Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Family Part6

More from Mary

Dad was always looking for more storage and came across a large box car. It was pretty nice. The Barber Brothers hauled it in as their business was working with large equipment. Used it for several years. It finally caught fire one night and burnt to the ground. The fire department from Akron were called but couldn't save it, Because was electrical. While I'm talking about fires, Dad was some what of a fire bug. He said it's a good idea to burn the hills winter grass to the ground and start over fresh. It is a good thing, but not on a windy day. Sure enough many times dad would do this and the fire would get away from him and travel to other property, we would all have to try and beat it out, couldn't always get the job done. The fire department would be called and have to put it out. Dad would say can you imagine someone crazy enough to start a fire on such a windy day, could of burnt my house down. I'm sure he wasn't fooling no one. The fight and name calling would began again, Mom was on the war path. Dad never changed.

After Dale and Janet got married he wasn't making very good money, so pulled a small trailer house up by the barn, not much for scenery, lived there for awhile then built a small house where Shirley's trailer sets. From there he built another house across the road by the creek. Dad and Dale would have a round or two with their mouths, because Dale loved to live surrounded by junk, after that he moved to town.

When Paul and Sharon were first married he pulled another trailer in and set it by the driveway. They didn't stay long, decided to head for town.

Shirley bought Paul's trailer and moved in, she made it cozy. From there she decided to make a home out of the box car and was content for awhile. After a few years she bought another larger trailer which was comfortable. She then bought the trailer that's still there. Tim took a vacation and came to S. C. to haul it in and set it up for her comfort, thank God for Tim. It was very nice and lived in it till she passed away. When ever company came they stayed at Shirley's. She loved having all her niece's and nephew's come any time. Mikie came every summer and spent three months with Mom, Dad & Shirley. She had lots of fun entertaining all of them. She was a great aunt. Shirley loved the acreage which Mom willed to her so she would always have a home. I just wish she was still living there. We never know what lies ahead for any of us She was a hard working gal and very contented. She was pretty and liked buying clothes was garage sales, bought a lot if you saw her trailer. She had a good life, always happy, smiled a lot and looked at the good side. She complimented everyone a lot.

When Dale was living on the acreage, he and Janet were going to town, but got in an argument and Janet wouldn't go. Dale took off in an old Hudson, driving to fast rolled it over but landed back on its wheels, so drove it back home with the top caved in. Janet was really mad then, Dale being like Dad just laughed.

Sandy and Mom were visiting one day so Mom procedes to tell her about this episode. After her mother passed away she and her dad went to grandma's house. Mom was to stay while her dad had business to attend to. Her dad left and she threw a fit so grandma put her in the basement for awhile and went outside to do chores. Mom ended up breaking all kinds of glass jars with canned food for winter and then climbed out the window looking for her dad.

Mom had a very hot temper and when she had enough she let it go. She would call dad all kinds of names, I remember her throwing the clock at him, he ducked. He knew he better get outside and would slam the door saying (you know it all), would come in much later. No matter what she would always have his meals at his place on the table. Waited on him hand and foot - hey you guys that must be love!!!!!

This is quit a story. Mom had gone to the windmill to turn the blades on, so she could get water. It had a wire connected to a low part of the windmill with a lever, it was to go up to turn it on and down to tum it off. It was hard to use. The problem came because her face was to close to the lever when it went up. It hit her upper lip and front tooth. It knocked the tooth straight under the lip so there she was. When ever she smiled the tooth could be seen also when she opened her mouth to eat. The strange thing it did not hurt when this happened, must of killed the nerve. She went many years before it was fixed.

One very hot summer day Paul and myself rode his bike to the neighbors, (Jones') I was on the handle bars. It was a dirt road sheltered by trees. Paul was peddling very fast, when up ahead he saw a swarm of snakes crossing the road, probably moving their colony. He said hold on, keep your legs up, he went right through the middle of them. It happened so fast I don't recall screaming, I may have. It was an ugly sight, and myself so afraid of them. He was terrified too. Needless to say we took another way home.

We use to go to North Sioux City every 4th of July. The Gypsies came to town at that time. It was fun to wander around their village they set up. We went as a family or all kids together, as the story is they would kidnap kids.

They sold all kinds of food, had beautiful weddings, dressed very bright like the Mexicans and seemed friendly. They were noted to steal anything, drove in the country for chickens and animals. They had all kinds of dogs, maybe ate them too. Dad drove his truck through the village all of us in the back covered with blankets, as fire crackers were threw in the box, popping off all over, never got hurt thought it was fun. Then we would go to Fry's house, Mom and Dad visiting, while all of the kids were outside running wild. Dale and his friends would crap in an old pocket book tie a string on it and get down in the grass beside the road, of course cars stopped to retrieve the purse, reach down to pick it up and the string would slowly be pulled, they would get up and run. The purse was then opened, what a mess. The boys were long gone. My younger brothers did the same as they got older, but out in our farm roads.

