My Short Stories

The Old Pantry’s

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I’d been thinking for some time about doing a blog on pantry’s of the yesterday’s. I don’t have any pictures of the pantry’s in the houses I lived in over the years. I don’t have any pictures of the houses I lived in during my childhood, and that’s sad because some of them were great houses. I decided to do a search on Google using the key words, old pantry’s. I just couldn’t believe the things that came up, lots and lots of restaurants named, The Pantry, The Old Pantry and The Pantry House which I think are all great names. The other thing I pulled up was “Pantry Kitchens” for those less fortunate folks going through some hard times, it was nice to see so many of them, around the country I wonder how many of you know what an old fashioned pantry really is. Many pictures came up like this one showing a small room with rows and rows of shelves filled with canned food. Now that may very well be what some or even many pantry’s were like in the 20’s and  30’s but they are not like the pantry’s in my life. I was born in 1939 and these are my memories of our pantry’s.
 I was in first grade and lived in a big old farm house in Massachusetts and it had a big pantry off the kitchen, or maybe it wasn’t so big but that I was small. It was narrow and long with counters over rows of cabinets and drawers under them and rows of shelves from the ceiling down to the counter tops. A window was at the very end of the room for plenty of light to come in. When you’d open a cabinet door you might see a large bin for holding your potato’s and another smaller bin behind another cabinet door for flour.  I often hid in the pantry staying very quiet so my brothers wouldn’t find me. One time I actually tried to crawl into the potato bin while hiding from them, it didn’t work, I couldn’t fit.our pantry had long counter tops over the cabinets and mom would put two or three pies on them to cool. Some had the kitchen sink in them and in one place we lived in Connecticut it had room for our ice box, yes we had an ice box
in my day. Most families had electric refrigerators by now but we were some what poor and still could not afford to buy such a luxury item just yet. We were not alone though because in the summers I remember several kids in our neighborhood waiting for the iceman to come and deliver the ice to their homes too. When the truck pulled up to our houses we would run up to the iceman and just stand their with our hands held out like we were trying to cup some water with big smiles on our faces. He knew what we wanted because it was a weekly task and he never seemed to mind it. The task…..chipping off pieces of ice for us to gleefully run off crunching on it and cold streams of water running down our faces. He wore a large black rubber cape type article on his back and large claw type tongs to grab and hold tight the big square chunks of ice, then he’d swing it over his back to carry it up to our kitchens. The ice box had a large tray under the ice shelf with a rubber tube connected to a hole in the tray that ran all the way down the back of the refrig to the floor resting in a good size pan that had to be emptied out every night by which ever kid was available, usually it was emptied after we got done doing washing and drying the dishes. Have you seen old ice boxes in antique shops, some of them are absolutely beautiful and can cost hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars. Ours was not like them, it was a straight white box, nothing pretty about it. I’m happy to see that in some new homes the old fashioned pantry is coming back, except not so old fashioned and folks that buy these homes don’t really know what they are missing.
 
         

My Short Stories

The Wagon Filled With Food

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My husband had gotten to the point where he became very violent and I was now getting physically abused. He was now using hard drugs and more often. I had to get my kids and myself out to a safer place. Thankfully I had a good paying job, but to start out fresh was going to be difficult for the first couple of months. Since I had a government job, (MHMR)  I only got one pay check on the first of the month. I was able to apply for temporary food stamps and was waiting for them to come in. When I got done paying for my light deposit, cable, phone hook up and deposits, I didn’t have quite enough for my first and last months rent, I was short $75.00 dollars. I went to the elders for help and they were quick to help as they had already been informed about my situation. It was small pickens in the food department at our house. We would always say after we got done eating…”It ain’t thrilling but it’s filling” The next month came and I was able to pay all my new bills, fill up the car with gas, and I had just seventy five dollars left, either pay back the brothers or get food. Seventy  five would indeed buy a months grocery’s in those days. I put the money in an envelope and brought it to the meeting on Sunday. After the meeting I handed the envelope to Joe an elder in our hall, he’s the one I went to for the asking in the first place. Before he took it he asked me, “Are you sure you don’t need it for a little longer?” I hesitated for  a moment, at home I had just two hot dogs and one can of corn and that was it!  So going through my mind loud and clear was, yes I need it, I need food !!  But I just pushed the envelope in his hand and thanked  him saying we were fine, please take it while I have it.

