The Story of my Life
Louise Virginia (Weir) Frasier
|Home||Introduction||Preface||Chapters||Do You Remember?||Stuff||Contact|
e didn’t buy the 120 acres on Lookout Mountain until 1948. The house was falling down, but we decided to not make any repairs for we were going to build a new house right away. Of-course, Daddy built the chicken house first! He had plans for the house but couldn’t seem to get it started: no time, no money. Farming cost every cent we made, with no returns at all. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING would grow on that farm except in the garden spot. We had twenty dozen eggs every two days and no market for eggs!
Daddy was still training under Public Law 16, but now for farming. He got so disgusted at the school that he kept interrupting the teacher to ask, “But, will that put meat on my table before my kids get to be old men and women?” The rest of the class started teasing him and calling him “Old Meat.”
His teacher was a young unmarried man. Since we had three grown girls, he visited there a lot. Pat was about four years old and Margie was a baby. One day he came when Pat, Margie and me were there alone. He was in the living room by the fire with Pat and Margie. I was busy in the kitchen.
Pat kept coming to the kitchen door and making funny faces and crooking her finger at me to come. I didn’t go to see what she wanted and finally she yelled, “You’d better come here! Margie’s S.H.T. all over herself!” She thought if she spelled it he wouldn’t know what she was saying.
We had three cows and decided to sell one. One Monday morning the preacher came to see the cow. He was an older man and he thought Margie was the cutest little girl he’d ever seen. It was pouring down rain when he got there and Daddy wasn’t there. The preacher came in, put Margie on his lap and was talking to her while I made coffee.
I heard Margie say, “You came to buy Bessie.” He said, “Yes.”
Margie said, “You know what some people tell their kids? They tell them that cows find baby calves under bushes. And Daddy said that’s not true. Cows lay their babies just like hens lay eggs.” The preacher put Margie down and left in a hurry, saying that he’d see Hoyt later.
There was no insulation in any of those old houses. People bought building paper to paper the inside walls with. I don’t know how they did it. But I sure know how they didn’t! We bought some and I was going to put it up in the front room while Daddy was at work and the kids were in school.
Margie hid in a corner from the start. I moved the dining table into the room to stand on. I mixed a bucket of flour and water paste like someone had said to use. I put the paste on a piece of paper eight feet wide by eight feet long and tried to put it on the—ceiling, mind you! -- not the wall. I had building paper wrapped around me, the table, the bed, everything but the ceiling and Margie! Margie kept moving and saying, “I don’t believe that’s going to work.” We never had building paper for wall paper!
|“The Kitchen on
Dot, Margie, Carrie, Hoyt N., Virginia, Pat, Louise
(Where were the boys?)
Back then all houses had flues for stove pipes, cook stoves, and heaters. Everyone, especially younger people, moved a lot. No roof on any house was ever like the roof of the previous house. The stove pipes never fit. You’d have to cut, crimp, or if you wanted to put the stove anywhere except exactly under the hole you had to have elbows.
I am almost sure that fitting stove pipes made more men cuss than any other thing. And the men would yell at their wives, blaming them for not holding it straight. I have gotten so mad that I’d throw it down and say, “Do it yourself!”
The old house on Lookout Mountain had wood shingles on the roof. I was about six months pregnant with Mary Evelyn. Everybody was gone except Margie and me. The roof caught fire from the stove flue. I went to the barn and got an old home made ladder that two men could hardly tote. I carried it and leaned it against the house. Then I took two buckets of water up, went down and got two more buckets of water. I put about eight buckets of water on before I took my bare hands and tore the burning shingles off and threw them down. That sure didn’t help that roof any! And the roof was already leaking everywhere before the fire!
A few days later the kids came from school soaking wet and there was no place in front of the fireplace to get warm because the roof was leaking everywhere. Then we sat down to eat supper and it leaked in our beans. Well, I’d had it! The next night when Daddy came home for the week-end, I told him to put a roof on that house or I was leaving.
The next morning, Daddy went to town and got galvanized tin to put on for a new roof. I helped him but we didn’t get it all on before he had to leave Monday morning. I got a neighbor to help me finish the roof. He had never done any roofing before. He tied me and him together and tied the end of the rope to a tree! Fortunately, we didn’t get hung!
Named for two British Princesses
That same year we had a big snow about the fifteenth of September. It started snowing soon after the kids left for school and was still snowing when they got home. We had fire-wood but it was ½ mile in the woods and the mules couldn’t walk in the snow. Besides, we needed some green wood.
We decided to cut down a hickory tree—about sixteen inches around—and saw some back logs. It was snowing so bad that we could hardly see and it was getting dark too. So Hoyt, Bill, Virginia and me cut that tree down. But we didn’t know anything about felling trees and we had it fall the wrong way. It lodged on other trees and we couldn’t get it to fall.
Finally, we sawed fire wood off that tree and it standing up! Do you kids remember that? You had a stupid mother but she was not lazy. And no one ever told me I couldn’t do things that way, for I always proved them wrong. As Riley used to say, “There is always more than one way to skin a cat.”
When we moved to Lookout Mountain almost the first thing that we heard from the neighbors was a tale about a big snake that lived in the woods below our house at the forks of the river. But I think that most of the people had only heard about it and not seen it so there were all kinds of tales about it— so many, in fact, that we came to believe that was all it was— a tale.
