Wednesday, February 24, 2021

No Electricity and No Running Water - back in the thirties.


No Electricity and no running water

     Back in the thirties when I was a child we lived on various farms and they did not have electricity or running water.  The farm that my folks lost in the middle of the depression did have electricity but they could not pay the bill and it got cut off.  It did have running cold water in the kitchen.  The windmill pumped the water into a storage tank and then the water ran from the storage tank into the house.  It also ran into the barn where the cattle had cups to drink out of.  The cups were cast iron and had a thing they pressed down and the water would come out.

     Since the electricity had been cut off, we had to use kerosene lamps for light and then we used the cast irons that you heated on the stove to do the ironing.  To wash clothing, they heated a boiler on the stove and in the summer time we had a washing machine.  It was wooden and the agitator was powered by hand.  You pulled this stick and that ran the agitator and the kids did that kind of work.  We also had a summer kitchen on that farm and in the hot summer you did the cooking out there.

     The bathroom was a pot and had to be emptied.  You used that at night and in the day time you had an outside two-holer.  You used Montgomery Ward catalogs to wipe with.  All modern conveniences right.

     The next farm we lived on we did not have running water in the house.  We had a small pump about 20 feet from the house and we pumped the water and brought it into the house.  We did have a sink and the water was piped out kind of like they do now if you don’t have a sewer line.  So, we didn’t have to empty a bucket with our waste water. 


I think we had a cistern on that farm and a pump in the utility room.  We used the cistern water for washing our hair and clothing.  We took baths in one of the laundry tubs and that was on Saturday night.  In winter we changed our long underwear on Saturday night.  I had 2 pairs of long underwear.  I probably had 2 changes of clothing to wear to school.

     The next farm we lived on had no running water either.  The water was at the bottom of a hill and we had to carry it to the house.  In winter we had to let the stock outside and we had a cast iron stove in the stock tank to keep the water from freezing. 


Things were a little better at this farm.  My Mother was able to get a washing machine powered by a Briggs and Stratton engine.  It moved the agitator and the wringer.  We were also able to get a gas-powered iron and did not have to heat the irons on the stove any more.  We did not have telephones on any of these places. 


The last rent farm was about 1940 and things were getting better then.  My Mother sewed all of my clothing on a treadle sewing machine and that is what I learned to sew on


We had a nice yard at this house and I was 12 years old and mowed the yard by hand pushing the mower.  We had a croquet set and my little brother and I played croquet every day in the summer so I kept the yard up.

     I started milking cows when I was about 10 years old and when I was 12, I was milking 4 cows every morning and evening.  I also washed the separator and helped my Mother around the house with dishes and canning and getting the eggs ready for market.  This is just a little bit about what life was about on a dairy farm in Minnesota in the late thirties and early forties.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Bird Pattern from over 25 years ago.

I paid 75.00 for the blocks and made a quilt out of them I traced the pattern off and then appliqués these blocks. I got the pattern for these blocks from quilt blocks that we had bought in Allentown Penn about 25 years ago.

It is felt appliqués on wool. 

A different technique and they were fun to make.

A little history about these projects:

I bought the blocks for the quilt in Allentown Penn about 1994 and there were seven blocks. All the bird blocks and then the two other blocks. 

I looked at them and didn't know what to do with them. 

In 2003 the Quilters Newsletter magazine had a picture of the quilt that a woman had made. So now I knew what had to be done. 

I copied off the pattern of the two blocks and put it on graph paper so that it was accurate. Now I had to find muslin that matched the muslin in the old blocks. 

Then I found some green that matched. I went into my stash of depression-era material and found some that almost matched. I cut out my appliqued pieces and started work on the blocks. 

I did primitive appliqué which in no turned under edges and a tight buttonhole stitch around each piece. For the vines, I used three rows of chain stitches. 

It took me forty hours for each block. 

I had it machine quilted and it sat for about ten years.

