Mud Puddles, Mud Pies, and Mud Rooms
Knox County — In Georgia we have five seasons: Summer, Winter, Spring, Fall, and Pollen seasons. In Maine you have Summer, Winter, Spring, Fall, and Mud seasons. The pollen season here in Georgia will begin in a couple weeks or so. There was an abundance of snow up in Maine this winter, therefore the Mud season may be delayed a little. I don’t know which I prefer, pollen or mud.
I do remember the mud season well though. Once we’d broken up all the leftover ice patches with our boots we ended up with huge puddles and lots of mud to go along with it. One puddle in particular, on Water Street (aptly named), was deeper than I thought. I went to wade through it one time and sank to my hips. Seems there was an open manhole under it. Probably the last fall’s leaves had stopped up the drain and the city had removed the cover temporarily. However, they failed to tell us that or to put up any kind of barriers to warn us. I did manage to get out without any help but it was a bit scary at the time.
We were pre-school age when we made wonderful mud pies during the Mud season. The best places to find the ingredients for mud pies were on the sides of our streets where all the dirt had built up. Street sweepers weren’t common in the South End when I was growing up; therefore there was always an abundance of dirt if you needed it for something. I’m sure at least a few of us decided to take a bite out of our creations only to discover that it was not so tasty after all.
Mud Rooms and Boardwalks
I don’t know if folks up home still have mud rooms attached to their houses, but if you’re my age you certainly will remember them. Our mothers would have had a worse time during mud season if they didn’t have their “mud rooms.” I can hear my mother now, “Take those muddy boots off before you come into this house. I just washed this floor.”
In some cases a house would also have a wooden walkway laid down over the muddy driveway in case you didn’t have a crushed rock drive. My grandmother’s house up in Rockville had one.
I tried to find old pictures of mud rooms and boardwalks but this is the best I could do. (see www.southendstories.blogspot.com to view more pictures.) It seems that mud rooms are becoming popular again when building a new home in New England. Some are even heated. I can’t imagine a Yankee now or then wasting money to heat a mud room.
Basically, the old rooms might have a bench to sit down on so you could take off your boots; maybe a cubby to store them in; and perhaps a few hooks to hang outer wear on which would usually be a muddy mess too.
The blog space has a picture of me sitting on the back steps of the Mcloud Street house, circa 1943. The room behind me was a small room that served as a storage room, a mud room, and a play room all rolled into one. Our dog Humphrey was allowed into this room only, never into the house itself.
As for boardwalks, they had them on Main Street before there were cobblestones and brick sidewalks. This picture I found on the Rockland History Facebook page. The scene is Main Street looking south in 1877. The picture comes from the James L. Burns Collection-Shore Village Historical Society. (see the blog space)
Have fun up in Maine when all that snow melts into slush and then into mud. I’ll be thinking of you as I sneeze through the pollen season here in the south.
Thanks for listening.