Stellie Pearl's Thoughts......

I Keep Hoping That My Tomorrows Will Catch Up With Yesterday

Sunday, September 13, 2009

~The Summers Of Our Youth~

Both of my parents were originally from West Virginia. That is where they met and got married. My grandparents on my Dad's side moved from West Virginia to New York in the late 1950's. My maternal grandmother lived in West Virginia all of her life. After my parents married, they moved to New York. I always have thought of myself as a West Virginia girl, though. We spent every single summer there, and every Easter break. Brother & I would count down the days until our trip down south to stay with Granny. Those summers were filled with so much love and laughter.

Dad & Mom 1958

Granny lived "out Aarons Fork Road" which was "up a holler" in Kanawha County, WV. It was about as country as you could get. She had a huge yard, complete with a dirt road driveway that led to her house. It was always enjoyable listening to my Dad rant as our over-loaded Country Squire Station Wagon (complete with wood paneling, I might add) would bottom out while crossing the creek that went across the driveway to her house. It was a 12 hour drive from NY. By the time we would arrive, it was usually dark and we were all tired, cranky and hungry. Granny would have her homemade vegetable soup and a pan of fresh corn bread waiting for us. Then, with full bellies, we would fall into beds smelling of bleached sheets that had been dried out on the clothesline. The windows were open, for there was no A/C, and we were lulled to sleep by the Night Sounds; crickets, frogs and God only knows what else was out there making all that racket. I always enjoyed it though. There was nothing else like it and I miss it to this day.

Everything would look different in the daylight. Granny was up by 6:00 AM, banging pots and pans in the kitchen, listening to her radio. As soon as our eyes opened, we smelled bacon. Every morning there would be a breakfast of biscuits and gravy, homemade. The closest thing I have found to Granny's biscuits and gravy is Hardee's...except they put sausage in their gravy. Granny used bacon grease and a little BV beef flavoring...and lots of black pepper.

All of us grandkids in Granny's front yard.

Days were always spent outside. Granny had outside pets, so there was usually a dog or two...and some cats. My brother and I would fill our days with playing with them, riding our bikes around the house, and usually trying to sneak down to the creek to play. Of course, the creek was off limits. We had heard all of the horror stories: If we played in the creek, we would get sick with some dreaded disease (I seem to remember it being hepatitis) and we were also told that under the bigger rocks at the edge of the creek there were nests of copperheads. We were rebels. We were invincible! Inch by inch, we would get closer and closer to that creek....until finally...we were there. I swear, as soon as one of our toes would touch that water, the front screen door would bust open and there was Granny, yelling "You fellers get outta that crick! Right now! I'll get a switch to you directly!" We would scramble up the bank and away from the water, madder than hornets. But you did not want to get switched by Granny. She got her switches from the willow tree that was in her yard. She would strip them of every leaf....then watch out....legs and butt be damned. Granny showed no mercy.

We would play all day out in the heat, until Mom would come outside and tell us that we were "all white around the mouth" and needed to come in and rest, drink something cold. Summers were filled with Kool Aid and Popsicles.The Popsicles were the kind that came in the long clear plastic wrappers. Granny always had Popsicles. She also always had big, thick slices of bologna, fresh tomatoes from her garden, and white bread. A bologna sandwich with a thick slice of tomato with Miracle Whip on it was our lunch. For dessert; Purity Maid Oatmeal Creme pies. My brother affectionately called them "Cakies". Granny always had those things....she loved us so much.

Granny & Brother 1969


  1. My husband had a Granny just like you describe, and when cousins were at her house the willow branch was always nearby! I've always been jealous of him having had her, since I didn't have one. Well, I had one by adoption, and they lived in Iowa while I lived in Texas, so they weren't really part of my life. But as I think about it, I'm trying to be like the Granny you describe for Garrett and Conner ... and I always have a supply of popsickles! Hmmm, I think I'll whip up a batch of biscuits and gravy ...

  2. I too had a Granny that lived up Aaron's Fork. Some of my happiest memories are of the summers and holidays I would spend with my grandparents there. I was born in West Virginia but grew up in Ohio. My parents and I would drive down to visit every couple of months.

    What you wrote brought back a lot of memories. My grandparent's driveway also crossed a "crick," but they had a narrow bridge that you had to drive over. It was originally made of wood, but a concrete bridge eventually replaced it. The description of the food was right on as well. My granny always had cans of Vienna Sausages stashed under the kitchen sink for when I visited.

    I spent the summers of my early teen years at my grandparent's house. Most of the day was spent playing "up on the hill," but there were also cows, horses, chickens and the occasional pig that I helped with. When I was strong enough, I also helped with putting up hay for the winter.

    My parents moved into the house on Aaron's Fork after my grandparents passed away. I lived there also for year or two before I moved to Wyoming. My dad passed away in 2007 and my mom sold the house the following year. I've heard from other relatives that the family that moved in have made a lot of not-so-good changes to the place so, when I go back to West Virginia to visit, I don't think I'm going to drive by the old house. I would rather leave my memories of the house on Aaron's Fork the way they are.

    I've got a serious craving for biscuits & gravy now. ;)