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Sunday, March 18, 2012

May 1910

Above: Page from Joesf’s journal: “Graded” May 4, 1910
We used to walk to town and drag our little brothers.  It was seldom when we walked both ways, but we had done it.  We had our grandmother at the end of the line and we stayed overnight or as long as we wanted or as long as we could.  She was a wonderful lady and loved all of her grandchildren but I loved grandfather best.  You could “work” him a little bit.  Grandmother was stricter and more careful of what we did.  We kids were a little bit afraid of her.  We didn’t want to do anything that we thought grandfather would disapprove of.  You see, we tried to please him – just carry wood like mad you know, and . . . what brats!  Get on the good side of him, then get our own way in everything.
At home we were always keeping a few cats because of the chipmunks and different things that roamed the woods  We were in the habit of keeping cats and couldn’t live without them.

We had just a few steps to school.  Well it was a quarter of a mile but that was just a few steps.  We had shoes for school but they hurt our feet like mad and we didn’t wear them on the trail.  We were all crazy about going to school.  We went joyfully and usually liked our teachers very much because they were always nice.  A girl would come out and teach.  Sometimes Mama would keep them for a day or two until they could find some place where they could stay.  But Mama couldn’t keep them really because she had too much with all the kids.

In the garden Emma and I would lay down and put our feet under each other’s skirt to keep our toes warm.  Mama should have paddled us for that because I guess our clothes were dirty.  Poor Mama.  And Mama was naturally a very fussy, clean woman.  Boy she had to drop that all to put up with us, and that place with all the mud.  And Dad you know would make the biggest fuss about something that wasn't quite right, and how could you ever get everything right.  How terrible in those days because there was Dad, a gentleman who was never supposed to be messing [helping] with such stuff as laundry.

We washed outside by the spring where we had the water, and there was a stove to heat the water.  We used to love to do that you know and Mama would kind of direct it.  And we felt like we accomplished something.  There was a lot of lye in the soap and you had to be careful or it would eat everything up.  Mama always used a soap powder when she could get it.

Mama used to make beautiful little dresses for us – awful nice – and she was a really good seamstress.  And while I guess we were very old-fashioned looking, why we were along with the rest of them.  And May (Morris) always had nicer clothes than the rest of us, or so we thought because hers she bought.

They (Morris family) lived way off on the other side, and to visit – Dad would never let us go there you know.  We wanted to go and they wanted us to come over too.  But Dad would never let us because he kind of hated them.  I don’t know why.  I think they kind of insulted Dad a little because he didn’t always understand the language and things and they made something of it that let him know that.  And oh, he just couldn’t take that – it hurt his pride so he wouldn’t have anything to do with them or let us.  And that was an awful thing because of course at school we were chummy.  An awful thing, and no way to keep in touch except at school.  May and I always seemed to understand each other and whenever we did get together everything was all right – even to our old days.  Wonderful May.  She used to write, bless her heart.  She was always my friend.”

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