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Picking Cotton By Hand In The South

Author:

Mary likes to write about her life growing up in the country, and sharing all those good times.

I Picked Cotton For $1.00 A Pound

I have not thought of picking cotton in the deep south for many years. One day recently I was in my neighborhood grocery store and looked over at their display of cut flowers. They always have a good selection of different flowers arranged in bouquets. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. I just like to look at the pretty flowers, especially the roses. I could not believe my eyes! There were sprigs of cotton for sale. Yes, cotton! I looked closer, thinking they must be fake; maybe a plastic of some sort. I gently touched one of the cotton bolls filled with white material. It was soft and fluffy. It was truly real cotton! I bought a sprig, and carefully brought it home. I placed it in a vase where it would be safe. It was a found treasure to me. I have not seen cotton in many years except growing in fields when I would pass through southern states on my way to somewhere up north.

A Girl Like Me Picking Cotton

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Children Picked Cotton

When I looked at the sprig of cotton, it was as though years melted away. I was once again a little girl picking cotton. It would be called child labor now, but back then all the children worked in the fields during the summer time when school was out. We didn’t have summer vacations like the school children have now. We worked, and we worked very hard. I don’t think we looked on this as being labor. It was expected of us to do our share of the work, not only for our own family, but to earn money for the family. I can’t remember the exact age I was when I first began picking cotton, but I must have been six years old.

Children Picking Coton

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My parents were not cotton farmers. We didn’t have enough land. It requires many acres of land to grow cotton. We grew corn and other vegetables that Mother canned for us to eat. We raised cows, hogs, chickens, and goats. The cows and the goats were used for their milk. The chickens supplied all the eggs we needed, plus enough extra to sell at market. The young chickens supplied our Sunday dinner. The hogs were butchered so we would have plenty of ham, bacon and sausage to eat.

There were plenty of cotton farmers in our area. When the cotton was ready to be harvested, the farmers hired extra hands to pick the cotton. Laborers have now been replaced by machines that are driven into the fields, and the machines harvest the cotton. These machines were introduced in the '50's to harvest the cotton crops.

The cotton flower is very pretty. It’s has a pinkish color. After it finishes blooming the cotton appears.

The Cotton Flower

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A Sunbonnet Like The One I Wore To Pick Cotton

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We Wore Sunbonnets And Dresses To Pick Cotton

When I picked cotton I remember going into the field to work wearing the sunbonnet my Mother made for me. This kept the hot sun off the back of my neck, and also had a broad brim to keep the sun off my face. I’m sure you have watched episodes of “Little House On the Prairie”, and seen the girls dressed just like I used to dress. Girls back then were not allowed to wear pants or shorts. It was not lady-like. We wore cotton dresses that our Mothers made from flour sacks.

The Cotton Still In The Boll

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Working In The Cotton Fields

When we got to the field to work, each person was given a big sack to hold the cotton as it was picked. These were just big sacks with a strap that went over the shoulder. That left both hands free to pick. No one wore gloves. I can still feel the soft cotton between my fingers. The boll that holds the cotton is quite sharp, and by the end of the day, our fingers were very sore. The secret is to just pluck the cotton out of the boll without getting stuck by the sharp boll. We had a great rhythm doing this. When both hands were full of cotton, it went into the sack. When the sack became full, we emptied it out on our own blanket. Everyone had their own blanket that we spread out before we started picking.

I remember the cotton field as a happy place. We all sang as we picked. We usually sang spiritual songs. We could sing as loud as we wanted, and no one would complain. The grownups picked right alongside the children in the fields, but of course, they always got ahead of us children in the rows, because they were much faster than we were. I remember seeing young Mothers with their babies strapped on their backs. When the baby got hungry, the Mother stopped and allowed it to nurse. Then she would go right back to work. There were stories of women having their babies right there in the cotton fields, but I never saw that.

At noon, we would hear the dinner bell. We called the noontime meal dinner , not lunch. What a wonderful sound that was. I can still hear it. We would put down our sacks, and run for the farmhouse. In looking back, I wonder how the farmer’s wife prepared all the food she did for all the workers. There would be fresh vegetables, cornbread, and always some kind of meat. She always made a lot of iced sweet tea. There could be as many as 50 workers on any day, but there was always enough food to go around. We sat on the ground, and ate like pigs. We had an hour to eat and rest before another bell rang to tell us it was time to go back to the fields.

