By Eva Hoskins
Table of Contents
by Eva Hoskins
Oh boy ! I see I got my picture in the paper last week. It sorta makes my head swell up - Ha ! Well, its about time us poor hard workin' reporters gets a little break, after pourin' in all these heart breakin' reports and news to that hard hearted editor we got. (Sorry, Mr. Craw, but folks oughta know better.)
Now that you know what I look like, maybe you'd like to know what makes me tick?
After all, being married for 27 years, and raising ten kids, something oughta make me tick !
I usually write such a willynilly mess about us, ourselves and we-uns that most readers, who don't know us personally, are probably confused as to which is who. Maybe I'd ought to set the record straight for once:
My maiden name was Eva May and many of you older readers remember my parents, John and Ida Brooks May.
Harry and I were
Our oldest son, John (Johnnie, Jack and sometimes big Red) is 26, and married to Kathryn Rogers, formerly of Oakwood. They have three youngsters, Marilyn Sue 4, Jerry Dean 3, and John Steven 2. (No a new arrival is not expected at present.) John now works over at Chanute Field and served four years in Uncle Sam's Navy back in '44-'48.
Second is Harry Harvey (not Junior, as pop Harry's middle name is Walter), and better known as Pete at home. Sometimes he's dubbed as little Red. He's 23, unmarried, and at present works 'way back in the parts department of Prillaman's Hardware Store, here in Potomac.
Third Richard Lee, or Dick, 22, an ex-Marine and a blonde for a change, works at chanute Field, also
unmarried; he and Pete are our bachelor boys, altho I swear they're not allergic to girls; every time they come home seems like they've a new girl friend along.
Most local folks know son number four as Bill. Tall blonde and handsome (?), his proper name is Gordon Robert. some handle ! Just now he's in the Navy as a torpedoman, serving aboard the USS Waldron. Evidently he isn't allergic to girls, either. (His steady girl friend doesn't receive the M.J., thank goodness !)
The fifth youngster is our oldest girl, a redhead (complete with temper to match). Her name is Eva Wauneta, she's 17, and just out of high school. Usually I find her in a corner with (my) paints and paper, trying to emulate her mama __ but at the dishpan, she's a washout. Still and all, we have a working agreement, if I do the dishes, she does the mopping and keeps three rooms "redded up", and I, two. Since that is fair enough, we manage,. Besides that she does plenty of other things around home that I'm not so spry at anymore.
These five comprise what we call our "first family", all now grown up and through school.
First of the "second family," or number six, is Adam Everette, 15, a junior in high school. He's six feet tall and rather a thin rind now, but due to fill out as soon as his feet quit growing: To date the girls haven't seemed to bother him much, but that's due to happen 'most any time now.
Seventh, Albert LeRoy, 12, a blonde and rather a lone wolf here among the small ones, does the milking, and is general boss of the chore gang. At least he likes to boss the lesser fry. He's still in the "I don't care stage" just occasionally we catch him "slicking up" when he's getting ready to go anyplace. He's in the eighth grade and thinks school is for basketball and playing (an idea that goes for too many present-day kids, grade and high, both.
Number eight is Lester Dale, 10, a bit on the thin side and a rather easy-going youngster. Not much to
describe about them at this age that can be outstanding. He's fair-haired, as is Harold Eugene, 8, who is the ninth in line. Harold is a bit more stubborn than Lester and loses his temper about as bad as if he were red-headed instead. Both are good workers, and usually together. Neither one has thoroughly whipped the other yet, altho they've sure tried.
The last but not the least is number ten, the second girl and a redhead like her sister. She's six and starts to school this coming term. Her Proper name is Esther Virginia, but nicknamed "Penny" and as a baby was called Pinky ! How do we ever get such things going, anyhow ?
These last five make up our "second family." After September all will be in school, and with Eva going to work, this will leave me alone with 1 sow, 2 ducks, 3 cows, and their respective calves, 5 geese, an assortment of about 10 dogs, around 400 chickens and, I nearly forgot, 1 canary. So, you see, I won't be really lonesome and I think I'm going to kind of like it for a change.
At the present a third family is not contemplated. Besides that, I've dozens of things I've put off through the years that maybe I will get around to doing. But being me, I probably will grab a book and read, instead.
After reading this maybe you will be more thoroughly briefed on any forthcoming epistle I manage to compose: you might even file it away for future reference, being's there's so many of us-- ha ! It might even come in handy to settle a family argument with, even.
So often we're asked, "how many and which is who" that this brief little family history may settle a lot of questions.
Harry is 46 and I'm 47. Still, I ain't the boss, not by a long shot ! And Harry, being just Harry, well I'm not kicking. He's a pretty good guy to "ride the river" with.
(Taken from the Middle Fork Journal aprox. 1951.)
by Eva Hoskins
Our school bus drivers are going thru the seasonal nightmare- bottomless roads. The roads can be described as just plain"ain't".
Word has been received that the old Tillotson farm, two miles west of Jamesburg, has again changed hands. Ralph Saddle,of Ogden, has sold it to Bernard Doyle of Rantoul. It was formerly tenanted by Francis Blaze the past three years. Francis is now in the Merchant Marines, and his wife Marilyn is living in St. Joseph.
According to the Marine Air Base paper called Wind Sock, from Cherry Point, No. Carolina, comes a bit of information concerning "The Big Snow", which is now a memory. The snowfall totaled 8.3 inches and everyone tried out the new 'ammo" in snow balling, building snowmen, and sliding. Many people hadn't experienced a snowstorm, and some had never even seen snow, strange as it may seem to us.
Bob Stunkard of Danville was "out our way" on Sunday, and John Denison on Monday.
Road Commissioner (Pilot) C. E. Huffman has had a lot of brush and trees trimmed along the roadsides. In spite of our "atomic" weather, lots of people are looking forward to those spring days for the pleasure of those Sunday drives along the country roads. Kids like to cut loose and "run wild" - and Pops
been overhauling his fishing tackle - again.
Speaking of fishing brings up the subject of cheeks and streams, which are now going "all out" celebrating the thaw a little early. This years high water down in our neighborhood almost hits the high water mark of ten years ago.
Then a few robins are about and one meadow lark to date. Sort of gives us a touch of Spring Fever. And last, but not least - this morning - Feb 28, - a large string of wild geese were sighted, circling the brakes of the middlefork. Where's my seed catalog - quick?
The thunderstorm of last Wenesday evening seemed to be all the weatherman could furnish as a grand entree for March weather. While the west got a real dousing of winter weater for a change.
Nice for us, anyhow.
Mrs. John Hoskins and children spent Saturday with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Rogers, of Oakwood.
Relatives of Mr. Doyle, the new owner of the old Tillotson place, were out Saturday, giving the place what we call "the once over."
Jessie and Fern Hoskins of Danville were in Potomac last Thursday evening.
The Burton Family who moved into Dal Acton's place vacated last fall by the Earl Coopers, have again moved back into the Henning District.
The past Sunday brought out two fisherman from the city. However their stay was short, as old Middlefork hasn't settled down enough To top it off, thier big blue car really got stuck while trying to turn around.
Clinton Powell's (locally known as Bud) are moving this week from the old Sifrit place below Higgenville to farm just southwest of Collison.
Howard Porter, down Higginsville way, had the misfortune to lose a spindle bolt, then a wheel from his car Monday afternoon on the Hungry Hollow Road.
Jessie and Fern Hoskins moved to the Wayne Goodwine tenant house, Saturday, from Collett St. in Danville. Jessis will try his hand at rural living for a change.
The crows seemed harder pressured than usual this winter, a few have become bold enough to come around the house, and one hanging around the corn crib too long, got his upperance. Like rats the only good crows are dead ones.
Bill and Pat Hoskins were Danville movie goers Sunray.
Due to the arrival of the recently taken picture portraits at school all the Hawbuck small fry were widly comparing likenesses on the school bus one evening thid week. Four, fourteen or forty - the school bus driver has a stupendous job. How well this family knows that!
Five or six Potomac families were represented at a furniture auction sale Saturday in Danville. Auction sales, like gambling, have a certain sort of fascination that is rather irresistable, once one gets "aucionitus". The crowd, the typical mixture of people found at any and all free American gatherings
is a conglomeration of humanity. Not rubbing elbows - but packed shoulder to shoulder - women covered with pin curls - in slacks and in furs - men in greasy and work weary with men in topcoats and fedoras, all gathered with one ourpose in mind to get a bargain. - and children drug along for want of leaving them.
(what a place to jam into with small children.)
Everyone is desirous of finding something he wants. Articles are displayed for a "quickie" inspection, the auctioneer on his platform throne, beguiles the crowd over a loudspeaker with a mumbo-jumbo until someone nods assent to his hynotical sing-song and has bought some entirely ludicrous article that he
never wanted. Have you ever done such a thing? I have. If you never have - you've missed some fun.
Mr. Bryant substituted for Earl Pierce on our bus route last week. Even though his driving may not be an experts, he gets them there and gets them back. Our modern teacher's work world is a far cry from the rural school Master's job of yesteryear, when one needed to be a jack of all trades. Evenso, todays teacher may be called upon to fill the bill of any number of odd jobs. Seems to me that this years staff of teachers is one of the best groups of instructors we have ever had and it should be to the interest of all school "fans" to keep it so.
Charley Cooper has returned home from Quincy, where he has been staying for the past several months.
Jesse Stone has hired himself a Hawbucker for "white wings" around the hardware store.
Four dozen hens make plenty of music around, especially when it accompanies the production of enough eggs to keep the kitchen crocks full. And the youngsters all busy culling out choice Easter egg material.
Harry (Pete) Hoskins reported this week for his Army physical checkup.
C.E. Hoffman's road truck made the rounds of the Pilot Twp. roads Friday, checking on their condition. Hope he takes notice of that bad culvert at George Osborn's corner.
Thanks, folks, for all your compliments!
Bernard Doyle of Rantoul was down in our neck of the woods Tuesday.
Harry Hoskins Sr. landed himself a job as a firefighter at Chanute Field. Friday of last week while enroute home he happened on the wreck of a car containing two G.I.'s, one of whom
was seriously injured.
Speaking of your Red Cross first aid, never try telling Harry that it isn't worth while.
Rick Lanham's ambulance delivered the two boys to Chanute Field. Ever get fouled up with both red tape and adhesive tape at the same time? Rick and Harry did.
Spring arrived on schedule, which happens to be Mom's birthday, giving the kids an occasion to celebrate: and the bluebells are showing up through the ground.
Mr. and Mrs. G.E. Blair, Rantoul were Sunday dinner guests at the C.H. Hammond home.
Mrs. Gertie Cooper, Danville, spent several days with Alta and Al Blackford and enjoyed the minstrel show on Saturday evening.
Easter and its weekend holiday enjoyed by all the kids, and the teachers, has passed, and since it coincided with Lester Hoskins 8th birthday it was more than an average occasion for him.
Little Mary and Ellen Baker spent Easter with their mother and family at Lebanon, Ind. Their grandfather George Osborn, with whom they make their home, drove with them, and Howard Osborn, over there for the holiday.
Something new has been added to Hawbuck. Hoskin's brothers, that is Pete and Bill, have purchased a motorcycle of doubtful vintage, and you can hear it percolating thru the hills at most any hour. Hope the neighbors livestock doesn't start having heartfailure!
Finley Stewart and Mrs. Kitchen were shoppers in Potomac Monday afternoon.
Ralph and Opal Dukes of Oakwood were out our way on Sunday afternoon.
The "run" is on for the summer it seems. Just as soon as weather permits cars to hit the dirt roads, there is a daily traffic of strange cars turning around at the road's end, a sure sign that winter is "done for".
Leslie and Alberta Sidwell and sons, and Truman Hoskins were out to Harry Hoskins, on Easter Sunday.
Miss Ardith Paynter and her mother of Hillery, were in Hawbuck Monday afternoon, and later called on Sam Smiths family, who were formerly neighbors of the Poynters.
Life on this backroad has its humorous side. Take the night Pete Hoskins returned from Chicago following his physical checkup by Uncle Sam. Arriving back in Danville along about the witching
hour, he found that his boss had handed him the wrong keys to the garage where he had left the car to drive home. Thinking perhaps one might work on the rear door, he hurried around back, and was
surprised to find himself face to face with a cop, (and one behind,) from the police prowl car. Finally convinced that he was on the level he was allowed to resume his erratic way.
And that effervescent activated new lamb has been christened Hadacol !
We read where Jamesburg has entered the locals with a news column. Now for higginsville, they should "go thou and do likewise," for we know happenings there are as interesting as elsewhere. For example: Miss Pat Kinney took second as soloist at the music contest at Gilman last Saturday. She sang 'Mighty Lak A ROse" and that next Staurday she again sings in the high school chorus, which returns to gilman. Good for you, Pat, glad to hear it.
The turbulent hailstorm of last week was a lulu. It drove the chickens frantic, the ducks took it stoically, then later made up for the pelting they recieved by making good use of the resulting puddles. But the bus driver, with homeward bound school pupils, had to stop and wait the storm out.
Such weather tantrums are oft times forerunners of those famous "twisters" common throughout this territory and this season.
Leslie Sidwell is the new owner of the "local" motorcycle. So, neighbors, you can breathe easy again. (And so can we!)
But those two goats of R.D. Actons, left without caretakers when the Earl Coopers moved away, have been acquired by those Hoskin kids! Well, if it ain't one thing its two, and all we need now is a monkey! Heaven forbid!
Junior Farnsworth has rented the vacant house of Bernard Doyle's for the coming year.
The current sick list out our way among the school youngsters is rather lengthy this week, with the latest epidemic on the loose. The list of those ill with measles, mumps and pnemonia includes: Charles Land, fith grade; James Pollitt, second grade; Harold Hoskins, first grade; Larry Schmink, first
grade, and Lester Hoskins, second grade.
Tuesday, aday for Americans to say thier say! Any voter who didn't vote is like a guest at a party, you take what's dished out to you!
The absence of Mrs. Faye Cossairt's article last week (for which the blame, along with that for a number of other articles which didn't appear) left a rather bare-like place on our local's front page.
Mrs. Enid Sylvester of near Alvin, writes that Roy, her husband, who recently suffered a severe heart attack, is slowly improving at Lake View Hospital. They are well known here and have a number of acquaintances in Potomac. Enid was a teacher here at Tillitson school for several years before consolidation with Potomac.
greeting to Mildred McGowen was a little jubilant for the occasion, due to
Gene's accident, which we did not learn about until too late to halt the
printing of the comments. But we're
thankful it was no worse. Dick Hoskins
is engaged in the same kind of work, at the Marine Air Base,
Oh yes, the first wild flowers are blooming - those greeting cards of spring - hepaticas.
The discourse on hot lunches by E, Hinton, last week gives us an interesting viewpoint on the student controversy concerning this "hot lunch" business. Would that more students take courage and present their views on this and other subjects.
Sure the folks will poke fun at you, some will disagree, but what else are you going to school for, and getting educated unless you exercise that education.
I'll bet the Journal would go for a High School weekly Editorial by the students! (Good idea Ed.)
Katherine Hoskins and children spent last Thursday with her parents in Oakwood.
What happened to Mrs. Gaylord Hall's interesting letters? Although personally not known to us, nor are we known to her, we enjoyed those letters very much.
Her description of her new adventure are so natural and comely and familiar in the little every day occurances that one in reading them feels as tho we too, were there. Could we persuade you, Mrs. Hall, to write the Journal a column, something of a diary, say once a month, and keep us stay at homes steeped
in a nice brew of Pacific Fever". Most of us would like a "look-see" into your new habitation, but few of us would voluntarily follow suit. Most of us here back home have some one in the service, and news such as yours in letters home, give us all a better idea of what it is like to live on the far side of the world.
Fred Hoskins of Williamsport rural route was in Potomac last Thursday. His father, Truman Hoskins
returned home with him for several days visit. Fred recently purchased a twenty-acre place about three miles south and west of the Hanging Rock Park that is located on route 63 South of West Lebanon. Over where the Walbash flows, and certainly is lovely country.
Losing some change is always disheartening. Losing small bills is worse, but when one loses a check for a neat little sum, that sort of takes the wind out of your sails.
This happened to an acquaintance of ours, last week, and any one who has ever been in this redicament knows how it feels. I've never lost a check (yet) but once upon a time, I did burn up a twenty dollar bill. My father laid it on the table, while I was packing his lunch one morning. Having finished I gathered the loose meat and bread wrappers into a wad and tossed them into the stove (nice fire going, too, I remember).
On returning to the table, no twenty-dollar bill, "no nuthin'." Believe me, in the twenty seven years since, I have inspected what I'm stuffing into the fire. Hoping to find the dratted thing yet-I guess.
Anyone dining at the Pages Diner over on U.S. route One Sunday could upon investigating, have found Pete Hoskins working there on that shift.
little Mary and Ellen Barker's mother, is visiting with her father George
Osborn. Her home is in
I've just discovered that these famous meat and vegetable dishes sometimes topped with biscuits or biscuit crusts and often called meat pies, vegetable pies, or what suits the occasion, in days gone by were denoted by the delectable name of Lobscouse. Sounds like politic's.
Of course Harry has a badge to wear, working in the fire department. Quite unintentionally he left it on his suit. Saturday night in Danville he was mistaken for a plain clothes officer--paging Dick Tracy--.
You readers who also live in the country, no doubt enjoy visits by youngsters from town. A person gets a kick out of watching a bunch of kids, whose experience in the country is often limited to a few hours at a time, maybe as little as two or three times a year. In our territory there are very few who don't rate at least that much.
So when the weather warms up we are usually hosts to around one to a dozen on Sundays and this weekend seems to be the beginning of the season. LeRoy Ellett of Armstrong brought out a car load from that "big city."
A lot of kids from Danville get out here who promptly drop all property at the gate.
Knowing our tribe of rough necks can hold their own, the visitors usually enjoy themselves in very natural and unstilted enthusiasm.
Not satisfied with two horses that can be rode, lots of time it winds up with a regular rodeo, including the sheep, the cows, and the calves. Even Bill's pig, Salomy, isn't exempt.
here recently informs us that Mrs. Florence Runyan, formerly Florence Spain,
has presented husband, Rube, with a big baby daughter, March 27th. They reside in
The old timers say to plant corn when the oal leaf is as large as a squirrls ear. And wait till the wippoorwils call. The oak leaves are bigger than a cat's ear now, and then some. And the wippoorwills have been going full tilt for three weeks. Corn planting time id full blown, that's certain, and some folks
are already planting.
If you've never heard the whippoorwill, weel, you've missed something. There's one wise guy who likes to alight just outside our doorway and cut loose. He starts off witha sort of puttering or burbling sound and "whips" two or three times. After he finally gets up steaam he will "whippoorwill" continusly for minutes on end. I once attempted to count his calls but, after getting up in the eighties, had to give up and he quit further up on the count. His serenade begins at dusk and continues off and on all night long. COMes daybreak and these birds will taper off to silence. To the unintaited they're a little spooky but to us they're welcome visitors, or maybe I should say friends.
Tommy Farnsworth celebrated his second birthday May 11. He received several gifts and cards from friends and relatives.
Mrs. Jane Farnsworth attended the bridal shower given in honor of Barbara Wood at the YMCA clubroom in Danville on Friday, May 11.
Little Marilyn Sue Hoskins also celebrated her second birthday on May 4.
Popcorn seems to be the vogue among the farmers hereabouts. The premier Popcorn truck from Wtaseka was out our way Friday, delivering seed for planting to the ones who contracted for same
this year. Mr. Doyle is having a field planted to this crop. Well, we sure can eat popcorn next winter, if all goes well.
About the time everyone changed over to daylight savings time our old clock sort of went on a strike of its own. We noticed it was chiming several times too often for the tine of day. Adjusting it to proper hour and strokes was quickly done but I'll bet someone, or maybe two or three someones, were
setting the clock ahead and monkeyed up the works.
The Russell Atwoods of Grand Rapids, Mich., attended the funeral rites of Mr. Atwood's mother, Mrs. Annie Atwood, formerly of Newtown (or Pilot), who recently passed away in California.
The services were Saturday afternoon, at the Hebron Church in Newtown.
Mr. and Mrs. Atwood visited with Mrs. Atwood's uncle, Truman Hoskins, here, Sunday, and spent that evening with the Leslie Sidwells. They returned to Grand Rapids on Monday.
During the past week I've met some of my newer neighbors. Mrs. Farmer at the George Osborn home, came down on Thursday for several hours visit, and Tuesday, I stopped to chat with Mrs. Fred Farnsworth Jr. for a half hour. It's nice to meet new people and renew old acquaintances.
Truman Hoskins was out and spent Monday with Harry and family.
Mr. and Mrs. Chester Atchison delivered seed corn to customers out this way on Monday evening.
Chore routines on the farm or elsewhere sometimes get monotonous, and it's often a welcome relief when something comes along and upsets the schedule. But when egg-gathering gets upset, what would you call that, scrambled eggs, or omelet?
What a busy weekend? The rain put a stop to everyones farm work everyone knows that. But it gave us time to do a few odd jobs around. In overhauling an accumulation of old papers and letters I learned a number of interesting things of yesteryear.
The following is an excerpt from a letter dated February 14, 1892 to my grandmother:
"Pa was here and stayed one night this winter. More than a year ago he was taken with a severe pain in his head, had an occulist from Columbia (Ohio) see him' it was caused from his eyes, and for him to wear a mustache. So he has worn one since and his eyesight is better.
The famous Dewey mustache club might have had something at that. If there's anything to it- it might profit Harry Truman to sprout one. Someone in his country needs to be able to see their way.
Warm day bring put a pleasant little country habit into daily use- the meeting of neighbors where mailboxes are grouped together just after the mailman passes by.
We were pleasntly surprised just at breakfast time Sunday morning out here, by the unexpected arrival of Harry's neice and family, Hattie, Juick, husband George, and son Vicky, of Niles, Michigan.
They had spent
the night with Wilbur and June Spain, and dropped by to see "Unk" and
family, leaving here to go to Oakwood to see her sister Francis Dukes. They planned to return to
in the afternoon.
Alberta and Leslie Sidwell and two boys with Truman Hoskins were out for Sunday dinner. Sid, as he is better known, is off work again. His left arm having infection set in, he had x-rays taken Monday.
Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Brown of Danville spent the evening last Wednesday with John and Kathryn Hoskins. Bob and Evelyn Layton were also callers there one evening this week.
Mrs. George Jones and Mrs. "Boss" Dodsen were shoppers at the Grab-It-Here about the same time Saturday morning.
Charles Shanks who operated the Saturday night auction sales that some folks in this locality like to attend died unexpectedly at his home in Danville, Saturday morning. He was a brother to Mr. Shanks of our neighborhood.
Mrs. Marilyn Blase and her uncle Ralph Sadler of Ogden, were in Potomac on Friday.
That lovley corsage that Bill kept in the icebox last Friday, sure melted the ice! The trouble was - too many "inspectors"- we couldn't keep the icebox door closed. One consolation: allowing them to LOOK at it, if they'd Keep HANDS OFF, worked out pretty well.
Saturday we were visited by two boys who work with Harry, enjoying themselves out in the country.
Sunday two boys came for the day, and stayed overnight, returning to work with Harry on Monday.
Highlights of both days visits were their riding the two horses. Once when the dogs ran a rabbit in front of them, one horse stopped, but the rider didn't. Second event occured when another boy unseated into one of the many thickets out here. However they seemed to like it. I know we did.
Any way they're all young fellows a long from home and friends, just like your boy and mine.
Well another school year closed. No more up at 6, wash, dress, eat and run for three months. No more "Mom-wheres my work book ?" "Mom"-wheres my other shoe ?
Wheres my crayons ?" "He's got my tablet"-"wheres-wheres-what ? " No more hot lunch money for three months six kids-$7. a week whools! I'll feed 'em green onions and radishes, eggs and milk and let 'em fish. ha! ha!
Ma Gruel, Aunt Louise and Aunt Vada-nice people, you betcha. And who are they ? Well did you ever eat a meal at the grade school ? Most parents have, and a lot of others. Everyone that has will probably call them a square meal, full and overflowing round.
And anyone knows that a hungry kid's eyes are bigger than his anterior region, and that when mealtime rolls around, a single portion never fills up those hungry regions, like being able to ask for more. No average, normal family hereabouts, to my knowledge ever puts just ONE helping before their own child and says "No More", not in this land of PLENTY, not unless there isn't a way to provide "No More." Provided by our taxes and the daily fee charged for each child, in a sufficient amount to
cover the cost. Who is going to say "NO" to the hungry child here in America ? (Original Print read Who is going to say "Say"to the hungry child in America ?) (Possible papers error.)
Who can pack there child a durable lunch for this cost ? Some can, but many more cannot. The contrast is all in favor of the school hot lunch. The cost the trouble the "hot" meal, the collective eating, all contribute in favor of it.
Then it's eaten in a "homey" atmosphere, where the kids are loved, bossed, kidded or corrected accordingly, all pretty well "mother" by these three "Girls", and then medical science plainly advocates that a cheerful atmosphere is half the meal, makes digestion better, and the food can be properly assimilated, and all that. It's no wonder that the kid's think the cooks are the berries.
In most homes today, even the modern up to date house with all its fine advantages, the little prayer at meal time is often missing. In many homes, the first time Grace has been said at the table is often by the request of, and given by some youngster who first heard it at his "Hot Lunch Meal". I know it was so with us.
In a Christian nation, proud of it's heritage this is a shabby shame.
I wonder how many of us actually realize the efforts these three women put into this job. They put in the same hours almost ha the teachers do, and handle all the kids too, for part of the day. So, like the teachers they most do their home chores besides, and on their days off do their washing, shopping, and cleaning also.
Their days, therefore of necessity, are a rushed affair.
Their sponsors all realize this I'm sure, and many outsiders; and still there's someone who is always
standing around to discredit them. It burns me up. Whose gotta "gripe" about it ? Lets give credit where credit is due.
Friday was shopping day in Potomac for me, and it seemed like everyone I met was in an uproarious mood. The funny bug must have bitten most folks, with all the kidding and jokes on each other, all in fun. The printer was about the gloomiest guy I met, trying to rush his paper and job and work both, but he had time for a friendly grin. Another hard working bunch (or pair) of people.
Did you ever -- well pshaw ! Everyone does, have one of those work goes haywire. Wednesday was such a day.Harry had set his head to finish planting the corn that day, and the boys, Pete and John got off late to work. I had the earache, the kids were contrary, I didn't get the washing done till 3 p.m. The planter broke, and Bill found our yearling red heifer deader than a doornail-- how dead can a doornail be?
It looked for awhile like the corn planting was stalled. Finally with some combined efforts, a little
ingenuity, and that good old intestinal fortitude that gets a guy out of a tight spot, the last hill was clicked
in by supper time. Which seemed to make the evening sun go down smiling after all.
"Maw and Paw Kettle" our are new nicknames tacked on us by the soldiers over at the firestation; complimentary evidently ? and befitting because of the hills, the woods, the shack, and all these kids, our varigated livestock, and the informality we extend them on their visits here.
So--Maw and Paw Kettle were Daniville shoppers on Saturday. We also attended an auction sale, till we were "hailed out"--and Bill had to ride in the back seat of that Crosley we acquired of Sid's amid pots and pans, some dishes, a tub, the groceries, a hundred pound sack of potatoes, and various other purchases aquired. In that Crosley ? And me, besides ? Sure thing you know. I made
it. Harry still had elbow room to drive. We've dubbed it Bumble Bee, Honey Bug and Buzz Wagon. Any more suggestions ? I see where a yank gets a letter 36 feet long written on shelf paper by a neighbor of his. One day last winter Eva and I cut off the width of an envelope an a strip of shelf paper about 8 feet long, everyone took a part in writing it, we filled it, folded it accordion style and dispatched it to son Richard. He and his buddies got quite a kick out of it.
Today I received a letter in which he said. "You can start addressing my mail to Sgt. Hoskins from now on, instead of Corporal." OK Sgt. Hoskins it is, then. Sergeant, get me a pail of water !
Dick's address is:
Sgt. R.L. Hoskins, VMF-115-MAG 11,
In the order of family events comes those nights when the married son and daughter-in-law turn up to donate their infant offspring to "Grandma" for the evening. For compensation they take along a pair of the other kids.
Even so, it makes life worth living until, when the resulting days are a modicum portion of the evenings wild and wooly westerns. Sometimes I wonder ! Indians under the beds, or scalping on another on top (why make the beds up ?). Cowboys stalking the kitchen, paper arrows in the gravy I'm stirring, and cane spears are apt to be sticking thru some article of clothing that made an excellent target on the clothesline, full blown by the wind. Indeed life in the backwoods has it's advantages, at that: plenty of room for self expression.
Talking about your big meals, you all should have been around here last Thursday night. With 17 in all, we enjoyed one of hubb's "chili suppers" we celebrate with on occasions. He came home in the evening, having only a 12-hour shift to work, and Bob Bergner, Jim Foreman and Don Clark of Chanute Field came along. Everyone was hungry, so we dispatched Bob and Pete down to the market.
(To be Continued)
(continued from June 1 Issue)
They took the Buzz Buggy for the "makin's". The rest of us "coffeed up" until their return, then we all jumped in opening cans, adding more wood to the cookstove, making more coffee, chopping onions (and wiping eyes), setting out bowls and spoons, while Harry combined the "chili" on the old wood burner. Mixed with the conversation were numerous "tastings" to see if it suited and everyone tasted and argued, more spice was added, stirred and sampled again, and then finally he assembled the stew in the new milk pail, the only available container large enough to hold it, and deposited same in the center of the
Everyone but the small fry ladled out their own, the kids were detailed to second table in the front room.
Well, by this time it was about 9:30 and we ate, and we talked, we ate some more and compared "home states" and visited until someone noted the clock hitting one stroke! Well, it was only 11:30. By that time, John and Kathryn and babies had long since faded from the scene, the rollaway evidently unfolded itself and was loaded to the rim with kids asleep. all at once the coffee, cigarettes and chili just couldn't seem to keep anyone awake and all of us grownups were patting the yawns and batting our eyes
and the boys left--commenting, "How about doing this again sometime, Pop?"
Mr Roller's talk at the eighth Grade Graduation program was a two-fisted and timely speech.
It would be heartening if more speakers were as frank and as simple in their desires to get their facts and their illustrations over to the average listeners.
Usually it is not only over the heads of the graduate, but often over the head of a lot of the audience, as well.
One statement he expressed rather stuck in my mind. He stated that J. Edgar Hoover's theme is "loyalty" and "that without it industry, honesty (and so forth), are without meaning".
Mr Roller added that "you must be loyal to your family, loyal to your community, and loyal to your God."
Frankly I was expecting him to say "you must be loyal to your family, loyal to your community, and loyal to your country". But no, he stated "loyal to your God" instead. After all, that covers everything, including your country.
While listening to him I was thinking that if those boys and girls could only see what the adults there can see, that Mr. Roller's illustration of free men was well exemplified by the men on that platform that night: a musician, a farmer, a lawyer, a teacher, all men whose lives were lived according to their own individual choosing.
Since they've been under his tutorage for the past several years their principal should always be to them an example of a free American. He is a young ex-service man, a family man, a businessman (teaching is a business tho called a profession), a child's man, one that listens to each and every child's self-important tale--a Christian, a leader, a man in the community who not only pushes where needed, but pulls as well. Potomac would be wise to "hang on" to such a man.
Bill and Eva were busy planting tomatoes the day of the high school picnic--and so couldn't go. Ory Britt followed suit two days later and got his plants out. With Kinney's and Tartar's patch maybe we can change our local name to "Tomato Road," at least for this summer. And our grade schoolers didn't picnic--mumps!
Mrs. Berry, Mrs. Parsons and Mrs. Henry were out the other day checking on Eva's trip to Monticello in August. We're all looking forward to that.
Then Mrs. Maxwell called to see how she was progressing on her summer project. With tomato picking, helping out all around at home, sewing and her trip, she'll be busy this summer.
Sundays fishermen were abundant out here in spite of the rain. Some of the ones who stuck it out till evening were Mr. and Mrs. Carol Hopkins and Ed Murray of Chanute Field. They did land two small ones and at least they can say they got to fish.
We, that is, Harry and I, and the six kids from Eva on down, piled into the Buzz Buggy, Sunday afternoon and "buzzed on over to Harry's brother, Fred's place, for a couple of hours. Marshfield, a community we passed through, had had some wind. Trees and big limbs had been dragged off to the side of the road and several trees were blown down around Fred's place late Saturday afternoon.
