Rolling Along Into Fall

September 13, 2018

Ahhh, September at last. Before we know it, the official beginning of fall will arrive. In all actuality and in spite of the heat, we have been busy with the business of fall for a while now. Thanks to this very warm summer the Gardener’s green beans and then the tomatoes were well ahead of their usual schedules. The bean canning is long done and the juicing, stewing and canning of our own tomatoes has been in progress for a while now. He will be turning the next batch into salsa soon. We can never have enough stewed tomatoes and will continue to can them as long as they are available, until it is time to do my personal favorite, carrots.

Julie Traynor Postcards from the Pine Columnist

Julie Traynor Postcards from the Pine Columnist

We are currently anticipating the first kind of decent apple crop we’ve had in the Pines in many, many years. Apple trees are on that long, long list of things which do not particularly like to grow in our third rate sandy soils. The kind of apple is long lost to us. My mom started these two trees from seeds 50 years ago. They have suffered and struggled and occasionally their sparse blooms bear fruit. This is one of those years. Our six year old Cortland tree is also bearing its first fruit. The decision as to how to enjoy our bounty is on going.

Canning always goes along with back to school time. I guess it is all about preparation for the change of seasons and of weather. Whether we are ready or not, cooler temperatures and shorter days are upon us. As they say, change is in the air.   
If you are of that certain age you will well remember those days as summer wound down and school loomed in the near future. I loved that time and I loved school supplies. I still like a new note pad and am particular as to the ones I choose.
In the Marion of that certain age, there were plenty of places to get school supplies and clothes. The Ben Franklin 5 & 10 served just about every need. They had all the school supplies from a new lunch box to that sweater you wore the first day of school, even if it was 80*. 

Down the block at VanDeWarker’s Drug Store, they closed down the soda fountain and stacked counter and stools high with all the Rexall items we would need to get ready for school. The Rexall brand was on everything and included toothbrushes and paste, shampoo, hair spray, bar soap, deodorant, shaving cream, Kleenex and make-up. And, yes, they too had cases of school supplies.

Flemming’s Clothing, a Main Street staple since before I even thought about going to school, could outfit us all in jeans, shirts, blouses, sweaters, saddle shoes, buckle-up galoshes and socks. No notebook paper here.

The grocery stores did their fair share to literally feed the back to school frenzy. The IGA maintained a mountain of school supplies built of reams of lined paper and steno pads, pens, pencils, rulers and all sorts of school paraphernalia. They piled cases of three ring note books, folders and clipboards right next to the mountains of essential school time foods. It was heaped high with such necessities as peanut butter in a 5# pail, jelly and jam in jars which became drinking glasses when empty, cereals, canned spaghetti, chips, tuna and catsup. Bread was on sale each week. Good old white bread was five loaves for one dollar, which meant plenty of sandwiches.

Well remembered local potato farmer John Hesselink demonstrates the latest in potato harvest equipment in this photo from 1960. His hoist was capable of lifting hundreds of potatoes in one move.

Well remembered local potato farmer John Hesselink demonstrates the latest in potato harvest equipment in this photo from 1960. His hoist was capable of lifting hundreds of potatoes in one move.

Locally when school began in the fall it signaled what businessmen and farmers alike hoped would be a sustained economic good time. A good harvest meant those times would last for a while. Before the mechanization of the potato harvest, employment was found by many in the fields. Historically schools closed for up to two weeks to help with harvests. This cash flow was important to a lot of young workers.

Many MHS alum recall those harvest days with pleasure. The generations since cannot imagine it…and the seasons keep rolling along. 

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