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Jun 21, 2012
12:00 PM

Memories of a Water Hand Pump in the Deep South

Visiting her grandma's home in rural Alabama one summer, a young mom and her two little kids were captivated by an old-fashioned iron relic

Memories of a Water Hand Pump in the Deep South

The summer of the year that I was approximately 28 years old with two young children, a son age 7 and a daughter age 3, was my first time being in the Deep South as an adult, a parent – and my children's first experience being in the south. We went to visit my grandmother's home in the rural southern area of Demopolis, Ala.

There, in her front yard, was a solid iron, old-fashioned hand pump for pumping water. I had never pumped water and, of course, my children were awestruck that such an animal existed. They tried hard to pump the water up. They tried several times and finally they asked me to help them. Needless to say, I couldn't do it either – as I had never pumped water. After my grandmother stopped laughing, she showed us how to prime the pump to allow the water to flow. My children were just fascinated that this "old" lady was strong enough to bring water up from the ground through this big iron monster called a "pump."

Of course, they enjoyed the very different-tasting and very cool cup of water on that 90-degree-plus hot day. They played with that pump all during the visit – until my son finally was victorious in getting water up from the ground.

That summer was over a quarter century ago. Grandmother Agnes has been an ancestor for many moons, I am now approaching the elder status and my children are middle-aged adults. Funny how certain events in your life never escape your memory.

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