At 5 p.m. another bell would sound. That was the best sound of all. That meant we were through for the day. We would gather up our blankets full of cotton. We placed a hard knot at the top so that no cotton could fall out. Then we would wait for the farmer and his helpers to come around with the scales and weigh our precious haul. I remember we were paid a penny a pound for the cotton we picked. Some of the men could pick over 200 pounds of cotton a day. I never picked more than 100 pounds. We were paid one cent a pound! So the most I ever made in for a full days work was $1.00.


I Have Happy Memories Of My Childhood When I Picked Cotton

Now when I look at the sprig of cotton in the vase I am transported back to a time in my life when I was a happy child. I am once again picking cotton in the fields of the south.

My Sprig Of Cotton That I Treasure

A Great Hub By paulkuehn On Growing Up On A Farm

  • Moral Lessons Learned From Growing Up on a Farm
    Growing up on a farm gave me the experience to learn valuable moral lessons for life. These valuable lessons include the importance of hard work, the value of money, self-sufficency, teamwork, generosity, austerity, and the enduring of inconvenience.

If you enjoyed reading about my picking cotton in the South, please rate it by using the Stars below.

Thank you very much.

Video On Picking Cotton

Good Books On Amazon About Picking Cotton

© 2011 Mary Hyatt

Comments

Patti on September 22, 2017:

Thank you for sharing your wonderful childhood story. I love it when I hear stories from Adults that look back at their childhood with fondness, and appreciation instead of with anger and resentment. You have brought to light some history that was unknown to me. Thank You.

Larry on May 02, 2016:

Great story. You nailed my childhood. Fond memories of hard work with little pay. Thanks

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on July 03, 2015:

Welcome, Tracie. It thrills me to know you gained information from my article that you needed!!

Tracie on July 02, 2015:

Thank you. This provided just the background information I needed.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on June 17, 2015:

Good Morning, Jodah Thanks so much. Those were the days of hard work, but a happy childhood. I am so far behind reading your work; sorry. I have a dog that just went blind from Glaucoma, and spend my free time tending to her and training her. Good to see you, Mary

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on June 16, 2015:

What an excellent hub Mary. This was an enthralling story and I enjoyed reading about your times picking cotton.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on May 25, 2015:

CatherineGiordano I am so happy you enjoyed my story of my growing up on a farm and how I picked cotton. It was a hard life, but a good life.

Thanks so much for the votes and shares. Happy Memorial Day. Mary

Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on May 25, 2015:

I absolutely loved your story of growing up on a farm and picking cotton. I'm a city girl and know nothing of this. I'm voting up, H+ and Interesting. Great job. And I am so happy you found a sprig of cotton to remind you of your happy childhood.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on May 17, 2015:

PurvisBobbi44 (Bobbi), how nice of you to come back and reread about my picking cotton in the South, and for the shares and the Pin. I appreciate your taking the time. Goodnight, Mary

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on May 17, 2015:

Hi Mary,

I commented on this great hub two years ago and now I am back to share it with Twitter, G+ and pin it on my Re-pin board.

Bobbi Purvis

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on May 17, 2015:

R-Turner I was born in Asheville, N.C. but never picked cotton there. That is a beautiful part of the country! I never earned more than 1.00 a day for picking cotton; what a job that was!

R-Turner on May 17, 2015:

I was raised up on a farm in North Carolina and know a lot about farm life in the 1950s , I can tell you that you only got a few cents per pound for picking cotton maybe one-three cents per pound if you worked all week you were doing good to walk away with twelve to fifteen dollars

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on February 25, 2015:

Hi, Shyron E Shenko So glad you know you were a "cotton picker", too. That was hard work back then, but I had a wonderful life growing up doing all the usual farm stuff. I miss those pecans, too. They are so expensive to buy.

Thanks for reading, commenting, the votes and the share. I appreciate that, Mary

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 25, 2015:

Mary, you brought back so many memories of my childhood, Yes I chopped cotton, picked cotton, on my grandfathers cotton farm in the south. They had all the usual farm animals Horses, Mules, Cows, Chickens and Ducks.

