Monday, January 5, 2009
I went to visit my Aunt Marie and my brother Everett (whom we've always called Buddy) this past weekend. This picture is my aunt holding my brother in front of our family home about 1935. There's a little snow next to the sidewalk and Buddy is wearing a knit cap, so it must have been late winter or early spring. Aunt Marie seems to be wearing either her dad's or one of her brothers' hat and overalls. She probably had been working outside. She looks quite dapper in that fedora.
My mom and her sisters and brothers had to work very hard on the farm. They raised crops to sell in town and had cattle and hogs and chickens to take care of in the winter. Aunt Marie was the youngest of eight and I think she got off lightly compared to the rest. My grandfather was a tough taskmaster and they weren't allowed to shirk their duty. They had to work in the fields and barns before and after school, beginning before dawn and until sunset.
Mom only went to school until ninth grade. She stayed after school one day to watch a ballgame and when she got home, Grandpa whipped her and made her quit and stay at home to work full time. Those were the days.
As I said in a previous post, my brother still owns the farm. It has never been out of our family's possession since it was built in 1887. It has gone through a few changes. Buddy added indoor plumbing and a bathroom when he bought it from my mother and dad in 1961. He also added new windows and siding as he could afford it, and he enclosed the back porch for a laundry room. Some of the outbuildings such as the corn crib, the chicken coop, the smokehouse and the old outhouse are all gone now, but basically the house still looks the same as it did in this picture.
Aunt Marie is the only one of her siblings still living and she is ninety years and counting. My mother passed away in 1987 and Aunt Marie has been a surrogate mother to me since then. I always tease her and say I'm her favorite niece and she teases me back and says she's my favorite aunt. She's right.