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  15. January 16, 2007: Surviving the Ice Storm

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> DOWN MEMORIES LANE

Sept.10, 1987

Memoirs of Beulah Ann (DeWeese) Baker

(Memoirs below are as originally transcribed from Beulah DeWeese Baker's hand-written memoirs except for "editor's notes", paragraphing, and headings and sub-headings)
go here for pdf of un-rendered version


Dear Children,
I am awake early again this morning. For some time now it has been difficult to get a good night sleep. It seems even with a little help with rest tablets my memory keeps me so interested and since some suggested of getting some of them on paper, thought some of you too may be able to enjoy them and pass them on.

Things Have Changed

It truly is a different type world now to live in than 75 years ago when such a carefree little girl and hardly thought of a need of fear of anything and especially of people.

It seems now days that one of the first things we need to teach little ones is never to accept strangers friendly unless with others they know.

Rambling Memories

I may ramble as these memories come as I journey on through the years. I'll try to remember to tell where we lived when these episodes happened and let you put together as you choose. This I will say, I was pretty much grown before I realized what a privilege it was to have a good memory.

Earliest Memory-Born In Oklahoma

I had been so busy living, growing and carrying on a normal young life. One day when Mama and I were mopping our large kitchen floor, the memories of a trip in years gone by came to me and I asked her where we were going when we were by the river in a little house, and trains ran over the river, and you had a baby on your lap. I remember some kids out on the tracks trying to help some other kids find some money they had dropped through cracks over the bridge.

The bridge floor was made of heavy planks or boards and had cracks between them. At the other end of the bridge I could see the big train engine all steamed up and it looked like it was coming on. I never realized then it had to get right of way from the other end before crossing. I would run outand look and back to Mama. I was so scared for them. I kind of rea1ized May being there, but Mama with baby on her lap was my protection, I guess. Then I asked her where did Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Jim live when they lived in a house with an upstairs with a screened in porch that we could sleep on? Ha. I do not ever remember Papa coming for us at that little train stop - Winthrop - I believe is the name of the place. I do not remember getting there or leaving but going up those dark steps and sleeping on the porch. The next morning I awoke, the sun shining, went inside and found the stairway dark. No light at the bottom of the steps only from the side like from a room downstairs. I held tight to sides of wall, went down steps to have Aunt Lizzie look at me in big surprise and asked “where did you come from all by yourself?”

That was my last time there but to me it was a big house with 4 rooms, 2 up and 2 down and screened in porch up and down. Mama looked at me and stopped her mopping and said, “Beulah, you don't mean to tell me you remember us coming from Oklahoma?” I told her I don't know where we were from or where we were going. So found out it all in one trip. We were waiting for Papa to get Uncle Jim's team and wagon to come for us. It was a short trip away, two miles or less.

I found out later and you can figure my age. I am 19 months older than Birdie and that was in the fall and she could not have been over 9 or 10 months at least. Both she and I were born in Oklahoma. So now I am in Missouri the rest of my years.

Moved To Near DeKalb Missouri

I next recall living on what they called the Dittermore Place. It was some distance back off of main highway to our shopping town of DeKalb.

Mildred was born while we lived there in a 3 room house. It had a little porch off the kitchen and also a smaller one on other side, each 2 or 3 steps.

I remember the Lewis Hector family. They had children 2 or 3 years a little older than me. Also, Mrs. Lourie just across the drive from them. She lived alone in the house. I am not sure whether she was owner of the place where we lived or not.

PaPa A Day Laborer

Papa pretty much just a day laborer, worked wherever be found work. We did have a garden, I remember. What helps me remember that, the Lewises gave us several tomato plants that turned out to be little tomatoes and we were allowed to get them to eat when we wanted to. So the salt shaker went with us sometimes. So, I will remember we learned the sa1t shaker was not to be taken outside.

The Lewis children had roller skates with wood wheels. They had two bedrooms upstairs. We went over to play one time and played upstairs on those skates. Each had one to skate around the beds on. I do not remember whether it was wet outside or too cold to play out but we were not close enough to play together often. I remember Mama sending us up to Mrs. Lourie's about something sometimes. She was older than Mama - perhaps to borrow a little something. She was real friendly. She had a granddaughter that lived with her quite a bit. She was several years older than us. We lived there a short time.

Move To The Orchard

From the Dittermore Place, we moved to Hunt Orchard, also then known as Kenmore Orchard. Kenmore was a much smaller place shopping wise but was a railroad stop and had a depot and no doubt quite a bit of shipping done. Also at DeKalb there was some train service. This place was a 2 room house, a large big room and the front door to the big room was 3 steps down right outdoors. It was seldom used. We lived here I imagine a couple of years. Not so sure of that but I was around 5 years old soon after if not when we moved.

That was quite a change for us as Papa was to work at the orchard all the time and the big apple barn was quite a thing for us when in use. The man pretty much in charge was a Mr. Reynolds. His home was quite a nice place and they had stock, cattle and hogs, chickens and horses. I am not sure of how much, only remember Daddy got a cow to milk and team and wagon some times to use. They had 2 children, a girl, Morene, about the age of May and I, and a baby boy. They lived too far away to play much together. I remember their first visit to us and her baby boy yet sitting on her 1ap, and her te11ing Mama bout how sick the baby had been and he had to have an operation and how they had to hold the little fellow down and not much of a help to relieve the pain either. It hurt me so I guess, I was busy taking this all in.

I don't remember playing while she was there or Morene either. Perhaps she and May were playing while I was entertaining myself about the baby as Mama always said, I was after the babies or old folks.

Mrs. Reynolds asked Mama if I was her little girl. That really got my attention and I got behind the door and looked through a crack at them. Mama told her yes, I was but was more dark complexion perhaps due to being born in Oklahoma. But, I remembered Birdie was too, and I had not heard anything about her being so dark. It bothered me quite a while but, guess I soon accepted Mama was right.We had a phone so we could talk to Morene sometimes that way. Mr. Reynolds place was the only place we could call. If we wanted a doctor either had them call or Papa would go over and use their phone. We did not live there very long either but many early memories there.

Our other neighbor was the Martins. They lived a little farther away than the Reynolds. They lived out on the highway not far from the apple barn. Mr. Martin worked at the orchard too. They had two boys, John & Fred. They were some older than May and I yet when Mr. Martin would be working around they often came along. I remember one day we had quite a time playing. They were always agreeable with us. We had a road that ran by our house from the apple barn to the country road to Kenmore. It had kind of a bank out in front of our house and the boys and we girls were digging out a place to sit and we sat in our dug out seats and played house. We were all Mr. & Mrs. DeWeese. But that was just one little silly recollection in childhood. Also off to one side of the house was a low spot. Understood it was an old caved in cellar. We had a cave cellar then too. It was used to cool and keep our milk and butter in the summertime and fall it took care of the potatoes we grew during the summertime and vegetables and fruit from garden that could be stored or canned.

I don't remember using glass jars at that time. Tin cans sealed with wax was the main canning container for us and later we had the glass jars that had a glass lid to fit with a rubber band and a clamp to fasten it down we thought pretty good. Now those jars are antiques.

MaMa Kills A Snake

One hot summer day I remember Mama calling me to go with her to carry butter to the cellar as she needed both hands on the crock of milk she was carrying. As she lifted the cellar door she said "Beulah, stand back, this is a good day for snakes to hunt the cool spots." So, I stepped back aside and she threw out three black snakes and followed them out to see that none got away. She would wrap them around a post in the cellar and they came out twisting. She was pretty good having a club or hoe handy but I remember her coming out to finish the job.

Another time I went with her to our chicken house. She set hens to hatch her chicks. Often other hens would lay in with them. As she saw one old hen kinda high on the nest she took her off to find a black snake under her. It had swallowed several eggs. She got it by the tail and she must have had a good hold for I remember her telling me "get back and she rapped the post with it and it split the snake enough that broken eggs scattered. She could beat Papa doing things like that. He thought it funny and cheered her on.

