Kathleen was born in Mount Airy, MD. She has lived most of her life in Carroll County and shares some of her stories of her childhood.
INTERVIEWER: We’re here with Miss Kathleen Bowman on March 14. Miss Bowman, please tell how long you have lived in Carroll County.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: I have lived in Carroll County the most of my life.
INTERVIEWER: And how old are you?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: I am, um, 89 years, um, 11 months, and 14 days old.
INTERVIEWER: And when did you first arrive in Carroll County?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: I was born in Carroll County.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, where were you born? In the–
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: At Mount Airy area.
INTERVIEWER: Tell us a little bit about what it was like growing up in Mount Airy.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Well, I really didn’t grow up there. Um, my mother and father, uh, moved to Winfield when I– they tell me when I was about six weeks old. So I don’t know much about growing up in Mount Airy, but Winfield I did.
I grew up in Winfield. Uh, went to school in Carroll County. Elementary school in Winfield– they had a little, uh, one room schoolhouse out there. And there was about, I would say, maybe, 15 or 20 children that walked like I did for like five or more miles, uh, one way per day. However, I lived on Braddock Road. And, um, everybody knows where Winfield Elementary School is, and we were right off the curve.
And it was awesome. They had another school just down the road a little piece, and, of course, the schools were segregated at the time. And, um, it was awesome back then, because we had to walk by the one school, the white school, to get to our school.
And, uh, of course, when I was reared back in those times, you had your white and black friends. And the Flemings was like our second family. And, um, her name Miss Jo Fleming would have me up there sometime on Saturdays to help. And during the, the, um, harvesting season, she would have me up there.
Grace and I were like sisters. And she would put us in an old tub. And, uh, it was a bathtub, but it was a big old tub. And she would bathe us together, comb our hair. And, um, we had to tow the mark, too, ’cause she would wrap on me. She would slap me quick as she would her daughter, which was really awesome.
But on the whole, she was a real, really, a beautiful, beautiful person. However, all the hands would come in. We had to set two tables– one for the black help, and one for the white help. But they would sit in the same kitchen and yack, yack, yack. You know, talk and, um, the conversation would walk backward and forth. But it was absolutely awesome.
I lived on Braddock Road from the time I was eight years old until I was approximately 15. And then back that time, my father took me with him, took all three of us– I had two brothers– to Western Chapel. And, uh, we stayed with him during the summer months. And then in the fall months, I would go back with my grandmother, because my mother died when I was eight years old. And my baby brother was only 10 months old.
And back there, uh, during that time, the oldest looked after the younger. And he was a fat old baby and heavy. And I loved him to death, but, oh, he used to get so heavy sometime. But he clung to me just like I was his mother almost. And, of course, he grew up along with me. And he was a cute little rascal– went to the Marines later on. Um, he was on–
INTERVIEWER: I have a question for you.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Yes?
INTERVIEWER: Why did your dad live– where did your dad live?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Western Chapel.
INTERVIEWER: OK. And he lived over there for work, I guess.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Yes, yes.
INTERVIEWER: So you could only stay with him during the summer, and then you lived with your grandma to go to school.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Right. That gave my grandmother a break.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: My grandmother wasn’t, uh, um, a young woman at that time either, because she had reared 13 children of her ow. And then she had two grandchildren where their parents worked. One mother died. And then, um, Aunt Claire worked in Montclair, New Jersey and sent money home for Gloria. That was a cousin.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: So then with, uh, my two brothers and I in 1927. November the 24th is when my mother died.
INTERVIEWER: OK. And then– and then you were living in Winfield at that time.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Right. We lived there until I was about 15.
INTERVIEWER: And what kind of changes have you seen in that area?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Oh, my gracious, all kinds of changes. By the time I was nine, um, I was helping, uh, Miss Ida Conaway with the dishes. I would do dishes for her. And I stood on a stool to do the dishes. And, uh, I would also be able to sweep and mop or scrub her floor. Cause you got it on your knees. And that was a big old country kitchen. But it was awesome.
