Lula Esther Reeves Hudler
Contributed by Bill Payne
Journal Entries Current to when they were written.
This is January 13, 1977 so I decided to write a little sketch of my life. This is an unlucky day to start but hope it turns out interesting to those who will read it later. There is 4 or 5 inches of snow on the ground and at 5 p.m. snowing again.
This is January 13th 1986 and a very cold time. The snow has been blowing most of the morning which really pinches. Yesterday, the sun was shining and it was up to 50° warm. I am 83 and if the ground hogs don’t get me, I will be 84 the 3rd of May. I am staying by myself as Virgie has been in hospital with surgery on her knees and now at Ridgefield Retirement Home at Chilhowie taking therapy learning to walk again. I do my house work and read when I have time. So happy my daughter could spend a week with me after Christmas. Santa was so good to me and I ate so much I gained five pounds. Now I will have to shake it off. I still have a garden growing broccoli, peas, beets, and other good things to eat.
December 22nd 1989 Mae Robbins was 100 years old. Her son had a birthday party for her with 100 red roses and a nice birthday cake.
Grandpa was a good Christian man and he said he believed all his children would be saved. While Grandpa was able, he went to church on Sunday and always made it a point to get close enough to the preacher to ask him to go home with them for dinner before someone else did. I am sure Mother would fix them up a good meal for she was a good cook.
I can remember when Grandpa died. I remember the day of the funeral. I was 5 years old. We had moved over to the new house. They had the funeral service under some large maple trees above the spring house (pump house). I can remember his two daughters being out on the porch crying. He wanted to be buried on the home place. He wanted to be buried up on the hill above the orchard, which is a very pretty place, so that is the Reeves Cemetery. My Mother and Dad, my oldest brothers, Minsey, Cleve, Lessie, Blossom and Virgie and also Uncle Billy and Aunt Cora Reeves were buried there. We have a nice good fence around it and I have been keeping it mowed.
Mother and Daddy
(Grandpa) had lived in the old house all his adult life as far as I know. After his wife died, he and my Daddy lived there by themselves for some time. He told my Daddy if he didn’t get out and hunt him a woman he was going to, so that put my Daddy on the move. He went down near Independence and found him a good looking girl. He made very few trips down there until he took an extra horse with a side saddle on it and brought his girl back with him to stay. I suppose they stopped on the way at the preacher’s house to get the knot tied ha or went to the court house.
Our mother was a very dear loving, pretty lady who wore her hair combed back, parted in the middle, and made into a ball on the back of her head. She wore long dresses as all other mothers did. Our mother died in hospital with cancer in Statesville. God bless them.
The “Old” House
Before we moved to the new house, we had to carry water up a bank then up a flight of steps to the kitchen. The old Reeves home was over near the road. The old log house had two rooms downstairs, a little room on the porch then there was a real large room upstairs. The living room, a little back bedroom with porch on south side which had a small bedroom on the end. There was an upstairs with a large room over the living room and back bedroom. The kitchen and dining room were built on to that which I remember was built out of logs and I guess weather boarded. My Granddaddy was still living.
The “New” House
I was about three when the farm house was built. We loved to go over there and play while they were working. Wonder they didn’t use a twig on us.
Electricity was put in, and a bathroom.
Farm House Furnishing
The corner cupboard my mother brought from her home. Her mother had a real old plate that her mother had guess 200 years old or more. Has been in four generations.
They ordered the pump organ from Sears. It was brought over from mt to Troutdale and they brought it on to Volney, Va. in a wagon. The only way of hauling back then. Lessie and Lula played it some. Lessie had some music lessons but Lula learned to play by ear so Cleve played the violin and Lula played the organ having grand music. I don’t remember the cost.
When I was growing up I dearly loved to get out and wade in the snow and make a snowman, using charcoal for the eyes. We had a sleigh with two seats on it drawn by horses which we all enjoyed so much.
It was very hard to get to the barn when the snow drifted 16 to 18 inches, but worse when the ground was covered in ice. I had to tie chains around my boots to get there walking with a pitchfork.
In the winter time, we looked forward to having plenty of fried pheasants, partridges and rabbits. Buckwheat pancakes were plentiful too with plenty of home made butter, syrup, and molasses, not speaking of the white cream gravy.
We sat by the fire in the fireplace in the winter (burn on one side and blister on the other).
Growing and Processing Food
Back in those days people grew their own wheat and corn for bread. The most important thing to me was I could go with my Daddy in the wagon filled with wheat to be ground in to flour so we could have hot biscuits, butter, and molasses. He would walk up hill and let me drive the horses.
