Submitted by: Robert L. Adams, RM 1210 Greenway Jackson, MO
I will try to write a few lines about our times at Grandma and
My two sisters, Mother, Father, and I lived in Delta, Missouri,
only a few miles from my mother’s parents’ place on a farm
north of Oran, Missouri, on Highway Seventy-Seven near the Frisco
My parents visited my mother’s parents often in Oran, and at
a very young age, I became very interested in their place.
My mother’s parents were very nice to me, and I started
spending a small amount of time at their home in the summer
Their farm had a considerable amount of land for a farm at that
time and had lots of rolling hills and valleys and best of all,
livestock, watering ponds, which had small fish in them.
Some of Mother’s brothers built their homes on the farm. One
such brother was Everett and his wife, Myrene, who had two
daughters a few years older than me. One daughter was named Mary
Lou and the other, Martha Ann.
Martha Ann reminded me of my sister Mary Lee, who was a little
reserved when it came to running over the hills and valleys and
going to the watering ponds.
Mary Lou took up with me, and both of us would roam over the
area, and at a very young age, I took up fishing, and guess who
would go fishing with me, you guessed it alright, Mary Lou. She was
always willing to go with me when I would take up the old cane pole
and head for the ponds.
She was always beside me. I don’t know if she liked fishing
or was just accompanying me to keep me company. But one thing was
for sure, Mary Lou and I were always together when I was visiting
my mother’s parents. She was a great companion to be with.
I don’t do much fishing now; guess I got all the fishing I
wanted when I was young, belonging now to a fishing club.
I always looked forward to the times I could spend on their farm
watching my mother’s parents milk the cows. The milk cow would
stand very still, and when the milk container was nearly full, a
small insect would bite the cow on the rear end, and the tail would
swat across your face, and the hind foot would knock over the milk
Special words announced for the milk can were always reserved
when I was around.
I tried my hand at milking, but had very little success and
patience with the milk cow.
After the milking was done, the milk was separated from the
cream by way of a cream separator. I loved to run the cream
separator, turning it by a hand crank, geared to a set of multiple
disc and stainless steel pans on swing arms for separating the
cream from the milk. The cream was put into cream cans for shipment
to town. The milk was used at home and also to feed to the hogs and
cats on the farm.
There were work horses and an old International Farmall tractor
belonging to Mary Lou’s father, Everett. I remember once
working with Everett and my mother’s parents in a field west of
their home across the railroad tracks with the horses and wagon
gathering up ear corn by hand.
The horses seemed to know what they were doing in the field by
walking along with us and moving on voice commands.
I also had the privilege to drive the tractor at a very young
age and remember going down a hill with a wagon load of hay, and
the tractor sped up and the brakes did not operate, so I drove the
tractor straight down the hill; and that was my first experience
with a runaway tractor.
The wagon had persons on it, and I don’t know whether Mary
Lou was on it or not, but they sure got a good ride down the
I picked up a very special name for Mary Lou’s father. I
don’t know how I got to calling him that name. But I called him
Uncle Rabbit, so when I referred to Uncle Rabbit, everybody knew
who I was talking about. He seemed to take a lot of interest in me,
so he became one of my favorite uncles.
My mother’s parents home was very close to the Frisco
railroad tracks, and when the steam engine would go by pulling the
main freight, every window in their house would rattle, and you
could see the smoke and fire in the firebox at night, and the poor
old firemen shoveling coal into the firebox, and I would watch
every train I could go by.
I was amazed at the large black monsters, and I realized my
dream last year, by becoming a fireman on the St. Louis and Iron
Mountain Steam Excursion Railroad.
I remember going to the outhouse before going to bed at night
and getting up at night to go to the outhouse, and there was always
the Sears catalog or Montgomery Ward catalog in the outhouse for
tissue paper, and sometimes the corn cobs were in the outhouse for
use also when the catalogs were scarce.
Their home had a screened-in back porch, and there was the cream
separator, milk cans, and fruit jars for canning. Their home had a
fruit cellar under the house filled with canned fruit and food
stuff. We kids would go down into the fruit cellar to look around
to see what was in the jars.
Their farms had rabbits, and they tried to explain the facts of
life to me about what the rabbits were up to.
Chickens were in the backyard fenced in also, and they had a
chicken house also to collect eggs for sale, and I would go out and
run the chickens off the nest for their eggs. Some chickens were
left alone so they could hatch out baby chickens, and sometimes you
could get pecked by a stubborn chicken on the nest protecting her
eggs. A lot of commotion would go on when you ran them off their
The farm had a considerable amount of cattle on the rolling
hills and valleys, and when Mary Lou and I would go over where the
cattle were, we would sometimes be chased by the big bad bulls. We
have had to run for our lives over the fences or up a tree to
escape the ferocious animals.
There were some animals, so when we were going fishing in the
hills, we were always on the lookout for them.
I can remember the large Sunday dinners at their home, and what
a dinner that was! They seemed to have everything on the tables fit
for a king and queen. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves well, and
I sure miss that. But one thing is for sure our family was nearly
always at the Sunday family dinners, and I can remember
Mother’s father nearly always going to Sunday school and church
and evening services in that old black Chevrolet car.
The telephone hung on the wall, and I can remember them using it
by cranking the handle, which resides on our basement wall now.
Lester, their youngest son, was still at home and drove a soda
truck and all those Nehi sodas at home, and he had a yellow
Plymouth Coupe automobile that he kept all shined up.
I’m writing this short story about my times at the
Wilkinson’s farm. I have probably brought back your memories of
your times on a farm where you spent some time or now reside on
There is one thing for sure about this story, I had a part in it
as one of the best times of my life there and hope you had the same
experience I had.