Fields were all soggy and plenty of rain and hail had accompanied the wind.
Adam certainly enjoyed himself on the eighth grade Chicago trip. Getting in about daybreak, he slept til mid-afternoon. No wonder those kids didn't turn out to practice for their graduation program.
I'd like to take this occasion to say "thank you" to all you folks who have complimented me on the "Hills of Hawbuck", and especially to the ones who have written to me. I started this for the fun of it, on a cold, old winter day. Later I took the liberty to try and break it off. After a trip or two into town, and receiving several letters "to keep it up", I decided to go ahead since it seems there are some who do enjoy it. Some probably think its silly, and no doubt a few think I'm crazy. Well sometimes I wonder !
Harry and his father and I were over to Pence, Ind. on Tuesday last spending several hours with Uncle Bill and Aunt Relly Hoskins, their son Frank and his wife Hazel. From there we drove down to Freddie Hoskins for supper, and helped him break in a new horse to the garden plow. After all our expectations of some kind of fireworks, our hopes all fell flat. The horse just simply atook ahold like an old hand at the game.
At a sale recently I struck up a conversation with a very nice old lady, carrying a spray of shasha daisies and bachelor buttons in her hand, and who was wanting to buy some flower containers. She offered me some flowers if I'd go over to her home. We both began to cast around to find a mutual acquaintance, and it developed that our local restaurateur and wife, Hobe and Louise, had been
neighbors of hers for years, and she was quite enthusiastic over the twins.
The same evening we stopped by to see Arlo and Cille Farrow. Of course we were curious as to the amount of damage sustained by them in a recent fire. The fire started with the wiring in the wall back of built-in kitchen cabinets and burned a sizable hole thru into an enclosed porch. Occurring during the evening, it was promptly squelched by neighborly help. Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Doyle, Rantoul, came over Friday to see their place, and to compare notes for awhile.
In Danville Friday, we met up with Mrs. Enid Sylvester of Alvin. We had a long chat with her and were glad to hear that Roy is fast recovering from that severe heart attack he suffered earlier this spring. Miss Enid (to our kids) will be attending a teacher's summer course
"News from the Old Home Town" sort of struck a spark or two. We liked the Williams' store at New Smyrna, Fla. and we've never quite realized before how the gladioli market was supplied with those lovely flowers.
June 9 will be quite an occasion in our family hereafter. Saturday was the natal day of Harry Harvey
Hoskins (Pete to everyone), being his 21st birthday. The birthday dinner was postponed until Sunday, due to the arrival of John Stephen Hoskins, six pound, seven once son of John and Kathryn Rogers Hoskins, at Lake View Hospital, Danville. He's Pete's nephew and quite a birthday
present ! I've lived out here in Hawbuck for a number of years and have heard the rest of the family talk about the cliffs of Middlefork. Well Sunday, Harry took me over to see them. Talk about the Shades of Turkey Run if you want to but at the end of a 15-minute drive from Potomac you will find some scenery right in our own back yard that will equal a lot you see over there.
Pete and Bill decided recently that they wanted a cabin all their own. So the other day they borrowed my wash house, put in a new floor with the help of two boys from Chanute Field, furnished it by borrowing bedsprings, chairs, and a dresser and bedding of Mom, and moved in.
If this keeps up the Hoskins family will have quite a settlement down among these here hills.
Jesse Stone and Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Emerson were out our way one day this week.
According to Gary Dean Farnsworth's bicycle speedometer, it is five and one half miles from their
driveway to Uncle Junior's; by way of Hawbuck.
Gary, very patiently followed by his mother in the car (with sufficient baseball equipment and baggage) came to pay cousin Tommy a visit, June 14th.
After the dinner dishes were done, Aunt Grace consented to take Gary and a neighbor boy, on a tour
through the woods in the back of the house. The main destination was the river as this was aunt Janes first trek through this area, she was looking forward to it also.
Sorry to say, Aunt Jane was reared more on the city style and less on the ways of the wilds. After tramping a considerable distance, a roof loomed in between the branches. Maybe that's were the Hoskins live, they queried? At last, the river they thought. As more evidence presented itself, they discovered they had somehow made a vast circle and had arrived safely, but-back home. Not to the pleasure of Gary, however.
After several puzzled looks and a slight jawing, they made the trip to the Hoskin's and the river, by the way of the road.
Jane entertained her family, in the nature of a basket dinner, June 17th, in observance of her father's
birthday. Those present were: Mr. and Mrs. Walter Jackson, of Bismark, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson and son, Jim, of Danville, also Mr. and Mrs. Byron Brown of Bismark.
We didn't kill Pop's prize rooster for Father's Day dinner, but we did have chicken and noodles. It developed that Junior and Jane also had chicken and noodles, long with possibly several other Hawbuckers". The current beef problem makes it tough on the chickens, a lot of them
are losing their heads. Well, flowers to Mom on Mother's Day, but feed Pop on Father's Day.
Along after dinner Farnsworths and their company came over to find the best route to the creek and to fish. Another carload or two also strung out along the old river bank, and the family down on the corner came by to go swimming back of John's cabin. Our kids joined them for an hours fun.
Ardith Poynter of Hillary drove up for an hour's visit, too. It seems that she is getting more letters
from Sgt. Hoskins than "Mom" is. Well, leave it to the Marines.
Later on in the afternoon Charles and Francis Dukes of Oakwood with their two youngsters, Diane and Ronny and sister Julia Spain arrived on the scene. The three boys and Julia live at Niles, Mich. and are down "home" on a couple weeks visit with Francis and other Relatives.
The most surprising (or Pleasant) part of the day was that Sid didn't come out with his usual supply of
firecrackers. Will I be glad when he runs out of those blamed things. Bang! Bang! Bang.
Mr. Kessinger was out Friday and checked on Bill's efforts in F.F.A. Well he met all the new live stock and the four new pups. We have noted a laughable (to us) incident concerning these pups. It has developed that the dog auntie of them is trying to mother them, and the dog mother has to hunt them up and return them to their box in the tool shed. The pups seem to enjoy being drug around, but the mother evidently grew disgusted yesterday, and soundly thrashed the 'dog-napper'. Undoubtedly, like a
kid-napping among us humans, it's time to call a halt.
Mr. Bryant's efforts to catch Harry and I at home were wasted again last week. We were in Danville, when he came out and brought the family along for the ride. However I believe from the evenings report that they were well entertained.
Now that Kathryn has returned home with "Junior" well, it is sort of surprising how big little Jerry has
grown. Along side the new baby's tiny littleness, he is a chunk. Steven's red hair is still in doubt. Penny's measurements (by hand) of her new a nephew's size are rather variable. One time he will be to large for his age, and the next time it seems he must have shrunk a lot. What provokes her and Marilyn--they can't handle him.
But then Penny can't handle them-- Monday she developed "mumps".
Sgt. and Mrs Webb and new baby were out our way the other afternoon. He and Harry work together, so recently he donated a banty rooster to our "Noah's Ark". It seems his mother-in-law didn't like his crowing, and he spent a couple of hours in rounding up the critter then brought it over. We call it the "Sergeant". Guess now we'll have to hunt up a banty hen or two next.
The old dinner bell rack we had, developed a case of weak knees last winter, and the big old bell was left setting around, un-ringable till this past week. The other day Harry and Adam and Albert built a bell tower on the gable end of the house and installed the newly painted bell therein. It isn't finished yet, but it serves the purpose. It saves someone the run over to Bill's shack to get him and Pete up for breakfast, and they prefer it to an alarm clock. It's sort of a novelty to most folks, as the old dinner bell is almost a thing of the past.
So if you wind up sometime at the end of the road west of Jamesburg with a little white cabin on the right hand side down under the road that's Johnny's place. The gray slate covered cabin on the left, set well back with a dinky little bell house atop--that's the Silver Bell Rancho, Ha. Ha.
A letter from Dick informs us he spent last weekend at one of the lovely resorts on the Island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. The colored photo folders and cards sent along, are quite picturesque, the name both intriguing and descriptive, one especially, called Morning Star Beach. While the native population is comprised of Spanish and Negro folks, the only white people were the hotel personnel and a few guests this being out of season for the tourist trade.
Alberta and Sid, better known as the Sidwell's and sons, spent Sunday with her brother, Fred Hoskins and family near Marshfield, Ind. Young Freddie and Joyce Hoskins came home with them for a weeks visit. Monday morning Freddie with Sonny and Bobby Sidwell came out here with Eva and I on our return from a trip into Potomac for groceries. While I was in town I returned a book from the
library and thereby got a chance to visit with Mrs. Anderson for short half hour.
Saturday's trip to town was highlighted by a chat with Sis Reynolds and later Eva took me down to Nellie Burkharts to see Wauneta Nell Cunningham. Waunita Nell has just recovered from the mumps while her father Jim Cunningham is still ill with them. By the way Nellie Burkharts poem "My Garden Good or Bad" along with Alta Hoth's "let there be light" were both good and enjoyable and humorous; and talent like that is where you find it.
Well Bill is in seventh heaven. He's achieved the goal of all teenagers; "A car of my Own". Saturday he made the down payment and drove himself home from work in a green Chevy coupe. Being a '38 model it isn't exactly up to date, but anyway, it eliminates the need to borrow one of his brothers cars, or to line out his date according to someone else's plans.
Charles Rogers of Oakwood with a neighbor boy of the Rogers "motor-scooted" up this way Sunday to see his Sister, Kathryn Hoskins, They ran out of gas and had to hike the last mile here. so Pop (or Harry) and John took them back over, filled their tank and headed them for home. No casualty report came in, evidently the kids made it O.K.
Francis Dukes, also of Oakwood with her two girls, her three brothers, and little sister were back again the Sunday. Fran's and my plans were to keep the four youngsters overnight and possibly for a day or so. Well, after some argument and coaxing the deal fell thru; they elected to go back home with "Sis". They promised to come back later however. Little Julia about six, said "I'd 'tay if Jerry do" Jerry, 15 is the leader, so she didn't 'tay.
The Hopkins from over Chanute Field way, were over Sunday for some fishing. Of course Albert knows where all the fattest worms hide out, so Hoppy as he is known on the crash crew, had plenty of bait.
All the little Hoskins are official garden weeders again this year. And again for the third year running,
thought the new carrots were weeds, now the row sports transplanted cabbage instead. Carrots seem to be the one garden casualty each time. Oh well ! We all like cabbage the best, anyhow. (If the rabbits don't beat us to them.)
Agnes Osborn, who attended school in Rossville is now home with her Dad George Osborn. Agnes is slightly undecided, but is inclined to start to Potomac High School this fall. She will be a Junior the coming year.
If Larry and Don Britt laugh at my Crosley next time I meet them on the road, I'm going to chase them up a tree. They don't know how well we got this here car trained.
Oh where and oh where
Has "Neighbor Talk" gone?
I read my own writin'
and wonder and yawn-
The Ads are all perused,
the Personals, too.
But with no competition-
Faye Cossairt, am I blue!
I take all the blame for the missing "Neighbors Talk" Thanks to Faye's kindly nature, she informed us if, at any time, we were crowded for space, to hold hers until later as they are no dated. As much we hated to do that, the past two weeks it became necessary.
July 6, 1951
Well last week I managed to miss the mailman. Then in town I managed to miss the editors, and the other morning when routing out the sleepy heads, I missed Lester or so I thought. Harry gave them all a crew cut last week and in checking them over I can't tell Lester from Harold. Taking another look I noted 'twas Harold gone, instead. Well he was out feeding the chickens, but one thing for sure, the missing all turn up at meal time.
Jesse Stone drove out Friday to see Harry, and Mrs Stone accompanied him. She has never been here before, so she had her first glimpse of the "Silver Bell Rancho"--oh, we all get a laugh out of our pseudo-ranch name.
The traffic jam of personalities in this big family sometimes gets clean out of hand. And occasionally fisticuffs result in black eyes, scratched faces, and this time broken crockery. My bright, blue bowl that was sort of a favorite with me, was the target of a rock, thrown in retaliation by a smaller recipient of Adams teasing; Adam has promised to replace it, and well, anyway the rock missed the churn full of cream by inches. Coping with such situations leaves me in a funk and then lo and behold. I find the same thing happens in someone else's family. When Mama's little angel wears a halo, I'll bet there's a pair of invisible little horns supporting it.
A letter from Wauneta is always a welcome event; Wauneta Griffin--now of Vandalia, and she always has something of interest tot tell us. The following is from her latest letter--"You should see our Golden Bowl drawing each Saturday night. During the week people who trade at the stores put their names in a box, then all the names are collected. At a stand on the street a drawing is held. There is a big fish bowl full of all kinds of money from pennies on up to bills. Whosever name is drawn puts his hand into the bowl an draws out all he can grab. If he can guess within $1.39 of the exact amount drawn, he gets another grab, and gets to keep whatever is drawn, of course. after the drawing there is a big street dance. The lucky one also gets his picture taken, and it appears in the Vandalia papers the next week."
As a drawing card for some school or Amvet doings, this might be an idea to keep in mind. Saturday evening, all of our "first family" was off on their own affairs, so Harry and I decided to treat the "second family" to the free show in town. The results sort of leave us undecided whether to try it again or not. The film kept breaking, the bench in front dumped its occupants onto the ground, the kids were more asleep than awake, then two of the older ones turned up to ride home in the "Family Kar." Cold, tired, cross and sleepy-- sardined into the Crosley-- we made it home around eleven-thirty.
The Village Traffic Ordinance published a week or so ago makes good reading for the teenagers who are planning to take their driver's test.
Orville and Ella Jane Britt were down Sunday afternoon for a neighborly visit. The boys and Orvie toured the tomato patch, while Ella Jane and I -- we sure made up for lost time.
George and Hattie quick and son, Victor, of Niles, were out Sunday, also. As Harry was working then, they came back and spent Monday with us. They're visiting relatives and friends here until this weekend.
John and Kathryn Hoskins spent Sunday in Oakwood and Danville. Funny how these new babies like to "meet the folks."
Another grand and glorious Fourth !And its over. To most its the high point of the summerseason. The kids see it as a grand and glorious spendingspree. The grown-ups on the whole seem to enjoy it, too,and enjoy a headache later. Really, it seems like today's celebration has lost a lotof its savor. Gone are the speakers, with the incentive anddesire to hear the why and wherefore or our country's origins. Its struggles and it's victories. We're sort of getting into a muddle-- it seems.
And then there were the attractions that were nearly all local. The hucksters' stands were operated by persons known to most of us. Refreshment stands were usually operated by the churches and other women's organizations, and the entertainment, too. But the peak of them all seem to be the "Merry-Go-Round." To me the ponies circling around and around all day long, and the calliope music, interspersed with the "toot-toot" signaling starts and stops---well, that was the 4th of July to me. Pretty tame stuff for nowdays.
But we headed for the park (excuse me--but dismantling that park to put up a housing unit--lets use up a lot of vacant lots around town first. A town without a park is a town without a heart.)
Anyhow we ALL arrived at the park in several cars, about 1:30 and every one beelined to the track to see the motorcycles. And here's where I began to enjoy my money's worth (the entrance fee). I ran into brother Al and later saw Alice for a chat, then located Harry's brother Fred and all his family. They were with George and Hattie Junck, and Wilbur and June Spain. After a while Penny and I meandered off into the crowd, where I finally located Majorie Cunningham and her family. Penny rode the train, the two smaller boys kept running to me for more dimes till I was "dimned out." I got a picture of Harold, Lester, and Penny clustered about a stick of cotton candy; hope it turns out good. Mr.Pierce' performance accompanying the stage comedians was tops. I enjoyed that the most. Bucky Hobbs was among a lot of folks I got to talk to, that I haven't seen in a long time. At McGowen's stand I got to kid Glen a bit. Its sure good to see those kids get home. And what a batch of weather we were doused with. We straggled home a few at a time for a lunch and the chores--cleaned up and headed back. Mrs Craw and I thought for a bit we were going to see a little excitement which didn't materialize.
It began to rain, she went one way, and I headed for the skating rink. I wasn't the only one. We all stayed for the dance, then tried to collect the clan to go home about 11 o'clock. We'd get 2-3 together, check in 2-3 more, and we'd reach the total, We found 1-2 of the first ones were out and gone again. Ain't Life Wonderful !
Recent visitors at Junior, Jane, and Tommy Farnsworth's Have been Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Reynolds and Sue, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Foster and Ronnie also Mr. and Mrs. Joe Thompson and Jim, Danville.
This has been a busy week here at the end of the road. Company on Sunday, and again on Monday. Tuesday was wash day, then Wednesday the Fourth was the big day of course. Thursday was wash day again. Friday-pay-day, when Albert and I accompanied Harry over to pick up his check. As there was a delay in getting the checks we got to spend about three hours viewing the same scenery that Harry looks at all day long, while on duty. Saturday there was a long delayed trip to the dentist, and the day finally was climaxed by the arrival home of son Richard on a two weeks' leave.
Now to get anything done around home anywhere near normal, doing the canning necessary, the cooking, washing and all those chores, with a kid home on leave, and the rest cooperating with each other and not to cooperate with me--maybe someone can get an idea of what keeps this tribe clicking.
Ken and Alta Keen accompanied by Eva Hagen were out our way late Sunday. Ken said they were out "skylarkin' around" seeing the sights the river was furnishing with its big overflow.
The vagaries of Old Middlefork sure keep the fellow with "bottom ground" on the jump. This roaring raging little river, normally so inviting to fishermen and picnickers, has let go with both barrels this time, and tried to out do itself, and to out do us, the biggest half of our five acres of tomatoes are now a muddy mess and perchance are a total loss. Well, we should weep. Take a look at Orvy Britts wheat, and dozens of other farmers up and down this fair to middlin' stream, multiply by hundreds of other streams and figure up the results. Talk about gambling--here's where the farmers gamble comes in. Just so the weather doesn't get so all-fired hot later on that our popcorn starts popping--we're crossing our fingers and waiting.
Imitating Old Man River in their sand pile the other day, the kids worked around to building Indian ceremonial mounds, surmounted by miniature alters and tiny fires. Then as one idea led to another, the final result developed into a smoking volcano. Their interest then turned to a discussion of these phenomena of nature.
A sandpile and an imagination are a past time that can sure develop the mental conception of material values, and they last a lifetime.
Folks who were out our way this past week were Phyllis and Judy Stucker of Niles, Mich., Mr.and Mrs. Gruel and "Andy", Vivian Hoth and Ralph Grimes,the Bob Irvins, Maggie and Ray Talbott,Mr. and Mrs. Douthit and Mrs. Craw and Connie and Carol.
Mrs. Craw states that she was lost about 88 times but finally located us. This was her first trip down thru the "Hills of Hawbuck"--Hope it isn't her last.
Friday the 13th was the occasion here for a
celebration. Dick's friend Ardith Poynter of Hillery had the day off from work, so we got the clan together for a wiener roast out behind the cabin.
John and Kathryn came over and the Russell Kites of near Catllu were invited up.
After we filled up on "hot dogs" we decided to clear out the movable furniture in the front room, and staged an impromptu square dance. The dance music on the radio wasn't suitable, the records we had are about shot, but as long as Harry kept on calling we kept on dancing. And we did have fun.
Then Eva went home with Pat Kite for the weekend, and Sunday Bill Squired the two girls on a trip to Turkey Run.
Monday, the order of the day seemed to be minor accidents. Adam, Penny, and Albert were on the receiving end, while demolishing that old Model A Ford of Bills.
John and Kay (short for Kathryn) with Pete and Dick attended the show "Fabiola" Sunday evening. The 3 grand "kids" stayed here. At bedtime Adam took Jerry under his wing while Sue bunked with Penny. Having no crib around for 5 weeks old Steven I bunked him down in the top dresser drawer in our room, where his mother located him sleeping quite soundly, on her return.
The following is copied from an old paper I have, and is at least 40 years old. Anyway here it is for whatever good it will do.
The Housewife, tired of the beastly grind, turned loose some thoughts that were in her mind;
When her husband came home from his toil at night she said the world didn't treat her right.
"I'm always doing the same old chores, I'm always sweeping the same old floors,
I'm always washing the same old frocks and darning the holes in the same old socks.
I'm sick and tired of this wretched life! There is no joy for a poor man's wife".
The wife of the rich man sighed and said "Gee Whiz! a dame might as well be dead.
I'm always doing my social chores,
I'm always choosing the proper gowns, I'm always motoring through the town,
I'm always doing the same old thing, I wish I had ten foot wings!
I'd fly away to a lowly cot and do a stunt with a coffee pot!.
We all grow tired of the work we do, and sigh and rant till the air is blue.
But it does no good, and it bales no hay, and the wise man chases such thoughts away.
The world improves each year, because each man in his little sphere,
takes off his jacket and grins and sings, and keeps on doing the same old things.
Isn't this gorgeous weather? Now don't get me wrong--These hot summer days that simply jerk the crops along. These rains to feed their ever-growing thirst. The lovely nights (when the storms aren't covering up the man in the moon), the fruit ripening, and the gardens justbursting with good things to eat, and for canning.
Of course it's hot and sultry, and we like to hunt for the shade with a cool glass, and bemoan the weather and its Vagarities.
Wishing for cooler weather? Remember last winter? Remember that 18 degrees below zero on Ground Hog Day last February? Remember all those snowdrifts, all the ice, all those coal piles melting away like snow under a hot sun? I'll say it's gorgeous weather.
It's simply grand!
Well we were finally able to cross over to our south bottom field. And true to our expectations the tomato patch there is nil. The water from our onion patch ran over onto the potatoes and got in their eyes, so a lot of them sort of wept away. Anyway, it could have been worse. We aren't living around Kansas City, with its tremendous overflow.
All our family at home here spent last Wednesday evening,the 18th, at the Russell Kite home down beyond Catlin, near Westville. The occasion was in honor of a couple of birthdays between the two families. Jr.Kite was three years old on the 19th, and Sgt.Richard Hoskins was 20 on the 18th. Dick was presented with a large white cake, with the usual greetings for the occasion,and a candle ring of 20 candles. Junior's cake was to be presented to him the following day.
Flash pictures were taken, the evening was spent in square dancing and part of the time we fought mosquitoes when stepping outside to get a breath of air. From the porch we watched a beautiful electrical display of a storm to the south of us.
Guests of the evening were Miss Ardith Poynter, Hillery and Jess Wilson of Danville.
Dick's leave terminated Friday and he returned to Cherry Point, N.C., for another year in the service.
Arlo Furrow of Danville was up Friday afternoon and Don Stunkard came with him. Don and Adam made a beeline for the creek to catch some frogs. Yes they bagged several.
By taking a thermos jug of water over to Adam, who was running the tractor Saturday mid-morning, I got a chance to chat with neighbor Jane Farnsworth. She was just starting to pick Tommy up from a nap he'd decided to take in his sandpile. Well he didn't nap after my crew lit in there. He was soon busy entertaining the kids. Before I left, Alberta and Sid turned up. They'd been over home to see us and finally located me.
Sid and Alberta spent several days at Niles and Grand Rapids with relatives. Enthusiastic over the trip they'd come out to acquaint me with the details. Kind of sorry we didn't go along.
Aunt Dora Taylor and several members of her clan from down east of Westville were at Truman Hoskins' for a while Sunday and later came out here for a few hours' visit. She is a sister to Truman.
Bill McReynolds and Clarence Shane Jr. of Chanute Field and Rantoul were also out in the evening; and several carloads of people arrived at various hours thru the day, wanting to fish, as muddy as it still is, or they were lost.
These little side roads are like magnets, people just can't resist their call. They trek out from the city come spring, and continue all summer and fall.
Each hill and curve is a puzzle, at each crossroad a decision is made. The turn in the road sort of beckons, Oh what's over beyond the next glade ?
Mr. and Mrs. John Hoskins and children attended the gathering of Mrs.Hoskins family at the home of the Misses Edith and Dorothy Nugent, Near Fairmount. Others attending were Mr.and Mrs. Wilbur Thompson, West Lebanon,Ind; Ralph and Clark Thompson and Mr. and Mrs. Louis Thompson, all of Indianopolis, Ind., the John Kellys, East Roselawn Ave., Danville, and the Ernest Rogers Family, Oakwood.
Monday afternoon a car pulled up and lo and behold it was Waunetta Griffin accompanied by Grace Jameson. As we'd not seen one another for months and months we certainly enjoyed ourselves for about three solid hours. Waunetta got out her camera and promptly began to "shoot" the place up. I got one shot of her in the process. And in the meantime we awaited mosquitoes. Boy! are they fierce.
The kids recently removed the bell rope and made a swing, and Waunetta and Grace were both wanting to ring the bell. I get a kick out of hearing it myself, so I'll get myself a new bell rope.
Since Bill, Pete and Adam were All busy Sunday helping finish up the display arrangement for which the two oldest work, and Eva was off visiting, Harry, feeling better from his sick spell of last week, and I loaded up the four smallest fry, bought some groceries at a market enroute and headed over along the Wabash in the "tin can", so dubbed by Mrs. Agusti, (which is as befitting as any we have found so far)
Over beyond Perrysville and down the riverlands, the river really cleaned house in the corn fields and bean patches--rows and rows of accurately placed sticks were marching across denuded mud patches, making queer little three or four inch high fences, every eighteen inches, all tapering off at the far reaches of the flooded field; stubborn little skeletons of stubble, reaped by the river's forces.
Away from the river, and how the new houses are sprouting up. One was set back possibly a hundred feet right in the middle of a corn field, with the whole family turned out--picnic baskets in evidence--and the roof almost on. The corn had just been moved in on, odd surviving stalks here and there. People will have a home, notwithstanding, according to their means and ability.
This reminds me of the constant deluge of requests Harry receives from boys over at Chanute, "Where can I find a place to live? " Wearing a uniform sure plays havoc with a fellow's home life.
Mrs. Cossairt's inferences of two weeks ago--well, one can only do what one can do. Pictures always help to make a book, but many a good book doesn't need pictures.
July 27th journal shows more local news. I certainly like that. Lots of folks, like myself, don't get around and local news is welcome news. Seems to me that Potomacites are rather reticent with this news business. After all, when a little burg like ours can boast a local paper, it does look like folks would back it the limit. We do our best by the schools, others go all out with church and charity, etc. Why not do the same with the best medium that we have to cover all of these elements together.
Some of our neighboring towns actually contribute a lot more news to the Journal, although much smaller in size than Potomac and, after all, you are news to me, and I to you. Few of us, indeed, are there who don't get a kick out of seeing ourselves in print. (Maybe that's why a couple of us are presumptious enough to stick our necks out every week). After "Neighbor Talk" and "Hills of Hawbuck" are contributed per gracis, we just like to do this, since the articles seem paperworthy to the editors, and a hobby with us.
Believe me, I could name a lot of folks whose contributions could outshine mine, as far as value and
ability are concerned. There are flower specialists, hobbyists, cooks with scrumptious recipes, folks who've been around, boys overseas and stateside, too, who could tell us about lots of places they've seen, old-timers with bits of history, homefolks who have settled off somewhere and take the local paper; There's always company, reunions, trips and whatever, and then there are interesting little poems and articles one likes to hand along to others, either contributed from some other printed matter, or original by the sender.
The possibilities are all there, who's nervy enough to try it? Someone will always criticize, if that's the
drawback, but they criticize if you do and they criticize if you don't--any old way. Besides, Criticism brings forth better efforts next time, and the number who enjoy the articles will always outnumber the "grumps". This is all my own idea, not the editor's, so let the blame rest where it belongs. But we ought to make Mr. and Mrs. Craw get up and hump to get our money's worth out of that subscription.
A couple of old hens rambled in out of the bushes, last week, leading their offspring and clucking and chirping like all get out. One of the pups got a flopping by getting too nosey. Anyway looks like a few frys will be available when the present crop is expended.
Rather a week of varied accomplishments, and doubly so, since my helper "little Eve" has been gone, and that left me with all the dishes, all the washing, and all else, as she usually does about half of these jobs (although not always willingly--if anyone knows "kids"). She wrote home, signing her name--of all things--"Eve", stealing the same racket I claimed when about her age. Oh, well, we're all daughters (or sons) of Eve,so they say, and I guess the oldest name in the world is still tops in our family. Sometimes I'm prone to think she doesn't do very much, so I guess her trip was doubly worth while, and here I go "doubly" again. Wherefore did I get stuck with that word?
Ever notice how you often tangle with a certain word or expression and it just keeps popping out at you
frequently for a time.
Canning tomatoes is doubling up on me, as they are really ripening fast, and then a lot of folks besides
ourselves are eager to can some, too. One of our favorite dishes is "fried green tomatoes", and we do have a time trying to convince folks they're really good. Then along came an acquaintance in a really nice car, and dressed well, who desired a few green ones in a bushel of red ones, just to "fry". You'd think a hillbilly dish like fried green tomatoes wouldn't rate much with a city acquaintance. Just goes to show!
Two trips to Danville for Harry and I, two washings,and then a second trip to Montecello to the Allerton Park to bring Eva home from a week at art school. Doubles again. Next week I'll try and tell you folks about that particular place-- it's really wonderful.
Down here in Hawbuck I find a neighbor has had a birthday. Ella Jane Britt had a birthday on August 8. How old is she? well, that's not for me to tell. She received a number of lovely presents from her immediate family. However the occasion was marred by the death of her sister, Lucille's husband, Perry Brown, of Danville. He was Uncle Perry to us, being a twin to Harry's mother, Carrie Hoskins, who died last January 3.
By having to call for Eva at noon on Saturday, we were unable to make it back in time for the funeral.
The hoodoo still seems to be working on our not being able to meet the Bryants out our way. They drove down through the "Hills" on Friday evening and by meeting on a curve we did
get over in the ditch, but cleared each other. That's once we almost met.
Sunday was kind of an "open house" day here; Harry worked but I had plenty doing, with keeping the grandkids and being the recipient of another dog for Harry to train. The John Taylors, of Michigan Ave., Danville, were out, then the Sidwells, The Shumates, and Orville and Ella Jane Britt all arrived after noon, besides a carload wanting to fish, and another carload of "lost" folks trying to find how to get out of these here "Hills".
Jane Farnsworth has had her nephew, Jimmy Thompson, about 10, of near Danville, visiting her for a few days. Being lonely for company, he was brought over to play here. Well, my kids promptly proceeded to entertain him. One proceeded to dunk the pup in the branch, another was stopped in the middle of half wringing a chicken's neck. Some cane poles left here by a Rantoul fisherman were turned into spears, and I finally gave up and let them go. After the newness wore off they finally compromised on just playing cowboy and ordinary fun. It seems each new acquaintance must be shown "the works", regardless of the
consequences. Just as long as they don't get too rugged for the newcomers, I guess I shouldn't worry. They all seem to enjoy it.
Well, by now the Sergeant should be back at his home base at Cherry Point. Dick has been on a training cruise off the coast of Connecticut, being based for the term at Quonset,R.I. The carrier to which he was assigned is the Tarawa. He said it rides far easier than he anticipated, and, while he always gets sick on a plane, he didn't during this cruise. Well, that's fine, but my guess is if he had ever been down in one of those tropical storms he'd have been plenty seasick. When sailors tie themselves in their sacks and the dishes travel up the wall, who could help themselves? I've been told by those who've been there--'Tain't funny. But for all concerned we're glad that phase of his training is over.
It was open house at Chanute Field again on Monday. Did you notice all those planes flying around? It was "Flying Farmers' Day" from Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. Several hundred were due, and more came than they (the firefighters) figured would. Well, if two of them had crossed up, which can happen, you know, the fellows on the crash crew would have had a job to do.
This week was the Fall Festival, next week is Old Settlers and the week after,--SCHOOL.
Things just happen so fast.
An Open letter to Woman's Club.
Some of the most interesting things seem to happen to this one family. Seemingly trivial to a lot of folks, they are the sum and substance of our living, and we are a family that tries to enjoy every minute of it that we can. As far as worldly goods are concerned, we haven't a lot, and we can't take it with us,
but such goods are nice to have to enjoy while we can.
But back to one of those interesting things, and not so trivial for all of that.
Through the Woman's Club, a trip to art school for a week, was made possible for our 16 year old girl, Eve. She was more than pleased (and so were all the family) when informed that she was privileged to go.
The Woman's clubs of Illinois are each entitled to send one student to the Robert Allerton Park for one week of art schooling, during a special session of two weeks. The student has a choice of either week, whichever may be the more convenient.
