By: GayLynn Allen
Irene Elizabeth Wyrick was born November 22, 1929. She had 2 sisters and 2 brothers. Life as she knew it then was a thrill, later she would realize it was of desperate times.
We shared shoes with our siblings. Sometimes too big and other times to small. During the summer it did not matter because we did not wear shoes except on Sunday. My mother made our clothes that we passed down to one another. She was quite the seamstress. For special occasion many of the townspeople would have her make clothing for them. There was no money received for the clothing, instead they exchanged food for the work. We were so excited when momma finished an item. The anticipation of the food to come kept us joyful for many days. This was like going out to a new restaurant for us.
Our home was small but lovely. It had one large room that facilitated our living quarters and kitchen area. There was one room off to the side that had been divided into 3 separate rooms by using sheets as walls. We had an outdoor toilet. It consisted of wooden walls no bigger than a small closet and a bucket. This was a luxury; some townspeople did not have the wooden walls for privacy and to help block the cold air. I remember scarring out to the outhouse during snowy nights. I would have layers of clothes on, 2 pair of stockings, my brother’s boots, and two coats. I never understood why it was so far away from our house. During the winter it seemed even farther.
Sundays was the best. I got to get dressed up in my good dress. We would have our hair washed and done. We did not have a car so we would walk to church. During the cold whether a neighbor would let us sit in the back of his truck and ride to church. The church was not far from our house but on cold days the ride was sure appreciated.
We all had our own chores to do around the farm. My chores were to collect the eggs, feed the chickens, gather buckets of water in the morning, pick the ripe vegetables from the garden, hang the linens out to dry, and clean the kitchen were a few of my morning chores. I had different chores for the evening.
I remember the first car we got. The first time we got to ride in it was on a Sunday. We had our good clothes and shoes on and were headed to church. It began to rain. We got to church right as the down pour began. The service was wonderful and I have to say I looked pretty wonderful that day also. It was pouring down rain outside. After the service we all ran to the car trying to avoid the huge puddles of rain and as much mud as possible.
As we headed down the dirt road our car was swerving all over the slick muddy road. We slid off the side of the road. Dad and Mom got out to push and called us kids to join in. I looked down at my shoes. They were my only Sunday shoes that had never been worn out, scuffed, or torn when I got them. Every one was out of the car trying to push and yelling for me to help. I took off my shoes put them securely in the seat and jumped out to help. We got the car out and made it home. It took a lot of washing to get the car back to clean again. As for our clothes, well it took two days of washings to get all the stains from the mud out.
Published in U S Legacies in November 2003