Sit back and enjoy ‘Mildred’s Musings’

In the next several weeks, I want to share “Mildred’s Musings” with everyone. Mildred Luckey Harris Baker lived in the Pleasant Hill community in the southwestern area of Milam County. She was a member of the countywide group of people who wrote Matchless Milam: History of Milam County.

This area of Milam County was settled in the 1860s. Mildred’s famlily was among the early settlers, coming from Georgia.

Mildred lived a full life, to age 94. Enjoy her account of growing up in Pleasant Hill. She wrote this 23 years ago:
My Life at Pleasant Hill
By Mildred Luckey Harris Baker
To be asked to discuss the past, my past, is very flattering. At age 71 there is a lot of “past.” My life, and that of my peers, has been spent in the greatest time in history. We’ve seen the advancement in travel from Model T to space, in communications from U.S. Mail to more than I can describe. But we also have learned that the human race never changes. We all need love and attention. We need care. And when we get scratched we all bleed the same way, no matter the social level on which we live or the color of our skins.

My parents lost their first baby, a boy, at age six weeks. After that, twin boys were lost in a miscarriage. So when I was born in 1916 it must have been a happy occasion. My little brother was born 2 1/2 years later.

At about age 3, my paternal grandfather bought a farm, as a gift, for my parents. Grandpa gave a house or farm to each of his sons and daughters and my father was the youngest of eight. The farm was 100 acres of sandy land in Central Texas, 10 miles from the nearest town of Rockdale. That part of the country was, and still is, full of large post oak trees. The community of Pleasant Hill was established in 1874.

Houses in those days in our part of the world didn’t have living rooms or dens. Our house had three bedrooms, a dining room and kitchen. The larger of the three, where our parents slept, had a wood heater and some comfortable chairs. There was no heat, other than that, except from the wood cook stove in the kitchen. In the summers most of the sitting took place on the porches, front or back, and one “fanned” oneself a lot with one’s straw hat!

There was a windmill over the well with a cistern on a tower about 8 or 10 feet tall. Water was piped into the back porch, a screened porch, and there was an appliance we called a sink with a faucet above it. The sink was waist high, held up by one-inch pipe at each corner as legs. It was probably 5 feet long, 2 feet wide, 4 inches deep, welded from flat sheet metal. Most of the time the windmill was out of order so we drew water from the well with a pulley, rope and buckets on each end.

There was no bathroom in the house so bathing was done in a galvanized wash tub, size number 3, as I recall, on the back porch on Saturday night, if the weather was warm – or by the cookstove in the kitchen during the winter. The toilet was, of course, a two-holer, some distance from the house.

Continued next week

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2010-06-17 digital edition

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