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 Sharecropper's Daughter

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cleo574
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PostSubject: Sharecropper's Daughter   Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:13 am

The first thing I should do is explain what a sharecropper does. They get an upfront money man to provide funds for seeds, fertilizer, and anything else required and agree to split the money or crop according to whatever percentage and then the farmer plants, takes care of, and harvests the crop and then either sells it and splits the money according to the agreement or gives the money man his percentage of the crop itself. In other words, the farmer does all the manual labor and the other person provides the upfront money. Is it a profitable exchange? Not always, but it helps to get a crop in the ground and helps some at harvest time.

Being a sharecropper’s daughter was not always the easiest thing to be. We were always poor but there was always love enough to go around. We didn’t always have enough to eat, but we managed to survive. We ate squirrel, rabbits, birds, fish, chicken, and deer. Even when it was not hunting season, my dad and brothers would go out hunting and bring home whatever they managed to bag. We couldn’t always eat chicken as we needed them for eggs. Sometimes Daddy would get lucky and trade for a calf we could raise and eventually butcher and sometimes we would be able to get a pig. Man, it really smelled when they butchered the pigs. No part of it was ever wasted. Don’t ask me what they did with all of it; I am not sure I want to remember. The beef was usually taken to a place in town to butcher. The deer was taken there also if it was hunting season, it not Daddy and my brother would do it themselves. During that time, if any strangers came to the house we were careful to make sure they had no idea anyone had been deer hunting.

Momma always grew a big garden and canned a lot of vegetables and also she canned what we didn’t eat or keep frozen at a locker place in town of the meat. We all had to help in the garden with the weeds and plowing and planting and gathering of the vegetables. The potatoes were the dirtiest job digging them out when they were new potatoes.

Now that you have a little background, I will try to take this a step farther. One of the earliest memories I have is when we lived in an old house that is now on the game reserve. We called it the ranch place. I have no idea why. This will sound like some made up story, but I swear it’s the truth. We had not toilet or bathroom, not even an outhouse. We had to go to the bathroom behind a tree or in the bushes and you always had to watch where you walked in case someone had been there before you. There was also not toilet paper so you used whatever was at hand. Sometimes it was newspaper, a Sears catalog, a leaf, and I swear a corncob (they were rough, but you used what you had). My mother cooked meals on a wood stove and of course there was no refrigerator as we had no electric so they got block ice from the ice house and we had an old model non-electric refrigerator that we kept it in. Sometimes we put our milk in a jar and hung it down in the well to keep it cool. Our meat we either ate immediately or salted it down or momma canned it to keep it from ruining. As I said before we always had a garden for vegetables and we gathered polk salad sometimes also. We gathered berries and momma canned them and we ate them for desert. If times were good, we got to bake a cake or pie.

During that time, I know daddy used to make whiskey because there was always an old aluminum washtub under the kitchen table with mash in it covered with cloth. When someone we didn’t know came up, we were always careful to keep them out of the house so they couldn’t smell the mash. Also, we were on welfare, but it wasn’t enough to feed us all so daddy raised cows and pigs and we hid them in a pasture in the woods so the welfare people wouldn’t be able to find them. We moved them sometimes so in case anyone turned us in, they wouldn’t be there when they went back. There was only a few of us kids at home then, Erna, Lyle, Vicki, and myself. Erna helped in the house with momma and Lyle helped daddy and Vicki and I played and did what we could. Everyone went to school then except me, and I was too young. My sister Vicki used to bring me a treat home from school everyday. Sometimes it was just a half of a jelly sandwich squished in her pocket but she felt sorry for me because I wanted to go with her so bad.

It was a little country school, so the teacher would sometimes let me visit school and play in the back if I was good. When I turned five she finally talked my momma into letting me start in the first grade. She said “Jan has visited school so much that she already knows more than some of the first graders I have so we might as well let her start.” Mom finally agreed so I started school when I was five in the first grade and not kindergarten. The teacher always worried that somehow it would cause me problems to start that early, but she was at my graduation and was so proud because I carried a “B” average all the way through high school.

