Friday, December 24, 2010

Late 20's into my 30's

Late 20’s into my 30’s

    I had major  surgery when I was 28 years old.  I had an egg break in my ovary and the pain was horrible.  Dr. Gilbert operated and my recovery was easy.  That same year dale bought a boat and a 25 H P Evinrude motor.  We started to water ski and became fairly good at it.  Eddie rode the surf board and he liked to ride in the boat.  I learned how to drive the boat and pull Dale around the lake.  We used the cabin and water skied until Gail was born.  We went to Grand Lake with bob and Emily record and also to ten killer and the Salt Plains.  We were burned out on skiing after a while.  Too many good time friends liked to come out and use the cabin and us.

    My brother Richard was killed in an auto accident in May of 1957.  Five young men in 2 cars were killed near Willow river Minn.  Such a sad time.  I was grief stricken about that for a longtime.  Dick had been in Okla the year before and stayed with us for about 3 weeks.  We were the two youngest in the family and had a special relationship.  Need I say more.  I still cry when I think about it.  First Don and then Dick.

    Gail was born Oct 13 1959 and I did not go back to work after she was born.  She was a good baby and the apple of her father’s eye.  She had dark red hair and blue eyes and a very fair complexion.  I had to change my whole life around and make new friends and find other things to do.  I did start to sew more for Gail and myself but the quilt making was 10 more years down the line.

    Hugh went to Washington school after Gail was born and continued to do well in school.  Miss Hoffman the principal said to me that they expected him to be a hand full because he was so bright but he was a normal and well mannered child.  He started to play the Cello in 5th grade and then transferred to the double bass in the 7th grade.  He started piano lessons with Mrs. Chisholm.  I bought community concert tickets and exposed him to good music.  We also bought a piano and he took lessons for several years.  His last piano teacher Moe Anderson later became extremely successful in selling real estate and working for Merrill Lynch.

    I started bowling when Gail was about 2 years old and Hugh baby sat for me.  One day I made a lemon pie and put a piece in Dale’s lunch and left the rest on the table.  When I came home from bowling the whole pie was eaten.  So at 8:30 at night I just made another lemon pie.  Guess Gail and Hugh were full.

    When Gail was 5 and Hugh was 15 he would still baby sit for me.  He told her that if she didn’t bother him he would let her sit on the bed and listen to Beatle record while he studied.  When Gail started school she knew all the Beatle records.  Hugh rode his bike to Junior High part of the time.  He was in SMSG algebra in 9th grade and did very well in school.  Think he was in the 99th percentile on the Iowa test in Junior High…

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Danny comes to Ponca City

Danny comes to Ponca City

Our son Hugh had enlisted in the Peace corps in 1969, he then went to Brockport NY for his training and was sent to Peru in 1970.  He married a Peruvian girl named Betty Manrique Galvez and two children were born in this marriage.  Carolina in 1972 and Daniel in 1974.

Betty and the children came to the States in 1979 and stayed 4 months in our house until they could speak and understand English.  Hugh was in Saudi Arabia at this time working for Collins Radio and setting up the telephone system out in the desert.  Betty and the children then moved out of our house to a house of their own at 408 E Emporia.  Betty and Hugh divorced and Betty and the children returned to Peru in 1981.  Dale and I maintained a good relationship with Betty’s family.

My husband Dale and I traveled to Peru about 7 times between 1972 and 1989.  In 1989 the Shining Path Guerillas were very active in the countryside and smaller cities.  Their favorite tactic was to blow up the high line towers in the mountains and you never knew if you would have electricity or not.  The regular police also stopped you on the roads and examined everything in your car and purse using a sub machine gun to keep you from protesting.

Betty had called Hugh in the fall of 1989 and asked if he would like to have  Danny come to the States and live with Hugh and Sunday.  Carol was finishing High School so I and a friend went to Peru Dec 12th 1989 to see Carol graduate and to bring Danny back to the states.  Danny was 16 and Betty did not want him getting interested in the guerrilla movement. 

Betty met us at the airport and we then went to a friends apartment close to the old market.  We had to be careful with our purses and we watched very carefully getting in and out of the car.  We did stay one day in Lima and went into the central part of the city.  We encountered tear gas and a large marching group of people.  We rushed inside a store so as not to be seen.

The following day we drove to Huancayo Peru where my grandchildren lived.  Huancayo is located about 180 miles from Lima over the first range of mountains then down into the Mantero valley.  It is a city of about 100,000 people.  We left Lima and started up the mountain.  We reach an elevation of 16000 feet in 80 miles of travel.  Then we drop down to the Mantero Valley which has an elevation of 12000 feet.  The road was partly gravel at that time and there is a lot of traffic on the road.  The trucks look like our gravel trucks and are loaded with produce from the high jungle.  These trucks are carrying oranges, bananas, avocados and other tropical fruit. These trucks also bring lumber, other vegetables, grain and potatoes to Lima.  There are 5000 different variety’s of potatoes in the International Potato Institute in Lima.  Peru’s Quecha  Indians developed most of the vegetables we use in Western Civilization. You can go to the market in any small village in Peru and see many different vegetables that we are unfamiliar with in the states.

We arrived in Huancayo and did attend Carol’s graduation ceremony.  We did not go out at night.  We watched on local TV the  funeral  of a high city official.  He had been murdered by the Shining Path Guerrilla's.  It was an uneasy time in Huancayo and I was glad when we returned to Lima to fly home.

The plane lifted off the runway and I could breath easy again.  Danny went to Baltimore for a couple of weeks and then came to live with us in Ponca City for 5 months and attended Po-Hi.  The first thing he wanted was a flashlight and I bought one for him.  I got curious about why he wanted a flashlight.  Well he found the tunnel under 7th St that goes all the way to Poplar and had been exploring it.  Think he found some bats in it and we had to warn him about being in that tunnel.

We bought as mountain bike for him sometime in April or May and he enjoyed riding it.  We were so sorry that we hadn’t bought the bike when he arrived here.  The 5 months went by real fast and then we took him to Baltimore to live with his Father and Sunday.  He was able to be accepted into the Baltimore School of Arts and stayed in Baltimore 2 years with his Father and Sunday.

While in Baltimore he entered a contest and won a prize on a picture and on a collage that he had made.  He had been drawing and painting since he was a small child.  He stayed in Baltimore with his Father for 2 years and then went back to Peru as conditions were better then.  He entered college at San Marcos and studied there for 3 years.  

Danny's sister, Carolina attended college in Lima and her major was Marine Biology.  She later came to the States with her husband Jaime and recently earned her Doctorate from the University of California at Irvine, in Marine Biology

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dee's Trip to Alaska - 1961

Trip to Alaska

In 1961 Dale, Hugh and I went on a trip to Alaska.  Dale had bought a pickup camper and started selling campers in the day time.  He had a 4 week vacation at this time and we started on this trip.

Sat July 22 1961.  Left at 1030 a m. drove through to Des Moines and stopped at a closed filling station.  Gail real good.

Sun July 23.  Arrived at Dorothy’s.  Daisy Don and kids came down for dinner and spent the day visiting.  Gail liked everyone.

Mon July 24.  Left Dorothy’s about 11.  Took Dale W with us.  Drove to Northfield across to Canon Falls to Hastings and then up the St Croix  river to Taylors Falls and into Grantsburg Wis.  Got to the folks about 630 p.m.

Tues July 25.  Left the folks at 840 a.m., drove to International falls and went through customs.  Crossed the Rainey river on a railroad bridge.  I drove for about an hour and stopped at Nestor Falls the first resort for gas.  Dale took over and we lots of beaver and deer.  Got to Kenora about 730 p.m. and ate supper.  Drove through the woods for 250 miles.  Got to Winnipeg about 11 p.m.  People still up walking around.  Looked like a real interesting city.  Parked the camper at at truck weighing station and it rained about 4 a.m.   

Wed July 26.  Left Winnipeg at 730 a.m. but I stayed in bed until 930 a.m.  Hit prairie country after leaving Winnipeg and was quite flat all the way to Regina.  Regina sits in the middle of the prairie.  Had some pretty building and a big oil refinery.  Also doing some road building there.  Sun set at 9 p.m.

Thurs  July 27.  Stayed in a roadside park about 20 miles from Saskatoon Sack. .Dale got up and started driving at 5 a.m.  Got up and fixed breakfast about 9 a.m.  Stopped in a Safeway Store in Lloydminister and got our groceries.  Called Dorothy and Gail was fine.  Arrived in Edmonton about 530 p.m.  Drove 100 miles beyond Edmonton and stopped at a roadside park.  Beautiful scenery.  Saw 2 deer cross the highway while I was driving.  Talked to some people from Emporia Ks.

Fri July 28.  Left roadside park about 10 a m.  been in a lot of forest country.  Lots of ducks on the ponds.  Came across the Smokey river about 1 p.m.  real high hill.  Got to Grand Prairie and doing wash here.  Dawson Creek 73 miles.  Got to Dawson Creek around 5 p.m. and decided to go on up the highway.  Beautiful farming country here.  Went to Ft St John crossed the Peace River bridge around M.P. 79, came on to Pink Mountain  camping grounds at M.P. 143.  Sun set around 930 p.m…Dark around 1045 p.m. Lots of wild flowers along the highway.

