THE HOUSE

 

Mom and Dad built their house on the Southeast corner of their property. Highways 36 ran along the south side of the property and the road to Saint Benedict was on the east side. The house sat back about 100 yards from each road. Highway 36 was gravel while the road to St Benedict was still dirt..

The house was painted a soft yellow. The kitchen was the main room of the house. It faced east with a screened in porch on the north side and an open porch to the south. The screened back porch was used as kind of a staging area. Thatís where the cream separator, the cream cans and the milk buckets and things like that were kept.

The kitchen had a big cook stove that took up a lot of space because it put out a lot of heat so it had to be placed pretty far away from the wall. The kitchen stove burned wood but if we wanted heat in a hurry or if we had a cake in the oven we burned corn cobs. A large cabinet that held the bucket of drinking water and condiments was against another wall. A large kitchen table sat in the center of the room. A pantry also opened off the kitchen and thatís where the staples were kept. The living room and two bedrooms were to the west of the kitchen. Mom and Dad slept in the front bedroom and Bill, Al, and I slept in the back bedroom. When Elsie was born, the living room became a bedroom for the boys while Elsie slept with me. The front porch was enclosed and became the living room. The living room was not very large and was sparsely furnished. The heating stove was in the room most of the year but was taken down around the first of June and brought back in around September. The stove was what they called a wood burning pot belly stove. It also had to stand several feet from the wall so it took up a lot of space.

We still had no electricity but we did have a radio. Dad put up a small windmill type fan on the roof. The wind generated juice to a large battery for the radio. They felt they needed a radio to listen to the farm news and get the prices for the hog, beef and grain markets. That's about all it was used for because if we used it to much the battery went dead so we were pretty careful not to turn it on very often.

We did have a phone which was located on the wall in the kitchen. Before you could use the phone you had to listen to make sure other people werenít on the phone because we were on a party line shared by twelve other families. There were no phone books. If you wanted to talk to someone not on your party line you called the telephone operator. She connected the line and did the calling for you. Our phone rang every time someone called anyone on our line. Each family had their own ring signal. Ours was three long and one short. Some people listened in on many of other peoples calls. We didn't because as mom said it wasn't any of our business and if the person calling wanted us to know what they were talking about they would have called us.

The room I remember most was the back bedroom . Bill, Al and I slept in this room when we were young. thatís where I thought out the important things in life. I could never figure out how tall people picked things up off the floor. I tried many times to stand on a stool to pick things up but every time I tried I fell forward.

When I was a teenager I built a dressing table for myself out of two orange crates. with a board across the top with space between so I could pull up a chair to do my homework or if I was going to a school function it was a place to put on makeup . One night as I was quietly putting on makeup BANG!!!!! The lamp was blown out and everything went dark. I ran out to the living room and ran into dad who was carrying the living room lamp heading for the bedroom. I told him someone must be shooting at me through the window. He looked at the window and screen but the window wasn't broken and the screen was intact so we decided the kerosene lamp had blown up. It took some time for him to convince me to go back into that room. I was so scared.

That small house held eight kids plus mom and dad when I left home so that little house had a busy life. Danny and Harry were born after I left home to work in Topeka.

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