Sunday, January 12, 2014

This is Home, Part 33 - Learning to drive

This is part 33 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Learning to drive

When I was sixteen, Uncle Doc wrote to Jefferson City and got a driver's license for me. I didn't learn to drive until I was eighteen or nineteen. Girls didn't have cars in those days. They borrowed the family car. So did boys until they could earn enough money to buy one.

Uncle Doc taught me how to drive. I remember one time he said, "Where are you looking, Maudie?" I told him I was looking right in front of the car. He said no, look ahead so you will know what the road is like and what is happening there. He told me to look straight down the middle of my side.

Of course, he also laughed when I was trying to drive up a steep hill in Huntsville. It had a stop sign part way up and after I stopped, I couldn't get the car to go forward. When I tried to go forward, it slid back. So I put one foot on the brake. Then when I pushed on the gas, the car just roared and didn't move. I still wouldn't be able to get that car up that hill.

The car had a clutch, a brake, a starter, and a gas pedal. The gear shift was on the steering wheel. I just feel like shuddering when I think of it. Uncle Doc had to drive up the hill, and he didn't have a problem.

Another time, when we drove by a telephone repairman climbing a pole, Uncle Doc laughed and said, "Look, Maudie, he saw you coming."

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This is Home, Part 32 - Jack Frost, autumn, setting up the stove

This is part 32 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Jack Frost

Something I keep forgetting to mention. When the house was warm and moist inside like the kitchen was, and it was very cold outside, water condensed on the glass -- a lot of it -- and froze at night. Then in the morning, it looked like a picture of beautiful leafy trees and woodland paths and fences.

I have no idea how it was every time transformed into a picture. Uncle Doc used to tell me every morning to come and see what "old Jack Frost has painted." It was always amazing to me to find this picture.


Everything changes in the country, or did at that time, when the seasons change. When it becomes fall, the wild geese fly South. One hears the noise -- the honking noises -- and looks up to see a V formation of geese flying overhead. I looked them up and the book said they are in a club formation with a leader out front. There are geese inside what I think of as a V. The birds leave, too.

The nuts fall off the trees and Mom used to take us and we would all gather them. There was usually a squirrel there gathering nuts, too. We left him some. That tree had hickory nuts. I missed it when lightning struck it and it burned down except for a tall, blackened stump.

We had trees with walnuts, too.

Setting up the stove

Also, in the fall, the stove in the living room had to be brought back in and put up. The metal square was put on the rug. The stove was carried back in and placed on it. The yellowish plate with the flowers painted on it was removed from the wall where the stove pipe would go in. The pipe was joined with one end in the wall and one end in the stove. It was time to build the fire.

The door from the living room to the porch was closed and locked. The old fashioned door had a rectangular metal plate on each side, with a metal part extending above it on the inside that could be pushed forward to lock the door and backwards to unlock it. Of course, the knob was there, also, and a key hole. I don't remember if all of them had a key hole. The key hole was in the metal plate, not the knob.

The couch used to be moved back against the door, but after we got the Aladdin lamp it was put in a different place so Uncle Doc could get the lamp out.

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Sunday, December 01, 2013

National Novel Writing Month 2013 - Winner!

I was a winner for National Novel Writing Month 2013, meaning that I managed to write a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month (November). I completed it, at least the rough draft, on November 29, 2013, about 6:55 PM, and validated it at the website later that night, about 10:30 PM. The Open Office word processor, which I wrote it in, put the word count at 51,043, more than last year's, but still relatively low compared to the other years. The website put the word count at one less. The book for 2013 was a sequel of the 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 ones. I joined National Novel Writing Month [ ] on March 20, 2009, as user Stephen_M_99.

The novels' word counts, mine and the website's, and the date the novel was finished:

2013: 51,043 and 51,042, November 29, 2013
2012: 50,147 and 50,147, November 20, 2012
2011: 60,973 and 60,977, November 21, 2011
2010: 53,076 and 53,077, November 26, 2010
2009: 52,110 and 52,111, November 28, 2009

Below are the smaller winner web badge images for this year. There were two others, but they were large banners. Though the display on my computer showed them shrunk to fit when doing a preview of this post, I couldn't be sure that all browsers would do that, and thought it would be safer to leave them off. If forced to make a choice, I would probably choose one of those large banner ones, if enough space existed for them. If forced to choose from the ones below, I would probably chose either the top one or the long bottom one.

My novel is science fiction, and though I did not put a synopsis or excerpt in the Novel Info section this time, here they are for this post:

The time traveler-in-training is still trapped in another dimension where reality is more pliable, and thoughts can sometimes become real, even hidden thoughts, and even good intentions can have unforeseen consequences. In this novel he runs into more adventures and tribulations, finding out more about himself in the process, and more about the world in which he is trapped.

As night was approaching, they got to the next shelter. She slowed the car down, and instead of trying to back in went in forward, the headlights on bright. They saw in the area of the door five of those creatures, or perhaps it would be better to say five creatures that looked like each other, but it would be hard to say whether they looked like the one before, since they hadn't gotten a good view of that one. The ones here narrowed their eyes and blinked, raising their arms to try to block the light some. It was difficult to say exactly what they were. They looked somewhat like skinny man-size monkeys, but also had some wolfish features, and even looked somewhat demonic. They were covered with short dark hair, and had almost hand-like front paws, which had claws on them.

She stopped the car, staring at them. "I guess we can't get to this one, either." She started to put the car into reverse, but Jack stopped her.

"What if they're all like this? We might have to keep on driving indefinitely, never able to stop at any of them."

"What should we do then? Surely you're not suggesting that we get out and fight them?"

"Try honking the horn at them."

"Where's that?"

He paused. He hadn't had to use the horn before. He assumed that it had one, but that was just an assumption. He could be wrong. This was, after all, an alien car. "It should be somewhere on or around the steering wheel," he said lamely.

"There are some concentric circles on the hub area, but they don't look anything like horn symbols."

"Try pushing on that." He remembered seeing them, now that she mentioned it, but hadn't really paid much attention to them. He guessed he'd thought they were something like a manufacturer's logo.

She pushed, and a loud blast went out. They weren't isolated from it either, since the car had no doors. He hoped it was pointed more toward the front, so it was louder to those there. It was plenty loud enough in the car.

The creatures jumped and milled around, and made whining and chittering and growling noises, but didn't leave.

"What now?" she asked.

"I guess now we fight them."

"Not really."

"If we want to get into a shelter, we may not have a choice."

"But they're wild animals! They're as big as we are, and there are five of them!"

He turned around to rummage in the back, and after a bit resumed his former position, but this time holding the sword and a shield. "You stay in the car and honk the horn. I'll get out and wave the sword around and yell. Maybe we can scare them off."

"I don't think this is a good idea, Jack. It'll be five to one out there, and if they decide to come after you, they can get around you and there won't be much you can do. I can try to drive at them with the car, but I don't have room to get up much speed, and I'd have to actually run over them to do much damage. In the meantime they can be trying to get in at me through the doorways, and I wouldn't be able to do much to stop them."

Jack realized that all she said was true. Still, what choice did they have? "They look pretty skinny, and not too intelligent. If we can really scare them, really intimidate them, I should be able to fight them. And after one or two are killed, that should scare them off. Or at least give them a lot more caution."

"Jack, please, don't do this. The shelters don't matter, they're nice to have of course, but we're more important than they are. We don't have to do this, we've got plenty of food, enough for several days, or a week even, if we have to. Don't do it Jack. I don't want to lose you. Think of the baby, if you won't think of yourself, and if you won't think of me."

Jack paused. He turned to look at her, and saw tears running down her face. He started to say something, but she interrupted.

"You don't understand, Jack. After the motel, sure, you could have taken them all, with no problem, killed them all with one swing of the sword even, even just sent the sword out with your mind to do it. But not now. Look at you! You were struggling under the weight of them, when you dragged them from the back. You can hardly even lift them, much less fight with them! They'll tear you apart."

Jack looked down, then turned back toward the front, staring out at the creatures. They weren't milling around as much, though they still seemed bothered by the headlights. "I can do it," he said somewhat stiffly, trying to give himself confidence at the same time. "If I go out there appearing confident, that will make them believe I can do it, and belief counts for a lot." It sure did here, anyway. And did a lot in the normal world he had come from, even if it couldn't normally be used there to suddenly change the fabric of reality.

"Jack, please...."

"It will be alright. Don't worry. When I get out, start honking the horn. A lot." He paused, and took a breath, and tried to summon whatever strength he could, whatever resources he could still muster. He got out of the car, the weight of the sword and the shield pulling him down. The point of the sword dragged along the gravel. The sound of the horn was loud in his ears, but not quite enough to hide the pounding of his heart.

He took a deep breath, then another, and then swung the sword high above his head, the weight of it unbalancing him some, so that he staggered backward a bit, but then he caught himself and charged at them, roaring and waving the sword.

They shrank back from him, but the rock outcropping of the shelter was behind them, blocking them. They scattered, going in different directions. They didn't go far, though, getting out around him in a big circle. They were about ten feet or so from him, circling, slowly making their way closer. He swung his sword and yelled at them. They watched him and the sword, their eyes narrowed. This was a game they knew how to play, he felt. A game they had played many times. A game they knew the ending to.

He swung the sword and yelled some more, and the horn was blowing insistently. Still, they made their way closer. His arms ached, and he was sweating despite the coolness of the weather. The sword was feeling slippery in his grip.

