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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