- Emma: In Her Own Words — The Background & The Beginning
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Childhood
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Employment
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Elopement & Early Marriage
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Work & Travel
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Bits & Pieces
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Papa
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Grandparents & Relatives
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Mama
- Emma: In Her Own Words — The Flood
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Teaching
- Emma: In Her Own Words — The End
Transcription of my grandmother’s notebook. See Part 1 in the series for a full explanation.
Growing Up in Rockcastle County
“When my brother started to school, I led him by the hand and stayed with him at recess afraid he would get hurt. When I was 10 yrs old we moved back up near where I was born and had to walk about a mile to school. We took our lunch and the winters were very severe. We would get real cold but wore warm clothes.
Mama would roll my long hair on rags and it would fall in long curls.
We didn’t go any where much. Papa wanted us to play at home. We would go to church and Sunday School. There were no electric lights and Mama would carry a lantern so we could see our way.
When I was 11 my sister Susie married August Krueger. They had home wedding and they all cried so I decided then if I ever married, I would elope and I did.1
When Hartford was 9 yrs old Papa made him a wagon and got him 2 goats to pull it. He would have a yard full of boys. He made a yoke for his goats.
When I was 9 yrs old, I had pneumonia. They gave me up to die but I fooled them. I got well. There wasn’t many toys then, but Papa would buy me something about every day. I had a woman’s pocket book – sugar bowl – cream pitcher – dolls as gifts.
I played with dolls til I was 12 yrs old. My favorite one was named Theodocia.
I used to sing a lot and I always wanted a piano or organ. I never had one but when I was young I would put a chair in front of me and pretend I was playing and sing half a day.
Gracie & I would pic blackberries and Mama would can them and make jam. I can taste those pies and hot biscuits now with Jam.
I went to Worlds Fair in Chicago and one booth was advertising their special. I went up and bought it. It was nothing more than hot biscuit with Jam and butter on it.
When I graduated from 8th grade, Mama made me a pretty white dress.
We had music in H.S. but I got an inferiority complex and thought I couldn’t sing so I quit singing only when I was along.
I had some good friends in school and they were happy days. Mama made my clothes and while I did not have so many what I had was pretty. I went all 4 yrs to high school without being tardy or absent.
Papa was awful proud of my grades but he never went to any of the parents activities. Most everyone had rough tablets for school — the big 5 cent kind, but he always bought me what he called the slick tablet which was small and cost 10 cents.
When I was ten years old Mama bought me a second hand organ and sewed for a girl to teach me the notes so I could pick out songs. When I was 18 & was teaching school I bought myself a beautiful piano. Oh how I prized it. I took some lessons from Anna Mae McKenzie and learned to play hymns – Home Sweet Home – Syncopated Time and the March of the Sleepy Heads. I only took 3 months. But that piano was so much company to me. After I married I moved it wherever we went … the flood in 77 ruined it. I sure hated to see it go. It had been more pleasure to me than anything I had ever bought.”2
- Emma kept that promise she made to her 11-year-old self the day of Susie’s wedding. The elopement story comes later. ↩
- Emma Ewers Taylor Hopkins, “Journal,” 1974–1978, Loyall, Harlan County, Kentucky; privately held by Faye Hopkins McCauley, Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, 1978. Spiral notebook in which Emma wrote about her life, in possession of Faye (Emma’s youngest daughter) since her death in 1978. ↩