from the upcoming and untitled book about The Texas Hill Country
Homemade Corn Dogs and Donuts
By Joyce Weatherby of New Braunfels, Texas
My school days were wonderful! I had three sisters, no brothers! I was the only one out of my sisters that went to Pre-K. Back in 1956, you paid for kindergarten. I went half days, in the mornings. Kindergarten was held in a small beige brick church with dark stain glass windows. The class would go in the sanctuary part of the church to do our singing. The nursery part and one classroom were in the other part towards the back. The nursery had baby beds in it. I wanted to sleep in the baby beds! My kindergarten teacher was named Ms. Beehammer!
In the 9th grade, I took driver’s education. It was offered through the school district. The cost was $15.00 for the classroom driver’s education and $15.00 for behind the wheel instruction. I remember only one time did the driving instructor use the brake on his side of the car to stop me. Embarrassment! Two other classmates were in the vehicle also. I did learn to sew in home economics in high school. It was fun. I actually wore the clothes I made and they never came unraveled.
My mom would give us castor oil. I would have to put a clothespin on my nose just to get the oil down. Yek! We had a milkman come to our door at our home. It was neat to hear the glass milk bottles clink when he would set them on our porch. The milkman drove a white van with an emblem on the side of the van. The milkman wore a white shirt, white cap, and white trousers.
My mom had a wringer washing machine. It was white. It was a lot of work. We would hang out our clothes on our clothesline, a great smell, clothes drying outside! We did not own a clothes dryer. My parents divorced when I was 13. I babysat all summer when I was 13-16 years old. I saved enough to buy my first electric typewriter from Sears one summer. I enjoyed babysitting and never had any problems with the children or the parents.
My mom would make me do with the best she had after the divorce. My mom made the best homemade corn dogs I have ever eaten. She made the corn dogs with pancake batter that the wieners were dipped in and deep-fried. Also, homemade donuts, out of canned biscuits deep friend with the holes cut out. She would then put powdered sugar, cinnamon, etc. sprinkled on the donuts. Yum.
I was blessed to know both sets of my grandparents. My mom’s parents lived in Lampasas, Texas on a 40-acre farm. They grew corn on the cob in the fields. They had a cow, chickens, cats, and my grandpa had a dog named Bobby. It was always fun to go visit. These grandparents were German. My mom and grandmother would speak German to each other; it was part of my heritage. My uncle would let us drive his Chevy pickup out in the fields, he would teach us to drive, talk about a great uncle! Also, the truck was standard transmission, he would let us steer while he worked the clutch and accelerator. My grandparents had a basement in their home, it’s the only basement I have ever been in, grandma had her canned vegetables, potatoes, etc. stored there.
My dad’s parents owned two businesses. These were taverns. One tavern was located downtown, the other tavern at Surfside Beach. Everyone liked my granddaddy. He was a giving person. The tavern at the beach was orange and had a big porch out front. It was neat to see the ocean at night. These grandparents were Swedish. This granny used snuff. I remember her brown snuff jar. My mom said she swam the Guadalupe River to get to school, and then walked five miles to school. She went to school through the 8th grade and then helped the family. She picked cotton until her fingers bled.
The only time my dad whipped me was when my younger sister and I climbed up on the neighbor’s roof. My sister and I tried to sneak in the back door of our house, but our dad was waiting for us. I remember my mom putting me in a tub of cool water after my whipping. I think my feelings were hurt more than my bottom, for I was daddy’s girl.
One time I almost stepped on a tarantula. Our family was at a friend’s house. I asked mom, “What kind of bug is this?” I was barefoot and went to touch the “bug” with my big toe. Mom screamed, “Joyce, that’s a tarantula, get away!” Whew. Close call. I went to the movie theater with my dad. We went to see Hank Williams True Life Film. My dad and I were close; none of my other sisters went with us. My dad loved country music. The reason I mention this is because my dad did not go to inside theaters. My first kiss was nice. My date had asked me out seven times before I would go out with him. We ended up going steady for one year when I was 16 years old.