Under the Bed on Your Birthday

While researching the peculiar custom of being put under the bed on your birthday, I have found just a few google hits mentioning it. My Pappaw John was big on it.  It was supposed to bring you good luck for the following year. I remember reading in a book somewhere that it was an old English custom.

It wasn’t one of those quirky made up things that only my family partook in.  I mentioned it in an earlier post and on Facebook.  Several folks around here were thrust under the bed with the dust bunnies and whatever else lived under there.  My aunt sent me a dvd with some old family videos on it from the early 60s.  Lo and behold, there is my cousin being put under his crib on his birthday.

Sweet little picture of me, my brother and my Pappaw John.  Probably around 1964.  I seem to be doubting something, probably a story Pappaw was telling :)

Sweet little picture of me, my brother Jimmy, and my Pappaw John. Probably around 1964. I seem to be doubting something, probably a story Pappaw was telling 🙂

I can’t even remember what happened after I went under the bed due to the trauma of laying down there where the monsters lived.  I think they all cheerfully sat on the edge of the bed and counted my years or sang happy birthday.

I did find some rather intriguing things that go on under the bed while on my hunt for the reason why you would terrify a child as part of the birthday bash.

In an ancient Middle Eastern custom used to protect a new mother and infant from evil spirits – in particular Broshah, the female demon who steals newborn children – sweetmeats were placed under the bed to keep the evil spirits occupied eating them. 

Ten million children can’t be wrong,  monsters do  live under there!

French peasants believed that if the ashes from the Christmas Yule Log were kept under the bed, they would protect the house against thunder and lightning.

In China, a bride will present her in-laws and groom with new shoes according to their wedding customs.  In the wedding chamber, the gate-crashers will snatch the grooms new wedding shoes and throw them deep under the bridal bed.  This forces the groom to humble himself when he bends to retrieve his shoes, ensuring a harmonious marriage. 

A knife under the bed will dull the pain of childbirth.

A Victorian Superstition is that a dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad omen. It can be reversed by reaching under the bed and turning over a shoe.

If someone is ill or hurt and bleeding, place an ax under their bed to stop the bleeding.

If you want to have a baby girl, put a wooden spoon and a pair of scissors under the bed and a pink bow under the pillow. 

There seem to be a lot of things going on under the bed.

Birthday girls should not be one of them.

Was it a custom in your house when you were growing up?

The Coal Miner’s Cry Book

Normally I would not post anything for sale on here, but it is so rare to find one of these books of our coal mining history for sale on Ebay.  Or anywhere for that matter.  I have one and if you are interested in Pike County Coal Mining History and do not have one, now’s your chance.  The students at Pike Central High School put it together and published it in 1999.  I highly recommend it.


The Coal Miner's Cry

The Coal Miner’s Cry

Just Some More Winslow Grocery Store History

I purchased my second calendar plate from one of the many grocery stores that Winslow had nearly a hundred years ago.

There seemed to be a store every block or two.  Usually in someone’s home.

This one is a 1918 Calendar plate from S. Tary Cash Grocery in Winslow.  I think it is really gorgeous.  I do not know where this store was.

S. Tary Grocery, 1919 Calendar Plate, Winslow, Indiana

S. Tary Grocery, 1918 Calendar Plate, Winslow, Indiana

Also check out this blog for a little of the Richardson family history.


This is a photo of Ira Richardson’s store in Winslow.

Ira Richardson's Store in Winslow.

Ira Richardson’s Store in Winslow.

Fall in the State Forest

We took a drive out to the State Forest for this years Fall photos.

One day the Old Iron Bridge at Survant will be gone.  The county will be moving it to Petersburg as a walkover bridge.  I am glad they are preserving it, rather than seeing it end up in the scrap heap somewhere.



A stop at Augusta Lake


Waterfall at Augusta Lake


Augusta Lake Reflections




Old Iron Bridge at Survant


River and the Old Iron Bridge


Old Iron Bridge Fall Colors


Old Iron Bridge


River Rocks and tracks at Survant


Fire Barn


Old Fire Tower


Fire Tower Colors

Forest Path

Forest Path

Miller Newsstand in Winslow

I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours this week with Jackie Willis Houchins and her brother, Gary Willis.  They grew  up in Ayrshire.  We swapped stories and Jackie shared some of her memorabilia and photos with me.

This photo is of Doctor Miller’s brother, Herschel P. Miller and his wife, Louise, who ran a newsstand on Main Street in Winslow.  They were both deaf and mute.  He was nicknamed “Deefie”.

During a cold wave in 1943, he was found dead from exposure on a street in Winslow.

Miller Newsstand

Last Day at Winslow United Methodist

Today is the last service at Winslow United Methodist Church on the corner of Lafayette and Cherry Street.  There is a good crowd for a sad day.