Turpentine And Sugar Cure

In the spot of the old sunken cave we little kids played and one day while playing there Birdie stepped on an old hoe and cut her foot quite bad. Mama carried her to the house and soaked it out good and the main remedy for such things was turpentine and sugar to draw out soreness and of course she wasn't allowed to walk on it for some time.

Buster The Dog-A Sad Story

We had a little spotted dog we called Buster. He thought we kids as much fun as we him. Our yard was kinda downhill and we could put him in a sack and we run down the yard and he'd follow trying to run too, rolling and tumbling and get then get out and come back with us for more. We then had long stockings and often he'd get a hold of us kids like, we thought funny. One day Papa was going to St. Joe and he let Buster follow him into town and the dog catcher got him. We were upset for some time but I guess it was his way of solving the problem of torn socks.

When they had our picture taken that summer we tried to get Buster's too. We managed to get his ears.

Possum Dinner

In the winter time Daddy often had two or three what he called figure four traps set. He used a piece of apple for bait so often he would get a rabbit. One time he caught a possum. That was our first time of seeing a live possum. It would get up to walk and Daddy just tap it a little and it would fall over as dead. He told us to be still and watch. So he keeled over several times for us, then it was decided to put him in the corn barrel in the hen house for a few days fattening then it was to be a roasted possum - but I never cared for it.

Swing High-Oh No

Our mail box was quite a way from the house over across the creek and along the road. I imagine a short half mile lived the Farrel's family. They had one girl some older than us but yet we played together quite often. Goldie, the daughter, had a rope swing in a large tree. She liked to swing high and May did too but not me. I did not want Mr. Farrel to push me very high. I would holler about it. The other girls liked for him to push them and run under them for fun. So he tried me and I turned loose of the swing but I was so fortunate to be caught before hitting the ground. That was the last of that. I never did learn the high swing. Even with my own children the high swing was not done by me. Someone else with that. Mr. Ferral always liked to tease me. When my 6 year birthday came around he came over as he said he would, as he was going to paddle me. So, when the day arrived I remember hearing someone say the Mr. Farrel was at the door. I ran and crawled under the bed. He had quite a time trying to get me out or pretending to, but I don't remember rather I got the paddling or not but nothing serious.

Another time they were over visiting one Sunday and we had the door shut between the rooms. We were like most little kids into things we had no business of. Mother kept her spices in paper sacks in the bottom of her safe where she kept dishes and often when cooking she let us taste cinnamon which we liked very much. So, no doubt it was me, we got out a little sack like cinnamon. I was on to get the first trial. It was red pepper instead. Well, I got the attention too. Mrs. Farrel said sweet cream was the best for the problem, so someone went to the cellar after it and it did work. I remember being a better little girl in nosing into things after that.

To School Alone

We lived quite some distance from school. Often Mr. Farrel would take us in the buggy as he took Goldie. We always tried to get up there to go with her rather we walked or rode. One morning May was not going, why I don't recall. I was going alone and got up to Mrs. Farrel's and she said they have already gone. So, I had it on my own. I remember thinking if I go out back of the barn and down across the pasture it won't be so far. So, I went on my way but felt pretty much alone but kept telling myself soon as I crossed the ditch down there and got upon hi11 on other side I 'd see the school house. So, made it all OK and don't remember any fear farther. As I recall, that day it must have been the same day, I was coming home by myself and over the fence along the road a big tree with some low limbs close to the ground and it was a cool cloudy day and there were several turkeys gathered there. Several turkey hens were in the tree and some on the ground but there were several gobblers strutting themselves and I did not like the looks of them. I'd never seen that many at one time before. I knew what they were for my grandma had a gobbler and a few hens. I crawled through the fence on the other side of the road as extra precaution and went on my way and crawled back further on. I think these episodes must have been the same day as I don't remember being alone again while there.

One Room School House

Our school house was a two room one but only one room used at that time, 1912. It was a brick building called the Bethel School. We had all eight grades and one teacher, Mrs. Enzie. We all seemed to think she was quite OK. The big kids and little ones all together. At recess and noon hour, playtime in winter time was a real fun time. I was a chunky one from what said, and five years old in May and to school in Sept. I remember the big boys taking us piggyback round over the room. When snow was on the ground they had a real sleighing place from the school yard on down the highway. Then seldom a car, some occasionally but we younger ones never off the ground of the school yard.

One Fall I 'm not sure whether if our first or second year of school, it was Fall and apple picking time. Apple cider made by hand mill presses. They had three or four of them and they always had a pile of cull apples. Some-times they would take a wagon load into St. Joseph to the vinegar works. We children thought it fun to play up there when they were not busy working there.

One Fall at school one of the 1ittle girls we played with had two older sisters that came to school, Webb sisters. To me their names seemed odd. The older one, Gracie and Facie and Costerl. Not sure rather spelled right, been so many years. But we 1ittle girls somehow got quite friendly and Mrs. Webb let Costerl come home with us from school. She could not get over us having so much fun playing when we got home. Mama let her put on one of our dresses to play and that way her dress was ready for school again.

Visit To Classmate's Home

Outhouse A Luxury We had a good time but how much better to remember our trip to visit her. For often they came late to school. They lived quite a ways up highway in the opposite direction. There were several of us to leave school together and we often drop off two or three but it hadn't been a good day for Costerl for she was not feeling too well and her mother had kept her home but it was OK for us to come with her sister Facie if we could and of course we wanted to go on. They turned off the highway at a store along the highway. It had men inside. After the last ones had left us there was a fellow we thought drunk for he weaved over the road. So, Facie asked if we had anything in lunch buckets to drop along the road. We and she had something and we went on and looked back and he had picked up and set down to eat. So, we hurried on and into the store to get the girl’s mother something and we wondered if he could catch up with us. We each was to have a penny to put in the gum machine that was outside of the door at the store.

There was a little porch on the front. Facie had brought a penny for Costerl to have gum too. They had lamps lit in the store. When we came out of the store and on our way to their house the road was dark for it was kind of a wooded area. They had lights lit in the home. When we arrived. I needed to get to the outhouse. That we never had at home. We had the chicken house or back place. This outhouse had no roof. I could look up and see the stars and I was afraid I was going to fall into the large hole I was to use.

We soon ate our supper and our special playtime was a kettle of popcorn they gave us. We were to climb a wall ladder to get up there and we could see them down stairs between the floor boards. It was our first experience of an upstairs during school days. The next morning, up by lamp light for breakfast and Mrs. Webb and Gracie combed our hair and we left for school and lamps still lit on the table. We got to school late that morning. In later years Mama would remark she couldn't see why she ever allowed us to go not knowing more about where they lived.

MaMa Goes To Hospital

That year we certainly moved, for next I remember going to a different school. While we lived on the Orchard Place, Mama was in the hospital. I remember them carrying her out of the house in a sheet and put her on a bed of straw in the back of the spring wagon to be taken to the hospital in St. Joseph, Mo. Uncle Jim and Aunt Lizzie, Papa's sister and husband, stayed with us at this time. Papa must have stayed most of the time in St. Joe while Mama was in the hospital. He had relatives there.

To Milk A Cow

May, my older sister, wanted to go with Uncle Jim to milk the cow. We kind of knew where it was but while we had been told maybe some time, it never seemed to come around. When we were awakened one morning as he was going over, we hurried to dress and went out to follow him. There was a foot log to cross the creek and we both afraid of that so decided to take wagon road around. When we went through the gate we ran into some hogs which seemed to be as much afraid of us as we them. We couldn't find Uncle Jim at the barn so went to look in the pasture for if the cow was not at the barn he'd milk her out there. Well, when we did find him he would not say anything to us. He was finishing the cow so just got up, picked up the stool and went on to the barn and we followed him. He put the stool inside of the barn and on his way home across the foot log. We were afraid if we made our way down the bank and up and on in home, well, we followed. That was our last trip with him.