A TV program called Canyon Kid was very popular it was on KTIV for many years. All kids wanted to be guest, they had a pet day and that happened to be the day Pat got reservations for. Connie, Mike, David & Tim went. Connie took her dog called Spike, a nice Cocker. My brothers didn't have anything tame enough. David had a sick pigeon looked like it was ready to die, minus a lot of feathers sight to be seen. He asked Mom if he could take it, she said absolutely not!!!! Well you can imagine what happened. All the kids were so proud of their pets, many nice things were said about them. Connie and Spike were pleased. All the pets were shown so Canyon Kid thought. David spoke up and said I have something to show, he took the pigeon out from under his jacket. Needless to say Canyon was shocked, but preceded to ask David about the pet. Canyon said I'm proud that you like your pet so much. David said thank you and put it back inside his jacket. Mom & Dad and the rest of us were watching this on TV. Mom was so mad but we all got to laughing we just rolled. I don't remember if David got into trouble. He came in the house with a mischievous look on his face and a smile. Mom did yell and said get that sick pigeon out side, right now.

to be continued...

Friday, February 23, 2018

Family Part5

Mary has more for us

Veterinarian Shop, the shop was not there when this accident happened. He was turning around with the tractor coming home and out on the road (it was just getting dusk). Mrs. Langley was coming home from work and hit the side of the tractor, a big jolt, Dad was thrown off landing in the ditch. Mrs. Langley just had car damage, she took him home. He went for x-rays, had broken ribs, plus some front teeth knocked out. Later David helped get the tractor home. Dad was mad at David for some reason, said you can't drive a wheel barrow. David said at least I've got all my teeth, then Dad said you're just a smart mouthed kid. How funny!!!!!!

Dad was across the road one Sunday with his tractor, it rained and was very muddy, well he got stuck. The bad thing was his back wheels were over a steep bank by the creek. Mom & Shirley were frantic he would go over, tried to get him off the tractor. He told them to go in the house where they belonged, what a bull head. Chuck & I and our kids were just doing our Sunday visit, when we pulled in Shirley said try to get him off the tractor and call a wrecker to pull him out. There he sat with a big smile, but he was mad said ( I got to sell this place before it kills me. What a man!!!!

Chuck said I know a guy down the road (Larry Allan) who has a wrecker he'll come up and have you out of here in no time at all. Larry was available got the job done and everyone was relieved.

Butchering week was really hard on the farm - usually did a heifer and a hog but five or so months apart, always in the winter. One of the boys shot the animal Dad skinned and butchered it. Hung it from rafters in a garage or any building available so it would freeze, by the next day it was usually ready to go. So much was brought in at a time laid on the kitchen table and cut up, this went on for at least a week. It would either be pressure cooked, canned or fried. The lard had to be rendered, then the meat fried and put in crocks. It would be layered meat and then lard, very time consuming - the meat was only partially cooked -final cooking at meal time. We always had plenty of food. Many families went to bed hungry. Aren't we thankful for grocery stories.

Gardening was another challenge, getting soil ready, planting, picking & canning. No fun pulling and hoeing weeds in the hot summer time. Guess What - Mom and Dad loved it and looked forward to it every Spring. Tomato was Dad's passion - enjoyed potatoes, too. He would set out in the yard with a tub of potatoes cutting the eyes of each potato, usually 4 to 5 eyes to a potato, putting them in another tub to be planted. He would have all of us help. He never had a weed in his garden, did a lot of hoeing. Always took company to the garden to see how clean it was. When Dad became older and not getting around as well, he then would put a chair at each end of the row and rest till he started back.

Mom helped the boys milk cows every morning and night. They all enjoyed giving the cats a squirt of warm milk. Her day was unending cooking meals, baking bread, washing clothes the hard way, the kitchen was always a mess, heating water on the stove, very unhandy. In the winter especially bad, on nice days she would hang the clothes outside, they would freeze as stiff as a board. If the weather was real bad they were put over chairs in every room until dry. In the summer time the washer was moved outside and that's where it was done. It was a big relief.

Harvesting horseradish in the Fall was not too pleasant either. It kind of resembles rhubarb, but the leaves not quite that big. It was brought in and put on the kitchen table, being cut off above the root, chopped up in small pieces. It was very strong smelling and made your eyes water and burn. When the table was full we all had to go outside while it dried a bit, then it would be put in bags until mom could made the sauce up when she wanted to. She liked it strong. I don't know the process to make it up.

Mom enjoyed raising chickens in the Spring, usually bought (100). Had plenty for eggs and eating. Butchering them was another big day, usually did about 25 at a crack Laying their neck on a block of wood waiting for the ax. We kids helped, our fun was watching them jump around without a head. We would have a contest - which chicken jumped the furthest with out a head. Then came the hot boiling water, dipping each chicken in, then plucking the feathers ok, next was searing the pin feathers off over a hot flame - it was pretty smelly. Next was butchering, taking out all the insides, then soak in salt water, rinse, getting ready for a meal or pressure cook for later use. Us kids were taught how to butcher, so the job went quite fast.

