Letter: Remembering, experiences with brooms


Reference the Kitch Remembers article on yard brooms in the August 2 edition of the Chronicle:

I got quite a chuckle out of this and wanted to comment on my experience with the brooms. Growing up at Thornwell in the early 50's, I got to put these brooms to good use, but we referred to them as "brush brooms," since this essentially is what they were. 

The housemother in the Georgia-Beatie home during my grammar school years there liked to keep us busy and out of trouble by daily rearranging the dirt in our back yard. There were very few leaves to sweep up because we had a crew of older boys that did this on a routine basis, and they used real live metal rakes, much to our envy. There were usually a comment or two when these yard crews came by like "man, I can't wait until I get older and get me one of those rakes." 

She outlined a particular piece of the yard she wanted swept, and we had to do this before she'd allow us to play "scrub," a baseball game we enjoyed. Scrub is another story in itself.

I'm not sure how the mill hill mamas made their brooms, or where they got them, but ours were made by a lady that lived behind Thornwell's chicken house and back pasture, between the creek and the road running adjacent to the railroad track. I seem to remember she worked in our campus laundry. She simply cut some sturdy branches out of some young trees or bushes and tied them together with heavy twine or small rope in a couple locations on the brooms. 

Every so often, 2 or 3 of us boys would be dispatched by the housemother to go down and bring back as many of the brush brooms as we could carry. I'm sure that was quite a sight as the townies in Clinton watched us drag those bushes back to campus. I don't know the financial arrangements that were made for the purchase of the brooms, as we were never given money.

There was not a good side to us having to use the brush brooms to sweep the yard since when they began to wear out, the housemother had us save some of the sturdier limbs for, you guessed it ... switches!

Anyway Tommy, thanks for this walk down memory lane, albeit an unpleasant one.


Jeff Raines

Thornwell and PC, 1951-1968

My Clinton News

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