Suddenly, one was coming at him from the right.

The previous years' novels:

National Novel Writing Month 2012 - Winner!
National Novel Writing Month 2011 - Winner!
National Novel Writing Month 2010 - Winner!
National Novel Writing Month 2009 - Winner!

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Saturday, November 02, 2013

This is Home, Part 31 - Missouri Hen House

This is part 31 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Missouri Hen House

A Missouri Hen House (the plan's name) was built sometime when we were in grade school. It was two story. I don't remember what the first story was like.

Upstairs over under the roof on two sides of the building was no floor, just chicken wire. There may have been wood under the nests. All I saw was straw on wire which slanted and had a sort of wire depression near the front where I stood. The hen would lay an egg and, when she moved, the egg would roll gently into the wire depression or trough.

Sometimes, the hen doesn't like it when one takes the egg away and tries to peck. This solved that problem.

The hen house was large enough to be a barn. It had a lot of nests.

It was built past the brooder house, near the fence with the woods and swing on the other side.

The hen house had a door that opened out from the upstairs. Nothing was under it. It was like the barn, but the door there is used to put bales of hay in the barn. This one was probably for straw.

Most of the hens were happy with the new hen house. Some of the older ones insisted on staying in the two old hen houses past the wash house.

I remember when Uncle Doc couldn't get one out of the yard -- it had sneaked in -- so he put corn in the back yard on the snow for it. We were looking out the window and saw a rabbit hop up to the corn and start eating it.

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This is Home, Part 30 - Lamps, the Black Forest clock

This is part 30 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.


Mom had a lot of beautiful lamps. One was pale pink, with embossed roses. It was glass, tall and graceful with a tall, slender chimney. She had one with brass, antique-looking feet and painted roses, and another that had gold trim and an old-fashioned picture on the side. That one was red. There was also a similar one that was pale blue. There were three plain glass ones with glass chimneys. One with a red base and a black Scotty. I loved that one. She brought them with her when she came out here.

The interesting one was the Aladdin lamp. It was metal. It gave out a white light. However, the inventor wasn't really thinking what he was doing. The flame had a small wire above it with a top and two sides. Stretched over the wire was gauze. It kept catching on fire and Uncle Doc kept rushing out and throwing it in the snow. We kept using it because it put out a lot more light than the other lamps. We could see to do lessons better. An ordinary lamp put out more light than a candle, but not a lot.

The Black Forest clock

Mom bought a Black Forest clock about the time I started high school. It had a door near the top in front. Instead of a talking bird, the children -- a boy and a girl -- came out if it was going to be a nice day. The old witch came out if we were going to have bad weather.

It really worked. I guess the extra dampness in the air made the witch come out. I remember looking at it before I left for high school. It was hanging on the wall in the kitchen, by the front door.

I remember stopping to look at the clock as I was leaving for school in the springtime when the air felt alive, heavy with moisture, and movable.

It felt wonderful and interesting, not just hot and dry like it does out here in Arizona, It made me feel alive.

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This is Home, Part 29 - Mom's Red Dress, Mom's sore throat, Mom's headaches, Mom's hives

This is part 29 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Mom's Red Dress

Mom told me that when she was young her favorite color was red. She said she wanted a red dress but in those days, a nice girl didn't wear that color. When Jean and I were grown and I lived out here in Arizona, she bought herself a red and black checked suit. So she finally got to wear red.

Mom's sore throat

Mom said when she was little and had a sore throat that needed a doctor, the doctor blew a yellow powder onto her throat through a straw. The name of the powder was something like Golden Seal. I wonder if it was sulfa?

Mom's headaches

Mom said she used to have really bad "sick headaches" and there wasn't really much anyone could do for them except put a wet cloth on her forehead and tell her to rest. She said she was so thankful when they got aspirin.

I checked and found out aspirin was invented a year before she was born. It was evidently not in common usage since doctors didn't recommend it.

I remember her having them sometimes. She took aspirin and went to bed with a wet cloth on her head. Uncle Doc took over the cooking until she felt better.

As she got past middle age they just about went away.

Mom's hives

A funny thing happened one time, although I'm not sure Mom would characterize it that way.

Mom had hives for some reason. Nothing seemed to get rid of them. They just itched and itched.

One afternoon, a car pulled up out front. I told Mom a man in a suit was getting out. Mom gave me a horrified look and said, "I don't want to talk to him. Don't answer the door. Maybe he will go away."

By that time, the man was knocking on the door. We didn't answer. He knocked some more. He was pretty plain he wasn't going anywhere.

Finally, Mom said, "Answer the door, but don't invite him in. If he wants to talk to me, tell him I'm sick."

I answered and he did ask for Mom by name. I told him that she was sick and couldn't see anyone.

He said, "I'm a doctor."

I gave up and opened the screen door. Then I told Mom, who reluctantly crept out trying not to scratch or rub.

He turned out to be Dr. Grover Cleveland Rice, Daddy and Uncle Doc's cousin. He lived in Brunswick. He gave Mom some medicine to take. A doctor used to always take his black bag along. It had instruments and medicine in it along with first aid supplies.

Mom took the medicine, but it didn't work. She was having a miserable summer.

Finally, an old Indian traveling through sold her some medicine. By that time, Mom would have taken anything. It worked.

Dr. Rice often came to visit on Sunday after that and brought his wife and little girl. Everyone always enjoyed seeing them. They came for years until the little girl got old enough to be involved in a lot of activities. She was probably around three or four when they first started coming. She used to rock in one of my little chairs.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

This is Home, Part 28 - Electricity, mail, Mom shopped, the lunch counter, crops, gardens and pesticides, no irrigation, the plane in the pasture

This is part 28 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.


President Roosevelt's rural electrification program worked. Somewhere around my Freshman year, we got electricity, as did our neighbors. The white light was lovely compared to the yellow lamp light.


The men had moved the mailbox up by the garage. The carrier came by in his Model A. I used to run out and get the mail and he started holding out Edgar's letter to me and saying, "He sent you a letter today."

Sometimes, when it was cold and bad, the mail carrier would come into the house, sit by the fire awhile, and have a cup of coffee and talk.

Edgar and I used air mail stamps on our letters. They were five cents. A regular stamp was three cents.

Mom shopped

Sometimes, Uncle Doc would take mom to town while we were at school. When we got home, we would find new skirts and blouses on our beds. Sometimes, we would have sweater sets instead. Socks, too, with either.

I liked -- and still like -- wool skirts because they fit well and feel good. Of course, they had to be dry cleaned.

The lunch counter

When I was in college, I had a friend, Nancy, who worked at a pharmacy. They had a lunch counter she worked behind. I used to eat there everyday. I could get a grilled pimento cheese sandwich or a ham salad for fifteen cents and a Coke for five cents. No tax. Sometimes, I would have the chicken salad sandwich for 20 cents plus a Coke for five cents.

Things were a lot cheaper then, but income was less.

Crops, gardens and pesticides

Crops and gardens were never sprayed with anything on either farm. No other farmer in our area sprayed crops, either. The noise of a plane close to the ground and a cloud of what looks like dust is not something one could hide.

The soil on the big farm was very acid. Sometimes -- years apart -- Daddy would lime the fields to improve the soil. I can only remember this happening three times, but it could have happened when I was gone.

Actually, I think the acid soil was responsible for the beautiful color of the flowers and how well everything grew.

Daddy planted more grass in the yard for several years, then waited a few years. He had a sort of sack-like thing with a strap over the opposite shoulder that he put seed in and threw it out by hand as he walked around the yard. The yard was planted with bluegrass and some other grass. I keep thinking rye, but the description in the dictionary doesn't sound anything like the grass we had. The grass was very tender, cool blades that were single. It actually felt soft. The yard was covered with grass. So were the pastures.

No irrigation

There was also no irrigation. Water was provided by the frequent rains.

We had a changeable, capricious weather pattern. There was a saying back there: "If you don't like the weather, wait a while and it will change."

The plane in the pasture

One summer day, a small private plane landed on the rise in the pasture. This was the pasture between the house and the mailbox. The side David and I saw.

The men must have seen it come down, because by the time the pilot walked to the house, they were all coming into the yard. They got the container or containers of gasoline the pilot needed and he invited all of us to come see his plane. So we all walked over in the pasture with him and admired the plane.

See, one never knows what interesting thing will happen on a farm! I must have been in late grade school or early high school at that time.

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This is Home, Part 27 - Edgar, Edgar joins the Navy, square dancing

This is part 27 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.


When I became a Freshman, I saw this really dreamy guy. I kept meeting him in the hall when we were going opposite directions to class. He had brown wavy hair, blue eyes, and wore glasses. He was also wearing casual dress clothes that looked really good on him. No blue jeans like everyone else. His clothes were also pressed with sharp creases. I found out he was a Junior and his name was Edgar Taylor, Jr. Bea's brother-in-law and Howard's younger brother.

Martha and I started calling him "Mr. Glasses" so hopefully the other kids wouldn't know who we were talking about if they overheard.

I had a date with Edgar during the latter part of my sophomore year. He took me to a calico hop at the school.

After school was out, we dated a lot. He gave me his class ring to signify we were going steady. I put medical tape on the inside and wore it on my ring finger.

He had graduated from high school at the end of my sophomore year.