Our grandparents died before we could enjoy them. The Whiteads shared theirs with us, Grandma Stevens and Holder, they were famous for their angel food cakes from scratch. They gave us a lot of attention just like we really belonged to them.

We would pick wild plums and grapes in the summer, Mom would make Jelly. In the Fall we would pick up walnuts in Whiteads valley. It was a family thing. Usually just the mom's and kids went - Dads to busy.

My brothers would cut a Christmas tree down from the pasture each year. We didn't get hardly any presents but didn't care. Many families were just like us. Mom would make popcorn balls, we would shell the corn, sure hurt our hands as it was sharp. When she started having grandkids did the same for them.

We had a lot to look forward to when we were told we would be going to the movies, didn't happen very much. Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers was a big hit with us, always cartoons & the newsreels. We each bought an all day sucker and they lasted that long too.

Always in the Spring Shirley would suggest we walk to the top of our steepest hill and look for May flowers plus seeing the view, could see for miles. She did this till she got ill with cancer. All the grandkids enjoyed the flowers and walking the hills with Shirley, it was really fun. I do want you to know we walked the hills, summer, winter and fall. Whenever my family came home for vacation, they had to hike the hills before they went home. We all miss this very much, such enjoyment and didn't cost a thing.

Grandpa was noted for not having a drivers license and he didn't think stop signs were made for him, consequently he received many traffic tickets. Chuck spent a lot of time with him and saw him get many. When they got home he would take Chuck in the garage and say (this is what I do with them) throw them on the ground and pee on them, with a smile on his face. Chuck never got a ticket but I'm sure if he would have, Grandpa would of come to his mind. Its always something to laugh about. Chuck spent a lot of week ends at the farm going to farm sales and eating Mom's good cooking. Mom always said, she enjoyed riding with him because he tried to miss every pot hole or mud puddle. She said her sons tried to hit all of them. Chuck would take grandma to the grocery store, she would not ride with Dad, if she did they would come home in a big fight over his lousy driving. This is always something to laugh about.

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Family Part4

Mary tells more

David came along 2-l/2 years later. Delivered by Mom's best friend Margerite Whitead, her midwife. Pat stayed for the delivery and helped. At that time she was married and had Connie. Connie was older than her uncles. She became very close to them. The rest of us had to go outside. Dad was nervous and picked up an old dirty hat that was on the ground and put it on, we laughed about that. David was small with a lot of blonde hair. After everyone left he got a little fussy so Mom had me rock him to sleep I thought that was pretty nice. When David was around 9 he broke his arm, the horse threw him and out of nine the only one with a broken bone.

Robbie came 2 years later he was delivered by Marguerite Mid wife) He was a small baby. Robbie developed Spinal Meningitis on his first birthday and had complications, became paralyzed, was bedridden. Meningitis is a disease in which the membranes that surround the brain or spinal cord are inflamed. When Mom brought him home from Iowa City he was fed through a feeding tube down his throat and into his stomach, if it was not inserted right he would drown. He was never able to walk, when sitting he was propped up with pillows, couldn't talk. Mom finally was able to get rid of the feeding tube, he then drank from a baby bottle, she would put a hole in the nipple for a bigger stream, after that she would spoon feed him also. He also wore diapers. He lived like this for 13 years. She held and rocked him in the evening. Did enjoy going in the car. She was a dedicated mother. All of us and company always went in the bedroom to tell him hi when we came and bye when we left. Mom had to leave sometimes but didn't stay long. Shirley and myself were with him during those times.

Timothy was born 2 years later in the hospital. He weighed 8 lb's with all kinds of red hair with very light skin, the nuns thought he was handsome, he was good looking and got lots of attention. He was a contented baby, didn't cry much. The Lord knows when to help out, beings she had two babies.

Most of us kids were named after relatives, here is a run down:
Dale (Francis) - Grandfather on Dad's side
Pat (Margaret Leona) - Aunt Tony - Leona
Shirley (Grace) - Aunt Grace
Paul (Harold) - Dad's middle name
Mary Maxine - Aunt Maw, Dad's side - Maxine - Mom's niece
Michael Edward - Don't know
David John - Uncle Johnny Dad's brother
Robert James - Cousin Jim & Bob - Dad's side
Timothy Daniel - Don't know- Maybe the nuns had a hand in it, they said he's so Irish (Emma here; Mom told me Tim was named after Father Timothy because of the red hair)

Here's some stories of our childhood. The following families were our very good Friends: Bill ~ Edith Udell - Clarence & Jeanette Fry - Frenche & Myra Bouche - Farmer & Charlotte Evans - Louie ~ Ruby Jensen - Martian Marguerite Whitead - Joe & Ella Muecke - All the Bargers - All the Solomons - Jones - Carlsons- Ports - Duffels - Garvins - Trees, Bruneau's All these families had many kids so we always had fuin when we got together.