She would give me $0.25 plus a bag of apples or something like that. And it was wonderful. You could take $0.25– you would be surprised, because back there a pound of sugar was only like two or three cents. And, uh, uh, if you bought a loaf of bread that would be about a nickel. And, uh, they would be real long. Like the sandwich bread is today, would be the bread of like that yesteryears. Awesome, awesome.
And they only had about three different names. One was– what was it? Kousters or Kesters? Um, there was another one. I can’t– Seals or something– I can’t remember what the other two were.
INTERVIEWER: Those are the shops?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Yeah. Those were the bakeries.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: And, um, but it was, it was absolutely also back there. Now, uh, you might think living in those times that you couldn’t step out the door without being ridiculed. But it wasn’t like that.
There was a– a group of people that would ridicule you time you stepped out. And they wasn’t all young either, because when, um, I lived at home of the Flemings we interacted real, a whole lot. On top of that, the other neighbors– I only went to their places when I work for Miss Conaway.
And then when walking everywhere you went was different. Now, uh, we had spring water too. That was another thing at our house. When the spring would dry up in the summertime, we had to carry water. would say about 2, 2 and 1/2 miles. And that was from Daniels. That was from, um, Woodbine Road, uh, back to Braddock Road.
INTERVIEWER: Wow. So you had to do that every day.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: We did that every day for drinking water. But we had a stream that ran through that, uh, my uncle dug it out. And after the water cleared, you could use that for bathing, not cooking– bathing and feeding the chickens and ducks and animals.
We lived on like a little, um– what would you call that? A little, a small farm. It wasn’t like, uh, uh, it would be like a mini farm, because it was about five or eight acres, and four little, four bedrooms. And that had a lot of land behind the house and then to the side and then across in front of the house. And then up the hill a short distance, was another house. That was the log house. And, um–
INTERVIEWER:Who lived there?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: My parents lived there until my mother died. And then that broke up the whole, you know, uh, family unit. And then my dad lived with my grandmother, and, um, us children until, uh, he went on and went back to work. You know after everything was over for awhile.
INTERVIEWER: And what kind of work did he do?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Oh, he was jack of all trades– mechanic, drove trucks, and, um, worked on a farm. Did a whole lot of things. Um, he was quite fluent in church. Um, you know, he was just a busy man.
INTERVIEWER: So when you were– when you were growing up, did you grow all your own vegetables and that type of thing?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Oh, my goodness, yes. On those– yes, indeed. On the acres behind the house, we grew everything, even to peanuts.
INTERVIEWER: What’s that?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Uh, do you know what peanuts are?
INTERVIEWER: The regular peanuts?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Regular peanuts.
INTERVIEWER: You grew peanuts?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Grew peanuts.
INTERVIEWER: Was that common? Did a lot of people do that?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Uh, no. I– I don’t know. I don’t think they did. But you see, uh, Carroll County, with all that ground, you could plant anything you wanted to plant there. And it– it really was interesting, because we would start getting the ground ready just before, um, Saint Patrick’s Day. And then by that time, they would start planting things like, uh, corn or just– not corn, no.
Uh, Uh– let me tell you ’bout Saint Patrick’s Day. They would have a little, um, like a off garden where they would plant all kinds of seeds. Of course, they planted corn after the frost and beans after the frost. Now what they would put in early would be like potatoes– white potatoes and sweet potatoes.
And then from there, when the frost was over, uh, that would be it for about a month or so. The potatoes and would be peeping up through the ground. And then there was lima beans, green beans, carrots, all vegetables, cabbage, kale– all kinds of vegetables that you could even think of– carrots, turnips, all– all. I tell you, that was a job.
And, uh, the potato patch was like off to the side. So you would plant about close to 100 pounds of potatoes, which would carry you through the winter. And the– the winter storage, we had a cellar, which was a basement they call it now. But it was a cellar. And by a great big old cherry tree in the back, they had dug and called and dug a hole. And they always called that hold– that, um, hole a– a den.
And in that, they would dig it deep enough that I could almost stand up in it when I was like 8, 9, 10 years old. And then, of course, I grew langy– lanky and tall. However, uh, they would store food in there. They’d fill it with straw. And they would put potatoes in there. They would put all kinds of cabbage and kale and that sort of thing in the den.