There were around 60 young folks all of high school age; 12 of them were boys attending the first week's session. There were, besides the superintendent and the assistants he had, several women to supervise the students. One of these, Mrs. L.K.Segur, of Watseka, is the art chairman of the Woman's Clubs to which the Potomac members belong.
Then there were three teachers and the students were divided into groups of about 20 each. There were three classes daily of about one hour and thirty minutes each, the three falling under a different teacher each period. This method gave them all the benefit of each instructor's class once a day. Each evening two hours were spent at an evening program in the large library. In all there were only about two and a half hours of free time throughout the day to explore the park.
While one week seems to be far too short to be worthwhile, I find that Eva has learned a number of things that I have failed to teach her, or didn't know myself. At that her present ability is as good as mine was at the same age. However, I was fortunate to have four full credits of this subject in the Potomac High School. But the interim of twenty-odd years and not keeping in practice has left me outmoded.
Mrs.Segur stated that if youngsters must have so much music they should also have some art instruction. She is correct, but I think if a child's ability is more along the lines of art, and they cannot encompass both, art teaching should be available as well as musical instruction.
Musical instruction is practically standard equipment in today's school, while art and kindred handicrafts are not. I do know that there has been quite a lack of teachers in this branch, which accounts for the inability of a small community school like ours to afford such instruction. But it certainly would be nice if such could be acquired. Eventually it may be that more interest will draw more to this profession, as it is now being recognized as an essential branch of commercial work.
We do have painting and drawing in the grade schools, which is done mostly by the "copy method". Very little originality is brought out in this manner. Anyone can copy, not everyone can originate.
Now about Allerton Park, itself. It is located four miles west of mid-town Monticello, about 23 miles
southwest of Champaign. It is just 65 miles from here and as it is the art branch of the University of Illinois, the grounds are open to the public but the buildings are not.
If anyone reading this likes to see something worthwhile, they would find it well worth their time and
trouble to visit this park.
Yes, you can picnic in the park. There is a parking lot (no charge), and beyond that you will find tables and benches close by; Also drinking fountains. But don't go barefooted (no open toes or spikes), wear good solid oxfords, as most of the walks and drives are white crushed rock, and there are acres and acres of parks and more parks, and many, many gardens full of walks and driveways. You can even walk atop the wall of one garden. And you will walk during most of your sightseeing as many of the
car drives are barricaded.
Take plenty of film, for before you know it, you will be "snapped out" of your supply, for there are SO many interesting things. Every time you turn a corner or round a curve you'll want to take another picture (or paintone).
While we were there twice, we only got a head start to see all there is to see. Even by being there a week and scouting around between classes, Eva didn't get to see some of the more distant show-places that she was told about.
The Park is simply a 6000 acre estate with a big beautiful brick mansion, about midway of the place and the grounds are landscaped into the most unusual gardens. Many of them are formal and geometrical, others rather like a backyard flower garden. Sometimes you walk through a gate from one into another more intricate than the one just passed through; again, you'll walk out through natural woods for some distance and suddenly find yourself at another and different kind of garden. The parks and gardens and the woodlands are studded with large statues of both human and animal forms, swans, fish and centaurs;
one found in the far reaches of the place is a large figure atop a pedestal,which in turn is mounted in the
center of a huge concrete platform, eight steps up from the surrounding lawn. This is entitled the "Sun Singer" and he stands with upraised arms facing the midday sun.
Hedges are clipped and boxed to perfection.
Allerton House faces the west, and, steps down from the lawn, arrive at a walk built on a wall along the edge of a fish pond of about two or three acres in size. The pond is alive with small fish and some goldfish. The walks have flowers along many of them and there are lots of lilies blooming everywhere. Around decoration day it must be beautiful, as the grounds have peony almost anywhere you look.
Evergreen trees of all kinds are in groves, clusters or singly, and many species of this tree are used along the walks and drives, making them seem longer and more lovely.
About every kind of plant native to this region, or that can be acclimated, are found here. A large greenhouse is part of the garden grounds.
Upon arriving at the gateway you drive for at least a mile along a cedar-bordered road, and cross the Sangamon River on an arched concrete bridge. In fact, the estate is on both sides of this historical stream.
In the drama, "Forever This Land", being presented at New Salem Park, there is given a song "Gonna Build My Cabin on The Sangamon", which here might be revised, "Gonna Build My Mansion on The Sangamon".
By registering a pupil we were allowed inside the house, itself, and many of the students, of which Eva was one, were assigned rooms upstairs. Others were quartered in the "Gate-House". In her room there were four single beds and a combination desk with drawers, for each bed; also an extra chest and two comfortable chairs beside the desk chairs. You may gather the size of the one bedroom from this description.
There are two wings at the west and east ends of the main house, forming a large court on the north side of the building. The east wing, with it's big doors, was formerly the carriage house, now converted into a large airy cafeteria. The entrance hall, itself, is ten feet wide and about forty feet long. The lounge and sunparlor are as fine as many modern hotels. The library, that I didn't get to see, is large and complete, extending two stories up, with a balcony around the room at the second floor height.
But any way I tell it, I couldn't do justice to it, you'd just have to see it for yourself. So maybe I'd
better quit ranting about something I'll probably never get back to see. For a two hour drive and a day's
sightseeing you should put this picturesque place on your list of things to see.
And while my little neck of the woods seems wild and rather somber alongside of it, I did see some corners within this same big park, to which my Hawbuck Hills are equal.
So Harry and I and our family take this occasion to thank all those people through whose cooperation Eva's week of schooling was made possible. --The Hoskins from the Hills of Hawbuck.
"Hills of Hawbuck
My" Hills" lie low beneath the sky
Nestling humbly, snug and shy;
And strangers often pass them by,
--My Hills of Hawbuck!
The birds, the trees, the gleaming
The seasons change from snow to
o'er them clouds e'er build white
--Above my Hills of Hawbuck!
From turbulent times so heckling,
Their quiet peace keeps beckoning.
To them I turn with reckoning
--To my Hills of Hawbuck!
Whene're from them I need depart,
They sort of pull and draw my
Kind of keep of me, a part,
--In my Hills of Hawbuck!
I love them as no other place.
So, when I leave, I hasten pace,
to turn again with eager face
--Back to my Hills of Hawbuck!
I seldom care to travel long,
And nowhere else do I belong.
Forever in my heart this song,
--My home, my Hills of Hawbuck!
They're neither grand, nor picturesque;
No far-flung fame or name behest,
But to the native, they are best
--The quiet Hills of Hawbuck!
How colorful the rustic scenes
of groves and fields and wandering
To others, drear, sometimes it seems,
--Not so to me, My Hills of Hawbuck!
At night the stars draw so near,
By day the "Hills" enchanting, clear.
For through the seasons of the year,
--They're my Hills of Hawbuck.
Their patience seems so timelessly
Their beauty, after all, to me,
Is really home, at that, you see
--Those lowly Hills of Hawbuck.
To every man his castle tall,
Surrounded by a garden wall;
To me these "Hills" encompass all
--My spacious Hills of Hawbuck.
Each one here has hopes and fears,
We laugh and play and shed our
We work to meet Life's evening
--Amid these Hills of Hawbuck.
Our days are full of pulsing life;
Sometimes at ease, 'midst toil and
For such our days are ever rife
--Here in our Hills of Hawbuck.
When I am gone, my one request
To those I leave what I bequest;
Let me lie where life was best
--Among my Hawbuck Hills.
By Eva Hoskins
" IF - - -"
A boy sits quietly in the warm
Watching the flight of the birds
and the bees,
Caring not for time nor tide,
with a fishing pole at his side.
If only we could sit by a stream,
No worries, no cares, just sit there
If only we could live for a while,
The life of that boy, with freedom
and a smile.
Oh, if we could but recall
from memory's great hall,
A few of those happy years;
Oh, if time could but return,
Would our hearts be so stern?
Or would peace reign again
THE DOLLAR 'N THE CENT
A big silver dollar and a little
Rolling along together they went,
Rolling along the smooth sidewalk,
When the dollar remarked--for the
the dollar can talk;
You poor little cent, you cheap
I'm bigger and more than twice as
I'm worth more than you a hundred-
And written on me in letters bold
Is the motto drawn from the pious
"In God We Trust," which all can
"Yes I know", said the cent.
I'm a cheap little mite and I
I'm not big nor good nor bright.
And yet" said the cent with a meek
"You don't go to chruch as often
-- Wall Street Journal
"JUST FOR A WHILE"
Short years ago---- remember?
God lent you a son.
He knew your hearts were
So with care, He chose this one.
A little like his mother
Some say he's like his dad,
But still in all, you will agree
He waw the best that could be had.
In his eyes he wore a twinkle
of some fun he'd had, or planned;
In his heart he knew his feelings
You would surely understand.
With each day he made life fuller
with his childish escapades,
Forget that? Maybe someday,
But your love for him won't fade.
Yes, God only lends them to us,
And where Mickey is tonight;
Can't you see him smiling,waving,
Saying "see mom, I'm alright".
God has something pretty special
planned up here for me to do,
So,so long, mom, 'n dad, 'n sis,
Someday, I'll be seeing you.
The above poem is dedicated to
Mickey Kendall and was written
July 8,1951, to a neighbor who had
lost her 7 year old son to leukemia.
The poem was written by Mrs. Mary
Jane Yard of 437 Westmoreland,
" MY GARDEN "
As I wander down my garden path
in the cool, fresh morning air,
Every flower so bright and glowing
seems nodding to me there.
The air, so sweet and dewey,
is heavy with perfume;
I feel a quietness and peace
while in this outdoor room.
The hollyhocks stand so primly
along my garden wall,
They flaunt their colors bright
With ruffled bonnets all.
The pansies look up smiling,
from the bed close by my feet;
They seem like little faces,
so clean and bright and sweet.
There stand my glads, a host
The lovely, lovely things,
With purple waistcoats and bright
Some with golden wings.
Flowers have such wonderous
Such colors rich and rare,
If God is in this world of ours,
He is in my garden there!
What with everything doing a big rush on me the past week or so, I managed not to manage this half-baked column last week, and almost let this one slip by. Knowing I do have a half-dozen or so amused readers, and about as many more who aren't, I decided to cut loose again.
School changed our daily program again. After getting the "working men" of the family off by seven the balance of this tribe usually struggled out by eight o'clock. Which had its merits. No kids underfoot while flipping flapjacks, or jostling the contents of the hot percolator down someone's neck. Now, they're all tangling and jamming up traffic. In the open spaces of the kitchen, and with this weather they're whining about "it's C-o-o-o-o-l-d," So the stove is the center of attractions, externally as well as internally.
Then we're making progress towards moving.
Yep, them Hoskinses is on the move again.
But only two miles up the road and only temporarily.
Since our road commissioner hasn't managed any road repairs, and these late rains have been terrific, there's a few really tough places for the school bus to negotiate so, Knowing this empty house up on the Dow Acton farm was available, we got busy, saw the owner, and this week sees us moving the necessary equipment to said house, which puts us on the main road, therefore the bus makes no side-trip, the mailbox is in plain sight instead of 3/4 mile away; there are telephone wires going by, But no phone yet.
There's no electricity and the well is under the hill--isn't that awful? But the same circumstances exist
here, so we're no worse off, just sort of out of the frying pan and into the fire. I got a real view of these
"Hills" I'm writing about--and that brings up another point.
Seems as tho, according to an old resident, Charley Cooper, that what I've been claiming as Hawbuck, or rather the edge of Hawbuck, used to be called "Shake Rag" by the Hawbuckers, back about a century, or less ago. The Hawbuckers were the farmers hereabouts and the woodcutters, or the timber folks, whose plots were small and uncleared, having lesser income or maybe less variety to trade for their living needs were the poorer class of people. And when they gathered together for their socials, usually "cabin dances," their clothing, it seems, was not quite as stylish as the farmers wore, or possibly it was
the fact that they danced in their work clothes, which must also stand up as play clothes, too, no doubt. So the cabin dances were duly dubbed "Shake Rags," and thus evolved the name for the timber cutters' locale.
So, now Harry and I are rather puzzled as to whether we are "Shake Rags" or "Hawbuckers", our 40 acre domain is timber pasture and we're farming the 217 acre place next door--you answer that one.
And from here I jump to mid-ocean. Son Richard is now aboard the USS Roosevelt, heading for the
Mediterranean, where he'll spend the next four months. His new address is Sgt. R.L. Hoskins, V.M.F.224-CV.B.42.USS F.D.R. c/o FPO, New York City, N.Y.
He volunteered for a transfer from his old squadron in order to get this assignment. "Join the Navy (Marines) and see the World is in reality quite a bit different from the colorful "line" fed to eager youngsters, aren't it?
The fellows over at the crash station sort of all moved in en masse Sunday, some with their wives and
babies, curious to investigate the new quarters--Offers of free paint jobs, repairs, etc., exchange for another fried chicken dinner were in the making and all called it quits when Harry dragged out the scythe and demonstrated it. But it was Sunday and they had o n their "Sunday Best" We had fried chicken one evening last week and 16 gathered 'round while "pop" as Harry is called, demonstrated his skill at cooking southern fried chicken. The big old yellow roaster cane out of the oven full--but didn't stay that way very long. The evening started out as a "fish fry" but the luck was poor, so we substituted. There were New Yorkers, Missourians, Wisconsin boys and some from North Carolina lined up, as well as a few from good old Illinois. Funny thing, one kid from North Carolina is with Harry and our youngster is stationed in the same town where some of his folks are living. They call our place "Little Chanute."
My Dad's cousin, Charley Wilson of near State Line, drove over Sunday and also one of the crowd out here. Being a vet of World War I the lingo wasn't too strange to him. Anyhow, he probably could have told those boys a few things.
The tomato pickers are the "busiest folks" there are right now.
Orvy Britt, the "Ketchup King," as we tease him, is really hauling out tomatoes. Any reports of the Kinneys and Tarters belongs in the Higginsville column. But this reminds me of Mrs. Cossairt's recent comment on goats--the little girl goat we had is now a resident of Britt's front yard--and they keep her tied. (They'd better.) Pete was going to shoot her one day a while back for parking atop his oldsmobile. She slid off down over the windshield visor once in trying to get off fast, and squashed the thing.
But the oldsmobile passed out of the family picture Sunday morning. Pete traded it in on a '46 Chevy. So that's why Pop's driving to Chanute, Monday, in a newer car.
John swapped cars on Saturday, got another Mercury and it's blue; this accounts for his change of color.
And I find poetry seems to rule the day in This past week's issue of the Journal. I wonder what Nelle
Burkhart was doing, she'd ought to have had her hand in, too! Did everyone get the fever all at once?
Ed Note--No, not quite all at once. A couple of them I'd had laid back temporarily while I tried to get in dated copy and then just decided to run them "all" at once. Too bad Nelle didn't have an entry. I find these "home talent" poems very enjoyable and I'm sure others do, too.
Funny how quickly folks fall into new habits of doing things, as soon as they change to another location. At first it was sort of bothersome, losing track of a lot of gimcracks and oddments, such as knives, pans, soap, shoe polish or towels, and the hundred and one other daily necessities. Everything seems to get lost at a time like that. Anyway, I can see the mailbox from where I sit, which is quite a novelty for me. Moving in is always a real chore, and it can either be tragic or funny, according to
Having stayed put for over five years this last time and only moving only about 2 miles up the road, we sort of made a gala affair of the job. Harry says the reason he decided to move was so we wouldn't get out of practice. We now live "daid center" of Hawbuck-- think I'll get Pop to run for Mayor come spring.
Before moving here this big old empty house looked rather lost and forlorn, the woods were higher than our heads and the spiders and wasps and bees-- the bees seemed to be reigning supreme.
Everyone kept ducking and dodging and walking clear of their location till Sunday, when we decided it would be either them or us. We started a campaign of smoking them out-- three hours of it before we could open the weather boarding and get at their luscious hoard. But we made it.
After it was all over and we were flicking off the stragglers and licking sticky fingers, we were crowing
over the fact that no one got stung when Harry put a glove back on to do a little more work and socko! One had crawled into the mitt, promptly dealing out revenge when crowded out by his hand. Adam stepped back into a gang of the stickled-up little "beasts" that we had dumped off the comb and two or three were getting back their flying ability so that their flight ended up his britches legs. At his jumping all around, the pup bounced away from underfoot and collected a sting on one forefoot. People usually like to crow--and for once we crowed too soon. But the result was worth it.
Mrs. Gruel and part of her family stopped by during this risky pastime, but didn't tarry long. Too much
"honeying around" said she.
Since Harry has gone to work for Duncan Brothers, which is why you see him around the old home town again.
Bill was 18 September 2, so now he's registered as a possible recruit for the U.S Army.
Dick wrote last week that he was leaving Norfolk, Va., on Labor Day, for his trip to the Mediterranean area.
Harry and son, Harry, helped Arlo Furrow lay the foundation for a now house last Wednesday, so Penny and I visited with Lucille.
John and Kay Hoskins and babies drove to Chesterton, Ind., up near Michigan City, last Tuesday, and stayed overnight with Bob and Evelyn Layton. Bob and Evelyn had stayed with them the previous night while down here on a visit with their folks.
Clifford Kitchen sprained an ankle at Ball practice last week and it has sort of fouled up his playing on the ball team right now.
I took advantage of the shower the other night and got out the tubs to catch wash water. I caught plenty for the job, all right, but the ducks beat me to it.
Bittersweet, that beautiful berry that crowns treetops and fence rows on winding, twining vines, and which glows like a warm fire from a distance each fall, is with us again. More lovely than last year, or so it always seems.
Last Monday, I received some long-awaited photographs of son, Richard, and were we glad to get them! "We" being not only the Hoskins tribe but also his girl in Hillery.
Two large colored portraits, one for Ardith and one for Mom.
Then comes a big newsy letter 16 pages long. Among other things he stated that he had his sea legs, and was beginning to like life aboard ship. Also he was fortunate to run into four local boys, two brothers of Lafayette, Ind., Clarence Tate of Armstrong and young Harvey Bogard of Jamesburg. So it all boils down to a pretty small world at that. Half-way around the globe and then run into kids who live just about next door.
"Hello boys, hope you enjoy reading this."
Well back home down here in the "Hills", Oky Pollit is hauling out for Jesse Stone in the company truck. The Humphrey boys are hauling sacks of fertilizer by and spreading it on their fields south of here about a mile or so. Orvy Britt has been able to let up on the tomato picking and is dressing up in the field across the road from us for wheat. Mabel "Shanks" Nixon is the new Fuller Brush "man", I mean saleslady hereabouts. And the three most important events of the day for Penny--8:15 AM the
school bus picks up the kids, 11:30 the mailman stops and at 4 in the evening the school bus unloads again.
The cake walk last Saturday night turned out pretty well,it seems. Won, Bill and Eva, who are juniors and who both therefore were interested in the event, seemed to think this column a good place to thank the people who helped make it a success. So, Bill as president of the class wishes to thank Gilbert Anderson for the hookup of the lights and George Borror for doing the job. The Amvets for use of their wire. McGowens for the lights. Charley Jester for the room to care for the cakes and Bea Behimer for allowing them to blockade the street. (And Pete sure liked the cake he won).
Sunday, Young Harry and Pfc. Terry Echels of Chanute Field drove to the Shades for a picnic (Yes they took that cake along).
Due to a lost title we were Crosley-less for about three weeks. We took the little peanut roaster back and left it until things were cleared up. A letter last Thursday sent us hiking,no rambling right down after it. Really didn't realize its usefulness, nor our fondness for the little buzz buggy until we got it back. The landlord says it won"t take the knocks that a big car will. No and a big car won"t go where that thing's been either.
Once this summer Harry was notified not to leave it on the sidewalk any more. Well, it had been parked properly but some of the kids about town decided it looked better on the sidewalk. So that's where they lifted it to. And Pete drove it away via the sidewalk route.
In a big family, especially one like this, where they are all livewires, tradition has it that "like father like son", and now it's running in the grandkids.
John, enroute to work Wednesday, stopped over at page's for gas and discovered two of the family of pups belonging to him stowed away in the back of the car. At home about the same time Kathryn kept hearing a pup crying and hunted around for it. She finally tackled the ice box, and found one safely deposited therein but shivering and shaking like on a cold winter day. Not to be out-done by Sue's
stunt (these were her tricks), little Jerry disappeared and after some frantic searching and calling his mother found him asleep in the doghouse.
Probably figured he'd find out what it's like to be in the doghouse when he's head of the house some future day.
Time for the mailman and here I go again. Sure beats all how fast the week can roll around.
Bill, Eva and young Harry have all been on the sick list the past several days, and it seems there's been
quite a good deal of this short and severe attack making the rounds lately.
About all the wheat is in around here and soybeans are on the present harvesting list. Won't be long until the cornpickers will be rolling. Sure a far cry from corn shucking days, if you are old enough to remember,--on clear, still mornings, when everything was coated with a heavy, white frost,one could hear the slow popping against the bangboards of nearby shucking wagons, the creak of the wagon creeping across the frozen fields, the teamsters call to the horses and often there would be other wagons
farther away that could still be heard, sort of a dim echo to the ones near at hand. Memories are appealing. While the backbreaking labor fades into the distance with time. Who'd go back to all that ?
Ardith Poynter of Hillery was up awhile Sunday afternoon for a call.
Later in the day the Doyle family of Rantoul stopped by. Mr Doyle had been going over his place South of us and the kids were collecting leaves and bittersweet. Out on the prairie where they live, they haven't any timber to enjoy such as we have around home, here.
About 1 A.M. Sunday, six carloads from the square dance out at the Potomac Park routed Harry and I and the smaller fry out of bed, with their car horns and yelling, and racing their motors. Sounded worse than a charivari.
Fred Hoskins and family of Williamsport, Ind., and George and Hattie Quick of Niles, Mich., were the
ringleaders of the bunch, so out came the coffeepot and cups and we visited till the wee small hours of the
After all, what's the fun of living, if you don't enjoy yourself.
Monday evening, Harry with John, Pete, and Bill, Frank Auten and Art Edenburn tackled the interior of the White Kitchen with paint brushes and did a job of face lifting on the ceiling and walls. The business has changed hands and is now leased by Jack and Lucy Quick of Niles, Mich., and being managed by Flossie Ellis. Anyway, its Quick service now, either way you figure it.
Al May and Bill Stockland stopped by Wednesday evening a while.
Johnny Hoskins was on the sick list two days the past week.
Pollits are fall plowing for Bill Thatcher, down near Snyder Corner.
A truck loaded with the household goods of the Frank Schmink family went by about sundown the other evening. We've lost another family from Hawbuck.
Our grandkids' antics of last week are being challenged by little Tommy Farnsworth. Wednesday of this week he managed to scare his parents "half to death" when they discovered him missing from the family domain. After frantic searching of the house and buildings, the water trough and the branch back behind, and after calling and calling he was finally located on his grandparents' front porch, all of a quarter-mile distant (as the crow flies). Of course he was quite unconcerned over the whole affair.
After all, he knew where he was all the time, didn't he ?
Over in pence, Ind., it was Aunt Rilly Hoskins' 78th birthday on Tuesday and we happened by for a couple of hours' visit. While in that town we met another Potomacite, Curt Grider, delivering goods for the company he works for. Seems that it was Curt's last day with the firm,as he went to Inedianopolis, Ind., Wednesday, to begin a six weeks' course of schooling.
Hawbuck seems to be in an upheaval of moving. Maybe we started something, with our own restlessness. Recently the Frank Schmink family moved from down here and now the Albert Shank family is leaving us, locating in Bismark. Next, Jr. and Jane Farnsworth will leave the Doyle place,
moving to the Shank farm, which I understand they have purchased. Mr. Doyle's present plans are to move to his property from Rantoul, sometime this winter, and George Jones is soon having a sale and moving up here where Schminks vacated. At least that is the local understanding.
Kind of a periodical upset, that will settle into a new groove for another period of time. And time marches along, things never staying the same.
The other day Harry, Penny and I and the dogs went exploring. All my life I've been past a rather desolate and woody looking patch that lies just across the road from our house. Friday was the first time I ever set foot inside the fence. I was really surprised. It was not the ugly, deserted bit of landscape that appears to the eye, but contains quite a bit of lovely scenery back inside. Like a lot of people, the distant and outer appearance shown to the public hides the real warmth and beauty inside.
Thursday, October 4 was the birthday anniversary of Harold, our youngest, who was 7 and John;, the oldest, who is 25.
A long letter from son, Richard, with information that on September he underwent an appendectomy. Writing about it on the 29th his condition was OK, except that he couldn't keep from laughing at the antics of some of his sick bay buddies, and then his side would hurt. Anyone who's been through that knows how it is. Well, his location at the time of his letter was near Sicily.
Folks with kids in uniform can probably understand how it is for them to become acquainted with families hundreds of miles from home, and how they feel about being free to come and go, and be treated as one of those families. According to those who are fortunate to be accorded this privilege it is quite a treat, and most of the boys so treated will seldom abuse the privilege. However, a few do. (But so do civilians, don't they? And of course these boys were and will be civilians again we hope.) So it is
a rare treat and a pleasant one when the family of a service man you know and like arrives on the scene and you make their acquaintance.
Mr. and Mrs. George Forman of Pittsford, N.Y.,(near Rochcster N.Y.) and parents of Sgt.James D.Forman, Chanute Field, were weekend visitors of their son, and with them were Mrs. Edna Luke of East Rochester, an aunt, and his cousin, Arline Wolf, of Webster, N.Y. Jim as we call him, works with Harry, so we met them at the square dance out at the park. Due to the bad weather and motor trouble they experienced coming down here their visit was cut short and they were unable to stay over Sunday as they
From down Vandalia way comes news of plans for their annual masked parade at Hallowe'en time and square dancing on the street. What ho! You Potomacites, any plans cooked up for our local young folks? We'd like to know ahead of time, after all, that's something kids go all-out for (and older ones, too)
And why is it when one returns to an old habitat, after deserting it for another, that it still holds an
aura of remembrances that cling and twine through the lanes of memory, until you feel you should never have left? The rancho with the silver bell is still ours, and even tho' we don't live there now, and in spite of its shortcomings and drawbacks it has that appeal that only something that is your own gives you. Sometimes I wonder. Us hoomans air funny critters!
To those of you who read this
I'm not so good--but could do
A feelin' punk--and hove no sense
Like politicians on the fence
So undecided just what to do
I recon I'm happy--a thinkin'
On Thursday of last week the road grader made his rounds here on the "square" of Hawbuck. A trip down to the end of the road Friday and we discovered that the pilot grader had also made its rounds. Except for a couple of culverts, that drive is in real shape again.
Prospective purchasers were out this way Saturday, investigating our premises. Well, one never know.
Horse trading must be inherited. Harry still gets a kick out of swapping hoss flesh. Saturday he let go of Pete's Buckskin for a big black and we all kinda fell for the new arrival. Still and all, he's Pete"s horse, but shared by all of us. Sunday we tried him out and he works all ways, both with saddle and in harness. Albert insisted on taking some pictures so Dick will soon have some "snaps" of what he looks like.
Over Armstrong way Sunday morning to pick up Harry from work, we waited at Roy Ellets and I went in to visit with Marge for a few minutes. She was in the middle of an apple salad, that is she was making an apple salad, rather: her mother and dad, the Tutwilers of Jamesburg, arrived, Mrs. T. with a hot applesauce cake and 'm'm'm did it ever smell good. Roy and Marge had decided their cottage needed a new coat of paint, so the clan was together, about five families, and they really slung some paint, with a regular family dinner thrown in.
About noon, Sunday we went down to John's and discovered them packing essentials and what-nots prior to leaving these here hills to sojourn over in Indiana for a while. Bob and Evelyn Layton were also there, so John and Kay returned to Chesterton with them in the afternoon. If things work out to their satisfaction, they may move up there later. Chesterton is about 20 miles southwest of Michigan City. In the meantime we keep the calf, water the flowers and feed the dogs (their five and our four.)
Well, about the time they stopped by here for the final exchange of orders and requests, little Chanute
descended on us. Mac and Jane, the Webbs, the Hopkins and Mr. and Mrs. Sigmund of Fisher: also "Gud" Powell of Collison, brothers Al and ary, Dick Shanks and Larry Gritt, most of them interested in the new house. The fun, however, was in watching Jane learn to milk. From the big smoky city of Pittsburgh, she did quite well.
Once in a blue moon I'll receive a letter, popularly called "fan mail", well, something like that. They are few and far between, so when I'm lucky enough to rate one, I really get a "kick' out of it. Often when I get disgusted and think "aw, what's the use," along about that time will come one of those morale boosters (from the most unexpected source), then I pitch in and really put on the agony with some more of these here weekly family shenanigans, that don't amount to a hill of beans (at least the beans are good eatin").
The antics of our family recorded herein probably do entertain a few. Saturday nite"s cropper just goes to show that boys will be boys. With an upstairs that resounds like the soundboard of an auditorium, imagine the racket that proceeds with the collapsing of a bed. Two of the young bachelors in this family decided to investigate the stamina of said article by jumping aboard. It didn't have the backbone for that acrobatic endeavor, however. Arriving on the scene I found them sitting in the ruins, both calmly dressing for the square dance. And each promptly proceeded to blame the other. Since it was their
own bed, I left them to their own repair job.
All this reminds me of a tale told, and a true one, I believe, concerning the acrobatic stunts of some brothers of a generation back. The family were neighbors of Harry"s folks, comprising several wiry young sprouts, and, as the story goes, the boys were well quartered in an upstairs room at the end of the hallway. Their bed was opposite the door. On occasion (and often) it was a favorite sport to race each other up the stairs, down the hall and jump, full blast, into the middle of the bed. Sometimes one,sometimes all of them tried it at the same time. Naturally their mother grew irked at the repeated
One evening the program ran its usual course, terminating in the rout up the stairs and down the hall.
But the resulting chaos was slightly off-key, their forced landings, one on another, were in a bare corner. The black and blue tender spots resulting from this climactic episode cooled off their ardor for indoor diving. During their absence from home that day, their mother had moved the bed.
My compliments to Mrs. Mary Jane Yard on her poem. "Three Wishes" appearing in a recent issue of the Middlefork Journal. It was one of the most sincere I've ever read.
Les Jones' sale, held down in this neighborhood last Thursday, sure made Hawbuck a busy and dusty place from around ten o'clock on. I began to think we'd need a traffic cop.
Pollits disposed of a cow at the sale. Mr.Doyle of Rantoul was there, and a few outsiders got lost on these winding roads.
Finlay Stewart hauled himself some cobs the other morning, and shortly afterward I noted a corn-picker
heading his way. All afternoon I could hear it "chawing" away at the job of what used to be called "shuckin' corn".
The Ray Dunlaps are combining their Beans.
Harry laid blocks and built the cement top for a well pit down at Bud Powell's last week, and later went back with our tractor to help him with his cornpicking.
Naturally I stuck in one afternoon and went along. While out in the yard there, Irene pointed out the Potomac water tower clearly visible a way off down there seven miles across the prairie.
In town Saturday I tried out my key for Bob Taylor's treasure chest--blame it-- no luck. Anyway, the donut was good. Next I called at the new shoe shop downtown and stopped to talk with Hazel Gennett for a few moments.
John and Kay were back in Hawbuck over the weekend for more belongings and to overhaul his car to drive it back. They had Sunday dinner with us (only casualty of the day: Sue stuck both hands square dab in a hot "punkin" pie) and visited her folks in Oakwood in the evening. They returned to Chesterton, Ind., Monday. Bob and Evelyn Layton brought them back and visited with their folks over Sunday.
The condition of Bob Layton"s mother, Dorothy, continues to be poorly.
Bob Curry of near Danville was up here Sunday spending the day with Gill.
John left his coon dog with us and I'll be doggoned if Harry hasn't gone and caught the coon hunting fever. I reckon I'll be tryin" it next.
Looks like the Hallowe'en gremlins got into the editor's Linotype keyboard last week, since all the "Bs"
turned into "Gs" in this column. Makes for laughs, anyway, so who cares?
John and Katherine turned up again Saturday night with a trailer, this trip home for their furniture. They returned to near Chesterton, Ind., with all they could pile aboard, since they have rented themselves rooms. They had stayed with friends for their first two weeks. And they like their new location first-rate, being about six or eight miles from the southern tip of lake Michigan, in the famous sand dune country of Indiana.
