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



  1. Martha says:

    Loved reading this! I didn’t realize that you all lived in the dog trot house that long. I can’t imagine you all living in just that one small side of the house. How many were there… 6 or so? I only have memories of that house from years later when Uncle Ben’s family was there. Where was the kitchen? I assume each end had heat.

    Enjoyed visiting with you. Thanks for coming by. There were people working at the house every single weekday and even one Saturday so I didn’t get out to visit anyone except Mildred. Saw Tom and Roger several times…they came by and we went to their house a few times at night. Also went out to eat with them a couple of times.

    Another question if you should happen to know………wasMildred Weaver Buel Treece’s wife?




    • Thank you! I don’t know what month my folks moved there with Grandma, but it was before I was born and they stayed until our new house was built. They told me I was about one year old when we moved into the new house. Counting me, there would have been six kids. The two older ones boarded with families to work for them while attending high school. So all of them were not there all the time. I never heard Mama say anything about inconvenience while living there. I suppose they made sleeping bags from those cotton soft gingham-check quilts! And don’t you know that during winter when the wood stove blazed its warmth into the room that my siblings along with your mom gathered ’round, sharing stories and laughter in the evenings. Martha, why didn’t we ask them more questions? I’ll ask someone the name of Buel’s wife. Don’t think that was her name.


  2. Last week my cousin talked about bathing in a wash tub on the back porch. I remember the pump just a stone’s throw from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely flashback, Freeda! My son used to go bare foot all the time in NZ not so much in Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

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