As all of us travel this pathway of life but once in a lifetime, I feel that as I write these few notes of a day now long passed by, I should be thankful that I am able, and have the privilege, to write them.
While these notes may not have much meaning in today's world, which is filled, and overflowing, with every imaginative, unrealistic, yet we must add, practical phase of existence. I will try to bring back and revive, at least in some measure, those fond memories that we treasure and hold dear, but which are gradually fading away as the years go by.
I shall try to present a true picture as it was actually lived, and give due credit to a courageous people, our ancestry, the early settlers, who were willing to accept every hardship, face every danger, that they may build up a homeland with freedom, and liberty for all. We shall always be indebted to these people for this heritage and faith which has been passed on to us.
I wish to dedicate these few memories to these hardy American pioneers, who helped blaze the trail, and build the foundation for this country which we all love, America.
As I start portraying early day life, going back to my first recollections, you will pardon me for being in the limelight any more than necessary to present my story.
Our school teachers played an important role in that early day when the 3 R's were the major part of the education that was available. Three early day teachers for this district were Jackson Groves and Kate LaValley, from this area, and E. Dot Robinson, Egan, S. Dakota. At that time anyone being a school teacher didn't mean that was their only profession. Jackson Groves was also a farmer, growing crops and raising livestock. Kate LaValley kept house for her brothers Jim and George on a farm. Kate had the school one winter term when the snowfall had been heavy. The dirt roads had become almost impassable. To walk 1 1/2 miles in snow and have the fire going by 9:00 was not easy. It looked to Kate like it would be better walking on the other side of the fence in the field. In trying to do this her coat became entangled in the barb wires, so she could go neither way. A neighbor went to her rescue, so perhaps to the dismay of some youngsters, there still was school that day. My first teacher was E. Dot Robinson. She stayed with my folks. I guess one of the highlights of my life at that time was when a suitor stopped in to walk her home after school. As I was with her, he put me up on his horse's back; they walked alongside, he leading the horse. While my legs lacked 3 feet or more of letting me reach the stirrups, I was content to hold onto the horn of that shiny saddle. I would like to have ridden further.
I had some concern about my first day at school, not knowing what my lesson was to be. I came through somehow, as I recall these words: I see. I see a robin. The robin can fly. While I don't believe that school room ever gave the youngsters a very comfortable home-like feeling, it was a necessary part of the process of our making. That school room with its large seats and desks, the small ones for the beginners. The shelf in the desk to hold the slate, tablet, books, and slate rag. The little metal ink well on top of the desk; open the lid, you could stick your finger down in about 2 inches of ink. The blackboard, globe about the size of a milk pail, dictionary 1 ft. thick, teacher's table with one drawer, grandpa teacher's chair with spindles around the back, of course that long recitation seat; the bell is on the table. The pot bellied stove with the stove pipe running to one end of the room to conserve heat. Oh, they were well equipped. We had everything, coal pail, poker, water pail with dipper, even a wash basin.
The one room school teacher assumed the responsibility of teacher for all grades, principal, supervisor and janitor.
Before high school became available, young men in the district would come for the winter term of school until they were 20 or 21 years of age. This sometimes would bring the enrollment up to 50 students.
We didn't hear much about tax problems those days. One teacher rode his bicycle 10 miles each morning and evening so he could live at home. The custom was for the teacher to find a place to stay in the neighborhood.
While the mode of travel was crude and cumbersome in comparison with today's erratic turmoil, people seemed to have more time than they have today. Aunt Mary and Uncle Nels lived some 16 miles away as the crow flies. It was always possible to have an exchange of visits. My two older sisters and myself would start on a Saturday morning driving Topsy, the little black driving horse hitched to a top buggy. I would sit between them and drive. I guess Topsy knew the road when I didn't. Sunday morning we went in to their little town to go church. We were told upon arriving that there might not be any church, the minister was sick. My Aunt Mary said she would go right over to his house and see about it. That was her way. After the Services were over, a young man I had never seen before, Henry Hanson, said for me to come and ride with him, he was invited to Aunt Mary's for dinner, too. Later I learned Henry liked my Cousin Annie. Henry says, “Hold tight onto my arm.” Boy, how that horse could go and that shiny buggy. Henry had a gold watch and chain and it had a fob on it. I guess those things all went together in that day. We were back home Monday evening just as the chores were finished. Everything had worked out right on schedule.
In 1901 and 1902 a new school building was built in our school district. At that time we had a man teacher for some years. Mr. Anton stayed with my folks while teaching.
This was before the day of the telephone and talking machine. With dirt roads to travel on, means of conveyance were by train, horseback, bobsled, wagon, spring wagon, or top buggy--the later being the de luxe model. These were all horse drawn. However, there were a few good spans of mules in the neighborhood.
With these conditions, neighbors didn't get to communicate often. They would always stop and visit when meeting upon the road, in the general store when bringing in their eggs, butter, or cream. At the post office when getting their mail for the week. At church on Sunday, one place or another. There were neighborhood gatherings for a Sunday dinner, croquet, ice skating, horseshoes and last but not least--homemade ice cream.
The winter term of school got under way with about 50 enrolled. The idea came up to have a Lyceum program on each Friday evening through the winter.
This would consist of debates, dialogues, musical numbers, and various entertainment. This would bring out the entire neighborhood--always a full house. The owner of the livery barn in Kamrar would hitch a team to his sled and bring out a load of people from town. The people taking part in the programs were all local people from the school or neighborhood. I cannot help but think of the contrast to the present day. The tens of thousands of cars driving hundreds of thousands of miles each week for entertainment, hauling motorcycles, boats and race cars.
This was not a major problem for me with less than a half mile to go. I have many perfect attendance certificates which the teacher gave out each month at that time. But when I think of the Johnsons, Clausens, Storys and Waitmans that walked 1 1/2 miles across fields, snow often 1 foot deep and around zero temperature, it seems they should have been given some extra credit. It often happened, upon reaching school, youngsters would have frozen white spots upon their faces. The instructions were--stay out in the entry where there' was no heat, hold snow against your face until the white goes out. It works; I have done it.
Frank, one of the boys that made this trek across the fields, was doing double duty. He checked a trap line at the same time. The ponds were filled with muskrat houses. Large muskrat pelts got up to 25¢, but mostly the price was 10 to 15¢. If you had enough of them, rabbits would bring 5¢ each. The only thing Frank had to watch out for was not to trap any black animals with white on their backs.