Ohme, we gather pecans, that is if the thieves don't get to them first, they come onto our property and just take the pecans, this year we only got about 5 pounds compared to some years we gathered about over 100.

Wonderful hub. Voted up, UABI and shared.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on August 28, 2014:

Hello, OhMe You won't believe this: I grew up off the Anderson highway. We had a post office box in Pendleton, and my daddy worked at the mill there!! I'm delighted to meet you.

Oh, yes, I picked a lot of cotton. It was hard work, too. I never picked pecans, but we did have a small walnut grove.

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on August 28, 2014:

I really enjoyed reading about your memories of picking cotton by hand. My dad was in textiles so we always had a great appreciation for the cotton pickers. I have picked many a pecan but no cotton. We used to pick pecans all day and earn a nickel. We were proud of it. I think I caught a comment of yours on another post saying that you grew up in Anderson SC. Is that right? I live right down the road from Anderson.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on August 20, 2014:

Good Morning, HBN Oh, yes, the cotton blooms pink and then white. I just love looking out over fields of cotton when they are in bloom. Yes, it was a happy time for me as child, picking cotton in the South!

Thanks so much for reading, commenting, and the share, Mary

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on August 20, 2014:

Hi Mary,

Came back to read this. I love it because your descriptions are so vivid and positive: "I remember the cotton field as a happy place. We all sang as we picked. We usually sang spiritual songs."

One other thing surprised me-- I never realized cotton plants have pretty pink flowers!

Voted up across the board except for funny and shared.

Hugs,

Gail

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on February 18, 2013:

Hi, Mary Liz Ingram. I am so happy you found my article on picking cotton in the South. Now, I'm curious....how do you use cotton for your artwork?

Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Mary

Mary Liz Ingram on February 18, 2013:

I really enjoyed reading your memories of picking cotton! I am a Southern artist and have a large collection of cotton for my artwork, and very much value the history of the South's cotton farming. Thanks for sharing a part of your history!

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on February 17, 2013:

Hi, sacistathos. I can't believe it! Your Mother picked cotton in Anderson, S.C. where I grew up!!!! I haven't been back there for 30 years. I hope you will share my Hub on picking cotton with her.

I'm happy you enjoyed reading about my experience at picking cotton.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, Mary

Staci Stathos from Charleston, SC on February 17, 2013:

Just the other day my mother was telling me about her experience picking cotton when she was a little girl in Anderson, SC. It's interesting that I came across your hub just now, and I enjoyed it.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on February 16, 2013:

Hi, Levertis Steele. Glad I brought back some memories for you with my article on picking cotton.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on February 15, 2013:

This brings back mixed memories of those cotton-picking days! Thanks for sharing your story.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on February 15, 2013:

Hi, Paul. Thanks for finding and reading my Hub on picking cotton. You and I have so much on common: the way we were raised; with a strong work ethic and hard work.

Oh, you just know when the cotton is ready to be picked....it will look just like my photos: white and plump! Then it is hauled away to the cotton gins to be processed. It shouldn't get wet. I think it would "sour".

I enjoyed your Hub so much and I thank you.

Thanks for the votes, the shares, and the Pin. I appreciate that, Mary

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on February 14, 2013:

Mary,

This is an awesome hub and I really enjoyed it. It brings back memories of my brothers and sisters along with my mother picking pickles during the hot months of August so that we would have extra money for school clothes in the 50s. How do you know when the cotton is ready to be picked? Does it have to be completely moisture free? Also, Thanks for linking to my hub. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on January 30, 2013:

Hi, Joy. Thanks for reading and commenting on my Hub about picking cotton. Oh, I spent many days in the blazing hot sun for a cent a pound! I think it helped build my character (at least my mother promised it would).

I'm happy you found my Hub enjoyable, and I thank you for the votes. Mary

Joy Campbell from South Florida on January 30, 2013:

Hi Mary615:

What an enjoyable hub to read. I also have childhood memories of cotton. Not picking, but seeing the fields as we traveled through Georgia from Florida. I also remember in resturants or gas stations they would have sprigs of cotton for sale. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and interesting.