Since Harry and the bigger boys were all corn picking Sunday for an old neighbor, Bud Powell, Eva and I and the smaller Hoskins' took off in the old truck and went back "down home" for bittersweet for the grade school carnival. A number of other folks also gathered themselves bunches of the berries, As we met several cars coming and going, among them the Doyle youngsters, to whom this is something
Looking out my kitchen window, I see my white hens all gathered on the hillside across the hollow, scratching thru the new fallen leaves. Sure is a pleasant sight to behold.
Eva had a birthday last Friday--now being that desired age of 16, always looked forward to by the girls and always longed for by them after it's gone. Or so I'm told--ha!ha! For my part I'd take "right now" if I could keep it forever.
Ella Jane Britt and I got to visit Tuesday while Orville dug the potatoes they had planted here at this
place. Orly also helped Finley Stewart pick corn last week.
Wanda Britt returned to school this week after a two-week absence with a severe attack of "quinsey".
Saturday afternoon;, after getting my groceries I dropped in at the grade school for a few minutes and
stayed two hours some of the regular standbys (on any school job) were just finishing making taffy apples and some had just left. Earl Pierce was consuming a cup of coffee, Mr. Ward was likewise concerned, while Pearl and Mrs. Hanson, Ruthal Judy and Irene and Mr. Johnson finished up the tag ends of preparation for Monday night's big blowout--the grade school carnival. And of course, all this family's younger set attended the carnival and I hear one of our next-door neighbors, Lewis Pollit, was the
winner of a cake in the cake walk.
The Hallowe'en parade held in front of Nixon's store was worth watching, altho most of the on-lookers shivered in their heavy coats. The "Hula girl" didn't seem to mind it much--at first. He probably would have enjoyed some of the fat man's padding tho. And while the masked paraders weren't so numerous, there were some exceptionally well-turned-out entries.
Wish we had a town hall or a building for such performances. One large enough to hold these annual events in particular, since Hallowe'en always rates a raw and chilly spell of weather, or so it seems.
Well, the Lee Jones' moved themselves and their possessions into their new home this past week. They now live where Frank Schmink recently moved from and the former home of the Homer Davis family for so long.
Last Thursday, Jane Farnsworth and Tommy came by and stopped. They had been on up the road to see if their neighbors, Lee and Lizzie, got settled. Recently Jane and Tommy drove the Jones' to Potomac for groceries and a call on the doctor. While Mr. Jones was in the doctor"s office the other three members of the party waited in front of the Journal office. It was a warm autumnal day of our lengthy Indian summer. While waiting, the printer, Mr. Craw, came up in front for a breath of air and was
relaxing his hand with a piece of ice. Tommy thought he had ball so he said "I'm going to do what that man"s doing." He had a ball in the back seat, so the women didn't pay very much attention. Pretty soon there was quite a commotion and before Jane or Lizzie could stop him,Tommy had ripped every button off his best shirt. There he stood stripped to the waist like the printer. A child"s life is certainly patterned after imitation.
That outlandish snow we got all ahead of schedule sure upset a lot of applecarts, or rather, cornpicking
schedules. Folks are sort of staggering back to the task here and there, a few fortunate ones can sit by the fire and spin, or whatever it is one does by the fire-side. Looks like cornshucking instead for a lot of us.
The high point of the drifted area seems to have been reached about LaSalle in central Illinois, according to Sgt. Rowe, who went home that weekend to near Freeport. John and Kay came down just after the storm--again, and stated that Boswell, Ind., seemed to be the drift peak over in western Indiana. Scarcely a hard snow where they were, up near Lake Michigan, and here we were feeling sorry for the northerners. Ha! We were in about the "dead center" of the mess.
Those delays in overseas mail always make the homefolks sort of uneasy, and then along comes about four to six letters in a pile, and what a blessed relief.
One day just after the big snow we had the chance to see the township snowplow in action, but was unable to get a snapshot of it. That spraying snow would sure be a good subject for some camera fan--when it snows again.
Penny and I accompanied Harry with our last truckload of popcorn to the factory the other day. Located six miles east of Milford, it's quite a contraption. It has 25 bins about 6 foot wide by 50 foot deep and at least three or four stories tall, with air spaces of about two or three feet between each bin, and almost all full of popcorn. I'd never have thought offhand that there was that much popcorn in one place, would you?
(To be concluded next week)
We ran into the Ingalsbe trio and their mom in Danville last week, all of us shopping. Of course we
always have to "catch up" on all the interesting happenings since last time, always promise each other
we'll drop around, and always never do.
From there we went out in the country to an auction sale, and never bought a thing. While the items on sale were about average, the prices were all out of reason. Funny how the competition and excitement runs away with people's reason. Buying the same thing "over the counter" they'd never dream of paying so much. And they'd have to "jaw" a little, then feel like they'd hit a bargain. Us humans.
There I met a woman who hates dogs and loves cats, and I hate cats and, well, I got a whole passel of dogs to contend with--love them or not!
And then, what's more welcome to the average person than to hear of or see some local youngster make good whose childhood was a nightmare of insecurity, who battled with tooth, toenail and wits against those odds that adversity seems sometimes to delight in piling on an individual or a family.
I've seen a few examples of such achievement and, like most people, Harry and I enjoy learning of such facts. It does a fellow good to know that their gritty kids made the grade. And how it does "gripe" you to see one who could do it and won"t.
Not long ago I received a swell letter from an ex-Potomac youngster who is heading up to better things
and also ran into a family group at the square dance who were, at one time, really up against it so far as a future seemed concerned. Full of fun and laughter and with their "married relations' they were really "cutting a rug" figuratively and literally.
As clean-cut and honest as any average American kids with all the advantages of a good home and both parents' guardianship they are doing all right. Nothing spectacular, just ordinary and average good living.
Really, I don't believe that environment or circumstances are always the guiding light in most of our
Inate decency, an inherited sense of right and wrong goes along, long way.
Call it conscience, training or religion--it's got to be backed with a mind that has a power of its own, and a will to do. If a youngster hasn't that he just hasn't much of anything, help or no help.
Most of our lives are exacting and full of hardships, but the chance to read these "open books" is one of our finest blessings.
A letter from near Starved Rock says,"keep writing,Eva." And, as a sort of hobby, I have fun doing
this, and I appreciate the compliments and can use the criticism.
Albert had a birthday last week, his eleventh. The unusual part of these school birthdays seems to be a
custom of the "birthee" (or whatever you'd like to call him), to give instead of receive, which is, after all, a rather wise course and I like it.
Our neighbors, the Polletts, have finally reached the parting of the ways with their old car, and now are
driving a newer model.
One of the crash crew Sgt. McReynolds, was married last Friday at the chapel at Chanute, to Pfc. E.J. Rabb. Well she's a WAF and they often attend the square dances together, out here at the Park. Sgt. James Forman was best man and it seems he had the privilege of kissing the bride after the double-ring ceremony. Directly following the wedding they stopped "at home" for lunch, being lucky enough to land an apartment, then all piled in the little red Jeepster and head out for the Hills of Hawbuck.
Last, but not least, I found a fat and friendly letter in my mailbox one day last week from a neighbor and an old friend. Funny, only living a few miles apart, we don't see each other often, but that doesn't keep us from thoughts of each other.
It seems I'm the cause of a mess of burned sweet potatoes, due to the above-mentioned neighbor's interest in reading what I usually send in to the Middlefork Journal. I'm sure sorry, 'cause I like sweet potatoes, too! Anyway, she says "You write about this part of the country as if you loved it as much as I--and on a crisp fall night, as I watch the moon come up, I wouldn't trade places with anyone". I do love these hills. All of my school days were spent in good old Potomac. A sojourn in Grand Rapids for one summer and a try at the flat prairie lands beyond the brakes of the Middlefork, a time or two, always send Harry and I skedaddling back to our Hills. They sort of fold in around us and give us that sense of
security and relief that all humans crave. Here we find that certain peace, so here we stay.
With one holiday vacation behind and the Big One of the year ahead, everyone's going go be busy for a while.
Our Thanksgiving was celebrated on Sunday instead of Thursday, since Harry worked that day. We made the best of it by using the following Sunday for our family gathering. Harry's two brothers, Fred and Jess and families,and his Dad were here for dinner, also Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Shane of Rantoul, Sgts. Rowe and Forman from Chanute, and Miss Bonnie Bennett. It wouldn't have made sense to have asked Jim Forman and not included Bonnie. Anyway, it was Jim's 21st birthday so we threw her in for good measure, sort of. Twenty-six gathered around the table, and what a jam--trying to get them all in for flash
pictures. We caught one of the boys displaying cardboard ears, specs, and mustache that Albert had collected from a cereal box--just in time to get them off of him before his picture was taken. We should have left him alone and sent the result home to his folks. Still, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, scattering out with filled plates and cups all over the house--the smaller ones even departed to the upper regions.
Before the day was over a number of others dropped in till the crowd grew to about four dozen and then they thinned out a few at a time, till along about ten p.m. we called it a day and went to bed.
Thankful for so many, many things.
Penny was on the sick list last week and missed meeting the mail man at noon. Usually, if she manages to get outside before he deposits the mail in the box, he will wait and hand it to her himself.
The roads all down around here are getting a good going over. The grader was on the job over in Blount last week, the gravel truck in pilot was busy on those measly holes and this week the Middlefork truck has been as busy as a beaver, back and forth from the gravel pit.
The passing of an old friend, "Grandma" Spain, brought Harry's sister, Hulda, down from Niles, Mich. on Friday; we got a short, short visit with her that morning.
A letter from Sgt. Burgner of the crash crew, recently transferred to Parks Air Base in California, came
the other day. Says it is beautiful country out there but he hasn't had time yet to locate any square dances. Also, if Harry thinks he has corn to pick, you should see some of the fields out in Iowa. All you would see for miles and miles was corn and more corn. In some places there was already snow on the ground. So I guess there are others who will have a tough time getting their corn out, besides us Hawbuckers. While we, ourselves, have ours picked some of our neighbors are still struggling at the task. Finley Stewart also has his finished.
Another weekend and another visit from those "Hoosier" kids of ours Saturday. John and Kay came down with Bob and Evelyn Layton, and returned home Sunday afternoon. Bob's mother, Dorothy Layton, is in very poor health.
Bill Hoskins had the misfortune of catching a fellow player's elbow full force on his upper lip at basketball practice Monday. The damaged lip required two stitches on the inside. And he couldn't eat that good chili Mrs. Auth had for high school lunch that day.
Our landlord, R.D. Acton and son Jack, were out Sunday a.m. for a short while, First time he has been out to Hawbuck for nearly three weeks.
The news item in the Middlefork Journal, November 30, of Sgt. Ethan Cox being back in action in Korea is a reminder of the recent issue of the magazine Life, pertaining to the article of a platoon leader's letter home to his father, concerning the fact that the hell in Korea isn't considered a war by our President. If it isn't war, what is it?
And what does that make Harry Truman?
As a free people with the right to speak our piece, we'd better do so, via votes, before it grows too late.
We've almost let it get out of hand already.
Brr, and last week the dandelions were abloom over in the pasture.
My recent attempt at cattle rustling didn't succeed. One day last week I found a two-year old steer in the yard and thought I'd drive it into the pasture. But it wouldn't drive, instead it took off down the road the opposite way. After all, it was heading home, as I later learned it belonged to Willard Humphrey.
And I also tried my hand at the job of sawing boards for the hay bank Harry built in the barn. Well, I managed to keep ahead of him, since he'd stop and smoke about every three minutes. Me, not being a smoker I tried to keep sawing. Net results; we got the bank done and I got sore shoulder muscles.
Nearly all to the crash crew got weekend passes and went places. So, for one Sunday it was rather quiet and uneventful down our way. Pete and Bill spent the afternoon at the Harold Cooper home near Perryville. The Sunday before we had a scare for a few minutes, as the newly married Jane McReynolds let the horse she was riding get out of hands. When caught up with she was asked how she managed to stay in the saddle. Her answer,"I just couldn't fall off--look at all the insurance Mac would collect".
The watch Tower Bible group was down through Hawbuck last Thursday.
The modern man with his daily shaving habits is quite a contrast to the man of a generation or two ago. Their tonsorial efforts were quite prodigious and it was within reason for the youngsters of that day to accept the full beard display of St.Nick without question.
Saturday, in the shelter of a store entrance in Danville while awaiting Harry's arrival, a young matron
and her three-year-old also parked alongside me, in out of the wind. Said small fry, "I don't like that stuff on Santa's face".
A streamlined Santa next ?
The Kenneth Ledman's living with George Osborn, have graduated from a '36 Chevy to a '41 Olds sedan.
Had a few minutes chat with Esther Terrill and her husband the other afternoon in Potomac.
Bill and Eva, as Juniors, were both at Nancy McGowen's 16th birthday party last Thursday evening. Many more happy birthdays, Nancy.
Meeting another beagle hound fan out at the square dance resulted in Earl Lindsey of Bismark and Harry trying out their dogs together Sunday. Watching five real lively dogs ranging along thru the gray-green field across the road was a picture in itself.
By the way, I understand the square dances are over for the season out at the park. Well, they were good fun while they lasted.
Coming home about six p.m. last Saturday evening, Harry Sr., Bill and I were rather taken down a notch to see Bill's Chevy coupe stashed atop a clay bank on the Hawbuck school curve. Upon investigating we found it well grounded against a tree, which prevented it from rolling on over, and also buried quite securely in mud. No one was around, but Orvy and Larry Britt arrived right behind
us. Arriving on home we found that young Harry had lost control in the loose gravel and had played hopscotch over the drainage ditch along the road. Sunday morning with the Britt's help, they navigated the car out of its parking place and home. It runs O.K. in spite of the plowing contest; net results, one broken door handle and one broken glass, one dented door and one split lip for Pete. That's the second lip casualty in this family in six days. Bill having rated one Monday at Basketball practice.
The Cox family, living on the Hawbuck school corner, have moved away. Next door is the empty house recently vacated by the Shank family and awaiting the occupancy of the Junior Farnsworth family.
An empty house,like a hungry child, to me always seems to have an expectant and wistful air.
December 21, 1951
Here we are, and it's Christmas again!
With the thrill of it, the headache, and those empty pocketbooks, Merry Christmas, indeed!
You are suddenly dismayed to realize you've left someone out, and after raiding the grocery allowance and changing the menu to liver from roast, you find you can manage another gift!
Sitting there and adding up a list, then detracting the wishfuls and the impossibles, finally managing to
balance the budget, to anyone's experience that after buying the third article at least, the most careful plans go awry.
Ever stop and think just why we have this annual carnival we call Christmas?
Yes, I know it's the birthday of our Savior, but I mean what has gone in between that eventful date and 1951?
Sitting here and doing that thinking why we do have Christmas, I'm sure most families with a lot of kids probably have had our experience of usually short changing the youngster's heart's desire, as it often falls our lot to do sometimes. After being used to dissapointments and "shortages" they take it with pretty good grace.
But it leaves a long and lasting hurt, especially to a more sensitive kid.
And tho they're taught that "it's better to give than to receive", being human like you and I, they cheerfully shelve the fact, and hope for the best.
Even as you and I.
It makes for a rebellious and discouraged parent sometimes, but nearly always there will come along some little incident that gives you that cozy and peaceful inside feeling, and it's really worth while after all.
So our American habit of Keeping up with the Jones' has crept into our Christmas season, too? Many folks feel like they've just got to give something and get more than so and so got. That's wrong, and we should have the courage to quit it. But a lot just don't do it. And then something goes bust, either the purse strings or the marital ties, or both.
So, America and kindred nations have their Christmas trees, gifts, creches, carolings, feasts and
festivities--we enjoy them, and try to see that everyone has been included. A task that is immense indeed. A part and parcel of 300 years here in America and 2000 years old throughout this old world of ours.
Those forefathers of ours anticipated great things for which they made the most terrible sacrifices, and for which they fought quite desperately.
We call it "Freedom". Is it ?
I Always thought so, but it's finally dawned on me that while as a nation that has achieved freedom and likes it, as a people we belong to the order of the Golden Rule; and, since Jesus taught us to love one another, being easier said than done, we give it lip service and feel we've done our part. But we know we've not. that principle of 2000 years ago is taking a beating just now, and has been all along.
And I wonder if we haven't almost let those sturdy and fearless people of the past down?
You say what do they matter, they're dead and gone? Are they? Isn't the principle imbued in our daily lives a result of their efforts of so long ago? We, too, will some day be dead and gone,. And only the efforts of what we do today will mark our passing in the centuries to come.
Too deep for me? Well, it isn't, it's why you and I are alive today, I think. At least we can try.
The harder we put up a scrap for an examination test, a promotion, a piece of property, or a new man in office, the better we feel afterwards. It also holds true with this way of life. That's what those people also did--they did it the hard way. And so we keep our heritage--the hard way--or lose it.
That's why we have America today as it is.
Because the ancestors of this country's people were settlers of more daring and stoutheartedness and more independence than the men who stayed behind in Europe and Asia.
Else why did they defy kings, kings' edicts, and kings' soldiers and face separation, so that they could
assert themselves in a new land ? Their Christmas seasons were spent in a land so new the very rawness was appalling, their only guarantee of survival was their own ingenuity and their faith and fortitude. Theirs was only in giving themselves.
Some gift !
The following generations who came in their footsteps these past 300 years, have also been the brave of heart, the daring and independent ones. A sort of individual screening process.
They've done a pretty good job, we've not yet deteriorated into what the Old Countries have. A pretty
strong statement, you think. True, there's many a good man and woman over there, there always will be, but talk to your returned serviceman, let him tell you a few raw facts. Believe me he's nearer 100 percent right than wrong.
As Americans we've given our leaders and a few outstanding individuals some wonderful build-ups. They deserve it. Also they were human, they erred, they made mistakes and were often misled. And just as often they were bullheaded and crazy mad and determined as the next guy. Their stubbornness, their will to win, their desire to revenge outrageous treatment won them some devilish hard victories. But they won them.
Otherwise we wouldn't be calling "Merry Christmas," would we ?
It's good to "hero-ize" these people. But let"s teach the kids also that while their individual ancestry may not be Mayflower and maybe only one generation back in the U.S.A., Its a generation of pioneers who were the best.
Youngsters are all proud of Pop, of Uncle George, of Grandpap, and other family characters. They have a pride in what's behind them.
But teach them that pride in the past is not accomplishing today's task, nor winning tomorrow's battle.
Let them learn young that they earn their own achievements. That's the way the founding fathers got
And then all this goes back down through the centuries to that first Christmas and that since then it has been a rough and tough time keeping to the high road.
Over in Korea, up in some lonely and heart-breaking outpost, some kid is standing watch tonight. He so cold, so tired, so sore, that he's utterly sick of it all. He's hunkered down behind some protection he's pulled together with numb and shaking hands. He has lost part of his equipment, his rations are gone, and part of his ammo. He just saw the medics slipping away with his buddy's torn body, trying to keep from being targets, too! He can't have a fire, his clothes are torn, his socks are frozen to his feet. His throat is dry and aches, his eyes burn, his mind does,too!
Why is he there? Why do we put up with it? Well, it seems we have something the other fellow wants. Any kid will put up a scrap for what he considers his rights. If he doesn't he's soon left behind. He doesn't rate with the crowd, either. So we hold our own because of what Christmas has brought us. We're not going to give it up without a scrap. Because it's Christmas.
The kid up there in that outpost has had Christmas back home, he liked it, he wants his kids to have
Christmas, too, someday!
So have we had sentries down through all the ages. Someone is always on guard.
So, today we can repeat with the freedom of a people who inherited Christmas, "A Merry Christmas To
Bet the mail man's sticky taste in his mouth has about worn off, with Christmas candy to help. Did you ever stop and think what a "licking good time" (?) those U.S. Mail carriers always have at Christmas time? I'll bet Mr. Ennin, away out in sunny California is enjoying--no snowdrifts, no stamp licking and lots of sunshine.
While writing this dab of nonsense, the kids are busy stripping the Christmas tree and the trimmings are getting packed away for 1952--a whole long year. Sure leaves this room kind of bare and lonely looking.
And it is rather quiet,too! John and Kay and kids came home Saturday evening with the Bob Layton family. Bob's spent their holiday with Evelyn"s folks in Oakwood and his parents, Elmer and Dorothy. They all returned to Chesterton, Tuesday afternoon.
Young Harry elected to go back with them, to go to work up there. Well, that makes three gone from under this family roof. Seems rather odd to realize that those kids are taking off on their own. Which is what they should do.
Seven more to go.
Harry,or Pop, as the boys elect to call him, really hit the jackpot when it came to Christmas dinner this
year. He had three in three days straight running.
Sunday, one of the firemen from Fisher brought a goose and all the trimmings, all ready to eat, over to the crash station for their dinner.
Monday, we held our celebration, and had roast chicken. Harry had to work Tuesday, and the men were fed at the mess hall, along with the servicemen. Their menu was a dandy, with turkey,of course.
On Monday, during that restless period that kids go thru while waiting for the call to dinner, they all
decided to go coasting on our homemade sled, and some improvised toboggans made of roofing tin. They not only worked up good appetites, but since the tin sleds wouldn't guide too well, they got some real thrills and spills.
When have I slid down hill on a sled?
Lots of you folks used to hit for "Blackford"s Hill" to coast after school until it was too dark to see. Well, our hill is even higher, sure would make for some real coasting if kids could reach it.
The home town of the newly married Mrs. Dwain Duncan is also the home town of one of the servicemen working with Harry. Sgt. Forman's mother sent him a clipping from the Pittsford, N.Y., paper, on the same date this event was published here. It was a rather interesting coincidence.
Our slippery Hawbuck Hills received a good job of getting cindered on Christmas day. Must be a Christmas present to these Hills from the road commissioner. We needed it.
Santa Claus was really a "good guy", as Penny puts it, and we were all well satisfied with the occasion. With all the "kids" home, except Dick, now in Naples, one of the fellows from Chanute who did not get to go home, and granddad Hoskins as our only company, we enjoyed the day. Alden and Gary dropped around later in the afternoon, so with candy sticking and crunching underfoot, slipping on orange peelings, and having to dump walnut shells out of the beds at bedtime, I guess it was "fun".
A lot of cards from a lot of friends, gifts from several others, and special mention to one so unexpected
and from a totally new source, that I'll always remember it as the highlight of this year"s Christmas. And so, now, I'll bow to Mrs. Clyde Kinney of Higginsville and add "Happy New Year."
And congratulations to the Editor and his new bride.
A new year--new resolutions, new outlook and newproblems--say all of us. Wonder how long till those
resolutions hit the skids?
My resolution--Resolved, not to make any resolutions, and try and do better! And, what's that, if it isn't
Like this sheet of paper before I started on it, all clean and nice and just itching to get all written on. A
clean sheet of paper and a good pencil or pen, and I get an urge to fill'er up. And, boy! when I do the resulting mess is sure a sight sometimes.
It may be this ragtag column, a letter to one of the kids, a poem half finished, a House plan that will never materialize, or a bathing beauty which one of the kids will confiscate first chance they get.
Harry and I were in Bismark last Friday to a sale, and I got a chance to see an old friend. Also learned while there of the death of a great aunt whom I'd not seen since my mother's death. Aunt Becky Wiles, the wife of Uncle Langford Wiles, they at one time resided at the top of the old sexton Hill, north of Danville. Possibly a few of the older folks around Potomac know them.
Last Sunday, a week ago, was Harry's birthday, which is so close on the heels of Christmas that he is usually left out. This year we all went over to Fred Hoskins, near the famous Hanging Rock Park, and spent the day. The Russell Wells family of near Veedersburg, Ind., were also on hand, and Miss Wanda Cooper of near Rileysburg. All in all we had a real time. Besides driving on over to Russ' place and helping him unload his tractor, he'd bought in Potomac, Saturday.
The last day of 1951 was quite a contrast to the rest of the holiday season. We spent a lot of time watching the red line in the thermometer elevate itself way up into the sixties--it could stay there for all of us.
New Year's day, and everyone trying to do something and getting nothing done. I did achieve an organ, however. I've always wanted one (oh,sure I can play--one chord) and, lo and behold, I start out 1952--a musical year! Penny has it squawking while I'm doing this. Some day I'm going to get my hands on a good player piano and I might make some music or something.
From over in Italy there comes word that a Potomac Marine and an Armstrong Sailor, both on the USS Roosevelt, are betting on the Armstrong-Potomac basketball game. How about it, team? Half way around the globe and they're watching you.
Looking at the calender, and lo and behold, we're already into the second week of 1952!
And me with five sets of income taxes to figure up; Pop's, John's, Pete's Bill's and Dick's. Seems as tho
they just can't (or won't) figure up that two and two makes four. Usually for them it adds up to five.
Funny, too, that servicemen pull down an income tax return to fill out. After all, we pay income taxes to meet their payrolls. Queer business, but at that I'm not running Uncle Sam's business, which is probably a good thing, sez you!
Anyway, New Year begins a new year for Harry and I. Our 26th anniversary was Saturday. Who knows but what 1952 will be a better year than any we've had so far. We sure have had some good ones, and a few tough ones; So far none have been so bad but what they could have been far worse.
Over a period of 13 days, beginning December 19 thru January 5, there are two wedding anniversaries, five birthdays, New Year's Day, and the big day of the year, Christmas, to remember in this family. Not bad!
Bill seems bent on making connections with other boys' elbows during basketball games. A while back it was a cut lip, now he's sporting a shiner, having a cut on the right eyebrow received in Friday night's game with Catlin. From reports I understand Tommy Jameson has a badly bruised Knee out of the deal. And it was a good game!
Bill spent Sunday in Crawfordsville, Ind. The girl friend, Wanda Cooper, and her family, attended a family get-together in that town. In the evening those two came up here to meet the crowd and go to a show. In the meantime the other young folks had grown impatient and left an hour earlier for Danville. No wrecks, no skids, no banged up fenders, just one flat tire.
Hunting season will soon be over; bet those hunters that are left will sure be relieved.
Some scrumptious washday weather this past week. And welcome, too! Seems to me in the winter with this crew to wash for, I'm always meeting myself on the deal. Washing going into the machine, coming out, hanging all over and outside, too, and more ironing, then run around next morning and gather up another basket full. If you've never washed for twelve people you just haven't been thru
the works. And sometimes I feel like I've been thru the wringer.
Latest notes on this neighborhood are that the Junior Farnsworths have at last been able to move into their own home, purchased last fall from Albert Shanks.
And that Ella Jane Britt is the new member of the Jamesburg unit of the Home Bureau.
Also, Bud Powell was up in this neighborhood one day last week and then along over the weekend hunters made a last mad rush to get in a crack before the hunting season closed the other day. Thank heavens!
Besides all that, John,Kay, the three kids and young Harry, who is now living up there with them and working with John, descended on granddads for the weekend. They rolled in here about 9p.m. in their "new" Cadillac (1942 vintage), and as Kay says,"where can we find room to turn it around". Topping that off with the news that they now have a television set, they sort of like to tease us hill-billies". O.K., they're paying the bill, not us. Kay and the youngsters spent Sunday with her parents in Oakwood.
Some Christmas pictures taken inside just came back, and altho not models of photography, we're getting quite a kick out of them.
From Dick in Naples, Italy comes the following paragraph "I was still on liberty tonight when I met a buddy who had just come on liberty, and he said I had a package, so I rushed back to the ship to get it. It was from the Amvets (Auxillary), and it was sure nice. I ran out of shaving soap last night, and found that they had included a tube in this package, so it came just at the right time.
I don't know just who to thank, but I would like to thank them very much for the box. It was real nice and I appreciate it".
Round the table discussion of overseas events Sunday night, with some who were overseas, brought out a number of facts, and I don't believe a lot of us realize--when has there ever been any peace?
Since the caveman with his stone axe tackled his neighbor for a better cave than he had found for
himself--until the modern world, man has encroached on his neighbor's premises. The winner was always the man who could out-maneuver the Opponent, either by brawn or brain, not the one always in the right.
The Bible records strife from the Garden of Eden to the time Of Christ. The Bible and history continue the record.
When has there ever been peace? Strange! Mankind's greatest desire is one he doesn't achieve--why?
Whenever one man, or one nation, honestly acquires prosperity above that of his neighbor, greed, hate and envy begin to brew in the less fortunate one, eventually causing chaos. Seems like we're never satisfied with the work of our own hands, someone always gets jealous of someone else.
How often someone bewails the fact that the Reds are not reasonable. Ever try to reason with a greedy man, or an envious woman? Ever meet an ignorant person who could understand or appreciate Mozart, Longfellow, Edison, Nightingale, Pasteur or Ford?
However, in Ford's case, probably known to more people than all the rest, envious folks feel like his fortune was a gift of the gods and not his own achievement. I wonder how far he'd have climbed in a share-the-wealth, socialistic scheme of things?
With half the world jealous of us and much of it ignorant besides, what can you expect? Reason?
You know the general rule runs that when anyone owes another fellow, he's always more or less resentful until he pays the guy off. And if you can't pay the bill, then what? And of course the guy always wants his money.
And when you can't reason with a fellow, debt or no debt, what's the chance of living in peace with that guy?
Is peace supposed to be giving him everything he asks for and licking his boots besides? Is that peace?
Where, oh, where was our next door neighbor, Higginsville News, last week? We missed you.
That throat trouble that's loose among the Middlefork population downed three of these kids last week. Harold was out of school seven days. Lester three and Albert one. And along with the throat trouble, Harold began cutting those two front teeth he wanted for Christmas. The about-face the thermometer pulled Thursday makes for colds, it seems. A change of 40 degrees in two hours!
R.D. Acton and son, Jack, were out in the "Hills", Sunday, for the first time, this year. Monday, it was
R.D. and son, Bill. Sunday and again the girl friend,; Wanda and the McReynolds were out. Monday, Jr. Shane, Rose Anne and little Terry were over from Rantoul.
Harry and I received the following announcement last Thursday. It says:
You just ain't seen nothin' until you've met
The newest recruit in the Safety Pin Set.
Parents:Mr.and Mrs. Dan Graham,Niles,Mich.
For the benefit of those who know her, Mamma Graham (and this is her second) was Miss Mary Spain, daughter of Harry's sister, Hulda Spain.
More mail brings a letter from New York and from the mother of one of those kids over at Chanute Field. It reminds me of the time back in 1945 when son John was serving in the navy and based in Oregon for some time. While there he met a local boy and was a frequent visitor
at the boy's home. After becoming better acquainted with John, the boy's mother began writing to me and we continued a friendly correspondence for some time. Now, it seems I'm on the other end of a similar acquaintance: I do enjoy it.
From closer to home comes this written opinion:
"Your telling about the mut-shells, even in the beds, makes me think of mother. She was always spending Christmas with a broom in her hand (Author's note: I must confess that using the broom during the holiday season was more to keep law and order between scrapping kids than a matter of tidiness, ha,ha), But what is Christmas without Kids?"
"And now that Christmas is over, no more "White Christmas", it reminds me of a homesick young soldier
"You said you weren't running Uncle Sam's business. I have always thought men should be head of the house and head of the nation--but now, I've begun to wonder if things wouldn't be different if the women would take over. It makes me mad the way the government wastes our money: It makes me even madder when I think of the way it wastes our manhood".
Just one opinion, but how many more are beginning to think the same way. Man had better remedy things, methinks, or else!
And another thing, while a fire Marshal's checkup is A. no.1, it still doesn't modernize a fire-trap.
The Blue Grass column is good reading for this Hawbuck family. Harry spent most of his boyhood at Blue Grass and we lived there as a family the winter the school building burned. That was some weather we had that winter of 1935-36, wasn't it?
And it looks as if the pioneer spirit is still alive,and quite modern. With those several families heading for Missouri (Now, Eva, what do you suppose the Missouri State Chamber of Commerce will think of that "Pioneer" remark? Editor)
Our old clock got ahead of itself and then someone turned it up a half hour, instead of back and before we realized it we were having daylight saving time over the weekend. When it was set back Sunday evening, Adam didn't know it and didn't pay much attention to "hurry up, or you'll be late" Monday morning, so he missed the bus for school.
The death of Mr. Tuggle will be noted with regret by many, many more than just the current school
administration in Vermillion County. Would that there were more men like him!
Newcomers to this part of Illinois, the Shanes Junior and Rose Anne, who frequently come over from Rantoul, and who hail from Mount Vernon, wanted to see the famous polliwogs,of which they had heard so much. So, Saturday, in spite of the drizzle, we accompanied them down through Kickapoo Park, as Junior is a fishing addict. They were quite surprised at all of it.
