Chapter 33

The Old Folks

I always enjoyed visiting the older people in the family, Uncle Gord (grandfather Kennedy’s brother) and Aunt Mollie, Uncle Roy Fitz Randolph and Aunt Cora (grandfather Bond’s sister) and Uncle Erlo Davis and Aunt Antha (another of grandfather Bond’s sisters), because it was like a step back in time. Uncle Erlo and Aunt Antha had more money and lived a little closer to the way my parents lived. But Uncle Gord had been a teamster and never owned a car. They always drove a horse and buggy to the


Uncle Roy and Aunt Cora’s (my grandfather’s sister’s) place as it appears today near New Milton WV

store and to church as long as he was able. Uncle Roy and Aunt Cora lived at New Milton, a place not large enough to qualify as a town, in Doddridge County on a subsistence farm. All of them owned their own homes.

(Illustration 33-2)

The horse mounting block in front of Uncle Roy and Aunt Cora’s house still stands

All of these relatives had coal fires in a grate for heat. Aunt Antha cooked with gas, the only one of the ladies that did. They all had stiff, starched white curtains in the windows. All had a lot of things around that were left over from a previous era: Victrolas, telephones that worked by battery, antique kitchenware, rugs (not carpet), a piano, bookcases with glass fronts, a parlor used only on special occasions, oilcloth on the table where they ate everyday meals, lots of knickknacks, mirrors for decoration, few reading materials (our house was full of books and magazines), no radio or an old battery radio that didn’t work, and so on. Aunt Mollie and Aunt Cora got their water by drawing it from a dug well.

(Illustration 33-3)

Log cabin home of Ephraim Bee, who formed the “E Clampus Vitus” order and was a conductor on the “Underground Railroad” which moved slaves North, still stands across from the house Uncle Roy and Aunt Cora occupied for many years.

Both Uncle Gourd and Aunt Molly and Uncle Roy and Aunt Cora also used outhouses, of course. No running water means no flush toilet. And slop jars to carry out every day. Everything was sparkling clean, although this cost a lot of labor. They all had pigs and cows (Uncle Erlo ran a dairy). And they had an air of leisure and a sense of history, at least family and local history, which is totally missing today. My parents, who had an education, magazines and radio, could be prompted to recall the past, and sometimes told stories, especially Dad, but did not use history as a topic of daily conversation like the old folks did. Uncle Gord and Aunt Molly lost their only daughter, a very pretty girl, before my recollection. Uncle Erlo and Aunt Antha lost their only daughter to leukemia while I was in college. Uncle Erlo was older and could not make the long drive to Columbus, Ohio, so Dad and Mom, Uncle Erlo and Aunt Antha and Velma would drive there for her several treatments.

Aside I have a daughter-in-law, Karen Bezella-Bond, who is getting a Ph. D. in English from Columbia University. One day she called and said there had been a “for fun” argument among the graduate students about what words were used to call cows. She wanted to know how I called my cows. I replied “Sic cow, Sic cow” and told her that is a corruption of “Sic boss” (which we both knew is “come cow’ in Latin).

In their department some said it was “Sooie! Sooie! Sooie!” and some said “Sic boss, Sic boss!” I told her in my experience Sooie was reserved for pigs. I don’t know how they got it resolved, but there seems to be a regional variation in the words used to call animals. Amazing the things academics are interested in!

Copyright © 1998, 2006, 2008, 2011 S. Tom Bond (stombond at