The Robinson Argus January 9th, 1997 article on home life in the "I Remember When" series by Don Catt.

In the north yard at Port Jackson was a whistle cling peach tree. The peaches tasted good, but they were small. It didn't matter to Mom. She peeled every one and canned them. When we gobbled them down the next winter, I'll bet we never even though about how long it took her to peel all those little things. Why does it take some of us so long to learn to appreciate the many little things our parents do for us?

When we had eaten sorghum molasses until we were tired of it, or until we ran out, Mom made sugar, or "maple" syrup from brown sugar. Either way, it was a welcome change.

Often on Friday afternoon after the last recess at Oak Ridge School, the teacher let us play a game called "Geographic." In the back of our geography books were large maps of the United States and Illinois. They had dozens of tiny towns printed on them, so I always picked the smallest town I could find, trying to make it harder for the other kids to find. It didn't help much, they were wise to me and looked for those little towns.

When Joe Lewis became boxing champion Dad wanted to listen to every fight. We didn't have a radio, so we walked back to where Clarence Hoke was camping on the river and listened to it with him. Lewis was famous for knocking out his opponent in one or two minutes. A lot of people growled about it because if they happened to be a little late getting to their seats, or getting their radio tuned in, often the fight was already over!

I've heard if you find the end of rainbow, you'll find a pot of gold. Those rainbow ends must have been hard to find!

Handle a toad and you'll get warts on your hands.

If you have a wart on your hand, rub it with a new penny. Throw the penny away and the wart will leave.

A few people in the neighborhood (my wife's grandfather, "Ren" Leff, and Mace Goff were a couple), had the gift of stopping the flow of blood from a wound or "blowing out fire" from a burn. If someone got cut or burnt badly, they sent for one of them. Mace said he was only allowed to tell one person (had to be one of the opposite sex) how it was done. Doctors had cars and made house calls, so I don't remember anyone learning to take their place.

Women rarely smoked cigarettes (I imagine because they didn't want to "roll their own"), but a few smoked pipes, either corncob or clay. I didn't know any that chewed tobacco.

"Star" tobacco was "sweetened" and pressed into a small oblong plug about 1/2 inch thick. If your teeth were good, you could bite off a chew, otherwise it was best to cut off a piece with a pocket knife. Tobacco farmers grew their own and usually chewed "long green twists." "Long green" was tobacco just as it dried in the barn, without any processing. My dad chewed tobacco all his life, but straight "long green" was too strong for him.