What we did when we lived in the log cabin as I was told and remember some of it was: We were in the valley surrounded by hills. When we walked to the West to the very top of the hill was a perfect spot to sit and watch the midget racers, that area is now Faraway. Our friends would come with their blankets and we would perch, best seats in town. The area below the hill was Riverside Amusement Park with a roller coaster, a sight to see at night all lit up. Roller coaster riders were screaming - quite noisy? always music. We couldn't afford to go there very often, but sure enjoyed watching from the hills. My older brothers and frilends would go off the hill and find a way to sneak in. They would wave after they got in the gates. Our dogs and cats would wander up the hill also. Dad would love it when our friends would bring their dogs. Dad loved a good dog fight.

My brothers and sisters got to go swimming at Riverside Pool. I got to go one time. I was so afraid of water that all I would put in was my big toe, so I was told, finally I found a puddle along side and sat in that the rest of the time and cried to go home. I never asked to go again.

Another time our family was going to midnight mass at St. Boniface it was Christmas. While we were getting ready Dale decided to check his traps, so away he went with orders to come back soon, which he did, but got sprayed by a skunk, he got in trouble and of course had to stay home, much to his delight.

We had lots of trucks, cars, and tractors. Dad had us convinced ours was always the best. Dale had a good time being a brat and at this time we had a Model A. We would all load up (5) kids and Mom & Dad, and head for town. The hill going past the 40 acres, we called it Rex's hill. Dale would pull the throttle out jump out of the car and run along the side holding on to the steering wheel, with Mom yelling all the time (you are going to kill us all), Dad saying he doesn't have a brain in his head. Dale laughing all the time. He would jump back in before we started down the other side. I guess we all went merrily on our way.

Another time Dad told us to load up in the hayrack, dogs and all as he was going to get a load of hay from the neighbors and of course we kids loved sitting on the hay. He always loved driving his tractors. We were on Rex's hill coming down we kids having a ball jumping around dogs barking. Dad always turned his head toward us with a smile to made sure we were not standing up. Well we were halfway down the hill when the hayrack disconnected from the tractor and moved along on its own with the tongue making an awful noise as it hit the gravel. Dad yelled (jump) all of us baled out. The hayrack ended up in the ditch, but we were all safe. Well Dad was not so happy because Mom was out on the porch seeing this nightmare. She called Dad many choice names and said he didn't have a brain in his head. I don't remember how many days she was on the war path. Dad just smiled. Kids on the rack were Shirley, Mary, Mike, David and Tim, plus the dogs.

In the Spring the Big Sioux River always flooded. Our good friends Bocheus lived in S.D. we would all load in a wagon pulled by a team of horses and take off for their house. It was scary but fun because we would cross the Nason bridge with the Big Sioux close to the boards on the bridge. The horses were somewhat afraid of the water, and so were we, but Dad reassured us it was ok. We all had a good time once we got there, parents in the house, we kids outside running wild in dark, playing (hide go seek). We all had someone our age to play with. I remember one time running down by the river everyone jumping fences (barbwire) rusty at that. Well I didn't make the fence and ripped the back of my leg open, kept playing till we went back to the house. Showed Mom, of course it was still bleeding, poured peroxide over it and wrapped it up. Didn't see a Dr. it was about four inches long and quite deep. I have the scar to prove it. Most farm families did not see Drs. Or dentist. I'm sure my other siblings could have many stories if they were here. Getting back to the trip home was always fun. We would count the stars, look for the large and small dipper, etc. Always hoped for a full moon Crossing the bridge back home was just as scary. Dad driving the team and all of us setting on the hay. Mom liked the wagon, she told us many stories, lots of times scary, she used to read a lot of detective stories. One story I liked was about this strange farmer who lived by himself. He raised mostly hogs. He was one that hired guys to help him do work around the farm. They would usually work for quite a few months and then mosey down the road. This went on for several years. No one was suspicious of anything as he hired transients who had no family. Well his luck changed. he thought he hired someone like the rest but this guy had family. He kept some contact with the family much to the farmer's dismay. The man disappeared, his family notified the sheriff just to check on him and low and behold with a lot of questioning the farmer confessed to his disappearance. He had been feeding the men to his hogs. It was told his hogs were very healthy and everyone wanted to buy them. The moral of the story is don't trust everyone. We all know if we do something bad we are going to get caught - SOME DAY!!!!!!!!

Dad use to sing and whistle a lot, his favorite song was (Oh That Strawberry Roan) it was about a horse. Another song was (Oh What a Beautiful Morning) he made up words to songs just to entertain himself and us. The only times I remember him singing was when he was driving something, and that was often. Another thing he liked to do was take us to Young's Dairy it was an ice-cream shop plus dairy products. We could either have malts or cones, his favorite was strawberry malts. We didn't do this often as it was expensive.

