Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Month of May

(pictures of me taken in front of my aunt's house ~ I guess even then I liked being outside)

I always looked forward to the month of May when I was growing up.  The days that seemed to go on forever, as if time had stood still.  Running barefoot in the grass, making mud pies, sleeping with the windows open and hearing the bull frogs at night and staying out late in the evening until I could see the fire flies.  Either my aunt or my grandmother would come looking for me.  I was an explorer, still am, and wanted to see all there was to see on my aunt and uncle's place.  Growing up in the country was just such a wonderful experience, you can read some of my previous posts I've done on them here and here.  There were the grasshoppers you could catch and put in a jar or a frog or two.  Of the course if you saw a snake, my aunt would say, "you better run!"  I was always on the lookout for snakes because I was so scared of them.  I didn't have a care in the world. 

Getting back to why I loved the month of May so, I couldn't wait for this month to get here.  It meant that school was nearing the end and summer would start, usually right around my birthday and then there was Memorial Day.  Yes, this usually marked the beginning of heaven for me.  I'd have my bags packed and I was ready to go come Friday afternoon, I couldn't wait for school to end.  We'd load up in the car and down the road we'd go.  My dad was a fast driver, even then, he pushed the speed limit.  So I knew that we'd be there in no time, even though we were only 12 miles from paradise. 

As soon as we got there, I'd run into my aunt's house, the screen door would slam (that's if I came in the front door, but usually we'd come in the side door).  I'd actually start opening the car door before my dad even put it into park, I was always getting in trouble for this and at times to this day I'm still guilty of this (drives my husband crazy). 

There was the smell of home as you walked into the house, just undescribable.  I still can smell the fresh coffee that was making in the morning, even though I didn't drink coffee then, I loved the smell of it brewing.  Then, there were either cookies or a pie or a cake that had been baked, you could smell it.  In the morning, there were fresh biscuits baking, and the bacon that smelled so good it normally would wake me up.  The thick slab bacon that my uncle had made from the pig he took to the meat market.  My uncle would have his over easy eggs (yuk!), none for me thank you.  I'll take mine scrampled I'd say to my aunt.  We'd always have pure cane syrup in the house (the kind that came in a silver tin can), I haven't seen any of this in a while.  You could mix the syrup with butter (now, don't give me a frown, try it and you'll be glad you did) and then dip your fresh biscuits in it until the butter melted, oh my the memories of this.

Come Saturday, this was a busy day.  My uncle would be up before the crack of dawn and have the fresh vegetables he'd picked ready for my aunt to cook and start canning them for the winter months.  He'd have to start early before the sun came out and started to heat up the day.  We'd have fresh new potatoes (these were just red potatoes and I'm not sure why they always called them "new" potatoes), green beans, black eyed peas (that we'd sit on the porch in the evening taking them out of their hulls), corn (there's none been any sweeter than his), okra, tomatoes that were so good, bell peppers that usually were planted next to the jalapeno peppers so they had some heat to them, green onions that were almost as big as my fist (I never saw a small green onion then), turnip greens, and then he'd always have to experiment with a new item.  Before he died he had always wanted to plant peanuts, he had a huge crop that year. 

Once all the produce was brought in and he'd weeded the garden, my uncle would come in and freshen up and then off to the small town where he'd get his weekly haircut.  I used to always love to tag along.  We'd drive down the road in his pickup truck, with the windows down, and I was just watching the houses as we'd pass by.  There was always someone he knew and we'd wave as we went by.  We'd arrive in the small town, he'd get his hair cut, and then back to house we'd go. 

As I grew up, he decided on one of these trips that it was time for me to learn to drive.  I was 12.  Oh my the excitement that I was going to be behind the wheel was almost uncontainable.  He'd sit right next to me in case he had to quickly take over.  We didn't wear seat belts back then, never even occurred to us to wear one and of course the thought of a cell phone, well there was no thought of these anyways.  My aunt and uncle still had a party line (if you don't know what this is, this is where they shared their phone line with usually about four other people, so if you picked up the phone to call someone, usually someone else was talking on the line and you had to wait your turn), unless you were like me and asked them could you please use the line.  Well, that's another story for another time.  Getting back to the drive, my uncle commented one day that now that I had learned to drive, I could now drive them into town.  This didn't take many trips to learn, I think after about the second time I was on my own. 