Making Sorghum

Mother was in the hospital another time. We girls stayed with Grandma and Uncle Lonnie DeWeese. They had a little 3 room home and Ada, a cousin, stayed with them as her home but they made room for we children too for a few days. Uncle Lonnie helped the farmers around and he had a few acres for growing cane. He made sorghum molasses in the Fall and it was told we were not to play around where he was working but did get showed all about it. He had 3 or 4 different pans he called them as one would get so far along it was to be emptied into the lower one. It was on a downhill like slope he called it. He also had the sorghum mill that put the cane through to take the juice out. It was turned by his old horse called Charlie. We knew a little about it and a few times had pushed each other around on the arm that they would hitch the horse to turn the mill.

Finding Treasure

I was a natural busy body, I guess. There had been people lived there before them and we found things that had been drifted over the bank. I found an old doll buggy one morning. I brought it up in the yard, tried to straighten it up and did get it so it would roll on 3 wheels as I pushed it. That was quite a deal. Also playing along the bank and roadside up to the house I found some peanuts growing in the bank and that was new to all of us. It was an accident, I guess.

Baked Skunk

One morning grandma had baked a skunk to get the skunk oil for her home remedies. She had an old stool in the back yard she butchered chickens on. She put it out there to cool a bit and when she went out to get it, it was gone. Generally supposed a dog picked it up. I don't remember them having one then.

Grandma's Birthday

They had a birthday get together for Grandma one year while they lived there. That was a big thing and what I remember most about that was when they were putting finishing touches on we children, Aunt Clara DeWeese had her little son, Charlie, and she wanted him to wear his father's watch to somehow show in the picture to be taken.

Uncle Willie, his father, had been killed when working on the railroad when Charlie was 6 weeks old. He was reluctant to do it and she said, "If you don't I'll have to let Beulah wear it." So, I wished he wouldn't. But, however, I never had it in the picture taken when Mildred was a few months old.

Sunday School IN School House

While Grandma and Uncle Lonnie lived there they had Sunday School in the school house. Uncle Lonnie was the one to pretty much manage it. He led the singing and had a Bible class and they had someone to preach occasionally. We were too far away to go only when we went to visit and usually when we got back Uncle would pass out the candy. That is about as much fun.

Moving Wagon Through The Mud

We rode in the big wagon. One winter Papa took the big bob sled with wagon bed and straw like ln the wagon when it was cold. When it was so bad in the mud sometimes he gave us older girls a big heavy stick to help punch mud from wagon wheels where it rolled up so bad. We had never seen any cars at that time.

Another Move

After Howard arrived we soon moved to Henry Graves place. It was nearer DeKalb where we did our grocery shopping most of the time.

PaPa Spends Time With Kids

I must not forget to tell how Papa used to wake May and I up and help us dress while Mama fixed breakfast. He put in quite a bit of time with us two girls. The year before we were to start to school we were to know our ABC's, count to 100 and tell time and spell our names. If we could do that he was going to see that Santa Claus brought us a nice doll.

Home-made Dolls

The dolls we played with, Mama made out of black material with button eyes. That was OK. We also had stick kids, when playing. That winter just before Christmas he was going to St. Joe. Aunt Myrtle and two children had been visiting us and she was going to Oklahoma and he was going to take them to the depot and shop some and May and I was to go along and see the dolls. That was a real Christmas, in a way.

Real Doll For Christmas

Our first and I think last two of its kind. We went to the toy department at Herschel. In 1912, it was a different place - on 3rd St. and down in the basement. The Big Shoe that the old woman lived in was kind of a slide through it and children could stick their heads out of it and Santa was nearby. I don 't remember having much to say to Santa Claus but he may have assured us for how those dolls we chose found their way to our house, I never heard just how. But to be the ones we picked out or ones like them. My doll had dark hair and blue dress and white pinafore and May 's just like it in a way but had blond hair and pink dress. Those dolls are the only bought dolls I remember we children had bought at a store by parents.

A few years later I remember Uncle Lonnie giving Birdie a doll dressed up like a nurse about time of war, year of 1915 or 1916. Mildred had one given her so each of we older girls had one store bought doll during childhood. But, I assure you we were never neglected and remembered also at Christmas time. We never had any big thing of store bought gifts unless clothes or such, always had the Christmas treats of candy and nuts and oranges which we never had much of at any other time. We knew the why for of Christmas.

Move Again

On the Grave’s Place we had four rooms, two up and two down. Mr. & Mrs. Graves and their daughter lived nearby. We all shared the same yard. Florence went to the school in DeKalb but May and I went to the country school called the Sampson School. It was a little one room school house. We learned in later years that some of older folks did too. They knew several of the Sampsons that lived in that area. The school was a short mile of DeKalb.

I remember one day near Valentine's Day I was allowed to walk to town with a friend, Geneva Sampson. She was going to buy a few valentines. Mama had given me pennies.I don't remember buying anything but it was a thrill to go with her.

Fun At School

Our teacher, Miss Nora Watson, was quite a teacher. She enjoyed the older girls and boys that came to school. We played games when it was too cold to play outside. The big and little all together. I remember playing a game, I believe it was called post office. The boys and girls, another clap in and out when one was called in sat in the wrong place. We'd clap them out. The oldest boys often had chewing gum. They would share with the right girl if she sat in the right place. I wished I could get some but it was more often shared with the older girls.

Since May had been held back in school to wait for me to accompany her, we both were in the 3rd grade. There was a knock at the door. Like all kids we all looked to see who it was. It was our county superintendent. When she asked if he'd like to go on with the class on the floor, he told her no, to go on with it. But when it was over he wanted to hear our class. She never seemed to have time to help us. When he had given us each a chance to read and when we came to a word we could not pronounce he let the next one try. It seemed we all needed a little assistance. But at recess time all were dismissed to go out to play. He wanted to talk to the teacher - all wanted to peep through the key hole. But there were others bigger and older so went on to play. After that she gave us more time and help.

It was about this time cars were more plentiful. One of the trustees of the school courted her. One morning they sat in his car till recess time. We all had quite a play time that morning.

Another teacher followed her, Miss Uell Summerfield. We all liked her very much. She also boarded at the same place. It was close to the school house. Things seemed to go quite well and we had all eight grades in that one room. Story hour after recess in the afternoon seemed to get attention of all. But to listen to that and not have our lesson that followed was rather rough sometimes. Some may have to stay awhile after school to have it.

There was a rock quarry nearby the school. Most blasting was done at off hours of school. We all were warned to stay away from there as there could be unknown dangers. I don't remember of it being a problem to our teacher.

EEK! A Mouse!

I remember an old wood crate box out near there and occasionally someone would hide in it when playing hide and seek. Once one of the boys caught a mouse in there. We younger children knew nothing of it until after the afternoon recess time. It was story hour time. Our teacher being afraid of even a mouse, pulled out the drawer to get her book and the mouse was ready to jump and run and the teacher jumped up on her chair and on to the desk with a scream. At first some of the younger children was scared too until we realized what happened. It was a big laugh for all. I do not recollect what was done but I am sure nothing serious. They might have had to see it got outside or else but, school went on. That teacher was really liked.

Moved To Town

While going there to school there were many memories to remain with me. The first time we were there a short time as our folks lived on a farm a short time to look after farm and animals while the folks were away all summer and fall. Then we moved into a three room house in DeKalb and spent winter there and we went to the DeKalb School until spring time. Several little memories linger from there.

We lived several blocks away from the school house. Henry Mallot was our teacher. He was quite young and guess he been up late and would go to sleep in school sometimes and older children make paper wads to throw at him. We thought that funny.

Winter Fun

We spent a Christmas in that place. That winter there was much snow. One of the streets into DeKalb ran by the front of the house and there was a window on that side where we could see older children sleigh ride down by our house. Older ones used a bobsled and a wagon box with side boards on it. They would start at the top which was at the edge of town and down by our house and then a little rise in road to reach in further to the highway out to the edge of town.

