This memoir came to me as a copy from another researcher of the Ramsthal family. I believe it was written in the 1960s.
I have added a few hyperlinks and illustrative photos.







The Pigman progenies, for which I am partly responsible, have expressed the wish that I record some of the facts about our family history. At least that part of it which has come to my knowledge or experience. I feel very incompetent for this undertaking, not knowing what to include or exclude, and being a very inexperienced writer. But I shall do my best. If the matter is boring to any reader he or she should not feel duty-bound to continue reading. I shall understand.

My grandfather, who was the first of my ancestors to land on the United States shores, according to the information I have, is recorded in his passport with his family thus:

George Hieronemus Ramsthaler born Dec. 50 1799.

Johanne Elisabeth Marie Roedger born Dec 21 1806 in Seebergen. They were married July 22 1827. To this union there were eight or ten children. Many of them died in Germany of cholera. My father had cholera on shipboard crossing the Atlantic when he was about eighteen months of age. They left Germany in April 1852, one of hundreds of families seeking a new life in a new world, and shedding the military yoke of their homeland. It is thot that they lived in or near Coburg.

The passenger list from May 3, 1852 showing G. H. Ramsthaler and family

The living coming with them were:

Augusta Theresie Louise born Mar. 7 1841.

Angelica Eline Wilhemine Born Dec 28 1845.

August Albinus born May 14, 1846.

Christian Ernst Reinhold born Nov. 9 1850. [Arrow to “Reinhold”, “Mother’s maiden name.”]

Angelica married Frank Cour, of French extraction, and lived in Pontiac, Kansas when I was a small child. Pontiac later was deserted as a town and no longer exists. It was near Eldorado. The Cours had five children, three girls and two boys. One girl died before reaching her teens. The remaining children grew up and were married. All of them died of heart trouble later. Their father had done the same.

[ Correction by E.L. Ramsthel. Nephew of Author. Two boys Frank + Ralph Cour were both living in Calif.  Living in San Bernadino Calif. ]

Augusta married a Weiss, lived near Kewaskum, Wisconsin on a farm, had four or five children, one being a girl. None ever married. The girl was lame from some infection for which she refused to have medical attention and treatment. They lived like misers, apparently shunned by moat of their neighbors, hoarded their money in the house until later years, and left one hundred thousand dollars, with no offspring to receive it. Rumors in the vicinity had it that the house was virtually a safe. A banker in Kewaskum told a relative of mine that, when the family finally decided to trust the bank, a huge amount of money was deposited at one time. Unfortunately one of the bank employees was a thief, and did get away with some of the money. No one ever knew how much was theirs. Some of their estate trickled down to me as a cousin, after the sequence of deaths until the last remaining one died. I called it blood money, and gave it to my grandchildren, as I wanted none of it. The father of this family must have been the ringleader of this kind of living. Their mother surely was of a different strain, if she were at all like her sister and two brothers.

August married Pauline Hensey. [Ed.: actually Haentze] There were eight children I think, five girls and three boys, all grew to maturity. Two girls did not marry. At one time August lived on a farm near Filmore, Wisconsin, later he operated a confectionary store on Third Street in Milwaukee, [Ed.: I believe it was located here, across from the Schlitz brewery.] where he lived out his life of many years after retirement. Education was an unknown quantity in those days.

The homestead in Fillmore, many years later

Each child went to work at some trade when he or she was in the early teens. All had educated tastes, however, for the best to be had.

August and Pauline at the time of their fiftieth anniversary

One married the daughter of a Mr. Prinz, a Swiss millright, who came to America and solved the duet problem of the flour millers, and became a near millionaire. One of his grandsons is a very successful artist in West Bend, Wisconsin, and owns most of the Ramsthal printing company. [Ed.: Alfred Ramsthal started Serigraph.] His young spastic daughter has inherited his art talent. A son is associated with him in the company.

Ernst was my father. He never used the name Christian. In fact he would not tell us what other name he had. His father and mother died before he was in his teens. I think he must have lived with August in Milwaukee, until he went west when he was about twenty. He had learned to make brooms and shoes. I do not know what other trades he knew, but he was very adept at anything he cared to do, as I remember in my childhood.

I was told that grandfather and grandmother Ramsthaler were buried under some apple trees on the farm near Filmore. We tried to find the spot one time when we were in Wisconsin, but the apple trees evidently had long since disappeared. [Ed.: The cemetery outside Fillmore is indeed known as Orchard Grove Cemetery.]