When I was growing up, most everyone had a cane patch so when it came about time for frost, we would have to strip the blades off, top it and get ready to cut it. We used a mill with two rollers on it which was pulled by a horse going round and around. We would stick the cane stalks in between the two rollers so it would mash the juice out, we caught it in a large vessel. Then we had to strain it. We had a big boiler that we set on a furnace and panned the juice in it. Someone had to keep the fire going so it would boil. Then we had to start skimming the green foam off. It took quite awhile to boil it down but finally it would start thickening and turn out to make real good molasses. After they were all gotten out, we would get to sop the boiler with a cane stalk. We made apple butter out of molasses and also we ground sweet apples to get the juice and make cider apple butter and sold it at Troutdale.
Cottage cheese was sweet milk warmed a little and dissolved whey tablet then warmed more and stir the cheese will bunch up and whey will go to itself. If your hands are clean squeeze the cheese out good when cold crumble up and salt to taste. Pour little thick cream on.
The first train I ever saw was at Troutdale, Va. We would load up the wagon with dried apples, cider apple butter, shell beans, and sell them to buy our sugar, coffee and whatever was needed. We could buy chairs, beds, dressers, and so on. We took corn to feed the horses and our lunch as there was no place to eat. I was very interested in that trip since my Dad would let me drive the horses and I would get to see the train.
Traveling was very nice when you could get hold of a good looking guy that owned a one horse buggy — had more time for love affairs since you couldn’t go so fast.
Most of our clothes were home made and our stockings were knitted on a knitting machine by our mother with yarn thread made from wool off of the sheep. We didn’t have boots for a long time but the wool socks and shoes kept us warm then started making leggins to fit over shoes and stockings out of cloth. Our shoes were made from a leather that Daddy bought and Bob Peak up on York Ridge made the shoes. He had a last and plenty of tools to work with. He would sew part of them and tack some which held the sole and top together. They were very stiff and hard on your feet and too bad if he got them too small. We went bare footed in the summer.
Mother made our clothes while we were small. Later, she made us all two dresses apiece for a commencement as it was called beside hers. We got our shoes at a country store Grant, Mouth Wilson and I guess store at Grassy Creek.
When I grew up, we washed our clothes in a large tub with a wash board to rub on had a real large iron pot to boil them in. We made our soap – boiled meat skins to get the grease out then put lye in and boiled it down so would be thick when it got cold. We had to wring them out by hand (bed sheets were a problem).
I used the spinning wheel to twist thread on that they use to sew with came from the wool off sheep.
Animals on the Farm
We had milk cows and different kinds of cattle sheep. Sows with bunches of litters of pigs, horses. One summer, I took care of sheep while they were lambing. One day I carried ewes with twins and one with triplets to the house from the field. That sure was the fun of my life.
We milked a few cows and sold milk to buy our sugar and coffee.
When I was young, us girls, we had to help make the crops as my brother Cleve was in the Army. We had to take our hoes to the cornfield and help hoe the corn which wasn’t pleasant on a hot day but I recall hoeing one day with my overcoat on, it was so cold. Papa would plow through it with horse, planted it by hand, then later had a hand planter then a planter pulled by a horse. Went through and planted pumpkin seed later to have plenty of pumpkin custard.
We cut wood with cross cut saw which had two handles if one sawed you took one of the handles off. We had a rack to lay the log upon to saw. I hauled quite a few loads of wood sawed at the saw mill from the far field in red truck some of the trees were so close almost had to have a spy glass so you wouldn’t scrape them. I really had it tough after Cleve went away and Dad wasn’t able to work.
When I was small, I was anxious to learn to milk so whoever was working on a cow, I would go up and squeeze out a few streams. First thing I knew, I was milking three cows and selling milk. We had cement box to keep milk in until the milk man could come filled it up with water. Before we sold milk, we churned the cream in a dasher churn and shipped butter to our cousin in Ohio. Then Dad begged us to order an electric churn which made it so much easier. Thanks my Dad he was there to help us when we did it with dasher.
I was very fond of horse back riding so my brother had a sorrel horse I would put a cowboy saddle on and take off to the store for groceries or to the hat shop to buy me a new hat as everyone wore hats then. Our gray horse Mollie was very gentle so I would harness her, hitch her to the sled, and go to Dad’s brother’s to gather peaches and so on for both of us or I’d use the sled to haul in apples, peaches, or whatever needed to be brought in. When I had on a heavy load, it was pretty hard to keep up with her for she wanted to go fast. Once, I had been somewhere horseback riding and came by the school house at recess time. Mollie was all excited at the children hollering and playing so she took off very scared and soon had me home as I had to give over to her.
Another wonderful time was when I would go with Dad to the mill to get wheat ground into flour. Dad would get out and walk the long steep hills and let me drive the horses. That was the pleasure of my life. No wonder I am so much like a boy. I believe the Lord made a mistake when he left a girl ha. Riding horses was great fun for me that was before car time.
When we were growing up we would go over to Dad’s brother’s house and play ball over in the meadow. Some of our neighbors would come and play with us. I played basket ball in school later.