I finally got it out and did the binding. I just brought the back lining over and finished it.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Primitive Applique and using buttonhole embroidery stitch to achieve it!

 Primitive Applique and using buttonhole embroidery stitch to achieve it!

Keeping busy during the pandemic.  Working through some of my UFO's around the house.

About 25 years ago my husband and I were in Allentown, Pa at a flea market and I saw 7 quilt blocks completed for $75.00.  They had the birds on them and I think 3 extra more simple blocks.  I brought them home but didn't know what to do with them.  In 2003 lo and behold  a lady in Stillwater, Oklahoma had made this quilt and it was pictured in Quilters newsletter.

     Now I knew what to do, so I made the pattern off the two simple blocks and then I had to search for material to match the other blocks  I have a stash of depression era fabrics and the muslin for the background was easy to finish.

The applique is called primitive applique.  I did not turn down any edges on the applique but did a buttonhole embroidery stitch around each piece of the applique.  It took me about 40 hours to finish each block of the applique.

     When I finished it I took it to Newkirk and had it machine quilted.  Then I put it away and did not mess with binding it.  About a month ago, in 2020,  I decided that I would bind the quilt.  I just took the back lining and brought it over to the front.  It took me about 8 hours to do the binding.  Am very pleased with the result and it will fit a twin bed or can be used as a throw.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Anniversary of the On April 19, 1995, the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building...

On April 19, 1995, the Oklahoma City National Memorial was dedicated on the site of the Murrah Federal Building, commemorating the victims of the bombing. Remembrance services are held every year on April 19, at the time of the explosion.

I need to give you a little background material first.  I had shingles in my right eye in 1978 and I went to Dr Carter for medical attention and later to Dr Rousey at the Dean Mcgee eye institute in Okla City.

     In 1990 I developed a cataract in the eye and Dr Carter removed the cataract.

    On April 17, 1995 I noticed that I had a black spot on the side of my eye and I had read enough to know that I was having a retina detachment.  I called Dr Carter that morning and they immediately got me in to the office.  I had to round up Dale and we had an appointment in Okla City as an emergency that afternoon at about 2 pm..

     We drove to Okla City for the appointment and low and behold Dales sister Lelda came into the office the same time as I did.  They looked at my eye and scheduled an operation for the next morning and that was on April 18th.  Lelda asked us to come over and spend the night with her and we did.  The next morning we went to the hospital and they did the surgery.  I was in the Presbyterian hospital right next to the Dean Mcgee eye clinic.

     Everything went fine and the next morning the doctor came in and checked me about 8 am.  I was dressed and waiting for a prescription to be filled.

     Dale and I were watching TV at 9:02 in the morning and the bomb went off.  We were on the 7th floor and thought something had blown up in the basement and wondered how we were going to get out.

The nurses rushed into our room as we had the TV on and in a few mins the stations were showing pictures of the bombing. 

We were waiting for a prescription to be filled and stayed until we got it.  They asked if I was able to walk out to the car as the wheel chairs were not available.

     They asked if we would be available to help and we left at about 9:45 am.  As we left the hospital the Doctors and nurses were lined up on the street in their white uniforms.  The ambulances were starting to come in and we decided to come home.

     I can still hear that bomb going off and still can see the doctors and nurses lined up waiting for  the ambulances . . 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Radio School in Minnesota in 1947 - A telegraph Operator's journey....

Radio School in Minnesota in 1944 - Telegraph Operator.

 I went to Minneapolis in 1944 to go to radio school and learn some things so I could get a better job. My Mother went with me and my friend Myrtle Olson came along and she was going to find a job and I also needed a job so that I could support myself and go to school.

   We went up on the train and then I think my Mother rented a hotel room and the next day we went down to the radio school and paid them the rest of the money and then we went out for a job search.  There were jobs all over town and my friend got a job at a defense plant running a machine and I go a job at at cafe  located at 6th and Hennepin right down town.  We then found a place to room at on the third floor of an apartment house.

