Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Day the Lights Came On

The Day the Lights came On

I was born in the dinosaur age, before sliced bread, toasters, and laundry mats. We lived in a farmhouse near Stillwater, Oklahoma. We had an outhouse, cellar, rain-barrel, barn, chicken house, and a wallet with no money. We were as blissful as though we had good sense. We didn’t know any better, because everybody was in the same boat, and we had never had anything any better so we had nothing to compare it to. We had enough food, clothes and that sort of thing, however we had to wear out a pair of shoes before we could have new ones.
I couldn't understand that one, I was always whining for new shoes, and was accused of deliberately wearing out my shoes so I could get new ones. The squeaky wheel finally got the grease, and I had a special pair of shoes to wear to church.
One day Daddy saw something going on out on the road. He said, "It looks like they are unloading logs or some kind of poles". He went out and asked what they were doing and found out they were laying poles on the road because they were going to be stringing up electrical wires. He was ecstatic about the prospect of having electricity in the house.
They finally got all the poles in the ground and the wires strung. He got permission to have our house wired, which was to be our expense. We had lived in Colorado for a couple years and my Dad had many small term jobs while there, and one of those jobs was for the electric company, doing just what he now needed to know. It was a miracle that he had that knowledge because we would not have been able to pay somebody to do the job.

He bought the necessary supplies, and wired the house. Had it inspected and we were now living in a house with an overhead light in each room and outlets in each room. We no longer had any need for the coal oil lamps. We didn’t have a phone yet. We weren’t that uppity.

We had nothing to plug into the outlets, but that would soon change. One day a traveling salesman came calling, he was selling Kelvinator refrigerators. It’s amazing that I can still remember what brand it was, since I can’t even remember what I went in the other room for.

We were able to get a loan on the installment plan. I believe President Roosevelt is the one that started the loan system. I’m not positive about that and tried to do some research, but all I could find were 10,000 loan companies wanting to loan me money. Anyway, we took advantage of the installment loan, and soon had a refrigerator delivered to our house. I think that refrigerator lasted for 30 years. Before Television there was Radio and we soon bought one, and had something else to plug into the outlet. We could listen to Amos and Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, Ma Perkins, a soap opera. There were battery-operated radios before, but we didn’t have one
Back to the rain barrel. It caught the rainwater that came off the house and we used it to wash our hair in, because the well water was hard water and you could barely make suds in it. The rainwater was soft and was much better for your hair. I’m not sure how we ever got our clothes clean with that hard water.


Diane said...

I loved reading your story! I don't remember being without electricity, but I do remember being without running water in the house and having to use the outhouse! Those WERE NOT the good old days!!!! I also remember getting our first telephone. And, the party line!!! Good memories, but I wouldn't want to go back there! Thank you for bringing all those times to my mind. Great post!


Goofy said...

Oh my goodness!!! My hubby and I just went to the Stardust Diner (a 50's themed diner) and on the wall was an advertisement for the Kelvinator refrigerator! Too FUNNY!

Stephanie Frieze said...

If your mother was like my grandmother, until she got an electric washing machine she scrubbed pretty hard on a washboard with homemade soap. My dad, who would have been 87 next month, grew up in the Missouri Ozarks with kerosene lamps, outhouses and pumps.

In these economic times we ought to all take a chapter out of our parents' and grandparents' book and go back to being more self-sufficient than we have been in several decades.

Thank you so much for sharing your memories with us. Keep writing!

Raggedy Girl said...

While I cannot remember a time without electricity I lived in a home that had one plug in each room. Not two plugs but just one in the receptacle. Somehow Stillwater clicks with a book or movie but I cannot think why?

Roberta Anne

Jen said...

I've posted about the excitement of our family's first microwave - I can only imagine what a first refrigerator must have been like! Your mother must have been one happy woman.

And can I just say that you and all your computer savvy have come a long way from Stillwater, OK? You're amazing.