The Dispatch did a nice article on the church this week.  It was established in 1832 meeting in the school building.  They built the first church on the corner of Walnut and East Center in 1866.  In 1890 that church burnt down.  Two years later a building was built at the current location.  In 1921 funds were raised for the current brick church building.  It was dedicated in 1924.


Winslow Methodist Church 1908.

An interesting thing to note.  The parsonage pictured here beside the church was moved by the Dedman family to East Center Street.  It is the current rental house that the Eagles own.



Old Massey or Loveless Cemetery: A Guest Post

My friend Amber Ball and I met almost two years ago.  We have wandered all over this area taking photos and seeking stories.  The Patoka River Wildlife Refuge is our favorite haunt.  Amber also writes a blog and posts the most amazing photos.  You should check her out here, and links are always posted to the right of my blog.

Last weekend amid our busy lives we found time to visit a local field of sunflowers and enjoy the waves of yellow that attract butterflies and birds.

Sunflower field

Sunflower field

My July was so hectic and Amber has graciously offered a guest post for my blog.  Last fall we went in search of the Old Massey Cemetery, sometimes known as Loveless Cemetery.  Here is her blog post about that day.


An Anniversary, And An Interesting Find
In the summer of 2012, I came across a beautifully written blog about the history of our area (you can find it HERE), and struck up what has become a great friendship with the writer.  On our first outing together was just over a year ago; we struck out to try and find a small cemetery that didn’t exist on any maps; the historical websites listed a couple of interments, but no coordinates on how to find it, so we set off with only a general suggestion of the area from someone who claimed to have come across the stones years before.  Needless to say we were unsuccessful; but that trip has opened the door to dozens of other excursions and finds that I otherwise would never have viewed, so I am extremely thankful for it :).



Last weekend at the Columbia Mine ceremony, I noticed two lakes on the map named Loveless Lake and Old Massey Lake that were not too far from the area we were originally searching, so I asked refuge manager Bill McCoy if he knew how the lakes had gotten their names, and that we were searching for a cemetery with a similar name.  To my surprise, he said he knew exactly where it was!  He pointed out the location on the map I had and I immediately pulled out my phone and sent Rose a text so we could set up another excursion.  Inexplicably, the area is next to a lake named Indian Hill Lake (because of an indian burial mound in the area), and NOT next to Loveless or Old Massey Lakes, but we were determined to find it for once and for all.


So today, despite the falling temperature and the gusty winds, we set out for parts unknown.  Down the road to Indian Hill Lake and around, we were excited to see lots of deer, coyote, and even bobcat tracks!  There were several dead fish in the water, and lots of spots around the edge where large fish had been hauled out, scaled, and eaten.  Every ten feet or so, we came across turtle shells, crawfish shells, catfish heads, and all manner of carnivore leftovers.  We followed some animal paths for a ways around the lake but had to forge our own for quite some distance, and I can tell you with great certainty that the briars are alive and well around there!  But finally, we got around the point of the lake to the area we were looking for, and we entered the woods.


We trudged around the ridge for ten minutes or so with no luck and were starting to think we’d never find it, when I looked down and noticed…vinca, everywhere!  Vinca vine, sometimes called periwinkles because of the pretty blue flowers it has in the spring.  Vinca is often a clue that you’re near an old cemetery; I’ve read that it was planted as a groundcover, to mark the graves of infants, because it has a religious significance, or several other reasons depending on who you’re talking to…but we knew when we saw it that we were close!  After our excitement renewed and we searched just a little farther…


…and WE FOUND IT!!!   This is the stone of James S. Loveless, b 9-9-1865 d 1-1-1901.  It’s the only stone we found, but we think perhaps we’ll revisit in early spring once the winter weather has mashed down all of the now freshly-fallen leaves, maybe we’ll see others then.  Of last report, there were three stones remaining; but it was so cool to finally find this!  I signed up for an account on newspaperarchive.com to see if there were any mentions of James or how he passed but have not yet been able to locate anything; but I’m thinking I might use some excerpts from those old papers here from time to time because they’re just plain interesting.



If you happen to be searching for it yourself, here’s a map of about where you’ll find it; it’s on the very edge of Sycamore land, and when you’re standing at James’ stone, you can see the edge of the field that is on the private land just to the west.  The large lake in the center of the photo is Indian Hill Lake on the Sycamore maps.  Once we get a warmer day, I believe we’ll be heading back to see if we can get a glimpse of the deer, coyotes, and bobcats we saw such evidence of on the lake edge…but until then, have a great weekend!!

Edit: If you’re heading out that way and GPS coordinates would help, this should get you close: 38.376707,-87.311335.  Be sure to wear some orange, because the private land immediately adjacent is a hunting camp and they have blinds/stands set up on the edge of the field just feet away from the stone(s).  And be prepared for briars!!!!