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Book describes Nash County upbringings

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Remember growing up how you hated to hear your parents begin a sentence with “When I was your age?”

Each week as I give thought to just what this column should be about, I find myself always looking back to my younger days. You remember those days too, right? Do you think of your first day of elementary school, your first day of high school. your first boyfriend or girlfriend, your very best friend all through school days, first dance, first real date, first kiss, last day of school (no matter if you dropped out or were there for graduation)?

I have been taking grandchildren to various practices this summer, and as we travel, we’ve talked about all kinds of things and I found myself reminiscing about just those events in my life and, yes, there were some that I would not share but it was fun thinking about them. I try really hard to stay away from “When I was your age...”

I’ve also been reading “We Recollect: An Anecdotal History of Nash County,” which was written by retired teacher Bonnie Kane’s seventh and eighth grade in 1988. These students interviewed senior citizens in their community and the results were delightful. There are interviews with people from all over the county, but the last entry was the one that really made me sit up and think.

Gordon Thompson of Bailey had this to say: “Young people living on farms when I grew up did a man or a woman’s job. The work was hard. It never ended because it was a continuous cycle. The first thing we did when we got up in the morning was feed the animals. After we fed the animals, we would eat breakfast and go back to work. During the winter, we would cut wood to heat and cook. And in the summer we would cut the wood to cure tobacco. Mostly what we did was work in the fields. We would have to walk with the mules to plow. Then we would have to walk them again to plant one row at a time. During the summer, we would plow the fields to get then ready and plant the seeds. Then in the fall, we harvested it by hand. Also, we picked cotton and corn by hand. Then we were back to cutting wood. Today to feed the animals, they have automatic feeders and water. You can plant two to four to six rows at a time. We have mechanical harvesters so you don’t have to do it by hand. Life is easier now, I suppose, but I don’t believe it is any happier.”

I have to agree with Mr. Thompson. Yes, there is no doubt about it, life is easier, but I too don’t believe it is any happier.

I have a copy of this on file and will be happy to share it with any readers if you will email me at jmills.enterprise@wilsontimes.com. Who knows? You might even find a reference to a relative.

Jan Mills is The Enterprise’s customer service representative. Reach her at 252-478-3651 and jmills.enterprise@wilsontimes.com.

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