Growing up in a family of 13 with very little means, hard work was a way of life. At age 10, Ethel began picking cotton and stripping cane to help pay for clothes and necessities. The family’s wood frame house had no indoor plumbing or electricity; buckets of water were filled at a nearby spring to use for cooking and washing, and homework was done by kerosene lamp. Though she wanted a better life for her family when she grew up, Ethel recalls her past fondly. Helping her family taught her what it means to be a productive member of society, responsible and caring for each other through thick and thin.