We missed out on that Lions Club Minstrel show, Thursday eve simply because I missed the third step from the bottom of the stairs that afternoon. I was carrying two unlighted lamps and broke neither lamps nor bones, just got one lovely sprained ankle out of the deal--and was pretty sore the next day. How things do happen!
Bob Douthit's new address--and that nice big,long serial number!
Remember remarking to Bill, a short while before you left, Bob, that"you're just a number now" when Bill received his classification card!
On record that may be true, and in some countries, a fact, but I guess this is one military set-up that's got individuals in it, in spite of itself.
Many won't write who could or should, but we'll all be looking for news, and asking Rosemary about you, just the same.
Mrs. Fitzgerald, who is filling your place, is doing a real job, but she just can't fill your boots. Potomacites miss you.
Best wishes from the Hawbuckers.
Now that Potomac has city water, this may make interesting reading for some of the older folks around
REGARDIN' POTOMAC, EELINOIS
Written for the Patrol by Tom M." Zeke" Morgan
"If you want to see a hustler
An' a town 'at's on the rise,
Full o' men o'pluck an'ginger
Jes' ski nout from Danville
By a crooked northern route.
Hug the Middlefork timber,
Jes'a-joggin' in an' out:
Drop some change in your pocket,
Be prepared to pay your bill.
An' when you come to Bean Crick
You'll see old Marysville---
Potomac, now they call it,
'zactly why I don't know,
But Marysville, I'm guessin'
was a little mite too slow.
So when the railroad come---
Narry-gauged to begin--
Marysville she jes' skedaddled,
An Potomac trotted in.
"You'll know it when you see it
by its raal vim an' growth,
An' you stay there twenty minits,
You are sure to ketch 'em both.
the whole town's full o' business
As a houn' pup is o' fleas,
It's a-floatin' in the air
An'a-sproutin' on the trees.
Ever'thing about the place
is up an'on the go---
The blamed ol' Shanghai roosters
Stay awake at night to crow---
An' they cutter in the day-time
As they strut around the straw,
An' have a look as knowin'
As a dude a readin' law.
"It's the smartest little burg!
An' the people's all in tune:
'Cause they know their town's a growin'
Like a jimpson weed in june:
An' when you drop among 'lem
They come up in such a way,
You wish you'd brung your gripsack,
An' come prepared to stay.
"Good people there in plenty,
An' the gals--Ohl! sakes alive!
They'll get your heart a flutterin'
Like it did at Twenty-five.
They are not the flirtin' kind
Like you see on city street;,
But they're womanly an' dignified.
The kind you like to meet.
An' you'll envy them young fellers
It will take you by surprise---
Who laughs and loaf in the sunshine
of them blue an' hazel eyes:
As you'll ketch yourself a-wishin'
You could put on all the styles.
Swap your gray hairs for auburn.
Run at large among the smiles.
"An' them 'ere arteshun wells!
Jes'as common as the trees:
Water's in lich a hurry
'At it don't take time to freeze.
Another thing about it,
It's as plenty as the air,
A-bubblin' an' a-spoutin'
All about you ever'where.
It haint that kind nuther
with bad eggs upon its breath,
At a drink of means slow sickness,
An' a bath or two, sure death:
Bit it's clear and sweet and pure
As the dew upon the rose.
An' when you go to drink it
You don't have to hold your nose.
"Jes' here I want to whisper,
What I'm sayin'---Keep it still--
"At this 'ere arteshun water
will best a dinner pill---
Yes, 'twill down an' "Early Riser"
A "Moffett","Jane", er' "Hood",
It's a hummer in the bus'ness,
An' is sure to do you good.
"Jes' mark it--what I'm sayin'
An' remember 'at I said,
Don't bowl up on that water
Before you go to bed;
If you do you'll git up airly,
For it has a ketchy way
O' routin' out a feller,
Jes' about the break of day.
You can dabble in it an' wade it,
have all the fun you please.
But soak your hide full o' it.
You'll want the mornin' breeze:
An' you'll want it real early---
Now you mind what I say---
You'll wake a-kickin' cover off
About the peep o' day.
An' slide into your trousers,
Shoes, jacket, coat an' hat,
But you won't be partic'lar
'Bout your collar an' cravat.
Paris Ill. Feb.4,1893
What! No shadows on Ground Hog Day?
Here's our chance to check up on the old superstition, because for the last 4-5 years we've had sunny groundhog days.
Another superstition we just heard recently: thunder showers in February mean frost in June. And we had a thunderstorm along towards morning of February 1st. Now to see if it frosts June 1st. After that we can have our choice, science or superstition.
Mrs. Tyler's letter in the Middlefork Journal, from Tujunga, Calif., coincides with news from Pleasanton, Calif., as follows: "Weather has been something all around here. For the past few weeks all it has done is rain. Most all the farmers around here are drowned out and rowing for higher ground. I have never seen so much rain in my life."
And I'm not battling the California State Chamber of Commerce, either! (And did you see where a Chicago man in suing his divorced wife for custody of their daughter, both living in California, saying that his "ex" represented good ol' "Cal" as a land of milk and honey, sunshine and flowers, whereas,he just found out it isn't?
To the complete nonplusing of her lawyer, who had to ask for time to think it over--Ed.)
About last week's remark concerning the pioneer spirit: You know, I don't believe the Missouri State
Chamber of Commerce (nor any other state) would really resent that "pioneer" remark. You see,I believe that the independent and self-reliant spirit, which is really the "pioneer" in Americans is what makes us tick.
In fact, if this pioneer spirit ever dies out in the U.S.A., we're done for.
Maybe there isn't any wilderness left to conquer here anymore, but there are always new horizons. I'd like to see some of them myself.
Well, the old Tillotson place has again changed hands. Mr. Doyle of Rantoul has sold it to Mr. Gwin of Champaign, and he himself is locating over Indiana way.
George Osborn's son, John, is home on a 30-day leave from Korea. Osborns live on the Irvin Story farm down here in Hawbuck.
Penny celebrated her fifth birthday Monday, February 3.
Bud Powell, west of Collison, called for his buzz saw up here in Hawbuck last week. Funny thing, whenever the weather is bad and one of us Hawbuckers gets up a fresh supply of fuel, it invariably seems to turn off warmer every time.
And I've been rambling along at this "Hills of Hawbuck" now for a year. Does anyone else want to take
over in my place?
In answer to the many, many inquiries: "Where's the Hills of Hawbuck?" which we've received by mail, on the street and here at the office. We don't know, but we're trying to find out and so far gather that Eva is completely and understandably absorbed with son, Richard's leave, which he is spending at home. This, coupled with the many, many, duties of raising a large family, would make writing seem trivial, indeed--or at least we're certain that's the way it would be with us. However, we are sure Eva will write some more for us soon.
Well, I see that the Editor went to bat for my absenteeism, without any explanation from me, so I guess
I'll have to give him a run for his money.
And it also gave him an opportunity to go to bat in his own behalf: a community, you know, is known by its businesses, as well as its people, and a newspaper,well, any up and coming town should have one. Why not Potomac! We got one again, I think we should make the best of the chance. I'm not the only one around here who can write up stuff for the neighbors to get a laugh out of--but I guess I'm about the only one who's got the nerve. Some will say it's a lack of brains. O.K., we'll let it ride that way. Anyhow, if you do try it, you'll be surprised--It's fun. Of course, you can't tromp on someone's toes, except your
own, or maybe Harry Truman's
There was a good one in the paper the other day entitled "Rest and Relax over the Holidays" and I'll bet
my bottom dollar it was brother Al's handiwork. Sounds so very much like him. Competition won't hurt anyone, either. Come on A.M., lets have some more.
Dwight Roberts' long and interesting letter makes for good reading, and gives us folks at home a little more insight in what servicemen are doing away off there.
Off and on the past two weeks I've grabbed notebook and pencil and scrabbled out this "whatever you call it" and about the time I'd get something readable, someone would let out a war-whoop for "Mom" and there I'd go.
Actually, I've done more, been more, seen more, met more, (and et more) these past few weeks than I have in a whole year's time before. To top it off, I got the "flu",threw the book in a drawer and crawled in bed right when it was time to rewrite and mail the stuff. And now, like the proverbial cat, I'm back
The first week I missed out was taken up with Dick's arrival home on leave.
Wednesday evening, the sixth, John and Kay and babies, and young Harry came home. Along about 1:30 A.M.,Thursday our neighbor, Lewis Politt routed us out of bed with the news that Dick was in Danville.
Most of the Sleepyheads heard the conversation and when Pop started off to Danville he had a full load of boys. The ones who didn't wake up were peeved that we didn't call them. And there was no more sleep that night. Dick had two bags full of souvenirs and very few clothes.
First chore for Friday was, buying a "new car, ordering license plates and getting insurance. And, with
that off his hands, nothing would suit him but that we run up to John's on Saturday. So we went.
We stayed at the kids for a couple of hours and watched the television I'd heard so much of. But I didn't think I'd care too much for that. I'd have to wreck the thing to get any work done around Hawbuck. Pete says it's a hard job to shut it off and go to bed.
How late do the things run anyway?
About 2 P.M., Dick drove us on over to Niles, Mich., another 50 miles. First stop was at George and Hattie Quick's. No I'll take that back, the state police stopped us a mile out of Niles--No license plates! Somebody page Jerry Talbott! Anyway, stopping us is all they did--but we learned a few interesting facts--after they learned all about us. Finding that we weren't going any further than Niles the officer dismissed us, but wouldn't guarantee what the next squad car would do.
The Officer frankly stated that he thought Illinois voters ought to get wise to themselves and get our
legislature to bring our license bureau up to date.
It made me a little hot under the collar, another state's policeman deriding my home state, but didn't tell
him so (wouldn't have been wise to). But you know, the more I think about it--he's right.
In nearby states you get your plates at your courthouse and have them on your car in nothing flat.
I'm going to tell you about another fact that we ran onto--this squad car was parked at the scene of an
accident when we first passed it.
The ground was all plowed up where a tank trailer had over-turned on the icy pavement the night before. The wreckage was cleared away but the ground was covered with what we thought was oil.
The Niles Sunday morning headlines stated however, that five teenage boys, who had nosed around near the wreck had received first and second degree burns on their feet, and in turn on their hands in attempting to remove their acid-eaten shoes.
So fast had the stuff taken effect that they had to get help at the nearest house and were taken to the
hospital in ambulances.
It wasn't oil it was acid.
We reached George's about 3:30 and nearly had the door shut in our faces. George was really surprised! For about eight years now, we've promised we'd go see them. We finally made it.
Hattie works at Lucy Quick's Convalescent Home next door and Sunday morning brite and early, Lucy took me on a tour thru the big two-story white house. Unlike a hospital it is pleasant and home-like and the only things that resemble a hospital are the beds of the "down" patients--the ones who are bed-fast. There are about twelve of these old folks on the first floor. The "up" patients, able to care for themselves. I think there are ten,all have up-stairs rooms and regular beds. I think Hattie said their youngest patient is 78.
Lucy had just redecorated and repapered and was still in the drapery-hanging process, but everything was so cheerful and pretty.
All of the old folks wanted to talk. It was really hard to walk away and leave them still telling you
something they felt was so important.
Lucy and Hattie had warned me, tho, and it was an interesting tour. Hulda Spain works there on the night shift.
After supper at Hattie's and a visit with Hud, we took Vicky's dog, which had a badly cut foot, to the
veterinary. Their home remedies wouldn't stop it from bleeding. After that we stopped at Rube and Florence Runyan's; met their one and only offspring, and also ran into Ellis and Martha Bryant and their two, here so we didn't go on out to their place. Next stop was Ray and Beverly Byrczaks and two babies, and from here we went to Dan and Mary Graham's, and they have two babies. Another couple, the Peters, was here and we got to bed around 2 a.m.
The following morning we saw most of the others we'd missed the night before, and got back to John's and Kay's for dinner. In the afternoon we drove up to the lake and watched the waves break up into spray on the pier. It was a swell day so we walked far out on the breakwater in order to get better pictures. The ice was piled so high we couldn't see much of the lake until we got out some distance. And boy, oh boy! the wind! We weren't the only ones. There were dozens and dozens of others doing the same thing.
We got home, Sams any more cops, about dark. 800 miles,33 hours, and it's only 200 miles to Niles?
And so began the fun! Every night--dates--the ball games and more dates. Bill almost fouled up here.
Then there was Valentine's Day and its Valentines. I got a lovely one thru the mail and a great big red satin heart full of candy--from Pop. No wonder I can't reduce. And daddy date Nite for him and Eva.
Saturday we shopped in Danville and reached home to fix the fixings for our big blowout on the 17th.
Eve and I had about everything under control by 8pm and were considering crawling upstairs in bed when Pete and John rolled in, accompanied by niece Florence Runyan. So Pop and I donned our glad rags and took off with them in search of Bill and Dick.
We caught up with them--at 11pm--and wound up down near Perrysville at midnight.
Upon arriving home Florence's hubby had changed his mind and came on down with her sister, Laverne.
On Sunday, February 17th, Harry and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.
Well, we did. One year, one month and 12 days late! But that is what we decided to do, and we did.
Many of you recall that Harry's mother passed away January 3 1951. Our anniversary is January 5.
This year we again postponed the affair from January 5 to February 17, because Dick would be home then.
Everything worked out perfect.
There were over forty people here, including the two nieces and the one hubby from Niles, all our own kids, grandkids, the girl friends, our regular G.I.'s from Chanute. Junior and Rose Ann Shane were here from Rantoul,Alden and Alice May, the two boys(and his guitar). Bonnie Bennett, and Viv Hoth. Mr. and Mrs. Harold Cooper from southeast of Danville, were out, also, Wanda and Bud, another daughter,Delores and her husband, Daryl Hollowell, his sister, Janice, and Denton Keele. The last group
brought their musical instruments and played till dark. We laughed, and danced, took pictures, ate when we got ready, and everyone enjoyed themselves. We really had one grand time.
Don't forget, February 29th is World Service Day and the robins are back in our Hawbuck Hills.
Funny these kids don't think any more of a 150 mile drive now days than we used to of a 15 mile drive.
After the gathering of the clan on the 17th, John and Kay left about dark for home up near Michigan City. Young Harry elected to stay on for the evening's fun with the rest of the younger crowd. After the skating date, Dick drove him the 150 miles in the wee small hours of the morning and made it back to Hawbuck shortly after noon Monday.
Wednesday, the 20th, Adam accompanied Dick to Springfield to pick up his license plates.
Sunday morning the 24, Dick left for his new base at Edenton, N.C. He made it by 3 p.m. Monday, exactly 1002 miles from our gate to where he parked to report back.
Edenton is about 100 miles north of Cherry Point and about 75 miles South of Norfolk, Va. and his address is:
Sgt. Richard L. Hoskins
VMF 224, MAG 11,USMCAS
These kids of ours, Harold and Lester, sure got a big kick out of that circus trip. As we brought the two small Pollit youngsters home from town, Catherine Pollit was all excited over the aerialists and Jimmy was taken up with the camels.
Harry applied for and received a transfer from the fire fighting department at Chanute Field two weeks ago, over into the furniture shop. This put him back on regular hours, five days a week.
Chester Atchison was down in Hawbuck on the 25th.
The Big snow, and wasn't it a lu-lu? put a crimp in the plans of the younger Hoskins of northern Indiana coming home over this weekend, but Sunday was taken up with the regular doings of the younger set, here at home, plus the visit of Fred and Louise Hoskins and five youngsters from over Williamsport way. Actually they live closer to West Lebanon but their mail is delivered from the first-named town. Fred has acquired a '41 Ford and figured this would be a good opportunity to try it out and visit us also, as they were unable to make it over here on the 17th. Louise has a sadly wrenched back from a recent
fall on the ice.
The snowplow was down Hawbuck way the 1st and I got a picture of it spraying snow. I sure hope it is good. Which reminds me, the day before the big snow I saw a flock of wild geese heading north. Several other flocks were reported and a number over at Rantoul. So possibly this March storm is just the lion's roar and not his bite.
Things here at home have been hitting it pretty smooth and at a little faster clip than of old, now that the kids are big enough to step out, it seems to me like almost every nite. Even Adam has begun to go dancing, as well as to the movies. That bites into our second half of this family. The first half runs like this, John, Harry, Dick, Bill, and Eva. The second half is Adam, Albert, Lester, Harold and Esther (or Penny).
So it rather sets me back on my heels and gets me to thinking when I hear of something like this:
The 20-year-old son of a neighbor of ours just returned to his base after a month's leave. John Osborn
is a veteran of the Korean fighting and has been "rotated" home, as it is sometimes called.
I never met him personally but was told that his duty consisted of delivering ammunition to out-lying U.S. soldiers, some occasionally cut off from supplies by the enemy. At times the truck driver's only alternative is to drive through and over enemy soldiers! Telling it is quite mild--how'd you like the job? You civilians,that is.
What about voting, this time, if you haven't been lately? What good this fighting,if citizens don't use the privilege of voting--that's why these boys are in uniform, isn't it?
If you don't care about voting why keep these men fighting? They'd like to be back home,too.
Under a Communistic or socialistic government, voting is just a farce. We've almost let it become that--in this country.
The weather seems to have been bitten by the spring fever bug. The rain settled the ground and we've found our daffodils are peeping thru. It won't be long now!
The wild geese, if you haven't seen any yet--keep your eyes peeled--they're heading north day and night.
Down here the frogs are peeping in the branch below the hill. About 10 days early. How do I know--well, usually along about the first day of spring, March 21, they begin. For me, that's as good a birthday gift as anything.
And, also, Sunday with its temperature up in the sixties, brought out the first crop of Sunday drivers. We noticed at least a dozen bright, big cars driving along at a leisurely pace, indicating that they were out for the drive, and not in a hurry "to get there".
The Raleigh man and the Watkins man were both out our way last week, a couple of days apart.
The kids arrived home Friday night, along about 11:30. John and family and young Harry, and returned to Indiana along late Sunday afternoon. They have finally located a house to themselves,southwest of Valparaiso, which will sure be a big relief. At present they're cooped up in an
upstairs apartment of three rooms.
Saturday's highlights--a visit of a couple of hours with a close friend, Wauneta Griffin, and of course we never got half said that we'd like to. Daryl May was also out here and for chili supper besides the "kids",were Wanda Cooper, Bonnie Bennett, Jim Forman, Ervin Rowe, Jim Chandley and George Capistran from Chanute AFB. Later, all of them, with John and Kay, Pete, Bill, Adam and Eve,
took off for an evening of square dancing and movies.
An old friend had a birthday last week--a little late we remembered it--Fred Jameson.
Penny's favorite pastime is watching for the mailman.
I wonder what she will do when we return to our own place--the cabin with the Silver Bell. Anyway, if she sees Curt (Sollars) in time she trys to unscramble herself from whatever she's doing and get out in sight. Then if he sees her in time he hands her the mail and there'll be a bit of conversation thrown in.
She thinks "my mailman is a nice guy".
We have the best neighbors hereabouts, too. As a rule they don't live at your house, which is sometimes the case elsewhere, but they stop by occasionally. And if you are in need of anything, all you have to do is say so. No one refuses any request that is reasonable. And no one asks anything unreasonable of a neighbor, either. In a world of trouble, we live and let live.
I guess I may as well begin by stating that this will be my last attempt at this "bizness" and get it over with. Having already warned ye Editor, I guess thats all that is necessary.
And so I'll tuck my pencil away for the summer ahead. Spring fever and gardening and baby chix will be the rule from here on. the old heating stove will soon be out of season, the big old chair in the corner can just stay there, for all of me. Anyway its usually overflowing with coats and caps, or piled with clothes off the line to sort out. So it will still be useful at that.
Furthermore, we'll soon be hieing ourselves back down to our own little neck of the woods. Its either going to be that, or I'm going to fool around and break my blamed neck on this stairway here. Who ever built this big old barn of a house decided on 9 inch stair risers and 9 inch treads, and narry a hand-rail installed: and as sure as Ineed something "its upstairs",so I puff up, and then after finding what I clambered up for, I creep down--don't hold your breath, I made it--Ha!
Thats what another birthday has done for me.
And then everyone is homesick besides.
Also the kids argue that--no shade for a sandpile like theirs down home.
Here this house sets on a high bare knob and invites all the sun, the winds and the rains to come on I dare you. Also its wide open and sticks up like a target for one of those perverse little twisters now frolicking like imps of Hell over the neighboring states south of us. Down in the timber they don't worry one quite so much. Having had to run from one back in '48 we believe that we stand a better chance there, because the shanty snugs down on the east slope of a wooded hill, and when one of 'em hits timber its more apt to break. That one did. Where were we? Heading for the big gully south of the shack.
They carry water there, and they carry water here.
Theres no electricity here and some there.
No telephone either place.
And then in summer its cooler in the woods and in winter its warmer. We've found that to be quite a factor in the deal.
Last, but not least, its our own.
Sometimes we feel its rather shabby and looks sort of indigent to folks, until someone comes along that just wishes they, themselves, were as fortunate to own their own little neck of the woods. So many just simply can't,no matter how much they try. So at that we're pretty well blessed after all.
Anyone wanting to find us this summer, go to the pavement corner west of Jimburg (Jamesburg on the map) and drive straight away from Jamesburg on the gravel road west, a little over 2 miles. We live at the end of that stretch, but just before you reach the top of a hill, off to the left and you reach open road again at the gate you'll do some unexpected winding in and out, then when back is a little gray shanty with a bell tower atop, "The Silver Bell"--Off to the right down slope by the creek is a little gray cabin, thats 'The Cabin"--straight ahead of you--well don't try it downhill if its muddy and never try to cross the creek ford at all. You won't make it. It you try it, well, it just means we'll have to hitch up and pull you out. We do that a dozen times each summer, tho.
Maybe I'd better change the subject, and speaking about a birthday back aways, I certainly enjoyed this one. Oh yeah--I'm 46--was that what you were wondering? Well, I not only received a number of cards but 2 lovely cakes besides. The kids presented one (with Mrs.Gruels help) and one came by mail--from friend Jessie Kinney, a real surprise. Of course I hated to cut into them--but who wants to look at such luscious cakes, so, they went the way of all good cakes. Then to celebrate, four of us attended the picture"Quo Vadis", and if you didn't get to see it you missed something. Harry and I read the book years ago and also "Ben Hur", now we're looking forward to that. In the picture Petronius stated "Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Rome, what next?" Most of us living today have seen some of the next ones he wondered about, also go down will we?
To those who sent cards, many, many thanks.
One of my cards came from a close chum, Mary Lynch, over in Pine Village, Ind. way. Also with it her annual newsy letter all about them. Each year she remembers me thus. One card from her mother, Abbie Riegle, brings back those memories of many long, happy hours I spent at her home as a kid. And I'm not the only one,either.
About six of us girls "ganged" together for several years (until the boy friends came along and the sorority dissolved) and every Sunday it was the accepted custom to be at the Riegle home right after Sunday School. Mary elected herself chief cook and the rest of us followed orders till dinner was cleared away. afternoons were passed at studies(?), or games,or if it was nice we'd go walking, a good old-fashioned pasttime. Maybe Perry would back the truck out of the shed and, with Abbie up front
with him, and us girls on the back, we'd roll out of town to the country, and enjoy the ride. Enjoy it was right!!!
No oiled streets then,remember, nor even a pavement at first. And Perry's chief delight wasn't missing chuck holes--he hit 'em. The game seemed to be to stick on and take it. We stuck. though such Sunday fun seems rather lame nowadays it is still enjoyed to some extent by a goodly number of folks. Anyway, the memories are there, and they are good ones. Mayhaps the youngsters who pile in here on us nowadays
will have such memories,too.
Saturday evening, Pete (young Harry) rolled in home from up near Valparaiso, Ind.,to spend Sunday with us. He made it just in time to take off with the rest of the kids for their Saturday night fun.
Six young folks from near and far spent Sunday with our youngsters, enjoyed themselves so they say, at cards and monopoly. So did I. Boy I went broke in no time flat buying up real estate. Guess I'm no financial wizard. Pop did a little better. late in the afternoon the kids left to take in a movie,didn't like it, so came back and popped corn for a while.
They ate what they didn't spill.
John and Kathryn moved last week, so they didn't get home this trip. Moving into a four-room cottage from three little upstairs rooms they can now spread out, plant a garden, and even fish from their front
door, almost. there is a small lake just across the road from them, Pete tells us. Also they're about 30 miles closer home. Guess I'll go see them again.
A letter last week from Dick states he made Star
Sergeant, and I figured I could remember and add the capital "S" on his address easy enough, when
along comes a second letter to hold everything until further notice,he's been transferred again. So I'll have
to memorize a new address, it seems. About time I got one in mind perfect, I have to learn another one. Well, there's a lot of mothers in the same boat, I know.
I believe this is as good a place as any to sign off and call it quits.
Having written all this, I picked up the last
Middlefork Journal and found Brother Al's epistle, "Spring Takes a Bow"--you can't beat that.
So, while I've enjoyed all this, it's going stale, same old I, me, myself, my family, and us, and while some enjoy it there's no doubt many who've said "it's about time she got wise to herself." So, I'll be seeing you, adios.
Well, here I am again, and we're all home again except one. And this little old shack is full to overflowing clear out into the yard and the whole 40 acres. These kids are busy re-exploring old haunts and making new hide-outs. The fishing has been good and dozens of cars have descended upon our creek banks to take over. So not to be outdone, Pop, Penny and I tried our luck at it one of those hot days awhile back. Harry, who never was one to fish much, had all the luck. I lost both of my catches and both were honeys too! Well, about two or three inches long. Anyway, we had a mess of fish for three for dinner, along about 3 p.m. Mosquitoes not considered, it was worth the effort at that: now Penny wants to do it again.
Our garden is up, most of it. the first big batch of rhubarb jammed (and eaten)\; the mushrooms are all gone finally, the wild onions are now too rank to enjoy and we didn't dig any sassafras for tea this year -- too busy.
John, Kay and babies three have moved back to their cabin by the creek. Pete threw his glad rags into his car and headed for home also. So all are back in their Hawbuck Hills except Dick, and he's due back the last of July. But before then Bill will be learning the swab jockey's ropes. Along May 27, he'll head for Great Lakes and join a lot of other guys in on the same deal.
The youngest have all tried their hand at swimming, too, but this past week called a halt to that fun. B-r-r-r, sure glad we didn't kick that heater out for the summer, it's sputtering right along now, in a business-like way.
May Day and it's usual glory has come and gone and lovely indeed, down here in this timber land of ours. But what a contrast to far corners of this old world.
Back some 30-40 years ago it was the custom to hang May baskets on our neighbors' doorknob. It is still the custom in some places.
Another custom, locally, I do not know where else it was performed, was a street car parade staged by all the kids in the north end of town. The other end of town, well, that was out of reach almost for most school kids then. Our efforts were confined to the two or three blocks where most of the north end young fry lived, up around the Christian Church corner and on down to the next street just north of the railroad tracks.
Even the boys condescended to cut out paper dolls in order to populate their shoe box street cars. Al Blackford , grant Layton and John Payne evidently saved all their empty shoe boxes for weeks ahead in order to supply the demand. They never failed us.
Windows covered with tissue paper were cut into the sides of the boxes and a colored piece of tissue paper was considered quite classy\; anyone who succeeded in securing tinted tissue windows was a step ahead of the other guys.
Smoke stacks, spool wheels and colored frills were essential, and the clever ones contrived some dandies. The lighting system -- a burning candle. And if you know kids, you can guess the results when a couple of street cars would happen to whack together, or some kid wanted a smaller one's place in the lineup Usually a kick settled the argument -- the loser's car went up in smoke and the loser went home in tears.
To save the evening, sometimes some of the grownups would gather on a neighbor's lawn convenient to our old corner street light, and applaud the parading youngsters. And often they paraded and re-paraded until they were weary, and enough street cars had been wrecked that there weren't enough left to parade with.
So go the years, old customs give way to new. Now the radio, funny book and television call for the younger folks attention, something that requires neither mental effort or handicraft. And teenagers who then supervised the evening's fun -- well, off to the drive-in and Pop's car takes a beating. So does his pocketbook! And who would swap back? Neither you nor I.
But the month of May is a bang-up month, besides May Day, Mother's Day, Decoration and all those many school affairs that terminate the school year.
No graduates in this tribe this year. But the big event was the Junior-Senior Prom. With two in the Junior class this year it was worse than graduation, or was it? For weeks and weeks everything has been spearheaded for the Prom.
Now that's over, and we sit back and wonder.
Yes, it was well worth it. The memories we give our kids are often the best heritage we can hand down to them.
At 16 and 18 a girl and a boy will be satisfied with only the best, so, they get it, if we can manage. One is only young once and Mom and Dad were also young once.
From Vandalia way comes a word from Wauneta Griffin that their band was at Salem in the state contest. Here's hoping they made the grade.
The old Tillotson place east of us is getting a face lifting. The new tenant, Web Wright, from over near Penfield, has a bulldozer in there and is really clearing out the brush.
` Ervin Rowe of Nora, spent Friday and Saturday down in Hawbuck. Before his discharge from the Air Force he was on the crash crew with Harry over at Chanute Field.
The Fred Hoskins family were over Sunday afternoon, accompanied by Fred and Harry's Dad.
Fred received a rather painful but not serious injury Saturday, while at work. A chain hanging from a crane escaped from one workman's hands and struck Fred on the left cheekbone. It floored him temporarily, but being Fred he didn't stay floored long.
Recently I was threatened with a "cowhiding" if I didn't do "Hills of Hawbuck" again, so I thought it over and decided I'd try my hand at it off and on for now. I don't suppose I'll be back every week, but I'll pop up often enough to keep the Editor in hot water trying to decipher my handwriting since I am typewriterless, and trying to figure out my spelling. I'm with my writing like a coxswain in the Navy, trying to make a higher grade. He boned up with the necessary books but swore the books were wrong. Well, he never got the rating.
Guess I'd better find that dictionary then.
And now I'd like to thank you folks who were interested enough to write me. I received quite a few letters from "all over". And sometime I'll try and get all of them answered. I also received a lot of verbal messages, passed along by home folks. Well, being human, I'll admit I enjoy it. So thanks, folks, and I'll try to do a better job for a while.
To "Leetle Jeb", out on that country lane, dry yer tears, sonny, Auntie Hawbuck's back agin. Save me one uv those Houn' pups uv yer pappy's, he'd sure go good on revenooers and tax collectors too!
Pink elephants! They tell me you see 'em after going on a big binge -- and out here in Hawbuck you'll see pink hens (minus the hangover).
Our old White Leghorns and White Rocks hove themselves a dust bath out where some red cement color was spilled and they are all sporting a lovely pink feathering. I'll admit pink chickens do look odd, but we're so used to it now that we don't notice them unless our attention is called to the fact. And each and every newcomer on the scene notices them.
Saturday,; I had the opportunity to stop off and see neighbor Jessie Kinney, so I couldn't pass up that chance, and we made the best of the 15-20 minutes I was there.
Uncle Billy Cooper had a slight misfortune last week, falling and spraining a shoulder.
Irvin Story is getting a new well job at his farm, the old Aunt Amy Wyman place.
A letter from Bill, with his new address, has arrived. And now we're all busy thinking of things to write him. One weed can sometimes be a long, long time, can't it? The address is
G.R.Hoskins, SR 4454368
C.O. 235, Recruit Trng. Com.
USNTC, Great Lakes, Ill.
A letter from Dick, and he spent the last weekend in New York City, N.Y., driving it in his car with several other buddies along
From an old newspaper clipping (Potomac Record Jan 13, 1899) I read the following:
Throughout western Indiana, fiddler's contests are all the rage and furnish much amusement for those who attend.
Here is where Potomac would come out strong. A contest participated in by such bow manipulators as S. Cheney, A. Tomlin, A.M. Parker, G.W. Wertz, Harry Fithian, Frank Hall, A.L. Griffin and 47 others that live within the immediate vicinity would be worth miles of travel to witness.
I've heard my folks talk about all of these men but only knew two of them myself.
And;, since this is washday and I've already spent half the morning writing letters, I'll sign this off and get going.
Everything seems to happen at once, and of course, if they were strung out individually, no doubt happenings would then be a monotonous thing.
Not big things or exciting -- such as the teenage set goes for -- but little and worthwhile happenings such as a new calf's arrival, with the resulting double daily milking schedule, and good ol' cold milk out of the ice box to drink again, bread and milk for lunch, cream to churn, and cottage cheese whenever we want it--m--m--m. And green beans for canning -- just handsful and handsful of the crisp snappy "eats". A whole basketful for the first picking.
