For most of my childhood, before we moved to town when I was seven, we lived in a converted barn on a small farm that dad had purchased from Uncle Henry. It was a tobacco “packing barn” with a pit and attic. It was of standard one room log construction with mud to chink up the cracks. The lower floor had been covered on the inside with rough paper nailed to the logs. The shed on one end had been enclosed and a floor added for use as a kitchen where an old-fashioned iron cook stove also provided heat in winter. Heating of the main room was done with a wood heater.



For light we had kerosene lamps, I still have one of these.


Dad and relatives had built an even cruder and smaller barn for the cow. We also kept a pig and chickens. For water we had a shady spring at the bottom of the hill. A wooden barrel had been sunk into the ground and you could feel and see the water bubbling up from the white sand at the bottom. That was where we kept things that needed to be cool in summertime. Of course we had an outhouse. Mother washed clothes in a large black wash pot placed over an outdoor fire.


We lived and slept in the one room. In summer we stayed outside a lot. In winter we would sit in the dimly lit room waiting for dad to come home. Mom would comb her hair and sing to us. The sparks would fly from her hair as she sang about Spanish Knights and Letters to Birmingham Jail.



There was not much color in the old barn. When dad worked for the sign company he brought home a couple of decorative pictures printed on sheet metal. They hang in the main room of the barn. I still have one of these.