“I’m trying to send Ralph down the well …”

 We put milk down the well in a bucket. We didn’t have pumps – not electric ones anyway.  … see, it would stay cool in that water, down in the well.  That water was  always cool.  


Ralph Young with his sister, circa 1934 (courtesy of the Young family)

One day, for some reason, a jar of milk broke in that well.  I would guess I was about six or seven years old, and they bailed that water out as fast as they could as it sprang in there to get that old milky water out.  When it got down there, you could see the glass down there from that jug. 

“Well, how about you go down there in this well”  (this is my father) “and get that glass.”  

I didn’t want to do it, and I started crying. They had me in that bucket – getting ready to lower me down, and I was crying still.  

You ever hear of L. B. Justice Used Car dealer?  He was from Bloxom.  He lived next to us, and he was  – when I started school, he was on the bus, but he was finishing school.  And he came over, he lived next door.  “What’s going on, Harvey?”

Daddy said, “well, I’m trying to send Ralph down the well to get this glass – broke a jar of milk down there.” 

And, of course, I was crying and he came up and he was on Daddy’s side. He said, “Ralph, you go on down … there’s nothing to it, you just go down and pick that glass up and come out.” 

Well, anyway, they started lowering me down in there.  That well … you got down in there deeper – it was a long, deep well, it felt like that wall was coming in on you, and when I got to the bottom, the water ‘s springing around your feet – it was scary.  And I finally got the glass, the big glass at least, in the bucket and they pulled me up.  I’ll never forget that day. 

That’s how we kept our milk cool down in the well.  Didn’t have any ice.  And no refrigerators.

from an interview with Ralph Young, summer 2009  



Filed under food, technology

2 responses to ““I’m trying to send Ralph down the well …”

  1. Donna Smith Baker

    I would love to know who supplied this photo. I think this is a relative of mine. My great grandmother’s name was Martha Young. She had a sister named Sadie Young. They lived in the Modestown/Gargatha area. I was given a box of very old photos a few years ago and there are several of a Ralph Young….and Victor Young in a military uniform. In fact there are MANY MANY photos of people, schools, etc from the Northam, Young, Rew, and Scott Families from the Eastern Shore. I would love to share them. If the person in possesion of the posted photo is reading this, please email me!

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