Sat July 29.  Left M.P. 143 areound10 a.m. drove on up and had a good dinner at a roadside café.  Got into Ft Nelson around 4 p.m. oil country up there and not a bad place.  Hit mountains about M.P.  345 and then the scenery starts.  Drove about 50 miles and really thought we were seeing things but then it keeps getting more interesting.  Got into the hot springs at Laird River about 1030 p. m.  went down washed my hair and took a bath.  Water was real hot.  We ran into a lot of dust yesterday.  Sure gets the camper dirty.  Lots of places to camp up here but they are a little bit messy.  Couldn’t see what time the sun set but it wasn’t dark at 1115 p. m.  don’t get up in the morning early enough to see what time it is daylight.  Saw a man painting the mountains at a pull off place.

Sun July 30.  Just piddled around all day, drove about 200 miles, camped at  M.P. 674 at Big Creek campground.  Eddie went swimming in a lake.  Dale and I chickened out, was to cold.

Mon July 31.  Got some fresh Lake trout at MP. 781 also some Indian moccasins for Dale, myself and Gail.  Drove on into Whitehorse and had a good meal.  We went and looked at the riverboats and the museum.  Also to the High School to see some movies and to a gift shop.  Camped at M.P. 967 at Mendenhall creek.

Tues Aug 1.  Drove down to Haines today.  Beautiful scenery.  We drove through a game preserve and saw lots of chipmunks, grouse and later two moose.  Nothing much at Haines and came on out and parked at customs 43 miles north of Haines.

Wed Aug 2.  Came on out but cloudy and rainy.  Eddie had his picture taken close to a snow bank.  Had lunch at Haines Jct.  We had a blow out at M.P. 1193.  Dale fixed the flat quite easily.  We drove on to Tok Jct where we went through customs and were greeted by a pretty blond who had just had an Alaska snort.  We got a hot shower for 50 cents and we camped at Lelas overnight.

Thur Aug 3.  Started for Anchorage about 715 a.m.  What a road, it was paved but was like a washboard.  Saw our first glazier at Tazalina and ate dinner at the Lodge.  We arrived at Anchorage around 730 p.m. and went to wash clothing.  Clean sheets tonight.  Had 4 loads of wash.  Talked to a girl from Odessa at the laundry.  We went downtown and it looked like the main street of Minneapolis in 1944.  Neon signs-wide open-excitement in the air.  Quite a place.

Fri Aug 4.  Got a new tire and sourdough pancakes.  Not so hot, we left Anchorage around 1 p.m. and drove to the Portage Glacier.  What a sight.  Blue and big.  It rained on us all day.  Tried to drive to Hope but the road was so bad so we came back and started to Soldatna.  Came through Kenai Natl. forest, we saw some moose and started to Homer but we camped 17 miles south of Soldatna.

Sat Aug 5.  Went to Kenai and drove around Soldatna then on up the road and down to Seward.  We looked over the small boat harbor, brought some strawberries and parked out north of town.  Beautiful drive and Seward is a nice small city.

Sun Aug 6. We left Seward around noon and drove on into Anchorage.  We arrived in Anchorage around 6 p.m.  We ate supper at the airport café.  Really a good meal.  We couldn‘t make up our minds whether to stay and see if we had any mail or not, but decided to stay.  We had a tube put in our tire and went out to the International airport and saw 2 big jets take off.  Then we drove over and watched the seaplane land on a lake.  We saw about10 seaplane land.  We parked at a trailer court or alley don‘t  know which it was..

Mon Aug 7.  Fixed speedometer cable and had a letter from Dorothy.  Left Anchorage about 10 a.m. and drove to Palmer and about 13 miles out into the Mantanuska  Valley.  Lovely farms, looked like Minnesota or Wisconsin.  We came on up to Glenn Allen Jct. and at supper at M.P. 80 right at the edge of Worthington glacier.  Will see it better in the morning.

Tues Aug 8.  We drove down to Valdez and did some mountain driving, we went downhill for10 miles  We saw Bridal Vail Falls and went through a tunnel.  We saw the glacier at Valdez.  We had dinner and was more than you could eat for $1.85.  We came out and started up the road to McKinley  Park but we drove 12 miles and chickened out.  What a road, so we came to Donnelly camp ground and spent the night.

Wed Aug 9.  Drove into Fairbanks and looked around.  We went out to the college, through the museum and saw the stuffed animals.  Big Kodiak bear and Doll sheep.  Real interesting, went to the Chamber of Commerce and saw slides of Indo-China-Japan-Hong Kong and Australia.  Then went out and camped overnight.

Thurs Aug 10.  Washed clothes and started for Dawson city.  Arrived at Tetlin Jct. and drove 74 miles into the mountains.  What scenery.  We camped at a lodge and it rained.  Paid 66 cents a gallon for gasoline.

Fri Aug 11.  We drove on top of the mountains into Dawson City.  We managed to get our camper on a small ferry with another truck and we crossed the Yukon river to get into Dawson City.  There was not much to see but it looks like all the pictures of it.  Like a town of the late 1800’s.  There was an old paddle wheeler parked along the river.  The campers were still coming north to Alaska.

Sat Aug 12.  We drove to Whitehorse today.  It was flat country and not to interesting.  We ate supper at Whitehorse and drove in rain to John Jacksons at M.P. 731.

Sun Aug 13.  We went fishing and was the lake ever rough.  I had a bite but was not able to land the fish.  Ed got a pair of moccasins and Dale had some moose meat given to him.  Thought we could make it to the Hot Springs but were to tired.  Camped at Whirlpool Canyon M.P. 544.  Still scared from the boat ride.

Mon Aug 14.  We saw a forest fire at Laird River and came on to Summitt Mt. where had hanger welded on the spring on the truck.  We came to Ft Nelson and  supper.  We drove to M.P. 200 and stayed overnight.  Lots of dust, worse than before and lots of smoke in the air.

Tues Aug 15.  Came to Ft St John and washed and showered and stayed at Little Smokey River overnight.

Wed Aug 16.  Came on to Edmondton and drove 50 miles south of Saskatoon and parked just off the highway.  Had a flat and made 577 miles today.

Thur. Aug 17.  Had 4 more flats today.  We pulled off the highway and a man took Dale and I into Regina and got a new tire.  They came out 335 miles with their truck and fixed the tire.  I went shopping in Regina and bought some real nice bon china.  We drove beyond Minot North Dakota after flats were fixed.

Fri Aug 18.  Drove to the folks and were tired when we got there.  Saw Paul Bunyon at Bemidje.  Beautiful lake country.  Everybody all right.

Sat Aug 19.  Drove to Dorothy’s and were anxious to see Gail.  She sure has changed in a month.  This is the Alaska trip that I took notes on.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Life in my 30's

Life in my 30’s

Will talk a little bit about my life in the 30’s now.  Hugh was in 5th grade when Gail was born and I quit my job on the railroad.  I was busy with Gail and Hugh as he started  piano lessons and also started playing cello in the grade school orchestra.  Dale was going to work at 6 p.m. and home at 2 a.m. every morning.  He owned a couple of school buses and would get up and drive in the morning and come home and take a nap.

I started bowling when Gail was about 2 and sometimes bowled in the summer and would take her to the nursery at the lanes.  She came home with chicken pox one time and think she exposed all the children in the nursery.  I made different friends after quitting work on the railroad and begin to get involved with some volunteer work.  I enjoyed it up to a point but I did become to involved and didn’t have much time to myself.

I made most of Gail’s clothes and also quite a few for myself.  Dale become involved in selling pickup campers and he wasn’t home much.  Mr. Day and Dale did quite a lot of camper repair.  We also acquired the Ponca City Military bus business.  So we always had a little extra money to spend.  We had3 bus routes and the PMA business.

When Hugh was a Sophomore in college I went to work for the Rock Island railroad as a billing clerk.  This was in 1969 and I continued to work until my job was abolished 18 months later.  Dale’s job was also abolished at the same time.  We had 4 school bus routes and had almost finished building a new home at 442 Fairview.

I talked Dale into staying in Ponca City and told him I would learn how to drive a school bus.  This was in 1970 when I was 43 years old.  I had driven a large truck with a camper on it so I figured I could drive a school bus.  Driving the school bus wasn’t that difficult, it was keeping the kids halfway quiet and not moving around.  I developed a firm attitude and a loud voice.

The first morning I drove the bus we had a dense fog and I was scared out of my wits.  That evening one of the kids in the back seat opened the door and I had to stop the bus and close the door.  I really got strict with the kids and got them under control.  I drove the route for 2 years and then I begin to drive when someone called in sick and the I started doing activity trips to Enid, Stillwater, Ark city Winfield and Blackwell.  Mostly Jr. High football and Basketball.  I continued doing this until 1986 when we sold our buses to the school.

Gail was in the 5th grade when I started to drive the bus.  She rode the bus to Jr. High when I started driving activity trips and she sometimes had to go over on 14th St. and buy her supper at a hamburger place.  She also ate at the Taco Shop in grade school and she liked a Taco Burger.

I begin to sew for Gail when she was very small and I was very active in the community.  I was President of my bowling league, was social chairman of the Schubert Music club and was Spiritual Life Chairman of the Methodist’s Women Society and also program chairman of my church circle.  I caught myself coming and going every day.  One month I remember going to 28 meetings.  Needless to say I got out of most of it in a year or two.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Green Stamps and other prizes

Green Stamps and other prizes

During the great depression in the 1930’s and into the 40’s and 50’s and 60’ merchants gave away many prizes to get people to trade with them.  During the thirties I can remember my Mother buying oatmeal and she would get a cup or a saucer in the box of oatmeal.