My father changed the family name further to Ramsthel, and went to Nebraska about 1870 to stake out a land claim of eighty acres near Grand Island, Nebraska. A friend took one adjoining his, and later father bot him out, making his a quarter section, or one hundred sixty acres, of prairie land. This area had been opened up by the United States government when the Union Pacific railroad was built, actually last spike driven in 1869.  He received what was termed a government patent, I think, to the property. I remember the title included something using the Union Pacific name. There were certain requirements for the settler to do before he could have a clear title to the land. I think a given number of years occupancy, and certain improvements to be built and maintained, and possibly a certain amount of tilling and planting.

Father built a sod house, possibly one or two rooms, which was constructed in the fashion of laying brick, but instead of brick the material used is called sod. A certain kind of plow will turn over a furrow of a certain width and depth, producing blocks of dirt held together by grass roots and easily handled. These blocks are three or four inches thick and possibly ten or twelve inches wide. They are cut up into desired lengths for handling and laying up in masonry style.  Probably the house would have one door and not many windows. The floor hard dirt if necessary. The roof would have little pitch or angle, if any, but would have to be supported by some sort of timbers, and probably a sod layed on for a roof. I don’t know how the chimney was fashioned. I have heard that it was quite a task to make the structure leak proof, and in heavy rains one needed pails and pans to catch the water from the leaks. Snakes were not the easiest problem to meet.

The furniture father needed had to be constructed by his own hands, money was a rare item. I don’t know when he first owned an ox or a team of oxen. Of course that made cultivating the soil much easier. Then a barn was needed.

The first one was a straw barn. I remember seeing that sort in my early childhood among the poorer farmsteads. They were made of posts for framing with cross supports to bank the straw against for walls and on top for roof. Maybe there were some wires or other material to help hold the straw together against the storms, but again money was a rarity with which to buy things that might answer the needs, and ingenuity was a high priority need. I remember so well hearing that when my father and mother married they had a homestead, a sod house, straw barn, homemade furniture and $1.50 in money. There were few if any trees in this prairie country, so it must have been difficult to get timbers of any sort, to say nothing of the expense and transportation. Farther on by the Loup river, and possibly other streams there were trees for the taking possibly, but how to come by them if you had no hauling facilities. Even getting the straw probably meant doing all the tilling, sowing and reaping by hand. When I was small I remember seeing father seeding broadcast by hand in small areas, so I can imagine just how it was done.

One's imagination could run quite a gamut wondering what the diet was in those times, and the struggle there must have been to keep the food supply adequate. I remember the remark that father used a pound of butter a day when he was living as a bachelor for five years before he married. The food variety could not have been very wide, and our extravagancies would have been looked on with horror. Even nails were a cherished item. When father was a youngster he came home with a few in his hand. His father asked where he had come by them, and made him take them back and say he had stolen them.

It was told that father was borne with a caul over his face or head, superstitiously supposed to be good luck, and an infallible preventative against drowning. One is left to judge about his luck, but he was involved in several drownings and near drownings. I think it was a Fourth of July when he and Delbert with a neighbor and his two sons drove down to a pasture on the Platte river. I don't know the reason for their going, it might have been just for fun or to inspect stock pastured there on some land for a fee, of a charge per month per head. The boys went in to swim. First one then the other of the brothers stepped off into a hole. Delbert was just behind them and stunned with fright. He would not even return or take one step back, so father went in, as he could swim, tied a rope around Delbert and pulled him out. The bodies of the brothers were recovered down stream a great way. Their father raced his team up and down the pasture in an insane frenzy as if any minute he would plunge into the stream. His daughter was spending the day with us girls and women at out house. I remember so well when the word was brot that her two brothers had drowned, and I also remember the funeral at their home, and the two caskets in the living room. An older brother was Superintendent of schools for Grand Island or for Hall county, I can’t recall which. Her father was Sunday school Superintendent at one of the localities we attended.

Edwin D. Kent born 1858, died about 1907, my mother's father, migrated from England to United States 1855. His father and mother were Joseph and Myna Kent. I do not know whether either or both migrated to U.S. also; I think at least Myna did. Edwin was in the ninth Illinois Cavalry of northern army. Post 11 Grand Army of the Republic. He married Mary Lane of Illinois or Indiana. Family consisted of the following children:

Sarah Jane, my mother, born at Lafayette, Indiana. September 14, 1887.

John Kent died young I think.