They only went into town on Saturdays.  Yes, once a week.  Can you imagine that?  So many of us go to the store almost daily.  So after the produce was picked and we drove down to get his haircut, we knew once we returned my aunt would be ready to "go to town".  This was all done usually before noon.  She'd have a light lunch ready and then it was time to go.  We'd load up in her car and off to town we'd go.  Driving back into town seemed different when I was with them.  We go to the local "Piggly Wiggly".  This name still makes me laugh.  Have any of you ever heard of this grocery store?  Here was their logo picture:


Once we returned home that afternoon, I'd help my aunt start to make dinner and get the Sunday lunch ready for the next day.  We always made some kind of dessert because you never knew who would come home with you on Sunday and this had to be ready.  This was one of our all time favorite cakes to make.  I know the pastors never complained and neither did we.  This was a special cake that was made during the summer time when either the pastor was joining us for Sunday lunch or to take to dinners on the ground with other churches:

(I found this image here but this is exactly the way I remember this cake looking)

1 pkg. white cake mix
1 sm. box strawberry Jello
1/2 c. water
1 c. oil
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. fresh strawberries crushed

1 stick butter
1 box powdered sugar
1/2 c. strawberries, drained
1 t. vanilla

Mix cake in order and bake at 325 degrees until done, about 1 hour. Mix butter and powdered sugar, then add strawberries and vanilla.  You can a small amount of milk if you want to thin it out.  Put icing on cake after it has cooled.

Please let me know if your family makes this recipe. 

Warrenton Tx reminds me so much of the country place where I grew up.  I guess that's why I love this town so.  I hope you enjoy the stories I occassionally tell of my childhood.  I know I really enjoy reliving them.  Hope you all have a great weekend!


  1. Theresa,

    Yes I do remember Piggly Wiggly. We had them here in San Antonio as well. My sister and I spent every summer with our aunt and uncle and their three children when were growning up. They lived in San Angelo and then later in Camp Wood. Your part about learning to drive when you were 12 reminded me of my cousin, Tammy. We were about 12 or 13 and when I came for the summer, she was already driving, I was so impressed. Every moring we would load up her momma's rambler station wagon with watermelons and go sit in front of the park and sell watermelons. Of course she drove and I sat in the passenger seat, I remember feeling so grown up. Thanks so much for bringing these memories back to me.



  2. I enjoyed reading your post so much! I had the same experience growing up. I grew up in Plano, but always stayed at my Grandparents in Arkansas for two weeks every summer, and our stories are almost exact.
    I'm on the Peninsula of Wisconsin now having raised my own family hear, and our grocery store is the Piggly Wiggly... I thought that was so funny and even funnier that locals write their checks out to the "Pig".
    You made my day!

  3. It's a wonderful story..thanks so much for sharing..and Yes,I do remember Piggly folks done lots of shopping there to feed their six

  4. WOW! What a wonderful post! The old pictures of you are nothing less than dreamy. You need to make big posters of them. They have faded to a fabulous color. I had a hard time deciding which one I liked best. Such a nice mental picture also of your early summers. How idyllic. I really enjoyed this so much.

  5. What a delightful post, honey!! I don't think I've ever read a post by your that tells that much about you and I'm loving it, chick. Very cute munchkin also.

    Ooooh, I remember the days when hubs and I only went to the store every 2 weeks. Now, it's more like 2 times a week! Grrrrr.....


  6. Oh my goodness. What a wonderful post. I so enjoyed reading of your visits to your aunt. Memories of my Uncle Pete and Aunt Viola came flooding back. They lived in a tiny little house in Trinity...probably not even close to structurly sound. My Uncle Pete and I would sit on the porch...don't know which was moving more, the swing or the actual porch. But I loved Uncle Pete would say "Come on Little Debbie -- let's have us an ice cold bottle of coca-cola and swing a bit". One of my happiest memories. I believe that I will always have a porch swing, just because of this. Anyway thanks again for sharing, and I have to try that cake!

  7. All this really sounds familiar!
    Although...I thought you'd say something about sorghum molasses :)

  8. I loved your story Theresa! Life was so different in Texas than it was out here in crazy California. As you know, my mom was born and raised in Texas, and although she physically left Texas when she married my dad, inside her, those Texas roots remained!! I have some of her recipes, I wish I had more. I was lucky to find an old photo album of her as a child in Temple. Great photos that I cherish. Thank you for bringing all those memories of my mom back through your post today!

