A Life Lived: Earnestine Carver lived much as women did a century ago

Published 1:22 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2022

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Life has changed tremendously in the past 100 years, and so have the ways we do things. But, not for Earnestine “Granny” Carver, who still heated her house with an old warm morning stove and wood and often cooked on a wood stove in her kitchen.
“Granny,” as she was known to her great-grandchildren, died Nov. 6 at Ivy Hall Nursing Home surrounded by family and friends. She had been at Ivy Hall since July 2020.
“Not long after she went to Ivy Hall, COVID hit, and a quarantine was put in place. She was unable to have visitors, so our only contact with her was ‘window visits’,” said her granddaughter, Deanna Smith.
“They were so good and kind to her at Ivy Hall. It was not easy for her to leave home, but her caregivers at the nursing home helped make the transition easier,” shared Deanna.
Earnestine’s husband died young, leaving her to raise five children alone. Three of them preceded her in death — Doris Ann Smith and Kenneth and Jack Carver.
“Granny raised a lot of the food she and her family ate — potatoes, corn, green beans, tomatoes, and she even raised chickens, and had pigs, and a cow. Thus, she had her eggs and milk and some meat,” said Deanna.
She did a lot of canning in the summertime. Among the foods she canned were green beans, tomatoes, and corn as well as other vegetables. Earnestine also made jellies and jams. “Granny was a wonderful cook, and was known for her biscuits and chicken and dumplings,” said Deanna.
Although she had an electric stove, Granny preferred cooking on her wood stove, which had its place in the kitchen, also.
Her home was much like it was in simpler times — no microwaves, or hairdryers, and she didn’t have an automobile. She lacked many of the modern conveniences that many homes have, but she never complained. It was life as she knew it.
Granny lived at the head of Simerly Creek almost at the Carter-Unicoi County line. She didn’t venture away from home too much, and she was a big part of her children and grandchildren’s lives.
Her son-in-law, Jack Smith, said after his wife (Earnestine’s daughter) died, Granny would cook Sunday dinner every week for him and his children. “We tried to help her by taking her to the store and other places she needed to go and we kept her wood cut and placed on the porch,” he shared.
She was a good person and was one of those people “who said what she meant and meant what she said.”
Jack shared that Earnestine was a good-hearted person and the kids in the community loved her. “They gathered at her home in the evening and played ball and just to have a good time. If they got out of line, she didn’t hesitate to paddle them. Once some of the boys were playing ball — 4 on 4 — and they began arguing. She took the goal post down,” Jack laughingly shared.
In the wintertime Earnestine enjoyed piecing quilts. “When it got too cold to get out and there was no gardening or yard work to do, she would spend her evening piecing quilts,” Deanna shared.
“She was a hard worker, a good-hearted person who would give you the last two dimes she had if she thought you needed them. She was very good to me and my children,” said Jack.
“I don’t know anyone who worked any harder for her family than she did. Life wasn’t easy for her, but she never complained,” Jack added.
Earnestine leaves behind a daughter, Mildred, and a son, Lester, a son-in-law, Jackie Smith, and their families.
Earnestine was laid to rest in the Carver-Cochran Cemetery. After 95 years her work on earth is done. Life wasn’t easy for her, but she lived it well.

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