Jay D. Mills, Volcan, Panama 2-29-08
My mother Nellie B. McGill Mills was born (I believe) on her family’s farm south of
Mother told stories of going to Dexter, about 12 miles as I recall, on horse-back and in a wagon. Apples were 25 cents per bushel. --- Bananas are 2 for 5 cents now at the little market in
When her family got their first model T Ford, they would sometimes drive to Dexter. The road was rough with deep ruts and sharp rocks. The trip always involved several stops to fix a flat tire. Fixing the tire involved jacking up the axle, removing the wheel, then removing the tire and inner tube. After finding the leak and patching it, they had to wait for the glue to set; or set it on fire to bond the rubber. Then they had to reassemble everything and pump up the tire with a hand pump before continuing a few miles; only to do it all over again. You had to be really committed to make that trip!
Mother lived with a family in
Mother always cooked on a wood stove on the farm, and that included my years there until 1948. There were usually a number of farm workers, “hands”, that needed to be fed at dinner time (lunch) and she cooked all of their meals. If it was harvest or roundup time, she sometimes had other women in to help. Although mother cooked delicious meals with all kinds of food, she was a “picky” eater and didn’t like much of the food that she willingly cooked for others
I still remember mother preparing large meals and delivering them to the men in the fields during harvest time, and delivering a meal to the cowboys who drove cattle to the railroad in Hoosier (ghost town) 8 miles west and just north of Cedar Vale. Delivering the food to Hoosier was about 14 miles of gravel road to the north, west, then south; or about 16 miles east, south and west. My favorite foods, that we seldom got at other times except maybe holidays, were her deviled eggs and baked beans. Mother also made cottage cheese from our own milk and cream. It was wonderful!
My family was very “private” and we seldom talked about other people in the community unless it was news of something important that had happened. I was taught to not ask about other people’s personal business and not to discuss ours. We also did not discuss family history and I knew little of it until I asked my mother to record her memories and some family history, during a visit in 1981, when I was 40 and mother was nearly 81.
My mother was the biggest influence in my life and she is largely responsible for letting me “think for myself”. She also prepared me for the later realization that I am the only one responsible for the person that I became, and for my happiness. She had 2 children, Carl H. (Arkansas City) and Jay D. (Panama) who both turned out OK after a few "stumbles" along the way. -30-