Joy

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on January 21, 2013:

Hi pstraubie48. Good to see you. I glad you found my Hub on picking cotton interesting. I used to pick those mean ole blackberries, too. My Mama made the best pies from the berries.

Thanks so much for reading and for the votes, Mary

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 21, 2013:

Wow, what an interesting story. I grew up in the South but where we lived no cotton was grown. I was surprised that you have such fond memories of picking the cotton as I have spoken with those who told of how painful it is. Must be kind of like me and blackberry picking---I came with scratches and bleeding but never remembered that the next day.

One part that really stands out is that we did work in the summer helping with whatever crop was being planted or gathered in. I did have time to go to the beach in the summers but my sister and I did work with our family too.

Thanks for sharing this. Voted up ++++

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on November 25, 2012:

Hi again, ktrapp. If you ever drive down south in the spring you will see miles and miles of cotton fields in bloom. That is a beautiful sight. I have written Hubs about growing up in the country, but not another one about the cotton fields: good idea, thanks.

Goodnight.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on November 25, 2012:

Mary - I must confess, growing up in the northeast I never knew what cotton really looked like. However, several years ago my mother-in-law living in Texas sent me a Christmas ornament made out of real cotton that had a little crown on top (I believe) and gold string so that it looked like a Christmas angel. Thanks again for the great tale of your younger years in the cotton fields - and let me just add, that it's too bad children really are no longer expected to help out their families when they're off from school. I'm sure you learned so many lessons that you could probably create another entire Hub about life lessons learned in the cotton field :)

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on November 25, 2012:

Hi, ktrapp. It's so nice to see you today. Thanks for reading my Hub about picking cotton in the south. Yes, I couldn't believe this sprig of cotton when I saw it for sale. So many people have never seen cotton the way it grows.

I did have some wonderful memories of growing up in the south and picking cotton! Thanks for the votes, I appreciate that so much. Mary

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on November 25, 2012:

Hi Kenja. So nice to "meet" you here today! I am happy you enjoyed reading about my picking cotton in the south. I thank you for your nice comment. Mary

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on November 25, 2012:

Mary, What a fabulous storyteller you are. I read every word from beginning to end and with all your great descriptions of the bonnets, dresses and sacks it was very easy to paint a picture in my head. I loved how seeing a sprig of cotton transported you back to your childhood and the happy memories of picking cotton. Voted up, awesome and beautiful!

Ken Taub from Long Island, NY on November 25, 2012:

Totally unique, sometimes moving, history-laden, and worthwhile. Very good Mary, thanks for writing this.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on November 24, 2012:

Hi, Bobbi, Thanks for reading and commenting on my Hub about picking cotton. Yes, I did work hard for my 1.00 a pound of cotton. I am still a country gal at heart, too. I had a wonderful life growing up in the country and doing all the things we kids did back then. Hey, we stayed out of trouble, didn't we? We didn't have any spare time!

I'm so happy you liked my Hub, Bobbi.

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on November 24, 2012:

Mary,

I know you must have worked hard at picking cotton. I always wanted to do something like this---when my friends were working in Tobacco-- my Mother would not let me---and of course my Daddy took her side.

But my friends had fun---I did manage to seek away for a Saturday and drive the tractor. I was 14 at the time---just when I thought life was fun and all adults should be put on an Island by themselves.

The sad part is I never grew up---I am still a strong minded Country Girl.

I love your hub.

Bobbi Purvis

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on November 24, 2012:

Hi, Lady E. I am glad you found my Hub on picking cotton in the south interesting. It was hard work, but all the children were expected to pitch in and pick that cotton!

Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary

Elena from London, UK on November 23, 2012:

Very interesting and thanks for including the photo's. It's a nice thing / fun thing for kids to do and would be light to carry - no wonder you were singing. Great share.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on October 16, 2012:

Good Morning, teaches12345. So nice to see you. I'm glad you enjoyed my story of picking cotton in the south. I remember the movie Places of the Heart, that was a great movie. I was fortunate to grow up in a time when children were expected to work (my mother said work would build character).