I remember trading eggs for groceries and then depending on how many groceries you purchased you would get a dish with chickens  pictured on it.  My Mother traded with Wesley Bros in Hope Minn and think she got at least 4 sets of dishes.  She gave  me a complete set of dishes when I married Dale and I later gave them to Dale’s Mother as she needed them.

The depression glass which is so highly collectible was given away as prizes at movie theatres and also as you purchased groceries.  My mother must have collected that also as she gave me a pink set which included a large sauce bowl and 6 sauce dishes.  Needless to say  I used the set and they broke quite easily.  My sister Dorothy still has some of the depression dishes that she received as shower presents when she married in 1935.

Later on when I married green stamps were very popular.  A lot of merchants gave green stamps, the grocery store, the shoe store, service stations and almost every kind of business.  You got one green stamp I think for 10 cents of purchase.  You then had a green stamp book in which you pasted the green stamps.  There was a green stamp store in Ponca City and when you got enough books filled you could go down to the store and buy things with your stamps. 

I  have a nice card table and 4 chairs that I purchased with green stamps and it is probably  50 years old.  I had gone to an auction one day and brought home 4 oak chairs that I had bought for a dollar each.  One of our bus drivers wanted a couple of the chairs and she gave me a whole bunch of green stamp books for them.  I had some other green stamps books filled and I went to the store and was able to get a nice  oak butcher block table for Gail.  That was probably about 27 years ago.

Leonard’s grocery store gave away a prize every week for trading with them.  One time I won the weekly prize and it was a nice large set of Corning Ware.  I still use that almost every day and that was over 40 years ago that I won them. 

One of the drug stores here in town had a sign up sheet and they gave away a weekly prize.  You had to sign up the week  when the drawing was held.  Got people in the store shopping.  These a just a few of the things that were given away to get people to come in the stores and buy merchandise.  Really don’t see much of that anymore.   Probably the modern day coupons have taken the place of the give aways.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sewing Machines throughout my life.

I first started sewing when I was in 4 H club when I was 12 years old.  My Mother had a treadle Minnesota sewing machine that she had received as a wedding present from her father in 1912.  I started using that machine when I was 12 years old about the last of 1939.  My first project was an apron and I did all right with that.  My next project was a cotton dress that I had to make for a 4 H club project.  I made the dress with a little help from my Mother and then had to go to the County fair and model the dress.   Didn’t win anything on it.

My next project was in my freshman year in High School in Ellendale.  A lot of the girls didn’t know anything about sewing and I knew a little bit.  I made another cotton dress and think I got a B on it.  We had electric sewing machines at Ellendale and they were easy to work with.  I didn’t take any more Home Ec classes the rest of the way through High School.

After I had made those 2 dresses I was ready to tackle some more sewing.  I remember making a sharkskin plaid dress when I was in 10th grade and I made bound buttonholes all the way down the back of the dress.   Then in my Junior and Senior years in high School I would come home from working at the Burt’s and I would sit down and make a blouse over the week end.  The kids in school couldn’t tell that the blouse was homemade.  Was getting better at sewing.

I didn’t do much more sewing except keeping my clothing mended by hand the first 4 years that I worked on the railroad.  Dale and I were married in 1948 and he bought me a Domestic 153 sewing machine for Christmas the first year that we were married.  I made a skirt and I made a  most of the baby clothes for Hugh  the first year I was married.

I went back to work when Hugh was 8 weeks old and I didn’t do much sewing except sewing buttons on  and mending and altering some of my things.  When Hugh was about 2 years old I made him  several pairs of shorts out of slacks that Dale could not wear any more.  I did make a dress or two to wear to work and I had Mrs Smith’s mother help me put a zipper in. 

When Hugh was a little older I remember making him a nice pair of pajamas but I didn’t really have time to do much sewing for any of us.  I did make a throw out of old pants of Dale’s and took it out to the lake and someone took it.  That was my first attempt at doing some piece work.

After Gail was born in 1959 I started doing quite a lot of sewing for her and made a lot of her clothing after she started school. 

The next sewing machine that I purchased was a White Sewing machine and that was in 1970.  This machine was all metal and had a zig zag and had cams to make fancy stitches.  I really started a lot of sewing with that machine.  In about 1972 I joined Extension Homemakers and took at tailoring course that they offered.  Then I started making coats and slacks and skirts for Gail and myself.  Also was beginning to do some quilt piecing at that time. 

In 1982 I went to a Quilt Show and classes in Albuquerque New Mexico and that was when I saw the little Singer 221 sewing machines being used.  I had seen the first 221 sewing machine in 1947 but thought they were very small at that time.

I didn’t get real interested in the 221 machines until about 1992 when I saw Andy fields in Ark city at a quilt show with several machines and they were priced in the $400.00 range.  I already had one with a table that we had bought at an auction for $60.00...I came home from Ark City and said to Dale “I think there is a market for those little Singer sewing machines, why don’t we try to find some and resell them and see what happens”..

That was the start of our selling the 221 machines.  We went to garage sales around here and found a few and then we went to Texas and stopped at Canton and found some and then we started stopping at all the sewing machine shops looking for the 221 machines.  We stopped at Palestine Texas and  bought 18 of those machines at one time.  Dale said “How are we ever going to get rid of these machines?”    I subscribed to several quilting magazines at that time.  I put adds in about 5 quilting magazines and we begin getting calls with people wanting to buy the machines.  This was before the internet and we had lots of business.

I had my sister in Minnesota put adds in the newspapers  up there just before we would go up for vacation and we found machines there.  We had one friend in Minnesota that went to garage sales and she would buy one every time she had a chance.  We stopped at every sewing machine shop coming and going across the country and we found machines that way.

Dale had been diagnosed with cancer and we had to go to Baltimore to Johns Hopkins several times a year and we would put an add in the Baltimore Sun and I think over the years we picked up about 150 machines in the Baltimore area.  We always came back home with a van load of machines.   One time on the way back from Baltimore we came through Cookeville Tenn and they had a 68 table and a sewing machine together in a small repair shop.  We had 38 sewing machines in our van but we made room for the table and the machine.

We were very busy with our small business and the last year Dale lived in 1998 was the best business year we had.  We had calls from all over the country just about every day.  There were some avid collectors at that time and they were always on the lookout for new machines and accessories.

When Dale died in 1998 I had over 50 sewing machines on hand.  He had told me a few weeks before he died that if I didn’t want to mess with them to just throw them in the river.  He felt like he had had the fun selling and working on them and that it had prolonged his life by several years.  Dale had talked Nancy Johnson-Srebro into writing another book about the 221 machines and several of our machines and accessories are pictured in the book. (Editor note:  One of Gail's machines is also in the book, the Crinkle Singer Featherweight.)

While Dale was alive we went to quilt shows in the Oklahoma and Arkansas area  and we made a lot of contacts that way.  We always did quite well at the quilt shows.  Gail had come up with the idea of having a web page on the internet in 1995 and we got a lot of business that way.  She also came up with the idea about selling care packages and then I included a dust cover in some of the packages.  As of 2010 I have made over 1000 dust covers.

 I started cleaning up the machines that we had on hand and selling them one by one.  I bought a few more machines also and sold them.  It kept me quite busy wrapping the machines up and all.  I learned how to rewire the foot controls.  Dale had either purchased or had given to him at least 60 old foot controllers.  Mostly they were all right and all they needed was new wiring.  I still have a few left and fixed up a few in the last month.

Dale had bought out a bunch of parts from someone here in town and they were about 20 of the 221 bobbin cases in the box of parts.  The cases needed to be reconstructed and I looked at those cases for about a half a year and decided that I could fix them.  I had the parts to fix the bobbin cases and I fixed up 11 of them and sold them .  I also had about 20 of the wooden cases that needed repair and I order material and latches and locks to fix them.  I had a man fix them for me and sold the reconditioned cases.  They went real fast.

I still sell some parts and manuals and accessories and Gail still has the web site for the machines.  About 2000 I begin getting interested in other old singer machines and so off to the garage sales I went.  I picked up several 401 machines a 500, 403 404, 185, two 301’s, a Necchi, a couple of White machines, and several others.  Some I gave away and some I sold.  I have in my collection a couple of Wilcox and Gibbs ,a Singer 24, two Elna grasshoppers, a 66 treadle, a little worker, a Pfaff 362 , 1069 and my worker horse Pfaff 1471.

Over the years I have collected almost every Singer accessory that was manufactured.  I also have a nice collection of old Singer books and a lot of written material that goes with the accessories.  I collected a lot of that stuff over 30 years ago.  I like to look at every old sewing machine out there, so I go to garage sales and see what they have to offer and sometimes I buy a machine and sometimes I just look.  Most of the machines that I see just need a good oiling and grease job and off they spin.  Some people do not take care of their machines and others look good after 60 years of use.

At the present time I sell buttonholers and accessories and oil and lube and patchwork feet for the 221 machines.  I work on the buttonholers and test them out before I sell them and that is interesting. Gail has created a web site about the Singer Featherweight at

This has been an interesting hobby and I am out in the workshop every day doing something with the sewing machines.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Invention that changed my life the most

When I was a child in the mid 1930"s the hardest job for the average homemaker was washing clothes. We lived on a farm and did have cold running water in the house. But after we left my birth place we did not have running water on any of the rent farms and water was carried to the house from an outdoor well in cold Minnesota.