Edgar joins the Navy

Edgar had to spend some time in the armed forces, as did all young men. So he joined the Navy for four years. He came home every chance he got. Just like in the movies, he hitched a ride. Then sometimes he got a leave.

He was stationed in San Diego finally and from there was sent in a ship with his division to patrol the waters around Korea. I didn't know where he was until later; everything was secret. I wrote to a San Diego address and the letter was sent from there to him. We tried to write every day. Sometimes, the mail didn't get through and we would not get any letters, then would get several.

We had fun when he got a leave. We went to movies, went to see Bea and Howard where we played cards and laughed, went walking in the pasture, and sometimes went to a teen hangout where we drank Coke, talked and listened to the jukebox.

Square dancing

One time we went to a square dance at Edgar's parent's home. Edgar and James tried to show me how, but it was hopeless. I couldn't understand what the caller was saying. James was Edgar's younger brother.

Funny -- Mom said she used to love to square dance. Her father fiddled for dances, sometimes.

Uncle Doc used to like to square dance, too, he said.

After we came home from a date, we used to sit in Edgar's car by the garage with the yard light blazing in and talk.

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This is Home, Part 26 - How to find a husband, a Freshman in high school, Martha, skating and Charley, Bea divorces, remarries

This is part 26 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

How to find a husband

When I was in high school -- all the way through it -- the girls did not plan to work. They intended to get married, instead. Even in college, this was true. They just went to college to find someone to marry. The magazines during that time had all sorts of advice on attracting a husband. Part of the advice was listening to his opinions instead of expressing yours. Never admit that you know things he doesn't. Never beat him in any kind of game. Encourage him to talk about himself and his job. Listen and look interested. Make him feel important.

They even had advice on manners such as who walked down a movie theater aisle first behind the usher. We had ushers with flashlights who found a seat for people then.

Articles like this were in Redbook, Good Housekeeping and other magazines of this type. Even Glamour, I think it was.

A Freshman in high school

Anyway, high school was a lot of fun, except the punishment for being a Freshman girl was dressing in blue jeans for a certain time period. I didn't have jeans, so Aunt Edith or Bea borrowed a pair of Edgar's from his mother. They weren't a bad fit, except the waist was larger than mine and they were a lot too long. I wore a belt and rolled them up. We were supposed to look like boys, so no makeup. I only wore lipstick and powder anyway, so that didn't bother me too much.


I kept getting to the room I was supposed to have a class in earlier than anyone else, except this tall girl with light brown shoulder length hair and big blue eyes. After we had stood together for several classes a day waiting for the door to be opened, for maybe a couple of days, we finally started talking.

We became best friends and walked around together. We stayed all night at each other's homes and sometimes we stayed weekends.

Her name was Martha Riley. We had the same initials and our fathers were both named Ernest, so they had the same initials.

When I first told Mom about her, she said she remembered seeing her at the grade school graduation.

Skating and Charley

Martha and Jean got along well. One time they decided to see if they could skate. Mom said it would be all right if they skated along one side of the wall in the South bedroom, since the "room size" carpet left quite a bit of space along the sides. Mom was just going to redo the floor later if it needed it.

Anyway, they took turns skating along while holding onto things. I think they finally got bold enough to go outside on the walk. I don't remember them falling.

Charley, Daddy and Uncle Doc came home for dinner. Someone talked Charley into trying skating. It wasn't me -- I didn't think it looked like fun. I thought it looked like work and maybe a broken bone.

Charley put on the skates and tried to skate on the walk. The first thing that happened, his feet shot out from under him and he landed on his back. He looked so funny that everyone laughed, then asked if he was okay and helped him up. He was, but I don't think anyone skated after that. It was time for dinner, anyway.

Bea divorces, remarries

Bea and Bob were divorced after he came home. She met Howard Taylor, later, and after awhile they were married. Howard was good looking. He had dark hair and blue eyes and a nice smile. I liked him.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

This is Home, Part 25 - President Roosevelt, the war ends, the men come home

This is part 25 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

President Roosevelt

President Roosevelt had led the country almost through World War II. He is the only president in history who was elected for four terms. I read that in each of those elections, he carried 31 states out of 48. He was loved in the United States and the world.

Just a few days before graduation, we were listening to the radio and heard that President Roosevelt had died. This was on April 12th. I remember telling Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley that he had died. They were bringing the horses and wagon back from working. For the first time, I saw tears in Uncle Doc's eyes.

President Roosevelt's friends and neighbors plus thousands of others stood weeping at Warm Springs as the funeral train left for Washington, D.C. It took around twenty three hours to get there. (I hope I remembered this correctly.) His casket had been placed on something that raised it so it could be seen out of the windows. At night, the lights in the train were dimmed and the car with his casket was brightly lit. It was also brightly lit during the day. His casket could be seen for miles. The tracks were lined on both sides all the way through the countryside with thousands of people weeping. No matter what the hour there were grandparents, mothers and fathers, often holding children. Mrs. Roosevelt sat watching the continuing tribute to her husband.

On the trip from Washington to Hyde Park, N.Y., the situation was the same.

His daughter, Anna, remembers sitting on the floor and watching from her window all the people who loved him. He was buried in his rose garden at his home in Hyde Park.

There is a famous picture of a black man in a uniform crying and playing "Going Home" on his accordion. I don't know where it was taken.

When President Roosevelt died, it was similar to when President Kennedy died. The whole world mourned and everyone remembers where they were when they heard.

Newspapers published a daily list of servicemen who had died for their country. The day after Roosevelt's death, some newspapers put at the head of their casualty list Roosevelt, Franklin D., Commander-in-Chief.

The war ends

The atomic bomb had been a closely guarded secret. President Truman got the shock of his life when he was told.

First, we had the formal surrender of Germany. V-E day -- Victory in Europe -- was May 8, 1945, but I think the formal surrender was somewhat later. President Roosevelt had told someone that the war in Europe would be over by the end of May.

After calling for the Japanese surrender and receiving their refusal, Truman ordered the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan. They still refused and kept fighting. After a second atomic bomb was dropped, they wanted to stop fighting. The formal surrender was signed on September 2, 1945 (V-J Day) on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. World War II was over.

The men come home

Lawrence (Mary Ellen's husband) came home. So did Bob Bolton (Bea's husband). Denver Williams came home with a bride, Caroline, from the South. So we acquired a Catholic girl in a community that was Baptist. Most of the servicemen came home, except for a military force which we maintained overseas.

The jobs that had been filled by their wives were given back to the soldiers. That sounds strange today, but in those days, women were usually housewives. However, some of them liked working and missed their jobs.

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This is Home, Part 24 - Back to Hickory, back to Darksville, the manger scene on the blackboard, Darksville community functions, cleaning the floors in school, cleaning the office, grade school graduation

This is part 24 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Back to Hickory

We went back to Hickory for my seventh grade after going to Darksville for the sixth. We got a new teacher, one that was a year or two older than Uncle Doc. Her name was Miss Gussie Eagan. I really liked her. I was the oldest student in school and the only one in my class. I don't know where Mary Hill was. Probably, she liked going to Darksville better. Her family was the next family toward the school. We must have just barely had enough children. They were all younger than I was. Jean was there, too.

During an earlier year, we went to school briefly with a girl who had TB (tuberculosis). Uncle Doc heard her cough and he talked to her parents. She had to be withdrawn from school. I don't know if they knew and sent her anyway, or if they had her checked after he talked to them. TB was called consumption then.

I got a lot of concentrated help on my math from my seventh grade teacher. And I got to do extra things like putting new numbers and letters on library books showing what type of books they were. Then I rearranged the library.

I noticed that Uncle Doc talked to Miss Eagan about the war, sometimes. I had her all picked out for an aunt, but he wouldn't listen. That was when he told me about the girl he loved who died. At the end of the year, the school closed permanently.

Back to Darksville

So, everyone went to Darksville again. Where we lived, everyone was pretty much a Baptist. This year, someone who taught a class in the Darksville Baptist Church (right next to the school) decided to teach anyone who was interested after school. So Jean and I stayed, along with some others. Mary Hill was one.

The manger scene on the blackboard

At school, the teacher had me draw the manger scene with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Also, the wise men, shepherds and animals. Of course, the shining star, too. I made it with colored chalk, on the blackboard. It was up for maybe a couple of weeks before Christmas. After church, which we had started attending, everyone walked next door to see the picture that covered the blackboard. I wondered how they knew it was there.

Darksville community functions

While Jean and I were going to Darksville School for two years, we attended community functions along with our family.

I remember one time we went to a Halloween get-together. Everyone was supposed to dress up and the one who wasn't recognized or the ones who weren't recognized would get a prize or prizes.

Mom, Jean and I dressed up in costumes. This was when I was in the sixth grade. Mom said, "Let me go in first. You two girls stay here and wait for awhile before you come in. Then come in together." She couldn't convince Jean to wait and neither could I. Jean went in walking really close to Mom's side and partly behind her. Jean was very shy.

A woman -- one of the judges -- told Mom afterwards that they couldn't guess who she was until they saw Jean.

Everyone played Upset the Fruit Basket and Musical Chairs, and tried to get the bobbing apple out of the tub of water with their teeth. I hate stuff like that, so I did my usual disappearing act into the cloak room. After awhile they missed me and knew just where to look -- unfortunately.

Cleaning the floors in school

Cleaning the floors in grade school was interesting. It was swept, but every once in awhile the teachers sprinkled oily sawdust over it.