Scott went to the Klondike in the Yukon territory during the 1397-1898 gold rush, never returned nor was heard from in any way.

William lived in Illinois, but came to Nebraska for a few years and lived about ten miles from us, then returned to Milford Illinois. He had five or six children. One of them is Myrtle Lough of Sidell, Illinois.

Edwin (Ted) lived in Utah, married and had several children.

Dora, mother’s sister was the youngest of the Kents. She married a United Brethern minister, lived in Nebraska, then moved to California. Had four or five children. (Uncle Oba Knepper mother Pigman's brother-in-law who was also a minister in that faith knew them. I learned this many year later.)

Edwin Kent had two brothers and a sister I think, who were:

Alfred Kent born April 18, 1857 was a First Lieutenant in the third Michigan Cavalry. V.V. Lived for many years in Salt Lake City, Utah; was Post Dep. Commander of Utah about 1904 era. This may be garbled information.

He had a son, also a daughter Edith Kent McMillan, both residing in Salt Lake city. No children from either I think.

Adelbert Kent the other brother was a bachelor farmer living near Grand-Rapids, Michigan, died Nov. 3, 1923 at age 84.  I think he was a civil war veteran also. The sister Mariah married name was Messenger I think, from Ill.

I knew Grandfather Kent was my only grandparent I knew; all others, died, before my birth. He was a tyranical husband and father. Fine looking and knew it. The children put out to work at the earliest opportunity, consequently they had very little education, My mother always thot grandmother took her own life while grandfather was on a trip to the Loup river vicinity for a load of wood. He drank to excess at times, alternately getting religion for periods of time, then back to drink. No doubt accounting to some extent for my hatred for alcohols as a beverage.

When I was a child grandfather had a lovely farm, extensive farm buildings and machinery and a nice house, but he had very extravagant ideas. One of his sons told me many years later that he could not remember that grandfather ever did an honest days work in his life. I would not know about that. Many times when mother and we girls went to visit there, mother's step mother had hidden all of the guns because he had threatened to clean out the family. He had great bouts of lumbago and was in bed, but could dash out of bed and leap over any object in his path if he were infuriated enough at someone. I think he married again within six months of grandmother's death, and that marriage lasted about six months, and his third marriage ended in separation at least, tho that wife, and mother, nursed him thru his final illness. An adopted daughter remained with the step mother. She married, had a pair of twins, who died in infancy and were buried on the Kent plot. Grandfather left no monetary assets, only unhappy memories in the minds of all his progeny. He surely was the black sheep.

Nothing of the Kent origin was ever made known to any of the family. When uncle Albert from Michigan visited us in Grand Island, and mother accompanied him to Salt Lake City to visit his brother Alfred, she was asked by Alfred if Edward had told his family about their English forefathers and their life in England. When mother said she knew nothing, at all about them. Alfred was astonished, took mother in his arms and cried over her, and related some of their history. I cannot say just what the facts are, and I have not been able to uncover them.  I cannot understand how they can be true and substantiated, but if true I can understand uncle Alfred's pride. Who got out of line or fought on the wrong side I can't fathom. It seems they had quite a life in England with honors.

At the time of mother's visit to Utah uncle Alfred held an office in the Grand Army of the Republic. I think he was the state head of it. What part of the army he served in during the civil war I do not know. Edward my grandfather was in a cavalry unit from Illinois and spent time in the infamous Andersonville prison. Where Albert served I do not know or whether he did serve.

How many children were at home, I can't say, while grandfather was in the war. Mother could not have been more than six or eight years old at the most. It must have been a difficult time for grandmother. Mother spoke of the price of things needed by the family, considering them to be very expensive, but probably not much of a comparison to what we have in our time. I think grandmother must have been a capable person as mother often spoke of her talents in sewing, embroidering etc. She must have been a particular housekeeper as she refused to have lace curtains at the windows, saying they were just to cover up dirty windows. There were indians about in these early days, and they were quite apt to appear for begging, saying “coff, sug” or putting their faces to the window and saying “White squaw fraid.” Once mother was sent to the covered wagon to bring some into the house. She was climbing into the wagon from the front where she must step up on the wagon tongue, past the mechanism that fastened to the wagon. She heard the indians coming thru the scrub and was so frightened she fell on what is called the wagon hammer incurring a bad shin injury. She bore the scar as long as she lived.