Dad was a healthy person, smoked some, rolled his own for a long time, later bought tailor made. Tried a pipe and cigars occasionally. He stopped smoking when about 65. He was not a big eater and would only take one helping of the main course. Everyone knows how he loved tomatoes and could eat a basket full, had them at every meal and snack time, loved them right out of the garden - didn't want them cold. Mom always had a bowl on the table. Rhubarb was another favorite of his.

One time he was up picking bales of hay using a bale hook made of iron with a sharp point in the process he took a swing and ended up going into his upper thigh, was painful, didn't see a Dr. Mom always had something to heal it with. He had a hernia when he was 84 first time in the hospital tone day surgery). Mom use to make a poultice out of bread, milk and bacon, (uncooked wrap it on the bad spot, it would draw out the infection.

to be continued...

Friday, February 16, 2018

Family Part3

More from Mary

Next I Mary came along. I was a small baby. I was born on the Westside at 122 So. Davidson St. the house is still there. Pat tells me this story and mad because she wanted to stay and watch the birth and had a name all picked out. Well she didn't get her way about that, the name was Hazel plus she had to go to our aunt's house. The strange thing is that the Dr. came after my birth I was not named when he left. Years down the road I sent for my birth certificate, it said Baby Girl ________, I had to go through quite a lot of red tape to prove I was Mary. I became very spoiled, because I was the baby of the family for many years I always set on Dad's lap, I don't know when I stopped that. He carried me around as I was a very small, scrawny, and skinny, but healthy. In pictures I had a pouty look on my face most of the time. I don't know when I decided to start smiling but I'm still doing it. What a good thing!!!!!

After I came along we moved to a log cabin at the end of W.4th St, it was small and unique, and at least 2 miles from W.4th wooded and hilly. There were many memories while living there, so I was told. I was to young to take it all in. Dad got a job at Armour & Company, as a butcher dropping bung guts. I called Bert to ask what the job consisted of - here it goes, Dad stood on a line which had a chain that moved 500 hogs an hour that's fast. On a very slow day the chain would move 50 an hour, a welcome change. What he had to do was look at hog's butt holes all day. He went into the butt with a very sharp knife and cut the gut out they were about 4 to 5 ft. Iong. This had to be done without one little tear in it, because the gut later in the process would be stuffed for sausage, etc. Dad was known to be one of the best at this, he loved to out work other guys which he did with no problem, being tall, lanky and so full of energy. Other workers gave him a lot of credit. While I'm talking about the packing house, I will tell you about Bert's job, he was Pat's 1st husband, hard working and a nice guy. Provided well for her. His job was splitting hogs he stood on a line splitting 300 hogs and hour, usually two guys did this job. When hogs came down a line and he had to split them with a cleaver from the top of the head right down the center through the butt then you would have 2 halves. It had to be smooth not jagged at all or it would be tagged by the inspectors. Too many mistakes you would be out the door. Never happened to Bert, he was tops on the job anyone will tell you that. He had the right build for the job, shorter, broad shoulders, and strong. Standing all day and using the cleaver messed up the stomach muscles, making the stomach stick out. I understand they now use an electric saw.

Living in the cabin was a challenge. Very muddy roads in spring or rainy days and deep snow in the winter. Have no fear Dad loved mules and dogs. He always named his mules Kate or Swayne and the dogs King, Queen or Toby. Anyway he loved the heehaw of the mules. On mud days he had the mules trained and they were smart enough to catch on quick. They would be standing by the barn in the a.m. (5:00) when he went to work he would hitch them on the car and they would pull him to the top of the hill. He would unhitch them and put them inside the gate. When he came home at night they would be waiting to give a helping hand. Summer or Spring always chanting Heehaw. King his German Shepherd would be there also. What service, see what happens when you are kind to animals. Keep this in mind with people also.

From the log cabin there were many moves. We moved to a farm called the Oakdale Jersey, located off Hwy. 12 at that time called Broken Kettle road, it was next to Dick Bruneau's house, which wasn't even heard of then.

Next we moved to the Jew's place that's what we called it because Jews owned it. A nice farm, lived there quite awhile, Mom always wanted to own it, Dad said no. so we moved again.

This time we moved to North Sioux City called Stevens at that time. It was not a farm but had some land. Dad put up an electric fence, cattle still got out. He was working at the packing house as usual, not home during the day. Mom got the brunt of it. We had lots of neighbors and they did not appreciate the cattle getting out. Dale, Pat, Shirley and Paul had to keep them in and they were tough so whenever the parents got on them, they would beat on their kids, soon the kids became fiiends with them. This was not a good move. I must have been 5 at that time, and had been in Kdg., in Iowa not knowing they had no Kdg., in S.D. I started 1st grade, all of us walking to McCook School. I lasted two days; too immature. I was used to an outhouse at country school, so asked my teacher if I could go to the bathroom. I went outside looking for the outhouse, guess what none there, so I went behind the building and squatted. At lunch time I finally found the bathroom with the rest of the kids. I thought it was real nice.

