Ora Alberta (Blanton) Perkins with daughter Ola Mae (Perkins) Hogan, most likely taken at farmhouse near Linden, Cass County, Texas. c1960. Photograph. Privately held by Herstoryan, Houston, Texas. 2010.
Her father took second place always in her narrative, though he was a most delightful companion - very clever and full of wit, a great reader, and it was his habit to read aloud in the evenings, while the family sat around the fire, each one with some appointed task. The elder girls sewed, while all the children had their baskets of cotton to pick, for in those days the gin had not been invented and the seed had to be carefully picked from the cotton by hand! It would seem a weary task to us, but they regarded it as a game, and ran races as to who should pick the most during the long winter evenings while my grandfather read Milton, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, and other masters of literature. When one contrasts those evenings, those influences on the minds of children with the amusements and diversions deemed necessary to the young of the present day, one does not wonder at the pleasure loving race we are becoming.
Housekeeping according to the usual conception of it, is that estimable art which, by contributing in various effective ways to neatness, order, coziness, and unobtrusive elegance, produces the choicest type of a home. The word housekeeping, however may have another significance seldom used or thought of, for the good reason that the precise conditions to which it is applicable are extremely rare, at least in this country, where the rapid development of a rather migratory people has been attended by frequent moving days and constant casting aside of the old for the new. Housekeeping, in this other and rarer significance means, not simply keeping a house neat, orderly, cozy and elegant, but keeping it just as it has been kept for over a hundred years, and keeping in it, in the same places, and using daily, those things which have been used by the family for a century, some of them for over two centuries.
It applies only to that house in which every day the grandmother of today sits down to the same dining table at which her grandparents sat when they came into the house not long after their honeymoon trip of over a century ago, and, indeed, sits in the very same chairs that they sat in and the same that their ancestors sat in a century before that, or in those early colonial times when those who battled with the hard conditions of life either made great characters or died young. This kind of housekeeping therefore is that which not only keeps a house as it ought to be kept, but keeps it as it has always been kept.