Several posts back I wrote about my grandparents and wondered how did they survive. I realized, very quickly, that I needed to break the idea down into several posts. I was writing and writing and writing because I had so many thoughts. I plan to continue those posts along with just writing about some of the things I remember. This one of those posts!
Remember the post about iced tea and my comment about the well water? Writing about the well water reminded me of the little well house that sat about 100 yards (I think) from my maternal grandparents house. As I shared previously they bought the property in the early 1940's and expanded the small house that was at the front of the acreage.
I don't know if the well was already there and if my grandfather built the well house. By my childhood it was covered in the same white, probably asbestos or some other unsafe by today's standards, shingle type siding that covered the house. There was a door, but I don't remember it being locked. There were several small windows and a dirt floor. A single light bulb in the center of the room provided light. It always smelled like onions because that was where my grandmother stored the small onions that she harvested from her garden. In the summer time there were usually wasps or yellow jackets that had snuck in and built a nest so my grandmother kept a can of spray in there, too. Not much else was in there except the well itself.
I don't remember going in there very much. It was off limits without an adult presence. There were no questions asked and it never crossed my mind to try to slip in there. It was off limits, period (just like the loaded guns kept in the gun safe!). I do remember the first time I went in there. I think a switch or something had tripped so my grandfather had to go out there to take care of whatever was wrong. It was dark and although there was a light in the well house I remember him carrying a lantern, too. That may have been for the short walk out there but it may also have been for extra light in the well house. What I remember more than anything else was how disappointed I was in seeing the well. I had expected something like the old-fashioned wishing wells with a bucket and a rope hoist that I had seen in story books. I fully expected to look down into a beautiful , shimmering pool of water and make an extravagant wish! However, the well was just a big, white, round porcelain thing sitting in the well house! I remember saying, "that's the well?" and wondering how that thing possible got the water up out of the well!
Future visits also brought disappointment. The well house was hot, stuffy, and as mentioned before smelled like onions. Today if you drive by the property the well house is gone. The county laid water lines and mandated that everyone use their very bad tasting water that was very expensive. The hydrant in the yard area behind the house door remained hooked up to the well and that was where the tea water came from in later years. My father swore it was the best water in the world, except for the times when some of that beautiful red Mississippi dirt slipped into the well!