By Russell Baker
This Pulitzer Prize-winner is "the saddest, funniest, such a lot tragical but comical photograph of coming of age within the U.S.A. within the Depresson years and global struggle II that has ever been written."—Harrison Salisbury.
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Extra resources for Growing Up (Signet)
They had no electricity, gas, plumbing, or central heating. No refrigerator, no radio, no telephone, no automatic laundry, no vacuum cleaner. Lacking indoor toilets, they had to empty, scour, and fumigate each morning the noisome slop jars which sat in bedrooms during the night. For baths, laundry, and dishwashing, they hauled buckets of water from a spring at the foot of a hill. To heat it, they chopped kindling to fire their wood stoves. They boiled laundry in tubs, scrubbed it on washboards until knuckles were raw, and wrung it out by hand.
Eat it," she commanded. I waited until my mother marched out, very near tears, I judged, and then I ate it while Ida Rebecca watched. I didn't dare not to. Not going to my grandmother's side of the road was an impossibility, and my mother acknowledged it, and went frequently herself in calmer moments, for Ida Rebecca's house was the capitol of Morrisonville. Once in the middle of a winter night my parents shook me awake to announce that we were going across to grandmother's. My father carried me, still in bedclothes, up the broad stone steps, across the porch, and through cold black rooms until we came to the parlor, the grim, forbidding parlor that was never used except for funerals and which I believed to be haunted with the ghosts of the dead who had lain there.
My cousin Leslie, Uncle Etch's oldest son, much older than I, assisted in the family undertaking business and took part in one of the most appropriate buryings ever held in our part of the country. The customer was Sam Reever, the famous bootlegger. For several months before their triumph Leslie and his grandfather had been unnaturally depressed. The cause of their sorrow was a unique coffin foisted upon them by their chief supplier of funeral goods. The thing was made entirely of glass. They hadn't ordered it; the supplier had just had it delivered out of the blue one day.
Growing Up (Signet) by Russell Baker