And then they would cover it with straw. Course it would be straw on the bottom. They’d cover it with straw and then burlap bags.
INTERVIEWER: And that kept it preserved?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: That would keep it from freezing. And you always– that’s why they had it down so far.
INTERVIEWER: And they could use that throughout the winter?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Canning, oh my goodness. You’d have thought it was canning for a canning factory. We canned everything– beans. We didn’t can turnips, um, or cabbage. But kale– they would cook it already just like you were going to eat it.
And this was in the winter. And the winters then were not like they are now. The winters then started early, early. Like it did last year. The last of October was cold. And it would begin to snow around the beginning of November to the middle of November.
And the snow would be so that– you know what a fence is, don’t you? OK, it would snow and blow and cover the fences, so you could walk on it. The snow would be packed.
Around November, it would begin. And it just like layer after layer after layer. And you didn’t see the ground hardly anymore until last part of April, sometime in May. And it was– it was a doolally. It was awesome.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Slide all over the place.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: But that’s how they preserved the– the– the winter commodities that they couldn’t– or product or, yeah, the commodities. They would, uh, put it in the den and bury it in there.
INTERVIEWER: And where did you keep things during the summer? Well, in the summer, we just ate from the garden. And while we were eating from the garden, we used to, um– As soon as one row of beans would be ready– they were through bearing– then we’d just continue to plant. And that’s how that went.
And we have all kinds of vegetables, all kinds of vegetables. Like lima beans, now you pay a heck of a price for the. All we have to do was go pick ’em and haul ’em. And when they were through– we could plant a couple of times during the summer, because everybody started their gardens early.
On top of all of that– you talk about sleeping in? If we slept in ’til 7 o’clock, we had really slept late. We had a cow. And her name was Rose. We had a horse, and his name was Darby. He only had one eye. And we used to haul the water, uh, for the garden and everything, if everything was dry, from the branch that ran through the place. And we would have to water everything in the evening.
INTERVIEWER: So how long would that take you?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Well, it seemed like forever. But we soon got wise. We soon got wise. With everybody taking a bucket, even the little guys, and, uh, watering along the way, because we’d have pulled Darby up where it would be easier to work with. And that made it– it was tiring, but when you finished all that you were ready for bed when they said let’s go.
And we went to bed early– really, really early. 8:30 and 9 o’clock, we were in bed. And during the summer months when we finish what we were doing, we would all sit on the porch and sing. Oh, yeah. I’m from a family of singers. And we used to sit on the porch and singing. Those was the entertainment we got in the evenings.
INTERVIEWER: What were your favorite songs?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Oh, just spirituals. We, uh, and hymns with my grandmother, because she was totally, totally, very strict, staunch, um, um, um, Methodist. And, of course, that’s what you did. And you did no dancing or nothing like that. There was no dancing at our house. And you didn’t, you know, you, you lived OK, but it was to the biblical times– as necessary as possible. It was absolutely awesome back then.
And around the house, uh, my grandmother had a total, uh, flower garden, rose garden, which was beautiful, gorgeous flowers. There was all color roses. That’s the first time I ever saw a blue rose. And, um, I picked a– got a root of one, but it froze out here. The root died out. I guess like everything else, it dies after awhile. But I still have the wisteria, which is planted in my front yard, the– that one that’s tied up out here that has the very long blossoms on it, uh, and, like a orchid. Gorgeous. And I was able to bring one of those roots from home and plant that here.
Now they were tearing up the road over there, getting ready to pave it. That’s how I was able to get a piece of that. Well, it– it’s, it’s gorgeous though in the summer. But other than the, um, rose garden and the peonies, then there were the forsythia– the yellow blossom, the yellow blossom flower that could grow right into a tree. But kept them cropped down so they look more like a hedge.
And on each side of the walk, there was, um, a flower bed. And we turned the brick on a like an angle so it looked like they were scalloped all along on each sides of the flower beds. That was beautiful. And we also had a brick walk. But since our yard set up from the road we had stone steps. And that my grandfather– my– that would have been my great-grandfather had, um– that would, yes, my grandfather, I guess.