My mother must have been a nice looking young girl. She had very curly hair  inherited from her father, who reminded me of the old Greek pictures, with tiny curls all over his head. Where she and father met I do not know, but I have heard then say that he walked ten miles when he went courting my mother. That was in one direction, if they lived in the same localities I remember. I often wonder if there were adequate bridges, or mostly foot bridges, for crossing all the many creeks . Old Prairie creek meandered all around that vicinity, as I have memories of it in other experiences.

Sarah Jane Kent and Ernst Ramsthel were married Dec. 25, 1875. Children:

Delbert Dane Ramsthel Jan. 18, 1877-

Albert Lloyd Ramsthel Sept. 21, 1878.

Martin Scott Ramsthel May 26, 1880.

Laura Emily Ramsthel Dec. 8, 1887. (named for cousin Laura Cour).

Myrtle Lucille Ramsthel July 15, 1891.

How mother produced such a brood I have always wondered. It is said that when she was born she weighed one and one half pounds, and the doctor could slip his finger ring over her arm to the shoulder. She was carried on a pillow for the first six months of her life. From my earliest memory she was not well, tho she worked disregarding the fact. When my youngest brother Martin was born there was quite an accident. It was several years later the doctor repaired her on the kitchen table, without anesthetic. Some time later I came along. There were many times when she did not weigh one hundred pounds, but also she was one hundred and forty at one time.

I can remember when Myrtle was born. I was about three and a half years old. The neighbor woman who brot her, a midwife I'm sure, wore a shawl, and I was certain she had Myrtle under it. When she was a few months old she rejected her dinner from mother's breast, and it was offered to me, probably to make her more likely to respond. I was all for that, but was shamed down by a brother, and I just did not understand why. I could not see that I had done anything to be ashamed of.

I was born about twelve years' after my parents were married, and by that time there must have been many changes in their economic status. There were no marks left of the sod house and straw barn. The frame house was built in two steps, and the second  addition was built before my, memory was operative. Neither can I remember when the big barn, granary, corncribs, sheds etc, were built. There were big corrals on all sides of the barn, well layed out for driving stock from one to the other, and large feeding bunks from which the cattle ate the snapped or shucked corn. A few times I was asked to throw out the cobs remaining in the bunks after the critters had finished eating, and I was scared stiff. Most of the time I was shooed away from the barn environment. My brothers would tell me to go to the house. I can understand now. There were hired men around usually, and brothers were only protecting their young sister. Sometimes they were neighbor's boys, but mostly they were more of a migrating class picked up in town when help was needed.

When I was four years old 1 wanted to go to school with the boys. I was not of school age, but the teacher said to let me come. I think I must have enjoyed it, but can't remember the first days. It seems to me the readers we studied were Swinton’s, grades one thru eight. They were bound in maroon covers with black lettering, and I enjoyed the stories and poems in them. Almost the first page of the first reader had three squares of colors, red, yellow, and blue, and explained how other colors were made by mixing them in the right combinations. There was what was called a literary society which met in the school building occasionally, for debates, song feats, speeches etc. I don't know whose idea it was nor how old I was, but many times I sang hillbilly or western songs a cappella. Can't remember now that I was scared.

Spelling class always stood in line in front of the long bench at side front of the room to recite. If one misspelled a word given him the next in line had an opportunity to spell it correctly. If he did so he changed places with the one who had misspelled it, and then was one place nearer the head of the class, his friend going one place down class. When leaving the formation to take our seats the head pupil called out “George Washington”, the second pupil “John Adams”, next “Thomas Jefferson”, and so on down the line; thus we learned the sequence of the presidents of the United States. Next day when the class formed to recite we resumed the same places in line we had had when leaving.

We usually walked to school, unless the weather was very bad; one mile if we went straight across the fields, possibly a quarter of a mile farther if we walked the roads and went to the corners at each end of the mile. I can’t remember the number of pupils in the one room, one teacher school, maybe twenty or thirty. The grounds were possibly two hundred feet square with fencing all around, and in the middle front facing the road was a wooden stile, about eight feet long, with ascending and descending steps to take one over the fence. The building had three or four windows on the east and west sides, none in the rear. The front toward the road had two entrances, one for the girls, and one for the boys, with separate coat rooms, and from them entrances into the main room, with the teachers rostrum between these doors and desk facing the rear of the room. The rear wall had slate blackboards its full width. In the center of the room was a large pot-bellied stove. . On either side of the room and the center back of the stove were several rows of desks and seats, mostly for two pupils each. The heights of the desks and seats were graduated, front ones for the little folk, and back ones for the taller pupils. Boys sat on the west side and girls on the east side of the room. One front side wall had a long seat for a class to occupy while reciting. The other front side wall had a table with dictionary, and maybe book shelves. Outside was a water pump, and in opposite rear corners of the yard a privy on the west side for boys and one on the east side for girls.