In the early days it was something everyone accepted and handled the best that they could.
As I write some early day happenings, they now seem far-fetched. A group of neighbors was shelling corn and delivering it in to town in the winter time. The snowfall had been heavy and more came as they were working, making the road impassable at one point for their teams and sleds. They took down the fence, made a large circle in the field and finally got out on the road again at another point.
They got the loads into town only to have a horse on one team become sick. They managed to get the horse in the livery barn. This man then chained the end of the doubletree back to the sled, strapped the breaststrap shorter to hold the tongue up and drove the one horse home -- 6 miles with the bobsled.
Another time, neighbors were trying to get a carload of hogs to the stockyards, destined for Chicago. Due to some difficulty, they could not ship from the nearest point. By hauling this livestock on dirt roads 8 miles by team and wagon, they could ship on another road. We got a little late start with 6 teams and wagons on a Saturday afternoon in summer weather. On the way home, several hours after dark, we took the privilege of driving in to a barnyard where there was a watering trough. I know the way the horses drank they appreciated it, but I don't know about the farmer when he saw how low the water was in his water trough the next morning.
Another scene in those days, but not any more, was a neighbor who was a large feeder of yearling steers. When he had them fat, and was ready to take a chance at the market, he would open his gates with lots of help to try to hold them quiet on a 4 1/2 mile drive to the stockyards. With 150 head or more of these 1400 or 1500 pound cattle going past the school yard, there was nothing for the teacher to do but dismiss school, and let us go out and look until they were out of sight. There was a team and wagon with 45 bushels of ear corn following the cattle. This would be their final feed of corn before loading on the stock cars for the Union Stockyards, Chicago, Illinois.
Now that our school district had the newest school building in our immediate area, more ideas began to surface. What we should have is a few shade tree seedlings planted to landscape the grounds around our new building.
It must have been sometime near Arbor Day when Jim, my oldest brother, and Mr. Anton, our teacher, hitched one of the farm teams to a lumber wagon and headed for Boone River. The volunteer seedlings they found growing in the ditches did very well in the school ground, rounding out and improving the surroundings.
One improvement calls for another. Our school needed a new fence around the yard--had to have a place to tie horses when people came. The old white cedar posts were pulled out, thrown in a pile over by the coal house, as directed by the school board. One of the older students in school at that time, capable of handling an axe, split those posts so they could be burned in the school stove. This may have saved the taxpayers in that school district 1 or 1 1/2 tons of coal, which may have cost as much as $1.25 a ton. When we add all of this together, what it amounts to is quite a little improvement but very little, if any, taxpayers money.
The month that never heard of such a thing as unemployment.
This is the month my Uncle Mart used to say “That south wind is cold whichever direction it blows from.” It is also the time to get that fanning mill with the crank on the side down and into that high wheeled wagon and start cleaning those seed oats. The bearings on that old disc, that is bound to squeak, should be packed with axle grease and the axles on that seeder cart at the same time. It will have to cross the field quite a few times to sow those oats.
There is a file on the bench to touch up the edges on that disc. That first day in the field has a way of arriving one day before we are ready.
It looks like this drizzling rain is going to keep on all day. Might as well go upstairs and tip that seed corn that is under the beds. The test shows pretty good, hope we won't have to test it all in rag-doll testers this year.
Next day: Did you get those chores finished over there at the hog house? Yes, and I got wet, too. Well, get some dry clothes. Looks like it's going to rain the whole weekend. We can go down to the cellar and sprout those potatoes. Sort all the small and medium sized ones over here. We will want to plant them. And so that wagon load of potatoes that was carried down those cellar steps last fall was coming out about right after feeding a large family, often a hired man and sometimes the school teacher.
Spring is becoming more evident. The neighbor coming home from town was trying to dodge the bare spots with his bobsled. Usually there were one or two colts coming 3 years old to break in for field work. This was accomplished by gradually getting them accustomed to the harness, leaving it on overnight in the stall, letting them run in a circle at the end of a rope, now reverse, learn what “whoa” means, always with a few pats on the neck. Hitch the first time with Flossie, who would stand until hitched, then lead off and ourselves not knowing just where we might end up.
A common scene, the neighbors going by with a colt hitched for the first time.
Perhaps a month later than this, one morning we may find a baby colt in the box stall. I always thought this was one of the cutest pets we had in the barnyard. When I was a youngster, I was afraid they wouldn't find anything to eat, they were so wobbly on their feet at first. As I would try to help them, they would tramp on my toes. This soon changed.
I always remembered what Mr. Ritche said. He judged the horses at the County Fair. You never come down to the barnyard in the morning and find a newborn baby tractor.
The sun is shining, an ideal morning to hang the harness in the south end of the driveway, scrape it clean and get it oiled. Someone had seen a robin. Hope this nice weather continues with those first baby pigs so near.
It was a day I shall always remember, when I had won enough confidence from Dad, that he let me take old Tom and Fannie all on my own. Hitch them to the old wagon with the bottom box on and clean out the horse stable and cow barn. Drive out in the stalk field and scatter the manure with a manure fork. At that time this was the only way we had of getting that job done. At noon, Dad said I was the only one that had got much done that morning.
This was the time to get the butchering done. Dad always used the front bob of his sled to hold the barrel at the right angle. Something overhead to hitch the block and tackle to. Have everything ready before bringing that wash boiler and 2 large teakettles of boiling water down from the cook stove in the kitchen.
This is the hard way, like everything else was done at that time. The meat was processed in different ways. The lean meat was sometimes fried, put into stone jars and covered with lard. Sometimes it was cured in salt brine for some time, dried and then smoked. We youngsters always turned the sausage grinder. That homemade sausage was delicious. The fat was always rendered into lard.
By early spring the little coal house would be empty. At that time the cured meat could be hung up on the rafters of that little building for smoking. The rafters had many nails, so one fire smoked meat for the neighborhood.
It was quite a picture, hams, shoulders, bacon, dried beef, all gradually turning a light brown color as it was smoked for several weeks. My folks would wrap some of their smoked meat in muslin and heavy paper, then bury it in the oat bin. A neighbor had another way--he buried his in wood ashes. Either way would keep the meat into summer weather.
With more harbingers of spring showing up each day, we keep glancing out at the newly sown oat field. Sure enough, that pale green cast is the new oats coming through. A meadow lark, somewhere out on the pasture, has just announced its arrival.