One moon shining night there were a load of them and they had a large long rope on it and all got hold of it to pull it back up the hill. It must have been quite a job for saw this only a few times.

On the other side of the street our neighbors had a small acreage and their children had a nice place to sleigh ride and we could watch them.

Aunt Mary

We children liked it there. We could walk to Sunday school. Also, Aunt Mary, Mother's sister, lived a short distance over from us. She had three children. She lived there before we moved. She had lost her husband and a six month old baby in Oklahoma, I believe it was. The baby, a boy, and he had a twin sister. Aunt Mary brought the baby girl and older boy and girl back to Missouri and they were with an older woman. I understood she was a step-grandmother.

A Tragedy

Later on Aunt Mary married a second time and soon after she lost the older daughter - 6 years old. I heard them call it Bright’s disease. But it was a sad affair. We older children were allowed to go over to view the little body before she was laid in a casket. The step-dad was a man that liked his booze too much. It was a double sad affair. Our father and others in family and friends came in to lend her a hand and take care of things.

Move Back To A Farm

That spring Papa got a job out on a farm and went to help a man that was kind of in the hog business. He was out of town around two miles or more. His house was 5 rooms and a closed in porch which we used for a second bedroom. We had a kitchen, living room and one bedroom but the closed in porch helped us out. He had the other two rooms. He had a team and one old cow I remember so well. She was black and with a little white marking on her. She was so gentle that four of us could try to milk her at the same time. I had a little experience before at another place we lived for a few months taking care of the man's stock and place while he and his wife were away so I felt well experienced. The school house was just down the hill and across the creek and road from us. We liked that. There are many memories of living there.

MaMa's Guineas

Mother always liked having guineas. She had two hens and a rooster. They were so bad to hide out their nest but had managed somehow to have several little ones that summer.

I had heard Mama often speak of liking to have them to help keep hawks from little chickens. One day I just happened to be out back of the outhouse and they were out in the yard nearby. As I was coming in I heard a shrill noise from them and the little guineas just settled on the ground, did not move, and then all three of them left off after a hawk.

I guess it had tried to get a little one but they just raised up off the ground, no trouble and could see the big bird ahead of them and going up a hill. I stood and watched a few minutes and they soon returned and settled down with quite a chatter and all the little guineas were up and going. So that helped me to understand why Mama liked to have them. After that I noticed that Mama liked to find the guineas nest and save eggs and set an old hen with them. That way Mother said, they accept the chickens and don't have any problem when they are housed with them in wintertime. I also saw an old mother hen seemed not to be able to wean them like little chicks. After the old hen did her mothering and taken to the roost they would go up and set with her and when she started laying again they would go with her to the hen house and set up on the roost until she came off the nest and they would go out with her.

Goslings Lost

One summer, Mother got some goose eggs and hatched several little goslings. They were quite play things while small and confined but not as they got a little older and bolder too.

Our landlord, Mr. Croft, had a big old male hog in a pen at the foot of the yard near by a creek and there was a corn crib there too. We did not realize the place was so infested with rats until one day there was a heavy rain and by that time the little goslings got to wandering off and found the water. That evening we had lost the last of them. We went down by the creek to find them. At that time I believe we had only five left and out of the five we found one. I guess it was us that was around hunting that partway saved it though it was crippled enough it soon died.

At the time we had mother's younger brother visiting us. He was about the same age as May, the older of us children. We had a funeral for the gosling. We made quite a do over that and it was buried up on the hill above our house.

Poor Kitty

We children never had a cat or dog pet since we lost our first dog, Buster, to the dog catcher in St. Joe. At this particular time we had a little kitten that had found its way to our home the next morning after a school program of some kind and we were so pleased about hat and it really had our attention. I had it up on my shoulder and Mr. Croft came by with a stick or board, I'm not sure, but knocked it off my shoulder. We kids began to gather anything and throw at him. He made his hurried get away into the house and behind the kitchen stove.

Mother had fortunately seen the episode and she said she didn't approve of we kids behavior but nor did she his, so never made any ado about it. At least there were no dogs and cats there.

Pet Pig To Market

We did have one pet, a pig. Mother often had helped to save a pig a while and to be returned to the sow later but this time it was a little crippled pig down in the hip and kind of drug itself around. We called it Drag. It got to be quite a nice hog. Though yet quite down in that hip and about the time we left that place they sent a load of hogs to town and it went right along. In fact, Mother was quite pleased as no dock on it and it brought her quite a little nest egg. She had wanted a dresser so it was used when we moved right after that. This was in 1916.

Penmanship Artist Teacher

The school we attended there was called the Lewis school. All eight grades taught there and ages from 5 years to 18 attended. Ernest Matthews was our teacher the first year we were there. We Iiked him quite well.

He was a real teacher in more ways than one. He was a real master in penmanship. One winter day I remember he entertained us all during the noon hour. After we had eaten our sandwich, he was going to show us how to use our penmanship in drawing. He drew a buggy top and all using the small letters of the alphabet and I don't remember any problem during the noon hour. I remember his fore finger on right hand looked like it kind of worn down or flattened out. He told us it was due to the use of it in his study and work in learning about penmanship capabilities. He was considered pretty much of an artist with it. He was a teacher well liked by all. I don't ever remember any children complain about him.

Tricking The Teacher

One time a couple of the younger boys caught some frogs out of the creek and turned them loose in the school house. He made them take them back to the creek and bring him a switch each. They brought back little switches and he went out and got ones he wanted to use on them at recess and gave them orders none such be tolerated.

Often after recess we got time off for a spelling bee or ciphering match. One afternoon some of the older kids caught teacher out of school house at recess and slipped in and got the key. He ignored it and let them have the time to play. He did not make much to-do about that the first time. So they tried it another time and locked the door and key inside. It was some of the older girls and boys in on that deal but they were found out and all involved had to go in through a raised window and open the door. There was some of the girls cried but he told them he would help them up through the window but hoped he would not need to do it again and didn't while we were there.

A Move Back

We moved the next year and went back to where we lived before when our folks worked for Mr. & Mrs. Ache, looking after their stock and things while they were away one summer and fall before we moved to DeKalb.

We were glad to go back. The little farm was sold and the neighbor that lived joining it bought it and asked Papa to come back to farm it. Some way papa did manage to handle it. Uncle Lonnie loaned him his old horse one summer and he got another old horse to go with it and he managed to have two or three cows. There wasn't many acres that was in cultivation. We had a nice big pear tree near the house and Papa was given an old orchard to clear out and he had privilege having it for a corn field.

Learning Skills While Helping

I got my experience helping him. He taught me how to help him use a cross cut saw, he on one end of the saw and me on the other. I was always around him trying anything he let me try. I learned to use an ax clearing the orchard. I got to help trim tree limbs for wood. I knocked myself in the head one time after cutting the limb on the wrong side of my foot and it flew up and hit me in the head enough I got to go to the house awhile, but went back soon after.

When he got it all trimmed up and hauled to the house he had what he called a saw buck where we could lay the limbs on it and use the buck saw to cut them into lengths for the cook stove . I felt to be quite grown up. Papa would often cut up quite a pile and let we girls rick it up.

We even made a play house place out of the wood. It was near three feet high and we called them walls.

Our cousin came to visit with our great grandfather one time. She was the same age as me. She had not been away from home overnight before. She got along all right until night time. I remember her crying and setting on grandpa's lap. We tried to help entertain her. I don't remember how long they stayed.

Uncle Will and Aunt Minnie

Grandpa lived with them much of the time. Uncle Will had purchased Grandpa's farm. What arrangements were made I don't know. About the time it seemed to me as he finished paying off on the farm he lost one of his horses. I do not remember how come but be decided to save the hide and have it made into an overcoat for him. He came to see us with it on one time. I'm quite sure he felt as important in it as he looked.

Uncle Will was Mama's brother and Aunt Minnie was Papa's sister. They lived at Kidder, Missouri.