We usually had a woman teacher, tho I remember two men teachers. A Mr Scott with a family of five or six. How he could support them I don't know. Also a Mr Schuman, whose sister, I think, married Ted Kent, and whose wife taught at the Grand Island business college. A Miss Muzzy from Grand Island, who was taken ill with  typhoid fever. Can't remember who substituted for, or whether it was at the end of the spring term. Several men were on the school board, my father at one time. When it was suggested that the teacher's pay be raised from thirty to forty dollars a month there was quite a hullabaloo, but I think it was done.

When my brothers were teenagers they loved to embarrass the women teachers by catching them in wrong answers in spelling, definitions or pronunciation. I don't know that the boys ever did anything vicious, but one new teacher evidently had gotten some gossip and bad report about the Ramsthel boys. She launched her first day with a tirade that she would “cowhide” the first guy that got out of line, and I think displayed a big stick. That was all that was needed. All morning recess everyone, especially the boys, was yelling at everyone else “I'll cowhide you.” I can't remember how long the boys stayed in school. Of course there was farm work to do part time, so they may have had to stay out some for that. Father persuaded Delbert to go to high school in Grand Island, but later found out that he was not doing anything, so that was that. It had been hoped that he would go to the university at Lincoln. Pretty much like today, many teenagers think they “know it all”.

I probably was about eight or nine when mother took me to visit uncle Will Kent about ten miles west. I liked aunt Huldah and little Myrtle, but I found out some way that mother, Albert and my sister Myrtle then took off for Kansas to father’s sister's family, and were to bring back a load of peaches. Seems insane now to think of carting peaches several hundred miles in a lumber wagon.

I was furious as it seemed to me I was always getting the raw end of a deal, and I thot that was a dirty one. I demanded to be taken home, and evidently was, and a neighbor a year or so older came to stay with me during the day, for the men were hauling hay from a field father had rented a few miles west of us, as we had no hay acreage, and possibly before we had alfalfa, so he needed great quantities for the cattle and horses. Ida and I were there alone while the men were on these trips to the field and back. One day a man came to the house and asked us several questions. We did not know him and were frightened because he kept one hand in his coat pocket. He wanted to talk to an adult, and we had to tell there was no one home. When he left we were scared stiff, so we locked the door and went to the home of another neighbor and told them what had frightened us. They laughed and said we need not worry that the man was selling cook ware and had minature samples in his pocket. On the way going home we were running along the dusty road when the door key slipped from my palm into the dust. We searched but found no door key, we were locked out. What a mess. Can't remember all the incident, but that evening or next day when mother returned she offered fifty cents to the boy who filed a key first to fit that door. I can't remember one thing about peaches, whether there were any, but our experience with the key was monumental in my memory.

Before Delbert and Albert were thru their teens they were on their own, away from home, working for other people. Very probably because father was a strict German supervisor, and if one could not do things his way then one did not do them at all. Father needed more acreage gradually, so he would mortgage what he already owned, end buy another eighty acres or so, either for pasture or for raising grain. During the proper season he bot calves, steers, hogs etc and put them in the fattening pens readying them to ship to Omaha, for market. Also bred his Poland China and other pigs, He bot a male Hereford as a sire for the herd of cattle, paying fifty dollars for the young animal. Mother thot that a most extravagant move, but whatever he did he wanted it done properly. (As young girls we were taught to call the critter the gentleman, the word “bull” was entirely to coarse and unladylike.) Each expansion meant more equipment and other facilities; hog barn, corn cribs, sheds, blacksmith house, Fairbanks Morse heavy duty scales, smoke house to cure meat when butchering, and poultry house for mother's chickens, turkeys and ducks. (One time I raised forty ducks and traded them to Albert for his lady's bicycle.) (Father gave each of us girls a runt pig, which finally grew up and went to market, and we had ten dollars toward our first savings.) It seemed to me that he was a good planner and manager being able to figure the next thing needed, but there were many things to frustrate the early farmer end stockman. They did not have the advantage of the scientific helps available today, and so suffered many hardships and disappointments with insects, plant diseases etc, to say nothing of drought and storms, which farmers still have to endure.

