Friday, October 15, 2010

Our Neighbors Where I Grew Up

I am now going talk about some of our close neighbors.  Emma and Chris U had a retarded son Laurie who was able to do farm work but was not able to do school work.  Emma’s Mother Mrs Peterson lived upstairs in the house and none of the neighbors ever saw her.  That is except me.  When I stopped at Emma’s  house on the way to pick up mail Emma would take me upstairs to see grandmother Peterson.  I was 6 or 7 years old at the time and think Grandmother Peterson must have liked small children.  I told Mother that when I was an adult and she said none of the neighbors ever saw Mrs Peterson.  Chris U would see cars coming to our house and he liked to quiz me about who my sister’s boy friends were.  Little as I was I knew better than to tell him.

    Mettie the other neighbor that I visited had come over from Denmark about 1913 or 1914.  Her husband in Denmark had abused her and somehow she saved enough money to come to America.  She knew she had a sister living at Ellendale Minn and she came to New York and then to Ellendale by train.  A lot of people spoke Danish so finding her sister was no problem.  She married Chris Hammerholt and the one thing I was instructed not to ask was why her son’s name was Chris Lindorf and her husband’s name was Hammerholt.

    We had another neighbor who had 5 boys and I can still hear Mrs Paulson’s voice in my head.  She had such a distinctive voice.  Her two oldest boys Vernon and Maurice used to ride horses to our house and visit with my brothers.  They were in the same grade in school as my brothers.  One day Russell the middle son told his Mother he was sick and couldn’t go to school.  Mrs Paulson made him stay in bed all day.  She didn’t put up with any foolishness.  The neighbors all laughed about that.

    One day our teacher Miss Vaughn had to go somewhere and she had a neighbor girl substitute for her.  She warned us ahead of time that Roberta Carr had to go to the outside toilet frequently and we should not say anything.  That was in the day before antibiotics and suppose she had a bladder infection.  Roberta’s brother was in the Philippines at the start of World War 2 and he survived the Bataan death march.

    Our school Dist 64 was a one room school with a basement.  One day the teacher noticed honey bees in the basement.  They called my Father and he came to school wearing a straw hat with a curtain over it and something to smoke out the bees.  He opened up the boards in the basement and took out the honey.  Each child went home with a lard bucket full of honey.  We used lard buckets for our lunch pails.  Nothing fancy for us.

    I started school when I was 6 years old and learned to read almost at once.  The teacher had flash cards with  words on them and after she had gone through the cards one time I had the words memorized.  I would then tell her the next word before it came up.  How funny.  I was a little upset in first grade because I could do the third grade math and I thought I should be something more difficult.  A one room school is quite interesting to a small child because you are able to listen to the upper grades recite and you really learned fast.

    My brother Donald was in 6th grade when I started school.  He would delight in making faces at me if I turned around to look at him.  Of course I would laugh and the teacher would scold me.  I shared 3 years of grade school and one year of High School with him.  Little did I know that I would never see him after I was 16 years old.  He never returned from a submarine mission in 1944.

    When there wasn’t anything better to do in school we practiced penmanship.  We made circles and ups and downs and all kinds of interesting stuff.  Think it was called Palmer Penmanship.  It didn’t help my writing much and I was tired of it after 10 minutes.

    My brother Lawrence was in 8th grade when I started school.  He was the protective older brother.  About 12 years ago we were eating in a cafe in Hoper Minn and he introduced me to someone as little sis.  I was about 67 years old at that time.

    My Mother was probably the best educated farm woman in our small community.  She had graduated from Marion High School in Marion Iowa in 1907.  She had normal training and taught school for 5 years.  She met my Father when she was staying with Uncle Jim Hagerman and teaching school at No 9 Dist.  They had run several school teachers off but not my Mother.  She was 5 ft 10 inches tall and the first day of school she sat a 17 year old boy down in his seat hard , when he was stupid enough to sass her.

    My Mother and Father had both traveled by train in the United States.  My Father had been back east to Williamsport Pa with his cousins Rob Hagerman and Mary Beggs to visit cousins in the area.  My Mother had been to Hot Springs South Dakota to visit her Aunt and cousins.  Their last names were Englebert.  My Father had also worked at Duncan Arizona and when he came back to Iowa he said it took all day on the train from El Paso. Mads Goldfelt and we think he was of the Jewish faith.  He came to America and changed his name to Chris Madison.  This is a little more about my childhood.

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