“Don’t talk to me about hard times. I was born eight miles from a railroad, five miles from a schoolhouse, nine miles from a church, 885 miles from New York, 200 yards from a wash hole, 15 feet from a cornfield and 8,767 miles from Hong Kong.
Our nearest neighbor lived two miles away and they couldn’t read or write. I never saw a suit of underwear until I was 17 years old, and that revelation didn’t belong to anybody in our family. The only book in the house, during my early childhood, was a Bible and a catalogue somebody sent us.
There were 12 members in our family. We had three rooms to live in including a dining room which was also the kitchen. Everybody worked in our house. We thought everybody else in the world had gravy and bread for breakfast, liver and cracklins, hoecake for dinner, buttermilk and corn pone for supper, ‘cause that’s what we had and liked it.
Some of us wore brogan shoes occasionally in the wintertime. We slept on straw ticks, and pillows were not thought of or required. I didn’t know that money would rattle until I was nearly grown. Father got hold of two half-dollars at the same time, and let us hear them rattle. Taxes were not higher, but harder to pay than now.
We owned two kerosene lamps, neither of which has a chimney. Our house wasn’t ceiled, but two of our rooms had lofts in them. We had a glass window in our company room. Our nicest piece of furniture was a home-made rocking chair. Our beds were of the slat or tight-rope variety. The “trundle bed” took care of all the younguns’ under five years of age and it stayed full all the time.
We went to school two or three months in the year, but not in a bus. We attended church once a month, but not in a car, we used a two-mule wagon. We dressed up on Sundays, but not in silks or satins. We neither wrote letters nor received any. We made our own hominy and distilled our own lye from our ash hopper. We drank sassafras tea and never had a yearning for coffee.
We sopped our own molasses; we ate our own meat; we considered rice a delicacy for only the preachers to eat; we had heard of cheese, but never had any; we know of some store bought clothes, but never hoped to wear any, we got a stick of candy and three raisins for Christmas and were happy; we loved ma and pa and were never hungry; enjoyed going naked; didn’t want much, expected nothing. That is why our so-called hard times ain’t hard on me.”