As I Remember



Reminiscences of and for the Family

Growing up it seemed as if we always had hired help. When Brother Bill was born, we had a hired girl by the name of Emma Beier, a relative from G'ma Brandt's side of the family. She married and later lived in Newberg but died of cancer before I could really reminisce with her. Then later Lilly Pedranti Suhs lived with us-- she left to marry Earl Suhs, who was a law officer in some town in Montana-- very glamourous-sounding to Dodi and me. Much later they returned to Sheridan and he was Sheridan's marshall, first law office to wear a pistol on his hip as he strode the streets of Sheridan. We thought that was awesome. Another hired girl was a sister of Marvel Frack, a redhead with a temper to match. Daddy was a terrible tease, and commented freely on the food at times. He remarked once that the tapioca pudding was just like glue, and she retorted "Well, you don't have to eat it!" We had NEVER heard anyone talk back to Daddy liek that, and thought lightnin was ready to strike. We must have been a terrible plague to her-- she used a depilatory on her legs, and we could always tell when she used it because it gave off such a terrible odor. We begger her to let us watch her use it, but she never would, so when we smelled that tell-tale stench we would shinny up the sides of the bathroom wall from the flat roof outside and peer in at her-- how she would scream at us! Another time she was so enraged by something Daddy said about her cooking that she flung a spoonful of peas at him-- we thought she would be struck dead on the spot for that!


Another set of hired help were the Alleys-- they lived on the corner where Betty and Bob Stevens live now in a most weather-beaten old shack with a dirt floor and a V-shaped trough out the back window that took care of the kitchen plumbing. The older son, Gordon, worked quite a few years for Daddy. He wasn't particularly bright, so Daddy really differed using him because he had to keep such a close eye on things. But finally, one year, the folks thought he had progressed far enough that he could be trusted to do the chores and look after things so we could take a short trip. For some reason we came home a day early, and as we drove down the fir lane, all the lights in the house were on and as we came closer we could see bodies literally falling out of various windows and disappearing into the underbrush-- what a party they must have been having! Gordon went on working with Daddy, but he was really a very chastened Gordon...

And then there was the episode with his sister Ella. Mom had the forethought to hier her for a one-week stay-- "to see if we would suite each other." Mom had an O-Cedar Oll mop and the "strings" really ate up the dust. You can picture Mom's horror when she came upon Ella happily dunking her precious mop int he toilet and applying it wet and squishy to the floor! Ella stayed in the little room that is now Danny's room and she was there for only one week. It was a most traumatic week for Mom. Imagine my amazement years later, on a Red Cross run to Portland, when I discovered the self-same Ella Alley-- and she told me proudly that the happiest time of her life was when she worked for Mom!


There were many memories concerning the Alleys. One day, an exceedingly hot one, Daddy came home from town to announce that he had passed the two younger Alley kids pulling they little red wagon with a huge chunk of ice on it. Sometime that morning, a very splotched hand-written note was delivered to the front door inviting us kids to a "Swimming Party" at the Alleys. They had a wonderful swimming hole on the river below their house, but we were never allowed off the property to swim. Mom insisted we must go and that we must appreciate anything they did in the way of party fixings. It happened Dorothy Morrisey Earl was staying overnight so she went too-- I can't remember the swimming part of the day, but I do remember the grainy, runny chocolate ice cream, practically all liquid, and how proud the Alleys were to be serving real ice cream. I hope we relayed to them something in the way of gratitude to make up for all these preperations.

Poor Lucy Alley was a year or so older than I and wore her hair long. One day when we were quite small, the police came to our door and sugegsted that little kids be kept indoors, that someone had cut off Lucy Alley's hair and there was a search for the culprit. Dodi and I spent a lovely day playing in the upstairs narrow room dressing up in Mom's old wedding dress and other assorted things we found there. Daddy joined the group searching for the malefactor and abotu summertime was back to announce that Lucy had finally admitted she had done it for herself. I remember Mom and Daddy saying they thought that was the case all along because Lucy's Dad had forbidden her ever to cut her hair.


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