With the gardens all somewhat battered up by this erratic weather, one is lucky to have enough for table use alone this year. But garden plants are a little like humans, they just keep on trying in spite of setbacks and misfortunes.
Our passes for admittance to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center also came -- so now our plans for "Sunday are centered on making a run up there to see Gordon Robert, "Bill" to most of you--ha.'
And some letters -- more writing to do -- but nowadays I guess you could call that my hobby. I was just thinking, after reading the heading on a couple besides Dick's and Bill's, there's quite a few youngsters scattered over this old globe that start their letters "Dear Mom and Pop"--and well, it's O.K. by us. We sort of like it I guess or we'd never have started it. Even our own boys girl friends address us that way.
Then we helped out on some moving last week. Alberta and Sid--or the Sidwells-- having sold their little place in the north end of Potomac and bought another place in Hoopeston. Required a bit of new flooring and Harry and the bigger boys spent Saturday and part of Sunday laying that,; and the Sid's were all moved in by Sunday evening. They say they like it fine.
Uncle Charlie Cooper from out our way bought the Sidwell place and with Harry's and the boy's help he moved his belongings into his new home Monday evening, and so becomes an established citizen of ye old home town.
The Ray Dunlaps have vacated their home place, temporarily, I hear, due to illness of Mr. Dunlap's mother.
Kenneth and Evelyn Ledman, making their home with her father, George Osborn, on the farm down at our corner, loaded up their possessions Sunday and moved up near Rossville.
With the Biddle place changing tenants a short while back, Hawbuck has had another upheaval of personnel it seems.
We miss our old neighbors, Junior and Jane Farnsworth, since both of us moved to the opposite ends of Hawbuck. Then Jane and I just missed each other by a margin on the worst corner in Hawbuck the other morning. Watch out for the sharp corner just north of Frank Biddle's, if you are driving down this way. With that tall brush it's hard to see around.
John and Kay Hoskins and youngsters three spent Saturday with her folks at Oakwood.
Bob Douthit was here a few minutes the other morning to pick up Adam for work. They are helping out over "next door" for Web Wright. Wright has put a big Seaman tiller in operation over there. It moans along hour after hour renovating some of that brush land. It's diesel powered, a far cry from riding a jerky hard plow or cultivator in a cloud of stifling dust stirred up by the feet of a cantankerous team--usually one horse always was anyway--and nary a breath of air stirring underneath that broiling summer sun!
Talk about those good ol' days! Ha! Seems to me in spite of that stinking mess overseas we are contenting with, that there's some "good old days" right here in our own front yards. We've just got to realize that they are first, tho.
Sitting out here under one of our hickory trees I can see our wrens busy in and out of their box. A strange wren was set on invading their premises but two against one finally convinced him--or her--that he wasn't welcome.
Just last week a persistant and hard-to-scare English sparrow pestered them continuously for several days. Since he wouldn't leave them alone, in spite of all our efforts, one of us finally used the 4-10 and got results and the wrens worried scolding has now changed to their merry little bubbling song.
This spring, first time in a long, long time, we've noticed a number of those bright and gaudy "peckerwoods" as we nicknamed them, the bright redheaded ones with black jackets and white trimmings. The first one I noticed was being harried by a butcher bird and I couldn't do a thing about it.
"Red Sails in the Sunset", and wasn't Sunday evenings sunset unbelievably lovely? There was a perfect panorama of cloud scenes, just after old Sol ducked down behind the skyline. We found woodlands and a river, burning town, giants climbing on the hills, and the one the youngsters liked best--a whole parade of witches streaming along in a row. For a few seconds there was one perfectly outlined straddling her broomstick and her hair streaming, perfectly depicted. One old gal was too fat to walk, she was at the end of the row and who ever saw a fat witch.
And so I'll sign off till next time.
July 9th 1952
Gee, what swell weather ! Sure a relief from that heat wave isn't it? Just about like a drink of fresh cool water, and a fellow can just draw a big, deep breath and sort of just ooze out of that tense feeling and let down. It sure was perfect weather for the Fourth of July.
Fourth of July again. And gone. This year seems like we're running a hurdle race or something. The last Sunday in June, Harry and I, with young Harry, young Eva and Bill's girl, Wanda drove up to Great Lakes for the afternoon. Bill looks fine (even with that crew cut, Ha ! ) and says he likes it better than he thought he would.
We walked out to the beach and actually found a spot big enough to sit down and rest a while, among all those gobs and gals. The lake was the bluest I've ever been fortunate to see it---this is about the seventh or eighth time I've gotten that far from home.
Thursday evening, Sid's were down, Jess and Fern Hoskins were out and the whole bunch enjoyed the fireworks they brot along.
Friday, the Fourth, company: Fred and Louise Hoskins and youngsters of Williamsport, Ind., Harold ( or farm, to us) and Kate Hoskins of Pence, Ind., and their two girls. Lucille Brown and Pat of Danville, and of course John and Kay and kiddies. We didn't get out to the Park until almost six, although the older girls and boys went earlier.
Saturday, to Danville and to Potomac, in the evening to the show. The boys putting on the picture did a real job this time, and good pictures, too, this year! (even the mosquitoes liked the show, ha! At least plenty of them showed up).
Sunday afternoon two carloads of relatives rolled in from Grand Rapids, Mich., hadn't seen them in almost two years. Part of them stayed overnight. It happens that these two in particular are cousins in a double sense of the word. My cousin, Jack Atwood, married Harry's Cousin, Mae Hoskins, about two months before we were married--so we sort of "hang together" in the family lingo. Leaving for home on Monday they took young Eva with them for a two week visit.
Also on Sunday, a GI couple were over for the afternoon. they turned their youngster loose in the sandpile, and boy, how he dug sand!
Back to the Fourth!
` Memories of years now gone, sifting thru the carefree crowd and mingling in our minds with the colorful ever-present today.
Youngsters, eager and restless, oldsters visiting and watching for more friends to show up, the between-ages, divided between shelling out dimes and quarters and trying to get a word in edge-wise in the current gathering of acquaintances.
Well, it was a good day. Sort of miss the old custom of speech-making by some noteworthy person, and especially miss that old merry-go-round with its regular "thoot-thoot" and its calliope music.
That has gone with the years past. But because of those days past, we have this date to enjoy. Because of many boys away from home, and away from Fourth of July celebrations, we will be able to keep it that way.
And because of a lot of guys who've been there and are back (lets not forget the ones who didn't come back) we had the best Fourth of July in years. Each year these fellows have worked like beavers to put on a program that was worthwhile, and it's been tough sledding to do it, too! Trying to convince folks that Home is the place to celebrate, that what goes on right under your nose is more fun than driving off to some big blowout--that turns out to be big in name only--trying to show folks that with a little cooperation it can be what folks hope it will be. I think they made the riffle this year, too! While not so elaborate and many, the concessions were good, and enough to keep the crowd busy.
Sure missed that man Bryant and his family this year, didn't we?
Then, too, did you notice the new platform recently built? It sure ought to stand up and take the wear and tear.
The Amvets built that, I understand, with the help of some donations. A lot of time, trouble and sweat (remember those hot days?).
And the best part about that platform was what the Amvets secured to go on it!
Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers! Good on the air, but better by far in person.
We just laughed and laughed and laughed.
Yeah! And once I discovered myself with mouth wide open! Well, I sneaked some side glances to see who was laughing at me. Ha! Believe it or not, two out of three persons about me were also gaping. And if you were one of those, don't feel too foolish, because I happened to see the Journal Editor with his mouth ajar, too!
Having to stand up during the program was tiresome, but worth it, for everyone stayed, it seems, even "Violet"! Then, too, the serious side of their program was noteworthy of such funmakers. Altho they make you laugh, they also make you think.
Tiny Stokes, in spite of his size, can sure sing. Maybe that's why he sings so good--plenty of backing!
And that "Brahm's Lullaby", well, how he kept singing with the antics of the rest around him he was sort of holding the bag, But that was what he was supposed to do, no doubt.
Walberg, Fleming and Richards, while not so outstanding in their performance, produce a background that sure makes the whole thing tick.
And, unlike some performers here a few years back, they visited with their audience, and that's the kind of fellows we like.
Captain Stubby said "Potomac sure has a friendly atmosphere all right--and one thing sure and certain, no one is a bit bashful".
We hope they liked us as well as we do them. We'd like to see them come again.
And if the folks hereabouts will just keep behind our Amvets and keep boosting, we'll no doubt see bigger and better programs hereafter. Here's to next July the Fourth.
And to the Good old U.S.A.
Here's to Freedom as she stands. Let's keep it just that way.
Well folks, just Hawbucking along this week in a quiet and peaceful sort of way.
And from the arrival of two more calves which now makes six all told, a run over to Fred Hoskins early Sunday morning to bring home our rattle-de-bang truck, and to town for groceries and to let the kids (did I say kids?) enjoy the show, not much to do, going on in the usual slambang fashion to which we've sort of grown accustomed here of late.
Too wet to pick green beans so now they'll be hull beans by the time I can get to them.
And no early cucs, that rambunctious yearling calf of ours saw to that. Reckon I'll have plenty of late pickles tho--here's hoping.
Hawbuck is now headquarters for the Curry's new sawmill site. Preston having set the mill up in the timber across the road from Harvey Pollits place. They're already milling as we met a couple of trucks loaded with logs heading millwards, on Monday afternoon.
The same afternoon found young Jerry Behimer at our place pretty well winded, having peddled his bike a good 6 or 7 mile stretch from home.
In spite of the rain the fishermen keep coming. Delbert Shumate tried his hand at it out here Sunday afternoon while Dorothy and the kids visited with Kay and I. And a carload clear from Joliet got permission to spend the nite down at the creek so that they could catch a few. Standing in the middle of the creek in a pouring rain is one way to go after the funny fellows but not for us.
And while all the arguments go on pro and con concerning the convention, and predictions of the dire results we're heading for, seems to me that the American people have been surviving the regular four-year "horror" quite well for a number of past generations. And probably will continue to do so for more generations to come. It certainly won't be the ruin of this land of ours as quick as staying in the wrong lane of traffic. I think it's time to pull over and let the other fellow have a chance. The old model is getting outdated. Lets get a newer model and a fresh driver: the other outfit needs some rest--and an overhaul.
Mainly because the main issue isn't to change our policy overseas, our economic situation, etc., that won't come with a change of political parties. The main thing is--your boys and girls and mine have known only one party rule during their lifetime. Youngsters just now ready to cast their first ballots have never known a change of party, nor anything but one party--thats had business for the future of this country. Our young folks are accustomed to one party rule. They may have grown to feel that it is the only secure measure. Then what have you? The next step an "ism"? What more can Joe Stalin ask for?
We've had military men in charge of our country before--they made good and we didn't turn military either: we've had business men in and they handled the political chore very well. We've had able Democrats and Republicans both and survived the administrations of some pretty inefficient ones on both sides.
A change of party won't exterminate our country--it may be a shot in the arm. So why not a new man. What's wrong with that?
That has been the American way since 1782.
But whatever your viewpoint come next November be an American--go vote.
Hello there, and it's 95 degrees in the shade on the east side of this shack at 2 p.m.--mitigated occasionally by a brisk breeze sporting up every once in a while; makes you feel like a roast of beef when the cook opens the oven door, I reckon.
And here we were half wishing we could afford a trip this summer, down thru those famous Ozarks. Just as well we can't make it, and, after talking to an officer just back from the Kansas and Oklahoma-Missouri corner of the U.S.A., guess it's just as well; the excessive heat in that area would disappoint a person bent on finding a cool vacationland, so we are told.
Which leaves good old Illinois still tops in the weather situation as well as being considered the garden spot of America. (You ex-natives out California way--I'm not arguing the facts).
But who's complaining about the heat?
Could it be either you or I?
For if it were winter and freezing cold we'd still cuss the weather and cry.
That cyaniding the Wabash River got last week sure brought out a host of sightseers, us included. We took a few squints and quite a few sniffs, and finally decided the boat races at Lake Vermillion was a better substitute for a bit, finally terminating back home on the banks of old Middlefork, the deep green shade and a cold, cold drink of sweet artesian water.
You just can't beat that.
Along in the wee small hours of Sunday morning, Harry and I delivered son, Harry and suitcase at the bus station in Danville. Pete traveling down North Carolina way to spend with Dick his last week in service, promised to do this back four years ago, when they enlisted together, and Pete didn't make the grade. It certainly doesn't seem like it has been four years.
Enroute home next week they plan to go up to New York City, N.Y., across the state to Niagara Falls (two bachelors on their honeymoon--but, whoever heard of bachelors honeymooning?), to Detroit, Mich., and across country to home.
So this week has been rather quiet and uneventful so far, with all our "first family" gone, having only the second five, from Adam down, to contend with.
And with core peace and quiet you'd think I'd have all the chance in the world to sit down and really write something worth reading, and here I sit without a thought to think about. Kind of a blank, aren't I?
These little green hills we call home are all sparkling with a heavy dew in the early morning sunshine and the chickens up around the barn are trying to out-do with their cackling, the din being made by the calves all bawling at once, and old Bruno mixes in with a few staccato barks for good measure.
Another bright and shining day well started and here I sit just scribbling away. After a letter off to son Bill, and another one one or two off-hands, thought I'd try and see if I could muster up a few decent lines once more.
Being as now vacation is over for us, maybe things will get back on schedule again. With Dick back under the home roof we still have the same number of plates on the table that we had before Bill left--so we've sort of neither gained nor lost in one sense of the word, and again we're both gained and lost. It's according to how one looks at it. But Bill will be back home the 22nd and then I reckon we'll have two hectic weeks, because the present plans that are being made will probably be mild to actual results.
Harry and I spent a week up Michigan way, part of it in Niles with George and Hattie Quick and the rest of sister Hulda's brood, and part of the week at Atwoods in Grand Rapids. Back in 1928, Harry and I and Johnny, then 2, lived in Grand Rapids and have often wanted to go back for a "look see", so we finally made it. All alone, just us two--drove off and left the kids to go it on their own. While in Grand Rapids we took in a lot of places we'd known way back when, and Jack and Mae, with Mae's mother--Aunt Rosie, to us--took us over to Jackson one evening "to see the Cascades', an artificial waterfall lighted up at night by changing-color electric lights but telling it won't do justice to the beautiful sight. You just have to see it to understand.
While in Niles, Hattie and George drove us for miles thru the orchard country of that part of the state and took us over to Lake Michigan, and then to several other smaller lakes, and the much heard of Deer Forest near Columo with all the deer, besides picnicing at The House of David.
It seemed like we didn't get in bed before 2 a.m. , and while we more than enjoyed ourselves, we were plenty glad to crawl back into our own little hills once more and sleep. Oh, Boy!
Hills in Michigan seem to be mostly great big piles of sand with more sand in between, and usually a big pond in the low spots called Lake this or Lake that, if it is enough to float a boat.
Unlike Illinois and its acres and acres of cultivated land, it seems like an awful lot of ground is unused, mostly unusable in fact, but there is a house on every hill and often in between. In fact we saw houses built on lake edges partly on foundation and partly on pilings, so I reckon that's how they like it.
Getting back home we found that the kids had made out O.K. They'd neither burned down the shack, drowned, nor broken any bones, so I guess they'll get by when need be. And there wasn't a single black eye in the whole crew.
Last week I put the "Hills of Hawbuck" sealed and stamped on top of the organ--and found it still there Saturday morning.
What with all the goings on in this one man's family, it amounts to is anyone's guess. Possibly some folks know by now that our little grandson, Jerry Hoskins is in Lake View Hospital and that it has been reported that he has Polio. At least he is in there for this week under observation. If that is what it proves to be the worst is over, and he seems to be on the recovery list with one leg only slightly affected, and the chances for the full use of it again are excellent.
Besides Jerry's ailment, Brother Al (Alden May) is also in Lake View, convalescing from an operation and was in good spirits when some of us called on him Wednesday evening. Like all men as a rule, it was "doggone this old bed" with him fidgeting all over the thing, and looking forward to getting up and around.
Third on the list of happenings, I came home from town the other day and find that man of mine stretched out on the bed, a bumble bee had got him just over the temple and he was woozy as all get out.
Well--two more weeks and "here comes the school bus"--with road commissioner Carl Davis putting the maintainer up here in this corner of Pilot Township and doing a bang up job on this narrow gauge road of ours.
The set-up as described in last weeks' Middlefork Journal for school--teachers, bus drivers and cooks--looks like an excellent prospect for the kids this year--if the kids will only see it, too.
And those grade school improvements, well, that old building has been a good one in its time, but---
What do you think?
So---the editor speaks his mind. Sure and ain't he hitten' the nail on the head? A doctor for the town's physical needs; a minister for its spiritual needs; a newspaper for its mental efforts. Just let one slack up and see the results.
And we profess to be an enlightened people. But are we, if everyone just sits back and sez "Let George do it"? Now suppose George rebels and won't, or maybe he's sick, probably too busy at something more necessary, then what happens? Maw and Paw Public don't get what they're looking for so they blow their top and blame the other feller. An old saying goes something like, "blame the other fellow for your own mistakes and you are a failure". So whose fault is it there isn't any news?
Take our busy doctor for example. Paw wants him right now for his game leg hurts, probably Maw kicked him under the card table, but the doctor can't be located. Paw cusses the doctor and the doctor is clear across town sweating out a serious case with someone's helpless little youngster. But does Paw Public give the doctor a verbal pat on the back? After all, that tender old leg sure hurt. Wasn't his kid was it?
But the doctor--well, he's human, too, ain't he?
Take our ministers, now if one preaches hell and damnation--why, he's too rugged for the lily-livers; if he sugarcoats the vital messages he delivers, it seems like some listeners get the idea that religion is for Sunday, skin the other fellow come Monday.
In trying to fill the bill with a good newspaper an editor must have news and happenings of interest to the locality the newspaper serves--so, if none is available, then it's the printer's fault. Well, ain't it?
Oh, for heaven's sake, "people are funny"; call it funny if you will, it's inconsistency supreme.
I sure don't know much about the printing business, but it certainly amounts to a whole lot more than a knowledge of English and the letters on a Linotype machine. A printer don't just walk into his shop and wave his hands and presto! here's your paper. A little town newspaper can't afford reporters and ad takers, and so on. Like any other community undertaking, a lot of it depends on individual contributions.
You know what, there's lots and lots of people all about town with telephones, and they speak the same lingo the editor does. Maybe he isn't in--call again. Then, too, most everyone nowadays can write, if they can read, and have paper and pencil handy. Bejabbers, why don't they write down names, places and dates, and ask the ed. to rewrite, (he will), and mail it, or take it, to the printing office. But do they?
N-o-o-o just look over the Middlefork Journal.
Is Aunt Mary and Uncle John's overnite visit in the last issue? Whose fault is it? Does the editor know you have an Aunt Mary and Uncle John? I doubt it! But maybe half a dozen people scattered about town know them and would love to know they'd been close by, even if they hadn't got to see them.
So, with the ability and most of you with the necessary time (10 minutes, maybe) It seems the incentive is lacking. Must be stuck away up on the shelf next to the Christmas decorations.
Maybe the town doesn't need a newspaper.
But--do you like hot dogs without the mustard and onions? Do you relish cake that hasn't any icing? I'll bet you don't!
A community that doesn't have a paper is about like a hot dog without the mustard or a cake without the icing. Without those flavorsome extras, it just ain't good eatin' ! Right?
I'm taking the bull by the horns, maybe, but---
Suppose you don't like the editor---O.K., you still want something in that paper, or you would not read it, and you wouldn't squawk about it--right again!
Maybe you don't like the school board, or the teachers. Still, you send the kids right along for an education, regardless, don't you? You pay the bills, and attend the school doings.
Maybe your minister doesn't appeal to you personally, but you still belong to your denomination regardless.
Maybe you don't like your doctor, but, believe me, you're sure glad to see him when that loved one of yours keels over with appendicitis. Best guy on earth--sure !
Maybe you don't like Potomac. Still sticking around, tho--well, evidently you do like the burg, so why not help keep some mustard on the hot dog. Our Amvets and clubwomen are all trying, us individuals can, too!
Potomac with a newspaper, hot dogs with mustard and onions--both are good, free American customs. We like both!!
---Little Zeke's Auntie---
Vacation over? you ask, well, what is a vacation--spending my time chasing around keeping up with
these ten kids of mine; I feel like an old hen with a bunch of ducks. Then to even the score Harry and I pulled out and let the kids ramrod the Rancho which they did very well on their own a couple of times, altho I must say their taste in groceries was alittle expensive to the ordinary run of things around here.
In the course of past events we managed to sandwich in several things we've long wanted todo, and felt we couldn't exacatly finagle as we say, so we just "dood it" and aren't sorry--yet.
Bill got that longed for leave after "Boot" and it was over all too soon. He is now at Newport, Rhode Island for the next three months, one month of his schooling there already passed. His address is:
Class No.3-53A, U.S.N.,T.M.
School Class "A",U.S.N.,T.S.
Newport, Rhode Island.
Dick's car wreck, which turned out so fortunate for he received only a badly bruised shoulder and a face scratch, was another event of the "vacation", and one not so welcome. He went to sleep at the wheel and the transportation we use today isn't like tying the reins around the whip stock and curling up in the seat. Horses knew their way home in those days.
Pete, or young Harry, went to Fork for Prillaman's Hardware Store, we still refer to it as Duncan Brothers. Gonna be hard to change a lifelong habit and get the name right.
John and Dick both got jobs at Chanute Field, which is quite convenient for "Pop" as all three of them now ride together.
Little Jerry, John's oldest boy, came out of his polio attack very well, only once in a while he will limp a wee bit when running.
Alfred Talbott's comment in his Blue Grass column awhile back of "who cuts corn anymore", can be answered here in Hawbuck and way down in the southland. We cut our corn--because it's only about a half dozen acres, and it's rather a pretty sight down there in the bottom with woods all around. And that's the way corn fields--no--patches are harvested mile after mile down in the hill country.
Harry and I and his brother, Fred, with Fred's wife, Louise, decided we'd like to see Brown's County in all its glory, so early Saturday morning after combining their five kids and their pups over here with ours, we headed for that famous baeauty spot--and it is all or more than you think it is from just reading or hearing about.
As the morning was rather chilly we saw all of it possible from the car by mid-morning, and decided we'd see more of southern Indiana. Just east of the north gate of Brown's county State Park is a road marked Route 135, which we decided should be more interesting than the main stem. Well, it is--ask Harry. We aimed for Salem, and made it, but unless you are an expert with a steering wheel, turn off 135 at Rt. 50 for below the Muscatutuck River you'll ------------(this is the way it reads ?)---------------?
and that's just what it is. A lunch at 11:30 in Salem and a conference as to where next resulted in "we've just got to see Kentucky", and off we went. We crossed the Ohio River via toll bridge for the novelty of it (to us) and Louise went shopping in downtown Louisville for a pair of oxfords. As we got off on a side street marked Rt.61--we drove out of town on it. Farther down a detour sent us across country again; we didn't take the designated detour, Harry headed off the opoposite way. Those roads, those rocks, those hills, those woodlands--someday we plan to go farther east and south and cross country when we can. Before 8:00 o'clock that evening we had seen the Mammoth Onyx Cave, the smallest of the Mammoth Cave group, had supper and found quarters at a motel for the night down at Bowling Green, Kentucky.
We had figured that Louisville would be about our limit, and that's where the kids thot we'd be. We hit
heavy fog both mornings but it cleared off both days, and didn't spoil the trip. Also we found that tourist
accomadations after Labor Day are easier to secure.
Well, since we were so close we just had to see what "Sunny Tennessee" was like at least for a few miles, so we headed south-west from Bowling Green and crossed the state line to Clarksville and then west. Along the road it, seemed like every barn we passed was smoking, or indeed most of them were. Tobacco curing is done by the smoking process and most barns were closed, doors and windows had
props against them and piles of wood and sawdust near each barn. These barns, by the way, aren't modern painted barns, they're all weathered and many are taller than they are long and wide. The tobacco fields are patches by actual acreage--but produce. And the soil, red. Used as we are to our gravel hills and black prairie ground that red,red soil seems so odd.
We stopoped to secure some of the local tobacco and made the acquaintance of a very friendly elderly native, and were sorry we couldn't stay longer. We were a little surprised at his politics, as he seems to see things a lot as we do, and says most people of his neighborhood are also in the same mood, pretty much fed up with the new deal. Funny thing, he wants to see the Wabash River some day and he was only twenty miles from the Tennessee River and six miles from the Cumberland River. The Tennessee
River west of here that has been dammed is named Kentucky Lake and it is very beautiful as is the immediate country around.
Mr Gray, which was the man's name, informed us that the next few miles ahead were quite winding--and this was Fred's turn to drive. Well, they were alright and while not as abrupt and sudden as the ones Harry maneuvered back up in Indiana, there was a lot more of them.
We stopped at a little country store, there seemed to be more of them down here, and stocked up on some lunch material, to eat as we rode, and also "feed the mule". We cornered back across Kentucky thru Mayfield and got our first glimpse of that Big River, Old Mississippi, at Wickliffe, Ky.
To be continued
Continued from October 24,1952
In Kentucky we drove off the route, to the Mississippi River bank at the west edge of Wickliffe, and from here we could see the Kentucky-Illinois bridge spanning the Ohio, about five miles upostream, and the Illinois-Missouri toll bridge crossing the Mississippi, to the west of the other bridge and across from us was Missouri. Between the two bridges was the tip end of Illinois, and here we hope we got some good picdtures, including one of a small river steamer pushing a string of barges,just heading by at the time. We hit Illinois at 1o'clock and figured we'd make good time. But right off we had a flat in Cairo, and then we wanted sandwiches,how is it one eats oftener but less at a time on such trips? Well, we stopped and "wet our whistles" not intending to get a regular lunch, just a hamburger and pop, and out comes a plate of fried chicken and trimmings--free--compliments of Adalai Stevenson. Well, if we'd had time we might have tried some more eating joints and see if we could rate some more "free" chicken but we didn't. Instead, ten miles south of Marion, we were held up by one of the worst wrecks we've ever seen, and the car occupants were being placed out on the ground as we were flagged on by. Someone said that one was thot to have been killed, and from the glimpse we got, it certainly seemed so. The cars had met head-on and evidently at better than average speed.
We were in a string with forty or fifty cars ahead, I didn't count them, just guessed, but because of those and meeting a long funeral procession, the police, the ambulance and the wreckers, we were having a time getting through. A nice warm sunday afternoon, everyone and his neighbor were out for a drive and dozens of others like us, a long ways yet to go.
But once around the courthouse at Benton, and from there on we made good time and good going. We got home in time for 8 o'clock supper which the kids were holding up in hopes we wouldn't be too late. Most of them were a little surprised but Pete figured we'd go "whole hog" once we got started--it was his car and tires we were using. Hope we can do a longer trip next time. And now the rains begin!!
Brrr--Looks like that ol' "blue cold" is sure gettin' around our way after all. Allow it's about time tho.
Snow--its snowing in Hawbuck tonite--fast. Sure driving flakes, no foolishness,; no dilly-dallying along. Sort of really business like. By morning we ought to see a white world again. Could that we would see a peaceful world once more.
That annual big feed done come and gone and everyone seemed satisfied that "alls well on the Middlefork", down our way.
`All of Pops folks that could showed up early forenoon Thursday and loaded with the foods deemed necessary to go along with the twelve pound bird roasting away in the oven. He got popped into the stove along about 7 a.m. and we kept him there--the turkey--not pop, till noon.
Freddies and their pup, Jess and Fern with Grandad, and son John, with Kay and their three babies all piled in together and by eleven the Silver Bell shack was pretty full to overflowing, what with us women dodging one another and some near misses with the hot stuff; the men cornered in the far end of the Big Room (kitchen, dining and living combined) either for seclusion or self defense, and the kids weaving in and out underfoot mixed in with a few pups for good measure.
Unpacking, sorting, and cdooking were all managed along with the gossip and news and remarks on the cooking. The big girls--Anne,l Joyce and Eva--eventually made themselves useful despite the interruptions caused by the bigger boys. Whild discouraging and discussing we managed to get the whole works organized by noion, and then twenty five of us circled the big table, cafeteria style, with Pop carving. One round merely touched the surface; two, three and still the damage hadn't begun to much more than show. And yet it seems that some hadn't managed to quite sample everything. There just wasn't room left inside.
Everyone discarded their plate at the sink, the mess made by the tiny tots cleared away, and did we all set back and relax!! Well, we tried to anyway.
Only one thing to spoil the perfect day, Bill couldn't make it home. So, with notepaper and pencils we all took time out and each scribbled him a few lines. We mailed the round robin notes in one envelope to him later on.
The Sidwells came in the afternoon and while they were here we had our regular Christmas drawing among the entire family; a custom started by Harry's mother some years back and something that we all still like to do. We only live once, you know.
Afterwards, with Eva and Anne banging away on the piano, some of us made some "orful efforts" to accompany them and while neither melodious or harmonious it was fun.
In the meantime, the kids coming and going, the pies and caked, and salads and jellies still left in bold
array, were sort of silently vanishing away.
The coffee trays kept going the rounds, and the haze of cigarette smoke, the old stove humming away, the laughter and banter and kidding, the antics of the smallest ones, what more could you ask and be thankful for?
And like Grandpaw (in last weeks' article "Back home"). In our thots we keep prayin' for the peace.
Christmas over--New Years' gone!
Since mid-December there have been a half dozen birthdays, one new baby's arrival and two wedding
anniversaries to celebrate besides those two big occasions, in our family circle--and add to that, Bill got
home for a full weeks'leave for Christmas. Sure keeps this one family a galloping along this time of year.
New Year's Day we had occasion to stop at the Irvin Story home southeast of Jamesburg and found him in bed with pneumonia. Later he was removed to the hospital. While Harry was talking to Irvin, Mrs. Story showed me her hobby--an east window filled with the lovliest array of African Violets I've ever seen. All were blooming and all were of a different color. Flanking the violets were two pots of "busy Lizzy" (a new one to me) and falling in pink glory at each end of the window shelf. Just beautiful.
From our mailman we learn that his wife, Grace, had the misfortune to fall down the icy back door steps one day last week--"she never missed a one" said Curt. I tried falling down stairs, too, last winter and it ain't funny.
It seems our last summer's neighbor, Web Wright, has had his share of trouble. Now living the second corner north of Potomac, his home had a bad fire Monday morning. Just before the school bus arrived we heard the fire siren, clear down here in the brakes. Of course I wondered off and on all day who had had to call on the fire department for help. Pete informed us at supper of the facts, having gotten a sousing during the fire fighting process somewhere.
Back here off the main road, especially on these cold still days of winter (it's snowing now), there is little traffic and less neighborhood news. An "outside" trip and we contact one or two other "Hawbuckers" also out on some chore necessary, and only then do we learn what's going on. Now, for those who are on the "country line" there's a different tale.
Since our little country school was consolidated, the socialability of "Hawbuck" has almost fallen into discard. While there were only 8-10 pupils here at the most (about half of them were ours) the funfests and activities and the live wire teacher we had brought out a capacity crowd every time.
Now most of that crowd has moved and scattered.
Speaking of school affairs, it seems our local Juniors and Seniors possibly are to be denied their annual
shindig--the Prom--by the powers that be.
As all Alumni know, this is the One Big Date of all the high school years--looked forward to and planned for and dreamed about from Freshman days on. It is the climax of high school social affairs, even superceding the baccalaureate service and graduation exercises--which are necessary business to be gone thru with.
If some misdemeanor has brot on punishment, of all things don't use the Prom as the whiplash.
It's true there are times when parents and community voters think that school affairs sometimes have become a ring-around-the-rosy of nonsense and turned into a playhouse at times, but faculty members in cracking down, shouldn't use that one occasion to get results.
And for this occasion and necessary senior expenses--now become standard--the pupils must put up some entertainment that draws the crowd and draws the money from it--what is more of a drawing card than another Donkey Ball Game? Seems there's some faculty objections there.
What does John Public think on these two points--I wonder!
Gorgeous days--this weather, and it is--for January. And lo and behold, the calendar sez the 28th, not much left of month No.1 of 1953.