No, it was my great-grandfather, because my grand– my great-grandfather gave the property, uh, to my grandfather. And they had flat stones, big flat stones, and they made steps out of the. And the step– the– I forget what kind this– the stone they were now. But they were blue. And that– yes, they was blue.
And with the different little flowers that come out of there– the little, tiny, weeny, flowers that grow along, and we had to mow that– all that yard, all the flower gardens, and you didn’t run over any of the rosebushes either– with an old push mower. And that thing was an old, iron mower. And you pushed that thing. And it would made a noise like, rararara.
While you had that that was man power. None other than that. But the place was gorgeous. And the wisteria grew from an old well that that had been active at one time. And it went dry, from what they tell me, because I don’t ever remember it being active. But I remember there was a well there– what had been a well.
But do you know, they had been filling it up with dirt and all kinds of substance, you know, stones and stuff like that. And it was hand-done, they tell me. So it– it made a lot of difference, a lot of difference.
On top of all of this, with the farming and the horse and the cow, naturally, we have a shed that was across the road. And we had chickens, ducks, guineas. All the peeps and all that was nice. But some of those doggone roosters would kick the starch out of you.
Oh, them spurs would hit you, you’d know it. Oh, I– and usually the ducks, they didn’t get bad, but they would squawk at you. They had babies, they’d run you. And so would the hens. They didn’t want you to touch those babies.
And it– it– all sorts of things. That’s why I say we got a mini farm. And, um, the heck of it was, I didn’t like– we had to clean that shed that Darby lived in and the cow. Uh, that was ridiculous, ridiculous. But they have to be taken care of, watered and fed.
And the cow had to be milked. So we used to stake her out on the Jenkins farm, which was real close to ours. It was pasture there. When we wasn’t– didn’t stake her out there, then we’d stake her out on the Conaway farm.
INTERVIEWER: What does, stake her out mean? I’m a city girl.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Well, stake her out, you have, um, it’s a great, big iron bar that’s sharpened on each end. I mean, flat on one at the top, and it’s a point at the bottom. And you hammer that down in the ground and, um, with her chain and everything on her neck– was a long chain, loosely so that she couldn’t slip her head out, uh, but not tight enough that it would choke her or anything. She was comfortable. She could get up and– oh, it was a long, long chain.
And she’d have plenty room to eat and lay down and get up and get to her water and her salt and everything. And that was iron. So that was hard. We had to hammer that down into the earth and tie her so, you know, fasten her. So we would know where she was.
INTERVIEWER: And that was so she had plenty of grass to eat?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Plenty of it, plenty of it. But in the winter, we had to feed her. And, uh, we used to board her at one of the Stem’s farms back of Winfield, below Winfield. We used to walk her across there and board her there. Then we had to go milk her. That was something else.
In the wintertime, my uncle used to have to fit, because he would be the one that’d have to go over there and milk her. I’m telling you, he would be furious But he’d have to bring the milk back, and it have to be strained and taken care of.
So when it was really, really bad, you talk about being rough. If he wasn’t around to go over there and milk that cow, that’s another trip. It really, really was.
INTERVIEWER: So he didn’t like going because of all the snow and ice and it was a hard–
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Yeah, well, he didn’t like to milk the cow. I guess he thought he was too big then to milk the cow. He was grown. And until he left home, that was– in the winter, that’s what he had to do.
I’m telling you, we used to make our own butter. Used to make our own cottage cheese, And save the– save the cream off the milk, because the cream was– I mean, the milk was rich. And you’d save the cream.
And, uh, we have to get our ice from Mr. Fleming. They had an ice house. And about once a week, uh, he would come down, bring the ice, and fill up our old ice– refrigerator. It was called a– what was– icebox then, not a refrigerator.
INTERVIEWER: OK, how did that work? I have no idea.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Well, at the top of the refrigerator was a door opened. And you got a piece of ice in there about that– about two feet. Well, the way it worked, it had a tube in it. And a little– oh, it was like a little– how do I tell you– a little tray that’s sat in there with grooves in it. And they sat the ice on top of the grooves. And the grooves ran right back into a little point.