When I got home I sliced up the hot dogs in small pieces and fried them in oil, then mixed them up with the corn. I set the bowl on the table and said to my three children, this is temporary, you know things will get better so lets pray now. My dear kids never said a word of complaint, they bowed their heads and I started the prayer, dear Jehovah, thank you for this food we are about to eat, just then a knock on the door. David opened the door and Dessmond, the  son of a friend of mine was standing their. I said, come in and he said, “I can’t, mama wants to see you.” I said, tell her to come on up, and he said, “I can’t, she wants you to go down to her”. Right away I thought something must be wrong as I and all four kids rushed down the two flights of stairs. When I got to the bottom their she was with her big station wagon backed right up to the sidewalk and the back of it was down. The whole back of that car was filled with bags of food.  Everyone just kept going up and down the  two flights of stairs carrying bags of food. I thanked her and she left right away. She wouldn’t come in, she just jumped in the car and took off. ??? We again sat back down to the table and I started the prayer over. Dear Jehovah, thank you for this food…..I couldn’t go on, I got a lump in my throat, I looked up and  my three kids were looking at me with tears in their eyes. We all then started laughing and crying at the same time. There was food in the cabinets, food in the refrigerator, food on the counter tops, and even bags of food on the floor. Again I started the prayer, THANK YOU JEHOVAH , AMEN! Needless to say, the hot dogs and corn ended up being our side dish. I have thanked Jehovah for that day and every day since then for our food, our home,  and our friends, and all else he gives me every day. But today I have the opportunity, forty some odd years later to again thank my dear friend that owned the big station wagon filled with food.

 

Thank you Fay.

 

Matthew 6:33 “Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.

Why Study The Bible

My Short Stories

The Pioneer Shoes

 

The Pioneer Shoes  

Valerie had joined the full time regular pioneer service as soon as she graduated high school. We lived right next to the hall so that was a big help for her to do this. We didn’t have much extra cash, just enough for our needs. We bought our cloths at Goodwill and matched them up with new cloths. You can get more outfits that way. It was a bit hard to get shoes. First we didn’t like wearing someone else’s shoes and Val had big feet which she inherited from me. Size 10 – 11. It was hard finding nice new shoes in that size in the department stores like Kaymart and Walmart. She was down to one pair of dress shoes for service and we were discussing the situation just before the meeting Thursday evening. I told her we’ll just have to pray for something to come up.
When we got home that very same night, a big black leaf and lawn bag was propped up in front of our door in the car port. We dragged it in and a tag was tied around the top of the bag that had Duncanville written on it. That was a town miles from our town, it was near Dallas.  It was filled with clothes that no one in our house could wear. Val just kept pulling them out until she was almost to the bottom when she yelled….shoes! She pulled them out, about five or six pair. They were all nice, attractive, dress shoes, and they were size ten. Also we knew they were from a witness sister which helped Val in the wearing of used shoes.Thank you Jehovah! 
 

Matthew 6:33 “Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.

Why Study The Bible

http://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/free-bible-study/video-why-study-the-bible/#?insight%5Bsearch_id%5D=a65d58db-040c-45c9-a635-795126abaca1&insight%5Bsearch_result_index%5D=0

My Short Stories

Old Library’s, Soon to be Gone and Forgotten ?