Grandpa and Grandma Chambers

Grandpa and Grandma Chambers lived in the opposite direction of Kidder. Uncle Jim, the older of Mama's brothers, seemed to have been fortunate having a small acreage that our grandparents lived on. The house had three-rooms, a barn and a chicken house and Grandma always raised a few turkeys. I remember her fixing one for us one time when we were visiting them and going with someone to visit a neighbor of theirs that raised guineas. The first I remember seeing. They raised the white and blue. We always had the blue kind.

These guineas sure made a lot of noise. They never had any chickens or at least I don't remember seeing any but they had a yard full of guineas. Back then many people called them prairie chickens and liked that type meat. We liked them quite well too.

One year May and I went to visit Grandpa and Grandma Chambers by ourselves. Papa put us on the train and Uncle Will met us at the depot. We thought it quite a treat.

Mad As A Hen

It may have been the same year that Aunt Minnie left Pearl at home and took Forrest and Mable with her to visit Grandma and Uncle Lonnie, her mother and brother that lived near DeKalb, Missouri, and near us also. May and I and with Pearl that visit had quite a time. They had chickens too and some of them laid at the barn. There was an old hen that decided to set there regardless what was done. Seems they had her up a few days and yet wanted to set even with rocks in the nest. There she set. We three girls decided to try putting a paper sack on her tail and another suggested to put in a few pebbles and we blew it up and tied it to her tail feathers and turned her loose. I remember that trick equal to the boy’s tricks. The poor old hen, she got frightened and forgot about setting for a while at least, and she ran and flew up on the lot gate and cackled and run and flew around in the barn like she was scared to death. I just don't remember just the finish up of the details but we did find the sack. I imagine it broke the setting fever.

Uncle Will thought it funny, I guess, for he said he had three cooks. He took us over to Grandma's for a little visit too. I don't recall the finish up of this but he may have come for us to catch the train when he was going after Aunt Minnie.

Visit To St. Joe

We were pretty well looked after. May and I went a couple or three times alone to visit folks in St. Joe as we had Aunt Clara's family there that was Papa's sister and family. She had two girls, one which was 11 years older than the younger. When we went to visit she was working. The younger, Ethel, about same age of May and she had two cousins on her father's side that lived nearby and one of them near our age too. So it was always fun to visit there. Aunt Clara worked so we girls had a nice time.

Fun At Lake Contrary

Uncle Lonnie always liked to help entertain us too. Lake Contrary was quite an entertainment place when we were growing up. Uncle Lonnie, one trip took us through the old mill and it was interesting. The merry-go-round always ok. Uncle Lonnie took us on the Shoot the Shoot that was a boat that pulled to the top and turned around and shot down into the lagoon.

Then later years, I was eighteen or older, we were at Aunt Alice's in St. Joe and a cousin was then living in St. Joe. I didn't know it then but she heard I was there and this cousin, a few years my senior, called to see if I would go with her to Lake Contrary as they were beginning then to move many of the attractions out.

She said I'd like to ride the figure eight one more time before they move it out. I never had any play money to spend but she was the one that was taking care of the expenses involved. She wanted me to accompany her so we went. I had never rode the figure eight. The look of it was enough for me. She insisted I go one time, maybe the last chance and it was. I did go but I can‘t say I enjoyed it. I said when we pulled to the top to start I caught my breath and I hardly feel I took another till it came to a stop. My first and last. That was the last trip. The next time I was down there no one would have ever known it had the attractions it once had. Not much but a bathing beach and some seemed to think a good place to fish.

Editor's Note: I'm not sure what is meant here about moving things out of the park. Lake Contrary Park did not close permanently until May of 1964. My family and I had many good times there including riding the Shoot The Chute.

Move To Rushville

At this time we were living at Rushville. We moved there when we left the Long's farm and went to the Sampson school and May and I were in the 6th grade. I was near twelve years old when we moved there. It was a different life for sure for we, a little less than one-half mile of school and church. Rushville was about 5 miles from Atchison but not too many cars at first. Rushville was quite a busy little town. There was a drugstore, two banks, post office, restaurant, barbershop, hardware, three grocery stores, garage and the Red Ranger office. L. F. Gingery had the Red Ranger office and they put out a hunting magazine every month. I and Birdie, a sister less than two years younger than me, helped put the magazines out.

PaPa Buys Stock

There was 40 acres in the home place where we lived. We never had much stock when we went there. I think we had the one cow or two. A fellow that ran a filling station had three cows. He had been farming and left that for the station. He claimed they belonged to his little daughter and he just leased them out for their care and the calves when old enough to sell. In time Papa bought them. In a few years we had cows to milk and sold cream and Papa raised a few hogs for several years.

The fellow we rented the farm from had hogs several years on the back part of the 40 acres. He had a corn crib and pens back there and Papa fed them for him.

Learning To Farm

There was several acres in bottom land, it near a mile away. It was a partnership deal. There I grew to be quite a farm hand. I loved to be out and about. The first year we were there Papa tried to get both May and I broke in to helping him farm. I looked forward to it. He even risked us on the harrow and a team of three horses or mules. I'm not just sure for to start he had 2 horses and the fellow, Mr. Davis, he worked for had 3 mules. The harrow had a wide board across it to stand on and ride it. If for any reason we needed to get off we were to stop the team and step back. I don't remember doing much but enough just to say we done some of it.

The next project was to learn the breaking plow and to follow it and cut corners off as we came to the end of the furrows.

The most fun or enjoyment to me was when the corn was up and being cultivated. We used a tool called a monitor or go-devil by some people. Papa liked his corn planted in furrows and that way when he went over it the first time it would fill dirt in around it and he said it got rid of a lot of grass. He usually got over the corn three times by the time it was laid by. Sometimes, if weather permitted we got over some four times.

High School A Problem

We were near by the railroad where we farmed. The depot was across the tracks. There was an elevator nearby and quite a bit of freight going out as well as coming in. That was before the trucking business began. There was a second elevator that went up while we lived there. It was called the Farmers Elevator but many changes made after us being there. The school had eight grades and 2 years of high school. I tried the first year of high school two different times. The first year I had appendicitis which hurt quite a bit and it proved to be rough getting to and from school and gave up on it. And one year Mother being pregnant and having a little one at home to do for too. I was out one year as it was said May was held back one year for me to go with her to school so I was held out to help one year too. But I never seemed to mind the missing out. The younger sister I helped to care for thought it quite all right too. There were four of we girls before our brother, Howard, was born. He never seemed to get too much interested in farming. Mama said, "His Daddy had me broken in too well to have much patience with Howard." But he did come along and help some. About time he was big enough for doing much, we had a cousin about his age made his home with us. His name was Clarence Scott. He was near the age of Howard, but doing things on the farm, hard to tell which was the better.

I always liked to work in the hay field. For some reason, if no other, was to smell the fragrance of hay time. Papa would mow and rake and I and the boys job to shock it up to make it better to haul in to the stock. We never had much barn room. So, it was always stacked. Howard may be able to put a bigger fork load on the hay sled then Clarence but Clarence could put as much on for he worked faster. I was five years the oldest so couldn't expect so much I guess. It was rather a rough field so was taught how to handle the hay sled as well as the hay.

PaPa Proud

It made me feel good to hear my Daddy tell someone that he just as soon have me to pitch hay to him to stack as any one. I could put it where he wanted it as well or better than others. When working in the corn field I'd hear him say, "Well, I can give Beulah a wrench and a pair of pliers and go on about my work and she pretty much takes care of herself." I remember one time I was using the monitor that has three discs on each side of the row being worked. One side of the discs became loose before I knew it and I could not get the team to pull it right. So, I'd went quite a ways before realizing what was wrong and when I stopped to get Papa 's help, as he most always worked in the same field, he just laughed and showed me what was wrong. I expect that was about when I learned about the need of a wrench. But in fact, I've always liked to fix things that I could without having to ask someone to do it for me.