We used a cast iron wood cook stove for cooking and heating water for washing clothes and for Saturday night baths in the wash tub. My Mother had a copper bottomed boiler in which she used to heat water and boil the white cotton clothing and sheets. Mother made her own lye soap and I remember her shaving the soap which she added to the water in the boiler. After the white clothing had been boiled the clothing and soap were transferred to the washing machine.

The washing machine had a round wood tub and an agitator and a wringer. The agitator was powered by hand by whatever child was around the kitchen. Sometimes me. The clother were removed from the tub and put through the wringer to the rinse water which had blueing added to it. We rinsed the clothes and then put them through the wringer again to another tub of cold water. We did the second rinse and then put the clothes through the wringer again and then hung the clothes outside to dry. In winter time we hung clothes outside and they froze almost dry and then we brought them into the house and hung on lines stretched across the dining room to finish drying.

We wore the same clothes to school for several days and changed into old clothes when we returned from school. I remember wearing long underware and a garter belt to hold up my long cotton stockings. This was in Minnesota and the winters were cold. I did wear a snow suit to school as I had to walk 1/2 mile to school 10 below or whatever the temp. My mother had 5 children at home and she tried to save on washing clothes.

I remember a few years later when my Mother bought a washing machine powered by a Briggs & Stratton motor. Mother was so proud of that machine.

I married in 1948 and our son Eddie was born in 1949. I returned to work on the railroad when he was 8 weeks old. Dale noticed how hard I was working and decided to buy us a Western Auto automatic washing machine. It was the one thing that enabled me to go back to work and not spend half a day washing clothes. The automatic washing machine as we know it was in general use in the late 1940"s. To me it was a miracle invention and I was so happy to have it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Making Quilts

Making Quilts

I had wanted a hand quilted quilt for many years and in the 1960’s I checked out every book that our library had to study about making a quilt.  I was still busy at that time working on the Rock Island Railroad as a billing clerk so didn’t have time to get started on one.

In September of 1969 my job as a billing clerk and Dale’s job as a telegraph operator were abolished.  At that time we had 4 school bus routes and I told Dale I would drive a school bus if we could stay in Ponca City .  We had almost finished a new house at 442 Fairview and we had our old house at 437 Fairview  to sell.  We decided to stay in Ponca City and go in business for ourselves.

Dale went to the Supt of Schools and applied for a job and he was going to work in maintence, but then other things happened.  The Federal Govt started the school lunch program and Dale got involved in that.  He went to Bartlesville and checked out their program and came back to Ponca City and told the Supt how their program worked.   The off shot of that was that the schools had 2 central kitchens and they made all the school lunches for the grade schools.  Dale proposed that he purchase an insulated truck and that the school purchase insulated carriers for the food.

Dale was a school employee and the truck was leased to the school.  This allowed us to have health insurance and so Dale started that and so he had a job again.

In the meantime I started driving a school bus route for grade school students  going out north of town and east of town.  I think that same year I drove a route for native American children going out south and west of town and then into White Eagle.   Part of my pay was lunch at liberty School.

I continued driving that route for a couple of years and then Dale found someone else to do it.  At that time we were beginning to get a lot more sport activity trips and so I did the Junior High sport trip driving.  I found that I had lots of time waiting for the teams to get over playing football and basketball and so I started to embroidery table clothes  while waiting for the games to be over.

About 1972 I decided that I was going to start making a quilt.  I had a McCall’s magazine that  had a picture of a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt in it.  I though that was so  neat  and decided that I would make it.  Now I had been sewing since I was real small so didn’t think I would have any trouble with making it.  I had sense enough to cut my material on the grain line and didn’t run into any major trouble.  I would cut out enough pieces for one or two blocks and then I would hand sew them while waiting for the children to finish their games.   There for I made most of the blocks on the school bus.  Well I got the 29 blocks made and then put the quilt together.  By the way it was made out of cottons that I had used for making blouses and dresses for Gail. Now those were 1960 prints.

Now I had to quilt it and bear in mind I had never quilted or put a quilt in a frame and didn’t have anyone to ask about it.  Well I bought a quilting frame from Sears and I put that sucker together and started quilting it.  Don’t remember how long it took but probably the better part of a year.  Gail helped by drawing  all of my quilting designs.  Well I finished it up and took it to the Blackwell Fair and won a 4th place on it.  I brought it back home and Gail said “Mother that ought to be my quilt as you used my dress material in it.”  Well she got the quilt.

Now since I had made one for Gail I had to go ahead and make one for Hugh.  I found an appliqued quilt pattern on the outside cover of Family circle magazine so I decided to make it.  Now this was around 1976 and we didn’t have much choice in cottons.  When I would go on a out of town trip I would look for different cotton material for this quilt.  I found different cotton material in about 4 different towns.  So I sat down and did this Maple Leaf quilt.  Think I finished it and the quilting in about 1978.  I took it to the Blackwell Fair and won a 2nd place on it.

Then I got interested in making a star quilt.  I though, well I have conquered the hexagons so now I will try the diamonds..I made a small diamond wall hanging and it turned out fine.  It was all hand pieced.  I thought  ‘There has to be a better way to do diamond quilts”

I looked and looked at how the diamond quilts were put together and came up with the idea to strip piece lengths of fabric together.  I made a sample and saw that it would work.  Then I had to make 6 different strips and cut them at a 45 degree angle and be sure that my cutting on the angle was accurate.  I started on Sunday evening and had a nice large Lone Star put together by Saturday.   I didn’t get all the squares and triangles  sewed on for a month or two.  Think I just admired my handiwork for a while.  Well I took that top to the Blackwell unquilted and it won a blue ribbon.

I made a couple more diamond quilts and then I saw a picture of a Sioux Diamond quilt in a magazine and the picture was about 2 inches square.  So off I go and decided to design that into a full sized quilt.  I made a sample wall hanging and quilted it and think Gail still has it.  I made the big quilt and it is still waiting to be quilted.

Then in 1979 I was asked to teach a quilting class out at the Marland Mansion.  This was before the craze for quilts had begin.  I think I had 6 students and I taught some and we all taught each other.  I had to keep ahead of the class , so had to have something new every week.

 In 1982 or 1983 I read in one of the magazines that there was going to be a quilt show and classes at the University in Albuquerque New Mexico.  I knew that I needed to learn a lot more so I made reservations to go.  Bought my round trip ticket and changed at Denver and then on the way back changed at Dallas-Ft Worth.  Was carrying two suitcases and made it fine.  I took a class from Diane Leone on doing Fine Hand Quilting as asked if I could use her instructions.  She said ‘Yes’ as long as you tell the students that it was her instructions.

At that time there were several nationally known teachers that gave speeches.  We had Pat Morris, Judy Matthiessen, Ginny Beyer  and Helen Young.  I was fortunate that I was able to hear them at that stage of my quilting.  They had a dress show and I wore my black dress with the diamonds around the bottom or the skirt.  Had lots of good comments on that dress and I later took it to the State Fair at Okla City and won a blue ribbon on it.

I then begin to teach other classes in the area.  I taught at Stillwater , Blackwell, Bramen ,Ark City, Enid  and back to Stillwater again.  I also taught classes out at the bus shop and later taught at the Senior High two or three times.  Also worked with Camp Fire girls and had them do simple piecing.

Probably in the mid eighties I begin to work on Log Cabin Quilt as you go quilts.  I made one in Christmas colors that my son and daughter in law have.  I took it to the fair in Okla City and won a Blue Ribbon and a pkg of batting   I made a small Log Cabin baby quilt for Amber and that would have been in 1985.  I also made a full sized Seminole Cross Log Cabin Quilt and it won a Blue ribbon at the Okla City Fair.  Amber has that quilt and I saw it on Derek’s bed  in June.

I made a blue colored Log Cabin for Gail and she used it on her King sized bed for many years.

For several years I gave programs on quilts and probably did at least 20 programs.  This was in addition to helping Dale run the school busses and doing the book work for the business.  I gave a program out at Westminster and one of the women showed some very unique quilts blocks to the group.  I said ‘Lucille if you ever want to find a home for those blocks I would take them’  I was just joking but at the end of the program she said “Deloris, I am so happy to find a home for these blocks and someone that will appreciate them”  I made some more blocks out of that material and then  I made patterns for 14 of the 25 blocks that were more accurate.

I made a quilt just using one pattern for the whole quilt.  I made it using an applique quilt technique.      That is, I fused the applique pieces to a block and then I put it together with the batting and backing and then I satin stitched around all of the design.  That was in 1992.  I took that to the Fair in Okla City and won 3rd place.  That was the quilt I made for Dale.  I gave that to Derek last year as I hadn’t made a quilt  for him.
In the early 90’s I entered a tatted piece and a woven necklace in the Okla City Fair along with a counted thread embroidery piece.  I won Blue ribbons on all the pieces.

 In the 90’s I joined the Okla State Quilter’s Guild  and was on the board for 6 years.  4 years as money raising chairman and 2 years as secretary of the State Guild.  That was an interesting experience and I met women from all over the state.  We had a retreat every fall and I taught embroidery at one of the retreats.  I had to resign in 1997 as Dale was becoming more ill.  The last time I had a quilting class was in 1989 out at the Vo Tec.  I had about 8 women in the class and it was for 2 hours and ran for about 6 weeks.  Decided it was time for me to quit.

 After Dale died in November of 1998 I continued making quilts and quilted clothing and other things.  In the early 90’s I had several of my garments shown in The National Quilting Magazine.  I also had won a first prize ribbon on a jacket that I had machine pieced at the Okla State Fair in the early 90’s. 