And the kids report a poor little robin down under the hill--probably decided last fall to stick it out--he can't afford to fly, who knows? Anyway, won't be long now till spring, and just glimpsing the sparkle of sunlite on the riffle at the ford from up here on the hill makes me restless, gets my mind to wandering
(which is nothing new). Anyway, I know the violets (my favorite flower), and the bluebells are all there,
probably wishing just like me, for spring.
Watching the woodland thru our windows is O.K. on cold winter days, but rambling around thru them and following old Middlefork's winding banks in the springtime is best of all.
That good old American custom of changing governmental heads without the European kind of upsets, has come and gone again. Sure, about time for a change, too! You know for 20 years my kids (and yours) have not had a working understanding of this habit of ours. It's just all been hearsay and history. Now it is a fact! Well, about the worst calamity so far has been the loss of sales by the silk hat business. Too bad, ain't it, that old aristocratic symbol got a black eye. Well, anyway, most of us are now content to set back and "let Ike do it-right?
But, if he sets down the presidential foot like it appears he will, maybe there'll come a change in things
and some will be better and some will be worse--no doubt.
Last week saw Harry piled up in bed with the flu and a pile of "westerns"--don't know which was the worst!
Bill (or rather Gordon, on his Navy papers) arrived home Saturday afternoon rather unexpectedly; we knew he was due home before long, but not certain just when, so it was a real nice surprise to hear "Hi Mom"! once more.
While he was at Newport, R.I., he frequently met up with Dick Reardon, also from Potomac.
Having finished his schooling there for torpedoman's mate, his next base will be Norfolk, Va., after Feb.4.
June Baker accompanied Enid Sylvester of Alvin out our way Sumday. "Eni", as everyone calls her, used to be our Tillotson school teacher before consolidation, and everyone is always glad when she rolls in. Usually her hubby, Roy, comes too, and then what he and these kids can't think of!
Anyway, the mud was sure nice plowin' for that big red car of hers!
This time of year is rather humdrum and sort of uneventful out here in the sticks, that is, if you call
having nine kids underfoot in a five-room cabin uneventful; and then the married one throws in his three
kids for good measure. Comes date nite and along about supper time the fun begins.
Take the big boys rummaging for clothes, shaving and Eva singing in between her lipstick and primping--the grandkids and the four smallest of our own go threading in and out, picking up shoebrushes and combs and misplacing things in general.
Well, Pop and I usually hunt us a corner and sit tight till the big rush is over, after which the small fry
settle down to play or sleep, and Pop and I get out the dominos for a game and so goes the day and evening down here in our Hawbuck Hills.
One more blessing in disguise, those kids of ours--is that so many little dividends represent deductions on our Income tax--no income tax blues this year.
Compared to last week's heavy sleet, today's warm sunshine is completely welcome and what a swell winter day to wash, with temperature hitting 60 degree and mud ankle deep--oh yes, it is out here. And wash I did, got most everything on the line by one o'clock, then Penny with her dolls and I with my paper and pencil, we just set back and let the clothes Dry.
We got several nice surprises in this week's mail. A card from a local friend says she's enjoying Florida's sunshine, and it was good to know she remembered me while she was enjoying herself. Good friends always make one feel like living is worthwhile, and even if it's only a souvenir postal remembrance, well, we all get quite a kick from those.
Another piece of mail was a souvenir recording made somewhere in the Empire State Bldg. (N.Y.) by Bill and a friend (who was also a shipmate of Dick's aboard the USS Roosevelt last year). While the recording itself wasn't too clear, nor were the boys expert conversationalists, it was their idea of sharing their fun with us. Also, the friend being a native New Yorker, Bill had an excellent guide, seeing all of the outstanding tourist spots, as Bill sez "that a hillbilly likes to see.
Former Wallace Chapel residents, the Arch Furrows, now residing in Rossville, celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary December 28 1952. Their family all joined in the celebration. Here's hoping these friends enjoy many more.
Last week I commented on a rumor reaching us about the prom. Rumors, it seems, have a way of starting somewhere. Often they become a nuisance--so, how better to squelch one than by giving it a good airing, thereby putting it in it's proper place, either true or false.
Happily, this one is false, the following information coming from Principal Brand:
"Sometime in September the date for the prom was selected. This date being May 8, 1953. The contract for the orchestra was signed during the first week in October...also this year we are having a banquet from 6:30 to 8:30, with the dancing to take place from 9 to 12. It is to be a Junior-Senior banquet and prom this year. We are counting on this to be the best yet held here.
Having heard this rumor from more than just one source, this should satisfy all of us concerned, and
here's hoping this big event turns out to be all that it should, and more.
Seed catalogs! How many of you folks reading this have three or four or maybe more lying on the stand right now, folded back to a particular page, and penciled marks all through the book?
Well, my particular page is open to the roses. Seems to me like they're almost too beautiful to represent the real article. But along in the summer of a cool early morning, finding a half-blown rose, with tear drops of dew on its face--the catalog pix do about half justice, don't they? And printers ink doesn't smell like a fragrant rose at all!
When we first settled out here, Harry and I planned a rose garden. And we do have some roses each summer, tho we've lost a few and haven't yet made the headway we've always planned on. But the garden of roses, if it ever once gets going, is to contain at least one rose bush from every state in the union. Now, maybe that sounds silly, but I've heard of sillier things, and so have you.
But what with working for a living, farming some, and corralling this bunch of young 'uns, we just haven't yet gotten the thing organized. So this spring, I swan, I'll get one new bush to add to the few we have if I have to sell an old hen to get it. And I'll have to buy it over to Hoosierland, I reckon, to start with, 'cause all of the ones we do have are sucker roses.
Along years ago, we've learned, there had to be a house down under the hill in what we call the meadow. Several summers ago we found a few chimney brick half buried in the sod and close by there grows a spraddly big "wild" rose bush. From it's position and its size sometime, it must have flung its flowered canes to the summer breeze near the door yard of this homestead.
It isn't an elegant rose, but it's pretty in its own way and as the brush cutting goes on about it and the
stock leave it strictly alone, it remains untouched.
There's a standing order that it's not to be mutilated (with its crop of thorns its hardly possible) but with each June the kids watch it to see who will be first to discover the "meadow-rose" in bloom.
Roses, well, guess I got all steamed up, but they can make lots of people get steamed up. And when flowers are a hobby, you just don't ever get fed up with them, like some things, do you?
The Gilbert Brown family over on the old Tillotson place, who moved in there last fall, moved to Chicago last week. Guess being a farm hand wasn't as appealing as the big city.
And since I've been dilatory, myself in writing this, guess I can't squawk about the Higginsville news--but was just wondering.
Sure had a honey of a sample blizzard for March first; maybe that's to begin like a lion--we hope.
And now there are two little robins down on the hillside. From Florida three weeks ago came a card saying that "robin" was on his way. At least hundreds had come that far north at that date, as it was almost time for the annual migration. And now one of them has arrived here at last.
Our bluejay pair and our cardinals up in the bittersweet patch are colorful winter company, but don't
rate so much when it comes to matching up with the robins' warbling song.
Funny how one gets going on a subject, isn't it? And that reminds me of the calendar up on the wall. Every few days one of the kids starts flipping the leaves back and mumbling along for a moment or so. Pretty soon we are all loudly informed, "54 more days of school".
YOU CAN BUY IT IN POTOMAC
Well, with the new deadline Ye Editor has laid down and Saturdays and Sundays being about the fullest days of the week down here, so far I've managed two straight weekends without squeezing in a single paragraph even endways. So, being a peaceful Monday morning, the offspring just departed for school, I'll try my hand once more at this haphazard whatnot, and if it runs over till next week, well, it will just have to.
Monday is the one day of the week I do just about as I please, and you'd be surprised how little I please, too. (Harry claims every day must be Monday).
Usually, I write those letters I should, or would, the odds and ends I like to look over from the week before, and read up the last magazine or newspapers left thru busy Saturdays and Sundays .
Last Saturday--wasn't it a honey, tho! The temperature, up to the seventies, the wind in the south, the sun warm and me just turned--well, it was my birthday, and the first full day of spring with a number of nice remembrances. I enjoyed it to the fullest. Found my tulips and daffodils are all up, the flags are sprouting, Lilac buds swollen till the green shows thru, and the frogs making music continuously. they've been at their choir practice for two full weeks, the earliest in a long, long time.
And Sunday, Johnny reports, the tiny wildflowers have already begun to bloom. With the wild geese and ducks streaming by almost daily and the birds (even a wren, already) everywhere, it makes for that good old garden itch already.
And when hubby stops long enough to scan a seed catalog--then it's really time to begin planning for
garden time. For Harry never touches the fantastic picture books until it is practically planting time, and
seldom then more than once or twice. Kind of a refresher course on what's what, I guess, and a brush-up on what's new.
Grandad Hoskins, out for the day Sunday, reports the bluebell crop well headed up, so you can see where he went--down along the old winding creek.
Having had a bad knee all winter, well so far I haven't tried any woodland rambling yet.
And Sunday brought the "relations" all out to the Silver Bell again. Eva, over to her uncle Fred's on
Friday evening for the weekend, was the excuse for their presence here for Sunday dinner. They also brought a school chum of their three girls' along and, with the Sidwells, Grandad, the two bachelor sons out from town, John and Kay here, and a niece and her friend, we had a full house again. "How do we manage it?" we're often asked.
Well, on such occasions it's an accepted family rule, where the feast is concerned, the main course (this time a big canner not quite full of Chili) is furnished and the outsiders bring the extras. So you see, the family get-togethers are a sort of indoor picnic--and we all do love it! thus, with the cost and the trouble spread out, it's really no more expensive to any one family than if each stayed at home to a regular meal, and this way we have our fun and our feast as well.
One day last week Harry and I received a greeting card. It was unexpected, since there was no anniversary right then, but its arrival was a surprise and a pleasant one, and the senders will never quite know how pleased we were over receiving it.
A couple of weeks ago Harry and I, as guests of John, had the opportunity of attending the Amvets' Box Social. We really enjoyed ourselves. It's been several years since there have been any box suppers. The last ones at which we were present were at the Tillotson school here and Enid Sylvester was teacher. She and her husband, Roy, were also guests at the social. Since it was a guest affair there wasn't much of a crowd and, as some of the younger couples stated that it was their first box supper--I've been wondering what's happening to our community?
Since square dancing has staged such a comeback all over this land of ours, I can't see why another good old American custom of entertainment, the "box supper" shouldn't also be recognized. Not only as a money raiser for an organization, but also as a community way of meeting the never-ending need for keeping the young folks entertained with as clean and wholesome an evening's fun as can be found. And if it were combined with an evening's fun of square dancing--what more could the young folks (and us "old folks", too) ask for in local pastime.
Someone will probably say that when sold the boxes go so high--well, isn't that the purpose of the box social? To sell at auction to the highest bidder? And isn't the money for some purpose, or why the auctioned boxes? And if said purchaser doesn't spend it for a box at a social he'll spend as much or more for his date: or if a married couple, for a show, and evening's meal out, or a doodad that is wanted, but not needed. Right? And while there are plenty of school affairs,and lots of church class doings, well, there isn't much going on around Potomac where young and old and the in-betweens can enjoy themselves all together, and still contribute to a good cause. And the only local outfit around that has thrown itself into trying to fill the gap between the school and the Church, and make itself fill a community need is our Amvets and their Auxiliary.
Their attempt to renovate and rebuild our Fourth of July celebration, for one example, their Christmas treats for the youngsters, and now their theatre and its two nights a week show; all three are worthy of far more backing than these folks are receiving. And all of their work and their time is taken from their own hours, that you or I would begrudge away from our own personal pastimes and families.
And remember, these are the same guys whose hours and days and years were spent elsewhere in your behalf and mine: they spent them in Uncle Sam's uniform, so that you and I and ours could go gaily about on our own affairs, as free folks should.
Now they, too, are back, to go merrily along--but they're still putting out for the folks back home. And
their families are back of them. Are we? Well now, if we have been, we can still jar loose some more and keep on backing and boosting them.
And--if we haven't been--it's about time!
You can't keep a community up and coming without doing your part. So, if we don't all pitch in and help them to help us, well, then, instead of being a better and happier and more desirable place to live--Potomac can just keep on fading away into a dried up old has-been--that once was--and who wants to live in such a dreary old hole? Neither you nor I.
So you see, folks, backing these folks in their efforts to back the whole community--after all, it's mutual: a rather round-robin affair, and we're all in it together. Why not?
Drip, drip, drip all day long that slow and steady pattern of rain has made a musical rythm--and with the ticking clock, the hum of the fire in the old stove, and the teakettle keeping the canary company, Penny and I have had a pleasant and peaceful time today. And besides that the rain has business to take care of. Almost April, its time for it to get things organized underground and get going for the grand spring rush.
Saturday in town some localities tried to call my hand on my spring bragging last week, but even if the
thermometer and the cold footed ones don't agree, the signs are all there, and the bigger and better. And did you ever see so many wild geese going over so steady? Of course, lots of you in town and at work haven't the chance to see them, not even hear them, I know.
Well news is news, and a car in the ditch would be news, wouldn't it--but there isn't any car in the ditch so there isn't any news about that.
The Sidwells, out Saturday on their weekly visit, produced a new whizzer bike as the latest attraction, and the whole tribe tried it out except Kathryn, Alberta and I, which is probably a good thing for the bike.
A pair of toy pistols, a birthday gift for one sprout of ours, resulted in a battle royal early Sunday corning when two young hopefuls tangled. Result--one bloody face and two very warm rear systems versus Pop's belt.
Letters from son Bill now find him in Charleston, S.C. You ex-Navy guys know what chipping paint is. Well! Otherwise he's well and enjoying the springtime season there.
One of our GI's writes us from Korea. Formerly at Chanute and often out to our place, he says it's a far cry from the good old U.S.A. After a couple of months he finally achieved a bed once more to sleep in, and the modern conveniences, they just ain't. But with the door of their quarters about six feet from the China Sea at high tide, the fishing ought to be convenient at least.
And in spite of the chilly winter throwback, spring fever sent some folks out our way Sunday, at that.
Among them, Brother Al and his family, the Ernest Rogers family of Oakwood, who spent the day with their daughter, Kathryn Hoskins, all of them coming over here for a while later. Miss Betty Chapman, out from Danville, a carload of young folks from Potomac for a bit, our two bachelor sons, and not last nor least, Arlo and Lucille Furrow, our annual spring visitors. Now I know spring is here. They always come out to see us along about this time and come thru the summer occasionally, but never, never thru the cold, cold winter months.
I've just read the editors account of the program of last Wednesday's (15th) entertainment for the storm
victims fund. It certainly seem as tho such a lineup of talent should have merited far more donations than it did, doesn't it?
All of our older "kids" went, but we didn't get to as Harry was sick at that time. A cold the week of the
storms and a bout with that hailstoned roof of ours (about one-fifth of it was draped in our elm tree after the blow was over) on Friday kept him "under the weather" the following week resulting finally in a trip to the doctor.
And this erratic weather since has been playing eenie, meenie, mieny, moe with the rest of us right down the row. Out of all this family of ours, only four haven't spent from one to three days in bed since. While, as usual, I'll probably manage to see the rest thru it then wind up with a dose of it, me own self.
I sent some newspaper clippings to Bill last week. Yesterday's reply was that some of his buddies who had never seen a tornado, just couldn't believe so much damage could result from a wind. And here, most of us have never seen the results of a forest fire, tidal wave, an earthquake, nor a bombing. No do we want to---I'm sure.
That caper winter cut the other day left the prettiest, white clusters of snow atop the yellow bloom of
our forsythia, sort of a two-toned combination for a while.
We set out some more fruit trees this week, and our peaches are about in bloom, some 8 to 10 young trees. Sure hope we can pick maybe a bowlful this summer. At least so we can taste our own home growns. Of course our family keeps shoving off, but with grandkids there can always be a need for fruit trees. Not counting relatives and friends (including my 13 readers) About the only apple orchard close by is a teetotal wreck after the wind finished with the place where Chet Powell lives. And it was a nice one too.
With a big family of "potential soldiers" and having a couple of boys already thru a term of service each, those "peace talks" should sound pretty enticing. To many people they are. To me--I'll take them with a grain of salt. We're dealing with the most cruel, the most cunning and most vicious people on God's green earth.
Letters from some fellows now in Korea, and who used to drop in at our place frequently when based at
Chanute, tell us some interesting facts of how people live over there. It's a far cry from home and a way of life they're used to, and how eagerly they are looking forward to "coming home".
Survival in such a land has evolved a people of cunning, trickery, or else complete abasement, that most
Christian people cannot--or will not--understand. And to understand them is either to know them firsthand (few of us do) or to study them, their history and their motives (and most of us don't) and even then the picture seems unbelievable.
Grabbing too eagerly at their outstretched hand can get us a knife in our throat. It has been done. Not a very Christian viewpoint, you tell me! Too much imagination, have I? Hardly--'twould be better if more of us used ours. A Christian people has to be on it's toes, it won't survive from an easy chair.
Read the story behind three-dimentional movies!! Sunday in The American Weekly, distributed with your Chicago American, learn how they were developed and how Cinerama, Cinema Scope and Natural Vision differ. Don't miss this informative article in Sunday's Chicago American.
That old storm left some odd reminders here and there alrite. One was a man's T shirt fluttering from a fence in the pasture back of us. A big water tank badly battered and bent, lies in some brush where one was never seen before. Then one of us picked up a good skillet somewhat rusted after a couple of idle weeks alongside the road. And we found my tub, not over east of the place where we expected to, but west down the hill towards the creek, and still useable. Odd shingles and pieces of boards we find everywhere: then down in that tumbled timberland, a big, old coon was found trapped in it's fallen den tree. Without a doubt, others are finding queer and odd reminders, too.
Saturday's dust storm was a bit unusual thru here with it's warm, sultry morning, then raw cool breezes
after dinner, and grit in everyone's eyes and teeth--tis said that variety is the spice of life, but the spice can
get a bit strong at times. April 1953 must have had a hangover.
I sure got a kick out of watching those dignified seniors (where did they ever find that phrase?) in their
class play the other night. And everyone else seemed to be getting a bang out of it as well. They'd ought to put the show on again but with all the programs on for the balance of the year when would they ever find time
To me, and to lots of others I've talked with, it sure seems like the schools nowadays just have too much adoing. Looks like the teachers meet themselves coming from one thing, rushing to another. Don't they deserve a chance to live with themselves? I think most of them are doing a swell job, I'm not criticizing a one, but it does look like there could be something worked out that would give just as good or better quality and less quantity. Not a PTA member myself--still it looks like there's a problem that's right up their alley. A year's program threshed out in advance ought to eliminate a lot of conflicting sessions.
And I still think we need a new school house. Am I the only one?
Annetta Hoskins, a niece, from Williamsport, Ind., spent the weekend with Eva and saw the senior play on Friday night with us.
Well, this time next week I'll be baby sitting with 300 leghorn chicks, I hope. Friday was payday, so that's where Pop's money goes, along with graduation clothes.
But with a patch of garden finally achieved and more to do and that creek just beckoning to "come on, lets go fishing"--happy days are here again.
Nice crowd and nice time out at the high school dance Saturday night. Juniors! Now that the ice is broken and folks know it can be done, why not let the young folks have more fun at home? There's plenty of the older folks who'd like it, too, and mixed dancing means fun for everyone.
Talking to a friend Monday, she remarked that "this rain is a dry rain"--sounds odd, but sort of hits the nail on the head, because it isn't the kind that soaks in, but if it just keeps on a few days it will get wet. And that's what we need, even if we don't like dreary, rainy days.
Baby chicks are a lot of bother, but, oh boy! Fried chicken, roast chicken, barbecued chicken, stewed chicken and eggs, eggs, and more eggs. So we bother.
Took some of the family to see "David and Bathsheba" at the Amvet Theater. More pictures like that and the Good Book will grow a lot more understandable and interesting. Moving pictures are a wonderful tool for the churches too, when you see it that way. I imagine that as a carpenter Jesus wouldn't have condemned a power saw as a tool of the devil. But He'd use it just as quickly as the hand saws available in His day.
And the pictures have developed up to 3D stage, occasionally someone can be heard condemning pictures, especially on Sunday. Well, religion isn't for Sunday only, and a good picture tho not religious, can do a person a lot of good after a whole week of steady work. So one of these days, we may be able to see a good authorative Bible story in film on Sundays, as regular as Sunday school and church. Any way you look at it, it's a possibility for some Church to try out.
Funny how old superstition can cling to a person, after all these years. Harry's folks and mine always
liked to consult an almanac at planting time, in order to plant "in the moon". And so, in spite of ourselves we still find ourselves wondering "if the moon is right". And altho we plant in the ground, if old Mister Moon influences the tides and makes young folks prefer moonlight nights, could be there's something about the whole wonderful business of growing things if planted in the moon. Who knows?
Now that the wild onion season is over it's mushroom time. Occasionally we find them here at home, one of Nature's little luxuries we enjoy so well. No, there are none for sale, we never have enough.
Harold, our third-grader, is out of school with a nice case of tonsillitis. Beats all how many things there are for a kid to have, especially where there's a big family to have 'em.
As Monday was visiting day for next fall's prospective first-graders, "Penny", or Esther, which is her right name, had her first taste of "schooling", and she likes it, in fact she's rather over-enthusiastic about it all. How long will it be until that wears off?
Being on the subject of school and school affairs, think I'll about face on last week's record. I really
tried to go to bat for our current crop of teachers, and lo and behold, Tuesday, I came a cropper on one of the school programs myself!
Albert brought home a notice that weekend concerning the musical program to be held Thursday at Hoopeston. And, since he had a fairly presentable white shirt and dress pants, I thought it would see him through until we could get his new clothes for the seventh grade promotion at graduation time. So I didn't fret.
But, on Monday evening he insisted it must be a dark outfit. Still figuring it would work out, I dyed the white shirt dark blue. Now put yourself in my place--the next day came a printed notice, "White shirt, dark pants". And I dyed the only white shirt he could wear!
Too late to get to Danville, a canvass of local stores--no white shirt.
Call it one of life's little tragedies, but I sure was mad at all teachers for a while, and some in particular.
Later, I found out that several other families were in the same boat, altho I didn't hear that any of them had "dyed".
Breezy summer morning, cool, clear and comfortable. South wind, sunshine and wash day.
Kids busy playing house under the hickory tree, the old hens are cackling, roosters crowing, Harry's deep red roses blooming against the cabin wall, birds singing all around, and the tinkle of old Blue's cowbell as she contentedly munches grass just over the fence.
Makes for a restful and leisurely day, but oh, so many other things to see and hear and do. And an evening's ramble around our "forty acres of freedom", as the kids sometimes say, will often net such results as a handful of wild flowers, a pretty or odd stone, a bright shell picked up on the creek bank, discovery of a bird's new nest, or seeing the bass leaping clear of the water, a second and he's gone.
The widening ripple of water is fascinating to watch as it spreads from center to shore. There's a big old blue heron that hangs out down near the bend, and he usually picks himself up on his big old flapping wings and drifts off out of sight till we pass on by.
One evening we spotted a wild duck out on a spit of sand downstream from us, and watched it preening itself in the last red rays of sunset. Where can you match that but down in the brakes of a winding stream?
And then with the pellmell rushing around of this one family another week is gone and no "Hills" written.
Since I wrote the last one there have been closing school programs and all those activities, visiting,
vacations and company, till I got clear behind.
Harold and Lester spent one weekend at Sidwells in Hoopeston and part of a week over at Fred Hoskins. Albert followed up with a week's visit at Fred's and Eva made it to Chicago with the Senior Class for their weekend trip.
Then John and Kay rolled in one morning the following week, unloaded three kids and a box of clothes, saying, "Be seeing you in a few days, Mom, don't know where we're going, but we're going". Three days later found them back; they'd made it down through sunny Tennessee to Chattanooga and Look out Mountain. Being Kathryn's first trip, bet it won't be her last--not from her enthusiastic
reports. Travel bug sure bit her.
They left on a Wednesday forenoon: evening found Bill back home for a three-week leave: Saturday of this week will find him back aboard ship and heading out to sea. How things hum when Bill gets home! It's go here, go there, go-go-go! Me, I'm about gone!
And, lo and behold, his first Sunday home found the grapevine working. About three dozen piled in for Sunday dinner and a day's visit and fun, and me in bed with the flu. However, nothing so minor as that kept the clan from carrying on.
A few days later, old friends, Enid and Roy, or rather the Sylvesters from over east of Alvin, spent an evening with us. Roy of course supervised a round of croquet with the small ones.
Speaking of small fry, Bill loaded all of this tribe of small ones aboard Dick's Oldsmobile one evening,
including John's little ones, and took off for the evening to see a girl friend. Some date.
And here's three cheers to those "Potomac's Future Citizens" and their ideas. It hasn't been many years
since Harry and I were "kids" ourselves. Altho we've a whole "passel" of our own kids, all full of vim, vigor and vitality, I wouldn't want them otherwise. And being so, they just have to let off steam, or else!
And that is certainly something Potomac lacks, "steam-letting" outlets for young folks. They love noise and action. You can't have that at school, nor at Church activities. The park is practically useless, and with no community center--what can you expect?
When our kids frankly state "I'M GETTING OUT OF HERE WHEN I'M OLD ENOUGH--THIS TOWN'S DEAD"--what can be done--let 'er die?
A home town is like an oversized family it has its cooperators and its discordants--and unless folks
recognize it as so--young folks aren't going to feel like "THAT'S MY HOME TOWN". They want to feel at home!
Why go to California, Arizona or Florida for sunshine and warmth. Been Having all of that we can stand right here in good old Illinois, the Garden Spot of the World. Last week when the thermometer hit 104 degrees up in old Potomac, our thermometer stood at 94 degrees, with a breeze thrown in for good measure.
This reminds me, the Danny Danfords should now be enjoying themselves up in the deep woods of Wisconsin, where Danny plans to get in on some good fishin'. Betcha he's fetchin' 'em out faster 'n Alice can clean 'em. Can't you just see Danny's eyes buggin'out, and hear those finny fellers going slap, slap, on the bank right at Alice's feet? Before they turn homeward they plan to take in a bit of Canada and sight seeing.
Met up with neighbor, Jane Farnsworth , a few days ago and learned that recent visitors of theirs, the Fred Farnsworth Jr.'s, were Jane's folks, Mr. and Mrs. Walter B. Jackson, Mr. and Mrs. Byron Brown and sons, Gregory and Stephen, all of Bismark. Mr. and Mrs. F.E.Farnsworth, Harold Farnsworth, Wayne Dawes, of Jamesburg and Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Reynolds and Sue, of Danville. Jane, who has
been teaching again this past winter, is now enjoying her vacation at home and making up for lost time with son, Tommy. Since Jane and Junior moved last year we don't see as much of them as formerly.
We have a neighbor down here in Hawbuck who can no longer get about and enjoy himself like he used to do. Lots of folks know Les Jones, but many don't know that he is now confined to the home.
Bill Hoskins returned to his base at Charleston, S.C., and his ship, this past weekend. A letter from him Wednesday says he missed his train in Atlanta, Ga., but he made it back to base some three and a half hours ahead of the train anyway. Just don't miss the boat, sonny, and have to swim!
Bonnie Bennett and her mother and brother were out Monday evening, having learned that little Eva is on the sick list this week with the "flu".
Everyone seemed to be heading for Indiana for Father's Day this year. Among some from Potomac were the Fred Ermenstrouts off to a family reunion and the Art Brooks family, accompanied by Shirleen Lawless, and the Bob Reardons for a day at Hanging Rock.
And us, well, we headed for Harry's brother Fred's for a change!
In the afternoon a neighbor family of Fred's, the Hugh Jordans, came over, and while Harry and Fred went to see cousin Marley, three carloads of us headed for Hanging Rock and "the ol' swimmin' hole". Well, all of them but Louise's mother, Mrs Wells, and I (we elected to stay on top of that hill, which is a long winded one, walkin' up).
Harry and Fred called on their cousin, Marley Hoskins, just back home from the hospital. A few weeks ago he was thrown off his horse, then the horse fell on him, resulting in a serious back injury. This injury leaves him confined in bed with a cast, which will be kept on him for possibly six months. Marley and his brother, Frank, often help ramrod the Hanging Rock horse shows and have, at times, been here to the Potomac shows.
Harry also had occasion Sunday to see old friends, Sylvia and Dick Simonton, who formerly lived around Potomac. Their daughter, Lucinda Duckworth, (Cindy to us), is now in Washington State with her family, while Lacy is working in Alaska.
Beats all how far a family gets scattered out in a few short years, doesn't it?
Well for once I've managed to hand out a bit of news for a change, instead of so much wishy washy stuff! Hope you enjoy it for a change.
Memories!---Way, way back in 1912, formal education began for Mary Teigle, Henrietta Thompson, Thelma Bird, Paul Harper and Eva May, as well as for a number of others--but since these were the ones who finished together twelve years later from good old Potomac High, I've only named these few. Discarding odds and ends the other day, I turned up my old "1924 Graduation notes"--no discard for it!
Who were the class of "24"? Recognize these names? Spike, Doc, Jack, Russ, Maggie, Bill, Henie, Teddy, Birdie, Flo, Margie, Ma, Peggy, Kelly, Mary and Eve? A conglomeration, that's right.
In proper names they were: Paul Harper, Edmund Butz, John Alexander, Lloyd Rusk, Nellie Bennett, Mabel Allen, Henrietta Thompson, Hulda Williams, Thelma Bird, Floy Judy, (seems to me Floy's twin brother Lloyd was also in our class but with his name left out someway), Marjorie Burkhart, Juanita Lindsey, Christine Royer, Lillian Kelly, Mary Riegle and Eva May (myself)
Our motto: "Backbone not wishbone"--still a very workable motto, if you ask me.
I've lost account of a few of these "kids" and out of the entire class, wonder how many of us "achieved our ambitions"--Ha! I was going to be--An Artist!, youthful dreams often get the rug yanked out from under 'em, don't they?
Still I believe most of us have achieved more worthwhile accomplishments than we ever dreamed of in school.
We started school under Carrie Littler, then passed into the hands of Laura Cossairt. Our music teacher was Addie Cossairt. The next four grades are rather hazy, with "outside" teachers that I can't remember (possibly don't want to). Our seventh and eighth grade years were under Fanny Biederman--years she probably gnashed her teeth over.
As freshmen we were beneath the guiding hand of Mr. Littler, with F.C. Turner the following three years, as our principals. Among our teachers those four years were some local folks--Mrs. Booher, Mrs. Messner and last, but not least, Curtis Alexander.
From among my teachers' autographed words of advice my favorite was and is: "Be yourself" (I've found it works, so, thanks, Alec).
Basketball? Sure, we had a team! While not as outstanding as its predecessors, it was, to us, a good one. Chuck Hamilton, Ed Butz, Clarence Blackford, Bill Wise, Al Messner, Bob Tennyson and "Coach Alec".
As Mr. Turner often stated after a class lecture, "Now, if you have got it in a nutshell"--sometimes I wonder---!
Closing the little booklet then, leaves me wondering of those I've lost track of!
Back to Hawbuck locals:
The Sidwells of Hoopeston just can't seem to stay put. They have rented the Woods Barton house (formerly Dow Actons, where we sojourned a year ago) and as soon as the new landlord has electricity installed they are moving in. Oh, well, guess I can stand being pestered by them, if they can stand us--Sid has a real TV set!
Alice Danford's recording of their trip makes you want to go fishing, too! At least it was a success from the women's viewpoint. Danny rather flabbergastedly reports, "I spent all my time untangling and unhooking--I never had a chance. But, the next time--!" Well we'll see!
Letters from Bill tell us, "Saw Bill Allen when his ship anchored alongside--learning to time egg frying on a tilting grill, due to the rolling of the ship (while on mess duty)! Celebrated the Fourth in Cuba".
The Fred Hoskins drove over to borrow some tools and all of us viewed the Amvets' fireworks up at the Park. While some of the folks weren't too enthused over the results, the kids were well pleased. After all, the boys fired some previously until the storm drowned then out, leaving part of their display too wet to use, I'm told.
Who said it was summertime? Just exactly sixty degrees on our thermometer this morning at breakfast
(6 a.m.) and a nice morning dew on everything. How the sunrise set all the dewdrops aglitter!
The new calves, three of them, up in the calf pen were all hungrily bawling "ma--a--a" and their Ma--a's mooing back. The young roosters trying their vocal cords, and the geese and turkeys putting in their particular noise--we do have a morning serenade hereabouts. To my notion it beats a radio all hollow.