I was thrilled when a graduate student contacted me for permission to use the info. on this Hub for his Thesis.

My best: have a wonderful day. Mary

Dianna Mendez on October 15, 2012:

This is such a great story. I could picture it all happeninh as I read. It reminds me if the movie Places Of The Heart. What a sweet memory just a twig of cotton brought to you. Blessings.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on October 15, 2012:

Hi, midget38. I wonder if you grow cotton in Singapore?? Picking cotton was just a part of my wonderful growing up in the country the way I did.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting, and the share.

Goodnight, Mary

Michelle Liew from Singapore on October 15, 2012:

This really must have brought fond memories for you, Mary!! Thanks for sharing the days of your childhood. We cannot do without cotton! Will share this wonderful story.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on September 24, 2012:

Hi Barbara Kay. Thanks for reading and I'm so glad you enjoyed my story about picking cotton. It was hard work, that's for sure.

My best, goodnight, Mary

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on September 24, 2012:

Hi, Casimiro, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment on my Hub about picking cotton in the South. It was indeed hard work.

Nice to meet you here, Mary

Barbara Badder from USA on September 24, 2012:

I enjoyed your story and hearing about a different way of life, since I grewup in the North. It saddened me to hear that people were paid so little though, but I guess everyone earned less money back then.

Casimiro on September 24, 2012:

Just about everyone who is older remembers their younger days fondly, but it's selective memory at work. Human brains are wired that way. We picked strawberries, beans, cherries, all sorts of stuff when I was a kid. I don't know if it really built character, we just needed the money! I, for one, am happy to see progress in technology, our lives, and our values.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on September 24, 2012:

Hi, Sharkye11, thanks for reading my Hub on Picking Cotton In The South. That's wonderful that you have seeds that have been passed down in your family. Wonder if your plants will go to seed?

Yes, picking cotton was a big part of my growing up.

Thanks for the vote and the share, I appreciate that, Mary

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on September 24, 2012:

Beautiful Hub! Cotton is such an important part of America, and its story is truly beautiful. I love how you have included your own experiences and all of the great photos.

My family has grown and picked cotton for several generations. We still have seeds that have been passed down from these plants. I planted some this year, and even with a terrible drought, I managed to keep five plants alive long enough to make small bolls.

Voting up and sharing!

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on August 15, 2012:

Hi, thoughtfulgirl2, thanks for reading and commenting on my Hub about picking cotton. Yes, children were expected to work in the fields back then. We didn't lay around like kids do today. I think it helped to build character, but I wouldn't want my kids or grandchildren to have to work as hard as we did.

I don't remember when machines began to harvest the cotton. I'd have to look that up!

Thanks so much for the compliment on my Hub, and the votes, Mary

Claudia Smaletz from East Coast on August 15, 2012:

This hub was interesting and I am curious when the picking of cotton started being done by machines. Maybe it was a good thing that children were given something to do and expected to do it. Six to eight hours seems like a long time in the field for a kid though. Great photos, voted up.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on August 14, 2012:

Hi, Denise, I'm so happy you liked my Hub about picking cotton! I haven't thought of that bollweevil song in ages! I remember it well. Cotton fields are beautiful especially when they are in bloom.

Thanks for reading, commenting, the votes and the share!

Mary

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on August 14, 2012:

OMG-what a cool hub! I loved it, Mary. I had planned on writing one about this subject because it so fascinates me to see these crop and pop up every fall. I recall growing up with the song, The Bollweevle (spelling?) and wondered what it would be like to see a cotton 'ball' growing on top of a plant, like a flower. I feel blessed that I was able to actually experience the crops now, even if I have not experienced the picking exper. like you have. Thanks for sharing. Rated ;up/across-just b/c it was such a fun hub as well, it tickled me; and shared.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on August 14, 2012:

Hi, Jools99, I've picked strawberries, too. We grow those here in S. Fl. I can't grown them, but we go to strawberry fields to get fresh berries. They are so good in a pie!

Yes, I treasure that sprig of cotton that reminds me of my picking cotton.

I'm so glad you enjoyed my Hub, Mary

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on August 14, 2012:

Good Morning, Martie, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment on my Picking Cotton in the South. I had a good life growing up; I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything!