 I started making Love Quilts to be given to children and adults.  I just made the tops and they were tied by women out at St Paul’s Methodist church.  I probably made over 100 of those small quilts but the day came when I was tired of doing that.

I had finished a hand appliqued and hand quilted quilt about 2004 and had also finished a machine pieced and machine quilted diamond quilt the same year.  I took the two quilts along with a Seminole skirt and a tatted ornament to the Blackwell Fair and won Blue ribbons on all the things.

I have continued to make quilts and other things up to the present time.  I have made some nice utility quilts and I have made two six pointed star quilts.  One of the 6 pointed star quilts was completed two years ago.  It was probably the most fun to make of any quilt that I have done.

At the present time I am working on an applique quilt that has some Pennsylvania Dutch designs in it.  I had bought the blocks about 18 years ago and then I had to design two other blocks and find material that was like the original blocks.  Just have one block to go.  I also am working on a hand applique block that I designed and just have about 3 blocks finished.  Have another 17 to go.

I started a hand pieced quilt several years ago and am now trying to get the blocks pieced together for it.  Am working on the 8th block now and hope to finish it this winter of 2011.  I had to draw the block and it will be an interesting quilt.

In February of 2010 I made 3 prayer shawls out of wool.  I gave two of them to the church and I kept one for myself.  I have a lot of 6 inch wool pieces cut out and will try to get some more of them made.  Can usually make one in less than a week.

This covers part of the things that I have done with my quilting and I have a never ending supply of material and ideas.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Peru in 1974

  We came home to Ponca City after our trip to Peru in 1972 and begin to get ready for our school year. Dale had purchased 6 school bus routes and we needed to find drivers and get the buses shape for the school year.  Gail was in 7th grade that year and this started our long days when school started.

    My granddaughter Carolina was born in Dec of 1972 and we didn't get to see her until June 1974 when we went back to Peru for the second time.  Daniel was born in April of 1974 so we got  to see him when he was a baby We were busy with our buses the rest of 72 and 73. 

 In 1974 we went back to Peru and welcomed our new grandson Daniel who was about 2 months old.  Hugh & Betty were living in a house on  Cusco Street which had a lot more room.  Hugh met us in Lima and we went to Huancayo.  On this trip we went back to Lima and then made a trip to the Hot Springs at Churine.  Dale ate some food at a restaurant there and got sick with food poisoning.  The next day we started up the coast to go to Trujillo and on to Chan Chan, the mud city ruins.  We bought a sack full of oranges and after Dale ate 2 or 3 he begin to feel better. We stayed at Trujillo overnight in a hotel and we were in the second story. Down below were several produce trucks carrying produce and they all had a mean dog on the top of the truck.

    The next day we spent looking at the ruins at Chan Chan.  This city was built a long time ago and has many ruins that still look good as the climate is dry in that area.  We went on back to Huancayo and stayed a few days and then decided to go to Tingo Marie.  This is a nice small city in the high jungle and the climate is wonderful.  It was a long and beautiful drive and we went from an elevation of 12000 feet to an elevation of 2000 feet.  In the 1980's until now you can not go to Tingo Marie safely as it is the headquarters for the coco trade.  We stayed in the tourist hotel and then went back to Huancayo for a few days.

    There are several good restaurants in Huancayo and one served  good hamburgers. I liked to go where they served fried trout. There were several trout farms in the mountains and the trout dinners were inexpensive.

    On Sundays in Huancayo we would go to the Sunday Fair.  This was a flea market with new and used things for sale.  Clothing, shoes, jewelry, sewing machines,auto parts bicycles and hardware and anything you might want.  A whole street was used and the stalls were 4 across the street and 2 miles long.  It is the largest open air market in South America. We would see tourists from all over.  Young French people were there as well as people from all over South America.

In 1976 Dale and I went to Peru again.  Gail stayed with Brady and Caroline for a week and then went on a back packing trip to Colorado.  They were having some political problems in Peru and we were unable to go by car up the mountain to Huancayo so we were met in Lima by one of Hugh's Peace Corps friends and stayed at a Hotel overnight.  Hugh's friend took us to the airport and we flew up to a tiny airstrip at the beginning of the Mantero Valley.  Hugh met us and we drove about 30 miles to Huancayo.

    Betty and Angelica had started a small store selling clothing, they were both teaching and Betty had Carolina and Danny and was expecting a baby, so everyone was extremely busy.  On this trip we made a day trip to Satipo and we also went into the mountains where JoSues had painted the inside of a church with Biblical  personalities.  The people in this small village had not seen many gringos or foreigners.  All the children gathered around us and wanted to see us.  The priest met us and he was a young man from France.  He talked to the children and we went inside the church and afterward around the square where it was market day. There are still many isolated parts of Peru in the high mountains where people live like they they did before the Spanish Conquest.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

First Trip to Peru - 1972

    In 1970 Hugh graduated from college in Brockport New York and went to Peru in the Peace Corps.  He married while in Peru and we went to Peru the first time in 1972. 

     We drove our pickup camper to Miami and caught the Braniff Airline to Peru.  We went down east of Dallas and bought some peaches at a roadside stand.  It was about the 10th of June when we left and we planned to be gone 3 weeks.

    We went through Philadelphia Miss and we could feel the tension there.  This was about 8 years after the civil rights movement and this was the place where the civil rights workers were murdered and buried in a field or pond.

    We drove on and our next stop was Gainesville Florida where we spent the night.  We didn’t think it would  take long to drive to Miami but it took all day.  We stopped at a small motel in the heart of Little Cuba.  No problem, and we ate out at a Cuban restaurant.  We did go to several attractions in Miami and was it ever hot.

    The next night we stayed at a Howard Johnson Motel near the airport and parked our camper in their lot for  the 3 weeks that we were out of the country.  We left Miami in the evening and I think we flew direct to Lima.  We had never been up in a big jet before and ran into a storm on our journey to Lima.  The plane went up and down and it was a roller coaster ride.  We didn’t know any better so were not unduly frightened.  We arrived in Lima and you always come to the airport in a dense fog.

Hugh and Betty met us at the airport and we stayed overnight in Lima.  We were amazed at how dirty it was around the airport.  Leaving the airport by car one passes miles of slums coyly hidden behind adobe curtain walls that frame the highway.  And then the miscellany of homes that announce the residences of the rich California bungalows, turreted castles and colonial posada’s.

    One third of Peruvians live in Lima, but there is little Peruvian about the place.  It begin as a beach head of foreign power and has never learned to change.  Lima looks to Europe and America as models, and the rest of the country for the wealth to indulge the resulting inferiority complex-a complex evident from the lack of original style and the uncritical imitation of others.

    We left Lima the next day for the home of our son in Huancayo.  Huancayo a city of 100,000 population is located about 180 miles southeast of Lima.  We started up the mountains towards Huancayo.  We followed the Rimac river for many miles.  June is winter time in South America and it is cloudy all the time on the coast.  We saw native women washing clothes including hotel linens along the river.  The sun shines a few miles east of Lima and therefore your clothing will dry fast.

    We started up the mountain and stopped at a restaurant on the way.  We ate lunch at a cafe about a 2 hour drive from Lima.  They did have a modern restroom and we enjoyed our stop.  You have to be careful about eating and I ate papas huancani-which is potatoes with a cheese sauce and boiled egg and it is served cold.  Very good.

     I saw a man relieving himself in the open and that was common placer.  I went to the bathroom at the restaurant and it was modern.  The scenery was so unusual and beautiful.  We followed the river for many miles, at that time in 1972 the roads were mostly graveled.  We kept driving and climbing and arrived at La Oroya which was about half way to Huancayo.  The elevation there is 13000 feet.  We probably stopped to eat and may have drank some coco tea.  Coco tea helps you feel good in the high elevations.  We continued on to the highest spot on the road which is called Ticolo which has an elevation of around 16000 feet.  Then    we continued to Huancayo.  The elevation of the Mantero Valley is about 12000 feet and is called the breadbasket of Peru.  Lots of grain and vegetables are raised there on small  plots.

    We continued on the graveled road and stopped again at La Oroya.  This is a mining city at an elevation of about 13000 feet.  We had driven over the pass at Ticolo at an elevation of 16000 feet.  La Oroya is a very polluted  city and the people that work in the mines have very poor housing.  The mine pollutes the Mantero river for many miles and fish can no longer live in the river.  From La Oroya we followed the Mantero river to Huancayo in the Mantero valley.  This valley is located at an elevation of 12000 feet and is called the bread basket of Peru.

    In the Mantero valley are many small farms which raise potatoes, cabbage, beans, carrots and all other kind of vegetables. The native people of Peru developed most  of the vegetables that we are familiar with.  There is an  in the international Potato institute about 5000 different varieties of potatoes.  I saw and ate many different vegetables and fruits that are unavailable to us in the states.

Huancayo you will find potato sacks made of wool as that is what is available to use.  I can see the small villages on the road to Huancayo with the checkerboard farms stretching to the mountains on both side of the Mantero river. The people live in the villages and go out to work to their farms to work in the morning.

    The busses are full of people and animals and on market day you can see men on bicycles pulling a cart, heavy laden with produce coming to Huancayo to sell the fruits of their labor.

    The men mostly dress western but the women dress in their traditional clothing.  Black skirts, a bright blouse and a large shawl which is used to carry babies and other things.  The babies peek over their mothers shoulders and watch the activity and they never seem to cry.

