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A Different Time

A Different Time

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A Different Time

178 Seiten
2 Stunden
Apr 30, 2013


Growing up on a small farm in central Connecticut before World War II brings memories flooding back of simple things like Gramp carefully shaving with his so sharp straight razor. Sink baths. Sliding downhill in a babys bathtub. Bib overalls. Uncle Henry getting in trouble. Miss Kelly ruling over the 2nd grade. Mom reading Bambi to us boys snuggled in our beds. A walk in the woods that ends at Ferndale Dairy for ice cream. A swift ride on the Double Ripper. Making root beer.
Then there are other times that were harder to understand. The destructive hurricane of 1938 that slams Connecticut without warning. The sudden declaration of war. The great Hartford circus fire. It was all part of growing up in a different time.
Apr 30, 2013

Über den Autor

George Kron was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1933. He spent his formative years on a small farm in Kensington, Connecticut, with his grandfather, grandmother, mother, father, and two brothers. He is a graduate of Towson State University in Towson, Maryland, and a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. George is married to Shirley Stanley. They have five children, fifteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. (In other words, he’s pretty old.)

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A Different Time - George Ki. Kron


© 2013 George Ki. Kron. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

Published by AuthorHouse 4/23/2013

ISBN: 978-1-4817-4451-5 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4817-4450-8 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4817-4516-1 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013907225

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models,

and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Table of Contents

Different Times

Early Years

654 High Road





Shelling Peas

Gram’s Kitchen


Bib Overalls and More


Older Ways

Uncle Henry

Double Ripper Days

Corn Silk and Skunks

Saving Electricity

Keeping Warm



Staying Healthy

Curing Cholesterol

A Pound of Bologna

Oh! It’s Spoiled

But There’s Nothing To Do!

Uncle Charlie’s Accident




Cats and Dogs


World War

The End For Now

About the Author

Different Times

W riting about growing up on a small farm in central Connecticut before World War II brings memories flooding back of simple things like Gramp carefully shaving with his so-sharp straight razor. Sink baths. Sliding downhill in a baby’s bathtub. Bib overalls. Uncle Henry getting in trouble. Miss Kelly ruling over the second grade. Mom reading Bambi to us boys as we snuggled in our beds. A walk in the woods that ends at Ferndale Dairy for ice cream. A swift ride on the Double Ripper. Making root beer.

Then there are other times that were harder to understand. The destructive Great New England Hurricane of 1938 that slammed Connecticut without warning. The sudden declaration of war. The Great Hartford Circus Fire. It was all part of growing up in a different time.

When the grandkids look at me, they see an oldster, yet I do not feel particularly old. I find it hard to believe that so much time has passed that none of my grandchildren, or even my children, has ever seen a bus token, ridden in a rumble seat, smoked corn silk in a homemade corncob pipe, slid down a snow-packed dirt road, plucked a chicken, taken a sink bath, or had a dose of cod-liver oil.

Let me tell you about those different times.

Early Years

T he year is 1933, the day, July 27th. Not the best of times for the birth of a child. Bread costs ten cents a loaf. Milk costs seventeen cents a gallon. A gallon of gas is only fifteen cents. The country is deep in an economic depression. Unemployment stands at 20 percent. I, George Ki Kron (Ki rhymes with hi ), know nothing of the country’s problems or those of my parents. My father, Carlisle (Ki, for short) George Kron, and my mother, Helen Victoria, have never at any time spoken of any struggle to make ends meet. I can’t help but wonder how the birth of a son changed their lives.

Almost two years later to the day, twin brothers, Kenneth and Keith, are born. All of us come to live in that big farmhouse at 654 High Road in the town of Kensington in the state of Connecticut, a house owned by Mom’s parents, Gram and Gramp Nelson. Why we come here will always be a mystery to me. Is it because the country is in the Depression or because Mom has a job and needs someone at home to keep an eye on us during the day?

Mom, Dad, Keith, George, Ken

Gramp, Nels John Nelson, not only raises much of the food we eat but also works by day in a factory in New Britain while Gram, Hannah Munson Nelson, keeps the house and, when not cooking, washing, ironing, or cleaning, finds time to make braided rugs.

Besides our Mom, Gram and Gramp have already raised six other children. There is Algot (Ollie), Florence (Orie), Agnes, Robert (Bob), Henry, and Edith (Edie). They have all started families of their own. And so we have aunts, uncles, and loads of cousins living close by.

One of the first things I remember is not about aunts, uncles, or about Grump’s small farm. When I am about five years old, Mom, Dad, and I are in a restaurant. There is dancing and food. Most of the young couples are smoking. I am sitting quietly, big-eyed, absorbing it all, when suddenly it happens. Another couple, friends of my parents, are there with their small daughter. Nothing will do but that I get out on the dance floor and dance with her. No one is more unprepared than I am.

No, no, not me! It is no use; as the band plays, they push me out onto the floor into the hands of my partner. We are alone on the dance floor.

Oh, don’t they look so cute, someone exclaims. I want to be anywhere else. I am unsure of girls and know nothing about dancing.

The idea in their minds may have been the same as the theory about throwing a child into deep water. His instincts take over, and he naturally begins to swim. Perhaps it works with swimming, but it did not work for dancing. Not only did I not naturally begin to dance, but years passed before I could even speak to a girl and many more years before I could dance with one. The scars of that night are so deep that I can still remember the number we danced to: Flat Foot Floogie With A Floy Floy.

Whenever your cares are chronic,

Just tell the world, go hang,

You’ll find a greater tonic,

If you go on swingin’ with the gang!

Were you that little girl? Write to me.

