Let me introduce you to Mrs. Maudie “Nanny” White. Born in 1922, Nanny has seen this area change over the years, and although she recalls hard times she says that it was a happy life. She tells stories of Corner’s School in Primm Springs, carrying 7 dozen eggs to the market, and spittin’ apples. Nanny enjoys spending time with her friends and family including many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Here are some of her stories.
I’m from Hickman County. Just over the hill from Maury. Lick Creek they called it. We had a grocery down on Lick Creek and one over in Primm Springs where we would go get our groceries. And I’d ride the mule. We had a mule and it was gentle. And I’d ride the mule and go get groceries. Or walk. We had a hard life. My daddy set out a big ol’ orchard. We would have fruit growin’ and things like that. He would work the garden spot and stayed active. Apples, peaches, and grapes. Things like that. When they got married, my mother would work them apples up, cut ’em up, slice them thin, lay them on the cloth, and dry the fruit. We had plenty to eat, you know, with all we grew. Oh me. But it was a hard life. Of course we didn’t know better.
We had a happy life. There was 10 of us, 8 of us children; 4 boys and 4 girls. We went to Corners School it was across the creek out there on the ridge. One room school house. I remember that mighty well. It was alright. Seem like it was organized well. Had the one teacher. The teacher had her classes. We had a pretty fair time as far as I can remember. They didn’t have but about 18 or 20 students. Its a lot different back then. We all had to walk you know. Didn’t have no ways to get there. We had to cross a swinging bridge creek. Went through a cemetery walking up the hill to the road. So much different then. It wasn’t too awfully far. I don’t know how many miles. We would walk and even go barefooted. Didn’t have shoes to wear. Just things like that, that you remember. Oh me! We carried lunch. I remember from home we fixed our lunch and carried it. But when we got back from school that evening we’d be starved. Hungry. My mother, she was a good cook; prepared the meals. She’d make big pans of sweet potatoes, baked, they were real good. We’d carry them to lunch and eat them when we got home.
I got married in ’37. I dropped out of school to get married. That was in ’37. Being there at home, summertime when the fruit was ripe was one of my favorite times. We had an apple tree just down the hill. We’d pass our house and go down the hill into the hollow to the apple tree. On Saturdays, a neighbor ground corn for the public. The people would bring their corn to get it ground. They’d have their corn on their shoulders. Carried it to the mill to get it ground. My sister would come down from Nashville and the kids and us would get together. We would go down there and get in that apple tree and get apples. Folks that was passin’ on Saturdays going to the mill, would walk past that apple tree and we would spit apples. Throw an apple at them. We had a lot of fun. I’d remember that.
I just remember it being a hard time (The Great Depression). We couldn’t hire out the work. We made it by raising a garden. And we had the fruit. My mother dried fruit. I remember drying a whole flour sack full of dried fruit and that would do us through the winter. She’d cook them, and make fried apple pies. They was really delicious. You know farmers could raise what they eat, and they have plenty to eat. They wouldn’t have to buy it at all. So we got by pretty good.
When I was around 11 years old, I started stayin’ with people. Yeah, I did do that. A niece of mine gonna have her baby and they come and got me to stay with them. And I would do the house work, and I stay a week or two at a time with them. Got by. I didn’t go home during that time. I just stayed as long as I was going to stay, and then go home. They’d pay me two dollars a week to stay with them and do the work. But I had a little money to spend then.
Good many people living there in the community (Water Valley). They had a church and two stores and groceries. That was the businesses pretty much back then. I don’t remember what year the groceries closed down. I remember when they had elections there at the store. Folks would gather in there to vote.
We had to walk to get around. Didn’t have no way. Or ride a horse or mule or whatever you had. Didn’t have no cars much at all in the neighborhood. I remember that. I’d have a gospel meetin’ at church. I remember our neighbors down there had a wagon team and he would carry a whole load of folks to that gospel meetin’ in that wagon. A niece of (my)husband’s, her husband had a T Model Ford and he would carry his family to church in that T model down the creek in Lick Creek where the church was.
Well, there wasn’t really many buildings in Primm Springs. One of them was in Primm Springs and the other one over on Lick Creek. Mayberry had a store. Dad Mayberry and John Mayberry. They operated the grocery store. I will never forget, my mother raised the yard full of chickens and we had eggs to carry. I’d carry a water bucket of eggs. I got a nickel a dozen for them eggs. Wasn’t that a paycheck to buy groceries? And I never will forget that I carried that bucket of eggs down there at the grocery and got a nickel a dozen for them. That was a pretty big job carrying a bucket full of eggs. About 7 dozen, I think, in that bucket of eggs. It was a pain I tell you! We had to walk or ride the mule down Lick Creek to the store. All over Primm Springs to the grocery. Take you about all day to go. Oh me! It was hard times back then.
We’d have dances in people’s houses. That was fun! I remember us takin’ the bed down out of the living room. We really had a living room all together. And we would take the bed down to have room. We’d have fun.
Well, they got the boys that live around here that had to go to the war (Korean War in the 50’s). I know my brother had to go. He was involved in it. My sister lived in Nashville and he’d report back to her since we lived out in the country and didn’t even have a phone then. Didn’t have a phone then in the community. Didn’t even have electricity for a long time, not until ’52. Finally my daddy got with a neighbor and they went to Shelbyville and signed up for electricity. And we finally got electricity in the community. That really was something else.