The Book - Bart Beck

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About Bart Beck

COUNTRY LIVING

Even today you sometimes hear a person say that they are going to "do their trading" or they do or don't trade at a certain store. That really has no significance anymore, because we no longer trade anything, we just go into the store and buy the things that we need. It used to be customary to go to town on Saturday to do the "trading". That was when the farmers took their eggs, butter, cream, lard, or what ever it was that they had to trade, into the stores and traded it for the things that they could not raise and preserve on the farm. Some of the trading stock would be sold for cash so that things, other than groceries could be bought.

This trip to town was usually an all day event, especially in the winter time. We lived six miles from Marcellus and by the time that the folks did their "trading" and talked with everyone, we would have to start for home so that we could get there in time to do the milking and the rest of the chores before bedtime.

My parents liked to dance and apparently winter was the only chance that they had to do it. At least that is the only time of the year that I can remember them going. The Perry Beach family lived about four miles north of us and they had a dance hall. I don't remember, for sure, but I think that it must have been connected to their house in some way. I do remember that when we little ones got tired and sleepy we were put in on the bed where the grown folks had laid their heavy coats. I can still hear the fiddler sawing out Buffalo Girls and Old Dan Tucker just before I went to sleep. Clark & Katheryn

I suppose that people today would say that it was cruel to let little kids sleep like that and then awaken them at midnight, haul them home and put them into a cold bed. It may have been cruel, but it didn't hurt me any, because I never remembered waking up from the last time that I heard Old Dan Tucker, until I woke up in my own bed, the next morning.

When I think of waking up on a winter's morning I am reminded that there have been times that I have awakened to find a small snow drift across my bed. Windows didn't fit very well and if Mother had forgotten to stuff rags in the cracks, the wind could blow in quite a lot of snow in a very short time. That snow didn't bother us kids near as much, in the early morning, as the jug of hot water that we had taken to bed with us, the night before. That jug felt real good at night, but there were times when I know that, had it not been for our body heat, it would have frozen and burst before morning.

There was another conflict concerning small children sleeping in unheated, well ventilated, bedrooms in the winter time. That was in trying to decide whether it was better to smother or freeze to death. If your mother put on enough cover to keep you from freezing, it was so heavy that you couldn't breathe. At best, you would wake up in the morning with aching joints because you could not turn over to relieve the pressure.

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