     The room had a bed and a closet and a hot plate.  The bathroom was down on the second floor and the washing machine and iron was down in the basement.   Myrtle's job was at night and we did not see each other very often.  I went to radio school from 9 until 3 and then I came home and changed clothing and went to work at the cafe from 5 to 10 in the evening. I caught the street car home and the apartment was just a block from the street car line.

     The cafe work was quite interesting as it was located in the entertainment dist of Minneapolis.  There were movie theatres close and the men who ran the projectors would come in to get a bite to eat.  Upstairs was a bowling alley and the guys would come down a get a cup of coffee and sometimes pie a la mode.  I also had a couple of women who worked for the CNW railroad that would come in on their break and get a bite.  There were also people that worked on the newspapers that would come in.

     I had a bartender that came in every night and ordered a chicken sandwich.  We always saved a piece of chicken for his sandwich.  The cafe was also a tobacco store and outside the cafe was a newstand.   I can still hear the man who owned the newstand saying  Extra Extra Read All About It.  He was of the Jewish faith and he ordered a milk shake with a raw egg in it.

     The cafe was close to the street car line that went to St Paul and so would get some people waiting for the street car and they would come in for coffee or cherry cokes and we also had ice cream and I made sundaes and milk shakes.  I also washed the dishes as they came off the counter.

     I went to a movie one time with friends and Duke Ellington had a show there.  Think it cost about 50 cents.  Minimum wage at that time was 40 cents an hour.  I could live on what I made at that part time job and was able to save about 40 collars in 9 weeks. We would some times get on the street car and go over to St Paul as it cost about 15 cents.  We would get a transfer ticket and ride all over on Sunday afternoon and see the sights.

     I left Minneapolis the first part of October as had secured a job on The Santa Fe Railroad. I had learned to type much better at the school and also learned how to use a teletype machine which came in hand on the railroad.

They also taught us radio theory and I got my amature radio licence.  We had to go to St Paul to get that at a court house.  Never did use it but that was one of the requirements and we had to pass that test.

     Was an interesting time in my life and helped prepare me for the business world.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

My thoughts and memories of the flu of 1918

My parents were alive when the 1918 flu hit near the small village of  Ellendale Minnesota.  I do not believe that they had the flu but a lot of the neighboring  farmers did have it..  I was born in 1927 and people were still talking about it when I was young.

     Dr  Erytl was the Doctor living in Ellendale at that time and he was a young man.  Bear in mind that in 1928 people were not using cars and it was the dead of winter.

 Dr  Erytl would start out in the morning with his horse and sled and he would stop at every farm that had a case of the flu.  There was very little medicine at that time and some of the farmers developed pneumonia.  The Doctor would stop by every day and cup the farmers on their backs to loosen the congestion.  When he had finished his rounds he would tie the reins up and go to sleep and the horse would carry him home.  Then he was up the next morning doing the same thing.  He did not lose one patient. 

     The same thing happened in 1936 to my sister Daisy.  She developed pneumonia at the age of 17.  I was 8 years old and my little brother Richard was about 6 months old.  My folks sent me over to my sister Dorothy who was married and richard and I stayed with Dorothy until Daisy was well.  She ran a 105 fever for a long time and she said Dr Erytle cupped her on the back to loosen the congestion.

     When I went to work for the railroad in 1944 the telegraph operator who were working in 1918 said that they sometimes had to work around the clock as so many people were sick.  The ones that were well stayed in the depot and the dispatcher would tell them to take off and go to sleep and he would call them when he needed them. 

We are facing a worse case now and we need to isolate ourselves as best we can. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Hope Minnesota when I was growing up - 1930s & 1940s

In 1936 we moved from 3 miles west of Geneva Minnesota to two miles south of Hope Minnesota.  Hope was a small village of about 80 people.  Hope was on the Rock Island railroad and had a depot agent names, Rhodes.  There were two grocery stores in Hope.  One was run by the Wesley bros and the other by Joe Slezak who also sold farm machinery.  Joe's store also had a beer counter in it. There was a creamery located in Hope and it is still in operation to this day and Hope butter has its own label and they also sell to Land O Lakes.  

