Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tennessee Childhood - Part 2

My summers, as a child in East Tennessee were idyllic, indeed....

But the season which surpassed all others was glorious autumn. Returning to school, football games, the county fair, women wearing chrysanthemum corsages and the brilliant changing foliage, all provided a sense of excitement. Year after year, our customs and the seasons, remained fixed in my tiny mountain community.

The arrival of the school year was anticipated for weeks. My mother would take me on the Greyhound bus to nearby Knoxville, where we could shop at the big department stores for school clothes. Even though, I can still remember the smell of the diesel fuel and the stale odor of the tight quarters of the bus, the trip was always one of the most exciting experiences of my young life.

School started in August, while summer still enveloped us with it's relentless humidity. We girls, wore our new dresses, thinking very little about the perspiration that ran down our legs and onto our bobby socks. We were too excited about boys and each other to hardly notice the small nuisance.

The county fair took place in September, just when the world around us was on the verge of turning from deep green to gold, red, and vivid orange. The smell of wood smoke would soon penetrate the mountain air and pumpkins would ripen on the vine--some as big as wash tubs. Ladies skillfully worked on the last touches of their "grand prize" country quilts, braided rugs in vibrant colors, delicate crocheted dollies, primitive artwork and canned goods. Old men spat and quietly whittled as they watched their sturdy women get ready for the special day of competition that would, perhaps, convince family and friends of their individual value. Although, women's work was never done, the county fair was a time of joy and unsurpassed accomplishment for many ladies.

October 31st signaled the end--the end of carefree days and heralded the onset of the winter season. But before that day was over, we children, would fill our handmade pillowcases with hard candy, Milky Way bars, popcorn balls, oatmeal cookies, and fresh fruit, as we "trick or treated" all over town. Back then our parents weren't afraid of the possibility of evil lurking on the other side of a neighbor's door. We were carefree and friendly and trusting back in the 50's.

Life was good and easy then; uncomplicated in our innocence and isolation from the sophisticated world of fancy living; although, the modern world finally caught up to us via the four lane highway, one thing remains to this day-- the beauty of autumn in the mountains of East Tennessee.


Patty H. said...

I enjoy reading about your days in TN.

Lori said...

I'm ready lets go!

Linda Reznicek said...

That would be a fun trip to go back at that time of year. Its been a long time since I visited there. Sounds wonderful.

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

Linda-Hope you can go back there to the family reunion next summer with us. It's going to be so much fun!!!!!!!!!!!