Sunday we went to the Hanging Rock Saddle and Roping Club Horse Show, a benefit show for Marley Hoskins, over near West Lebanon, Ind., and it was a real show and financially a success. The gate donation totaled almost $170.00, the auction sale brot over $70.00 and the concessions stand profits brot it well over the $300.00 mark as nearly as could be estimated at the closing of the show. No one had had time to figure out the cost of the supplies, so the exact amount was not certain at that time.
There were quite a variety of horses and more than usual. Many were from distant locations; one van was from Broadlands, Ill. And of course all the local riders and their mounts.
As I'm not up on the "horse know how" like the rest of the family, I left it to them to get a kick out of the show and I got to visit with a lot of old friends and met some new ones. We've been there several times and are beginning to feel sort of at home. And one thing sure and certain these Hoosiers make you feel at home, too, but while they lived up to their promise to do this show up in style, it was well supported by "suckers", too. Both contestants and visitors. These were almost as numerous as Indiana folks, for once.
Donations for the auction sale ranged from louse powder, sacks of oats, roasting ears, pocket books, pups, chickens, a 5 pound sack of sugar, and lawsy me, I don't know what else. One old white hen was sold twice, both buyers paying in their bids, them the hen--well, I'll tell you about it later on.
A beautiful ribbon was sent to Marley, a rosette with three ribbons of blue, red and white, for sportsmanship.
Shortly after the auction sale, which was midway of the horse show, the kids had their chance. There were sack races, balloon races and the chicken race.
The sack races were funny, the balloons soon burst, and the chicken race, well we just laughed and yelled and laughed.
Someone donated a bunch of banty roosters, and for getting around, try catching one of the little devils.
Here six youngsters on their ponies were lined up, facing the crowd. Behind them at the end of the field, six kegs were up-ended and five banties were popped under that many kegs. Then the kids were about-faced and the signal given.
All got to the kegs about the same time, and a couple were back in their saddles pronto and back to the starting point. One pony wouldn't pull up close enough to the keg, one wouldn't stand still, but those two finally managed and one chicken got loose. The extra boy and the loser chased and chased, and then chased some more. It got down towards the horses and riders and the men fanned their hats driving it back out into the field where it finally was caught.
Next the announcer called the ponies off the field and asked for all the kids under 12 who cared to, to come out into the field. The three extra banties were tossed out and then the fun began.
None of our "Hawbuckers" were successful, altho even Penny tried, only to get tumbled headfirst into the dust. However the banties weren't cornered very soon. there were possibly a dozen and a half kids of all sizes, boys and girls both, in the melee.
The kids supplied the action and plenty of dust. with the crowd furnishing the noise. The banties would let out a sqawk and away they'd go, kids falling all over each other, and just when you thought one was cornered, it would go the way it wasn't expected to, and they would be off again. But they were finally corraled and carried off by their new owners.
Then the announcer had an inspiration, telling the men to turn loose the old hen he'd already sold (and which no one wanted). Well, you'd think that a big, old and heavy White Rock hen would be an easy mark, but probably because they were already chased out, she gave those kids a run for their money. But she, too, was caught.
Later on, one of the banties got loose among the cars, creating an impromptu race during which all the kids turned out to recapture it for its owner.
One of the finest bits of sportsmanship you will find among either grownups or youngsters, occurred after one of the children's trials. As everyone knows mistakes are made in the best planned programs, and inadvertently one was made here.
the second ribbon in the balloon race was awarded to the boy who came in third, third place ribbon was handed to the second winner and, while the mistake was noted by quite a few, no one raised a ruckus about it.
A short time later Harry happened to be sitting near the boy who won second place, but received 3rd place ribbon. The other boy arrived on the scene and explained that he'd like to exchange ribbons as he should have the 3rd place award and not the 2nd. There was quite a bit of friendly argument, the first boy saying that it was all right, he was satisfied to keep the misplaced award and glad this other boy had it. But no, it wasn't settled until the ribbons were exchanged to this second boy's satisfaction, and of course it pleased everyone.
Harry and I've wondered how many grownups would have done the same? A display of real sportsmanship, if you ask me!
Well, as the afternoon wore on and the crowd tired, they slowly began to drift carward, and thence homeward. And as the contestants finished with their particular classes they, too, loaded and left, and slowly the crowd thinned and the fun ended.
And tired, but still avidly discussing this happening and that, we, too, headed back for the hills of home, and the evening chores.
Monday we learned that during our absence from home we'd had visitors. We're sorry we couldn't be both places at once.
Old Settlers!! What a world of memories it invokes! Mom and Dad, my kid brother and I, all dressed up in our best bibs and tuckers, walking out to the park in the hot summer sunshine. Nowadays walking those six or seven blocks calls for a lot of energy. Back then it was quite an easy feat. It was also the custom and all our neighbors and friends were usually found doing the same thing, unless they were a bit more affluent and owned a horse and buggy. then they'd treat us to a friendly (if a bit aloof) hail and leave us choking in their dust.
Growing older I remember the automobiles, or gas buggies, were more and more common, and as they'd go chugging and clattering along, the once aloof neighbors often found themselves clutching handrails and hats until the redfaced head of the family brought his fractious horse down to a bit more sedate and dignified state of conveying them to their destination.
Thirty-five or forty years ago everyone went to Old Settlers. Out-of-town relatives came home. Meeting the train was a gala affair and the Old Settlers reunion often rivaled July Fourth for attendance and entertainment. Then you were either an old settler, the son or daughter of old settlers, or a grandchild.
And those dyed-in-the-wool old-timers made the most of it, too!
Debating and speechmaking were the vogue and the whole afternoon was given over to one speaker and then another.
Off would come the speaker's hat and coat as he harangued and perspired. A pitcher of water and a glass were standard equipment for the speakers' table and I do believe every speaker I ever stopped to watch (watching being more fun than listening) wore elastic sleeve bands to help hold the cuffs up on his wrists as he waved and whipped his hands about.
No speech was ever made minus its accompaniment of gestures to drive home the speaker's words. And all speakers had iron lungs, their speeches carried to the corners of the audience and beyond. No loudspeakers were then in use, but neither did the speaker have to compete with the noise of numerous motors and other contraptions now in use at all gatherings.
The listeners would sit there hour after hour, in the heat and sun, sort of mesmerized by the speaker, and few wandered about except lovers, restless and inquisitive kids, or mothers whose wailing babe needed care. Few bottles were ever popped into screaming mouths.
Another generation, and Old Settlers, along with its founders, will be an American custom gone with the horse and buggy days.
Not long ago I received a letter from a friend of my Dads. His folks were old settlers and, while no longer a Potomacite in person, he still is interested in "the old home town".
Back in the "Gay Nineties", Clyde Buckingham owned and operated the local newspaper, known at that time as the "Potomac Rustler". During this era, Potomac supported TWO papers. The other, named "The Patrol", being published by Will Flaningan. Later Buckingham sold his paper to Clyde Armstrong.
He spent 25 years at the printing and trade journal business, at one time editor and publisher of a trade
journal in Houston, Tex., and his last one as editor, owner and publisher of the Clovis N.M., News.
At present he and his wife (a native of Fort Worth,Tex.) are in St. Louis. Here his family owns and
operates a restaurant out on Manchester Road, and as it is recommended by both Duncan Hines and the AAA, it is one of the best.
On a recent trip back here he stated that he noted many a new change in the old order of things, some new business buildings, but mostly new homes replacing old landmarks.
What puzzled him was the lack of a factory or business of some kind to make the town "git up and go". Well, it has puzzled a good many others, too. Back in Missouri he states that practically every town of Potomac's size or larger, have branch factories of some firm, many communities having shoe factories, for example. Why so lax with no such enterprise?
Well, seems to me a few years ago Potomac did get up a bit of steam over a prospective factory of some sort, but it fell through, due partly, I understand, to the lack of city water and adequate fire protection.
Well now we have the city water.
Probably we lack just plain old "git up and go" after all!
Blood transfusions often make a sick person well. Could be a town gets in the same sort of condition.
Tawny colors! Fall's festival dress, slowly and steadily you see the ever-creeping colors tint the hills
and woodlands with the brilliance of the season's cascade of beauty.
Did you ever stop to think how the colors of each season match the age of the year? Spring, with its bright and sudden splashes, spontaneous and gay, like children. Summer, sedate and plain in its workaday green, like youth busy at work slowly changing to maturity, and its ebulence of color matching. Falls fulfillment, then slowly it fades away into sudden drabness of winter and age. Somehow to me this is how the seasons always appear.
The hills already are becoming more colorful each day, and we hear the call of many birds, grouping as they always do each fall, waiting like people at some designated spot, until the bus arrives, having congregated from scattered places.
Soon the time will arrive when the impulse to go will become imperative and off they'll go! Gee, wouldn't you like to do the same?
Pop and Pete treated this family to its first honest to goodness rodeo Monday. While some of us have seen them before, all of us hadn't so this time we all went together. While not as big and probably a bit tamer than the big ones of the west, it was, after all, a pretty interesting affair---some spills, thrills and a couple of chills when two different numbers resulted in fellows being knocked out temporarily, one thrown into the fence before a pickup man could head the the bucking horse away.
Horses either make or break a man's roping ability, too, so I learned. A good horse helps a man with all the breaks he can build up for himself. And a good roper is left cold when his horse fails him. Both kind of horses were there.
Two snow white horses were displayed, being put through different paces by their owner and rider, who rode with one foot on each horse throughout the display. Jumping a hurdle three times and keeping them together brought quite a lot of cheers from the younger set.
Two years ago he wasn't so lucky, for he allowed them to spread too far, result--a broken leg for him.
Again the kids got in on a chicken scramble--this time all under ten and all afoot. One of the chickens was a super prize--a dollar bill being fastened to one wing, and that was a perfect mess. One group wound up in the fence just in front of our seats. Pete took a picture, but I'll bet no chicken will be visible when the print is finished. Well, three kids came up on top, each with a handhold on the chicken's anatomy, and each claiming he got it first. So the clown acted as referee and finally got it settled.
There was an "educated Ford" included for laughs and gave the riders a rest; also, some trick riding by two men and a girl.
Those old Brahma bulls aren't very pretty up at close range, nor have I heard any youthful braggarts around home lately (they usually go around after such events telling each other "what I can do"). However, they'll probably try bulldogging the calves--when we're not around.
I'm writing this while sitting in the car parked at one of Danville's busy corners, listening to the remarks of the window shoppers passing by, and watching the ever-different variety of humanity before me.
No two are dressed alike, except perhaps two children together, and no two look alike. I wonder at the
differences, and enjoy watching their expressions and actions. It's an interesting sight, and time passes
quickly--before I know it, up goes that meter flag, so I'll quit and plug in another nickel.
At times I've wondered, "does it pay" when we attempted to make some half-dozen or so service men and their families feel welcome to pull into our place at all hours and be at home.
For about two years we kept "open house" practically, for some swell kids, both single and married.
Now living in Florida. one of these couples on vacation pulled in here several weeks ago, and in one
short evening we tried to catch up on a whole year's absence. Last week we received a letter from son, Bill, whose boat was then in Jacksonville, Fla., disclosing the fact that he'd spent the Labor Day weekend in Orlando with this same couple, the Clarence Shanes and little Terry.
Junior, as we know clarence, has a small boat, so he and Bill did some boating, fishing and swimming, right in their own back yard. the folks toured the town with Bill, and sent him back to his boat after this break, happy and with a holiday well spent. For this above it's been well worthwhile.
Canning season with its harvest of fruits and vegetables is always a busy old time for anyone. And
altho I put up whatever I can get my hands on, I always feel Peeved that I haven't more stuff stashed away for the long winter days.
Shortcake and a jar of home canned peaches is a favorite bed time meal around here on a cold winter nite, and it always takes plenty of tomatoes to go into a pot of chili. Another favorite supper dish with us.
Speaking of chili, you should have been here last Saturday nite, along about 7 o'clock, with six gallons
bubbling away all afternoon on the stove with pots of hot coffee, cold beer, crackers, potato chips and pie--forty people clambered over each other's feet getting to and fro, to fill up on bowls of the steaming hot "goo". It was "delish", as only Harry can make it around here.
After all got their fill there was still a gallon and a half for "refresher courses" and, being so full, we just sat around relaxing and visiting.
There were the Hoosier Hoskins (Fred's), plus "Farm" (or Harold) Hoskins family, the Hugh Jordans (neighbors of Fred), Wilbur Spain and three daughters (June working, just couldn't make it), the Sidwells, the John Hoskins, our two bachelor boys, Pete and Dick, and ourselves. Oh, yes, young Jerry Spain down from Niles, Mich., was also here, forty-one, all told.
Fred's three girls and Eva settled at the piano, and before long we all turned musical, if you could call it
that. At least we TRIED to sing. Farm rendered a solo "Lovesick Blues". Fred, John and Farm tried singing barbershop style and, while not exactly in harmony, we all enjoyed it. Some turned out to be good whistlers, Eva and Farm did some fair-to-Middlin' yodels. Pop called some square dance calls, while two couples scarcely found foot room but "squared" anyway, not only on their own feet but on ours as well. The small fry got in with their share of a few jigs, some well remembered school and Christmas
pieces, and all of then joined in on "Jesus Loves Me", and we all mixed in Church songs with love songs, hill ballads and just about everything that any of us knew or could think of.
We found we'd forgotten the words of a lot of old melodies that we thot we'd never forget. Finally, we ran down along near eleven o'clock, with babies wailing from tiredness, noise and a strange place, kids all out of steam from romping in and out (I'll sware more of 'em walked on my feet than their own), and everyone left tired, happy and wanting to do it again soon.
It's okay with us, for altho small as our shanty is, it always seems to be able to hold the crowd, no matter how many. And on these impromptu get-togethers everyone always brings plenty of whatever we decide to have plus their own eatin' tools, so there's no handicaps there, and it sure makes for some swell memories for those kids of ours--what more can you want?
Seems like I Just never get everything done I want to, there is so much to do--besides that I'm lazy. And this gorgeous autumn weather is just sliding by like greased lightning. Yesterday I started to refill the hens nest with straw, and never finished. Instead I was off down by the creek, and wound up with my hands full of spicy, scented sassafras leaves, colored from green to scarlet, some rattlebox pods (Chinese lanterns) and a big bunch of tiny white and purple wild asters for a fall bouquet.
I could surly find unlimited ideas from each collection for picture painting. If i just sat down and
started in once more, couldn't you? But---I don't. I keep putting it off, until all the lovely Nature models
Before super time I decided I'd risked the chance about long enough for Jack Frost to nip my lily bulbs,
so I repotted the amarylis I've had stuck under the rose bush all summer and my one lovely begonia.
So that's done, finaly.
And today I'm supposed to wash. Well, "little" Eva volunteered for that job, so I'm here doing this.
We went to the Farm Progress show but, since I didn't even attempt to start around the arena, I'll let some one else talk about it. The traffic jams were a mess and as one officer stated, "too much traffic and not enough highway".
By the way, wonder when they will get a warning sign up at that bad curve on Rt. 136, east of Potomac?
Sunday, October 4, was the birthday of John, our oldest, and Harold, our youngest, son--with 18 years
between 'em. So they celebrated a "duck dinner" together, oer at John's. Having lost all of Kay's ducks but one to the foxes, they decided to beat the fox to it this time.
Speaking of the fox trouble, early Saturday morning, while the day was still fresh and crisp, John decided to try for a bait of squirrels, so he headed for the timber back of us, where he routed out a fox. After the fox disappeared from sight, he heard the reports of a gun, so decided to investigate. He found a stranger, also hunting, who had spotted the fox coming toward him and, being as yet unnoticed, had waited until the wild one was within range of his little 410 shotgun. He tried for the fox and got her.
Late Saturday evening, Harry and I were sitting on the back porch over at John's house, when Kay thought she heard Steven crying in the house. Harry said, "no, it isn't him, it's a baby fox." So we all quieted down and listened. How many of you folks have ever heard the wail of a lost little fox ? I never had heard it before. Time and again it sent out its' shrill quavering wail, as lonesome and weary a sound as I've ever heard. It will really chill your spine, even though you know what it is.
I've no love for foxes, but knowing that this was probably one of the dead fox's brood, looking for "mom", I did feel a bit of pity for it, sounding so forlorn.
Our little hills are sure frost bitten this morning--and everywhere the sun's warm fingers are
reaching out, the whiteness suddenly slips away, and lets the grass and leaves show natural again. For days those same leaves have been fluttering to the ground, some slowly and carelessly and others in a swift and hurried rush, as if they just couldn't bare the thot of waiting longer; maybe they figured by rushing they'd get a better resting place for winter. Like people--some going along in a slow and placid seemingly carefree way; others rushing and shoving and hurrying to get to their destination sooner. And both wind up in the same place eventually. Possibly the careless looking leaves had time to get one more glimpse of their woodland home, one more thrill to the long summer dance they gave on their treetop home--one more happy moment of gladness before settling down to nestle among the other leaves and retire along
with their countless friends and neighbors--who knows.
Have you heard the song of wild geese calling overhead? There's something that really makes for tingles up your spine. when you hear them you kinda realize you are slightly earthbound, aren't you? And you stop to think how many countless miles have passed beneath their stout wings since they left their nesting grounds. how many more miles will they cover before they find their looked for winter vacation land?
No matter how much humans build and transform this old globe--we just can't outdo old Mother Nature and her elements at all can we? And we go along from day to day in a world of our own making until we are drenched in man-made affairs so thoroughly that when we do glimpse a touch of elemental things about us, it just doesn't register some times, and unless we do stop, look and listen we are apt to miss some wonderful glimpses of what God intended for us to love.
The other day I washed the old way just outside the back door and its gas motor can raise quite a clatter. Well, I was moving back and forth and splashing to my heart's content (like a kid making a muss) and I was suddenly aware that I had company. The little fellow--a half-grown red bird (or cardinal) had figured that an inspection of human occupation was due him, so he lit on a piece of slate shingle about eight feet from me and cocked his head first on one side and then on the other. He also took the opportunity to chatter at me--which I could hear above the washer motor. His little black eyes were as bright and snappy as jet beads. An old whit hen ambled up, her head out towards him, whereupon the little reddish-brown imp raised his crest a bit higher and cut loose in "fowl" language for all he was worth. The bluff worked I guess, for the hen backed off about three steps and continued her hunt for bugs. He again turned towards me and scolded more. In the meantime our canary had joined in and I believe this was the drawing card for the newcomer--they chittered back and forth for the time it took me to run one full tub of clothing thru the wringer and put in a fresh load. My movements didn't seem to excite him a nickels worth. And he finally left in short hops and jumps of a few feet at a time--altho I saw him
later fly quite far and well. He comes back occasionally but not for long--unless the canary answers his "tweets". He belongs to our colony of red birds and some of them stay with us the winter through, lying among the brambles and bittersweet vines up on our hill. You who've bought your bittersweet in tight little clusters, have you ever seen the red beauties hanging in their glory atop a fence, a thorn bush, to which they seem partial, or even up in a hickory tree? And when there's dozens and even hundreds
of curling vines all in a patch, they really make for autumn colors.
Maybe we are just "poor folks" and deny ourselves a lot of social affairs and do without many conveniences that most people feel they just can't live without. It's true we skimp on many things maybe we shouldn't--in order to have more of the things we want. But you remember our ancestors here in this rugged and beautiful land denied themselves a lot of civilization's "blessings" and enjoyed a freedom of their own making, and seemed quite content and healthy doing so, and I'm sure, a lot happier. Do you
wonder why we love our "Hawbuck Hills"?
An October Sunday in 1953
Up betimes, with sunrise finding us headed eastward, a warm cloudless morning with the glory of autumn spreading 'round. Into the land of the Wabash and points east and south, spearheading for that famed Indiana beauty spot known as Brown County.
Thrilled, eager youngsters and no less eager adults, converged on to "Happy Hollows", homesite of Harry's brother, Fred, over near West Lebanon, and here we gathered up this family, dividing it among the four cars.
With ample lunches stowed away in car trunks along with water jugs, coffee bottles, extra changes for the kids and coats for possible coolness, we led off with "uncle Fred" driving our Chevy, containing Aunt Louise, Harry and I and Fred's smallest boy, Dale, aged 4, Penny, our youngest was to have been in this car, but rode gaily along with the "big girls" instead.
Son John's Chevy followed, with Kay, their three little ones, and Adam, along for relief driver.
Next came Pete, or young Harry, in his "new" Chevy, recently purchased but which was not so new before the days' end. About that later. With him rode Carol Golden, Pat, Penny, Harold, Lester, Albert and little Fred Hoskins.
Dick came last in his Olds, with Susy Cain, Joyce, Anne, Eva and Bill Hoskins. Bill--home on leave for the weekend--fell into the plan perfectly; we were all together again !
Our route, and we were on 63, led us south to Route 136 and east thru Covington, Ind. Veedersburg, turning south at sterling onto Route 41 and down to Rockville, some two dozen miles. Here we turned east on Route 36 for about 39 miles, as far as Danville, Ind. then south onto Route 39 for Martinsville.
A year ago Fred, Louise, Harry and I were thru here in a "childless" weekend trip and here we found a new west entrance being built, so we had to revise our route a bit. Along about here we began to "shop" for a desirable gas station, with essential rest rooms.
In the meantime we overshot the route where it made a sharp turn and Fred's sudden signal sent our following three cars scattering fanwise down side streets and, since no one hit noone we reassembled, got back on the right track and soon located our gas station. As the four cars gathered around the two pumps collectively with two dozen and one people spilling from the popping doors, possibly the young fellow at the pumps was a bit confused. A request for the rest room key brot only an unintelligent grunt, as he noted the feminine lineup, with the smallest boys hanging onto their mother's hands. The younger boys
and girls splurged on the peanut and gum machine; then rested and cars refueled, we found ourselves descending into the beautiful area we'd driven some 150 miles to see.
Here really began the winding, and curving, uphill, downhill country with all the surrounding hills spotted with lovely little homesites just everywhere. And here, too, we began to see the new modern log cabins becoming so popular in this hill country of late.
We left Route 252 at Morgantown and about a dozen miles south perched at the top of a hill and spread on the southern slope of a long grade down Route 135, we passed through a small village with the odd but attractive name of "Bean Blossum" Along here we found numerous stands, buildings, or simply set out along the roadside, displays of native wares including such articles as hand-made quilts and rugs, jugs of cider, tins and jars of cane sorghum, pumpkins, apples, of all kinds, squash and numberless other things and everywhere brite clusters of bittersweet strung up in bouquets for sale.
Here I'd love to stop and shop someday. Just that and roam from stand to stand just to take in the novelty of the whole place for a brief time. For the explorer of the roadside shops, here is a spot to see. Watch for it if you travel this way.
A mile or so beyond through a valley, on reaching the opposite heights, we stopped at a roadside "overlook" along with possibly some two dozen other carloads of sightseers. This, on the map, is "Bean Blossum Overlook", and here all of us got our first full view of the colorful hill country, while far below us we could see the highway winding, with its minute cars passing miniature homesteads, shining brite and tiny in the mid-morning sun.
Relaxed and eager to go on and with the white streamers taped to our aerials (for identification)
fluttering and snapping, we started our last run, on into the park itself.
Thru Nashville and east onto Route 46, we wound and curved on our way, noting odd and unusual beauty spots, to what is called the North Gate. Just within the limits of the Park, we passed thru a covered bridge, with the necessary stop at the log Gate House to pay our entry fees (12c each) and receive our maps or folders of the Park itself. Then across the flat beyond to a long curving climb ahead, past the log lookout tower on "Little Round Top", the highest point around.
Harry and Fred with Louise and I having been here before, we were still in the lead. So Fred, still
driving, turned left down the first side road, circled Abe Martin Lodge with its cabins and lovely view, then back to the main drive. On the right we passed a log house known as "Aynes House" formerly the homestead of James Aynes, who reared a family of fifteen here. Those old timers did alright--big families, sturdy homes in a land of abundance.
We continued south past the steel fire tower on "Weed Patch Hill", where Fred again turned left on a side road, down, around and still down the long hill, where tucked back in a hollow to our right were picnic facilities which were arranged below a high levee or dam holding back the waters of a small, lovely lake, Known as" Jimmy Strahl Lake", it is located on the site of an old pioneer settler of that name.
Eleven o'clock-hungry? Sure thing, you know. So commandeering three park tables, placing them end to end, we raided the car trunks of their contents and spread it out helter-skelter for eager hands. With a lunch composed of such an array as fried chicken, cakes, pies, salads, cold meats, potato chips, pickles, jelly, cookies, cheese and other edibles, with jars of milk and thermos bottles of hot coffee, we soon filled up, to find the incoming traffic growing thicker and thicker and later comers eagerly awaiting the use of occupied tables.
So we "cleaned camp"--repacked vittles into car trunks, washed kids sticky hands and faces--then hiked ourselves atop that embankment to behold the view beyond.
The active youngsters here dispersed every which way, while a walk across the dam, some pictures taken and a walk back was enough for us older ones.
After all of us regathered, we clambered back down the pathway, climbed "all aboard" and settled down for more riding. This led us out of the hollow and further along, where the stream crossed the road, a sign stated "Kelp Post Office". No building was visible but our park folder told us that here at one time stood the village of Kelp with its post office, blacksmith shop, general store, sorghum mill and its church, serving a community of some forty families scattered throughout the hollows around. And there are hollows aplenty too.
CONTINUED FROM LAST ISSUE
A twisting, climbing drive found us back on top and more "overlooks", both on our right and left. We stopped again and here we viewed the hills beyond, colorful, close-by, fading into that misty blue of distance. Below we caught a glimpse of the little lake we'd just left. Occasionally someone would walk across our view, giving us a perspective of the distance down to there.
We noted patches of greener green in uniform rows of trees arranged in man-made fashion, contrasting with nature's hit-and-miss pattern. Here last year, we were fortunate to see a number of deer feeding, which are found throughout this park. Seen usually of mornings and evenings, we saw none as this was just past noon.
Shortly beyond here we visited the wild life exhibit, which had such animals as foxes, coyotes, coons, a bear, pheasants, other birds and some snakes. Behind lay fenced-in enclosures containing the reindeer, buffalo, some imported deer, and elk. Here we turned the kids loose again and wandered about while some of us visited the souvenir stands.
Bill decorated our aerial with souvenir birds of colorful array, and after passing the jug, (of cider),
we started again, arriving back on the main drive and passing a tiny log cabin shelter called "Hoosier Nest", opposite the steel tower again. People were climbing and descending by the dozens but we left that "for some other time", turned left at the three-way intersection, passed by "Ogle Lake" road, leaving that, too, "for some other time", and made one more stop at " Hesitation Point". One of the largest overlooks of the park, most of the crowd stretched out on the grass, the kids a lot less boisterous and from comments handed about, it seems they were realizing that this bit of America spread before them was more than just something to look at. Crossing it afoot and how the pioneers viewed it, were thots spoken aloud.
On leaving here, we passed more overlooks, the west lookout tower, the west gate house also log constructed and hit the highway (route 46) some seventeen miles east of Bloomington. Four years ago Harry and I came this way and lo and behold today we find it with numerous new log cabins.
The information we've gathered concerning this modern type of log building is that said logs are peeled, squared, kiln dried and treated to a bath of preservative before use. Not so inexpensive as the cutting, hewing, notching and pegging together of logs. And many of this type are still in evidence and in use.
Thru Bloomington past big university buildings; seems to me that a university tends to make its
townspeople more prideful of its looks, don't you think so? Bloomington is a pretty town.
Farther along we passed McCormick Creek State Park entrance, similar to Turkey Run entrance, across the White River which has a colorful and lusty history, thru Spencer, still on 46, and miles up this road somewhere we contacted a "screwy driver".
In a new Ford, two young hopefuls were playing tag with the traffic, trying to see how daring they could be, it seemed. Pete somewhere had forged ahead of us and was suddenly "tag--you're it", to the extent of a dented right fender when the Ford driver suddenly turned RIGHT on a LEFT hand signal. Splinters flew, dust, paint and a Ford taillight went the way of the wind. The riders in Pete"s
car said it all happened so quickly that none except Pete realized exactly what did happen. Being close behind, we saw it happen and had the trouble been serious we'd have been into it ourselves before we could have stopped. Pete couldn't swing into the opposite lane, oncoming traffic was too thick. Slowing down and finding a place to pull out to investigate, we learned from the following cars that the Ford had returned to the highway and headed back the way he came.
Will it be a lesson? We wonder. His report probably will be "it was the other fellow's fault"--just as I'm saying here--well, I am saying it?
Terre Haute and north on US 41 again, that long;, winding highway, it's a lovely road, knowing it leads into the reaches of the southland, it's an enticing road to travel. Someday I'd love to follow it clear to the end.
About here we stopped for gas with Eskimo Pie treats by Uncle Fred for all of us, our final stop before
reaching "Happy Hollows" again, another fifty odd miles. We crossed the Wabash at Clinton, trailing northward thru Hillsdale to Newport (phew--the odor of that powder plant) Cayuga, and sundown found us along about Perrysville. Here we split up as Bill wanted to pick up his girl, Wanda. Previous family plans had prevented her from being with us this day but said Bill, "I got a chance to love up my brothers' girl friends that way".
Five miles beyond the intersection of routes 136 and 63 and a mile off of 63, we pulled back to Fred's again, and unloaded food containers from car trunks, Louise made hot coffee, we lined up the crew, filled plates and shooed them off to corners to eat. Then us older folks settled back in our chairs in the kitchen to eat, relax and mull over the days' events. An hour later after trading pies, cakes and salads
about and left-overs repacked, sleepy heads were herded into the cars while the "dating age" went to see a show and home we headed, back to the Hills of Hawbuck.
Eight o'clock found Harry "Choring up" and checking on the livestock while I checked on the weary and already snoring smaller ones. Yep, all there, hadn't mislaid a one the livelong day. Too tired to undress and asleep before I had them covered up.
All safe, and sound, four carloads; fifteen hours; twenty-five people; three-hundred-fifty miles. Chalk up another record on this family's memory chart.
Something new has been added here at the "Silver Bell", and for over a month now, this particular family has been going around home here--all lit up!! Literally it's true and we're sure enjoying the experience, too.
At school bus time one afternoon before Thanksgiving, I stood here in the cabin door and watched a lineman atop the new light pole, and with those brite copper threads of wire he wove a new pattern into our lives! A final twist, he called "that's it," and inside the shanty all the lights came on, while music streamed from the radio.
Lester told the light men "Mom's going to turn the radio on and let it run a whole month without stopping."
One full day was about enough for a start--and daybreak for a few days would find the smallest ones jumping around from switch to switch trying to "outflip" one another, waking the rest of us with lights glaring into our sleepy eyes and crashing our ears with both radios going full blast and usually on different stations.
Is it any wonder I say we are kind of lit up?
The other day the kids yanked out the big old trunk and dug to the bottom for their string of long unused Christmas tree lites--seven years to be exact. And with a freshly planted Cedar tree outside and a smaller one inside atop the coffee table in the corner--well it's Christmas time in Hawbuck once again.
And while the Christmas cards keep coming in we keep remembering someone we'd forgotten, so of course we'll forget someone in spite of our lists and our reminders.
We find we do have a lot of friends and more, I guess, than we had realized.
And it seems like we're always making new friends!
But tell me where is there any fun in living without any friends!
Friends are like shoes, not so poetic a comparison but rather suitable. For new friends and new shoes are both nice and refreshing. And old ones so relaxing.
Friends: everyone can always do with another friend!
Good friends, real folks: not the here today-gone tomorrow kind but the kind you can turn to in your tears and the kind to share your laughter.
Christmas is Christ's birthday and He is known as the friend of man.
And sometimes it seems that men have turned the occasion into a regular racetrack of commercialism. Sometimes it seems Christmas takes an awful beating, especially when it turns into a contest of "gimme" and we'd like to walk out and call it all off.
About that time there comes some little occasion, Someone's thotfulness or someone else's misfortune, or perhaps something happens to enrich the life of another that surprises us with the wonderful feeling inside that makes us realize there is goodness in this old world after all.
The very core of living is giving. And that is really friendship. Boiled down it is "The Christmas Spirit", if you will.
Often we fall short--I know I do--but when we see that young folks learn the gift of giving perhaps we redeem ourselves a little bit.
And when someone's birthday is celebrated, it is with honor and with gifts.
Christmas is His birthday.
"A brite Christmas to you all and may it be a happy one!!