These signs tell us it won't be long until we will have to get those setting hens nests ready. Already one broody clunker almost takes skin off your hand when you gather eggs. So we gather boxes, kegs, fill them with clean oat straw to make them look as appealing as possible. Put them in that empty, darkened, oat bin and await that eventful day.
The Indians were skilled in that early day way of life. They took up their abode along the river, fishing, trapping game of many kinds, nut trees, the making of maple syrup, plenty of fuel, all of which helped to meet the necessities of life. They made some of their medicine, which they offered to my Father when he was laid up with an injured leg. They had spotted ponies, which they would hitch to sleds and come out on the prairie. They would often stop in and call on the early settlers.
It had been a clear sunny day. The air was fresh, warm and balmy. The birds had a chorus of song coming from every direction. Buds were showing upon the trees, the grass where that large snow bank was is already green. A ground squirrel pokes its head out of a hole in the sod and scampers quickly away. It appears the cockerels in the henhouse sense this is a special occasion for them as their evening crowing continues. The mooing of a cow in the barn as she is trying to get in communication with her newborn calf that has been placed in a box stall beside her. The honks of a large V-shaped string of wild geese cause us to gaze skyward as they are making their northward flight to complete the cycle of life that was created for them. The sun is slowly setting lower in the west, apparently radiating out a wider glow of golden color than ever, a scene envied by every artist.
As we stand motionless and speechless under the dome of this wonderful environment with nature beckoning from every direction, the thought that comes to us is “in the beginning God created the Heavans and the earth, and the fulness thereof. And it was good.”
A familiar early-day scene, but now never more, was when the farmers were burning those long windrows of corn stalks. The stalks had been broken loose by dragging an old railroad rail across the fields with a horse or team hitched on each end, while the ground was yet frozen. It was almost impossible to turn them under with the plows of that day. About dusk it made quite a scene, but was a poor practice.
Sports were much different in the early days. I suppose I will be criticized for writing this, but I honestly feel that the need for exercise was much less in those days. I recall an uncle telling me when he was a young man just out of school, undecided what profession or field he would like to start in as a means of earning a livelihood, he went out on a farm for a time. But he said all he got out of it was walking. He said we walked when we plowed, we walked when we worked the ground, we walked when we cultivated the corn. And we were not wanting for exercise when we pitched hay on and then off that high wheeled wagon rack. Shocking oats for 2 weeks in hot weather, picking corn for 6 weeks, unloading it with a scoop-shovel. And that manure which we pitched onto a straight old wagon bed and off again out in the field, was a perpetual motion sort of a deal. At least the job never got finished. I want to present this fairly, so I must tell you what a good neighbor said. This neighbor, like all the rest of the neighbors and ourselves, milked cows. This was the means by which we got what we had to have from the general store. This neighbor said, “When I have my other chores all done, then I can sit down on my milk stool and rest while I do the milking.” As I look at my big knuckles, something must not have been working right when I was resting milking cows.
Our sports were all in the amateur stage. We did have some baseball games. Our teacher, Mr. Gossard, played with us. We did have a buddy who was not in the amateur class in baseball. Kenney was a natural born baseball pitcher. I am sorry to report he had his life snuffed out in an auto accident. Everyone agrees he had an excellent chance of working into professional baseball had this misfortune not happened. We had no coaches, no million dollar contracts, no winter training camps; no one wanting to buy our ball team, just rural and urban school kids playing ball out in a cow pasture.
Croquet was a popular game. The year my Father built a new house, the carpenters from Jewell were here a large part of the year. My Mother prepared their meals which they ate out in a summer kitchen. They slept in beds on the haymow floor in the old barn. Every evening after supper they would play croquet out on the lawn as long as it was light enough to see. They prolonged the playing time by putting up a kerosene lantern and wrapping the arches with white cloth. Perhaps it would be good to have more croquet games going today.
As I review our early day ancestry in this area, I find their professions quite varied. My grandfather was a tailor in their little home town of Lillehamer [sic], Norway. Like many others, he decided to come to America. He and his family spent 6 weeks on a sailing vessel, crossing the ocean.
My Mother was 14 years old when the Malum family came to this country. I have always remembered a little incident my Mother told us about their little home village at the foot of the mountains in Lillehamer, Norway. How the night watchman upon reaching a certain point on his beat in the little village at 12 o'clock at night would stop and call out in a loud voice, “It's 12 o'clock and all is well.” Perhaps this is something we might think about in this country.
Old man Hanson was a cabinet maker. I remember getting to look into his little workshop out in the grove. There was a foot of wood shavings over the floor.
The Sorensons were blacksmiths and did the horse shoeing in our little village.
The Nelsons were butchers. They kept an ice house and meat market to provide for the area.
Mr. Crae was our little home town banker. Being of short stature, he kept a foot stool in front of the teller's window so he could see the people when they came in to transact business.
Old man Brown was a Civil War veteran that lived in our neighborhood. He drove a horse on a 2 wheeled cart. Once a month he would drive into town to cash his pension check at the bank.
Mr. Cook operated a harness shop.
Among other things the little home town provided were: 3 grocery stores, livery barn, 2 grain elevators, hardware store, 1 or 2 doctors, Shipping Association, restaurant, drug store, depot, meat market, creamery, implement store, harness shop, barber shop, blacksmith shop, cobbler, 2 churches, bank, school, drayman, Post Office, Woodman Lodge Hall, carpenters, furniture-paint-coffins, etc, mason, well drilling, lumber yard, and corn shelling.
I would like to portray a little picture of this same area before we acquired all of these modern conveniences in our little village. The Indians were staunch believers in preserving nature's possessions. These prairies were clothed with tall prairie grass and short buffalo grass. The ponds and streams had lots of water. Wildlife and birds were abundant, nothing had been taken away from them, they had everything they needed to exist. Perhaps a better way to present it would be to say everything was as the Eternal Creator had seen fit to create it.
This luxurious grass could be utilized however the early settlers could use it. The cows could be turned out in the morning. When evening and milking time came, hunt them up, separate them out from the neighbors cows and home for milking again. I recall my Father telling when he had 2 cows to sell, how he would tie their heads together, strike out across the prairie as the crow flies, to the county seat 10 miles away which was his only market. If he didn't tie their heads together, they would strike out in different directions, and he would never arrive at his destination. There was only one way to do things--that was the way you could.
