I grew up in a tiny, tiny town about 30 miles from where I live now. I hated it when I was a teenager and left as soon as I could. It was dull and depressing even in the best of times, and these days it's truly awful because all the factories that used to provide jobs have closed and gone away and tobacco farming is just about over and done with, too. It's like a ghost town nowadays and very, very few young people are left. Most of the remaining population are either elderly or terribly poor and there's just nothing much to draw new people in.
Yesterday I went for a visit because it was my mom's birthday and her and my dad still live there. If not for them I'd probably never visit again because it just depresses me to see how shabby the town has become.
After having lunch and birthday cake with my parents I stopped at the newly opened Tobacco Museum that pays homage to the long history of tobacco farming that used to be the mainstay of the local economy. I took photos to show you all. My maternal grandparents were both born on share cropper farms and always told stories about working in tobacco when they were growing up. It wasn't an easy life.
|This 18 foot canoe was made around the year 1800 from a cypress tree.|
|A beautiful old quilt from the 1800s.|
|Burlap tobacco sacks.|
|Wood burning furnace used in tobacco barns for the curing process.|
|Cigarette packs from all over the world circa WW2.|
|A typical midday meal served to the field hands.|
|Wash tub with homemade lye soap. |
|Antique sewing machine. |
I tried to figure out where your hometown is Jennifer. I thought it might be Kenly where there is a good tobacco museum but now I'm not so sure. It must feel sad to see how your hometown has declined but I hope it was nice to meet up with your folks again.ReplyDelete
Is it in fact Mullins in South Carolina?Delete
I like your photos of the tobacco museum, and how sad to see how your home town has not prospered. I hope you enjoyed your family celebration there.ReplyDelete
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Tobacco growing has finished here too; my son's new home was originally a huge drying barn. It's sad watching how things change, nowadays farmers have given-up milking too. Whatever next!ReplyDelete
I used to love the smell of curing tobacco in the fall--there were several warehouses around town when I was a kid. They're all closed now.Delete
I forgot to mention; I love that quilt!Delete
Thank you so much Jennifer, it is so beautiful, interesting and sad.ReplyDelete
Thank you Yael! I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures!Delete
I love these small, themed museums. They are lovingly organized and say so much about a former way of life.ReplyDelete
You had an honest and solid up-bringing in a hard working place like that. It is sad the decline in so many places, not just rural. The small farms have all but disappeared around here but farming continues on a grander scale with the small farms all bought out by the big ones. Thank you for the photographs.ReplyDelete
I DID have an honest and solid upbringing. No doubt about that. My mom's parents grew up on farms and in later years worked in factories (my grandmother was a seamstress in a sewing factory) and both my parents worked in factories when I was growing up. All of them have closed now and moved overseas. We didn't have much money. Being poor combined with living in such an isolated rural area was one reason I was so desperate to leave when I grew up. For years I was ashamed of where I was from, but now I realize that most of the good things in my personality can be traced to living there and growing up without a lot of money. I'm not materialistic. I care about people from all walks of life and all social classes. I know what it's like to be without and am generous with my time and money. I like to help people. And I was never spoiled so I don't take much for granted. And even though there wasn't much money in my growing up years, I had a close relationship with my grandparents and other extended family. So it wasn't such a bad upbringing after all.Delete
I loved reading this Jennifer, that is why you are a wonderful person. I do not know you but a lot of your personality transpires in your kind comments you leave on other blogs too. Greetings Maria xDelete
It's very sad when once thriving towns gradually decline into poverty-stricken, jobless ghost towns. The tobacco museum is an interesting reminder of how things used to be. Glad to see the field hands got a good solid midday meal!ReplyDelete
Your reply to Rachel's comment was like a post on its own, Jennifer. Yes, your upbringing was a good one!ReplyDelete
Like you, I grew up with hard-working parents and loving grandparents. There wasn't much money to go round, but there was no lack of love and attention.
After my divorce and then once more after being widowed, I had very little money, just about to cover the basics and keep the flat from having to be sold back to the bank.
For four years now, though, I have been earning more than ever before while at the same time loving my job. Not a day goes by without me feeling immensely grateful for that.
As you know from my blog, I love my hometown. It would be very hard for me to see it in decline. Thankfully, it doesn't look like this will happen here anytime soon.