Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Family Part 2
Mary's stories continued
Tony was very good to all of us. We always said she was our rich aunt. My bothers worked for her. I need to tell you about Gertie, as she was a chubby gal and wore house dresses Unless she was fishing, she had dark eyes and hair and always had a mischievous look in her eyes, a giggly laugh and fun to talk to. This description lets you visualize on this episode I'm about to tell. Aunt Tony was visiting Bud & Gertie having a good time when the three of them decided to go to the bar for a while. After drinking at the bar they came home but decided they needed more beer. Bud went to the store for more. All was well when he left, upon returning he found Tony & Gertie fighting. Their shoes and nylons were off and slung on the floor, jewelry all over the place and get this they were in the bedroom. The bed was next to the wall and somehow in the wrestling match they had both fell between the wall and bed. All Bud could see was legs and arms beating each other. Well he finally broke up the match. In the process of all that happened, Aunt Tony lost her false teeth and said Gertie found them and flushed them down the stool. This is probably why the fight took place. Bud said you should have seen their hair, looked like wild women. The teeth were found in another room. Even though they had these episodes, they always went back for more and would laugh about it later and tell the stories. Us kids loved to see them come to our house with their many stories. Dad and Mom liked it too. That was our entertainment. Just imagine Grandma, my Mom just the opposite of her siblings. She was too busy with her brood all (9).
Now, I'll fill you in on Dad (Freeman) as a young man he was very ambitious, he was 6'3" tall and very lanky with long arms and legs, always slim. He was noted for protecting himself and friends with his fist. His story was that he had a round with Jack Dempsey. Dempsey was in Sioux City, Dad and his fiiends came up to him as he came out the back door, his fiiends said that dad did scuffle with him probably as a joke. But the story got bigger until dad believed he did have a round with him. Back in those days anything could happen. All us kids loved hearing it and old friends brought it up a lot, we've had many good times laughing and reminiscing. Dad was very friendly and of good nature with a smile on his face even in bad times.
Mom was a small framed red head and was known to have a temper and lots of love for family and friends. After nine kids she became chubby. She always wore house dresses with an apron. That apron was really used. Hanging on it were many safety pins, buttons fell off our clothes all the time, our nose was wiped on the end of the apron. The pockets were stuffed wig rubber bands, clothes pins, and sometimes a few coins and - later years her glasses. We would hide behind her apron when strangers came. She would also gather eggs and use the apron pulled up like a basket. Another habit was putting rubber bands on her wrist. A jar of Vicks could be in the pocket, we always got the grease job, it felt good and I greased my kids and myself yet. Good memories. I'm glad she ran out of goose grease sometimes.
She met Dad in her neighborhood, her first boyfriend. They married when she was 14 and he was 16 on September 26, 1926 in Elk Point, S.D. This is where it all began and what's on the road ahead for (71) years of marriage. They moved from Sioux City back to Atlantic where dad did farm work for Mom's relatives, he was good with animals and farming, one of the best corn pickers, back then they would have contest and dad was known to be a winner most of the time. Mom had her first child at her grandparents house. (Francis) but he was known as Dale to everyone. He weighed close to 10-lbs, very difficult birth. He had lots of bright red hair, nice looking baby. She said he did not want to get dirty did a lot of sitting and did not walk at an early age because he was carried around by grandparents and relatives. But he needed to get off his butt because Mom was expecting Pat they were 13 months apart Well when Pat came she had two babies to carry around, he finally walked at (18) months old and I think he ran for the next (65) years always on the go, he also never stopped talking. Dale had his own business doing painting inside and out mostly large business's, was also known for his trading and buying almost anything.
(Margaret) she was named but always called Pat, she was born at home. She was a house wife & mother, but worked as a Nurses Aide a lot of her life. She loved to do crafts and sewing, very good at both.
In order to make a living at that time Dad & Mom would load up the two kids and travel around Iowa and South Dakota doing farm work and fall time picking corn which was a money maker according to how many bushel he picked a day. Farmers usually provided a place for him to stay and Mom would help the wives. Farming was a busy place in the kitchen making all kinds of good meals.
After a few years (2- 1/2) Shirley was born at one of my dads sister's house it was somewhere on Bluff St. She and Pat were both small babies. Shirley started working at an early age and worked until she retired at (67). She loved to go to garage sales, work and drive her car.
After (3) children Dad & Mom rented a house on the Westside. Dad had a hard time getting work. He worked for the WPA meaning Work Project Administration. They built and repaired schools, parks, libraries and many other civic jobs. Dad even talked about digging ditches for water mains. I guess you would say they worked wherever needed, and got $40.00 a month. You didn't work you got no pay, nothing for free - not like today's freebee's. This was the depression about 1931 to 1940 and many guys out of work. He also made liquor and beer and sold it - called bootlegging. If you were caught you were sent to jail and a big fine. He and Mom made it in crocks hidden in old dugouts, under the house or in a very wooded area, just like you see in the movies. The law was after them many times. Mom & Dad had many stories about that. ~ wish Mom would have written all these happenings for us.
During these hard times Mom had Paul (2 years) after Shirley. Paul was only 3-lbs and very frail, didn't think he would live. If it wasn't for an Indian neighbor lady he would not have made it. There was wood heat in the house and she would heat lots of very hot water on the stove and fill whiskey bottles with it. Paul was in a small padded cardboard box and this lady and Mom would line the bottles around Paul day & night, constant heat. A blanket was put over the box very warm - home made incubator. It worked. He lived to be 73. His was successful and retired in his late 50's.
Here's another story about Paul, he was small and wiry always trying to keep up with Dale, Harold & Earl Farley. Well it was cold out and they were running through a field of picked corn (lickty split) Paul tripped on a frozen stubble hit his forehead above his left eye and his eye disappeared under the brow line. The three brought him back to the house as he was screaming bloody murder, they were so scared Dad happened to be home so he was rushed to the hospital. It was a miracle his eye was saved but always short of vision in that eye.
to be continued