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Good Old Days
Did you have electricity? How did you keep warm?
My grandmother was born in rural North Carolina in 1945. She lived in a house where there was no electricity and they used kerosene lamps for lighting. The house had several fireplaces that burned wood logs and pieces of coal to provide heat in the winter. In the early 1950’s, electric lines became available to families living in the rural areas. My grandmother’s family was able to purchase electricity. Light then was provided by an electric light that hung in the middle of the ceiling in each room.
What kind of clothes did you wear?
Most clothing was made from cotton, wool, linen, and flannel. Clothing was hard to take care of because there were no specific detergents to clean them. These materials did not always keep their shape due to the cleaning processes used at that time.
How did you clean your clothes?
The family had a wringer type washing machine that had to be filled with water by hand. Once the clothing washed, they passed through the wringer to be rinsed and hung on the line to dry. The clothes could wash as long as necessary.
Were the cooking stoves like the ones today?
Earlier my grandmother remembers having a wood stove that used wood to cook. Later, the family purchased a modern stove that used gas, which was delivered by a company that sold gas in tanks. The tanks were kept outside of the house.
Did you use ice to keep food from ruining?
At first, the family had an icebox to keep food cold and prevent it from spoiling. Ice was delivered everyday for the icebox. Later, an electric refrigerator was bought which made it possible to keep food longer.
How was food kept in the store?
There were no plastic containers. Food was kept in tin cans, glass jars, cardboard containers, burlap and paper bags. Milk came in glass bottles and was purchased from the store.
Did you use Dove soap or any other leading brand of soap?
The family made lye soap that was used for cleaning, washing clothes, and bathing. Later on, brands of soap called Ivory, Lux, and Octagon were introduced. These soaps were great because they were pure and had a nice fragrance.
Did you have hot water for baths?
The family boiled water in pots on the stove for baths. A giant pot was used for heating water on the stove to wash clothes. A kettle of hot water was kept on the stove.
What kind of transportation did you have?
There was a family car, an old Chevrolet. However, the family walked most of the time. The children rode to school on the school bus.
How were you entertained?
The family had a radio that looked like a piece of furniture. It had only two or three stations. It contained a phonograph that played 75 rpm records.
Most families attended church socials and events, school sponsored entertainment, family gatherings, state fairs, and fishing.