    We arrived at Huancayo and Hugh and Betty gave us their bed which had a full sized mattress.  The temp dropped to almost freezing every night and got up to about 65 degrees in the daytime.  We had about 3 heavy wool blankets on our bed and it was cold up there.  I asked Hugh about taking a shower and he said he took one about once a week and waited until about 3 in the afternoon.  The shower head had a little electric heater attached to it and it just barely put out warm water.  Once a week was enough. We ate lunch at the house every day about 1 p m and the food was good but strange.  We could not drink water out of the faucet so we drank lots of coffee and soft drinks.  We went out to eat down the street and they had  very  good hamburgers and French fries.  It was cold at night but the stores were open.  We met Hugh’s friend Mr Meyers who owned a hardware store.  His sister owned a place where they wove fabric and hand knitted  sweaters. Her store was called Kami-Maki.  The  Meyers had arrived in Peru from Germany before the Holocost. They and lots of Jewish people could see what was going to happen so they came to South America in the 30’s.

    We stayed with Betty’s Mother in Huancayo for over a week and made day trips to small villages in the area.  There is no heat in the houses so you wear a sweater all the time .  When you go out at night you dress with hat, gloves and a warm coat.  the temperature at night is almost freezing and in the day time in winter it may reach 65 degrees.  Huancayo is 12 degrees south of the equator and the elevation is 12000 feet.

    I was 45 years old and did not have any trouble with the high altitude.  I did lose about ½ pound of weight every day as your body burns more calories at a high altitude and the people ate more food than we were accustomed to eating.  We took at shower about once a week and we waited until about 3 p m.  the water came out of a small electric heater attached to the shower head and it was bitter cold in the bathroom.

    There was a maid in the house who did the cooking and cleaning.  Another maid came in every week to wash clothing by hand and do the ironing.  The food was good but very different from what we were used to.

    We took day trips around Huancayo and went to one village where artists carved gourds for the tourist trade.  We were able to purchase gourds much cheaper at the artists homes than at the markets in Lima.  We also went to a village and purchased hand woven rugs.  Another manufacturing  shop on the outskirts of Huancayo sold hand woven cloth and hand knit sweaters and hand spun yarn.  The owner of the shop was a German woman who had arrived in Peru from Germany before the Holocaust.  Her brother Mr. Meyers owned a hardware store in Huancayo and was a friend of our son.

    Many German Jews came to Peru in the 1930’2 and are citizens there.  They could see the problems coming and they left Germany.  My Grandaughter Carolina husbands Grandmother knew the Meyers family when she lived in Huancayo over 50 years ago.
    Every Sunday in Huancayo there is a Fair or what we would call a flea Market.  Huancayo is a very important business center, being the point of convergence of all the nearby towns and many business transactions are made at the Sunday Fair.  The Fair starts on Saturday afternoon, when all the vendors come from everywhere in the region.  The Fair is truly wonderful for it’s leather goods, ceramics, gold and silver jewelry, textiles, used sewing machines, automobile parts and almost anything you could want or use.  The Fair stretches almost 2 miles and the stalls covered with cloth are 4 lanes wide.  It is the most famous fair in all South America and people come from all over the region to buy and sell.

    We made another day trip to the convent of Santa Rosa de Ocapa founded by the  Monks in 1725.  They have a famous library with thousands of books printed in the 15th century many of which are journals which tell of the early occupation of the Spaniards.  On the outside walls covered by  roof are paintings done by the natives about the life of St Francis of Assaisi.  There is no sense of proportion in the painting and they painted the Peruvian devils instead of what we think of as devils.  The climate is dry and the paintings have not changed in appearance over the years.  What an interesting day that turned out to be.

    We went out in the country to various homes and purchased gourds and a rug and some wool blanketsomes and purchased gourds and a rug and some wool blankets.  Hugh, Dale Gail and I made a trip to Huancavlica and also one trip to Lircay where Betty was born.  Then Betty had a vacation and we started to Cusco which was 600 miles from Huancayo across the mountains.

    We made another day trip to Huancalvica, a mining city about a 3 hours drive from Huancayo.  We stayed in a tourist hotel overnight and then went to Lircay the next day.  Lircay was the small town where Betty was born .  We were surrounded by children as they seldom see white people.  Gail was with us and they came up and touched her red hair.  Lircay had an open sewer and the town was dirty and the children had open sores on their faces.  We only stayed about an hour and then drove back to Huancayo.

    The roads in the mountains are very narrow and the cars go one way one day and the other way the next day.  You are not able in the high mountains to pass another car.  You see people riding small horses or walking on the roads along with cattle, sheep, llamas and alpacas.

    We left Huancayo at night as the road was one way one day and the other way the next day.  The road was narrow and graveled with a lot of bumps.  The car we drove was a Volkswagon and Dale and Hugh sat in front and Gail, Betty and I in the back.  The luggage was behind the back seat and one piece under the hood.  We had packed a lunch and the first day we stopped in a small village to eat.  Hugh and Betty could eat the food but Dale, Gail and I went to the market and had bananas and soda crackers to eat.  We traveled in a Volkswagon,.  It took all day to reach Ayacucho which was a distance of about 200 miles.  We saw people and animals on the road.  The road would go up one mountain and down and up again.  We passed some small villages but no cities of any size during this leg of the journey.  Our top speed was 22 miles per hour.

    We arrived in Ayacucho in the evening and went to the tourist hotel to spend the night.  Ayacucho is a city of colonial flavor, which between the 16th and 17th centuries enjoyed a great splendor for the wealth and nobility of its dwellers.  Even today the city preserves a colonial atmosphere, as if times has stood still.  It has numerous colonial mansions and beautiful churches.  Ayacucho is a very attractive city to visit and it offers all the services expected in a modern city.  Ayacucho is famous the world over for its sought after Ayacuchoan Nativities and its carvings on the Piedra de Humango a kind of soft alabaster.

    We stayed at Ayacucho the first night, which is a fair sized city in the mountains.  We stayed at the tourist hotel and the food there was safe to eat.  The mountains were beautiful and we saw pastures at the high elevations that held cattle, sheep, llama and alpaca in them.  The huts were made of straw and the native people were dressed in bright clothing.  Almost all were barefoot, some with sandals made from auto tires.  When we left Ayacucho the hotel people checked our luggage thinking we had taken a blanket.

    The tourist hotels in all the fairly large cities in Peru are owned and operated by the government.  The hotels are a safe place to rest and the food is safe to eat.

    We left Ayacucho the next morning going south past the gorge of Huanimo at 4100 meters.  We continued south through the small Andean towns of Urcos and Chincheros.  We continued on and stopped at a fairly large city named Andahuyles.  We stopped there to eat but could not find a suitable place.  Hugh and Betty ate soup at  a cafe but they said it would be best if we didn’t eat there.  So we went to the market and purchased bananas and soda crackers.  This was about noon time and we left Andahuayles  on our way to Abanacay.

    We went past some other gorges and beautiful mountains and on the road we passed a wedding party.  The bride was dressed in traditional finery and was riding a small stout pony.  The groom was walking besides the horse.  What a beautiful young couple.

    We continued on towards Abanacay and it became dark.  We could see the lights of Abanacay and thought we  would arrive soon, but we went up one mountain and down another and finally arrived at 10 p.m.  We stopped at the tourist hotel and all they had to eat was bean soup and it was very delicious..  We did not see many people.  I think we drove 14 hours that day and reached the small city of Abancay late that night.  We could see the lights for many miles before we arrived there.  We were hungry and all they had to eat was bean soup and it really tasted good.

    The next morning we left Abanacay on the road to Cuzco and made a stop at the ruins of Saywite.  We stayed a couple of hours at the ruins which consist of a gigantic rock shaped like a cougar, on whose back are hundreds of figures corresponding to animal and vegetal species of the kingdom of the Incas.  There are also carved buildings and inhabitants of the four sections of the empire with their typical dresses.  It was probably the most impressive artifact that we saw in Peru. I think that was the day we saw the ruins in the mountains and the rock carved with a model of a city.  Betty could understand some of the Quecha language but I don’t think she could speak much of it.  We arrived at Cusco the next day and distance from Huancayo was 600 miles.  Many years later I read in a magazine that only strong people should attempt that journey.  I was 45 years old and Dale was 47 at that time.

    We arrived in Cusco and stayed at the John Kennedy Hotel.  It was off the beaten path but was clean and O.K.  We took in the sights around Cusco and saw an interesting Catholic Church with some intricate wood carvings.  We also went to the old rock wall which was built to withstand earthquakes.  We visited the old fortress called basewoman.  We stayed a couple of days in Cusco and then we boarded the train to go see Machu Picchu.  That was a very impressive sight.  We spent a day on that trip and then came back to Cusco and prepared to go back toward Lima via the Pacific Coast Highway.

     We continued on to Cuzco and arrived there on the 3rd day of our trip.  Years later I was reading in a magazine that only healthy and strong people should attempt this trip by car over the mountains from Huancayo to Cuzco.  We stayed at a small hotel in Cuzco and drove out to the fortress at Sacsayhuaman.  The fortress is a huge work of granite rock of a colossal size and was built to serve the palace of the Inca Temple of the Sun and War Square.  It is formed by three defensive walls where huge rocks weighing many tons have been placed with mathematical precision.  When the Spanish arrived in Cuzco they could hardly believe their eyes when they saw the fortress.  It’s construction remains a mystery to this day.  No one has yet come to understand how the enormous rocks over 30 feet high had been moved to this place.

