This morning when I woke up I thought of the sounds from my childhood.

The rooster crowing, telling everyone to begin their day.

The sound of dogs barking.

Birds chirping their different songs.

The sound of a heavy skillet being laid down on a burner. Then the sizzling of bacon or sausage.

The heavy sound of biscuit dough being plopped over on the flour covered counter. Then flattened with a rolling pin.

The sound of the oven door opening and closing checking on the biscuits.

Gravy being stirred in the skillet that cooked the meat.

The screen door opening and closing as the dogs went in or out.

The sound of juice being poured into glasses. I don’t think they ever drank coffee.

If it was springtime, the man who plowed up garden spaces going past the house. His horses clip-clopping down the road.

Food being scooped onto plates. Silverware being laid down.

Insects buzzing against window screens.

The sound of chores beginning.

Garden hoes hitting the earth to loosen weeds from hard red dirt.

The scratching sound of cicadas as the day heated up. Did you know that you can hear groups of cicadas from more than a mile away?

At lunch, more sounds in the kitchen. Tomatoes and cucumbers being sliced. Leftovers being heated up or sandwiches being made. I loved meatloaf sandwiches.

Glasses of iced tea finding their place on the table.

The sound of dishes being washed before my grannies went back outdoors to continue garden chores.

When the hoes and bonnets were put away for the day, they went back inside to prepare supper.

Reaching for well worn aprons.

The sound of grease heating up in the skillet. Okra frying. Potatoes being turned.

As the day waned I recall the sound of trains in the distance. Clickety-clack, clickety-clack was the sound they made hurtling over the train tracks. Rushing somewhere into the evening.

The many sounds of everyday lives being lived.

Close your eyes and see if you can recall the warm weather sounds you heard years ago.

“In every sound, the hidden silence sleeps.”

― Dejan Stojanovic

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25 Comments

  1. Laying out on the blanketed grassy meadow with a light breeze floating through the blades of grass and wild flowers and hearing in the near distance skyward the sound of a small plane going by, eyes shut so the sun won’t make my eyes water…

    or the waves crashing on the shore, sun beating on my skin children screaming with joy splashing in the ocean, the smell of salty ocean air and staying long enough to watch the sun slowly sink into the horizon. Oh ya, those were the days…

  2. Hi. Late to the gathering but I’ll add some memories. You mention your grannies wearing bonnets when they worked in the garden. There were some elderly ladies in my semi-rural community, in the early 1960’s, who did wear old-fashioned bonnets and cotton dresses while working in their gardens. They resembled Granny Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies, actually. My own grandma was a bit more modern and wore cotton tops with what we called “pedal pushers,” but now are called capri pants. She wore Keds tennis shoes with no laces so that she could get in and out of them quickly. Instead of a bonnet, she wore a straw hat she got on a vacation in Florida, and it had little plastic trinkets on it in shapes such as flamingos, starfish and palm trees. She worked very hard but everything she did was a bit messy, but she didn’t care. She grew the ugliest gnarly tomatoes, but when the rough places were trimmed off they tasted so delicious. She fried everything in bacon grease so the food, be it eggs or chicken or pancakes, was covered in little brown and black bits of the bacon and looked sort of grubby. But it all tasted good! She was the oldest of 11 children, then had five children of her own, and dozens of grandchildren and nephews and nieces, so she saw her main job as feeding a lot of hungry people. Quantity rather than quality was her goal! Thanks to everyone for sharing such memories.

  3. Nostalgia at it’s best. A lot of my memories revolve around food and meals. Good old southern cooking. I can clearly remember my grandmother making biscuits and I couldn’t wait for them to be done and add honey to them. Best warm from the oven.

  4. Many of the lovely sounds from childhood I now get to hear while living here in our small country town … neighbor’s screen doors slapping shut, church bells ringing each evening, the noon whistle sounding from our town square, trains and train horns slowly making their way thru our town, neighbors’ chickens and roosters clucking and crowing, the wonderful smell of neighbors’ grilling dinner outside, lawns being mowed, gardens bring tilled in Spring. Such lovely sounds!

  5. Beautiful memories for me as well. Other childhood sounds of bicycle spokes with a playing card attached with a clothespin, the slap of a ball landing in the pocket of a broken in glove, the ice cream truck coming down the street, the calls from hide and seek at dusk, hearing the whoosh of the brakes on the bus as it stopped to let my mom off from work. If only I could go back for a minute to revisit them.

  6. That’s my main memory, too. I recently read an article that the writer called them “back to school bugs.” Makes sense, doesn’t it?

  7. I remember all the sounds from my open window in the summertime. No AC back then, and now I can’t live without it due to my breathing difficulties. I really miss all those lovely sounds.
    And I used to love to wake up to the wonderful smells of my Mother fixing breakfast. In our tiny house, only about 700 square feet, it would be filled with the aromas of bacon and sausage links frying, along with biscuits baking.
    Thank you for reminding me of these sweet memories today, Brenda. Your blog post brought it all back for me. Again, thank you. Your writing is such a gift!

  8. Lovely memories of summer! I honestly can’t remember a lot regarding sounds of childhood except for when we lived in Kentucky for a few years and sleeping with the windows open on cool summer nights and hearing all the crickets lulling me to sleep. I still love the sound of crickets at night. There’s lots of cicadas here right now too and I love their noise every evening. I know a lot of people don’t like that noise, but it doesn’t bother me and simply reminds me of summer.