When taking wheat to the mill in Webster City to be ground into flour, he always carried a log chain in the wagon. If the horses should mire down when trying to get around a pond, you could have half a chance of getting out by using a chain--if you had good luck.
Met with and solved as they came.
The high ground was the corn fields, the low ground was pasture for cows and horses. In the fall large flocks of blackbirds would congregate for their migration south. On their way they would stop to rest and feed on the settlers' small corn fields. With the average yield around 18 bushels per acre, the birds would take quite a toll.
My Father had a large dog that he trained to run out into the corn field and bark. This would start the birds on their way. As they would circle skyward, they could almost blot out the sun.
When the Northwestern Railroad finally was built through Kamrar, it became possible to get a newspaper. Dad had a little black riding horse that he would ride into town and get his Scandinavian paper, which was published in Chicago. Making this 6 1/2 mile trip many times, he knew within a few minutes how long it would take.
I think it would be correct to say the cow was not the mortgage lifter, rather she was the life sustainer. I recall when traveling across the range country of Wyoming, the many small log cabins standing empty. I was informed these were once occupied by the early settlers that filed for claims. How did they make a living? They milked cows. The feed was abundant. The problem was to get the cows.
We have heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Perhaps that should have been thrown in the discard in the early days. Were it not for the ingenuity of those people, there were many things they never would have had to enjoy. These ideas were continually showing up in the youngsters in school. One Saturday morning, here was Albert Johnson--he had walked 1 3/4 miles to show us boys his new sling shot. As he demonstrated, that was something.
One day over at another buddy's home, he wanted to show us his bow and arrows, all original and homemade. The bow had lots of spring in it. He had waded out in a slough and got an armful of rushes. A notch kept the arrow on the bow string and a nail in the small end made the arrow complete. “Watch close. See how high I can shoot.” I lost sight of it. That's right, he could shoot it out of sight.
I think most of the kids at school knew how to make a whistle out of a piece of green willow wood. No trick, just be a little careful until you get that piece of bark slipped off the end. The whistle was a familiar sound around the school in the spring term of school. The problem now, the willow trees are not here any more.
A memory yet very vivid in my mind was the time the County Superintendent visited our school. Our teacher had just called the 5th and 6th reader class for recitation. A buddy and myself were the class that day. Our teacher responded to a knock on the door and in walked Mr. Holliday, County Superintendent. He said he would hear our reading class. Our teacher gave him her chair. He pulled this up so close in front of us that our knees almost bumped. Mr. Holliday was a large man. He said, “I want to ask you a question. What is reading?”
My buddy and I looked at each other. Here we were, the most advanced class in reading, reciting to the County Superintendent and neither one of us knew what reading was.
Mr. Holliday says, “I am going to tell you what reading is and I want you to remember it.” Then in a very slow, drawn out tone, each word stretched out 3 times its normal length he told us, “Reading is the mental perusal of written conversation.”
After all these years, I don't think I could forget it if I tried.
While I am thinking about my school buddies, another memory returns. These 2 brothers were, so to speak, born mechanics. Those days every large family would have a large garden. These two boys thought that rather than thresh those soup beans out by hand, they would make a little threshing machine. They had seen a threshing machine thresh grain. It worked. The outcome of the idea was a little threshing machine, powered by a hand crank on the side. The threshed beans rolled over a screen and collected on one side. The stems were carried up by an apron and dropped out the back. While the whole thing perhaps was not worth a tinkers dam, it worked and we have to give the boys credit for that.
When one of these boys left home, he said one day he hoped to return and fly a plane over the old home place. Years later, on a nice autumn morning, we heard a plane drawing near. It circled a time or two and then landed in the field near our house. It was my buddy, just finished doing the very thing that he said he wanted to do some day. This buddy has made several trips across the country, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, the Sunken Lake, always taking pictures at the same time. In a letter he told me he made his last flight on his 80th birthday. Now he was ready to leave the flying for the birds.
It was a nice sunny morning in the early summer time. My Mother was doing some housecleaning. She had the carpet from the front room out on the grass in front of the house. I was supposed to be beating it with a carpet beater--at least do a little beating off and on. When suddenly we had company, lots of company, men, women and children and they were everywhere. Some of the women and children went into the house. There were things they wanted my Mother to give them. Some of the men and women went to the barn where my Father was. They wanted corn and oats for their horses. I guess Dad decided that might be the best way to get rid of them. I saw the men carrying ear corn and the women had oats in their aprons. The women at the house wanted that carpet out on the grass to put in their wagons. They said they had a sick woman and needed the carpet for her to lie on. My Mother didn't give in and finally they went back to their wagons and started down the road.
I remember my Mother saying she wondered how sick that woman was, the way they whipped those horses along on that rough dirt road. It appears there were many kinds of people at that time and perhaps that still holds true today.
Whether we like to classify these people as having a profession or not, for some years after the Civil War, there were quite a number engaged in it. Like we hear it said, no one ever wins a war, these displaced people perhaps had no alternative. They just continued on down the road, apparently quite content when they had something to eat and a place to lay their head.
There could be a moral in that for people today. I recall a peddler coming to the door carrying a quite large case with straps upon his back. I don't think my Mother had the heart to turn him away when he insisted on coming in and showing his wares. When he set that case on the floor and let down the outside lid, it was filled with little drawers which he could pull out one at a time. Each one filled with glittering jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, breastpins, brooches, hair combs filled with sets, and rings. To me it looked like that peddler must have had a fortune of wealth in that case. Of course today I perhaps would not evaluate it quite so highly.
At another time a man stopped in driving a little one horse wagon. He was asking for old rubber overshoes and boots. Mother said I could go out to the coal house and see what there was out there that was worn out. The man went with me. We soon had an arm full. The man gave me 5 cents, threw the overshoes in his wagon and was on his way. Later, I saw the cloth tops of the overshoes laying along the roadside. He had cut them off as his horse was picking its way down the road to the next prospect.
Then there was our horse trader peddler. He never came to our place, but as sure as spring time came, you could see him camped over on that seldom traveled road by that lone willow tree. This was several miles from our place.
He drove a team on his covered wagon and led 3 horses behind his wagon. The grass was thick and long, there was water in a little dip beside the road. During about a weeks stay, his horses did real well. His pet bantams would be around the wagon. During that week he may even make a horse trade or two.
The tramps didn't appear to be quite so fortunate. I don't believe my folks ever turned one away. I remember my folks had a couch on the porch in the summer time. Many a tramp has slept on that couch. My folks always said they would rather have them there, than up in the barn and they always had a handout when they came or when they left.