    The square in the center of Cuzco embodies the spirit of Empire more than any other in the world.  Built on an enormous scale 5 Imperial palaces surround the square. Like the street near it, the Plaza retains the format that its founder , Inca emperor Manco Copac gave it.

    We spent 2 days visiting the various cathedrals and palaces and then made our trip by train to Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas discovered by Hiram Bingham of Yale University in 1911.

    The train ride to Machu Picchu was quite interesting.  We went past some small villages and stopped at one of them.  Vendors came on the train selling crafts and food and people were outside on the tracks selling things.  Every time you stop your car in a city there will be someone selling bananas, oranges, candy, newspapers and some one will want to wash your windshield.

    We looked at the terraces climbing up the mountains along the railroad.  These terraces are no longer in use.  We arrived in Machu Picchu after about 3 hours and we took a bus up the mountain to see the ruins.  It was overgrown with vegetation when first discovered and the government cleaned and repaired buildings and made it a tourist attraction.  We spend about 3 hours looking at the ruins and we had a guide explain all about the terraces and lookout towers.  We returned to Cuzco by train and the next day we started for Juliaca. 

    We traveled from Cusco to Juliaca and it seemed a long ride.  We stopped at a small mountain village and they didn’t have much to eat.  There were some other travelers also at the small cafe.  They had cheese with them and we had bread, so we just exchanged and were both able to eat cheese sandwiches.  We drove on to Juliaca and were not able to find a good place to stay so we stayed in rooms over a beer joint.  There was loud music and drinking downstairs all night but no one bothered us.  It was so cold there and the beds were dirty.  I slept in all my clothes to keep warm that night.

    The next morning Dale, Hugh, Betty and Gail went to the outdoor market.  I decided to stay in the car quite close to a building.  Seems I picked the favorite spot for people to use the toilet.  The men did it up against the wall and the women spread their wide skirts and squatted .  They would get you for indecent exposure in the U S , but in Peru that was common place.  We left Juliaca in the morning and drove on trying to get to Airquippa by evening.  Aerquippa is a large city but it was vacation time and so we could not find any rooms.  We drove on past Airquippa and went all the way to the coast.  We found rooms at the tourist hotel, Betty, Gail and I had a single bed each and Dale and Hugh had to sleep on a pool table.  The next morning a great big dog woke them up by licking their faces.  That works..

    We started driving on up the coast and the next night we stayed at another tourist hotel.  It had hot running water and so we washed clothes and stayed there another night.  There are small towns along the coast and they are located near where the rivers come out of the mountains.  Otherwise the coastal area is completely dry and nothing grows in the desert.  We continued on up the coast towards Lima and we stopped at one small cafe and ate fresh fish from the ocean.  The flours were dirt and dogs came to your table to beg for food.  We continued on to Lima that day and then we had to got out to the airport to pick up a record player running water and so we washed clothes and stayed there another night.  There are small towns along the coast and they are located near where the rivers come out of the mountains.  Otherwise the coastal area is completely dry and nothing grows in the desert.  We continued on up the coast towards Lima and we stopped at one small cafe and ate fresh fish from the ocean.  The flours were dirt and dogs came to your table to beg for food.  We continued on to Lima that day and then we had to got out to the airport to pick up a record player that was in customs.  Dale dressed up in his best clothes and bribed someone and we got the record player out for Hugh.

    We were going to drive to Puno but had heard from travelers on the road that there was an uprising in that area.  The road toward Puno was in the altaplano and the countryside was desolate.  We stopped at a small village to eat and think all they had was coffee and eggs.  We had bread with us and some other travelers had cheese.  So we shared what we had and got by that way.  We drove to Juliaca the first day and found a room over a beer joint.  The beds were dirty and it was bitterly cold.  That was the one and only time I slept with all my clothes on.  The music blared all night and was glad when morning came.  We got up and every one went to the market except me and I sat in the car.  The native people used the area close to the car as a outside bathroom.  The women squatted and let it go with their skirts covering them up.  The men pissed against the side of a building.  Quite an education for me.

   We continued on up the Pan American highway and the next night we stopped at a tourist hotel where they had hot running water.  Betty and I washed clothes by hand that day so we had clean clothes for the rest of the trip.  38 years ago in Peru keeping your clothes clean was a major job.  I remember eating at an outdoor cafe near the ocean.  We had fried fish and it was delicious.  The floor was dirt and the dogs came up to our table to beg for food.

    We drove on into Lima and went out to the airport and we were able to get the record player out of customs.  Dale dressed up in his best clothes and I think he bribed someone to help him.  That is a way of life in Peru.  You need to grease some ones hands to get anything accomplished.

    We went back to Huancayo and then a few days later we came back to Lima and stayed at Luchos house for a few days.  Lucho was living in the North with his family and the house was vacant.  I think Nelson, Angelica and Rodrigo were with us.  We went to the museums, the zoo and a futbol game.  We had traveled 2800 miles and had seen a lot of Peru in 3 weeks.

    We arrived back in Miami and started back to Oklahoma.  We drove up the east coast of Florida and saw St Augustine.  Then we went to St Cloud and rented a furnished house for $11.00 per night and then we visited Disney world.  It had been opened a week and we were not impressed with it.  We drove back to Ponca City and settled down to getting ready for school again. 
It was quite a trip.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Great Depression

We are now in a downturn in our economy that is being compared to the Great Depression which started with the stock market crash in 1929 and didn't really end until World War 2.

We of that generation were not able or did not prepare our children and grandchildren for this event. The bankers and credit card companies were extending credit to people that did not have the ability to pay their bills and a lot of manufacturing jobs have gone overseas. We are now in the process trying to get our economy and our lives back to what we have perceived as normal.

For those of you who are a generation or 1/2 generation younger than I, let me tell you what I remember about my childhood in the Great Depression.

I was born in 1927 and when I was 1 1/2 years old my Mother contacted TB and was sent to spend 2 1/2 years in a sanatorium. My oldest sister Dorothy was 16 and a Junior in High School. She quit school to help take care of the rest of the family. My sister Daisy was 11, my brother Lawrence was 8, my brother Don was 6 and I was a year and a half old.

We lived on an 80 acre farm 3 miles from the small village of Geneva Minn. My father was 47 years old at that time. He paid one of the neighbor women to do the washing , but otherwise saw that the children had clothes, went to school and of course had to take care of the Dairy herd and the farm work. All the children pitched in and helped.

At that time farmers in Minn where I grew up bartered farm work as there was not much money. We bartered eggs for groceries, had a large garden, an orchard and we raised pigs to be sold to Hormel's in Austin MN.

After my mother came home it was easier on the family. My Mother made most of our clothing and some from flour sacks and some of our clothing was made from things my Uncle Ernest sent to us. Uncle Ernest was a depot agent for the CNW Railroad and had a good job during the depression.

In 1935 my brother Richard was born. My Mother was 46 and my Father was 53 years old. That was the year my parents lost the farm. In 1936 we moved to a rent farm about 10 miles from Geneva. 1936 was a terribly bad winter with a lot of snow. The neighbors came with their sleds and moved us to our rent farm and they had to shovel the snow for half a mile to get the sleds to our new home.

1936 was the same year that my brother Donald broke the snow ahead of me so that we could walk the half mile to school. My brother Lawrence and a neighbor boy took a horse driven sleigh to the small high school in Geneva. They left the horse at the livery stable and this was a 3 mile trip morning and evening. This was 1936

We moved to a farm of 120 acres that was located 2 miles south of Hope MN. My brother Don finished 8th grade at Dist 76 and I was in 3rd grade. My brother Lawrence and sister Daisy walked across the fields to catch the school bus into Ellendale.

I was a mile from school and I remember during spring thaw that the creek came up over the road. My Dad met Don and I and told us to go back to the railroad and walk the track until we got over the creek. We had to come in the back way and at one point we had to walk the barb wire fence to keep from getting our feet wet.

Things begin getting better starting in 1937. We had a large garden and I helped with picking vegetable, shelling peas, helping around the house and watching my little brother so that my Mother could get the never ending work done. I also started milking cows when I was about 9 years old.

My father was able to purchase a Farmall tractor and plow and he did it on credit using 1/3 of his cream check to pay off the tractor.

We helped our neighbors, we did without a lot of material things, made our own fun by playing cards with neighbors and survived quite well. I learned to sew, embroidery, tat and have always been able to entertain myself without spending money.

I can remember when Franklin Roosevelt was elected President. We went to a neighbors house and listened to the radio. The government at that time started a program called WPA and also the CCC. The WPA helped people earn some money so that they could survive and the CCC took young men without jobs and made bridges, lakes and other things. Three things come to mind in our community. Lake Ponca,the High School North stadium and the Bridge over Black Bear Creek going to Stillwater. These programs put people to work and helped us come out of the depression.

Despite the hard times all the children in my family except my oldest sister Dorothy were able to graduate from High School. Don worked for another farmer his Junior and Senior years in High school and I worked for the Supt of Owatonna High School in my Junior and Senior years.

