Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - The Scalding

Okay, how many days is this challenge? Oh my, I hope I am up to the challenge!   I'm not sure if we were supposed to write the stories in order, but my brain doesn't work that way.  I will write the stories and maybe I can put them in the correct chronological sequence in the future.    I am just proud I am still writing today!  When I make a commitment I don't like letting people down.  I think that means I have to make commitment for Lent that I will quit eating sugar and wheat.  If I can't let people down, I certainly can't let God down.                          

This is a story from my childhood about me.

I'm not sure how old I was, but this memory has stayed with me forever.  In my home we heated with a old wood-burning stove.  It had a flue that went up through the ceiling and there was a wood pile behind it to keep it going.  I'm not sure if we had a furnace at that time too.  If we did you probably had to add wood to it too.  Those old houses were hard to heat, the ceilings were high and they're not insulated like home today. The stove was in the room at the back of our house.  We only lived in that house for a few years and I was still fairly young so I don't remember many of the house details. The day of the scalding is stamped in my mind.

The room in the back of the house was the warmest room in the house with that old wood-burning stove.  My mom used to hang a blanket between that room and the others to keep the heat in.  We spent most of our time there.  My mom used to keep a pan of water hot on the stove to make her coffee with.  In those days she drank instant coffee.  Usually Folgers, but occasionally she had Maxwell House.  She drank coffee all day long, at least that's how I remember it.  The pan was almost always on the stove.  

One day, I'm not really sure what was going on that caused it, there was an accident.  I'm sure I can blame my brothers or my little sister.  We always used to blame each other for everything.  Why stop now?  Anyway I'm sure one of them had something to do with it.  The stove was kind of tall, or so it seemed to me at the time.  I was about eight or nine so maybe it wasn't that tall.  The top of it was above my shoulders.  I was standing really close to the heat, I always liked to do that.  I would get one side warm for a while and then switch to the other side.  This time I was standing with my back to the stove.  

Okay let's just say my brothers were rough housing, they did that all the time, and somehow that pan of water got turned over.  When the water spilled it went completely down my back from my shoulders to the tops of my legs.  I remember screaming and Mom running to me.  She immediately started stripping me naked right there in front of everyone.  She said, "We have to get these clothes off of you right now.  They will make you keep burning!"  I was screaming but I do remember her saying that, so I helped her get my clothes off.  

To this day that is the worst pain I ever remember feeling.  Of course, back then you didn't go to doctors, you used old wives cures.  My mom yelled to someone to bring the butter.  I know, now you aren't supposed to put butter on a burn.  But on that day, that's what Mom did.  She took me to our living room in the front of the house and laid me face down on the couch and rubbed butter all over me.  I remember my back hurt so bad all evening.  I am sure she probably gave me aspirin too, I just don't recall that now.  A little later she sent someone to the drugstore to buy Ungentine.  When she put the Ungentine on, it hurt, but the cooling feel of it made it feel better after a little while.  My back was blistered.  It was a while before I could wear clothes and it felt much better.  I did finally heal, and miracle of all miracles.  I don't have a single scar. I believe Mom also called the minister and they prayed over me.  I know Mom did.  She always asked God for help on everything.

Picture taken from

You know I don't really know what they would have done had I gone to a doctor or to the hospital that would have been better.  During that time period they may not have treated things much differently.  Truth be known, everywhere we lived during those days, Mom was the neighborhood doctor.  When anything happened the neighbors would come running for Mrs. Plummer.  They knew she would know how to fix things, be it a cut, a broken bone, a burn or whatever happened to one of their kids. Mom fixed me that day and most of the days of my life.



  1. I think the hardest part about writing is getting started. Once I'm started, the words just flow. Thanks for sharing your story--so glad you don't have any scars--that seems really painful. Thanks also for welcoming me to

    Lori Lyn Price

  2. Wonderful memory,if I remember correctly, I think I once heard a story about something similar happening to April when she was young?