And it was a hose came up. I mean, was, uh, not a hose. Was, um, oh, cheese and crackers. Let me tell you what it was in a minute. It was like, um, a pipe. And it was welded to there and a hole in it. And as the ice melted, the water would run down off the tray into the pipe. And there was always a basin about so long and so deep that would slide under, because it had a flap on the bottom of the refrig– uh, the ice box, that you would pull out and empty the water. And then you would wash the basin again and set it back under there.
You didn’t use that basin for anything except the ice water. They were very, very strict about the cleanliness of everything. You just didn’t. Anything that you had to– I told you back here that you had to strain the milk and separate it. You did that, and you washed and scalded everything behind it.
And, uh, back there they had like a cheese cloth bag. Now cheese cloth would look to you like, um, netting, cotton netting that you put over a baby buggy for outside, you know. And that’s what that looked like.
So what they did with that, they’d have a big bag, and they would store everything pertaining to the milk that they used. After it was scalded and dried, they’d stick it in that bag and pull a drawstring on it. And that was put away in the closet. You didn’t touch it until you used it to do the milk again. And the milk bucket, that was the same thing.
And that’s how they kept it, because everybody drank the milk. And the milk was kept cold in the bottom of the ice box. We’d have maybe a couple gallons of milk. And what you couldn’t use, you gave to the pigs. And they loved it.
But we had fresh milk, our own fresh eggs. And our butter we churned that. We had a old churn. You churned it like you see in a museum. And if it wasn’t enough to churn– if she was going dry, because a cow goes dry certain times. I don’t remember just when anymore– but put it in a half gallon jar and shake it. And then the buttermilk, you put that in the refrigerator– in the icebox also.
All of that stuff you kept in the icebox. Now a lot of people keep their mustard and ketchup and all that in the ice– in the refrigerator today. You didn’t do that. That set in the pantry. And– or they’d have a out porch. Uh, what do they call it? A sun porch or something. And what they would do would be to, um, have a cupboard out there.
And the jellies and, um, ketchup and mustard and all that sort of thing they would put in– Did I move? –mustard and all that in the– in the summer kitchen. And that’s where you kept it– anything that wouldn’t freeze. But in the wintertime, they kept it in the house, and it would sit on the back of the table.
And this is how that sort of thing was take care of– the ketchup, mustard, horseradish, and all the condiments that you use today, because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. A lot of people don’t know that.
But your ketchup, once you open it now some of the stuff says, um, refrigerate. But back there, there wasn’t anything like that that needed refrigerating– the ketchup, the mustard, uh. You made your own horseradish. You made your own, um– oh what is it they use? I don’t like the stuff– for fish. Yuck.
INTERVIEWER: Tartar sauce?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Tartar sauce. You made your own tartar sauce. And all you did to make your other sauce would be to add a little bit of the horseradish in with your ketchup. Oh, all you did was you, um, took your ketchup. You’d add just a little bit of the horseradish to make it to your taste.
And, uh, you’d put just a little bit of sugar in it and like two or three, uh, teaspoons depending on the amount of if you were making, ah, to make your other sauce with or your salsa. And if you wanted to make tomato salsa all you did was add an, um, oh cheese and crackers, um, potato masher, what kind that you just lift it up and down.
And you wouldn’t– the other type of masher was called a ricer. And you would ordinarily put potatoes in there– two or three potatoes– and take the handle and push it down, which would come out through little, tiny holes.
So this is the way you would make your salsa. You would take your tomatoes and put it in. And, you could– and, of course, we canned the tomatoes in summer, so we would have it in winter. And, uh, we really did a lot of canning. I’m telling you, it wasn’t nothing to have, uh, 50 to 100 jars of beans, peas, all kinds of vegetables in the base– in the cellar at home.
And, of course, that was down on the house. And, um, it didn’t– and the door was closed. And when you walked in, it would always be warm in the winter, but in summer it was cool. So and all this nothing was ever, um, cemented or anything like that. Was earthen, and it was the size of the house underneath.
