louise booth webb

Louise Booth Webb

Hughesville, MD – Talking to Louise Booth Webb is like talking to an old friend.

The Charles County native grew up in hard times. Her mother passed when she was seven years old in 1931. Her father, seeking work, left his family of five in the care of his parents who owned a 200-acre farm in Bryantown. The results of these circumstances, she acknowledged, were more of a blessing than tragedy.

Webb, 92, is still more than willing to talk of her childhood and the gift of good grandparents. Every weekend she can be found at the Hughesville Bargain Barn in a booth, selling her small book, “Life on the Farm with Grandma and Grandpa.”

“I’ve sold over 200 copies so far,” she gushed.

“I know they taught us many survival skills,” Webb said of her grandparents, George and Mellie Booth. “When my father first married we lived in Fort Washington in a one-room schoolhouse. When my mother passed, we came to a 10-room house, which was unusual for us.

“There wasn’t money to buy anything,” she recalled. “There was no electricity. At least we had a pump in the yard. People back then, they bartered. They shared food. People were a lot closer then.”

George Booth harvested vegetables from his large farm and raised turkeys, ducks, pigs, chickens and cows and would travel to Washington, DC to sell his produce. Webb said she learned a great deal from her paternal grandmother Mellie.

“If she had just a little bit of food, she knew how to stretch it better than anyone,” Webb recalled. “We had plenty of potatoes, onions and pork. My grandmother would take day-old biscuits and use them for dumplings. Or she’d take old biscuits and crumble them up with an egg and make pancakes. My grandmother taught me so much in the kitchen,” she added.

Webb’s self-published book is an easy read in large print, published by Harambee Productions Inc. in White Plains. She details everything from hog killing to how her grandfather served in a pinch as a blacksmith for his neighbors and his own horses.

Her book is full of stories and reminiscences of a simple country life long forgotten.

“I’ve always eaten well,” she said of her longevity. “Now at my age, I sleep quite a bit. I always say, I’m twelve hours out and twelve hours in. I spend a lot of my time trying new things in the kitchen and sometimes I’ll just call people out of the clear blue sky. I get out my phone book and sometimes I start at the As and sometimes I start at the Zs.”

Webb can be found every weekend from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Bargain Barn. Pay her a visit and you’ll be glad you did.

Contact Joseph Norris at joe.norris@thebaynet.com