Our next move was back to Hwy 12 called the Jepsens farrn. It was pretty nice, big house with buildings, 200 acres. Some of the land was on low ground by the river. The boys loved it because when it flooded they along with Bob & Jim would spear fish, and swim the river which Mom forbid them to do, later years we were told of the dangerous chances they took. It's a wonder they lived through it.

Dad was never very happy in one place for long, always greener on the other side of the fence. The next place was in S.D. A small one room house for all of us. Dad and Mom fixed up a chicken house for our bedrooms. We always accepted anyplace we lived, probably because we were together and knew we were loved. I was about 8 yrs old, going to country school with Shirley & Paul. One day at school the teacher was talking about families and our homes. Well I raised my hand to tell the class we slept in a chicken house. Guess what, Shirley & Paul were not happy about me and my mouth, did I get into trouble from them on the way home, of course they told Mom then I was in for it. I sure didn't talk about that again.

Our next home was the Small's farm not bad, but mud roads, course we used to that. In the country most farmers had either mud or gravel no paved. We lived there a few years.

Nine years after my birth Mom had 4 more boys she always called this her second family, she said they kept her young and plus a few grey hairs.

While living at Small's farm Mom had Mike. He was nine years younger then me. He was a very big baby, about 9 lb., broad shoulders, very large hands and good natured, smiled a lot. He was born in the hospital which was good, another hard birth and the first to be born in the hospital. We lived there for quite some time but finally Dad decided he had enough of that.

About this time Mom knew she also had enough. The Grant's 40 acres had been empty quite sometime, so checked into it. Was told they would sell. At that point, she got her temper up and told Dad she would move only one more time with him, only to Grants. He was told he could move with her or walk down the road, well he moved with us. Dad's biggest pipe dream was to move to Minnesota and buy a chicken farm. He talked about that so many times it was like a broken record, that was his dream.

to be continued

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

Friday, February 9, 2018

Family Part 1

A few years ago my sister-in-law wrote a few notes about their family. Some names may have been changed to protect privacy but the stories are exactly as she wrote them.

This is a biography of Freeman (Slim) and Inez . I am sure a11 their siblings, relatives and friends will enjoy Dad and Moms colorful life.

Freeman Harold was born to John and Kathryn, June1, 1905 in Cherokee, Iowa. He passed away November 19, 1997 at the age of 92. He had three brothers - John, Gene, Bill also five sisters - Maude, Lil, Pearl, Mary and Bonnie. The brothers were all tall, hardworking, good looking and noted for handling themselves well in any situation. They had a good nature and willing to help others, talked a lot about there ability to fight if they had to. They were 100% Irish. They had brown hair some having blue eyes and brown. Our favorite Uncle & Aunt on Dad's side was Uncle Johnny and Aunt Ida, living in Crescent Park on blest 30th St. Johnny worked at Cudahy Packing Co. in maintenance. I think in sheet metal. Did not own a car used the bus or walked. It was quite a few blocks to the bus line. Ida was a small lady with a real sense of humor. Liked sewing on her treadle machine, and really made her feet move. She made my First Communion Dress. She was a devout Catholic, church on Sundays. Ad walked to St. Boniface every Fnday to Novenas. I stayed at their house while going to Catechism. I didn't like to stay away from home, one reason was I wet the bed, her sofa got it, too. - more than once to my embarassment. So all you young descendants that may have this habit bear with it, it will go away. Hey, maybe it'll come back when I'm about (90) who cares I'll wear pampers, I hope they have blue ones my favorite color. Ha Ha. Johnny and Ida had 4 boys and 1 girl. Billy being the oldest, I didn't know him too well as he joined the Navy at a early age. When he came home on leave he really looked slick in his suit. He was spunky and told jokes. This one I remember. Do you know why a battleship and women are alike? Because they are both so painted up. Mary Katherine was the only girl staying near her Mom & the sewing machine. She had so many beautifiul clothes. She didn't stay on the farm with us, our way of life would be more than she could take. Jack, Bob & Jim loved coming to the farm and staying. They could tell you many stories of great fun. Everyone was welcome at our house, we sure didn't have much but (oh) so happy - most of the time. We spent quite a lot of time with Uncle Gene & Aunt Ruby. He usually had his own business, such as running Services stations. They had 3 children Lavone, Colleen, and Donnie. My sisters spent time with the girls.

We didn't spend much time with Uncle Bill as he was divorced, so didn't have a family for us to get together with.

What I remember most about my aunts was they were blessed with good looks, and loved to dress well. They did a lot of dancing and parties each of them married and were good wives and mothers. All nine of them were born Catholic and stayed that way. Dad was the youngest in the family. We saw our Aunts but never became close to them.

