Continuing my mother’s memoir of growing up in upstate New York.
“I have told you about making the maple sugar in the springtime. Later
there were big gardens to be planted. We children always had small gardens
all our own.
Then when summer came there was fun and work. We always went to the
Fairs in Warrensburg and Pottersville. It was great to ride the merry-go-round
but I never wanted anything to do with the Ferris wheel. I remember we
always bought me a bracelet at the Fair. One year it was red and shaped like
a snake with yellow eyes.
When it came time that the men cut the hay in the fields we could ride on
the big load when it was brought to the barns. Once I lost a beautiful
plaid ribbon in the hay and never did find it.
In the fall we raked the beautiful maple leaves. We used to jump in the
huge piles of them and play hide and seek. My mother had to comb and
comb my long hair after that to get pieces of leaves out of it.
Then we always gathered nuts. In the pasture woods there were
chestnut and walnut trees and we picked bushels of them to use all winter.
The chestnuts were inside big prickly burrs. When those burrs popped
open you find the chestnuts inside in their shells. There were many
squirrels and chipmunks gathering nuts, too, but there were enough
for all of us.
Another thing we had to do in the fall was take care of all the apples
from the trees. My mother made a lot of jelly and applesauce in cans but
another way to keep them was to dry them. After the apples were pared
and cut into quarters it was time for us kids to help. We would have
big darning needles with heavy twine. With those we would make
long, long strings of apple quarters. These were then hung to dry and
keep from the rafters in the attic. They made delicious pies all winter.
We raised pop-corn, too. (For) that we would husk (the corn) but not pull
the husks off. It looked like the Indian corn people hang on their doors in
the autumn now. Our pop-corn would also be hung in the attic. In the
long winter evenings when we wanted to pop corn we had our own
When Hallo’ween came there was always a party at the school house and
everyone went. There was bobbing for apples and fortune telling and
prizes for best costumes.
To be continued . . .