Thanks so much for the votes, Mary

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on August 14, 2012:

Hi Kubarry03, You are so right. Things have changed a lot since I was growing up. We worked hard, but you know, it didn't hurt us one bit! I'm grateful for my upbringing. But honestly, I wouldn't want my children or grandchildren to have to work as hard as I did.

Thanks so much for the votes, and for the share, I appreciate that, Mary

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on August 14, 2012:

Mary, loved your story about picking cotton as a child. We can't grow it over here and the closest I have ever come to this is picking strawberries on vacation (and that wasn't work - it was for dessert after our tea). I think your little sprig of cotton is a pretty little thing and it's nice that it brought back some happy memories and that we got to benefit from it through your telling your story :o)

Martie Coetser from South Africa on August 14, 2012:

Awesome memories! You've pulled me in; I could 'feel' the environment and the emotions you must have had. Thanks for sharing, Mary! Voted up across the board :)

KDuBarry03 on August 14, 2012:

Hey Mary! Wow, this is very interesting! Yeah, you are absolutely right: back before child labor laws were enacted, this was expected not only in the South, but working for the family was expected of all children. It really goes to show how generations change as a culture grows :)

Fascinating hub, by the way! Voted up and shared!

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on July 03, 2012:

Hi there, snowdrops. I can't tell where you are from.....snow country maybe???? I never heard of a cotton tree. That's so interesting: you mentioned sleeping on it????

Thanks for reading!

snowdrops from The Second Star to the Right on July 03, 2012:

wow, this is very fascinating Mary. I never seen a cotton flower before, we have cotton trees here, but its rougher and it grows very tall and big, like a tree. we call it "duldul". It's rough but its better than sleeping on a carton.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on June 14, 2012:

Hi Randy Godwin, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment on my Hub about picking cotton in the South. We grew peanuts too, but not tobacco. Picking cotton is a hard job as you know, but my Mother used to say it would "build my character". Maybe it did, who knows??? It was hard work, but it was fun, too! Thans so much for the vote, Randy.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on June 14, 2012:

Thanks goodness we didn't grow much cotton on our farm and instead grew peanuts and tobacco--not that tobacco was a cakewalk at all--when I was a child. But now, almost the entire farm is planted in the stuff. Not by us, as we simply lease out the land now.

I remember picking cotton by hand only part of one day. This was enough for me to realize I didn't care for it much. LOL!

Enjoyed your memories of the time, though. Rated up, Mary!

SSSSS

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on June 14, 2012:

Hi larawieck, I'm not sure if cotton was grown in Cuba; might be too tropical , I'm just not sure. Would be fun to do some research on that! I always wanted to see Cuba; I understand it was a beautiful place. I have several friends who came here from Cuba and miss their country terribly. Thanks for reading!

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on June 14, 2012:

Hi Jamie, I've never had the opportunity of going to Louisiana. I've heard it's a beautiful state. I'm glad you knew about cotton and the cotton fields. Thanks for reading and commenting.

klarawieck on June 14, 2012:

Mary, I grew up in Cuba and although I'm sure they grew cotton, I never actually saw it. But I remember as a child standing on my balcony and watching the little fluffs of white fly past me. My mother would tell me that they were little pieces of cotton. I assumed that birds would pick on the actual plant to build their nests, but I never saw the actual plants. Of course, across from where we lived there was a huge abandoned Spanish colonial park that housed all sorts of native plants. I was just doing a search for cotton fields in Cuba and can't find a thing, but I'm sure there were plantations at one point. It would be an interesting topic to research.

Thanks for this... now you got me all riled up on cotton!

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on June 14, 2012:

I lived in Louisiana for a spell, it was my first introduction to the cotton plant and cotton fields. Jamie

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on June 14, 2012:

Hi, klarawieck, thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my Hub about picking cotton in the south. Thanks, too, for the nice compliment, and I'm so happy you enjoyed reading about the cotton. Hope you have a great day!

klarawieck on June 14, 2012:

Mary, I've enjoyed reading about your childhood and your memories about the times you spent picking cotton. This is a unique experience, and I'm so glad you got to share it with us. The video is beautiful as well, and just looking at that gorgeous field of white, I can't imagine not feeling joy at being immersed in there, picking the soft material with your bare fingers. Beautiful hub!

