Friday, April 9, 2021


Reading tonight from the "Memories of Mary Elizabeth Bond Skaggs" (1994), my mother.
I was born (Mary Elizabeth Bond) August 3, 1911 to Charles Austin and Maud Virginia (Hefner) Bond on Canoe Run, Roanoke, West Virginia. I was the fifth of eight children — Beatrice Mora, Walter Clarence, John Stanley, Luther Harold, Mary Elizabeth, Richard William, Charles Hefner, and Robert Levi.

We lived on my Grandfather’s farm until three of the older children were ready for high school. I have pleasant memories of these eight years of my life. Through third grade I attended the one room school with my sister and brothers. Charles and Robert did not attend the country school as we moved to Salem before they were of school age. My teacher was Mr. Tom Snyder. I remember the pot-bellied stove which stood in the middle of the room and the girls occupied one side of the room and the boys the other. Only one other (Warren Pickerall) was in my class. We went to the front of the room and stood beside our teacher for our reading and perhaps other work. I remember doing numbers on the blackboard and was impressed with Warren’s height as his work was so much higher on the board. We had work to do at our desks but also listened in as older classes went to the front of the room for their sessions with the teacher. Perhaps I even napped with my head on my desk at times. I remember doing ovals and push-pulls and forming letters as I learned to write. Recess was always fun. After we took our turn at the out-side toilet and had a drink of water from the pump there was time for activity. A stream ran across the road near the school and when it froze over the big boys and maybe girls too skated there. When I was little I was little so sometimes the big boys would carry me as they skated. In the spring I remember going across the road into the woods and gathering wild flowers. One Thanksgiving our cousins, Elizabeth, Virginia and Mary came on the train from Salem and went to school with us on Friday after Thanksgiving. That must have been an experience for them. Walter always carried the lunch basket and we gathered round to eat together.

Many of our church people lived relatively close together in what I believe was called “Seven Day Valley.” We lived farther away but went to church regularly. Dad was a deacon. We were related to most of the people there. Often we were invited to dinner. The older children sometimes went one place while the younger children went with Mom and Dad. At Uncle Lee’s (grandfather’s brother) there were always hickory nuts to crack (and eat) while dinner was being prepared. I seem to remember a spring in Uncle John Heavener’s under-ground cellar in the side of the hill. Often there were cool apples there! Aunt Darla had large loaves of freshly baked bread and Aunt Lily Bee had good meals too. You couldn’t go wrong! At a given time our family would meet and return home together. Sometimes Ruth and Main, (first cousins of Dad but near the ages of Bea and Walter) would come home with us and stay over night. We liked to have them come.

My Grandmother Bond died before I was born. Grandfather lived with us part of the time and with Aunt Goldie (his daughter) and Uncle Doc in Salem and visited from time to time in the homes of Uncle Arthur (Dad’s twin brother) and Uncle Ahva. We always enjoyed having Grandpa with us. His room was across the hall from our living room. I liked to go to his room, sit on a stool beside his chair in front of the fire and talk to him. He kept a diary, a small book which he carried in his pocket and wrote in any time — not just at the close of day. Always he mentioned the weather. I have ten years of his diaries including the World War I years. Uncle Doc served over-seas and sometimes Aunt Goldie and Bond (a cousin about my age) came to the farm and spent time with us. The cattle scales used by the farmers round-about were on Grandfather’s farm — a testament to his honesty. Grandfather Bond made shoes and repaired shoes. He had a shop a little way from the house where he did his work. In my time which was after Grandma died he only mended shoes, I think. I learned some of the tools of his trade as I spent time with him in the shop.

My Grandfather Hefner was a blacksmith. He was small in stature but very strong. I don’t remember my Grandmother Hefner except in a wheelchair. During my life they lived in Burnsville. They had lived in Roanoke earlier. I don’t remember them visiting us on the farm. I do remember going to Burnsville with Bea one Easter. This was the first time I had colored eggs. They were so pretty I took one home and kept it long — too long! ....
Ten pages in all. I have no pictures of her at that young age. After her memory began to fail Mom would sit and read her "memories" over and over.

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