While telling my sister, Pat, about the difficulty I had, we reminisced about the way Ma dealt with Daylight Saving Time. Actually, she just ignored the whole thing. We had to always keep in mind that there was Daylight Saving Time and Ma’s Time. The family might go to her house for the noon meal and find her still cooking since she was on Ma’s time. Or, conversely, she might have cooked dinner an hour earlier than we expected. So it behooved us to consider that there were two different times if we were at her house.
This morning, I thought about just leaving the time as it was and having my own time but alas, Daylight Time controls too many things. I didn’t want to miss church altogether or miss my favorite TV programs tonight.
In thinking about the reason for this business of changing the times, I thought of the shock to a little seven year old girl who went from living on an isolated farm two miles from the nearest house and living where there were no playmates to moving to the big city of Canton, a village of about 200 souls, including children. This was about 78 years ago and things were so different for children then. But to me, I felt that we lived in a marvelous, exciting place. We could buy cold Coca Colas, Hershey bars and we had two little groceries, which seemed large to me. There was even a post office. You could just walk up to the window and ask if we had any mail. The school was a great big building with two rooms; one was for grades 1 through 4 and the other room was for grades 5 through 8 with two different teachers.
When I went to school for the first time, I discovered that they had a shelf our back with a big water bucket and a dipper. You could take a telescoping cup to school in your dinner bucket. The real excitement came from the fact that beside the schools was a service station with groceries inside and I could ask for a Pepsi Cola, a can of Pet milk and a Hershey bar. I could just take my goodies back to the school and eat them with the other kids, then throw away my fine lunch Mama had prepared. Finally, it all came to light and I just knew that Daddy would pitch some kind of parental fit; all he said was that I could charge those things to him and that he would pay the owner at the end of the month. I never really knew just how enlightened my Mama was.
I had never had playmates when we lived on the farm but I knew that the other kids were in the same boat as I. But in my new life in Canton, I had lots of friends. One special friend was Teen Noel. Teen was just a little bit older and became my champion. I must have seemed to be especially helpless or vulnerable because she walked me home each day and kept the school bully in line. She taught me how to play baseball and how to swim in the creek that was some ½ mile from my house. Teen spent many months trying to teach me to climb one of the three shade trees in downtown Canton. There were planks for the old men to sit and spend the days and the trees were favorite climbing trees. However, I just couldn’t get the hang of climbing so Teen and another kid nailed up some toeholds for me and solved my problem. Teen wore bib overalls, as did the boys in our age group; therefore I bought some overalls and some high top tennis shoes at the local grocery and charged them to Daddy, as usual. That was my mode of dress until I was about 13 years old and realized that there were two kinds of kids, the boys and the girls. I started wearing dresses without having to be made to wear them sometimes.
My first date was a boy who asked me to go with him to the “Showboat”, the biggest event in all of the social life in Canton. We always knew when the showboat was coming down the Cumberland River because they would start playing the calliope when the boat locked through Lock E upriver. The actors put on quite a show with some clowns who were very good.
The river played a big part in our lives. If we heard the whistle blow at Lock E, we knew that the boat would be at Canton in a certain length of time so we all ran down to the bank to watch the boat go by. We would yell at the deck hands and, since the channel came very close to the bank, they would holler to us and blow the big whistle.
I was baptized in the river perilously near the channel but that is for another story at another time.
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