And this is what you– this is where you kept your vegetables, where you put your canned vegetables. And I’m telling you, and then we had racks in the walls where they would put like a square up and make racks. and you’d set your jelly on that.
And we canned everything, like of bread and butter pickles, your just your plain pickles, spiced apples, everything that you can imagine that grows, because we not only had vegetables, but we had fruit trees, which was normal.
And we also had, um, lots of currants. We had everything, well the currants would turn to raisins. It was just so awesome– all of the berries we had. So when I say a farmette, it was a farmette.
We had blackberries, raspberries– the red and the black– we had dewberries. We had, um, blueberries. Oh, it was a long the hedge row, and each one was set off with a space between them. And you kept that space, so you could walk between and pick on the other side. And if it was really unbelievable.
So we made all of our jellies, jams, apple butter, everything. I’m telling you, you would be surprised when you walked into somebody’s cellars then. I tell you, you know how you lived. And, of course, uh, doing all that your summers were full.
Canning was a big time job. And it wasn’t anything to be canning over night, because as the older person could know you were capable of watching the– the cannier, which was a great big iron pot. I will show you when we go out a couple of the pots I have that was from home. And right now they’re antique as can be. I have flowers in mine.
Anyhow, this is how that was done. It’s unbelievable. You and the canning. You had to pick the tomatoes or the– whatever vegetable you were canning. You picked it, washed it. And the tomatoes you would scald them and skin them. And then you’d pack them in the jars.
And, of course, tomatoes make a lot of juice anyway. So you were careful not to break up your tomatoes while you were taking the outer skin off. But then you would pack them in the jars and push them down.
And everybody had like a little wooden mallet like it was made, oh, just a couple– uh, maybe six or eight inch a long or a little longer. And it had like a little knob that they had whittled it out. I have one of those in the kitchen. And where they pushed down or stomp down. They call it stomping uh, the– the vegetables and so forth in order to get the jar full.
And, uh, the juice from the tomatoes you didn’t need to add water. And everything they canned they added a half a teaspoon or a teaspoon of salt, fill it with cold water, screw the top on.
Now when you got ready to can, you would take those jar out and put them in and the kettles, pack ’em in there. And you could do about two jars deep. And then cover it with water, cold water, Start your far– your fire. And this would as the– as the fire heated the water, you watched in and kept the fire burning, and cover the– the, uh, kettles with a piece of tin, which was used for nothing more than that– for canning, covering up the pot, the big kettles.
And you kept that fire boiling. I mean, you kept the fire going for three hours, and then someone else would take over. So it was pretty hard when there was only two of you to do it. But there was my brother, my older brother. He was younger than I.
And there was my cousin. There was O’Neil Wilson. And my grandmother and I would do this.
INTERVIEWER: And how long did it have to burn total?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Three hours.
INTERVIEWER: But then you switched?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Three hours. That was done. That one kettleful was done. They sterilized– they cooked and sterilized it for three hours, and then it had to cool off.
You couldn’t just take it out, because if you didn’t let it cool down like that, you would take and lift one of those jars out there it’d go, pow! In the air, soon as the air hit it, it would, you know, explode. It was too hot for the air to blow over it. And that’s the way we canned.
INTERVIEWER: So why did you have to do it overnight? I didn’t understand that part.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Well, sometime overnight if we were doing the last of the tomatoes. We wasted nothing. Uh, and we have to get another batch of tomatoes in. Then this is when we would do that overnight.
Yes, that’s when we would do that. But we tried not to have to do it overnight. We’d try to keep ahead. Then if you had a lot of tomatoes, you gave them to your neighbors or whomever, your friends.
So, you know, you always have friends who don’t have a garden– older people and all this sort of thing. And if they went to see a friend that was ill or something, they would take them a basket of vegetables or fruit, whichever was, or a combination.
And we had strawberries also. So we, you know, we just canned and made jellies and jams and all kind of stuff. All on top of all of that, we use to can tomato juice, apple juice, all kind of juices. The only juices we didn’t can was the blueberries, strawberries, uh, and just little berries like that we didn’t.