The students got to run and slide, thus cleaning the floor. The floor was made of wood.

Cleaning the office

When I was working in the real estate office, they did the same thing -- oily sawdust on the floor every so often. Joyce (W.B.'s secretary) and I either slid or rubbed it into the floor by walking; I don't remember. Mr. Stone (my boss) had three older children by a previous marriage. A couple of them may have helped. I'm pretty sure the older child, Jimmy, did help because he swept the floor every evening and emptied the trash. He was 13 years of age.

Grade school graduation

We graduated from grade school along with all the other schools around. We had to all go to the Moberly Municipal Auditorium to graduate. This was in April 1945.

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Saturday, August 03, 2013

This is Home, Part 23 - General Lee, the clay statue of the surrender, Spencer switches sides, Victor Rice, surprise cousin

This is part 23 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

General Lee

I was fascinated by General Lee. The famous Southern General Robert E. Lee in the Civil War. I asked Uncle Doc one time if he had been the right age to go, which side would he have fought on. He said he thought General Lee was an honorable, upstanding man and he admired him. He also said that Missouri had good people fighting on both sides. He said he would have fought on the side of the North. He said all the states were part of a union, and without the states staying together they could be defeated by a foreign power.

The clay statue of the surrender

I admired General Lee so much that I made the scene where General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to General Grant. I drew in the background inside of a box -- the courthouse, trees, etc. Then I made General Lee riding up on Traveler, his horse, out of clay. General Lee was very detailed -- his beard, his face, his horse, his uniform, his gun, and his hand holding the reins. In those days, we didn't know about the kind of clay my children and grandchildren used. This was made of clay -- a type of soil.

I think there may have been a dog or two in the scene, also.

The art teacher thought it was really good. There was some sort of contest she wanted to enter it in. She thought it had an excellent chance of winning, she said, if she could just get it there. She said the roads were really bad and her car was sliding around a lot -- that it might break on the way. She left it up to me what to do. I decided to let her take it. I couldn't keep it forever.

Next time I saw her, she told me she was sorry, but General Lee didn't make it. The roads were too bad.

Spencer switches sides

Katie Jane (my double cousin) told me a funny -- as in odd -- thing when David and I were back there in 1997. She said our grandfather, Spencer P. Rice, was in the Southern Army, but that near the end of the war, he joined the Northern Army. He wanted to protect his family and keep his home from being destroyed. His crops and animals, also.

Victor Rice, surprise cousin

Maybe the Civil War was why Victor Rice and I didn't know each other when we both rode the bus from below Darksville to Huntsville High School. I had people asking me if he was my brother.

Finally, he came over to me and said, "Is your name Maudie Rice? I keep getting asked if you are my little sister." We decided to ask our families that night. We found out we were cousins. This is all I was told by Mom. We didn't really become friends, although we continued to ride the same bus together for two years, until he graduated. We always smiled and spoke. Martha (my friend) thought Victor was cute. He was tall with brown hair and blue eyes. Actually, all the older Rices I saw had blue eyes. Uncle Doc would correct me. He said he had green eyes. Dr. Rice may have had brown. If so, he was the only one.

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

This is Home, Part 22 - Darksville school, Miss Evelyn finds her calling, the new teacher, caught by Miss Evelyn, Coal and Art

This is part 22 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Darksville school

Hickory school closed after my fifth grade because there weren't enough children. We had to attend Darksville school.

Miss Evelyn finds her calling

Miss Evelyn joined the service. Can you believe she actually tried to write to Jean and me? She probably became a sergeant and yelled at the soldiers. The idea of a gun in her hands is really frightening.

Darksville school was actually quite nice -- except for the time two of the boys chased me with a dead snake during the lunch hour.

The new teacher

The teacher was Miss Doris. She was young and pretty with dark hair. Best of all, she was nice.

She left me in charge when she went to make a phone call sometimes. She told me to write down names of students who got out of their seats or talked. I wrote down their names, but I never turned them in. The idea that I might probably subdued them some.

Schools were pretty strict in those days. No talking, no moving around, no anything without permission.

Caught by Miss Evelyn

When we were in grade school at Hickory (Miss Evelyn), the boy across the aisle asked me if he could borrow a pencil. I was reading, so I just picked up one from my pencil box and held it out to him. I finally realized that he wasn't taking it.

I looked at him and he was staring at Miss Evelyn. I looked at her and put the pencil back. She made both of us come up in front of the school, and stand with the toes of our shoes touching chalk lines facing the room. We had to stand there until noon, which was over half an hour away. It seemed longer.

I hadn't said one word. I hated standing still worse than anything, except maybe being interrogated in the cloak room.

Coal and Art

There was a coal furnace in the classroom. Miss Evelyn was trying to get it to burn one day while everyone was standing around shivering. I used to get really cold back there unless I was close to heat.

I was shivering and my teeth were practically chattering I was so cold. I said I was so cold several times before Miss Evelyn said that she had better not hear that again. I don't know why she waited until we were all there before trying to start it.

We had an Art teacher who visited all the schools. She only came once or twice a month. It was her time to come that day. She walked in and said, "It's freezing in here. I'm so cold." I really liked her anyway -- after that, I loved her.

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This is Home, Part 21 - Uncle Doc fixed tires, Mom curled our hair, Tangee, the Toni

This is part 21 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Uncle Doc fixed tires

Uncle Doc used to do some repair I thought was interesting. I don't know that this was something that would especially be done during war time. I think it was probably just something necessary when one lived out of town.

Uncle Doc used to take off the car's flat tire. Then he took the inner tube out of it. He put water in one of the large galvanized tubs and put the inner tube in it. He had to keep pushing it down; it wanted to float. When he held it down, there would be bubbles of air from the puncture.

Uncle Doc had a tire repair kit with a light weight metal thing about the size of a flash light. It had metal pieces sticking out on one end that he rubbed over the puncture, then he put glue from a tube in the kit on one of the patches and glued it on. Of course, the inner tube had to be taken out of the water and dried before it could be patched. After the glue dried, the inner tube could be put back in the tire and the tire put on.

Mom curled our hair

Sometimes Mom used to curl our hair before we went to school. She had a metal curling iron. This was before we got electricity, so it was during grade school.

The curling iron was longer than the ones used today. The curling iron had a long rounded (like a pencil) part that the lock of hair was wrapped around, then had a long curved piece that fit halfway around the rounded part. It had handles that resembled handles of scissors.

Mom would open the curling iron and put the rounded part and the part that fit over it carefully into the opposite sides of the lamp chimney. The heat from the lamp flame would heat the iron. It cooled fast, so she had to keep heating it.

My hair uncurled itself in a short time.


We had a very interesting first lipstick. It was called Tangee. It was a small tube like the ones used on the large Barbie faces by Patricia, Sharon, and Christina. However, Tangee was for girls, not dolls.

When we put it on it felt like Chapstick does and had a faint orange tint. We found out that the more we put on, the more color our lips had. However, we still had just a small amount of color.

This was in grade school. In high school I had a medium red lipstick. I think Jean had a different shade.

The Toni

There used to be an ad in magazines showing twin young women with curly hair, with the question: "Which twin has the Toni?"

A Toni was a permanent one could give oneself. Jean and I liked the twins' hair, so sometimes during the summer Mom would give each of us a Toni. We sat out on the concrete top or steps of the well from which they got drinking water, to dry our hair. We loved the soft curly hair that resulted from Mom's work.

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This is Home, Part 20 - Pearl Harbor

This is part 20 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I was ten years old. Jean was just barely eight.

Daddy and Uncle Doc had been talking about Hitler's armed forces marching through and taking over various countries. I remember the big black headlines in the Moberly Monitor-Index about him goose-stepping across Poland. There had been headlines for a long time about Hitler. But America was very isolationist then and people were saying, "Our boys will never die on foreign soil."

Uncle Doc, Daddy and Mom thought we would eventually be in the war. England was being bombed and wanted our help. I thought how awful it must be to be bombed and to have blackouts at night. Uncle Doc said if we didn't do something to help them, we would be bombed in the future -- and our allies would already be defeated.

President Roosevelt thought of something. He started a lend-lease program with England and sent them military equipment.

We heard about Pearl Harbor being bombed while we were visiting Frank and Valere Rice, at Renick, Missouri. I remember how upset everyone was. They were saying that it wouldn't take long to beat the Japanese. Thus we were at war.

Everyone really hated the Japanese. None lived around where we were. People are having a problem now with the removal of Japanese in America to special areas for security reasons. They should remember that during the time Pearl Harbor was being bombed and all the American lives lost, two representatives of Japan were in Washington talking peace. They were at the very least sneaky and untrustworthy. How were we to know that Japanese living here weren't also helping Japan? They had relatives there.

I also know of another reason they should have been moved. With so much hatred in America, I don't believe they would have been safe mixed with the general population. They should have been moved for both reasons -- especially the first.

All of a sudden, neighbor boys were joining the service. Maudie and Irwin Williams' son, Denver, joined. Mary Ellen's boyfriend, Lawrence Burris, went and Bea met and fell in love with a sailor, Bob Bolton.

Mary Ellen and Lawrence got married, and so did Bea and Bob. Bea had been saying what I thought was a strange thing. She had been saying, "I have to get married and start my family now." In view of future events, maybe she knew.

Anyway, there were a lot of war time weddings. Suddenly, the streets of Moberly had a lot of soldiers, sailors and Marines walking around.

