Oh, the memories, some good, some bad. Our home was humble with parents that loved us and provided for our needs with hard work on the farm. Mom and Dad stuck together and set an excellent example for their children, one that we cannot forget.
Dad and Mom purchased this land with the house on it December 4, 1944 from Uncle Archie & Ora Lee Cook Norman, who had purchased it a month earlier from Hillard H. and Lenna Parker Houser. Lenna had inherited this land from her father, Charlie Parker. This is where my family lived until 1960 when they built a new house on the property.
The old house had 4 rooms. My family told me we got power in the house the day I was born, July 7, 1949. Uncle Edgar Cook helped Daddy wire it. The lights in each room were one single light bulb in the center of the ceiling with a pull chain. There were no locks on any of the doors until maybe the late 50’s. In fact, I can remember when we got them. They were seldom used.
The “front room”, as we called it, was used as a living room, where the girls did their courting. Our piano was in this room, along with a real upholstered sofa. I thought this was the only pretty room in the house. It was not accessible from the rest of the house. You had to go onto the porch to get to this room. This was the only room in the house that had paint on the walls. It was not heated, so going in there to play the piano in the winter was quite an experience. You had to put on all your winter gear.
Our sitting room was quite large, but it was also the bedroom for Mama and Daddy. We heated with coal, which vented into the fireplace. This chimney was torn down in the late 60’s and placed in an old cabin on the grounds of the Cleveland County Fairgrounds by Daddy and his cousin, Woodrow Hoyle. There was a dresser, where Mama stored all their clothes, along with a lot of other things, including linens. The windows were adorned with plastic curtains and shades. Mama kept her sewing machine in this room, also. We had a little entertainment with our Motorola record player. It played the 78’s and 33’s. We listened to lots of gospel music and preaching. Our chairs were ladder backs with slat seats. No sofa or nice chairs were in the room. Mama was real particular about her bed. No one was allowed to sit on it, except in cases of lots of company and not enough chairs. On the floor was a linoleum rug, that we replaced, whenever it got worn out. They came in various designs and colors. On the walls of this room you would find things such as a large calendar, sometimes a large Coca Cola girl, sometimes an almanac calendar, and even one from The Stamey Company or Stamey Funeral Home. Daddy had an old clock, which was one of a kind, that had Roman numerals with the 4 being displayed as IIII instead of IV. He really loved that clock and gave it to D.C. later on. There was a plaque over their bed put there by Daddy of a scripture from the Bible, I John 3:2, which read, “Beloved now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is.” It remained there for years, and I believe we memorized it before John 3:16. Dad looked forward to Jesus return and ushering in his Kingdom.
The only bedroom in the house was occupied by all the children, whoever was living there at the time. There were 3 beds in it, and when everyone was home, there were 3 to the bed, so the boys were lucky that there were only two of them. It was real crowded, and I cried sometimes because I got mashed. If I asked for more room, they would say they were about to fall out. In one corner of this room Daddy put a shelf, and fixed a place to hang a few clothes. A curtain was hung in front of it. This was the only “closet” in the house. There was no rug in this room. The boards on the floor were wide enough apart that you could watch the chickens walk underneath the house. The house was not underpinned at all, just built on rock pillars. With so many holes in the floor and around the windows, we had a problem in the summer with bees. We got stung lots in the bed at night by red wasps. This room was also used as our bathroom. Once a week, on Saturday, we got a real bath in a tin tub. We heated our water, and several would take a bath before we changed the water. Mama always got a fresh tub of warm water, after all us kids took ours.
There was a step down from the living room to the kitchen. To your left was a sink with cold running water. The wood cook stove occupied one whole wall. There was just enough room there for a wood box beside it. Another wall had a cabinet on it where we stored all our dishes, pots and pans. To the right was a long dining table. It was surrounded by chairs on the ends and one side and a long bench on the other. The refrigerator was on this end of the kitchen, also.
The front of the house had a L-shaped porch around it. An old wringer type washing machine had its place there. There was no back porch, just a rock to step down on. The yard was all dirt, with large china berry trees for shade. The back yard had a walnut tree, and Mama had a lot of flowers in her flower garden on the left side of the house, near the clothes line.
We had no inside toilet. The toilet was located up at the tractor shed, and later below the cow barn. We did have a chamber pot to use at night, and it was my responsibility to carry it in every afternoon.
The house was located just off the Rockdale Road on what is now called Gate Court in Cleveland County near Belwood, North Carolina. The present owners do not allow visitors there.
Dianne Sain 1998