But we even had raspberry, blackberry, and dewberry, because when you did the jams, there would always be an extra amount of broth left or juice. So you just canned that. And it was good in the wintertime.
You could also make a little sauce out of it or just use it as you wanted to– drink from a glass or whatever. It made a lot, a lot of difference. But those summertimes was a trip. They was killing times.
INTERVIEWER: Now what’s a dewberry?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: A dewberry is, uh, it’s bigger than a blackberry. About big as my thumb. And the vine runs on the ground. And they come in right after, right behind the strawberries.
INTERVIEWER: They don’t sell those anymore, do they?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Yeah.
INTERVIEWER: You can find them?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Yes, yes. Now some of them called– don’t know the difference. I can look at them and tell you the difference.
INTERVIEWER: What would it be mistaken for?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Just another blackberry.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, OK. Yes, that’s what that would be mistaken for– another blackberry.
INTERVIEWER: So did you ever have to go to the store?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Occasionally. Of course, we did, occasionally, because we had to have sugar. We have to have salt. But the majority of times that’s about– or a loaf of bread once in a while. Um, there was coffee and tea and things like that.
But you know what? From– from the beginning of the– the seasons for the vegetables and everything to be coming in– the vegetables and fruits– you rarely had anything to go to the store for, because until your, uh, lard ran out, because everybody had a pig or two that they would butcher.
That was another time. Oh, God. And that was in the– they would do that around Thanksgiving or the week before when it was really, really, really cold. And, um, I’m telling you, everybody had a smoke house. And if they didn’t have a house they could smoke ’em in, they would take ’em to one of the farmers who always had a smokehouse. And they’d smoke your meat so it would be– it wouldn’t spoil.
Now there was like the bacon and that sort of thing. You kept that in the– in the summer kitchen in the winter, because it didn’t matter if that, uh, if that, um, froze. What bacon? Doesn’t matter. But that’s how you did it. And, uh, you would have like your side meat and all that sort of thing. So that stayed in the summer kitchen.
INTERVIEWER: Is there anything in particular you wish that people today knew about the times when you were growing up?
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Oh, yes. I hardly know where to begin speaking about the times– the time changes from the time I grew up and ending all this from years. Well, I would say I stepped back in time when I was talking to you. But to come forward now, it would be so beneficial to especially the young people.
And when I say young people, I’m speaking of people from, I would say younger than 50 years old. Or I would say go back to the twenties or the teenagers, because, you know what, there was hardly any of this, um, crime, drugs, and that sort– killings and so on back there. You very rarely heard of it. And it was– I can remember once in my lifetime I remember someone being killed. And I thought it was so horrible.
However, um, today it’s a usual thing. Either they’re locked up for– for drugs. And it’s no given, uh, race. This thing is even. Uh, a lot of people may think that this is a black thing, but it’s not a black, it’s not a white, it’s not a Hispanic, it’s not a foreign. It’s everywhere.
And the young people do not have– a lot of the young people, I’ll say it that way– have no respect for life. The reason for that is– is because, uh, back in years ago it was cool to smoke. It was cool to fraternize with each other. It was cool to enter into sex early. And next thing you know, babies were raising babies of their own.
And if they had the– to work and do things like we did– a lot of it, a lot of it I wouldn’t even want my children to do because it’s hard– But do you know what? If everything wasn’t given to them on a silver platter, if they were trained from the time when they began to toddle around and pick up things off the– in other words, if they didn’t, uh, childproof everything and watch your child. I mean keep an eye on your child. I didn’t say abuse your child, but I did say watch them.
And I could lay anything down and if my little ones started getting, I’d tell ’em, uh-uh-uh no, no. Don’t touch. Look at it, but don’t touch. And they wouldn’t touch. And I never tried to kill them or beat up on them, or just treat them like dogs, but I trained my children.
And, uh, don’t– it’s good to give them what you can afford. Don’t let them think that everything is handed to them because they want it. That is not good for them. Not good for the parents either, because they rebel when you have to stop doing this.
