Mary Scarlett Jones


Conducted by Joe Liles

Part 4


I would help with the hog killings.  You would have to separate the fat meat from the lean meat.  With the lean meat, we would make sausage.  With the fat meat, we would cut that into blocks and make lard.  That’s what we would season our bread with, with lard.  We would fry chickens with lard. 


When the lard would get rancid or old, we would make our own soap.  You would get this lye.  Some call it Star lye and some Red Devil lye, and heat that lard and stir in that lye like this.  When people would work at that Power Plant, they would get real sooty, and that’s when we would use a lot of that lye soap.  We didn’t have pastel sheets and things like that.  Everything was white.  When you get through putting that lye soap in there, everything came out white.  You would put a certain amount of lye in there.  Have a big old kettle over the fire with a paddle you would stir it with.  People used to call this the good old days, but I don’t know about that.  The old people could tell when it was done.  If it had too much grease in it, you would add some more of that lye.  I had a neighbor, Alice, who would help me make some lye.  I guess that was the only time she would come to my house is when we would make lye soap.


That’s the only things you would put in there:  the meat fat, the lye, and some water.  Unless you wanted to put something in there to make it smell good.  Might have been sassafras root or something or another. 


We didn’t have any mean roosters at our house.  We had so many children around, we would chase the roosters instead of them chasing us!  Every now and then, we would have a duck around, and guineas, but they weren’t a problem.  We would cook with those guinea eggs.  They would make cakes real yellow.  Seems like the guineas wouldn’t stay around the house that much.  They would fly over the fence.  I guess you would have to clip their wings if you wanted to keep them in.  Every now and then, you would find a guinea nest and you would get the eggs and use them.  Those guineas were good for another thing.  They would let you know when strangers were coming.  Kind of like a dog.  They would know strangers from your home people. 


There was a big fireplace in the bedroom.  We had a little bed.  It was down low like that and the smaller girls would sleep in that bed.  We had three beds in that room.  There was the low bed close to the fireplace for the little girls.  I believe you could step one step up and you would be in that bed.  There was my father and mother’s bed, and the younger boys’ bed was in there.  There would usually be two boys in that bed, and if there was a baby, it would probably be with my mother and dad. 


I can barely remember, but we added another room onto the cabin, and there was two beds in that room.  The older girls slept in one bed.  We had another bed called the company bed.  That bed was a feather bed.  We very seldom got to sleep in it.  That bed was reserved for company


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