There was also a large elevator and in the south edge of town was a business that bought cattle and hogs and sold to  Hormel in Austin.  The post office was located in the Slezak grocery store.
At that time people would bring their eggs and ducks and chickens into the grocery stores and would trade them out for groceries.  Wesley's store also had some thread and some sewing material and the best was the ice cream.  Here's an article reminiscing about mom and pop grocery stores, Slezak being included..

Don and I started school which was located a mile and a half from our farmhouse.  I started in 3rd grad and Don was in 8th grade.  We walked to school every day and on the 5th of May we could go barefoot to school and we looked forward to that. Our teacher was Elaine Eggers and Don gave her fits.  A new school and he tried out the teacher quite well. It was not much fun changing schools but both of us got along all right.

Dale Wilker first attended the Hope School 60 years ago in protest after his family moved to the small community south of Owatonna. Today, Wilker is still in protest over the school, though this time it is hopes of keeping it open to the public. (Annie Granlund/People’s Press)

In the summertime, the biggest thing was going to the free movies.  The industrial arts teacher in Ellendale High School had a movie projector and movies and cartoons and he made a round of all the little towns every week in the summertime to show the movies.  He hit Clarks Grove and Geneva and Ellendale and Hope and I think another place close to Highway south of Owatonna.  Tuesday night he was at Hope.  Our seat was outdoors and they were telephone poles set on top of either other poles or wood.  Anyhow they would roll a little bit.  All the farmers came into Hope on Tuesday night.  Oh yes, there were two taverns in Hope and there were slot machines in them.

Slezak grocery store had a popcorn machine and it cost a nickel for a bag of popcorn.  Times were a little better and I always got a nickel and usually spent it on ice cream which was sold at Wesley's store.  When the kids got a little older they would go behind one of the stores and smoke.  The young people would sit next to each other and do some smooching I really looked forward to the movie and that is when I learned there were 168 hours in a week and I would count the hours until the next Tuesday in Hope.

Most of the farmers were dairy farmers and they raised hogs for market and had chickens so they could sell eggs.  We also sold ducks but most of the farm produce was for feeding the cattle.

I do not remember my dad selling oats and think he used it for feed for the hogs and cattle and chickens.
The farm we rented was sandy and one year we raised a lot of watermelons.  

There was a small creek running through our farm and it connected up with the Straight River.  One day I was down at the creek and I saw 2 big fish.  I ran to the house and told my Dad and he went down and speared them.  Mother cleaned them and we had them for dinner.

Back in the 30's we had fish in the winter as they would come from up north and would be frozen.  When we lived close to Geneva we could get ice in the summer.  They had a machine that cut the ice in blocks and they took it to the ice house and packed it in sawdust and when my Dad went to the creamery he would sometimes bring home ice. 

Geneva also had a small mill and we would take the corn in to be ground and used that in making cornbread.  Usually, we ate cornbread for breakfast.  You will not believe it but we put gravy and butter and syrup on our cornbread,

Hope also had a car repair shop called Kleckers.  30 years ago he was still alive and had two or three Model A fords that he was renovating.  Do not think he ever got them finished.

The school at Hope was north of town just a little bit south of the Noske farm and my brother Richard went to that school for a while.  Later the school was moved into Hope and is still there.  My nephew Dale has a  store in the old Wesley building and thinks it is called Hopeful Treasurers.  He has lots of books and good stuff to buy. 

Hope is still there and is still a nice clean village and probably about 90 people live in Hope now.No grocery store an elevator and a creamery and stockyard and two taverns the last time I was there.  Also, a bank and my sister Daisy worked there and was bank manager for many years.