Earliest memories recall life on the farm

My dad died of pneumonia in 1932, leaving my mother with five children ages 6 weeks to 6 years. I was 5 years old, so I remember a few things from back on the farm where we lived those years.

My dad was only 32 when he died and laid in state in our living room. His sister sat by us kids and lifted each one of us up to see him in the coffin.

“Is he sleeping?”

“Yes,” she said. “He is sleeping.”

We had chickens on our farm. Once a rooster jumped up on my head. Dad grabbed him off and snapped his neck, and we had him for supper. Dad and my older brother would go to town and play cards, leaving Mother to check out things in the barn. She took my younger brother and me along and showed us the big bull. She said, “See, he won’t hurt you,” as she petted his head. He reached out his rough tongue and ripped her apron right off!

My brother went to get the cows one time, and he saw a bear. He got in between all the cows so that he would be safe as they went the rest of the way to the barn. Another time, a colt got loose in the barn, and it came running toward us. Mother yelled to us, “Get down!” We did, and the colt jumped right over the two of us.

I remember when my dad would be washing up for supper. We kids would climb up on a little stool that always sat by the sink, and he would comb our hair. I remember him as kind.

They had their house parties. One time they were to wear their spouse’s clothes. I guess it was a riot. I remember sleeping on a bed full of coats for a while that evening.

After Dad’s passing, Mother rented a house in town before she bought the yellow house that we grew up in. She got $30 a month from the county in “Aid for Dependent Children.” That was more than most men were making during those depression years.

She sewed all our clothes out of hand-me-downs, and she always had a big garden. We always had a dirt cellar full of canned foods. We kids picked armfuls of wild asparagus in the spring and pails of blackberries in the fall. To this day, I think I’ve been the happiest in the middle of a blackberry patch.