The old oil lamps were put back in use again Wednesday morning, the time the electric lights were off in all the Pigeon Roost section for twelve homes. A tree blew down in the wind storm in the hollow below Sid Bennett’s home and fell across the electric line, which was 3 o’clock Wednesday morning and the tree was not removed until 3 o’clock Thursday evening. Several people’s lamps needed some new equipment such as globes, burners and wicks. One Pigeon Roost merchant reported that he had a complete sell out of lamp equipment by Friday afternoon. Several citizens also said they didn’t want to be caught again with no light at all at their usual time to arise in the morning.
U.R. Pate, retired mail carrier of Route 1, from Post Office at Relief, is reported to be very ill at his home at this writing.
The excerpt above is from the 1974 Winter Edition of the Foxfire Magazine which contains a compilation of newspaper articles written by Harvey Miller. At the time of the magazine’s publication Miller’s weekly column had been around for sixty years and was till being published in the Tri-County News located in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Jump over to the Foxfire website and poke around. They are still publishing the magazine and those wonderful Foxfire Books too!
Over the Christmas holidays our power was out for a few hours due to the torrential rainfall our area experienced. The girls and I were down at Pap and Granny’s when the power went off. Their house is dark anyway and once the lights go out its really dark!
Granny sent the girls and Pap through the house rounding up all the oil lamps. Then they realized the lamps were all out of oil. Granny swore there should be oil in all of them, but couldn’t say what might have happened to it…since it was gone.
The lamp oil was found and the lamps were filled. Pap noticed one of the wicks needed to be replaced. A flashlight search of the bathroom closet turned up a brand new wick which Pap quickly installed in place of the old one.
During all the excitement Granny kept crocheting and I sat on the couch, watched the proceedings, and listened to Pap tell the girls about how oil lamps were what they used for light all the time when he was a boy; about how everyone took good care of their lamps and kept the globes cleaned and the wicks trimmed just right.
I was reminded of a red oil lamp Granny had when I was little. I think she may have had a green one too. I said “Hey what ever happened to that red oil lamp?” I was really thinking “That red oil lamp Granny used to have around here would look really pretty in my living room.”
Granny said “Oh I gave that thing away ages ago or maybe I sold it at the flea-market. I don’t remember for sure, but it’s been gone for years.”
The power was still off by the time the girls and I went home. Then it was time to round up all of our oil lamps (we only have 2) and see if there was oil for them. About the time The Deer Hunter got our oil lamps glowing happily the power came back on. But we’ll be ready for the next time right?
Do you ever use oil lamps when the power goes off?