Inez Viola was born to Henry (Hank) and Edith (Edee) on November 11, 1909 in Atlantic Iowa. She passed away December 19, 2003. She had one brother - Harry (Bud) and two sisters - Grace and Leona (Tony). They were German and Swedish. Mom's parents lived on a farm outside of Marnie, Ia. near Atlantic. Her mom passed away when she was three years old and her dad when she was four. Grandparents said her dad died of a broken heart. We don't know the cause of her moms death. Mom and her siblings were raised by grandparents and other family members. When Grace married she moved to Sioux City and took her brother and sisters with her. Mom was about ten at that time. They lived on the Westside of town. Bluff St. and W. 3rd always in that area. It was a nice area at that time. She loved to read and walked to the library every week. She never lost that desire and her house was full of books up to the day she died. Bud was young, tough and of good nature. Had red curly hair. He got himself into trouble and ended up in prison for a few years. I don't remember him having a real job. He did odd jobs such as a handyman and could fix anything. His love was trapping and hunting animals When I was a child it was not unusual to have a trap line, set your traps and walk many miles to collect your game. He was like an Indian scout - tracks told him what kind of an animal was on the trail. Trapping of mink was the big thing selling them for quite a lot of money to Strange Brothers Hide Co. in Sioux City. He loved the outdoors no matter what the weather was from a snow storm to a hot day in July. He walked many miles in his life time, his body was of good physique. He spent much time on the Sioux and Missouri rivers, and loved fishing. I think my son Chuck still has some of his traps, as well as my Grandson Andrew. Bud and Gertie had no children. They moved back and forth from St. Joseph, Mo. to Sioux City and spent a lot of time at our house. One Thanksgiving Mom was ill so he spent the night and cooked us a nice turkey dinner. He was very patient and had a safe quite voice. He was a nice uncle.

My Aunt Grace had red hair was a nice looking gal, another partier. She cleaned homes for a living and was married twice. I remember her living in an apartment on W 7th st., we would visit her. She cleaned for Aunt Tony, they were close. She loved doing crafts and crocheted me a blue dress. It was beautiful. I was about 5. She was nice to us kids. She was a hat person and had many. In her era most women wore hats. She married Charlie Snodgrass and they had one child, Maxine, she and mom were more like sisters than cousins. After divorcing Charlie, she lived by herself and had guy friends from time to time. The one I remember was Abe Sparks, they seemed to hit it off, and he was her companion till she passed away. She died of a heart attack when she was in her late 50's. Maxine married Leonard Rice they had 2 sons - Charlie and Jamie. They spent lots of time at our house.

Our Aunt Tony was our favonte aunt on Moms side of the family. She was another spunky lady, another partier. She dressed stylish, hats and all. She was married to Jack Dineen. He stayed home and kind of took care of their three apartment houses 914, 916, 918 W.6th St., which were her pride and joy. My kitchen table and chairs came from her. She had a set in each of her apartments. During the war they were filled with service men arid wives from the airbase. If any problems came up Jack turned them over to her, she had wit and a mouth to handle renters bad habits. She had a full time job at: Arnour Meat Packing Co. She never tired out, lots of energy. She walked downtown every Saturday in her heels and back, taking care of business and shopping which she loved to do. She and Jack had no children. For fun as a group they would get into Uncle Bud & Gerties Model A with a rumble seat and all go fishing. They loved to have a few beers, along with a picnic lunch. Most of the time they had a good time. There were sometimes they would argue and with the beer get ornery. Tony and Gertie were the trouble makers pushing each other in the river and physically hitting each other. One time Tony threw a can of worms at Gertie; she chased Tony, tackled her, and Bud had to break it up. It was a sight to be seen. It never lasted long because Bud was the only one with a car and they sure did not want to lose those good times. They would stop at our house on the way home and tell all about the bout. Tony usually riding the horse before they went home.

to be continued

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Tim is the last of my husband's brothers. He is 3 years younger than my husband.

When Tim was born it was in a Catholic hospital. Tim had red hair from the very beginning. The nuns who were also nurses kept telling Mom that his hair was the same color as Father Timothy's hair.

When Father Timothy came to visit the rooms Mom saw that they did have the same carrotty colored hair. So the baby was named Timothy.

I first met Tim when he was in his early teens. He would sometimes come along with his brother when we would all "hang out".

Hanging out meant that groups of cars would basically drive around what we called "The Loop". The Loop consisted of one-way streets that allowed us to just drive through downtown. Saturday nights were the nights we did that.

Tim was well over 6 feet tall. And so thin.

Tim was the only child left at home. As with most teenagers he felt like he had all the pressures on him. To be truthful he did have a heavy load.

Even though the farm was not suitable for raising crops there was always a big garden. Mom did a lot of the work and so did Tim. He helped Dad tend to what livestock they had. Tim also brought in plenty of wood for heating and cooking.

Finally Tim grew up completely. By that time we were living in the big city as were the family of the next older brother. He decided to join us.

