Family Reflections

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             This page is dedicated for reflections of my family listed in no particular order                     along with memories and experiences with them in Kentuckiana, my hometown Byrneville,        Indiana and in Independence, Missouri and parts round about all of those.

✨One of the earliest recollections that I have is from 1947. I would have been 6 years old, sisters Linda Kay would have been 4, Beverly Ann 3 and Judy Rose would have been 1 year old. It was a Sunday morning and mother had just taken us down to church at 9:15 for Sunday School. Someone came in after us and told mother that there was black smoke rolling up on the ridge where we lived. Mother left us in the care of other people so she could return home. When she got back she joined with our father to watch their home burn completely to the ground. The volunteer fire engine came shortly thereafter, but to no avail, as all but two things were a pile of red glowing coals in the 3/4 dug out basement. The one thing from the house that survived was the new Frigidaire refrigerator that our father had picked up and carried a hundred yards to set on the neighbor's front porch. The other was my little red wagon which was out in the yard away from the house.

Later Mother came back to church and told Linda and I that our home had burned and she took us to see it. Beverly and Judy were still too young to really understand without being terribly hurt. Mother brought us over to the edge of the foundation so that we could look into the basement. I was standing next to Linda and mother was on the other side. 73 years have passed for me since the fire, and yet I can feel the intense heat from the smoldering red coals on my face. I did not hear mother but she told Linda what hurt her the most was looking into the basement and seeing all of the broken mason jars of ruined food that she had canned for the family.

✨I know that my grandchildren will read this and think that their grandfather grew up on some other world than they. It certainly was another world in the 1940s, 50s and 60s in Byrneville, Indiana. I would eventually leave home for good in 1965. We lived on the ridge overlooking the valley which contained most of the homes of the 75 people living there, most of which were my relatives. The ridge was called Tinker Hill because years before there were itinerant tinkers (traditionally gypsys) who would park their wagons up there and the towns people would take their metal pots and pans up to them to have them repaired. So it was that we referred to our home as Tinker Hill. About this time of the year in November or when it turned cold, my dad Aldon would butcher two or three pigs. Several of the men from Byrneville would come and help. Clarence Harrison would bring his tractor which had a lift on it, Ernest Byrne, Donald Smith and Harley Maymon would come, bringing their knives and scrapers and other necessary equipment. I was too young really to help but I certainly watched the men butcher the pigs. Butchering was what you did in the late fall if you had any kind of a farm. We had a 20-acre farm and we raised mainly what are called broilers, which were frying chickens to a size of about 3-1/2 lb. We had houses big enough to handle 10,000 chicks at a time and in 8 weeks we could produce 3-1/2 lb. fryers. We always had pigs, a milk cow and we always grew 5 acres of corn and had a really big garden from which my mother Alma Louise would can. Many people living today have no idea where pork chops, ground pork, tenderloin, pork ribs and hams come from. For those interested in learning please watch these two videos. They explain the process and it was very similar to what was done on Tinker Hill!
How to Butcher A PIG
How to Cut Up a Pig (Basic Hand Tools)