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on April 12, 2012:

Hi, Bobbi, nice to see you this evening! Most kids now a days have never seen cotton growing. I can imagine how thrilled your class was to see cotton. When I brought home that stalk of cotton from the grocery store, my grandkids talked about it for days. Thanks for reading and commenting on my Hub about picking cotton in the south. See you again soon, I hope. Goodnight.

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on April 12, 2012:

Hi Mary,

You have taken me to place I have never been to actually work in cotton, and I was born in the South.

My Grandparents had a huge farm, but never planted cotton.

I visited with my grandmother's relatives in Georgia once, and I walked in a field of cotton, and took some to my first grade class to "Show and Tell" it was a big deal for us.

Thanks for Sharing,

Your Hub Friend,

Bobbi

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on March 24, 2012:

Hi there, stars439. Thanks for reading about my picking cotton in the south. Those were the good ole days! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about it. Goodnight.

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on March 24, 2012:

Wonderful look into the life of cotton picking dear heart. God Bless You Precious heart.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on January 23, 2012:

Good Morning, HBN. It's so nice to see you today! Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, you are right, maybe we don't ask enough of our children. We country kids had no choice in whether we worked or not. See you again, soon.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on January 22, 2012:

Great hub,

I love the way you transported us back in time so that it felt we were right there with you picking cotton.

I think children are capable of doing much more than we usually expect of them and the story you wrote here proves that point.

Thanks for sharing this part of your childhood with us.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on January 22, 2012:

Hi Perspycacious, Thanks so much for reading my Hub, and for the nice compliment. I like to think that working hard as a youngster picking cotton and other responsibilities helped make me the person I am today. Your children understood about working hard by working in your restaurant, and getting a good eduation. Good for them! Good for you for teaching them good work ethic. Thanks so much sharing with Twitter and FB. I really appreciate that. It's so nice to have you as a Hub friend!

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on January 22, 2012:

Hi, Peggy W, thanks so much for reading and commenting on my Hub about me picking cotton in the South. Yes, it's all done by machine now, and I guess it has been for a long time. I do have lasting good memories of my picking cotton. I was a lucky gal! Goodnight.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on January 22, 2012:

Lunch, dinner, supper: My mother claims that the big meal of the day is dinner (whether it is served at lunchtime or suppertime, but that determines the alternate choice, so that lunch and supper define something other than dinner. Folks who have done haying in the summer sun learned a work ethic, too. Our children learned it washing dishes/pots/pans in our restaurant. All of them decided that getting a good education was their way out, and are succssful today with a respect for hard, honest work. Great hub. Sharing on my twitter and facebook links.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 22, 2012:

Hi Mary,

When I was a teenager in south Texas the cotton was mostly picked by machine and the trucks transporting the cotton to gins would leave the sides of the roads white (almost like snow) with some cotton that had blown out of the trucks. Your hub brought back that memory for me. Sounds like you had a good time working with your family as a child in the cotton fields. Thanks for your shared memories.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on December 20, 2011:

Hi, moonlake! Thanks for reading my Hub on Picking Cotton in the South! So happy you could relate to my story since you've picked cotton too. So sweet you still have the sun bonnets your Grandmother made. What a treasure. Wish I still had mine. Goodnight.

moonlake from America on December 20, 2011:

I had not seen your cotton picking hub. I also picked cotton when I was a teen. Some of my family owned cotton fields.

I love cotton, we went to all the cotton gins until we found a bail of cotton to bring home, they make minuture ones. I keep mine in the living room.

I also have the bonnets. My grandmother made mine.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on December 16, 2011:

Good Evening, oceansnsunsets. So nice to see you again! I'm glad you enjoyed reading about my childhood days of picking cotton in the deep south. I'm so happy you can appreciate my background, and I have to tell you I did have a wonderful childhood, hard work and all. It made me the person I am today who, like you, appreciate life and the beauty of life every day. You just made my day, you know if my story has blessed you in some small way. Thanks for the votes, too. You are a dear, sweet person. Goodnight.