On top of that, take them to church, teach ’em. We went to church all the time.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, talk a little bit about that, what church was like back then.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Yes. Church was awesome, because we went to church. Sunday morning, we went to Sunday school. And we get up and dress and go to Sunday school. We would come home. We would have breakfast, and then we– change our clothes first. And then have breakfast, because we had taken care of animals before we even dressed in the morning.
That was get up about 5:00, 5:30 and take care of the animals. And then come in, wash up, and dressed. And by that time, you were anxious to get to Sunday school. You didn’t see people like you do now. You had to walk mostly, and there was no transportation other than that.
So by the time you worked at home and then, uh, thought about going out somewhere, it was nowhere to go, no place to go either. So praise God, you’d go to church. And then we’d go in and a bunch of us would get together, can I go play ball with so and so? Can I go? Yes.
And this is how it was. You went, you played ball, or you flew kites. You, um– this is another thing you never think of, because they don’t know anything about it. That’s a hook off of a wagon wheel. Take a stip– stick and run with that thing. And, um, see who could beat each other with it. See who could control the wheel.
All those kind of old-fashioned games we’re wonderful. And on top of all of this, by the time you finished playing, they would come out and tell you, dinner’s ready. You would come in, and always Sunday there was a special dinner. Usually in the summer, it would be a fried chicken dinner, because we had already killed a chicken and picked it and prepared it so it could be cooked for Sunday dinner. So we would have a Sunday dinner, you know.
And you’d grow your– your– your– fruits, your cantaloupes, your watermelons and all this sort of thing on the farm or on a farmette.
So you’d go pick a watermelon and put it in the– in the spring. In the branch where the water ran over it, that thing would be just as ice cold. And the cantaloupes, that’s how you’d cool them off.
Anyway, and then you would have dinner, and then your dessert would be watermelon, cantaloupe, or homemade cake and some pudding that was made. However, if it was wintertime, then you would come in and have dinner, and everybody would set around and sing song or talk and whatever.
And, um, after dinner, then there would be a desert or probability, you know, cake and custard or whatever it was– cookies or whatever. And then you’d go back to church. And– so you would be there by 6:30 or 7 o’clock. Now this is summertime. Wintertime they did not have [INAUDIBLE] or church at that hour in the evening, because it was already dark and everybody had to walk.
So that’s how that was. But if they had the children in church– and we were taught in church. We were taught to read the Bible. We had to learn a verse of the Bible, where it came from, what book, where it was found, chapter and verse. And we used to do this all the time. And it was like a normal thing for us to do.
However, if that’s– some of this was done now– if they had to do some work, had chores to do and there was no such a thing as telling your parents or whomever was over you, no I’m not going to do it. You knew better. They would have you up on the chair, and it seemed like it was six hours before they let you get off that chair.
Or else, way would turn around and tap you one. And they would slap you hard enough you felt like you’d been shot. You didn’t need to be slapped but once. And, uh, they–they made it– they just made it so you knew you were not going to tell them, no.
And you would do it, because you did not want to be punished or nothing. Sometime you get that, mm mm, and it, what? OK, OK, OK. You know. That was enough to get attention everywhere.
And this way, if they were taught from the beginning, learned what no means, and anything you say, no, let that stick. Always be, no, for that same thing. If you say, maybe– that’s– this is coming up when they are able to talk too. When they’re able to talk, and they’ll say, why?
Well, you might pick it up and break it. And I don’t want it broken, OK. Just look at it. And after they get a little bigger, hand it to them. Let them feel and see and touch. You know, to feel and touch it, and see it makes all the difference in the world.
One of the things– yes is always yes and no is always know and let me think about it, maybe. But don’t worry me. Don’t call me and ask me over and over every two minutes, because the answer might be, no. And that’s not what you want to hear. Let me decide.
INTERVIEWER: Well, Miss Bowman, thank you so much. Our– our tape is almost finished, but I really enjoyed chatting with you.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: Why thank you. I have enjoyed talking with you. I’m glad you– we came out today. And it’s been awesome to have you to talk to about this.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you.
KATHLEEN BOWMAN: You’re welcome.