My mother-in-law called and was frantic. She heard that he was bringing my sister-in-laws sister with him and was planning on marrying her.

Somehow Mom managed to stop that from happening. But Tim came and we were happy to see him.

He found a job and worked hard every day. In the evening he would come spend time with my husband and me. Then he would drive to my brother-in-law's house where he slept.

What we did not know was that the police were stopping him most nights. Because his vehicle broke down soon after he arrived he often borrowed a car. Sometimes he had one of ours or one from his other brother's household. The police were always checking to see that what he was driving was legal... at least in the beginning.

He also did not mention that at times the the police were a little rough with him.

Then came the day when he came by our house early. He was covered in bruises; head to toe. I thought he had been in a car accident.

It was no accident. The police had stopped the previous night on his way to go to bed. They were angry with him because he was late. They had stopped a couple of other red-headed young men while they were waiting for him. It seems they identified him by that hair.

Anyway they were mad because he took up too much of their valuable time and they worked him over good. I tried to get him to go to the hospital but he refused. He also would not file a report because he did not want worse the next time.

For a time he dated a girl that lived down the street from us. Then he began to see a girl who had lived next door to us when we lived in an apartment building.

Kathy lived with her father and brother. Her mother had died when she was very small. For a time her father had a girl-friend who moved in with her daughter but eventually they moved out.

Tim went to California and Kathy went with him. They were married in Mexico. When Tim was drafted the Army did not recognize the marriage.

Tim decided to bring Kathy back to the big city while he was in basic training. They were welcome at our house. By now Kathy was pregnant with their first child.

In order for her to get her spousal allotment from the Army they were married again. Her father and I were witnesses. I saw symptoms that her father would not be around much longer. He died of cirrhosis a few months later. Her brother died just last year.

Soon after the baby was born they moved to Florida.

Tim worked sandblasting and painting ships. It is hazardous work. The materials used for that are toxic. He now is struggling with mesothelioma. He is doing quite well considering.

They now live in Tennessee. Altogether they had 7 beautiful children. Now they have bunches of grandchildren.

Friday, February 2, 2018

What Will It Be?

It is February 2nd. That means that groundhogs will be rudely taken from their little homes and exposed to the outer world. And someone will use the reactions to determine how much longer winter will last.

The most famous of the groundhogs is Punxutawney Phil.  He has been around for more than a century; 131 years old to be exact.  How can that be you ask? He drinks "groundhog punch". It gives him an extra 7 years of life when he drinks it at the annual Groundhog Picnic. Phil is accurate about 39% of the time.

Thistle the Whistlepig has only been predicting since 2016 so there is not much data yet. She was only 8 months old when she made her first prediction. She lives at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. She was the runt of her littler and abandoned by her mother. But life is better for her now. She now lives with Lake Erie Eddie so she has companionship.

Staten Island Chuck was formerly known as Charles G. Hogg. He lives in the Staten Island Zoo. Chuck is grumpy. At least 2 New York mayors have been bitten although the second time was blamed on his granddaughter Charlotte. Charlotte died a few days later so she will have to take the rap. Zoo officials have installed plexiglass to protect Chuck from mayors and mayors from Chuck.

For some strange reason Dunkirk Dave is what Chautauqui, New York, calles their groundhog. Dave'seal name is Sidewinder but that is not what is strange. Dave is a she! Her owner is Bob Will. At 58 years of prediting she is the second longest spring foecaster of the grounhogs.

In 2015 Jimmy the Goundhog bit the mayor of Sun Pairie, Wisconsin, on the ear as the mayor leaned close for Jimmy to give him the forecast for spring. Jimmy now stays in a cage for the ceremony.

The Tennessee Aquarium is home to Chattanooga Chuck. He has been there for at least 7 years. This groundhog relies on a team of humans and other animals at the aquarium to help him make his prediction.

Unadilla Bill is probably the most unusual of the groundhogs, He is dead! He was found in a garden after his demise. The farmer had him stuffed. Every year the tiny town of Unadilla has a groundhog festival including a parade. The farmer waits to see if Bill sees his shadow then leans in for Bill to tell him the forecast. The farmer then makes the announcement.

In 1979 Buckeye Chuck was named as Ohio's official representative for Groundhog Day. He resides in Marion, Ohio. Chuck wishes for an early spring so that is mostly what he predicts.

General Beauregard Lee recently moved to Dauset Trails Nature Center in  Jackso, Georgia. He has honorary degrees in Weather Prognostication and Southern Groundology from University of Georgia and Georgia State University respectively. The National Weather Service has honored him twice for the accuracy of predictions.

Why are groundhogs the animals we look to for the spring prognostication? The Pennsylvania Dutch had a superstition that if a groundhog emerged from his burrow and the day was sunny so rharhe saw his shadow he would crawl back into his burrow for six more weeks when spring would arrive.

If the day was overcast and the groundhog did not see his shadow he would stay out and spring will be early.

What do you think the groundhog will say this year?