Stuborn As A Mule

Daddy had one old mule he called Jack. He was kind of a nuisance wherever he worked him. I had to work him sometimes. Papa had to get a bicycle bit for him in order to handle him. Sometimes he'd pull so hard on it he'd have his mouth sore. One time I had him and the mare that Papa used to work with him. He said she just let the mule pull it if he wanted so she just had her usual gait to walk and old Jack began to pull away off from the row of corn just due to, I guess, a mole hole after a rain. He'd pull around most any little unusual hole in the ground. Someone told Papa the old mule was forty years old but regardless of years, he still had some pull in him. Daddy kept him until he had raised him a team of young mules and sold him.

One summer day he was wanting to go to Atchison. The mare he usually drove to buggy was heavy with young. He said, "Well, it's a good time to break old Jack to the buggy." So, he hitched him up to the buggy. He said, "Well, I'll take him for a little drive and see how he'll behave." So he took him for quite a little drive both ways and I was going along. After his trial run we were ready to go and Papa said, "It's going to be pretty hot today. You better take the umbrella." Well, the old mule was so sensitive to any unusual thing, I'd been most afraid to try anything new with him. In past years if we kids were traveling in the wagon going to and from Grandma's and Uncle Lonnie's we get to laughing or singing and old Jack would have to show off as Papa said, to try to run and pull the whole wagon and we would have to stop. Well back to trip to Atchison. I got the umbrella. We never needed it going but coming back in early afternoon it was really warming up. We had left old jack at Winthrop. It was a little town where we crossed the bridge to Winthrop from Atchison. Since old Jack was so scared of a hole in the ground the bridge over the river into Atchison was laid with big heavy planks or boards they had cracks between them about an inch and we were afraid we'd never get that mule across the river. Papa did unhitch him from the buggy, too. Usually when we drove the mare over we just hitch her up and could trust her to be okay for a short time. So, after shopping and whatever, we were ready to go home. Daddy hooked Jack to the buggy. We got out on the road for a while, he said, "Well, we might as well give the umbrella a try." I did raise the umbrella and old Jack raised his tail and broke into a run. Daddy said it was up to him, he could walk if he chose to do so. But, I don't remember him slacking his pace and it was kind of hilly too. When we got in home he knew it as well as we. The umbrella down and his tail too. He was really wet and rather in a lather. So, I imagine he was ready for a rest.

Learning To Shoot

When Howard got to be a dozen years old he was to have the use of a 22 rifle and Papa taught him pretty much with it and he got where he could do pretty well. There was a target that came with it. Daddy, tacked it up on a tree out in the yard. I got to try it too. My first shot the best ever made. I really hit the bull's eye as Daddy called it. It was really a laugh. But, I could hardly hit the tree after that. I did take it one time with me when I went after the cows one evening and I did shoot at a rabbit and got close enough he took off in high gear.

Mushroom Delight

Another time I was after the cows early springtime. Without ever thinking I ran into the most beautiful patch of mushrooms. There I was without anything to put them in. It was a long way to go back for something too. I just gathered up the tail of my dress and filled it. In a couple of days I checked that same spot and found two. But I really had a good mess, a gallon or more. A surprise to others as well as to me. Never found them after that year.

Pal Sister Birdie

My sister Birdie, a little less than two years younger than me, made a good pal for me. She never worked in the field like I did but was pretty busy otherwise. She got a Job working at the restaurant soon after graduating from grade school.

Good Money: Dollar A Day

In fact, it might have been sometime before. We pretty much shared together in the home. One time I worked for a family around five or six weeks for a dollar a day. That was big money then. They had a family of five children and I don't remember of any of them going to school. Their father had the measles and complications getting over them. Mrs. Hale's brother was a mail carrier but he stayed with them and helped with the chores. It was quite an experience for me. I got along fine with children. I'd get home once in a while but I remember I got three aprons out of the deal. Mama made for me as money needed for other things in the home.

I don't remember ever feeling neglected in any way. I was always the one to help at the barn in doing the chores. I am not sure whether Howard ever learned to milk. No doubt he did in time.

Tell Time By The Trains

While working in the corn field I was pretty much entertained by the passing of trains. At that time there were several by there. I could guess petty much of time of day by them. I guess the men on the train recognized me. They would wave as they went by. The field by the tracks was a good distance. I heard Papa say the rows a quarter mile long. I learned about how long it took to make a round in the field. We took our lunch and sometimes Mama would not have lunch ready and she would send one of the younger ones with it. The first year or two, May helped sometimes in the field. If so, she'd be working with Papa. I would take the lunch for him and May was to go home and I'd help him.

Kids All Help At Home

May seemed a little more frail than I. I knew what it was to draw water by hand which we usually did so that would be especially for me to help Mama on wash mornings and Papa afternoons. I had more strength than May to draw water also to carry it out. But May might help some in the garden. We all knew what it was to help at home. We each had our differences in things to do but, I don’t remember of any of us complaining how things were at home. In blackberry time we knew what it was to pick blackberries too and fight the chiggers. I most usually took a cloth with coal oil and rubbed it around under my arms and waist and changed clothes when I got back to the house. There were groundhog dens over in the patch. We never liked that but Papa always told us they were afraid of us as we were them. We never liked the job of picking blackberries but they sure were good to eat in the wintertime when a cobbler was made out of them.

What Thanksgiving Really Means

Mama liked to shuck corn so when it came time to shuck corn she liked to go with Papa to the field. She would take called down row and Papa a couple standing. They made a real pair at that. She had a peg to shuck with as well as Papa. I remember one fall they were shucking corn and they wanted to get it out of the field before winter weather so, was shucking corn Thanksgiving Day. We kids thought it awful for we wanted to go to grandmothers and Uncle Lonnie's. How well we tried to tell them it was Thanksgiving Day and how thankful they should be and visit instead of shucking corn. Mama said, "Yes, I know it is Thanksgiving and we are thankful we have the corn to shuck. If you girls want to fix chicken and dumplings for supper okay. Go get an old hen off the nest and butcher her for Thanksgiving dinner at home." I'm not sure whether we did or not but, it gave us a choice.

Home Made Graduation Dress A Success

One thing sure, she taught us how to do things; cook, wash and sew. I and May made our 8th grade graduation dresses. That was our biggest accomplishment in the sewing business. Mama got us white voile to make them out of. We also learned to cut our patterns. In fact, could do better then than now. When I buy a pattern it is a puzzle for me. But I wanted three tucks in the skirt. Mama told me to baste them first before using machine. I basted them two or three times and finally quit basting and just sewed them in on machine. I never told Mama but somehow they came out fully as well as basting. May made ruffles in a V shape front and back. We were complimented on our dresses.

Our teacher, Merlin Allison, and wife took we two girls and Ada Johnson, a friend that had graduated that year to the Peanut cafeteria for lunch that day in St. Joe. We had enough money to pay for our dinner. Though we found out that the teacher would have treated us, we were glad we could pay for our meal as they were so good to get us to the graduation exercise at the auditorium in St. Joe. lt was quite a feat for us to march across the platform and pick up our diplomas. I don't remember what happened to my diploma but I yet have list of names of all graduates of Buchanan County that year, 1921.

Red Ranger Fox Hunter

The summer was a busy one. Papa got the garden ready and I helped to get it planted. May had a Job helping a family in town, the Gingery family. He was the manager of the Red Ranger Fox Hunter's work and they bad a magazine put out once a month.

Mrs. Gingery had a new baby boy about the same time that our younger sister was born so she needed help with the children. They had two others, a boy and a girl. The boy was older and school age. The baby, while named Lee Emerson, they nicknamed him Tut as he was born at the time during an excavation going on in old country that King Tut's tomb was found. That was big talk for a while.