Paula from The Midwest, USA on December 16, 2011:

Hello Mary, I am so touched by this story. I absolutely love how you found the new cotton treasure and put it in a vase, and then told about your experience in cotton fields. This is just precious and so wonderful on so many levels. I am just so impressed with what you did from a young girl on up, I can't even begin to explain. To do all of that, then to get paid a penny a pound is just amazing! It makes me appreciate life and hard work and the value of a dollar, all the more, just reading this hub. How wonderful, thank you so much for sharing this!

I hope you continue to keep writing for a long time. :) Voted up and everything but funny. It may sound goofy to say this, but I feel blessed having read this story. Thank you.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on December 10, 2011:

Homesteadbound: I totally agree with you. Young people now a days are so spoiled. The cotton would rot in the fields if farmers had to wait for the young people to pick it! Good night, and thanks again!

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on December 10, 2011:

I know that being poor and having to work hard like that did help shape my character.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on December 10, 2011:

Hi, homesteadbound! Good to see you.. Thanks for reading my story about picking cotton in the south. Yes, working in the fields is hard work, buy don't you think it helped shape our character? I do. That's great that you still have your sunbonnet. Regards, Mary

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on December 10, 2011:

mary615 - I have not picked cotton, but I have chopped or hoed many a field of cotton and many other crops during my summer "vacation", sometimes as long as 12 hours a day. I too enjoyed this kind of work.

I still have one of the sunbonnets that my grandmother made me, a red and white gingham check.

I still sometimes call my meals dinner and supper instead of lunch and dinner.

Great hub!

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on December 06, 2011:

Hello, hello, thanks for reading. A lot of people never wonder where cotton comes from. They just know it's a fabric. It was a good life as a child picking cotton in the south! Goodnight.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on December 06, 2011:

Wow, that was such a wonderful introduction to a world I never knew. I heard about cotton picking but didn't know so many details which you described so well.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on December 05, 2011:

Good Evening, Sueswan! Thanks for reading, and for the votes! Yes the cotton flower is very pretty. When the field are all in bloom, all you see for miles is pink! So glad you enjoyed my story on picking cotton. Goodnight.

Sueswan on December 05, 2011:

Hi Mary

I enjoyed your story very much.

I have never seen a cotton flower. It is very pretty.

Voted up, up and away!

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on December 05, 2011:

Hello, again Angelladywriter! I thought you were a southern gal! I never lived where tobacco grew, so I never worked in that. We did learn the value of hard work back then, didn't we? It didn't hurt us one little bit. Bye for now.

Claudette Coleman Carter from Media, Pennsylvania on December 05, 2011:

Hi mary615,

I am from the south. My cotton picking days as well as stringing tobacco, made me understand the value of hard work. I also loved your photos. They really took me back to those days. Keep up the good hubs!

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on December 05, 2011:

Good Morning, Angelladywriter! You have made me so happy today with your comment about my picking cotton. I'm so glad it brought back memories for you. It was a hard life, but it was a happy life, too, right? You must be a southern lady as I was. Hope to see you again soon.

Claudette Coleman Carter from Media, Pennsylvania on December 05, 2011:

This article took me back to my childhood in so many ways. My family always looked forward to the little extra money from the cotton we picked. I remember my hands getting pricked from picking cotton. I also remember being disappointed after I filled my sack with as much cotton as I could carry, and then receiving less than five dollars. This was truly a learning experience that I will never forget.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on December 04, 2011:

Good Morning, mckbirdbks! Good to see you today. If you never picked cotton, you missed a great experience! Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful day.

Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on December 04, 2011:

habee, I can watch "Christmas Vacation" a hundred times, and laugh every time. It's a classic. Last night I watched "It's A Wonderful Life", and enjoyed that one once again. Bye for now.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on December 04, 2011:

Hello Mary. Thanks for your very fond memories of your childhood days. I spent a little time in the south as a child, but do not have any cotton picking stories to relate.

Holle Abee from Georgia on December 04, 2011:

Same to you, Mary! We're going over to some friends' house for dinner, and we're going to watch the "Christmas Vacation" movie. We watch it every year to "kick off" the holiday.

Holle

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