Perhaps we should pay some tribute of credit to these people who through the years have finally come to select from their own ranks those they wish to honor as King and Queen of their people.
These people seemed to follow the railroads when they wished to migrate. An empty car on the railroad was a means of covering a considerable distance.
Before leaving the old school and my buddies too far behind, several little incidents keep coming back, always with their bits of humor. I was, perhaps like most kids my age, not overly fond of going to school. This was probably the reason we would try to persuade our teacher to let us either have a spelling match or cipher-down after the last recess on Friday afternoons instead of our regular classes. We were perhaps learning just as much, but the change kind of led us to believe we were getting out of some work.
Saturday was a day we always looked forward to. At least no school for 2 days. One of my buddies was always coming up with bright ideas. I guess we would say he had a head for business. But he didn't want to tackle these things alone. He would come to me and talk me into his confidence. This time he knew how we could make some spending money on Saturday. Sounded good. After school is out, we will go over and see Mr. Kirchner, President of the School Board about mulching these trees in the school yard. About 10 or 12 young trees had been planted. We would get a team and wagon from Dad and do that in the morning. We found Mr. Kirchner. Leslie did the talking. “You know, Mr. Kirchner, those trees over there in the school yard aren't doing anything. We will mulch them good with horse manure. It won't cost much and that will bring them right out of it.”
“Well,” says Mr. Kirchner, “I don't see anything wrong with the way those trees are doing. They look good to me.” So that little idea went flat. Some time later we came up with another idea. This time we were successful and landed a little contract with spending money attached.
As time keeps moving on, it has always been interesting when we have been fortunate enough to meet up with some one of the old school days. When riding on the caboose of a freight train loaded with livestock for the Chicago market, I met up with one of my school buddies. We hadn't seen each other since the school days, but there was no mistaking, we were the same old buddies, only now Eppo was an experienced livestock buyer. He gave much credit to the time he used to herd the cows along the roadside in vacation time. He said he didn't know very much about some grades of cattle but he could hold his own pretty well when it came to cows.
We had a good visit and of course it came up. Another job we had in cow herding time was keeping those striped potato bugs picked off the potato patch.
Another school day remembrance that has always remained very vivid was the time one of my buddies invited me to come over for Sunday dinner. He told me his folks were going to be gone and he didn't want to stay home alone all day. We would find something to do.
Finally I got permission to go if I would promise to be careful. We had a good dinner of scrambled eggs. After dinner my buddy says, “Let's go out and have some maple sap.” He already had the bottles on the trees. Sure enough, the ends of the limbs had been cut off. It looked like catsup or vanilla bottles stuck on the ends. Leslie pulled one off . There wasn't much in the bottle and it didn't taste very good so we stuck it back on.
As time has moved on, both of us have long since solved the problem--those trees weren't maples. They were boxelder trees. So we learned a new lesson that didn't require a school teacher, a school house or any taxpayers' money.
Leslie, wanting to be entertaining, says, “Let's go down to old Bady's shack.”
This was down by a ravine that runs to a river. I knew who Bady was but I had never seen his shack. He would come out on the prairies at threshing time and help until the threshing run was finished.
I recall the day we had been threshing at our place. That evening as Mr. Bady was coming out of the house after supper, his dog and our dog got into a fight. They were standing on their hind legs, teeth gleaming, as they were biting at each other. They looked almost as tall as a man. Mr. Bady walked right up to them, grabbed one in each hand by the neck, and threw them apart. That was the end of the dog fight. I was glad Mr. Bady was there.
Mr. Bady drove 3 horses abreast on his wagon. He had a walking plow and his large dog was always with him. As Leslie suggested, we set out across the fields for old Bady's (as Leslie called him) shack. When we finally arrived, Mr. Bady was not home. As we wandered about his camp, our curiosity was aroused. We were seeing things entirely new to us. The sulphur vein down on the edge of the ravine, so pure and green it looked like it had already been refined.
We saw things he had created out of his own ingenuity to provide for his very existence. Today there isn't any question in my mind but what Mr. Bady was the first squatter, settler, or prospector, whichever name we would prefer to use, that ever camped or occupied that particular area since Creation. No doubt, I would have much more to write, had Mr. Bady been home.
When we had satisfied our curiosity, we started back again across the fields with a clearer knowledge and understanding of what life was like for someone, like many others, that was looking for that spot where they may become established and make a living, that they may call home.
I shall always be indebted to my buddy who made possible this day when we dined on scrambled eggs and drank boxelder sap.
Some time later when I inquired as to Old Bady, (as Leslie called him) and his fate, I learned a time came when he decided to break up camp and strike out for Illinois, still in search of that little spot at the end of the rainbow that he may call home.
As this memory lingers it brings to me a little pang of loneliness from within as old Bady with his 3 horses hitched to his wagon, his walking plow and his large dog beside him, starting down that dirt road with eyes set on a new horizon. The ravine, the trees and the river still remain in the background. That is all that is left. There was no more.
Plowing, planting, cultivating, and harvesting were all work, trying times, in the early pioneer days. The little equipment that they had was crude. Credit was hard to come by, interest on a loan due in advance.
I recall my Father telling how they would select a tree with a wide spreading top, then trim the limbs to leave as many as possible bearing flat upon the ground. The branches on top could be removed. This they would use as a drag harrow after the oats had been cultivated in. It also served to finish the corn ground before planting. When the drag harrows finally came on the market, wood cross bars with teeth sticking through them, they cost nearly 40 cents per foot, but that was something to own--if you had the money.
The sod breaking plow my father had designed to reduce draft as much as possible, had a small upright knife on the land side, a short furrow lay with 3 rods for the moldboard.
The one row, tongueless, 4 shovel, walking cultivator was unbelievable. When you stopped and the horses slacked up, it would fall nearly flat. The corn planter came out early, but the planter and that check wire was a conundrum.
When the 6 foot grain binder came out, that was almost a genius. My Father used 3 horses on the binder. These he would change mid-forenoon and mid-afternoon. This was accomplished by others in the family older than I, but I well remember when those 3 warm, sweating, puffing horses were unhitched from the binder. Sometimes I was lifted to the back of one of them. I could unhook the check rein and take the horses home. When we reached the barnyard with the watering trough coming in sight, how they would quicken their walk until we ended up on a trot.