While we were living at the ranch place we hardly ever had shoes so we were used to running around barefoot. All except for my sister Erna, so we would take her shoes and then run all the way around the house in the summer time calling her names and taunting her because we knew she wouldn’t come out and chase us without shoes. It would hurt her feet. She was our babysitter and we tortured her endlessly. We made a lot of mud pies and I ate them. Lyle and Vicki would convince me they were good, and because I trusted them both with my life, I gave it a shot. I really never did get to like them however.

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Lora
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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:45 pm

I think this could be a book. What an awesome story you have. You could add dialog and give more detailed descriptions of all of the special events that you remember most. I would love to read more about it.

I had to laugh about the mud pies. My mother has a similar story about her brothers feeding her mud pies.

Also, I wondered why did you have to keep it a secret that you were deer hunting?

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cleo574
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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:56 pm

The reason we had to keep it a secret was because it sometimes was out of season and they would have taken away the deer and give us a fine we could ill afford. Thank you for the good words. I had thought about the book idea. Just getting it all down so I don't forget too much and then I will try to refine it and make a book out of it. It is a work in progress.

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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:28 am

An intriguing story, read it a few times probably will many more times. This really pulls at me the abject poverty, simplicity, endearing. Humble origins, make one ever more grateful for the gifts we receive.
God Bless

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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:36 am

Thank you for your comments. I hope it doesn't make you too sad. I turned out okay. It is a work in progress.
God Bless and keep you

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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:42 am

Refreshing,real.
:)

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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:15 pm

Dear Cleo,

I loved your true life story. I hope to read more of your writings in the future.
I closely relate to your upbringing. I hope to post some true life story's soon as I can write some. Maybe we can read each other stuff and get to know one, another too.

Love in Christ, Gwyn sunny
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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:14 pm

I look forward to reading some of yours. I am glad you liked mine. I hope to have more in the future. In short stories, Rotten Potatoes is mine and its real life also. Give it a read and let me know what you think.
Cleo

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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:17 pm

Hi Cleo,

Under what category is "Rotten Potatoes?" I looked and looked. I really do want to read it.
Since you are an Advanced Member, I am sure you can navigate this whole web site with out any problems. LOL

I posted my "Rip Tide" true life story in this Memoirs Category.

I really am enjoying this web site very, very much.

Love in Christ, Gwyn sunny
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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:34 pm

In the forum, it is under short stories. I look forward to reading rip tide. Sounds like it will be a good one.

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Jan P

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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:02 am

It is fairly easy to find a story by its title on the site. Just click the icon that says "Search" at the top of the website and type in the title. It should bring up the story for you.

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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:34 am

My big sis and cousin made me eat mud pies when I was very little. I don't think I minded. Maybe that's why I struggled with a dirty mouth for so many years :roll:

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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:46 am

ROTFL

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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:33 am

Cleo,
I agree with Lora. This could be a fascinating novel! It makes me think of the stories I've heard over the years about my husband's upbringing in the N GA mountains. The circumstances were not parallel, but many of the challenges were.
God bless.
PatsyDyer

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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:40 pm

That is my aim someday. I'm just getting my memories together first so I don't forget anything. Thank you for your kind comments.
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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:40 pm

Cleo, Your story sounds much like my Dad's story. He grew up in southwest Arkansas and was what he calls "barefoot poor". I spent a lot of time there as a child and young woman and spent lots of time with my Aunt and Uncle. I remember the first time I went to their house and had to use the "out house". It was years before they got "inside facilities."

I hope you write lots more memories! reading

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cleo574
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PostSubject: Re: Sharecropper's Daughter   Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:32 am

Thank you for your kind comments. I have been continuing the story, but haven't got much more done. I hope one day to make it into a book and get it published. I hope you enjoy reading my other items as well.

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