In 1944, when my husband, Randy, and I were married, money was scarce except for what we needed for life's necessities.
Randy's cousin, Cecil, had a 320-acre family arm in Roanoke, Virginia, and he invited us to come visit him and his wife, Evelyn, on our honeymoon. My husband was born in Roanoke, but I was born in New York City. It was dark when we arrived at the farm and Randy made a sudden sharp turn off the narrow mountain road. I thought he had fallen asleep so I screamed before I realized he was only turning onto Cecil's property.
Cecil and Evelyn were waiting for us, and it was at this little farmhouse that I learned the meaning of southern hospitality. They were about 10 years older than we were but had not as yet been blessed with children. Soon after we had our first boy, they had their first girl. We had three more boys in the years to come and Cecil and Evelyn had another daughter and a son.
Going back to our first visit, here was a city gal on a real farm with cows, horses, pigs, chickens, etc. The farmhouse had no bathroom and the outhouse was about a football field away. Naturally I had to pay "Jon" a visit in the middle of the night-so with Randy and a flashlight in tow, we dodged cow patties all the way.
Now you might think that from this first experience, a city girl would want no part of a farm ever again, but I learned a lot about picking berries, canning, making jam, cooking side meat with green beans, cleaning and cooking southern fried chicken, etc. For two weeks I became a real live country girl and loved every minute of it. Our children learned to fish and hunt and take long treks in the woods. They learned to skin squirrels and rabbits that Evelyn would cook up with red-eye gravy and biscuits. Mmmmmm that was good eatin'.
For 15 years we spent our summer vacations at Cecil and Evelyn's, and while Cecil is no longer with us, we still go back to the farm to visit Evelyn, who's 82 now.
Walnut Cove, North Carolina
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.