I well remember the horse powered threshing machine at work. I was not old enough to cut bands. I was given permission to go down in the yard only as far as that large maple tree. I can see the man now, standing on top of that horse power, whip in hand. The path those 4 or 6 teams of horses would wear into the ground as they walked in that same circle all day having to step a little higher as they came to that tumbling rod. This was threshing out of the stack. I felt sorry for those horses. Today stacking grain is a lost art.
In 1870 the editor of Hamilton County's only newspaper, The Freeman, reported the text of state laws which he thought of interest to farmers. At appropriate times of the year the editor might remind his readers that burning prairies in the fall was a crime or that the tumbling rods of threshing machines must be boxed in under state law.
Today we hear people talk about when they will take their vacations. One week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, where they plan on going and what they will be doing. In the early days it was very much different. I remember the time after the corn was laid by, the grain was in the shock, the small barn was filled with hay and the remainder in a stack. There had been a pretty steady siege of work from spring up to this time. Certainly nothing that would be in the leisure class. My older brothers and the neighbor boys decided they would take advantage of the little lull in farm work, get away from those continuous chores and relax in another kind of environment for a few days.
They packed some horse feed, a tent, plenty to eat for themselves into a farm wagon and headed for the river. A place where they wouldn't see another person until they came home. This was a vacation for that team of horses. I can see them now-a little reluctant to wade into the river at first. Once out in the middle of the stream they would drink, then stand and paw the water.
With the boys gone, that moved me up in the ranks at home a little. Dad said we will go out and put hangers on the new stack of wild grass prairie hay that had just been put up. With some of the old tile, twine, and wire in the bottom of the hay rack we started for the haystack.
Mr. Kirchner came out as we were going past. He told Dad not to work me too hard beings I didn't get to go with the boys. That was unnecessary concern.
In a few days the boys were home again. They reported a good time. The swimming hole down stream a little ways around the bend was an enjoyable change after spending weeks in the fields in hot weather. The sound of the river rushing over rocks, the bird calls were new, making it a changed, restful environment. Those meals cooked on that little campfire on the rocks was also a change.
No doubt this day was observed by more people in the early years than at the present time. The people those days, generally speaking, never got far from home. The 4th of July was one day they looked forward to as a day of rest when they could see neighbors and friends.
I recall the neighbors meeting for that day in the neighborhood. A picnic dinner, a social day with lemonade and homemade ice cream. Croquet, horseshoe, etc. furnished the entertainment.
One 4th was planned on a larger scale, that it might draw a few people out from town. The site was Sterling's pasture down by the river. For entertainment a small tree had been cut with bark and branches removed. This trunk was set in the ground with the large end up. Anyone climbing the pole could possess the bill pinned at the top.
There was a confectionery stand on the grounds, It must have been about the first pop ever offered. It was the first I ever tasted. A neighbor lady asked me if I liked that stuff . I told her I didn't know, I had never tasted it before. Just then that fizz went up my nose, then I knew--l didn't like it.
The Hay Market
If the settlers had turned back when they saw all the obstacles they had to encounter, I wouldn't have anything to write. I recall our neighbor who had sheds for his cow barn and sheds for his horse stable. Overhead were poles covered with long prairie hay to make them warmer in winter and cooler in hot weather. He would stack his hay nearby and drag it into the barn at feeding time.
Along in the winter when he saw he had more than his livestock needed, he would load a big load of hay on his rack wagon, lay a long pole on top and bind it down with a rope at the back end of the wagon. The next day he would strike out for Webster City market square, 10 miles away. There were many people that kept a horse in town at that time and they were glad to get their little overhead loft filled with Mr. Kirchner's hay. So just start pitching it for the 4th time into this little door. When he started home he might have as much as $3.50 or $4.00 deep down in his pocket. Since he loaded up the load the day before, so he could get started by 8:30 in the morning, he might get home by 4:30 or 5:00, in plenty of time to drag some more hay into the stable for those hungry horses and cows and then do the milking. We cannot give this man a medal, he has long been gone, but we can pay him a tribute for the consistency and integrity which he displayed.
I remember a neighbor lady saying 10 cents was all the money they had in the house all winter. She was not complaining, she was just mentioning something she was aware of.
A young man coming to this country in the 1870 years would work the first year for his board, clothes and $12.00 at the end of the year.
The early day settlers had no choice in their way of life. They were confronted with hardship and uncertainties on every hand. They solved their problems the best they could, as they came. Standing water was available for their livestock much of the year. Shallow welts were dug by hand, sometimes in a low place in the field. These 6 x 6 foot welts were boxed up with boards. Water could be bailed up with a rope and bucket and then often carried a considerable distance to where it was needed.
In late fall each year, I remember seeing a neighbor driving by with just the running gear of a wagon. He was headed for the river where there was much timber on ground that was pasture land. When coming back he would have his wagon loaded with long timber logs. Several trips and he would have enough to furnish his winter fuel.
Many depended on wood for winter fuel. My Father would haul logs home and then split and saw them into stove wood. Other years there was considerable coal being mined along the river. My Father would leave home with team and wagon an hour or more before daylight. By avoiding a lineup at the mine, he could get home by dinner time. This way of guarding against the rigors of winter required a little money but did away with lots of hard work which was still plentiful.
Today we hear of people, upon retirement, being awarded a plaque for years of devoted service. This is fine, they deserve it. When we look back to those years when luxury, convenience and leisure were pretty much unknown, we now appreciate the sacrifices that the early settlers made in blazing the trails and laying the foundation for a new Country America. These people who displayed such a courageous spirit have now passed on. Certainly we want to recognize and honor them for years of service well done.
There is much that may be said about these people that made the ministry their life work. Living conditions were no easier or different for them than for anyone else. There are many churches across the country that were built and first organized a hundred and more years ago. Perhaps it would be only fair and fitting to say that each one of these is a memorial to some minister and to many ministers throughout the years.
The little church where I went to Sunday School the first time, is still in use. My first teacher, Mrs. Kennedy, always reminded me of my Mother. I remember the Easter Sunday lesson. A question came up, “Why do we always have eggs for breakfast on Easter?” As kids we looked forward to getting the shell of boiled eggs, never heard of candy colored Easter eggs or rabbits. We never miss anything we have never had.
I can recall going to church in 3 school houses, The ministers would take on additional services at certain times in the year when the dirt roads would be passable. I recall the time my brother and I were picking corn in the fall. Our minister was making calls in the country. He came out into the cornfield. He wanted to see the procedure we went through to husk corn.
