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 to create a better life for her own family once she became an adult, Ethel recalls her past fondly. Helping her family taught her the importance of caring for one another other through thick and thin.