May was there during week days and home over weekends. They took milk from us, a half gallon to be delivered. That was Howard's job most of the time. I did it often as we were about a quarter mile of town and I liked it better than he did anyway. In fact, I liked outside work better than indoor. One of the high school teachers stayed at the Gingery home. They had a large house that was renovated about the time May went to work there. They often had company as there would be some of the hunters in from other places and Mr. Gingery raised fox hounds too. As we were out in the country sometimes the hunt would start at our place. The guys would bring the hounds out and park and take hounds out on leases into the pasture and to release them. Mr. Gingery had one old hound pretty much the leader to take off and he had his horn to call off a hunt. They seemed not to care to ever catch a fox but the hounds make a good chase and got exercise. If they did ever catch a fox they must have let it go since I don't remember ever seeing a fox brought back.

Editor's Note: Lewis Francis Gingery, publisher of the Red Ranger Fox Hunter magazine, was quite famous as a hunter and publisher. He has published several books including an autobiograph entitled "Memry Trail" published in 1970 by School of the Ozarks Press.

Neswpapger articles of that era claimed that fox hunting in Missouri was a bigger sport than fishing or game hunting. Code of the fox hunters was to not harm the fox and the highly trained hounds likewise would not harm the fox even if they caught it. It was stated that the hunt was as much fun for the fox as for the hounds and the hunters.

Sisters Courted

While we all were yet at home Birdie had a bout of scarlet fever. At that time Birdie and Morris were courting and May was interested in a fellow quite a bit older than her. He was a son of an old man in our neighborhood that raised tobacco. He had lived in Indianapolis, Indiana. He had worked in the bakery business before he came to visit his father. He had been married and had a daughter, for reason never learned, was divorced. He got acquainted with the family known as the Morgan family. They had three girls and 3 boys. If I remember right, the younger of the boys about our age. The three girls all older but the younger one was about a couple or so years older. She seemed to feel her senior authority too. She had kind of taken an eye for the fellow, Fred Westfall, but it seemed she wasn't having much luck.

It was during this time a few families of young folks have a Saturday night party and get together in games. We girls were allowed to be in on a few of them and Fred seemed to get May's attention. She at that time was in high school. She had taken the first two years at Rushville. That was all that was offered there and the third year she went to Kidder, MO. Daddy helped her with some expenses but she helped in the cafeteria for board. Uncle Will and Aunt Minnie lived there and Pearl, their daughter, went to the Kidder high school too. So, that the last year in high school for May for the following summer she and Fred was seeing one another quite frequently. She worked at the Gingerys that summer and fall and decisions were made to get married.

At this time sister, Birdie, had a young man to get interested in her. He lived near Grandmother and Uncle Lonnie and Birdie had got acquainted with another young man through an uncle that had made his home with us and worked on the railroad. He had a new car, a roadster I believe they called it. He had friends and family of his deceased wife he often visited at Wallace, Mo. Birdie had met the fellow being with Uncle John.

One night, I believe it was her first date, and they had gone to a show and the other fellow taken it on himself to come see Birdie too and no date. Well, that was the last for him.

But Not Beulah

They had quite a time in their courting days. You might be wondering about mine. Well, they were few. I never got started out that way, I guess. Too busy taking over for the other girls to go away, I guess. I don't remember begrudging them of any time. I had not got interested or no one interested in me.

The Old Out of Gas Trick

I'll have to tell you a hair-raising story about my first date. Pretty much could call it a blind date. He lived next door to folks in St. Joe I went to work for. Been so long ago I forget, it might have been when I stayed with an older cousin that needed help awhile with family. Well, I remember the guy's first name, Clarence, and I believe last was Frye. He came over one afternoon and visiting the man of the house and I was introduced to him. I found out later the guy had wagered the fellow of getting a date with me, and called that afternoon about a date to a show. When I was called to the phone and was told Clarence wanted to talk to me. I was dumb, thinking of a cousin's husband who, one time before had asked me to a show with him as Ada, his wife, had a meeting, and so just thinking it such an occasion. So you see how dumb I was. And then, I was told it was the Clarence that I had met that afternoon, I couldn't be beat so had to go along with it.

On the way I remarked I'd just as soon take a drive down to Rushville, my home where there had been quite a rain storm. So, that was okay with the guy. We got down there and found the bridge washed out and we had to go a long way around. Well, we made that trip okay. He got to see my parents and what common folks we were and in fact, I'm not too sure I did go to a show one other time. But on our way home on first date he asked me what I do if I was out on a date at night and ran out of gas, what would I do? I told him I'd be ready to walk to see if we could find someone we could get a little gas from, so it was a minor discussion. I let him know I'd rather be found hunting gas than found setting in a car waiting daylight.

So, perhaps that not to his notion. Then when I told a cousin about the date, she was one I guess knew about all the dateable guys. She told me all about what a guy he was and she would not be caught with him. Well, I wasn't ever caught though I had dated him and was glad I had let him understand where I stood. But from the outcome of the cousin's experience I yet prefer the road I've come.

Fiddle and Piano

Since speaking of the cousin, she had an older sister of eleven years. It could have been her I was helping when I had my first date experience. She was quite a musician on the piano. She about the same age of sister, May. Uncle Ed Smith, her Dad, was quite a fiddle player and played for dances and I often wondered how Aunt Clara, my father's sister, ever got interested in him but goes to show any of us can get off the better road of life if not pretty careful. He drank pretty heavy at times too. The older girl had a real ear for music. She played piano by ear and I'd prefer her playing to Ethel's, who had with her Dad's help made up quite a band. I was there one night when I was informed I could come to the door and watch them practice, fiddle and all. Well, it was nice with her at the piano and Uncle Ed on the fiddle he always called it.

PaPa Kills A Rattler

I recall one time (1914) years before I was a little girl around seven or eight years old. We lived on a farm where our father worked. He had a nice old carriage. It had fringe around the top of it and an oil lantern light on each side in front. Papa was allowed the use of it and team to go to visit Aunt Clara and Uncle Ed. On our way into St Joe the horses got road shy at something and Papa couldn't get the team to go by a spot in the road and he noticed a rattlesnake off at the side all coiled. He gave Mother the lines after he had backed the team back away from the spot. He took a single tree from behind the horses and killed it. We all were terribly scared but he did a good job of it and then he cut the rattle off of the end of the snake's tail. It had eleven rattles and button. So, when papa told the story at Aunt Clara's, Uncle Ed asked for the rattle to put in his violin to give it the right noise as he played it. Well, Papa gave it to him and we kids wished he had kept it. Daddy said, eleven rattles and the button showed the age of the snake, so, it had been around several years - 12 of them.

Hares and Guinae Pigs

While I am on to this story I'll tell you of part of the visit on the trip. Uncle Ed raised Belgium Hares, or rabbits as we called them. He had one he called his old buck or the male that was quite a digger, kind of like a dog. He would dig under the fence around the pen. They also had a few chickens in the same pen. So, Uncle Ed dug down and buried some fencing wire and in the meantime the old buck had dug a hole out of the chicken yard and finally on out of the pen behind the building. He got out and in and it was some time before Uncle Ed found the hole out in an alfalfa patch or clover, I'm not sure. He was telling us this and we were helping look for the hole and found a nest of little guinea pigs. That was quite a discovery, so cute, and we thought we sure needed one of them, at least. They were so spotted and cute, but were told to put them back where we found them. I'm not sure but might have been my last of them. I know it was fun having one in hand. So much for the rabbits and guinea pig.

Uncle Ed and Daddy and not sure who else went fishing. They had quite a mess of fish and cleaned them out in the chicken yard.

St. Joe Trips A Big Deal

Well, that was the first trip I remember being at Aunt Clara's and another big thing too, going into St. Joe. At that time there was a viaduct over the railroad tracks and as the big steam engines came under the viaduct smoke would roll up. I remember Daddy hurrying the horses so we could go over it in the smoke. Mama wasn't as pleased as we kids were. (This was 1914)

More School Stories

When we lived on Long's farm in 1917, we children were going for the second time to the Sampson school near DeKalb, Mo. There were no electric lights. We lived a little over a mile of school through the pastures, fields and they said it was near five miles by road. One of the rock quarries was there. There was what some called hardware screen on windows to prevent breaking glass on them. There was little blasting of rock during school hours but do remember a few times. We all were warned to stay off ground there. Our school was heated with what they called a furnace but it was a one room furnace stove, coal fuel used. We had a coal shed nearby and the coal was carried in. The big stove had a Jacket around it to keep one from getting badly burned. The stove set in the north end of the school house and the piping from the stove was quite large and ran pretty close across the building to the chimney and I presume that helped to heat overhead air. One day it was too bad outside to play and some rough playing going on inside. One of the larger boys got hold of sister May's cap and using it for a ball tossing it around over heads and her chasing after it which seemed quite exciting to all and it wound up on top of that big pipe across overhead and got badly burned before the guy could get the broom to get it down. So, that seemed to end that play.