Growing up in my home was not easy, we were not well off and my father was a mean man.
I spent most of my time at my friends house, at the park and in our town library. We were blessed to have our library in an old Victorian house and they left the inside pretty much the way any old house would be. The floors were wide wood boards with lots of deep knicks scratches and dents, from years of use . Layers of high gloss varnish painted on them over the years made them look like black ice. Large windows with dark stained varnished woodwork and chair rail around every every wall in every room. It had a huge fireplace in the center of the large open room, although never lit. Big soft Queen Ann’s chairs were placed on each side of the fireplace and when I’d sit in one of them, I could almost smell the wood burning, even the warmth from it.
Instead of my home being a refuge from all the scary things out in the world like a home should be to a little kid, the library was my refuge. As soon as I walked in the door, I felt a warm glow come over me. The smell of old books, the nice elderly librarian, the soft whispers here and their, and the comforting safeness I felt was amazing. I would spend much of my childhood in old library’s.
My life was not much different as a married adult, more happiness but still poor. My husband and I moved around a lot and I don’t mean from house to house or town to town but from state to state, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Texas and Kentucky. Because we had little money to spend on entertainment, the first thing I would do after getting settled was to take my three children into town to find the library. Wonderful libraries have I sat in over the years reading to my kids. All three of them to this day love old library’s and old books, and wonderful childhood memories. Is this something gone forever? Will the children of tomorrow never have the experience of sitting in an old library with the awesome smells of old books and squeaking floors, and the whispers of the librarian telling someone which isle they will find Treasure Island.
Author Eileen Clark
Image:https://www.dreamstime.com/storage-books-large-old-library-gothic-style-shelves-rows-city-hall-denmark-copenhagen-february-image140521854

My Short Stories

There Are Tigers In That House !

 

One of the very important things as a parent to do is

always pay attention to what your child is telling you.

I did try to do that but believe at times I may have failed. It was before your mom was

born, one day when your grandfather Jeff and I, your great- grandfather Lincoln and

great-grandmother Ruth, were coming home from a fair. We were on a highway in a suburb area, beautiful homes set back from the road with nice manicured yards. My son David, who

was three at the time, started shouting, “There are tigers in that house, there are tigers in that house!!” We all laughed sense David was always talking about apes and tigers, and we had just been at a fair As we kept moving along down the highway, I could see David was really upset.

He looked up at me with his big blue eyes and said, ” Mommy, I really did see tigers in that

house, honest Mommy.”  I pleaded with my father in-law that we must turn around and go back. I litterly got booed by a few in the car but with a little sharper tone in my voice, Gramps did turn the car around and back we went. It was going to be pretty hard to know how far back we had to go because no one saw the house with tigers and so which kind of house do you look for ? What color was it, was it big or small   I said, “we keep going until we see the house with the tigers in it.” hahaha After all, he shouted it out as soon as he thought he saw them.You can imagine how well that went over. Everyone was nonchalant about it but David and I kept our eyes glued to the left side of the road because he did know what side the house was on. Holy Moly !!!!! This beautiful house had tigers inclosed in their garage, David did see it. My father in-law pulled right in the driveway, parked the car, and we all just gazed at the sight and praised David up and down.Always pay attention to what your child is telling you Chelsea,

I was so glad I did.

 

My Short Stories

BOOTS IN THE SNOW

 
  We all had black, up past your ankle, rubber boots. Little girls did not have red, blue or pink boots back then.
The boots had snap type clamps from the middle to the top and often, when lazy, we did not buckle them up, just slipped them on and off we’d go. I loved to walk in the huge high snow banks along the side of the road where the plow’s piled it up after clearing off the roads.
On the way home from school one day, I was trudging along very slowly on the high snow banks. One foot after the other, each time my whole leg would be swallowed up into the bank, working very hard, wiggling my leg back and forth to pull it up out of the snow only to clump the other foot and leg down almost to my hips into the snow bank.
Finally one day, sure enough, it was bound to happen, up came my foot with no boot !I quickly looked down the hole where my foot came up from only to see snow. Of course snow will fall into the hole when the foot comes up. I frantically searched, pulling snow away with my freezing red bare hands from where I thought the hole might have been to where my boot still just might be, all the time knowing I was dead !
 
  Yes, my father would kill me when he got home from work. In matters like this, my mother would not kill me, she just got sick. Here’s how it would go…” I’m sick, you have made me sick over this, I just can’t take any more, now I am sick.”
It was right after the second world war and we were poor, everyone was poor for awhile there, and I was NOT going to get a new pair of boots this winter. My feet were going to freeze every day back and forth to school and in the play yard, and in my back yard, and at my girlfriends back yard, all winter long, frozen feet, and of course, the big spanking my father gave me that night when he got home from work.
 
