged by my home economics teacher to the point of majoring and graduating with a degree in home economics education.
. . . Shaking in my boots while speaking at my graduation of 20 with a “canned” speech – ran across it not long ago – what a hoot.