Monday, March 10, 2008

Cold winters remembered -- Paul Robert Harden

(Clockwise: Ruth, Mike, Paul, Phil and Jim Harden. From the date on the photo, it looks like April 1959. Paul was 6 or 7.)

"I'll try a shot at telling some of my memories growing up in
the house that Charles Harden built.

"I was born in 1953 when REA already had electricity in the area, so we
had that and indoor plumbing. That wasn't always the case in this house.
But we had no air conditioning or upstairs heating. I do remember a water
cooler and maybe two. In the winter my brothers and I would come downstairs
by the gas heater stove to get ready for bed. We had pajamas with feet in
them to stay warm. We would turn the blower on the heating stove on and get
really warm, then run up the stairs and jump in bed. We used "blanket
sheets" which were warmer and thicker than regular sheets and we would have
a heavy "comforter" on top of one or two regular blankets to keep us warm.

"Phil, Jim, and I slept in the southeast larger bedroom with Jim and I in one
bed and Phil in the other. (I'm sure that was because I was so mature that
I wouldn't fight with Jim like Phil might have!!!) Mike slept in the
southwest bedroom and Ruth was in the northeast bedroom. I've wondered
sometimes how cold that must have been in her room. I recall some mornings
there would be some snow on the windowsill and the floor if there was a lot
of wind with the snow. We would lay in bed when the wind would blow hard
and the windows would vibrate with a sound all their own. There was only
one bathroom and it was downstairs by the kitchen.

"In the late 50's we had a tornado at night that destroyed a shed south
of the house by the larger granary. That granary is now the shop. Dad had
a new Massey Harris combine inside the shed and it didn't hurt it. I still
find pieces of the tin from that shed to the south. As we kids walked by
the window in the bathroom on our way to the basement, it broke from the
storm. I don't know if there was much other damage.

(from Willis' photos ... tornado damage from 1957)

"In 1966 Mom had inherited some money that she used to remodel the house.
The northwest bedroom/storage room was made in to a bathroom. We stripped
wallpaper from the bedroom walls (how I hated doing that!) and painted
walls, got new carpet, windows, siding, light fixtures, and central heat and
air conditioning! We kids thought we were in seventh heaven! Mom also
added a closet downstairs to the northeast bedroom and that became her and
Dad's bedroom. The closet "squared off" the outside of the northeast corner
of the house. She also completely redid the downstairs bathroom. The
French doors were removed between the dining room and living room and "shag"
carpet installed on the floor. Uncle Duane had redone the kitchen for her
during the fifties so she didn't do much with it this time.

"I'll write some more another time. I need to see if my combine battery is
charged enough to start and move my combine. Bye for now. Paul"


Mike Harden said...

They were flannel sheets. My pj's did not have feet in them. I slept in socks when it was really cold. The air intake screen was dented and that was later used to put chickens in and also I believe other animals as Dad put a
screen door on it and a fold over latch you put a bolt in. I believe there are pictures of the limbs in the yard.

paul harden said...

To clarify Mike's comments, the air intake screen on the combine was dented by the tornado.