The next memories that I have of my childhood are associated with the time after we moved back to Screven, GA and lived on the rental farm (the Preacher Tyre farm) near my grandfather Miller’s farm. While we were living there my sister Hilda had become very sick and had surgery which was conducted by our local Dr. Tyre whose office was in Screven, Ga. She had a disease called pleurisy and Dr. Tyre removed a part of her rib as treatment for the pleurisy. After her surgery, I remember watching my mother dress Hilda’s surgical wound and while doing that I nearly fainted from seeing the open wound. I think my sister Maxine who was also watching Mom dressing the wound also became faint and we had to leave the room.
While we were living in the rental farm around 1935 or 36 everything was very difficult for our family due to the slow recovery from the recession the US was still experiencing. For most families in that part of the country, there was very little cash available and only enough to buy the absolute necessities for the family’s survival and anything needed for work on the farm. Our family had very little money, did not have an automobile to travel, and had to use a mule and wagon for our transportation. Our Miller Grandparents did have a truck that was used on the farm and it was also used by all members of the families to go to church, to go to Screven and buy groceries and clothing, as well as travel back occasionally to Emanuel County as we would visit the relatives of both Grandma Miller and our Canady relatives.
The poor economic status of our family didn’t allow us to have much beyond the absolute necessities in life. There were no luxury items, only the barest of life’s necessities. For example, the only things that we children would have for Christmas, most of the time, was a little fruit and, if we were lucky, we might get one toy. There were no welfare programs at that time such as those that we today. It was very much a struggle for parents to provide food, clothing, and shelter for the children so that they could attend school and get an education.
A couple of times we got toys for Christmas. I remember getting a little speckled hen setting on a nest with eggs underneath her and as I turned a crank, she would cluck and lay several eggs. I thought that was the most marvelous toy that one could ever have. I don’t recall the toys my sisters received at Christmas, but I do know there were not many, nor fancy or elegant toys. Sometimes we got a few grapes, coconut in the shell, and bananas or apples for our Christmas gifts. We thought we were rich!
Despite this severe lack, sometime during the time we lived on the Tyre farm my parents bought me a “kiddy car.” I don’t know why it was called a kiddy car except it was intended for small kids and it would be very much like a small modern-day tricycle that one would buy today for a small child. I loved that little kiddy car and rode it all around the home’s porches surrounding almost the entire house–until one day I rode it on the porch and a few porch boards that had rotted broke and the front wheel of the kiddy car went into the crack causing me to break the pedal. I was devastated by this and was never able to get it repaired. Today, it could have been welded and my travels could have continued, but not in that day.
I was permanently grounded.