The Good Old Days
(an interview with Mrs. Carmen Eastman)
by Brooke Caton
As Mrs. Carmen Eastman sits in her quaint, country house off Nacogdoches Road, she happily recalls her childhood memories. She was born in 1921 and still lives on part of the same acreage that her great-grandfather owned. Mrs. Eastman has so many wonderful stories to tell and jumps from one to another.
As a child, her school was about six-tenths of a mile away so many children would just walk to school. The lucky children, though, could ride a donkey to school.
Mrs. Eastman remembered thinking as a child, “Ohh! I’d love to of had a donkey!” One day, her and her brother were lucky enough to get a donkey. Mrs. Eastman remembered being so happy except for the one problem, “he [the donkey] did not want to go to school!” Mrs. Eastman would sit on the front of the donkey and her brother would sit facing the other way on the back. Mrs. Eastman would hold the reins while her brother would whip the donkey to make it go. That worked until about halfway to school when the donkey would turn around and go back home!
In 1914, Mrs. Eastman’s parents bought their first car. Mrs. Eastman recalled how cold it was because the windows were only curtains hanging on rods. Mrs. Eastman
remembered their second car, a Chevrolet with “rolling up” windows. Everyone was excited about those rolling up windows. Mrs. Eastman exclaimed, “Glory be! We were in cotton heaven!”
Every morning and night, Mrs. Eastman and her family would have to milk the cows, get eggs from the chickens, feed the hogs, and do other daily chores. Butter was a big factor on dairy farms. Before daylight, while it was still cool, they would have to churn the butter. Every Tuesday her family would sell butter and the people buying it would hope and pray that they could get home before it all melted. Mrs. Eastman said, “It would be so hard for anyone to live without electricity these days. I don’t think anyone [in the past] complained about things being hard. Children couldn’t say, ‘I don’t want to do that.”
Church was a huge factor in the life of families in earlier days. Mrs. Eastman said, “Church was our social life as well as our spiritual life.” Most families would attend two services every Sunday. After the morning service, the men and women would stand in separate clusters and talk about everything they had done that week. After the evening services, the children could go out back and talk, but when it was time to leave Mrs. Eastman’s father would honk the horn in the same sequence that their telephone would ring.
Watching Mrs. Eastman chuckle about all of her different stories is a great reminder of the type of lifestyle that we should pursue: a simple, family-filled life with faith as our center focus. Listening to Mrs. Eastman, it is obvious that she has lived life to the fullest, with faith as her main priority and joy as her second.
Bracken Methodist Church
of Garden Ridge
Covenant Baptist Church
CYO Youth Sports
Bracken Lions Club
Natural Bridge Caverns
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
Northeast Bible Church
OLPH Catholic Church
Triumphant Lutheran Church