Family Farm: Treasured Memories of Life on the Farm
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We had an old radio that ran off of a car battery and was our source of entertainment as well as a connection with the outside world. My brother and I never missed "Gangbusters," which was our favorite program. After much use the battery began to fade out, and each day we had to move closer and closer to the radio. Finally it gave out completely and that was the end, as we could not afford a new battery. The other connection with the outside world was the large wooden telephone that hung on the dining room wall. Each household had its own ring. Ours was a long and a short, but every time it rang we could hear one receiver after another being lifted to listen in on the conversation. Of course if it rang for a neighbor we too would listen in. It was a common practice.
An old tree stood at the side of the road a quarter of a mile from home. Many times my brother and I would walk to the tree, lay down in the grass, and permit our imagination to take us as far as we dared to let it. To this day when I visit the old house, where my sister still lives, I look at the old tree, which is still standing, and let childhood memories return.
On January 7, 1940, rural electrification was introduced to our community. I marveled as I went from room to room turning on lights. The next morning I departed to serve in the United States Navy. Two years later as I stood on the deck of the battleship Tennessee on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked and destroyed most of the United States Pacific fleet. Within minutes after the attack began I fell wounded from shrapnel. On that morning America lost its innocence. Boys instantly became men and the world changed forever, but we who were lucky enough to be reared in a rural community – even during the Great Depression – will always treasure and remember those wonderful years of our childhood on the farm.
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.
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