All posts in the Family category

Those Were the Days, My Friend…

Published September 20, 2022 by Nan Mykel

I thought they’d never end…Just thought I’d share this old entry from a book published some time ago.  Since I don’t want to invade privacy I won’t even tell you where I got it:


Papa was always an early riser.  Winter and summer he got up at 5 o’clock.  Long before light we would  hear him shaving off a few splinters of lightwood to kindle a fire in our bedroom heater. From there he went to grandpa’s room, made a fire in the fireplace, then carried a shovel of coals to the old kitchen in the yard. He brought two buckets of water from the spring, whistling as he went. This was only the beginning of Papa’s morning chores.  He fed the horses and hogs and milked and fed the cows before returning to the house for breakfast.

In the meantime, the women had their chores.  Aunt M cooked breakfast. There were hot biscuits with bacon, sausage or other meat or eggs, fried apples, coffee and milk, the last brought to the dining room table in china pitchers, one for buttermilk and one for sweet milk.  In our early childhood the coffee was roasted in our oven and ground fresh for each meal.

Mother made a fire in the dining room stove and set the  table for breakfast, making sure that there was plenty of butter, honey, preserves and sorghum molasses in the center of the table. She also made the beds and helped us children get ready for school.  A’s hair was sometimes short and had a little curl, but mine was very long and straight and had to be combed and braided by Mother.

Aunt N helped prepare grandma and grandpa for breakfast. Grandma was an invalid and was served her meals in her room from the time she broke her hip when I was seven years old.  Grandpa was very deaf, but usually had good health until the last year or two of his life.

After breakfast everyone had other duties.  Papa began whatever farm work was in season, overseeing hired help, caring for farm animals, tools, machinery, harness, etc.  Mother raised chickens, cared for the milk and butter with help from Aunt M, A. and me, helped with the house work and with caring for Grandma and Grandpa, sold surplus chickens, eggs, butter and milk and, occasionally vegetables to help with family expenses and to put away savings to send her children to high school and college.

Aunt N took the responsibility of caring for Grandma and Grandpa, but was helped by Mother and other family members as needed.  She also supervised the house-cleaning downstairs and raised beautiful flowers.  I remember, especially, her violets, roses, August lilies and chrysanthemums.  Aunt M did most of the cooking.  This was done in the old kitchen in the back yard until 1918.  Food was brought hot to the table for breakfast and dinner….Too dry cake was served with a sauce.  Many ways were found to use left-overs…..


Published July 4, 2022 by Nan Mykel

This Fourth of July I find myself running short on love of country and of myself.  Maybe that’s why I responded with so much warmth to an article about family love–either families of origin or chosen families of mutual support.  It’s in the New York Times and maybe you can only read it if you pay a dollar a week to recieve it on the internet, like I do.  Seems like the last time I tried to share I got blank squares on my site….If you can, try it:  Chosen Families, by Melissa Kirsch.  I’m not even going to try it, because I hate to see my messy posts when I do something wrong, so I’ll just try to convey some of her thoughts.

Melissa Kirsch writes in this morning’s ‘s  This Morning’s  column that despite an absent or unsupportive biological family–and even if it is intact–supportive relationships with friends and neighbors can provide welcome kinship.  Many discovered this during the pandemic

She reminds us that both families of origin and mutually chosen families can serve as a lifeline to survival. As an example of this solution she discusses how many of our fellow members of the L.G.B.T.Q.  population manage to survive and/or thrive.  Outlawed out of existence in some states, many have been able to develop mutually supportive “chosen” families.  That’s true for many of the rest of us, through luck or determination.








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