654 High Road

G ram and Gramp have come over by boat from the old country, meaning, in the slang of the times, that they were not born in America. They are in their teens when they arrive here from Sweden. Nels John Nelson and Hannah Munson Nelson come to live in a huge, drafty, old house up on a hill in the town of Kensington, in the magnificent state of Connecticut, a house I will come to love.

The community around them is a mixture of people from Poland, Italy, and Sweden, many speaking with the flavorful accents of their own old country. Some, mostly women, are never able to speak more than a few words of English. Their children have no such language problem. Most are bilingual, learning one language from their parents and another from the world outside. Both Gram and Gramp are fluent in English.

From my mother’s generation, it is a quick trip downhill as far as language is concerned. The few Swedish words I learn are not of much use today. fluga for fly, flicka for girl, and svenska poik, meaning Swedish boy, would not get me far, should I someday visit Gram’s birthplace in Ostergotland, Sweden.

The house, when Gram and Gramp move in, is quite a sight. The former owners leave a pile of rotting apples on the living room floor. Besides this room, two other rooms are on the first floor. By the time I arrive, the three rooms are being used as a living room, an equally large dining room, and a bedroom. The upstairs contains four more bedrooms.

There is no inside bathroom. Much later, one smaller bedroom is converted, by the addition of a toilet and a sink, to become a more modern facility. Years after that, a tub and shower are added.

The entire top of the house is an attic. The trouble with this large storage space is that a person can’t easily get to it. The only entrance is a square door in the ceiling of a narrow bedroom closet. Because of this unhandy arrangement, it is rare for anyone to look into this space, much less store anything there.

The final level, the cellar, is entered by way of a steep stone stairway at the back of the house or by going down a narrow, dusty wooden stairway off the dining room. The cool stone walls, the dirt floor, and the absence of a central furnace, make this an ideal place for storing raw vegetables and preserves through the winter.

Sometime before I am born, a wing is added at a right angle to the existing house. It boasts a spacious kitchen with a fine walk-in pantry and a sheltered screened-in porch, or veranda. Behind the kitchen is an unheated room that we call the woodshed. Chunks of stove-length dry wood, kindling, coal, and a fifty-gallon kerosene drum have places here, handy to the kitchen stove and to the oil heater in the dining room. It is a marvelous addition.

The kitchen itself has seven separate doors, with one door opening to the dining room, thus connecting this new wing with the main house.

A second door opens out onto the front porch. People calling for the first time often go to this door for admission. A scramble follows to move Gramp’s chair and to fuss with the big key until the lock can finally be coaxed open.

Relatives and our regular tradesmen know that the third door, the one at the end of the kitchen, the door looking out towards the summerhouse, is the proper entrance. No one needs a formal knock. Come in … come right in.

To the right of this entrance is an angle formed by the outside wall and the end of a closet. The coats, hats, and sweaters in use for the current season are hung here on hooks below the deer antlers, which are mounted much too high for us to reach, but just right for adult hats and coats. Clothes and boots, waiting for another season or for a rainy day, hang on hooks behind the closet door.

Next is a narrow painted door that opens to an equally narrow, twisting staircase, the first step rising oddly, half again as high as a normal step. Each ascending tread is wide enough for a foot at one end, yet tapered away at the other to allow for the staircase turn. At the top is a long, low-roofed attic. It is a bitterly cold room in winter and baking hot in summer, a place for storing things too good to be thrown out at the moment. Perhaps someone will want them for something someday.

The sixth door leads to the woodshed. The woodshed is used for storing fuel for the winter, but it also contains a fascinating workbench. Bolted to its scarred top is a workmanlike vise. Below the top is a flat, compartmentalized drawer that pulls out. This drawer is filled with an assortment of tiny nails and tacks for small repair jobs. Work tools of all kinds lie on the bench and hang from the walls. Especially eye-catching is the shiny, long-bladed, sharp, two-man saw.

The seventh door—we have now worked our way around the room—opens into the pantry, a delightful place to explore. A room full of shelves and cupboards that run up from floor to ceiling, except for the places where the two outward-facing windows are. There is even room for an old icebox, but Gram has just replaced hers with a Frigidaire. The iceman with his flashing ice pick will come no more.

Grams Kitchen

Running in from the road is a hard-packed dirt drive. It comes in between the summerhouse and the everyday kitchen door to continue past the woodshed, down a gentle slope to the tall wide doors of the big, weathered barn.

The barn’s lower level, built half below ground, as is common, contains snug stalls for Gramp’s two workhorses and our milk cow. Next to the horse stalls stands a sturdy pen. It might hold a calf waiting to grow big enough to be separated from its mother, a calf that we are teaching to drink milk by itself from a bucket. In separate corners, at the far end, are homes for the pigs, usually two, and for Gramp’s small flock of ducks.

At ground level, two huge wagon doors slide on tracks, opening to the main floor of the barn. Through these doors, Gramp brings the loads of sun-cured hay, which he stores in the haymow as feed and bedding for all the animals over the long winter months. Doors in the floor lift up so feed and hay can be put down in front of the horses and the cow. Corn and feed are stored in a sturdy mouse proof wooden feed bin.

Just under the peak, high up in the top of the barn in their own skybox, lives Gramp’s flock of pigeons. They cannot fly around inside the barn, but are free to come and go through their own pigeon holes that open to the outside. Once out, they climb swiftly into the sky, circle the barn, and glide down for a feed of Gramp’s yellow corn.

To the left of the barn stands one final building, a large chicken coop. In here live our flock of Rhode Island Reds and the rooster, the undisputed king of the yard—the rooster who can puff himself up to twice his normal size before chasing little boys. A long row of comfortable raised nests, closed in front and open in the back,

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