Quiet Walks and Sound Advice From Mamaw

Reader Contribution by The Mother Earth News Editors
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This story is from Deborah Michel, submitted as part of our Wisdom From Our Elders collection of self-sufficient tales from yesteryear.

My “Mamaw” was born in 1903 and I was born in 1960. As a child and teenager, I spent a lot of time with her and would listen to her stories about how she grew up, but I also observed the way she still lived her life in later years. To mention a few:

  • She saw no need for a dryer because she always hung her clothes on the clothesline and, oh, they would smell so fresh.
  • She used leftovers to make new dishes for the next meal.
  • She grew a garden every spring using leftover seed from the previous season.
  • She grew chickens to sell, but would always keep a few to kill, and cook chicken and dumplings.
  • She would grow potatoes and onions and place them, unwashed, on a table under a shed and they would last for months.
  • Mamaw had a root cellar where it would stay cool even in the hot summers. There, she would keep canned food, jellies, etc. She would go pick wild blackberries in her pasture every May to make jams and cobblers with.

The list goes on and on, but, most of all, I remember the quiet walks we would have while we talked and talked … about such things.

Photo by Fotolia/Sandra Cunningham

Please send email submissions toLetters@MotherEarthNews.comwith the subject line “Elder Wisdom” or send mail to: attn: Heidi Hunt, Re: Elder Wisdom, Mother Earth News, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609.