Author Eileen Clark
 
My Short Stories

” Our Generation ” The Paper Boy

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” Our Generation ” The Paper Boy

All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers –my brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which he got to keep 2 cents. He had to get up at 6 AM every morning.

On Saturday, he had to collect the 42 cents from his customers. His favorite customers were the ones who gave him 50 cents and told him to keep the change. His least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day.

Rain, snow, and summer heat never stopped them from getting their papers to their customers homes.

At My House

My brothers were paper boy’s in the early forty’s, they were in third and forth grade, let’s see, I guess that would have made them about 9 and 10 years old. It was in the city of Hartford Connecticut. They delivered them after school and used a red wagon instead of bikes, we couldn’t afford bikes.

We were Irish catholic’s living in an Italian neighborhood and that meant trouble for the boy’s, especially my younger brother because he had bright red curly hair and big freckles all over his pale white face.

You ask….how is it that that, would be trouble for the boy’s?

Irish and Italian’s did not mix together to well. The Italian boy’s named Jo, Rocky, and I don’t remember the other names would be on the corner when the bundle of papers were dropped off to be folded and put in the red wagon by my brothers.

Rocky and friends would scatter the papers all over the streets and passing cars would carry them off on their hoods, roofs and trunks never to be seen again. Other times Rocky and friends would wait till the papers were all folded and stacked neatly and ready to be delivered, then throw them all over the streets. No one could do anything about it and the boy’s just took it. Well it did escalate to the point where Rocky and friends were waiting on the corner along with, this time, untouched papers.

They had other plans this particular afternoon.

They wrapped white adhesive tape all over the boys heads. My mother had to cut most of their hair off and they went to school the next day almost bald, along with mother, who went right to the principal’s office to give Father O’Malley a “Show and Tell” complaint. The Father questioned my brothers until he was blue in the face because my brother’s would not “squeal” on Rocky and friends.The very next evening the Italian boy’s were waiting on the corner for my brothers. The news papers were all folded and stacked in a neat pile. As soon as the boy’s appeared, Rocky and friend’s placed the folded papers nicely in the red wagon and walked away. That was it !!! My brothers were never bothered again. Though every now and then when my brothers got to the corner where the bundles of papers were left off for them, they would find a nicely folded stack of news papers and they knew they were safe from not just Rocky and friends but from any other bully’s that might be around….the word got out, don’t nobody mess with the Irish paper boy’s because the Italian boy’s were watching over them.

Eileen

My Short Stories

THE OLD RADIO

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How many times did you sit next to your radio listening for your name to be read off of Santa’s list the night before Christmas ?

My two brothers ,one with blue eyes, red curly hair and freckles , so many on his face that they even ran into each other so it would be one big freckle. My other brother had black hair, gray eyes, and freckles thou not quite as many.We’d wait through the long list of kids names being read till they got to the E’s being that our last name was Estey. We didn’t know it was in alphabetical order at the time,  just that it seemed like foreverrrr till he got to our name, good thing we weren’t the Smiths.It would go like this,”and Bernie, Dick, and their little sister Eileen were good kids this year so they’ll be getting what they asked for.How’d he know that I wondered. He doesn’t know us but I guess Santa told him. Thing is, I got in lots of trouble this past year. Got spanked twice, mostly cause of my brothers. One was a year older then me, the other, three years older. I was six at the time. I remember doing this every year till it just stopped. Don’t know when, it just did. No body said anything about it. Nobody asked, nobody told.Next thing we’ll talk about is the Phantom ! I knew what he looked like from the Sunday funny papers. He came on every week, don’t know what day but I’m guessing it was Saturday since we were home to listen to him.gain it was the three of us, my two brothers and me. Except with the Phantom it was different listening for me.The radio had a piece of hard cardboard screwed to the back, but a screw was missing and I could barely see through the tiny lit up crack on the side in the back of the radio. I just knew he was in their and I just had to see him.mI would try so hard to peek in the back slowly turning the radio while my brothers kept hitting me and saying shuuuush. Also threatening to get grandma or grandpa.It was always over their house that we would listen to The Phantom because at our house my father ruled with a heavy hand and nobody touched that radio dial, not even Mom unless the great father touched it first and always for his news station.
Eileen MC