My Appalachian Home

South Western Pennsylvania, where I was born and raised,  is part of Appalachia. A beautiful area of  low rolling hills and valleys (locally referred to as Hollows)  Folks living there are descendants of some of the first settlers to come  to this country. My personal background is a mix of Pennsylvania Dutch, Scotch-Irish, and English. In the days that I lived there, most everyone was a farmer. All of the schools were one room affairs with all eight grades together. I should know because I attended 26 of them all together. Since I was from a single parent family we moved around a lot. Needless to say, my education was a bit unique. 

In those days there was a depression going on but we didn't notice any thing different. We burned wood for fuel, our light came from oil lamps and we slept on feather beds. 99% of our food came from the farm. We only purchased items like salt and sugar from the general store. The nearest one  was about 10 miles away. Our clothing was carefully selected from the Sears & Roebuck catalogue and arrived by Rural Free Delivery.

Harvest was the busiest time of the year. Thrashing machines traveled around from farm to farm and if the crop was good we had enough wheat and oats to get through the winter. There was a flour mill not too far away and they would grind our flour for a percentage of the take. One of the responsibilities of the younger generation was picking the cockle seeds out of the flour. The seeds were produced by cockle burs and the imparted a decidedly unpleasant taste to the bread.

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