The mailman delivered the Sears, Roebuck catalog and the Montgomery Ward catalog to the Scheckel farm outside of Seneca, in the middle of Crawford County, during the 1940s and 1950s. These were big, thick catalogs and seems to weigh a ton. But they were a window to the world for us kids. A farmer could order just about anything that was manufactured, including complete houses, cars, machinery, tools, household appliances, chickens, bees, clothes, and best of all, toys. There was a section of female undergarments that became more intriguing as we Scheckel boys got older.
The Montgomery Ward catalog had “good”, “better”, and “best” categories of merchandise. Prices increases as you went from good to best. The catalogs were around the house all the time, and many a spare minute was spent just browsing through the thick books.
Jung’s and Burpee seed catalogs arrived in the dead of winter. The bright vibrant colors of the pictures of vegetables and fruits contrasted sharply with the barren fields and snow-covered hills surrounding the Scheckel farm.
Shucked walnuts were stored in the basement in 5-gallon cherry tins. We cracked walnuts in the wintertime, and put them in fudge candy that we made on the stove. Some went into brownies and cakes.
We went out hunting rabbits in the wintertime. We would surround a brush pile left over when we were cutting logs, posts, and firewood. Rabbits found the brush piles a natural home to build a nest. One of us would jump on top of the of the brush pile in the hopes of flushing out a rabbit. When rabbits came out, they would be running hard. Trying to shoot one with a rifle was nigh unto impossible. A shotgun was the best weapon because the shot is spread out. We didn’t have a shotgun, so we made do with a single-shot .22 rifle. I believe we bagged one or two rabbits in all those years of winter rabbit hunting.
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