Mother said they would go to church when it was so slick Dad had to run the horse hitched to buggy up hill or they couldn’t get up (Grandpa and Dad). She rode horse back.
Everyone wore hats to church. Four of us were anxious to get started on a gray horse to Sunday School so the four of us, we rode a gray horse to church. Had rail fences to hook our horse to.They had built the new church a Greer Lady was my teacher. (She could sing so pretty I thought “For He is so Precious to Me.”) They had a quarterly meeting once a year on our charge. The preacher asked who remembered what he preached about the year before. My mother was the only one who remembered. I thought he was a great man. They just played and sang some songs. My Daddy furnished the lumber for the pews at the new church. I believe we went to Sunday School over at the school house where we first went to school – just two rooms – two teachers.
Church services when I grew up were pretty good. Our minister would go home with whoever asked him to have dinner. We didn’t mind that because Mother was a good cook. My Grandpa would try to be the first one that asked him. He knew Mother would have something good to eat. They sang songs, had prayers but didn’t have programs like they do now.
I don’t remember too much about Fred’s young days. He was more to get out and go than Cleve was. He and more boys would get out on horses guess tried to see which one could go the fastest. He got one of his eyes hurt some way while riding. He went west March 15th 1914 then he came back and married Clyde Sexton and they soon were gone west.
Fred’s wedding was very cold and quiet. They went to Sparta to get married and I guess came back for a pot of chicken and dumplings and probably a molasses stack cake ha.
We went to school in a two room building for several years until they built Virginia-Carolina at Grassy Creek on the Va. and NC line. We walked to school. We really had a good time wading in the snow with our wool stockings and home made shoes on but later had leggings that fastened over the top of our shoes and came up nearly to our knees.
We had cast iron stoves which burned long sticks of wood. We would have programs. Children would recite and I had one something about my curly hair so Mother dolled me up in curls. I love to do it. I guess I learned my A B C s first and then to count to ten: we had what they called black boards. We walked across the hills and carried our basket of lunch: biscuits, pig, apple butter and gingerbread.
I finished high school in 1922 and taught school one year which I enjoyed if the little boys and girls did as they should, but usually there are a few that have to be disciplined especially when they have always had their way at home.
I was very glad when the school term was up for I was looking forward to getting married soon for I felt like I was old enough to cook beans and bake corn bread like so many do at 16. My Hubby to be met me at the station as I came down on train and took me up to his house. My brother came for me in the wagon as that was the only way hauling luggage, so we were soon on our way home.
I met my husband in school. He was a grade above me. We had a class or two together so I guess we started making eyes at each other. We taught a year and were married in June. We rode the train to Bristol and got married. We were married June 4th 1924 in Bristol, Tenn.. Even though we didn’t have much, we were happy as two larks. I was married in a blue suit with a pretty gray hat (hats were in style then) with a veil and gloves to match. We lived at Lansing, NC. He was a school teacher. He was a good Christian man if there has ever been one. He was so good to me and dearly loved little Marie.
June 7th 1925 a little baby girl came into our home which we both dearly loved. He would take her places by himself when she was very small — took her to a teachers meeting when she was still wearing diapers – “imagine that.”
Marie grew up to be a very sweet lovely person and of course married so now I have two lovely grandchildren who are very pretty and smart. Peggie is married to a good looking smart boy who we all are proud of and he is in the Air Force at present. They were married June 23rd 1973. James Barker and Peggie Brown.
Lula’s Husband Dies
In December 1928 he was taken sick and passed away. He was a dear loving husband and Daddy, a great church worker, a good Sunday School teacher in all the churches. We miss him so much but the Lord knows best for us all.
Marie’s Husband Dies
I was so grieved when I had to give up my son-in-law May 27th 1976 who was a good Christian boy and so good to his family and me. He was stricken with M.S. and had it for several years so it was very hard on his family as it affected his whole body – but someday we are looking forward to seeing our loved ones where parting will be no more. Our loss is his eternal gain.
Taking Care of Daddy
Virgie and I, we took care of our Daddy for some time at the farm. He became bed fast so we took turns staying with him at night. It was a big chore but we got along real well taking night about. One night she was on duty and called me in the night. She let him get out of bed on the floor so all she could do was call me. When I got down stairs, I saw what had happened so I said, “Lord have mercy on me. His is always with us.” He really did. As I put him back, he went in like a child. He was a tall, large boned man and very heavy. No one else was there to help. He has been so good many times.
The first car I drove was a Chevrolet. My husband would park it in a real good place so it would be easy for me to start. The 2nd I drove was a Chevrolet. It was a large car so I was scared nearly to death I wouldn’t be able to turn around but after that I got along fine.
I was getting so crippled, I had to sell my car in 1985 so I didn’t have a chance to find me a read headed man.