As I Remember



Reminiscences of and for the Family

A constant delight during the summer was donning our "mud-bathing suits" and playing in the creek behind the Hophouse. The Hophouse was a big building that stood right behind where the Shop (the one Uncle John has converted into his summer home) now stands. The upper level was even with the top of the barnyard, but on the creek side, it extended all the way down the hill-- three stories. It had been a hop drier when G'pa Gutbrod raised hops and when we played in it there was still an upper story with little rooms. In one of them was an old chest and some boxes of things that had belonged to a former hired man. We were told to leave them alone, but of course we made them out favorite playthings. Dressed in his clothes, we played house with the funny assortment of pots and pans. But best of all was sitting flat in the creek and creating all sorts of towns and villages along the bank of mud. It was from that deligh that we were called (with G'ma's famous "oooh-hoo") to have our pictures taken by the photographer that day. And if you catch a sullen expression in the level look on my face, that explains it! I even remember the photographer cooled his heels and waited until we were out of the bathtub to take our pictures!


School. I started first grade in Sheridan in the big old three-storied grade school where Faulconer now is. Walked to school those first two years, stopping to roust out Ross Daniels next door, and we trudged off together. By the time we were in the third grade, Ross had fallen two years behind me, but by this time, Daddy had worked out a scheme with Lee Ladd who owned the bus company that we would be taken to school in exchange for a sack of potatoes each fall. I always felt that everyone on the bus knew about that sack of potatoes, and thus I was a lesser mortal! It was understood that we would be allowed to sit down only if there were seats left over from the high school kids, so Ross and I mostly sat on the steps of the buss and gazed out of the little slitty windows in the folding doors. The bus also woudl only make on stop, so sometimes we got on at our mailbox and sometimes we trudged up to the Daniels'. By the time Dodi started, poor Ross had to do the slogging, I think!

The school was surrounded by a boardwalk, and the water always collected off those hills and the schoolyard would be a sea literally all winter. Part of the joy of recess was walking on those floating sidewalks. There were also swings on the yard east of the school, but the joy of all joys was the "Giant Strides," a huge pole like a telephone pole that had long ropes hanging down with knots on the end like a Maypole. Some lucky sould, usually one of the tinier ones like Aunt Dorothy Morrisey and Valeta Daniel, would be chosed to hold the rop that circled the pol in such a ways that when we all got to scampering around that person would simply float through the air hanging onto the knots on the end! (Where was the school board? Somebody could been killed!) There was also a slide attached to the school on the west side, just outside the first grade window. Many a rip in my shoes or on a dress came from that slide-- the metal was wrapped up about halfway down and inflicted a mean wound. The school board did away with it for safety reasons. I think the Giant Strides was demolished because the new school was the one-story type and took up the space.


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