There were military planes flying over the farm. I think there were bases at both Kansas City and St. Louis.

Movie stars toured the United States selling war bonds. Some movie stars joined the service. Others entertained. We bought war stamps at school.

Some items were rationed all of a sudden. Just off hand, I remember coffee, sugar, shoes and tires being rationed. We had to have coupons to buy them. The men gave Jean and me their shoe coupons because our feet kept growing. We couldn't get silk stockings (hose). I think silk might have been used in parachutes.

New factories were created, old ones converted into turning out military equipment. Wives and single women got jobs there to help with the war effort and to feed their families.

There was one man in our neighborhood who got a draft classification that permitted him to stay and work on his farm. Farm work was considered vital. The armed forces had to be fed. But people in our area weren't too happy with the man. They considered him a "slacker."

The man was young and had little children and might have lost his small farm if he had gone. Although, he could probably have got his father to farm for him. He had a well-known last name.

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This is Home, Part 19 - The times improve, Miss Evelyn plays detective

This is part 19 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

The times improve

President Roosevelt had reopened the banks soon after he took office and instigated a number of different work programs to put people back to work. When it was time for one of his fireside chats, we were all in front of the radio listening. There were no more soup lines. The tramps stopped coming by, and business executives were no longer selling apples on street corners.

Miss Evelyn plays detective

Miss Hazel only taught during my first year at school. We managed to get through three more years of school in spite of the fact that we had Miss Evelyn as the teacher. She was absolutely unbelievable. I kept telling Uncle Doc that I wanted him to get rid of her. He just said, "I have to hire whoever has the best qualifications."

Every winter Jean and I managed to come down with bad colds, heavy croupy coughs, sore throats and sometimes lung congestion. Mom used to use something similar to Vicks on our throats and, if need be, chests. Then she tore a flannel cloth into a square, held it around the lamp chimney to heat it, and put it on us. The heat felt really good.

We even managed to get flu sometimes. Then the doctor came.

One time when we got back to school, Miss Evelyn interrogated us separately in the cloak room. I think Mom had sent a note. She wanted to know why when one got sick the other one did. She wanted to know why we had missed school. She wanted to know where the one she was talking to felt sick and where the other one felt sick. She asked what the family said about it. She also wanted to know if a doctor had been called. Those are just some of the questions. She thought of more.

We went home after school and told Mom, Daddy and Uncle Doc.

Next day, Mom and Uncle Doc went to school with us. Mom was really mad and Uncle Doc wasn't too happy. Mom told her that she (Mom) didn't understand what she had been trying to do and that when she was told that the children had been ill, she should accept that and not question them about where they had felt bad and who in the family had said what. Mom said that she had never heard of such a thing.

Uncle Doc told her that she had been hired to teach and that was what he expected her to do. He sounded quite calm and firm. He also said questioning any of the students in the cloak room was not part of her job.

I really couldn't stand that teacher. I used to have dreams that I was flying just out of her reach and she couldn't catch me. I used to swoop down toward her in the dreams and fly back up when she grabbed for me.

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

This is Home, Part 18 - The double cousins, fun with Bea, Bea and I ride Tony, with an unexpected audience, Bea visits a saloon, Bea wins at hide and seek

This is part 18 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004. In the "Bea and I ride Tony..." story, where her father and Charley were coming back with the wagon and Frankie, Frankie was a dog, a fox terrier.

The double cousins

There is something I almost forgot. Jean and I had something special -- something that most people don't have. We had three double cousins. Daddy and Uncle Doc's younger brother Elliot married Mom's younger sister Edith. The children they had -- Mary Ellen, Lola Bea, and Katie Jane -- were our double cousins. We all had brown eyes and brown hair. Mary Ellen was the oldest, about nine years older then I was, Bea was six years older than I was, and Katie was about a month younger than Jean.

Fun with Bea

Mary Ellen and Bea used to come and stay for awhile with Mom, Daddy, and Uncle Doc before I was born. One time, when they were small, she left them with Uncle Doc while she went to town after something.

When she got back, Uncle Doc was sitting grimly reading the paper and Mary Ellen met her with eyes "as big as saucers." Mom said, "Where is Bea?" and Mary Ellen whispered "She stropped Uncle Doc." She pointed to where Bea was hiding under something. Mom thought it was funny. Sounds like she was the only one.

Bea was so much fun. I used to love for her to come. She would stay for weeks at a time.

She was the one who climbed up the ladder in the manger and got the baby kittens down from the loft so we could play with them.

She was also the one who went walking with me in the sheep pasture, stepped into a ditch, and sprained her ankle. She climbed on the stile over the fence and went to the mailbox with me.

Bea and I ride Tony, with an unexpected audience

One time when she was there I decided it would be fun if we rode Tony. The men were in the field. At least Daddy and Charley were. Anyway, I put a rope or halter on Tony and led him to the road beside the car house. I got him to put his front feet in the ditch and I climbed up the embankment above him. I got the bridle on him and the other off. I couldn't begin to lift the saddle, so I just left his back bare.

Bea and I had rolled our hair with metal curlers, which is what they had then. We decided no one would see us anyway.

Bea thought it might be fun to ride him, so we took off down the road. On our way back we suddenly saw Daddy and Charley driving back down the road with the wagon and Frankie. We were being smart and just as we were passing them we kicked Tony and took off at a gallop toward the house. When we got there, the farm insurance agent was talking to Uncle Doc. We couldn't get Tony to stop, he ran around the house a couple of times.

Uncle Doc and the agent ran and waved their hats in front of him and yelled "Whoa." They were going around the house on different sides. Tony stopped all at once and we fell off. We only sustained a little damage -- Bea got some curlers bent. She was mortified because she fell off in front of the insurance agent. She said later that she thought Daddy knew and had put the bridle on for us. Mom said "Maudie, what makes you act like that?"

Bea visits a saloon

One time when Bea was there we went to Moberly. Bea was a teenager. Mom bought her a pair of white high heels and a white purse.

We decided to get some ice cream. The ice cream parlor was on that street. Bea was trying to go in and pushed the wrong door, the saloon door. There was a bar with nothing but a row of men sitting, drinking. When the door opened, every single one of them looked our way. Bea was so upset that she hurriedly backed out, caught her purse on the door, and tore the handle. Nice women didn't go in saloons.

Bea wins at hide and seek

One summer evening, Bea, Mary Ellen and Lawrence, the boy who lived on the farm next to them, came over to see us. Lawrence was good looking, had sort of gold blond hair and was Mary Ellen's boyfriend. Bea had a best friend at school; I don't know if she was there. I can't remember if it was during the long twilight we had back there or during one of the bright moonlight nights, but anyway, we decided to play hide and seek. One time Bea hid so well she couldn't be found. Whoever was 'it' couldn't find her and the rest of us were trying to figure out where she was.

We only had the front yard to hide in, and she wasn't anywhere. Finally, the person who was it gave up and we heard a laugh. Bea was up in the oak tree by the garage. It had limbs that were high off the ground and very rough bark. I don't know what kind of oak it was; Missouri has several different kinds.

Anyway, she had climbed on top of their car and climbed up into the tree from there.

Bea was less than five feet tall, very slender, had light brown, wind blown hair, brown eyes and a mouth that turned up at the corners. She had a lot of energy and was always hungry. When her family brought her over, the first thing she did was raid the table and cook stove. And she never gained an ounce -- the rat.

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This is Home, Part 17 - Helping Uncle Doc with the weeding, or Bye-bye rhubarb, Uncle Doc's pet goose, company

This is part 17 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Helping Uncle Doc with the weeding, or Bye-bye rhubarb

Uncle Doc had a hoe with a long narrow blade. He used to tell me he was "going grubbing." He was going to take the weeds and roots out.

I noticed some weeds in the yard between the meat house and the fence, so I decided to help him out. I pulled them all out, then I went in to tell Mom. She got this strange look on her face and said "where?" When I told her she said "Oh, Maudie, that was Uncle Doc's rhubarb."

He loved rhubarb pie and looked forward to it every year. When I told Uncle Doc, he didn't say anything except "Hmmm."

Uncle Doc's pet goose

We had six geese at one time. An old gray goose took a fancy to Uncle Doc. He talked to it and fed it. It kept getting into the yard and following him around. He was tired from work one time when he came home for dinner, so he curled up in the yard to rest. This was in the warm weather. The goose came and stayed beside him.

I took a picture with my little brownie camera, a somewhat blurred picture.


We had company every weekend for years. I should say every summer weekend. They just showed up on Sunday. Poor Mom spent hours cooking. Mom cooked a special dinner for them with pie for desert. They admired the house, how nice the yard looked, admired the beautiful view from the yard with the rolling green hills in the distance, told Mom how good her cooking was, and sat around and talked. They were Daddy and Uncle Doc's ages, so no children. It was always a husband and wife. Sometimes two families came. These were not people from our neighborhood. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the roads were bad and they couldn't come. This doesn't include relatives.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

This is Home, Part 16 - Cemetery clean-up, the gravy yard, the cemetery on the farm, mowing the yard and the pasture

This is part 16 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Cemetery clean-up

Albert had been their friend since they were in school together and maybe before.

There was a graveyard named the Barnhart Cemetery a mile or so past the school. Daddy, Uncle Doc and Albert used to get together every year to mow the grass, trim and remove anything that shouldn't be there. They also straightened the tombstones. David and I visited it when we went back home in 1997.