Another school episode while there happened on the way home. One of the boys that played janitor help for the teacher lived down past our home. He went earlier than we to help get the heat going for school but seemed to manage to go with us home. Along our route was a stock pond nearby and when it got frozen hard they used it for skating. Several had skates and one of the boys there, a little older than we girls, lived near us. He was unusually good in many athletic things. He was the younger of a family of 5 children so had a lot of training, I guess.

He was real good pole vaulting and carried his vaulting pole. His mother, Mrs. Carlton, said much of the time he had her clothes line propped up so high she could not use it. One day he was telling us about it at school and he told us he could vault over the coal shed. So he brought his pole and he showed us, after a few tries of just landing on top, he went over. He was quite a monkey on skates, figure skating they called it.

Of course he had many admirers. His older sisters were real nice and the two older ones worked away from home in Atchison, Kansas at the telephone office there. The older brother was married and had one little one.

Sleigh Riding Hazard

It was wintertime and since the Carlton family lived across the road and pasture from us we were often together. One winter we older ones, May and I and not sure whether Birdie was with us, but we had a wooden sled that Daddy had made us. It was heavy but it really was a dandy sled and Raymond was a good hand handling it too. But one evening during a Christmas vacation time we girls took the sled and went over as they had a much better place to use it. But that particular evening, girls at home, Raymond had a piece of metal roofing he was using for a sled and made out of the ingate to wagon he used to guide it with. So, we were giving it a try, all could get on it and ride. At the foot of the hill was a ditch and Raymond said "when I say roll, all roll off." I was riding the tale-end. All was fun until he called all roll and I the last to roll and hit the ditch. That was the end of my sleigh riding that night. I saw no moon that night but when my head hit the ground I saw stars. It was my first and last of seeing stars on a cloudy night and for some time after.

Bad Biscuits

Mrs. Carlton would go occasionally over to Atchison and visit her girls. She was over there one time and Mr. Carlton and Raymond came over to see us one evening and Mr. Carlton told us about Raymond making biscuits. We thought it funny but of course it wasn't very funny for Raymond. Mr. Carlton had a bad cold. He called it the flu and Raymond was doing the cooking and he wanted to make biscuits and asked his Dad how much shortening to use and he told him 1/2 cup. Raymond never realized what shortening was, thinking it salt, so he missed the recipe bad. I am sure he remembered it after that.

PaPa Sick

While at this place Papa had a spell with walking typhoid fever one summer.

Solar Eclipse

Birdie stayed with Grandma DeWeese quite often. That summer she was with her and Uncle Lonnie came and helped May and I to work over a big sweet potato patch. During that time there was a total eclipse of the sun during the afternoon.

Uncle Lonnie was telling about how to look at it using a piece of blue colored glass. In the area of the sweet potato patch there was near a barn lot and surrounding you could often see a piece of blue glass. We left such things as this to Uncle Lonnie to take care of. He had picked up a piece, nice size, and put it in his pocket to have handy. That afternoon we were out working and occasionally Uncle Lonnie would have us to take a look with his piece of blue glass. I remember going to the house for something and the chickens gathering up around the hen house and that fun for me and on the way back to the potato patch I found me a blue piece of glass, too, so I could look at the sight quite frequently. It never got real dark but yet no shadows. To look at the sun it looked like a copper penny, all shined up and edge right and it began to get brighter. So, that was quite an experience. I think that was about 1917.

(Editor's note: There was a solar eclipse visible in the US on June 8, 1918.)

Telling about this experience calls to mind another atmosphere phenomenon. I was some younger and we children, with mother, visiting Uncle Will and Aunt Minnie in Kidder, MO. And they were making ice cream at night time and the northern lights got so bright that evening that we kids got scared. No moon light, just those northern lights like a big fan up into the sky made it light around in the yard for quite a while. It has been a long time since I remember seeing them at all and why?

Sweet Potato Box

After that summer in sweet potato business Daddy made a big box for our sweet potatoes that winter. It was lined good with newspapers and estimated to hold several bushel of potatoes. It was in the living room so was plenty dry and warm. We children used it to work school lessons on for several years. We had sweet potatoes from digging time until digging time.

Making Apple Butter

Fall was a time of making apple butter. One year we made several gallons. We always had several gallons and mother canned it. But that year Aunt Clara wanted some and we always made enough to share with Grandmother and Uncle Lonnie. Daddy made a special dasher to stir it, also the pan it was cooked in. It was large enough he said they could make 12 or 15 gallons. They always had to have Ben Davis apples for apple butter. So it was quite a job. Papa made the dasher about 2 feet wide with 6 or 7 prongs to stick up on the base of it. They were around 6 inches long and the handle around 8 feet or more. It was an all-day affair. We would have apples all pared to start the next morning. Papa had a good hot fire to get things going and of course it takes quite a lot of water too. As the cooking began to boil they tried to keep pretty even heat to keep it so. I had to use the dasher for a few minutes at different times. I sure didn't think it any more fun than peeling and coring the apples. They knew pretty much how many apples to make as much as they would plan, as well as how much water, sugar and spices.

After a couple or so years of that, when we moved and pretty much had apples as we chose, don't remember of such big times of it as at first. Maybe I was larger as well as older and it never seemed to be such a job. I do also remember Papa digging large holes in the ground and putting barrels in them and filling them with apples. One time also turnips and cabbage, and a heavy layer of straw. That was done in late fall and when what we had on hand in cellar got low then we went to work on them. On real cold nights he would often put special wood in the heater to have good hot coals of fire to put in an old bucket with ashes in it to carry to the cellar.

Banned To The Kitchen

I remember working awhile for a Jewish family. They don't believe in eating pork. Her doctor that looked after her baby told her to fix bacon, cooked crisp, and crumble it. So, she kept bacon well wrapped away from other food in the refrigerator. I was expected to eat in the kitchen by myself.

Well, we have a lot of funny people in the world and I am one of them. No doubt some think me as strange.

Futrue Husband Builds Store On Church Site

We lived around one half mile from church. That is the Methodist when we lived at Rushville. The church set back off the street, with several steps into the church. At the time the church was organized, there was a main hitch rack or place for teams of horses and wagons. As years came and gone and streets laid out for the town, one was downhill in front of the church and it was bad to get up to the church house for another landing of steps came up from the street. So it was getting well forsaken and few attended. It was sold in the early '30's. The place and church was sold.

Church records I understood went to a M.E. church in South St. Joe. W. A. Baker bought it. The building was torn down. The bell and many of the seats went to a church at Plattsburg. Much of the building material from it was used by Mr. Baker in building a store building and about this time the main highway was moved from the town of Rushville about one-half mile away so much of the transit was taken away from town. It was only about five miles into Atchison, Kansas. The building had living quarters in back. The place was sold.

New Highway Brings Changes To Rushville

Great changes were made after change of the highway. Also water was brought into town and cars became more plentiful. Much more business left the town for city shopping.

Have found also the place where we lived when we moved to Rushville was gone. Perhaps more detail on this later.

Several years ago I heard the house we moved to on the farm had burned. A family of 5 children lived there. They happened to be away.

>End of Memoirs

Beulah Ann DeWeese Baker:
Born: May 25, 1907 Died: November 28, 1990

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Copyright © June 14, 2000 Jerry Lee Walker Sr.