BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL — Part One
I was born at Banner Mountain in a house that had a breezeway. Or as they were sometimes called, a dog trot. The house belonged to my grandmother, Martha Elizabeth Harper. After my grandfather, Will Harper, died, my parents and my siblings moved into the house with my grandmother. She and my aunt, Dixie, lived in one section of the house while my parents and my siblings lived in the other part.
I was born in September when the hills were decked out in many shades of color. Today, I wonder if that’s why the fall of the year is my favorite season.
Daddy built a new house nearby my grandmother’s place and we moved into it about the time I was one-year-old.
Our new house had five rooms and two porches, one porch at the front, and a small porch at the back by the kitchen. Eventually, Daddy built a barn, a chicken house, a smoke house and a storm cellar. And later on, he built a car port. A crew with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built the outhouse, which was quite fancy. There was no electricity to our house until I was fifteen years old. But still we didn’t have running water, so two wells supplied water for us. Daddy had dug one well by hand and the other well was a drilled well. No running water meant the Saturday bath was taken in a galvanized washtub. Of course, there were sponge baths on a daily basis, I’m assuming. But, in the winter, one’s heels could become rough and rusty-looking. I’m not saying mine were. I am saying my feet were tough. I survived the stick of thorns and stobs as I went barefoot every summer.
I loved walking barefoot along the road in the soft, dry dust.
Roads on the Mountain are graveled now, and I suppose kids nowadays wear tennis shoes or boots to protect tender feet. Not sure of that. Just supposing.
© copyright 2016, Freeda Baker Nichols
Painting of our homeplace by Yvonne Baker Hall