Ernest Friend and Three of His Sisters

Part 1

Part 2

Ernest Friend and Three of His Sisters
Interviewed on September 17, 2021

Disclosure: Ernest and his sisters are cousins of mine. Their father was one of my mother’s brothers. As a young boy in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, I spent a few weeks in the summer visiting and staying with them and other family members in the rural hill country of northeast Oklahoma. It was a pleasure to conduct this interview and honor the lives of their parents, Raymond and Earlene Friend.
Ernest and his sisters grew up on a dairy farm in the rural area of northeast Oklahoma. As their cousin who visited them numerous times, I witnessed many of their references to family experiences and the way they lived. I am blessed to have had those experiences.
The lifestyle they describe can very rarely be found in our country today. It was a lifestyle full of love, faith, hard work, fellowship, and the simpler things in life. In the 1950’s they lived on farms with hand-drawn water wells, outhouses, root cellars, hand pumps for water in the kitchen, #2 washtubs or the creek for bathing, gardens for vegetables, cows for milk, wildlife, cattle, hogs, chickens, and fish as a source of meat. Daily life involved chores and milking cows in the early morning and late afternoon every day of the year. Canning produce, fruit, and meat was routine business. Preparing home-made meals and baking bread or biscuits was a daily activity. I have to add that my Aunt Earlene made the best chicken and dumplings I have ever eaten! Seasonal work of planting crops, tending crops, harvesting crops, putting hay in the loft of the barn, butchering animals for meat, chopping wood for heat, and taking goods and animals to market was just part of normal existence. It is interesting that a sizeable number of the younger generation are looking to replicate this lifestyle and live off the grid on their own property. They can learn from interviews like this one.
In this interview, Ernest, Barbara, JoAnn, and Brenda all share memories of their life growing up in a rural family that Earl Hamner Jr. would have easily recognized. I hope you enjoy their intimate portrayal of a lifestyle that has faded from our social landscape.


Want to connect with Don?

Send an email or give him a call.

He would love to connect with you.

He checks his email and voicemail regularly!