Pioneer Potluck: About growing up on the McClure Farm

  • By Grannie Annie
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015 4:24pm
  • LifeFood


1937 TO 1955


Growing up on the farm was most exciting around Spring and Easter. Trees were leafing out, some of Mom’s flowers were peeking through and the grass was getting green. If the Easter was a little later in the month, the lilac tree was getting ready to bud. Dad had plans for all his crops or had already plowed and planted some. He was very busy in the Spring. We were outdoors every chance we got, exploring what was left of winter and what was growing up through the ground.

We also got out of school on Good Friday. Most of us went to church and joined in on church functions. The rest of the day was spent smiling, laughing and playing because there was no school.

On Friday evening, we dyed eggs, with the over-seeing of Mom, so we did not spill or splash any of the dye on the newspaper covered table. Sometimes we waited for Dad to get in on the action. I can only remember one or two times he “helped” under Moms ever watchful eye. I do remember how tired he was from being in the fields preparing for the crops to be planted.

Mom had already been to town several times, during the weeks before, to buy me, Ginger and Elaine Easter dresses. Sonny and Jimmy got new shirts and pants or suits. We all got new socks and shoes. Dad got a new white shirt.

I do not ever remember picking out my own Easter dress and shoes. I do remember how excited I was when Mom came home with large string tied packages and sacks of clothes. We tried on the dresses and put the shoes on just to see if they fit. Then we had to take them off and put them on the closet floor.

Mom washed the dresses, new under wear and pretty slips (something that I think we do not even own anymore – do we? Well, I don’t!) She ironed all the clothes and hung them up. We waited to wear them for Easter. Those clothes were our Sunday Church clothes until Christmas when we got another new outfit. By that time I had outgrown my shoes and I am sure my brothers and sister had also, but we wore them anyway!!

Saturday night was bath night. In the old house we took baths in the big round galvanized tub in front of a coal oil heater in the living room corner. We got rubbed down with a big fluffy, sweet smelling bath towel. We “shared” the same towel. Jammies smelled just as nice! So did the sheets on the bed.

During the night the Easter Bunny came and we had big pretty baskets sitting in chairs with our name on them. The dyed eggs were hidden in the house. We got up early as we wanted to see what the Bunny left and then we had to have breakfast. (After sneaking some candy!)

Next we got dressed in our new Easter clothes and off to church we went in the pea green Doge, with Dad all dressed up in his suit and new white starched shirt. Sometimes, very, very seldom, Mom came to church with us. I remember one Easter, she went with us in a new dress and little hat sitting on her head with a vail that came down over her forehead. My sisters and I also had Easter hats to wear. I felt so grown up and important.

I still do not know why Mom stopped gong to church with us, other than getting things ready for us all week, shopping, washing, ironing and preparing for the Easter dinner, maybe she just plan did not have the energy to go with us. I think she need the “time out.”

For the Easter dinner (eaten after church, at one in the afternoon) she fixed a large ham decorated with cloves, brown sugar mixed with mustard, pineapple and maraschino cherries to go in the oven. She fixed scalloped potatoes from scratch, peeling potatoes, slicing them and adding sliced onions and celery. She made her famous clover leaf dinner rolls.

Baked the sweet potatoes the day before, so we all could have marshmallows and brown sugar on them. She had, sometime during the week, baked cakes and pies and piles of cookies. Usually for Easter cake was a Lady Baltimore Cake (see recipe).

Yup! I guess she just wanted some “time out!” She would explain to us and Dad – she could NOT go, she had to get Easter dinner on the table.

Sometimes Grandpa and Grandma, Les and Marvin would be our dinner guests. Oh! By the way – dinner in our house, is “lunch” as it is now. And “dinner” was “supper” on the farm, usually at 6 o’clock PM. Ask my Alaska friend Jo Anne about this – I showed up for dinner at noon, when she wanted me to come for supper, (dinner.) Confused?? I still get that way!!

The rest of the week we spent eating and sharing our Easter eggs with Dad, who had salt and pepper shaker’s close by. We also shared our candy with him. I remember trying to hide a piece of candy that I wanted to keep for myself.

Then I felt so guilty! I was about 6 yrs old. We had lots of left over ham for sandwiches on good home baked bread for our school lunches


It’s fun to reminisce. What was your early childhood memories of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.


Talk with the younger generation. Don’t let your memories be lost.


The Grannie Annie series is written by a 47 year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski.Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her Mother, a self taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day.

Grannie Annie can be reached at anninalaska@gci. net


Cookbooks make great gifts!

The “Grannie Annie” Cook Book Series includes: “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ on the Woodstove”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ at the Homestead”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ Fish from Cold Alaskan Waters”; and “Grannie Annie’s Eat Dessert First.” They are available at M & M Market in Nikiski.

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