fortunate I was to grow up in Wolffork Valley. Never in a hundred
years will I ever forget the joys October brought when I was a child.
First there was the acceptance of summer being over and the anticipation
of much cooler weather. Even though school was in session there were
still hours in the late afternoon to watch my busy parents as they planned
ahead for winter and holidays with feasts galore! My father had to get
the many acres of corn pulled and placed into the crib. The corn tops were
bundled together to feed the animals later in the year. The barn
loft was full and running over with soft hay. How precious the memories
of finding a mama cat with a nest of little kittens hidden away in the
Some family in the valley would be having a Tacky Party; everyone who attended
dressed as funny as possible for there were prizes for the tackiest dressed
person, along with much laughter and wonderful treats.
October meant my older siblings coming by to share my birthday cake.
Basketball season was in full swing at Rabun Gap Nacoochee School.
How exciting those games were, I would never have believed that I would
someday marry a fellow from our arch rival Clayton.
Then there was the Halloween carnival. As we rounded the curve of
the road, just the sight of the old gym at RGNS made my heart skip a beat;
lights and decorations everywhere and wonderful smells of foods we didn't
have on the farm - hot dogs, popcorn, so much to buy and money so scarce
for a tenant farmer's 12th child.
There were cake walks and all the cakes were made by mothers who labored
over wood burning cook stoves. With no electricity, all of the ingredients
in the cakes were beaten with a hand turned rotary egg beater.
One cake had a surprise which had to be guessed with the payment of a coin.
How great the moment when I guessed a dime and won the cake. Every
bite had to be examined by my cautious mother until the dime was found.
There was the haunted house that I didn't dare enter without an elder sibling
holding one of my hands. My other small hand got dipped into cold
raw chicken livers and I was told this was a dead person's brains and there
were big white ghosts whooing in every corner. I didn't close my
eyes until almost dawn and only then if my mother had come to sleep with
Last but not least was the hayride in a mule drawn wagon and I was dumb-founded
"why did those older boys and girls hold each others' hands?"
Young people today can have their television, compact discs and cars. None
of that would replace my Christian heritage growing up in Wolffork Valley.
by Carolyn Carnes Brewer