Grandpa and Grandma Rice and Aunt Joann were buried there. However, I think they were moved from the big farm between Jacksonville and Darksville. Their tombstones were beautiful and looked new. I think they were made of granite.

We had a cemetery on the farm and everyone was moved when the farm was sold in 1952. I remember Daddy and Uncle Doc saying some of the people being moved had to have new caskets and tombstones. Some of the people were moved to Huntsville Cemetery. I think Grandpa and Grandma already had relatives buried at both cemeteries. I guess Daddy and Uncle Doc wanted them close to the farm.

However, Daddy, Uncle Doc and Albert are gone, so there is no one to take care of the Barnhart Cemetery. When David and I were there, some of the tombstones that were very tall and in three pieces had fallen down. Grandma's, Grandpa's and Joann's won't because they have a single large tombstone each.

Barnhart Cemetery is quite small.

The gravy yard

That reminds me, I used to call a graveyard a gravy yard when I was small. Mom, Daddy and Uncle Doc used to keep correcting me and pronouncing it for me. I remember saying, "See -- that is what you are saying." I got so irritated one time that I said "Spell it." Then I remembered that I couldn't spell. It would be a few years before I started to school.

The cemetery on the farm

I remember walking over with Mom to the cemetery on the farm. It had a nice fence around it and a metal gate. Outside the fence it had cedar trees. It was on a high rolling hill like the house, barns and other buildings.

Mowing the yard and the pasture

Once, Daddy mowed the front yard of the house with a mower he used in the pasture. It was made of iron, was pulled by two horses, and had a blade that was very long (probably four to five feet) that was on one side. Daddy pulled a lever to fold the blade up when not in use. He couldn't mow the sides and back of the yard that way because of the trees and bushes. They bought a push lawnmower and later a gasoline one. I tried to mow with the push one but didn't get very far. Charley usually did it. We had a large yard.

Daddy mowed the pasture to keep the weeds down so the cows and sheep and horses could get to the grass. Besides, I think he liked the way it looked.

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This is Home, Part 15 - Democratic speakings, voting, Uncle Doc, influential Democrat, ninety candles, Uncle Doc the judge, election day

This is part 15 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Democratic speakings

Back home at that time, we had what was commonly called Democratic speakings. I don't even remember hearing about Republican anything.

At the speakings, the Democratic women sold food such as pie slices, ice cream and cake, sandwiches of mutton, beef, barbequed pork or whatever.

The candidates would speak, we would listen and clap. People would also hand out cards for the candidates.

They were getting ready for a local primary election. Something we just had.


I remember when I first voted back home. There were two large circles at the top of the ballot. One was Democrat, one was Republican. If one wanted to vote a straight Democratic ticket, one would just put an X inside the circle at the top. I did.

Uncle Doc, influential Democrat

Uncle Doc had been a member of the Randolph Democratic Committee for years. Mom had a Missouri Blue Book from 1913 that had been sent to Uncle Doc because he was on the Democratic Committee. There may have been earlier ones. Mom said he was a young man when he joined. Uncle Doc's name, J.D. Rice, is in each of the Missouri Blue Books as on the Democratic Committee from Randolph County, Sheriton Township. The actual name of the Blue Book is Official Manual, State Of Missouri. You all have one for your year of birth except Sharon, who was born in Scottsdale.

Back to Uncle Doc. He became influential in the candidates the committee supported. I remember candidates coming to the farm to talk to him and being sent over to where he was working. There the candidate was in a suit and tie with nicely polished shoes, while Uncle Doc had on faded overalls, a blue shirt and work shoes. Not every candidate, but some.

I also remember hearing committee members asking Uncle Doc who he planned to support.

Uncle Doc met Harry Truman, shook hands with him and talked to him. Truman later became President.

Ninety candles

Uncle Doc went to Jefferson City to some Democratic Committee meeting in May 1960. He came back and happily told me that they had surprised him with a birthday cake with ninety candles on it. He said it looked beautiful with all the candles lit. I was so glad for him. We had celebrated his birthday just before he left, and had only put something like three candles on it so it would be easy for him to blow them out.

Uncle Doc really worked to elect the candidates he liked. He recommended them to people he was talking with and he arranged for Democrats who had no way to get to the polls to be picked up and driven there and back.

Uncle Doc the judge

Uncle Doc worked as a judge on election day. As he got older and was under stress, his handwriting got shaky. Mom worked as his secretary and did the writing. After Uncle Doc died, she became a judge.

Election day

Election day was strange. When we got home from school, there were no snacks waiting for us and Mom wasn't asking how our day went.

Usually, it was cold, but the roads were passable and Charley picked us up from school in his car. We went home to get Daddy, then to the voting precinct in Darksville so they could vote and get home before dark.

It was always well after dark when Mom and Uncle Doc got home. They had to help count the votes after the polls closed.

School, by the way, was always from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for all grades. We didn't have kindergarten.

Daddy, Uncle Doc and Albert Hooper were the school board the entire time we went to school at Hickory. Daddy was President, Uncle Doc was Secretary-Treasurer, and Albert was a board member.

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Saturday, May 04, 2013

This is Home, Part 14 - Hot dogs, the little monkey, the puppy in the pocket

This is part 14 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Hot dogs

We used to shop sometimes in Macon instead of Moberly when I was small. They had really good franks at Macon. They were a lot better than what can be bought today. They were large and I loved the skin. It was greasy. It could actually be browned.

The little monkey

I got out of actual shopping for anything if I could. While Mom was shopping one time, Daddy and I made a lovely discovery. There was a man with a monkey just off the main street. It had a little collar around its neck and a tiny chain kept him from disappearing. I'm not sure if he had on a little jacket and cap or not. He was a capuchin monkey. His owner may have had an accordion or something similar. Something attracted our attention.

Anyway, he was such a cute, friendly little monkey. Daddy gave him coins and he bit each one to see if it was good before he put it in a purse. He was in or on some sort of cart. Daddy asked what he could eat. One thing was coconut candy. There used to be candy that was about the size of and shaped like candy made with maraschino cherries in it. Coconut candy had a pale coating of one of these: white, pink, yellow, brown, or green candy. Inside was coconut candy. It could be bought in bulk at grocery stores. The store would put it in a small white sack.

We always fed the monkey coconut candy and gave him coins. I remember him holding out his tiny little hands. He was so cute.

The puppy in the pocket

Jean always stayed with Mom and missed all the fun. She never got into things like I did. One time Daddy and I were walking along a street in Moberly. A man stepped forward and fished this cute little puppy out of his coat pocket. It had huge eyes and a little blunt face and was furry. I really wanted that pup. I petted him. Daddy admired him. I wanted him, but Daddy wouldn't get him. He said that kind of dog belonged in town, not on a farm.

It was a Pekingese and looked like Bandit.

So far I have had three Pekingese since living out here. Sharon bought me two of them. They were all pure bred. Bandit was born in Phoenix, but Wojo came from Kansas and Mizzou came from Missouri.

Sharon also bought me a pure bred Boston terrier named Lady Bug. We used to have a book with a Boston terrier in it and I wanted one.

Daddy, Uncle Doc, and Charley always bought us a candy bar or an ice cream cone each when we all went to town. The candy bars were all chocolate and all different. Mom finally said that was too much.

Daddy and Uncle Doc always met a lot of men they knew to talk with. They were lawyers, judges, politicians, Democratic Committee members, farmers and others. They stood around in groups and talked.

The family I grew up in were staunch Democrats, as I am today.

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This is Home, Part 13 - The seasons change: Colored leaves and holidays, autumn in Missouri, Thanksgiving and snow, Mom sewed, Christmas

This is part 13 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

The seasons change: Colored leaves and holidays

Summer had drifted by. It was autumn or fall. In Missouri, autumn is a spectacular time of year. Very beautiful -- with trees of red and trees of gold. There was a vine that had dark red leaves. There were a lot of trees. There was a wooded area between us and Wayman Hill. It was on the side of a larger hill and very spectacular when all the trees were dressed for autumn. We also had at least ten trees in our yard, but only some changed color. Four were cedars.

In school for years, we were supposed to bring in different kinds of leaves and trace around them and fill in the veins. Then write the name underneath. I also remember vases of colored leaves. Mom used to also send a bouquet of autumn flowers.

For just about every holiday -- major -- we made booklets of pictures related to that holiday. For some holidays, we gave plays. I remember the windows being decorated with witches on brooms for Halloween. Uncle Doc or Daddy actually brought a shock of corn with pumpkins (they raised a few pumpkins, too) that were put around it.

Autumn in Missouri

Autumn back home is like no other place I have lived. There are certain days with a pale drift of sun, a gentle breeze, and a feeling of something lost just beyond the reach of memory. Slightly sad days with something long forgotten that can not be remembered. A drifting kind of a day. I could almost hear voices in the wind. Strange. I never thought that I would ever live any place but there.

Thanksgiving and snow

November and Thanksgiving. I don't remember about what Miss Hazel taught or did but usually there was the mandatory play and the whole neighborhood came.

Finally I was out of school for a few days. Jean and I watched Mom make pumpkin pies by the double kitchen windows while big flakes of snow came down outside. Soon the fence posts were wearing little caps of snow and the bare branches of the trees were wearing snow. The whole scene looked like a winter wonderland. It was beautiful and cold.

