Saturday, February 02, 2013

This is Home, Part 2 - Uncle Doc, Charley, the farm house, the log cabin

This is part 2 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Uncle Doc

Uncle Doc (John D. Rice) was Daddy's older brother. He was born May 3, 1870. He quit teaching and came home to take care of his parents when they got old. He had taught school for 18 years. He was single. He told me that the girl he loved and planned to marry died.

When he came home, his mother had cataracts, and was slowly going blind. He took her to a specialist in St. Louis who said nothing could be done.


Charley Roe (Charles Albert Roe) came to work and live on the farm sometime before I went to school. I might have been around four or five. Charley's birthday was July 31, 1884. He was younger than Daddy and Uncle Doc. He was also single.

The farm house

The farm house was two story, but it wasn't completely finished upstairs. The lumber was stacked there to finish the room over the living room. The room had about two thirds of the flooring down. The room over the kitchen had flooring down. I wonder if I came along about that time and caused them to stop.

Anyway, there were four bedrooms downstairs. Charley got the one off the living room. It had a double bed and a dresser with a partly marble top and a tall mirror. I think it was oak, Charley's trunk was put across from his bed. There was a rocking chair, too.

One room opened into another. His room had six doors -- one opened into the living room, one onto the screened-in front porch, one into the South bedroom, one into the hall, one into the North bedroom, one into Uncle Doc's bedroom. He also had a window that faced the front porch

The back of the house had taller ceilings and huge rooms. Even the hallway was wide enough to have heavy furniture, like a wardrobe and large dresser, on opposite sides of the room. It also had a rocking chair and other things. Later, it had my cedar chest, which we called a hope chest back then. It had furniture on each side. It also had a door that opened onto a small porch with a large honeysuckle bush across the end. I think it was a climber. The humming birds liked it.

The South bedroom had three doors; one opened onto the screened-in front porch, one into Charley's room and one into the hall. It also had two windows; one faced the front yard and the other had a view of the road. I used to sit in front of the one with a view of the front yard and write to Edgar on the little table with the single drawer that Sharon has.

I also used to watch from that window for his car to come over the hill when we had a date. Sometimes I walked around the front yard.

The North bedroom had a door that opened into the hall and one that opened into Charley's room. It had two windows -- one facing the back yard and one facing the road.

Uncle Doc picked the smallest bedroom on both farms. He had one door that opened into Charley's room and two windows. One window was beside his bed and faced the back yard. I used to like to lay across his bed when it was raining and look through his catalog of books. It had descriptions of the books as well as names and authors. This is the one he ordered "Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshall" from for me. His room also had a window that came down fairly close to the floor. Jean and I used to climb through it onto the screened-in back porch that Vanskike built.

Jean and I used to run through the house chasing each other. We climbed through the window in Uncle Doc's room onto the back porch and through the window from the living room onto the front porch. Whoever was home would be telling us not to run in the house because we would fall and get hurt. One of us usually did either bump into something or fall. It was fun, though. We didn't do it often. This was in early-to-mid grade school.

Walking with Uncle Doc

When I was small, I was interested in everything Daddy and Uncle Doc were doing. I wanted to go to the fields with them. I held onto Uncle Doc's hand and walked with him to the end of the concrete walk, then I wanted him to walk back to the house with me. Mom said he did it a few times, then he called "Lola, come and get this child so I can go to work."

The log cabin

There was a two-story log cabin in our back yard when I was little. I loved to play in it and watch the sunlight through the openings. There was a stairway going upstairs. They told me not to climb it and I didn't, because I was afraid I would fall. They tried to keep me away from the log cabin, but I kept going out there. Finally, they tore it down.

No electricity or running water

There was no electricity on the farm in those days and no running water. We had a good supply of lamps which burned Cole Oil (or coal oil) and the house was surrounded by three wells. The wells had pumps. We usually used the one with a higher concrete top for drinking. There was always a bucket with water and a dipper in it on a table on the screened-in back porch. The water didn't have the minerals or the horrible taste water out here has. It tasted cool and fresh.

The stoves

Mom cooked on an iron stove with a warmer across the top to keep food warm. It also had a large oven and a deep reservoir on the side that kept water warm for washing. The stove had trim that looked like chrome but could have been nickel. The heating stoves were banked at night. We only had two heating stoves -- one in the living room and one in the South bedroom Jean and I used.

Emergency Bell

I remember Daddy installed a big bell on a post close to the front door in case Mom needed him, when Jean was a baby. Jean is two years and four months younger than I am. She is also completely different in the things she likes. I was plain disgusted when she was a baby because she couldn't play or do anything.

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