  9. What I would like more than anything right now is for it to get cool enough at night to be able to open a window. Fresh air, feel a breeze.

  10. When August comes, the sound of crickets chirping through the night is so comforting to me. I love the sound of an old fashioned lawn sprinkler too. Even the sound of a lawn mower buzzing away is a sound that I find enjoyable.

  11. What beautiful memories and written so beautifully! Brings back being in my grandmother’s kitchen and being in her garden with her. Oh this makes me miss those time so much. Thank you for sharing such sweet and precious times.
    Nancy~

  12. I loved the sound of cicadas and crickets at night when I was young. Now I hear them 24/7 due to tinnitus, LOL. The sound of a screen door opening and shutting with a slap… I still hear that at our little cottage by the sea and it reminds me of my youth and summer, which was always my favorite season. Now I tend to enjoy Fall more. We occasionally hear the Essex stream train whistle way off in the distance, such a mournful sound, reminiscent of simpler times.

  13. My summer memories came flooding back to me while reading yours. I remember going to sleep all year with the rhythmic sound of steady loud pounding from the tool works plant in our town a couple of blocks from our house. Fire sirens warning of air raid practice during WW2. Visiting my grandparents and listening to cars going over the plank floored bridge on the river near by. Katydids buzzing, as we called them. The courthouse clock chiming the hour on the town square. Church bells ringing all over town on Sunday’s. In those days there wasn’t much traffic on our street, when a car went past everyone looked up to see who it was. Then it seems like in a flash, everything changed and became a cacophony of electronic noise.

  14. Beautiful words bring a flood of memories back! My parents always had a cuckoo clock. I had to add one to our home when we got married. I miss the hourly church bells ringing from up the street, the fog horn on the Chesapeake Bay and the trains in the distance. A few years ago my neighbor got some chickens and I love hearing them! Just this Spring a neighbor 3 doors down got 5 chickens and a surprise rooster! They asked their next door neighbor if the noise bothered them. I enjoy hearing him also! I enjoy seeing the fox but not hearing them at night. Have a peaceful day!

  15. You mentioned the train. My most peaceful, comforting sound was that same one. On hot summer afternoons, at grandma’s house (she lived right in back of us), while sitting on a window seat in her dining room, reflecting on where it was going and how nice it was for me to be safely inside.

  16. Ah, Brenda, raising memories and seasonal experiences. Sounds in common in many areas, urban, exurban and rural. The birds starting to chirp before 4 a.m. in high summer – right outside my bedroom window, LOL! The sound of crickets all through the night who only go silent when some kind of predator comes alone or they otherwise sense danger. And once past, the chorus slowly starts up again. I only hear them when I have my bedroom windows cracked open and the AC isn’t on. The bzzzzzz of a frantic fly who made the mistake of coming into the house when I opened the patio door or driveway door to go outside or come back in. The cicadas are everywhere, they started buzzing here maybe about 10 days ago – August must be their month. The fireflies don’t make a sound but their iconic flashing in the summer is magical. In my quiet residential area, the lonesome sound of the train whistle in the middle of the night can be heard from miles away – the nearest tracks are at least 4 miles away, and I can still hear them clear as the church bells that still ring out the hours and half hours around the neighborhood. The sounds of muffled conversations and laughter drifting in through the windows or over neighboring fences as people gather and relax outside. And in the still of the night, how far away I can hear a siren from, or the distant hum of car wheels on the highway. Thunder rumbling miles away from a slowly approaching storm. And the sound of rain blowing against the windows during a fierce storm or pounding on the roof during a downpour. The sound of lawn mowers, and chain saws, and hedge trimmers and lawn edgers. The sound of water from the sprinkler hitting against the side of the house as I’m deep watering the flower beds and lawns. The sounds of my grunting and heavy breathing as I’m sawing, hacking, pulling, pushing, stretching, bending, digging, and trying to get up from my knees without a wall to lean against, the never-ending dance of the gardener’s ballet. Maybe some day some enterprising person will record all of these sounds from various people and yards and weave them together into a summer symphony.

  17. I remember those at my greatmothers house in country.
    Life was so layed back, no hustle, bustle.
    I cherish those memories

  18. Brenda,
    What a moving post. You are such a talented writer. I love your blog. Please stay with us,your many admiring readers, during these dark times. You bring rays of light and hope.

    Marilynn

  19. Oh what nostalgia! I grew up in the suburbs, so no rooster waking me up.
    The sounds of breakfast are similar to yours. Our vegetable garden was on rented land a few miles away, and we worked in it in the evening. We lived a block away from a park and the chorus of the cicadas were soothing, as was being lulled to sleep at night with the trains passing by another block away, across the creek. Such a simpler time of life and I cherish those memories!

  20. As a child I grew up in a very loving home in an urban neighborhood! The sounds I heard were my father getting ready for work and my mother getting ready to prepare breakfast for me and my 2 sisters and my brother. The sound of the milkman bringing the milk and other dairy products to the house and leaving them in a special insulated box at the front door. The smell of the sweet summer day. Summer was my favorite time of year. I never really like school so summer was so special. I could wake up when I wanted and of course I was very attached to my mother and loved being home with her! Playing all day with my siblings and neighborhood friends. So many happy memories!

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