The men weren't that thrilled. They swept the snow off their gum boots outside when they got back and headed straight for the stove in the living room. After awhile they took off the mittens Mom had made them, their lined blue jean coats, their sweaters, and caps. They took off their boots and stretched their stocking feet toward the fire. There were always chairs setting around the stove waiting for them.

Frankie headed behind the kitchen stove. The stove set out quite far from the wall because of the stove pipe. It was a nice warm stop. Frankie slept there all year around. Sometimes the men sat around the kitchen stove when Mom wasn't working in there. Frankie sometimes moved his legs and feet when he was asleep. Uncle Doc smiled and told me Frankie was chasing rabbits in his sleep.

Back in those days, dogs were fed scraps from the table. Mom used to tell Daddy not to feed Frankie when we were at the table eating. But Frankie always got under the table and waited. Pretty soon, with a guilty little grin, Daddy would be holding a bite of meat out to him. It was only the first.

Mom sewed

The mittens mentioned above were the only thing the men wanted to wear on their hands. Daddy said Mom's mittens were the only thing that would keep his hands warm. The outside of the mitten was made with what I think was called feather tick. It was the dark gray and white striped material that was commonly used on pillows. Then another material or two was placed inside the feather tick, and finally a soft white material that was called a sheet blanket was placed on the inside. Mom made them on her sewing machine. She brought the edge of the sheet blanket forward, folded it on the outside of the gloves and sewed it down.

They looked good and they did feel warm. She always made them each several pairs a year. The gloves also resisted dampness.

Mom's sewing machine came in handy. She used to make us skirts and dresses when we were little. She also made dresses for herself. She recovered chairs and they looked professional. She made drapes and contains for the windows. She also made cloth dolls to entertain us on gloomy days. they had yellow yarn hair. She also made clothes for our dolls.

She "pieced together" (made) a lot of quilts also. Our pillows were white ones with embroidered flowers on them and sometimes lace along the opening. She made the cases and did the embroidery and lace. She hooked rag rugs in her spare time. They were round and used to be tightly put together. They were throw rugs. They were made from left-over material torn into stripes and sometimes from unfaded material from clothes. Even pajamas.

Mom also made and embroidered dresser scarves and scarves for the lamp tables. She often edged them with lace.

She also made herself new aprons.

Another thing that she made was footstools. She used to buy coffee in tall, wide metal cans. I know each can was at least two pounds, but it could have been more. When she got enough cans -- maybe eight or nine -- she put sand in each can, fastened the lid on, wrapped them in upholstery cotton and tied them together. Put cotton in any vacant space between them. She also cut two solid pieces of cotton the same size as the top and bottom of the foot stool. She had made a pattern that had the top and bottom separate from the sides. She sewed it on the sewing machine as much as she could, then put the fastened together cans in and finished it. When she finished, it was a footstool covered with cotton inside. Nothing ever shifted in it, and one never felt the edge of the cans. The outside covering was a heavy cotton material that didn't seem to wear. I have one somewhere.


Since today is Christmas, I am thinking about Christmas on the farm.

We usually had the tree up about two weeks before Christmas and we took it down the day before New Year's day.

When it was time to get the tree, Mom would always say, "Now Ernest, we don't need a great big tree this year. Just a small one." Daddy would smile sheepishly and drive off with the horses and sleigh to get the tree. He loved Christmas just as much as we did. Frankie always went with him.

Sometime later Daddy came back with the cedar tree and yes, he did it again. It was too tall to stand up in the living room. So he had to saw part of it off. It smelled so fresh and wonderful. Of course, it should. It had just been chopped down over in the pasture. Jean and I -- and Daddy -- could hardly wait to get it up. Sometimes he shook snow off it. He always swept the snow off his gum boots before he came in. Gum boots were rubber boots that came up to a few inches below the knee. A couple of pairs of heavy, tall socks were worn with them, but no shoes. They were not made for shoes.

Finally, he had the tree up. We already had the decorations out. No electricity, no electric lights. We had beautiful breakable ornaments to put on it. Some of them were partly frosted. A few had Christmas scenes, a few were half an ornament with a deepening color and design. We also put foil icicles and a garland on it. It always had a silver star on top. Mom helped us decorate.

We knew Christmas was the birthday of Jesus and that he came so we could go to Heaven someday by believing in him. It was fun and exciting waiting for Santa, but still that period of time felt holy. The silence of the snow covered countryside probably contributed to this feeling. There was a peace not found today.

On Christmas morning, there were oranges, apples, nuts and candy for everyone. Two pairs of new overalls for Zack. Plus a sack of all the treats. He was a neighbor who was in college with Daddy and Uncle Doc. Zack got measles or something similar that caused him to run a very high temperature. He never recovered -- he became like a child of probably nine or so years.

He always came to our house to see what Santa had brought him. He ate Christmas dinner with us. His brother Albert was probably enjoying the quiet. Albert stayed a bachelor and spent his life farming and taking care of Zack.

Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley got new mittens sometimes. I don't remember what Mom got.

When Jean and I were small, we found dolls, stuffed toys like bears, little rocking chairs sometimes, slates and chalk and other things. Plus all the food.

The bears that we had were different than the bears that children play with today. The ones we had were stiff, not soft like the ones today. Their faces were different and they had heavy wires in the legs and arms. The legs and arms were movable. Sometimes the heads were, too. They could sit, stand and walk with help.

As we got older, we found sweater sets, skirts, pen and pencil sets. Also a huge dark blue box for each with powder, perfume, toilet water set on a white silk interior. It was called Evening in Paris and was in dark blue containers. The scent of the perfume "Intimate" that I used to buy reminded me of it.

Back to Christmas. We never had turkey; we had pork roasts, usually. Mom always fixed a fantastic dinner with different kinds of pie. One of them was usually mince pie. At that time it was called mincemeat and actually had bits of meat in it.

One time on Christmas, when I was in early grade school, I followed Daddy outside in the snow. There were sleigh tracks near the yard fence but in the sheep pasture. I showed them to Daddy and told him I thought they were from the night before when Santa brought the presents. He agreed that it sure looked like it. Jean and I were delighted.

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This is Home, Part 12 - School, Uncle Doc and school, chores and school, Mom at school, school, box suppers

This is part 12 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.


All of a sudden the unbelievable happened. School was starting and I was expected to go. I felt like a queen who had just been dethroned.

Daddy and Uncle Doc had a cousin who taught school. He was young and his last name was Sears. He had come by every once in a while and taught me how to say the alphabet and read some. I could also count some.

When I started to school, I started in the second grade at the age of seven. You wouldn't believe how much I hated school.

To add insult to injury, Mom invited the teacher, Miss Hazel, to stay with us for awhile! She thought it would make it easier if I knew her. However, it just meant I could never escape her.

After a short time, I decided I couldn't stand the idea of going to school. I refused to go and I ran out of the house and under the honeysuckle bushes. They were like shorter trees and were quite wide.

I ran under one of the bushes and Mom and Miss Hazel tried to surround me and grab me. The bush was too wide and too low. They couldn't reach me. I just kept zooming from one to another. They tried for awhile longer, then finally gave up.

Miss Hazel went to school, but I stayed home.

No one yelled at me or spanked me. They didn't do that type of thing. They just went on with their work and ignored me somewhat. They answered questions, but just didn't engage in a conversation as they usually did. They made it clear they disapproved, without a word.

Next day I went back to school. I didn't do that particular thing again. I thought of others.

I went to school in a one room school house. There was a little room we entered first. It was a cloak room, but one wall was covered with books. It also served as a library. It also had a front porch before the cloak room. The front porch had a concrete floor and a roof over it.

Toys consisted of a ball and bat, chalk to play hopscotch on the porch, and a rope to jump while two other children turned it.

I don't know how many kids were necessary to have a school, but I do know there had to be a certain number. We probably had around fifteen or sixteen my first year. I found a picture of a year where I was probably around the fifth grade and there were sixteen children. The school had windows down one side and one in the library. I don't remember windows on the other side of the school room. We had to depend on the windows for light. No electricity. This teacher and the ones following made us go outside at noon and the two recesses. They also wanted us to join in playing. I wanted to stay inside and look at the books and later, I wanted to read and draw pictures. I hated baseball. It was so boring. I didn't mind playing hopscotch, tag, or jumping rope.

Uncle Doc and school

I asked Uncle Doc one time what he played when he went to school. He chuckled and looked like he was remembering. He said there was nothing to play with when he went to school. However, he said, there was a big tree with long branches. So, a bunch of the boys grabbed a branch and pulled it down. One of the boys got on it and they released it. The branch went back up in the air and the boy on it shot up even higher.

They also took hold of each others' hands and formed a long line, then they started running in a circle with the one on the inner end hardly moving. They kept going faster and faster. The ones on the outer end started being flung off. I think it was called Crack the Whip.

Chores and school

Uncle Doc told me one time that when they were in school, they had to get up early and do all the chores each morning before they left home. On a farm, this would mean milking the cows, feeding and watering all the animals, and maybe letting some out. I hope they weren't expected to cut out holes in the ice so a herd of cattle could drink. I'm thinking of farm chores.

No matter what the weather was, they had to walk to school. I don't know what school they went to -- maybe Darksville. Hickory didn't look that old.

At night they did the chores again.

Mom at school

Mom told me one time that she could run faster than anyone at her school. She also said she could climb trees. I guess this is what her school did.