Another memory was when the Ladies Aid Society came out from town to meet at our place. The Neel's had a matched team of Shetland ponies that they drove hitched to a two seated surrey. Us boys got to unhitch them and put them in the barn and hitch them again after the meeting. They looked kind of small to pull that big surrey with six ladies but they trotted right along.
The minister we had from Kentucky said they always rode horseback where he came from. We have to say the ministers accepted conditions as they were and made the most of them.
This was something that looked good to the early day settlers, as was proven by the many orchards that were planted. Fruit trees and berries grew well in the rich prairie soil and meant the difference of having this variety of fruit or doing without it. These orchards would have various kinds of apples, plums, cherries, grapes, gooseberries and currants. My folks had a hop vine growing on the fence for many years.
I recall my Mother telling the neighbor lady to send the children over after school to get plums and apples. I always had to make a round of the orchard when I got home from school. I knew what they were like on each tree. Those little wild plums that didn't look like anything were there when the others were all gone and they were the sweetest of any. I always enjoyed those clusters of purple grapes. Nowadays we do not have them, we have 2-4-D instead.
The good neighbor lady that sent her children over for plums and apples wanted to return the kindness. She told my Mother to send us boys over to get some cabbage. She had a large cabbage patch. Those days the sacks held 100 pounds, they had bushel baskets but they also had 2 bushel baskets. On a Saturday morning, Mother said, “You boys better go over and get those cabbages.” When the neighbor lady saw us coming, she came out with a butcher knife and started cutting off those large cabbage heads and putting them in that 2 bushel basket. They were filling up and getting heavy, too. She kept putting them in. Finally she said, “Can you carry another one?”
Well, we started home. We had about 1/2 mile to go. We got home all right, but that was sure returning a good deed in full measure.
As I write these notes on early day rural life, there is another memory that stands out very clearly. At that time it appeared essential that every settler kept cows. This was a way of life that made it possible to exist.
This also meant a daily chore of feeding, milking and cleaning every day of the year. But this was just part of the work. What did they do with the milk? I have seen it carried to the house and strained into 1 gallon crocks. These were carried down steps into the cellar and set on shelves until the cream had all come to the top. Then the crocks were carried up the steps again, the thick heavy layer of cream could now be skimmed off and put into the cream can. The milk was poured into pails to be carried to the pigs. The crocks were washed and ready for the next milking. That was all necessary to do for one milking.
One neighbor solved part of the labor by putting a trap door in the kitchen floor. His pigs could get under the house. Just lift the lid and pour the milk into the hog trough. It also served as a disposal for potato and apple peelings, only human energy was required.
When improvements had progressed and more water was available, the milk house came into the picture. The milk and cream could then be kept in the water that supplied the livestock.
The churn had a crank on one side. This was replaced for one with a crank on each side to increase the capacity of the operation. Instructions were to stop churning at intervals and take the cork out to release the air pressure. I remember the time we misjudged the interval and the cork and cream hit the ceiling in the little milk house.
I have seen the butter packed into 2 and 3 gallon stone jars with muslin, paper and rhubarb leaves tied over the top, then taken 10 miles by horse and buggy to a butter store in Webster City. If you are hungry and would like something special, get a thick slice of home baked bread, run some of that thick cream out of the churn over it. This tops anything you can get in the restaurants today. And the buttermilk is in the can in the corner of the water tank.
I shall always remember the many kinds of birds that were so plentiful in the early years. There was a continuous chorus of song from break of day until dusk. There were nests in the orchard, in the shade trees, everywhere. In the evening you could hear their calls to their mates. The swallows had their nests as always in the cattle shed. We often wonder how those little wrens, humming birds and yellow canaries can make those many miles that they have come.
Out in the fields and on the prairies were other kinds of birds that everyone enjoyed seeing. How the prairie chickens would set their wings and sail on many rods. How the quail would come out from the brush with a covey of 10 or 15 young tagging along. Those large, slow flying waterpumpers that would light in the edge of the pond; their long brown necks sticking out of the slough grass looked like a stick of wood in the ground. Their call sounded like the old hand water pump.
White gulls would suddenly show up for a day early in the spring when black dirt was being turned up in the field. They were always on the wing dipping down for earthworms.
The snipes were feeding in the shallow water in the ponds.
Meadow larks had their nests on the ground, but many smaller field birds would build their nests in a bunch of sturdy grass. The wild ducks and geese have already made their migration transit. The barn owl that seemed to sleep all day, then catch mice when it was getting dark, had the spookiest call I ever heard.
This was a Saturday morning, and my older sisters had an errand into our little village. Of course I would try to be included. We had a choice of 3 roads, all the same distance. We would take the one with the smoothest track. People by the name of Dolan lived on one of the four corners south of town. They had a pigeon house on one end of the barn. I never saw so many pigeons. When we came to the Welp farm the well and windmill were right in the road. I guess at that time no one knew where the right or wrong place was to put anything.
Before we started home, my sisters stopped in to call on some friends, the Henderson girls, Eve and Dell. Eve was scrubbing the kitchen floor. She had a long stick with something on the end that she was pushing back and forth. I never saw my Mother scrub a floor that way. She got down on a carpet piece with a pail of water and a scrub rag. When we left, the Henderson girls said they would see us in Church in the morning.
In those early years the low ground pasture land often grew up with tall prairie grass. Often times a cow would calve while out on this pasture. It was usually the kids job to get the cows in at milking time, but a cow with a newborn calf would insist on staying in the pasture. There is no calf in sight. When we start hunting for the calf, the cow starts walking away so we follow. The cow will lead us to the calf. Wrong. The cow will lead us away from the calf. The calf will be somewhere in the opposite direction. It goes to show that kids that go to school can learn from animals that never go to school.
Teaching that young calf to drink from a pail was sometimes quite easy, more often quite annoying. Just straddle the calf's neck, hold its nose in the pail with one hand, try to get it to take a sip of milk with your finger. You end up with milk blowed into your face, wet sleeves and wet overalls. Just keep right on trying. One of these times it will start to drink and that finger won't be completely gone.
To get the skimmed milk poured into the hog trough was something else. It took a pretty good athlete to stand on one foot, kick the pigs away with the other foot and pour those pails of milk into the trough without getting knocked into the trough yourself. But that's the way it was.
