Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This is Home, Part 1 - My mother's parents, and the rug with the rabbits with the glass eyes

In 2004, I helped my mother, Maudie Morgan, write a book of her experieces. She wrote them in ink on small tablets of lined paper, and I would put them in the computer, in the Microsoft Works word processor. The stories, as she would write them, were frequently in pieces, as she would think of additional things to put in, or change what was there in places, and she would put them in by the story, with lines indicating where they were supposed to fit in, and I would put everything together in proper order. I also sometimes reworded things to make the story flow better, while not changing what she was trying to say. Sometimes I had to ask her questions about it, to clarify things, before I could finish the writing. I also helped her with the titles for the stories. Sometimes they were done by her and sometimes by me. I always told her what I was doing and about any changes I made, and she almost always approved them. In the few times that she didn't approve, or wanted it done a particular way, it was done her way. Anything that appeared in the book was approved by her.

She titled the book "This is Home", referring to where she lived when she was young and her life back then, and the people and the places as they were back then. It was given out as Christmas presents for the family in 2004.

The pages were printed out on the computer printer, and placed in clear plastic sheets, two pages to a sheet so they would be double sided, and the pages then placed in three ring notebooks. A special cover page was printed and placed inside a clear plastic area on the front of the notebooks. The cover had no pictures, just text, the title in large bold letters, and my mother's name below in smaller bold letters, preceded by "By". It also had a line about me editing it, that only appeared on the cover. It was near the bottom, and said "Edited by Stephen Ernest Morgan", in smaller letters. My mother also wrote a long acknowledgment at the end of the book, thanking me, which I will post later.

Below is the book from the beginning, up through the story about the blanket, later rug, with the rabbits with the glass eyes. I will post, over time, the rest of the book, in as many posts as it takes.

Again, this is a story told by my mother, about her life. The part within the story that appears in brackets, a note by me, also appeared in the book.

This is Home

By Maudie Marie Rice Morgan

Patricia suggested a few years ago that I write down the way it was when I was growing up. Stephen has strongly suggested it again and offered to type it on his computer. I have wished I had asked more questions of Mom, Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley, so I decided maybe Patricia and Stephen have a good idea.

I grew up on a 720 acre farm north of Moberly, Missouri. It was a little west of Jacksonville and a little east of Darksville. It was 20 miles to Moberly by way of the Darksville-Huntsville Road. The farm was in Randolph County in two school districts -- Hickory, where we went, and Jacksonville. It was in Chariton Township.

Our ancestors settled in Missouri many years ago. An incident that occurred to one of them caused the name Darksville to be chosen for a later settlement. In 1821, William Elliott was hunting in Chariton Township, in Randolph County, and he camped along a river. There was evidently no moon, because he complained that it was the darkest night he had ever seen. They called the river Dark Creek, and in 1856 a small settlement that grew up near it was named Darksville.

When I was born

Anyway, I was born in July, 1931. The stock market had crashed, unemployment was high and increasing, and there were soup lines. President Hoover, a Republican, was waiting for the economy to fix itself. A new president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, was elected in 1932. By the time he went into office on March 4, 1933 banks were closing. Daddy and Uncle Doc had money in three banks, a Moberly bank, the Huntsville Bank and the Cairo bank. The only one that they didn't lose money in was the Cairo bank. Uncle Doc was president and one of the directors of the Jacksonville Savings Bank, at one time. So was Grandpa Rice. It closed near the end of September, 1931. Uncle Doc also had shares in it. They used to make some loans with their own money, Mom said.

Wanting the moon

Mom and Daddy had been married for around ten years when I was born, so I really got lots of attention. Mom said when they showed me the moon, I reached out my hand and cried when they wouldn't get it for me. I was carried, rocked and talked to a lot. Mom said I refused to walk, I wanted to be carried. Finally, when I was around two, a neighbor and his family came to visit. They had a little girl, Martha, who was a little older than I was. Mom said I watched her rock in my rocking chair, play with my toys and walk all around. After they left, I started trying to walk. Years later, Charles' employee Elmer was her husband. Her father was Dutch Andre.

My mother and father

My father, Ernest Rice, was born in Missouri on October 23, 1873. Mom was born in Iowa on July 12, 1894, so there were quite a few years difference in their ages. Mom used to date and write to a sailor. His name was Bill Haney.

Then she met Daddy. She told me one time how handsome he was and how the single girls set their caps for him. "But," she said, laughing and blushing, "I got him!" She told me that Daddy used to come courting her in a buggy and she showed me a lap robe (heavy black blanket-type cover with padding -- probably had cotton on the inside) that he put over her to keep her warm. The lap robe had two rabbits on the top side. They were the size of real rabbits with green glass eyes and brownish rabbit-looking fur. She had taken such good care of it, it looked new. I don't know what type of material the black covering was -- it felt soft.

[A small rug roughly matching the description of the lap robe (the rabbits with the glass eyes were there, but the rug was gray instead of black) was laid over the carpeting in the house on the second farm. I believe it was near the furnace, just across the opening from the middle room with the big wooden dining table.
-- Stephen]

They were both cheerful, high energy people.

They were married December 16, 1921. Mom told me that she and Daddy used to go walking over the farm before I came. She also said she met the wagon when he came home in the evening and rode back with him. She was still doing this, sometimes, when we were little. We all met him and rode back on the wagon.

They had been married about ten years when I was born.

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