Wondering about wild grapes

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


First off, I want to thank everyone for the suggestions that helped me with writing a blog.

No pictures today, just ramblings. I need to go through boxes and boxes of old pictures that I inherited from my Mother and scan some of them. Most of those were taken back when she was young. The later ones sure help jog my memory of when I was a kid.

My earliest memory is of my Mother holding me up showing me my Dad's picture. She did this many times during WW2 when my Dad was in the Army, so that I would recognize him and know him when he returned. Must have worked. What is your first memory? Hey Ben, did you remember coming over on the May Flower?

Since we lived in Pennsylvania, I remember my Mother bundling me up and I would go out and play in the snow. Just loved being out in the snow. When forced to come in, never wanted to, I played with toy cars. As I got older, other toys were added, like Lincoln Logs, American Bricks, Erector set with a motor for indoors and tricycle, sled, and toy guns for outdoors. Always preferred to be outside, no matter what the weather.

When I was 5 years old, we took a trip to Maine and stayed a week in a cabin on a beautiful lake. Only way into the cabin was by boat. No water or sewage. Drank the water out of the lake and went out back for the other. My Mother was a obsessed with cleanliness and of course boiled the water. I used to take a cup and when my Dad took me out in a boat, I would yell at my Mom back on the shore "Hey, Look!!" and I would dip the cup in the lake and take a big old drink. Dad would laugh and Mom would get mad (or pretend to).

The summer after I turned six years old, we moved out in the country about 8 or 10 miles south of Butler on the road to Pittsburgh. It wasn't a large place (probably less than 2 acres) but big enough that it had an orchard, room for gardening, and more important, a large stretch of forest behind it, in which I spent most of my free time. I have always loved the out-of-doors and nature and wild-life. You might say, I grew up in that woods, except for weekends when we would go to the Allegheny River to visit Grandparents. There I spent most of my time in or on the river.

That woods back of the house had a pipe-line right-of-way cut through it and the part that came down over a steep high hill was just perfect for skiing in the winter time when there was enough snow. At the time I had a brindle colored Boxer dog that was always with me, even when I went skiing. She just loved to chase you down the hill and if she could catch you, she would jump on the front of the skies, which would make you fall in shower of snow. Then she would come and lick the snow off my face.

Back when I was pre-school age, I remember that there were out-houses at my Grandparents' house, even though it had inside facilities, and at my Uncle's farm. Those little buildings are a past part of American architecture and served many a generation quite well. Those two were three holers, with two high seats and one low seat in the middle. You knew you were growing up when you graduated from the low seat to the high one. Hey Ben, you lived on a farm back when you were a kid, did it have an out-house?

I have a lot more memories and will share some more with you later, but for now, I know you getting bored. So, I will leave you with a couple of short stories about out-houses.

Two guys were in an out-house. The one gets up and some change falls out of his pocket and down the hole. He immediately pulls out a 20 dollar bill and throws it down the hole. The other guy asks him why the heck did you do that. The first man answers and says, "you don't think I would go down there for just a quarter and a dime, do you?"

I was watching the "Country Reunion" show on RFDTV a while back and heard Johnny Lee tell this story about a lady who made really good biscuits. He said that he and his friend just raved about them and couldn't get enough of them, they were sooooo good. Later they both visited an out-house and Johnny's friend accadently dropped his old jacket down the hole. His friend went down and retrived it. Johnny asked why he did that since it was such an old worn out jacket anyway, and his friend answerd, "Cause there was a biscuit in the pocket"

Forgive me, I just couln't resist the jokes.


  1. NO!! I don't remember the Mayflower but my aunt met the boat!!

    And we didn't have an outhouse,but Daddy's mother up in Aline OK had one as I remember,but also had in door plumbing.

  2. Ben, I guess your Aunt met my Aunt when she got off the boat :)

    Back when I was a kid, I knew a lot of people who had both indoor pumbing and kept the out-house.

  3. I remember when my maternal Grandparents built their first "plumbed" toilet. It was on the back porch. No room inside the house. The toilet seat stuck up in the air at about a 45 degree angle. Someone would sit down, and when they stood back up, it flushed automatically. All the adults laughed when they first saw it in operation. I was about 4 years old and pitched a fit when I had to "go" and they tried to sit me on it. I was scared to death that I would slip off the seat, fall in and when the seat popped back up.... the thing would flush and I would be long gone! Since they had removed the old out house, I was allowed to use the "pot under the bed".

  4. Yep, I remember those Pots under the bed. I always heard of them refered to as "slop jars". Picturesque title.

    By the way, the first three grades of school I attended had an out-house and also had stove that the teacher had to put coal and/or wood into to heat the three room school. 4th grade and up went up to the "new" school with plumbing. Guess they figured that the little kids didn't know any better.

  5. Hi DD, Happy to see you are back in blogland. Really enjoy your posts and never get bored! My grandma and grandpa had an outhouse that they left in the back of the house after they got indoor plumbing. I never quite figured out why, actually until you brought it up, I never thought much about it. It was just there and we were told to stay out of it. This brought back a lot of memories, thanks for sharing some of yours.

  6. A biscuit in the pocket! I like that joke!

    De AA1IK


  7. Out on one of my brothers hunting ranches there was an outhouse,I walked out to it one day and just as I went to open the door,, I heard that unmistakable rattle of a west Texas rattle snake.. Seems they liked the cool area in and around that ole house and there musta been hudred and eleventy in and under it!! :-0

  8. I was staying in a hotel not long ago and caught RFDTV, love it! I would buy videos of the shows if they have em.

  9. Hey I,
    Just wanted you to know that you can buy videos of the Country Reunion shows and some of the other shows as well. What I like is that they even have blue-grass music shows, also.