Many things the early settlers had never came from a store. My Mother had a homemade flour chest where the sacks were emptied after the wheat was ground at the mill. She had large wood stirring ladles and spoons that the good neighbor who was a cabinet maker by trade had made in his little shop in the grove. Among other things he made was a plate rack and wardrobe. The trough that the cattle licked salt from was chiseled out of a short log and the cats lapped milk from a trough made out of a short block of wood. These articles were all durable and would last for many years.
Hauling ear corn 4 or 6 miles by team and wagon was a common way of marketing corn. Of course you must scoop it on the wagon and off when you reach your destination.
When there were cattle ready to go to market, the gate was thrown open and they followed on the road whatever the number of miles happened to be. Of course, someone must go ahead to watch all the gates.
The first of March was moving time. The bed, stove, table and chairs were hauled in wagons and neighbors would help by driving the livestock along on the road.
I recall driving cattle 10 miles into Webster City and hauling ear corn 7 miles down near the river. At that time the bank where we got our money for those cattle and that corn was located where the Wehrheim Sales Barn used to be. There was also a bank at one time where the Forrester Creamery was operated for many years.
The horse watering trough in the center of the Market Square was a welcome stop for the many teams being driven into the city. The McCollough Covered Shed was operated for years with facilities for feeding the horses. Another service available at the Covered Shed was that Mr. McCollough would buy hogs.
One of the highlights in the early day history of our little town was when the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad was built. My Father was here on the prairies before that was done. Now I wish I had asked more questions. It is hard for us to realize what a huge project this was when we consider it was done by man and mule power. From the limited information I have, a hundred men and a hundred head of mules operating graders and scrapers was a familiar scene for many months.
One thing we can ascertain, it rendered excellent passenger and freight service for many years. We wish to give due credit to Ryan and Hoyt who were depot agents; the Samsons and their crew who maintained the road at that time.
With the aid of another early settler whose memory extends back a little further than mine, I cite a couple of incidents that give a very true picture of actual conditions at that time.
A couple moving into this area drove a team of horses on a wagon and led 2 cows behind. They started at 3 o'clock in the morning and arrived at their destination by 9 o'clock in the evening, covering perhaps 40 miles in the trip. At that time land was selling around $10 or $11 per acre. This looked pretty good, if you have good luck and are willing to take a little chance.
At this time things were looking up in the little town. A creamery had sprung into existence. I recall riding into town with Dad in the wagon. He stopped at the creamery to leave a can of cream. As I tagged along inside the door, there was a lot of noise. I looked up at the ceiling where that long shaft was running with all those belts coming down. I didn't know then what I was looking at or what was making it run. Today I would guess it was a Waterloo Boy gasoline engine.
Another enterprise was a little slaughter house out in the pasture that used to be prairie. The Nelsons operated this for many years along with a meat market and ice house to serve this area.
As I try to close these notes, something new comes up. The dirt roads with nearly hub deep ruts is not a pleasant memory. People would drive on the sod along the fence. In time this track would get hub deep then split the track until you wouldn't know where you could get in or out again. Sometimes these conditions would prevail in the fall when trying to get the corn out of the field and sometimes at moving time on the first of March. I always felt sorry for the horses at these times.
A common winter scene would be a farmer going down the road with 2 loads of ear corn. He would drive one team and lead the 2nd team behind. There were 2 large feeders in the area who would feed a load or more of corn at a time. After a load of corn had been scooped into the feed troughs, I have seen a man breaking the ears in half over the edge of the trough. To break ears continuously with both hands was something that required practice.
A service available in our little town that many in the area used was the Shipping Association. Anyone having hogs or cattle they wished to market could list them with Mr. Fonken. He would order cars and ship them as often as he had full loads. I can see him now stringing ear corn lengthwise the car for hogs then a little waste coal slack from the nearby coal bins on top of the corn.
I recall delivering a load of hogs in the fall in corn picking time when the roads were deep with mud. It got dark before I got home. I had to almost let the horses pick their own way, but finally arrived safely with the wheels nearly filled with mud.
As these reflections come back to me, first here then there, we always took horse blankets along in the wintertime when we went into town so we could blanket the horses while they were tied at the hitching post. Seamonds and Welps were draymen for many years. Their horses had to stand out all day, so they would leave the blankets on while they were working.
I remember seeing Dr. Wyatt driving by with horse and buggy from the livery barn. That flat top buggy had side curtains and what's more than that, it had a little round glass in the curtain on each side so you could see out. We never heard of anything being Deluxe in those days but this must have been the start of it.
As I review my memories of this little town of Kamrar here in the midwest in those early years, recollections of the many people that I learned to know keep coming back to me. It seems only fitting and proper that we record these names, as each name will bring back a memory for someone else.
While the footprints in the sands of time have been there many years for many of us, yet the memories that live on are something that we can all cherish. As I record these names for the immediate area, I realize there are many names that I do not have. I will be glad to add any submitted to me.
For anyone wanting to locate someone in this area, just mention the name of anyone on this list. They will know someone that knows someone that can help you.
Kamrar was named after Judge Kamrar.
|John Wes Adams||Clabaugh||Vanderventer|
|Rev. Liming||Rev. Brinkema||Bunk|
|Rev. Richards||Rev. Bottom||Nabor|
|Rev.s Arnold||Rev. Winter||Rev. Breighton|
|Bauer||Rev. McCabe||Rev. Mueler|
|Rev. Blackstock||Rev. Treak||Rev. Wardle|
|Rev. Treat||Rev. Kunnor||Rev. Kruell|
|Rev. Ashton||Rev. Weaver||Rev. McNary|
|Rev. Strong||Rev. Bennett||Rev. Martin|
|Rev. Runion||Rev. Arends||Rev. Shreve|
In drawing these notes to a conclusion, I hope your patience let you follow me through. I am not a writer, by now you will know this. I was never overly fond of going to school. Besides, with 4 sisters in the Tolstrup family teaching school and one dressmaker, I didn't feel it was so necessary for me to go to school. That's enough in one family.
Of course now I should perhaps look at it a little differently. I have lived on this spot all my life, which will be 83 years in corn picking time. I have seen many nice places to live, both across the pond and in this country, but I seem to fit in best in the antique class such as I have tried to portray. Where the wind blows free and where everyone I have ever met has treated me fine.
As I write these last few lines, many thoughts come into my mind that I will not express. I want to draw a line between all of our present day modernization and the standard of living which our ancestry endured. That we may appreciate this heritage and faith that has been passed on to us.
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