    Take care, Sue

  9. This post reminded me so much of my own childhood and going to the family homestead in Winnsboro. We got to go to town twice on Saturdays too. Once in the morning and once in the evening for ice cream at the Sabine Valley ice cream store. Do you remember those?
    I see you were wearing white even back then too!
    Yes, my boyfriend worked at the Piggly Wiggly and we had an A&P!

  10. OMG!!! ~ We have a Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store right here in my town (Cedarburg, Wisconsin) and YES, I shop there!!! SAME LOGO... Love to make that Strawberry Cake too!!! YUM... Jeanine, ChiPPy!-SHaBBy!

  11. Ah, nostalgia. Yes, I remember Piggly Wiggly, going to town once a week (for groceries and laundromat), mixing syrup and butter together!
    But what a coincidence-today my 3 yr old grandson came over and we made a Strawberry Cake-the same recipe! I don't make them too often anymore, but oh was it good!

  12. Hi Teresa! I haven't got to your blog lately and am so glad I found a minute to get over here. May is by far one of my most favorite months, maybe being born on May Day has something to do with it? I love your story and can relate to so many of your memories. Especially the opening of the car door. We lived up a long driveway with a big circle at the top and would always have my door cracked I was so anxious to get home to the ranch, but one day mama took the corner a little too fast and out flew little Amy! Just a couple of badly embedded gravel knees!
    We also had Piggly Wiggly's here in Washington along with Wigwam did you have one of those too?
    Thanks for the memories!

  13. I sooo loved reading this post about your early years ~ sounds like the same bit of heaven I experienced everytime I visited my grandparents. Hubby and I were just talking about old times when I actually saw a lightening bug tonight!! Sweet times, sweet memories.

    Please stop by and enter my Cottage Charm giveaway when you get a chance!

    Big TX Hugs,
    Angelic Accents

  14. Theresa, Mornin' Glory!
    How are you?...Love this post and story...lots of great memories.

    I can't get this picture out of my mind, and I think that it was in one of your posts (maybe the Round Top shows). Anyway it was a very large bowl filled with really big industrial light bulbs. Was this your pic?


  15. Omygoodness Theresa, we have Piggly Wiggly stores around here!!! What a wonderful post sweet friend!!! I love hearing about your childhood, it's like reading a book to endearing, wonderful book. I hope you are having a great day sweetie, hugs and love, Dawn

  16. Sounds like such wonderful memories. I would usually get to stay at my Grandma's house every Summer with my cousin who was my age. We had so much fun helping her outside. Now, as a Mom, I can't wait for school to be over still, so my kids and I can enjoy being outside without so much running around.

    Thanks for sharing this part of you. It's fun to get to know you better this way.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


  17. This is such a wonderful post, Theresa!

    It reminds me of childhood Summers spent with my grandparents in Waco. We went to the Piggly Wiggly, too!

    Such sweet memories, thanks so much for sharing. :-)


  18. The drained strawberries for the icing--are they from frozen sugared crushed berries?

    Shirley of Blue Gate Farm, TX

  19. My daughter in law introduced me to this cake & I LOVE IT! That first photo is adorable. Have a great week. Charlene

  20. Hello Theresa
    What lovely memories you have, it is so fun to hear them...thank you for sharing your life with us!
    We had Piggly Wiggly here in the midwest also.
    I hope you have a wonderful week

  21. Shirley, to answer your question about the strawberries, they are fresh, not frozen ones. I think the frozen ones may be too much for this recipe but you might try them, I never have though. Let me know, Theresa

  22. I really enjoyed your post. I grew up on a farm and have wonderful memories. My parents passed away and now I live in the farm house and I try and make sure my grandchildren have great memories too. This past weekend 5grandkids were here all weekend camping out in the living room, fishing in the pond and exploring. They love coming to the farm and are here at least once a week and everyone just drops in. I know my parents are looking down with smiles! You can't buy memories! Thanks for sharing yours.

  23. Oh you have stirred my memories! I remember waking up to the smell of coffee and voices of my grandparents. Those were the days. The strawberry cake is my sister's favorite and she gets it every year for her b'day. Great post! Susan

  24. I always love your stories and can almost taste that cake! My husband is from Jasper, Alabama and they had Piggly Wiggly markets down there, too. Hope your business is going strong and I always enjoy your fabulous pics.


  25. we had a piggly wiggly here in Hurst-20 min from ft worth-it's where my mom shopped. and Gibson's.
    what nice memories of your childhood


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