Many of my friends whose families owned their farms did not finish school but having a High School education was a high priority in our family. My Mother had been a High School graduate from Marion Iowa in 1907 and had been a school teacher for 5 years. My father born in 1882 finished grade school and his last English book was McGuffys

This is a strong country and we can put our minds to our problems and come out of this with a better knowledge of how to take care of ourselves. But we have to get back to helping each other and getting our priorities right.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How we lived in the 1940's

    We were talking yesterday Nov 30 2007 about how we lived in the 40's on the farm.  I remember living 5 miles south of Owatonna on a 360 acre farm and how we had to do some of the work.  First off the water pump was at the bottom of a small hill and we had to carry water up the hill for use in the house.  I think my father used to bring a couple of pails of water to the house when he finished milking in the morning.  One probably went into the resevoir  in the wood burning cook stove and the other was used for drinking water.  We  drank water out of the pail but we always used our own cup.

    I think we had a cistern on this farm and we probably pumped water by hand  into the kitchen sink to wash our hands.  We all used a common linen towel to dry our hands.  We did not have any way to drain the water out so we had a slop bucket under the kitchen sink and you had to watch that it didn't overflow.

    When wash day came around in the winter time the water was heated on top of the wood burning stove in a large copper bottomed boiler.  The white clothes were put in to boil and then later the water was dumped into the washing machine to wash the rest of the clothes. By this time my Mother had a washing machine powered by a Briggs and Stratton motor. Some times in the winter the clothes were hung outside to dry.  They would freeze almost dry and then were brought into our dining room and hung up to finish drying.  If I remember correctly my Mother had a iron that was powered by gasoline instead of the old sad irons that you heated on the stove.

    The next farm we lived on which was  about 5 miles from the farm near Owatonna had a cistern under the house.  When it started to rain you would let the water run out of the gutters for a few minutes and then you had a little lever that you pushed and diverted the clean water into the cistern.  I did not live with my folks on this farm as I had finished High School and was on my own about 3 months after they had moved there.

    That was a way of life that is gone now and I thought I had better write it down so that my children and grandchildren would know a little bit more about life when I was young.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Telegraph operator and Tricks - 1944 - 1946

    In June of 1944 I graduated from High School and found my first job working for a hide, fur, wool and tallow company as an assistant bookkeeper.  I did some filing  and there were people in various small towns in Minnesota that were buying wool.  I had to check their papers to see that they had the figures right on the amount of wool that they were buying.  My pay for the job was $14.00 a week.  My room and breakfast was $2.50 a week.  I would buy a food ticket at a restaurant for $5.00 and my noon meals were $.40 and that was a big meal.  I saved $10.00 a week and after working 8 weeks my job was over.  I then borrowed $150.00 from my parents so that I could attend radio school in Minneapolis  and obtain a better paying job.

    My mother went with me and Myrtle Olson to Minneapolis on the train, rented a hotel room for one night, enrolled me in school and my friend and I found jobs that day to support ourselves .  Myrtle went to work running some kind of a machine in a defense plant and I found a job at a cafe located at 6th and Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis.  The  hours were from 5 p.m. to 10 p m. seven days a week.  My pay was 40 cents an hour plus a few tips.  It was a combination cigar store and lunch counter but we did serve meals.  Mostly it was  ice cream and  sodas and coffee and sandwiches.  But we did also serve meals or so called plate lunches.    

    We found a room at 2433 Emerson Ave South and it had a hot plate in it so we could do some cooking.  The sink was out in the hall and the bathroom was down a flight of stairs.  So we did a little cooking.  There was a washing machine in the basement and we had to put a quarter in to make it run.  Also had an ironing board in the basement so was easy to take care of our clothing.   The room was located a block from the street car line and was 24 blocks south of downtown Minneapolis.  I went to school 5 days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and would come home and study for an hour and then go to work and then come back home and study some more.  Myrtle was working nights so our paths didn’t cross much.

    We learned the international code in school, how to use teletype machines, typing practice and practiced making  airline reservations.  We also studied radio theory and took a test to obtain our amateur radio license.  Had to over to St Paul and take the test in a Federal Building and I passed it.

    In Oct of 1944 seventeen students in the radio school were hired by the Santa Fe Railroad to learn railroad telegraphy.  Our tickets were paid for and off we went to Chicago.  We went through Madison Wisconsin and came into Chicago in the early morning hours  There was miles and miles of industrial area on the way into Chicago.  We went to the Santa Fe  headquarters in Chicago and were hired and given a choice of states that we  could go to.  I picked Oklahoma as I wanted to see some of the country and I had an Aunt living in Elk City that I had never seen.  We spent the day in downtown Chicago and we saw Lake Michigan and we went through the art institute and walked around downtown.

    We found our way to the Dearborn Station and boarded Santa Fe train no 5 on our way to Oklahoma.   The train was crowded with sailors, soldiers and young mothers with crying children.  After 17 long hours on the train we arrived in Arkansas City Kansas the Okla Division headquarters for the Santa Fe. We went to the Train dispatchers office and Maurice Fultz assigned us to the town where we would take our training.  I picked Cherokee Okla , the county seat of Alfalfa  county and it was located in the heart of the wheat country.

    The next morning we left Arkansas City on train No 27.  We came through Ponca City and a lady on the train said this is Ponca City.  We went right down through the refinery on the train  and that was an eye opener.  Betty Soper and I de-trained at Guthrie and had a 3 hour layover.  We walked uptown and it was dirty and red dirt all over.

    We boarded the doodlebug going from Guthrie to Kiowa Kansas and that was another education.  The doodlebug was a gasoline powered train that had a place for express and a mail section and the rest was passenger seats.  My friend Betty disembarked at Crescent and I went on to Cherokee.  I went through Marshall, Lovell, Enid, Hillsdale, Nash , Jet and then Cherokee.  The train traveled through the south edge of the Salt Plains.  It looked like the middle of a desert and the Native Americans used to come to the Salt Plains to get salt in the old days.  I arrived at Cherokee about 3 p.m. and the depot agent took me to a small hotel.  I started work the next morning which was  Oct 18th 1944.

    I was able to purchase some new shoes and some nice winter clothing and made some friends while in Cherokee.  I stayed at the hotel for about 3 weeks and then found a room in a private home.  I stayed there for a couple of months and then found a different room.  Then the last month or so had a nice apartment with a friend and we had a stove and a ice box and did a lot of our cooking.  I stayed in Cherokee about 5 months and then was sent to Newkirk Okla on the main line so that I could learn how to copy train orders on the company telephone and how to run the interlocking plant.  The interlocking plant was used to move the trains from one set of tracks to another.  You pulled a  lever inside the depot and then you pulled another lever to let the train know that the switch was pulled the right way.   Stayed in Newkirk about a month and then was promoted to be a telegraph operator.

    My first job was as third trick operator at Ralston Okla.  Ralston was down on the old Second Dist and had a branch line going to Pawhuska and onto the Southern Kansas Division.  We were working the stock rush and cattle trains came into Ralston and then went into the small towns in the southern part of the Flint Hills to be unloaded.  These trains came out of Texas and the cattle were fed on the rich bluegrass before going to market.  Let me explain about tricks.  First trick was from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Second trick was from 4 p.m. to 12 p.m. and third trick was from 12 p.m. to 8 a.m.  On the main line most of the towns had 3 tricks as they had around the clock coverage for copying train orders and messages.  The operators also sold tickets, wrote up the ticket ledger and depending on where you worked you would also write up freight bills and abstracts. 

    My next job was a Red Rock Okla on the third trick and I copied train orders and cleaned the depot and caught mice.  I stayed there for a couple of months and the main reason I was there was to copy train orders.  The train orders were put out so that trains could meet each other at specific places.  One train would take the siding and the other would be on the main line.  There were siding tracks on the main line where there was not any town at all.  Kildare did not have an operator nor did Otoe , but they had sidings and trains met there.   Starting in about 1955 the Santa Fe installed Centralized Traffic Control and the switches and green boards were controlled by the dispatcher in Arkansas City.  A green board says you can go and a red board says stop.  Just like on the street signals.  This speeded up the trains and did away with the telegraph operators.

    My next job was third trick operator at Cherokee Okla for the wheat harvest.  It was a job for about 2 months and then was back on the extra board again.  The extra board was for operators that didn’t have a permanent job and we relieved operators and agents for their vacations.  Vacations were for 2 weeks at that time so when I was on the extra board, it was moving every two weeks.  The wheat rush at Cherokee was very busy.  Custom combines came into  Cherokee from the south and stayed for about 10 days harvesting the wheat.  The combines then moved on north all the way to Montana for the wheat harvest.  Wheat trains one after the other came into Cherokee on the way to the wheat terminal at Enid Okla.  That still goes on to this day but not so much as it was 60 years ago.

    I next went to Shawnee Okla on first trick for a two week vacation and had to sell a lot of local railroad tickets there.  Then I came back on the branch line and relieved the Agent at Hillsdale for her vacation.  Didn’t have much to do there but bill out a car of wheat ever so often and meet the doodlebug and take off the cream cans and express and mail.  I next went to Nash and relieved the agent.  It was about Oct and had to keep the pot bellied stove supplied with coal and   had to be sure and remember the combination to the safe.  I think I had to take the mail uptown and of course the usual express and cream to be unloaded. 

    I then went to Burlington Okla and relieved the agent there.  Burlington was a small busy little town and they got a carload of stuff in every week and so had to get the box car unloaded and the man came with his truck and hauled the stuff to the small business places.  Had to get the freight bills typed up in a hurry so he could collect the money on the freight.  The good thing about the small towns was that you just worked 6 days a week and didn’t have to work on Sunday.

    I had learned my bookkeeping well and the agents soon begin to ask for me to relieve them as I didn’t mess up the books.  Will tell you more next time as I just got through 1946 on this report.