Then Mama came to visit and she, being a great fisherman, insisted that she and I were going fishing at the Shigley Hole (at the forks of the river). And that we were going alone except for John who was nine years old. I tried to talk her out of going, told her that she couldn’t get down and up that bluff. But there was nothing I could say to stop her.
(Apple trees in the background)
The Shigley Hole was a good two miles from the house. We went down a dirt road and then didn’t even have a trail to follow down the bluff. But we got down the bluff and fished— or she did. All I could do was worry about how I was going to get her back up the bluff. The fish were biting but she didn’t catch anything and we did get back up the bluff—she did better than I did.
When we got back on the road through the woods, we heard a noise. Mama stopped and whispered, “Don’t move.” And we all three saw it! The head was black and was about three feet off the ground. It stayed still for several minuets—and we did too! Then we saw it’s body. It was brown, tan, and yellow and braided like a whip. It reached across the road and we couldn’t see it’s tail. I glanced at my watch. It took that snake three minutes to crawl across that road and out of sight.
I would guess that it was twenty to twenty-five feet long. It was not very big around. To this day I don’t know what kind of snake it was—racer, I guess. Mama said it was a coach whip: she said that she had seen one before and had heard that they could get very big. The old tales were that they would wrap around big animals and whip them with their tail while squeezing them until they were dead. Then they would swallow them whole.
Mama said that she and Uncle George had seen a coach whip trying to swallow a small calf—and it could be true. One day Virginia and Hoyt came screaming to their Dad, “Bring a gun! We’ve seen a monster!” He grabbed a hoe and the gun and we all went with them. A regular sized lizard (‘streak field’ we called them. It was about eight inched long) had swallowed a full sized toad. It had swallowed all of it except it’s hind legs. The legs were still outside. And they were right! It was a monster. The ugliest one I ever saw!
--- I just remembered Alan staying with us for a few days and I took him fishing. After hours he said, “Grandma, no fish will get on my hooker.”
|Hoyt, John, Patsy, Margie|
Some of the kids wanted me to tell about the Mother’s Day Program at Howard’s Chapel. And about their father standing in front of the mirror for hours admiring himself. He played the guitar but not as good as he thought. He was conceited. He said, “Nobody’s perfect, but I’m pretty damn near!” But he did always say, “If you don’t like yourself, how can you expect anyone else to like you?”
Anyway, after we moved to Lookout Mountain I didn’t want to go to church, but Daddy and the three older girls went. They started to one church and Daddy played the piano, but Howard’s Chapel was closer. There was no church or Sunday school at Howard’s Chapel, but Daddy started one after we had lived there for awhile.
|In back – Hoyt
with Evelyn, Bill
John, Patsy, Margie
The kids were having a Mother’s Day Program at Howard’s Chapel and they begged me to go. I was sitting on about the middle row with Margie who was less than a year old. An old woman came and said, “I don’t believe I know you.” I said, “No, I’m Louise Frasier.”
She said, “Oh, are you the mother of that nice young man who plays the piano?” I said, “Hell no! And he ain’t no young man. He’s thirty-nine years old and I’m the mother of his eight kids.” I was so mad that I took Margie out to the car. Daddy came out to see why I’d left the church.
I said, “Don’t you dare speak to me or touch me, you big shit!” He didn’t know what I was talking about. I did go back and watch the program for it was mostly for me. But I didn’t speak to him for a week. He finally stopped going to that church and went to Moon Lake at Mentone.
|The Pulpit in
Howard’s Chapel – That’s Chery
(It says, "God has all ways been as good to me as I would let him be)
Moon Lake was no better. I hated it. One Sunday an old negro man slipped in and sat on the back seat. The preacher couldn’t preach with him there. Everybody was whispering and fidgeting. Finally one of the ‘good Christian’ brothers asked him to leave. The preacher preached about negroes and Jews— he called somebody an old hooked nosed Jew. I did not let him and his wife go home with us for dinner that day.
I did not go back to church until they got a different preacher—a young man with a wife and a four year old son. All the women in my Sunday school class wondered where she got the money for a new hat. I told them it was none of our business where she got the money. They did not like me in their class and I did not like to be in their class.
I hated to go to church. Think about not having much to wear anyway. And starching and ironing dresses, cotton slips, shirts and getting eight children ready for church. Then when you get there, everything is hurry, hurry, listen to special music, performed by someone who couldn’t sing that well. Then go to Sunday School class and read or have the teacher read what was in the Sunday School lesson book (when you had already read it) -- knowing that she or he didn’t even understand what they were reading.
Then you would have to go home and feed thirty or forty people Sunday dinner. They all stayed until time to go back to church at night, which meant another meal. I don’t know what we ate—I guess chicken for meat. And I know that sometimes I would make a five pound meat loaf. What a life! You sure never had time to go into a closet and pray! You prayed by saying, “That tree is beautiful,” or “That’s the prettiest row of beans that I ever saw.” Very seldom did you have time to listen and see if God talked back to you. Then you realized that He was talking by making you see the tree and the row of beans.
I stopped going to church and I guess I can’t rightly say that I’ve been to church since—forty years—over half my life time. Some people may feel like they have to go. I never did and Daddy said about three months before he died that if he had it to do over, he would never expose any of his young children to the Gospel as taught in any church.
(A pencil drawing by D.Bouldin)
Milford Howard built the church in 1937 and is buried in a hole in the rock inside the church behind the pulpit.