When the East Fork got out, there was no way for us to get to school. I don't think it affected any other family.

Miss Hazel moved to Elmo Hudson's house beside the school while the weather was still good. Elmo and his wife had no children, but the teachers always stayed at their house thereafter.

I'm suspicious that the school board or just Daddy and Uncle Doc may have given them money to keep the teachers. Elmo Hudson and his wife were not known for their generosity. They were also a pain in the neck. Especially Elmo.

Mom bought blinds and curtains for all the windows at school. She bought a rod to run along the stage which covered one end of the room. Then she bought material for stage curtains. She sewed them and put gold colored rings on them so they could be drawn open and shut. Our family contributed all this.

There was no water, so a large water container (cooler) was bought.

Miss Hazel was young. She was tall with red shoulder length hair. She was actually a pretty nice teacher. I just did not want to be told what to do or to spend time away from home.

The sideboard at Sharon's house used to be in the living room on the farm. It had a square mirror on top. Miss Hazel used to come down, get on her knees in front of it and comb her hair. I have no idea why. She had a perfectly good mirror on top of a dresser in her room. Also, a very tall mirror on a dresser in the hall next to her room.

Box suppers

In the spring or fall, grade schools back home had a unique way of raising money. They had box suppers.

Each girl student had a box full of food that she shared with the person who bought it. The boxes had lids that were beautifully decorated with ribbons, flowers, anything that looked good. Parents and anyone else who was interested came, and the boxes were auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder.

Jean and I were in a panic even sharing a box with Roscoe. So Mom pointed out the boxes that Jean and I were taking to Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley. They outbid anyone else.

The women who came also brought boxes. So did the teacher.

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Saturday, April 06, 2013

This is Home, Part 11 - Sheep shearers, harvest hands, summer nights, the wolf, Rowdy and Buster, a dog with a broken leg, hanging in there, yellow tomatoes and an apple tree

This is part 11 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Sheep shearers

There were quite a few extra men eating at our house sometimes. In the spring when the weather was finally warm, we had sheep shearers who came and removed the sheep's wool so they would be comfortable in the summer. The wool was then rolled into bundles, tied with binder twine, and sold.

I took hold of Daddy or Uncle Doc's hand and went in to see how they did it. The sheep looked so silly sitting meekly on its tail while it had wool all around it. They were shearing evenly down the sheep. When they got through, the sheep looked very white where the wool had been.

While it is still weather for jackets or coats in the spring, the lambs have to have their tails cut off so they only have a short little tail left. It is done for sanitary reasons. Uncle Doc was cutting them off with a sharp knife while Daddy or Charley held the lamb. One held and one dipped.

I told Uncle Doc that I didn't want him to do this, because it would hurt the lamb. He said no, it really doesn't. Then he took my hand and said "Feel here. It is a joint; I'm not cutting the bone. It separates here."

I could feel that the bone was missing at that particular place and it felt like just skin. The lamb didn't even bleed that I saw. It's tail -- what was left of it -- was immediately dipped into a fairly thick substance that smelled really awful. Then the lamb rushed away to its mother.

Harvest hands

In the fall, harvest hands came to cut the hay with a combine. It was hot still, so they rested at noon sometimes and worked late at night. Daddy had two hay fields that I know about. The smell of newly cut hay is wonderful.

When the harvest hands came to dinner at noon, they had taken off their shirts because the shirts were sweaty and had hay dust on them. Mom asked Daddy to ask them to wear their shirts because of us. They shook them out and put them back on.

In the summer, we always ate on the long front porch near the kitchen door. Mom had a table with sides that folded down to about eight or nine inches from the floor. It had an extra leg on each side that was attached to the middle. They would swing out in the middle and hold up the folded down side. Mom put an oil cloth on this table instead of a table cloth.

I think it was called a gate leg table.

Mom always fixed a huge dinner. There were pitchers of ice tea and lemonade setting on the table. She made pie for desert.

Summer nights

It was cooler eating on the porch than in the kitchen. When we ate out there at night we had some determined flying insects who wanted to come in and join us. However, they couldn't get through the screen. The lamp was setting on the table and the light attracted them.

We had the most beautiful moonlight nights back home. There was a breeze most of the time. I remember when I was dating Edgar later that the weeping willow branches made lovely shadows on the porch when they blew in the wind. I always silently admired them when he brought me home.

We used to have moonlight almost as bright as day.

The family used to sit out in the yard on summer nights. The stars were so bright. Charley used to show me the little dipper, big dipper and other configurations in the sky.

Missouri had beautiful rolling green hills. The farm house was built on high ground. We could sit in the yard and see the light of Moberly and Huntsville in the distance. Those were good times. Moberly was twenty miles away by the road and Huntsville was fourteen miles away. Of course, they were closer "as the crow flies."

No matter what the season, Daddy always went to bed at 8 o'clock. He would let Frankie in and wind the clock. Then off to bed.

However, he slept poorly. He had injured his knee when a log rolled and pinched it, and it still ached. Besides, I think his legs may have cramped. Anyway, he slept in short naps. He walked around for awhile between naps and then tried a different bed, such as the living room couch, or the cot on the porch, or even the hammock between two of the cedar trees in the yard.

Uncle Doc had rheumatism and arthritis when he got older, so he was up with his hands and legs cramping. Night was a busy time at our house.

Every night at 4 a.m., I would hear the train whistle as it came around the bend before the crossing in Jacksonville. It was a lonesome sound, but a comforting one too, because it was dependable. I always heard it.

The wolf

Sometimes, we heard a wolf howl. Sometimes another one answered, but we usually just heard one. Daddy said he was talking to or looking for a mate. When some of the livestock such as lambs were taken, the neighbors got upset and stopped by on their horses to see if Daddy wanted to help hunt the wolf and kill it. Daddy was about twenty years older than they were. He just wanted to sleep. Besides, I think he hated to kill it. It looked like a dog.

One time they actually did kill a wolf. One of the neighbors (I think it was Roscoe) stopped to show it to Uncle Doc. He had it tied to the bumper of his car. It was so thin and small, I felt sorry for it. The wolves had a bounty on them at that time and the neighbor was taking it somewhere to collect.

We still heard a wolf howling. I told Daddy it was killing lambs and chickens because it was hungry. I said, lets get it meat from the meat house and put it close to where it is so it won't be hungry.

Daddy said wolves were too smart to eat anything touched by a person. There was no way to feed him.

Rowdy and Buster

We didn't get to keep Rowdy and Buster. When they were about half grown, Irvin Williams, who owned the farm directly up the road from us, came and told Daddy that one of his animals was missing and that he had seen the two pups running across his land. He said he couldn't afford to lose any livestock, and if he saw the pups on his land again he would shoot them.

Daddy asked if he had seen them chasing or trying to kill his livestock. Irvin said no. Daddy told him the pups were not hungry -- that they were fed a lot of food. He said pups run and play. Daddy reminded him that there was a wolf or wolves around. Irvin didn't care -- he wasn't taking any chances. He told Daddy to do something with the pups.

Daddy did something all right. He had a new barn for the sheep so he could put early lambs and their mother inside, instead of covering the snowy pasture with straw again like he did last time. He put straw on the floor of the new barn, a bucket of water inside and some food. Then he gave the barn to the pups. They could get sunshine in and see out, because spaces had been left between the boards so the sheep wouldn't be too hot. At least I think that was why. Maybe it wasn't finished.

Daddy and Charley fed, watered, and petted them. Jean and I petted their noses though the boards. Sometimes they could be heard running and playing inside. Jean and I were afraid to open the door. We thought they might run out and get shot.

Finally, after quite a period of time, Daddy said it wasn't much of a life for them staying in the barn. He asked if we would care if he could find a good home in town for them. We agreed. So away went Rowdy and Buster.

A dog with a broken leg

Rowdy and Buster's mother managed to break her leg. Daddy made a sling for her. It fit underneath her with four holes for her legs. Then he fastened it to a limb of the mulberry tree in the yard. She could just barely touch the yard with her feet.

She stayed that way until her leg healed. He also put a splint on her leg.

She got lots of petting and attention. She managed to get around a little on three legs while waiting for the other one to heal.

Hanging in there

One embarrassing incident I remember is when Aunt Opal and her kids came from Colorado for a visit one time. I had been told repeatedly not to step in between the wood supports for the unfinished floor on the right of the staircase upstairs. I knew better than to step on it, but I just didn't believe it wouldn't support me. I wanted to see what would happen. I found out immediately when I stepped there. Suddenly, I could see into Charley's room. I had gone through his ceiling and would have fallen if I hadn't doubled my arms and put each arm straight out so it would rested on one of the supports. The supports were close together.

Aunt Opal heard something and came in to find me suspended through the ceiling with my legs dangling down into space. She yelled for Mom and the two of them took hold of me and got me down. It was most embarrassing!

What was really bad -- the ceiling always had a place there that looked different even when it was repaired and papered. Every time I looked at it, I felt guilty.

Yellow tomatoes and an apple tree

Jean and I found something to do that was fun. The fourth garden was just off the chicken yard by a pond. There was a large, old, yellow apple tree there in the corner by the wood fence that separated the garden from the sheep pasture. This was inside the garden.

The tree had a trunk that separated into two parts that went outward. If the tree didn't touch the fence, it almost did.

We would get a play bucket or basket of little yellow tomatoes from the garden, climb up on the fence and sit in the tree to eat them.

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