We had a Welsh neighbor whom father must have tried to shepherd to some extent. They toured the countryside looking for stock to buy. He had a large family, did little work himself, but his wife worked like a horse. She died after childbirth, leaving an infant for the oldest girl to care for. She was a very fat girl, and it was reported that she accidently smothered the baby. She grew to be an immense woman. The father drank excessively, and many times his faithful old horse brot him safely home from town without him falling out of the cart or buggy. Father persuaded him to take what was known as “The Keely Cure.” I don't know what happened after that, but think he was much improved. I was told that he was killed years later when riding in a car with other men, when his body was thrown from the car. His oldest son was about my age, and nothing made me madder than to be teased about him, for I disliked him heartily.

Another neighbor, friend and fellow church associate, offered father some hogs to buy. When mother was told about it she told father that she and we girls had driven past their farm that day and seen hogs being burned. That was the usual method of destroying them when they died of cholorea, and it was rampant at that time. This neighbor family was one of the elite of the vicinity. They had two girls, one about my age who later years married a graduate of Grand Island College, and was part owner of a book and stationery store in Grand Island.

It is said there are more hair raising experiences and accidents on farms than anywhere else. We seemed to have our share, mostly with horses. Possibly because of my adventurous brothers. If there happened to be a horse not accustomed to halter, bridle saddle or harness that fellow was in for some training. I don't need to go to a rodeo now, I've seen most of it in my childhood. We girls and women saw much of it from our kitchen window, holding our breath and wringing our hands, afraid to look, but helpless not to. Some turned into fine animals, some never could be trusted. One especially which mother and we girls drove, early in the game. I don't know where our regular horse was, but anyway we drove him to grandfather's house. We had to cross about ten bridges over winding Prairie creek, and this lively fellow didn't like bridges. Mother had to get out of the buggy at every bridge and lead him across. Later while hitched to a post in Abbott, while some of the boys were in the school house, a train went thru town on the Burlington. Not caring much for that he cavorted about until he was partly in the buggy next to him. He was not a work horse but was used to help out one with another heavier horse on a power contraption where they went around and around a center mechanism, almost like a treadmill. There was an altercation, the heavier horse was on the outer perimeter, and somehow shoved or crowed him so that he fell onto the mechanism and was punctured amidship and had to be shot. I often thot that it was just luck that we women and girls didn't meet our fate with him. There were faithful work teams such as the white ones Pete and Mate, the black Mike and Bill, and the carriage team that also worked Dan and Maude, and some others, dappled gray Seal. I think it was Seal that Martin rode watching cattle in the cornstalk field one cold winter day. He got chilly and dismounted to get some exercise. It was thot the horse wheeled and kicked him. I remember when they brot Martin, seemingly unconscious. What a fright. Another time men of the vicinity were contributing time, teams and equipment to help mend and improve the road on the way to town. That day Martin took Bill and Mike and a scraper to move dirt about for filling. At noon somehow Kike was off his feed and Bill ate his ration as well as his own, by night the piggish fellow had one big stomachache. Martin tried to doctor him. The usual procedure was drenching with some mixture, which consisted of putting the stuff in a heavy long necked bottle, somehow getting the animal's head up, and pouring the concoction down his throat, then making him walk for exercise. Martin was on the highway in front of our house when poor old Bill pitched over backward and expired.

Delbert had married a woman not of our type, but father and mother, patiently bot a one hundred sixty acres farm about ten miles west, simple furniture, and set them up in housekeeping. Ralph and Ernest were born to them, but things went from bad to worse and they separated, the boys going with the mother. Father had not been too well and had repeated attacks of what the doctor called gastritis digestive trouble. I don't know that the doctor did much about it except to prescribe a diet. Mother said that a visit to the doctor was spent talking farm and cattle. Years later I was informed that what he was suffering from was a form of heart trouble. He had seizures of terrible pain and gasping for breath. In June 1900 a friend of the family with two small boys came to visit us from a nearby town. On Sunday July 1 some of us drove to Grand Island to attend church, then we were invited to dinner with a family in the church. After dinner I was sitting on the floor facing the door when I saw Albert coining up the walk and I told mother he was there. She was terribly up set and asked what was wrong with father. He told her that he was very ill and that the doctor was on his way to him. When father was stricken he had sent my sister Myrtle and one of the little boy guests to get Martin and Albert who were inspecting a field. Albert with the hired man had driven to town , the seven miles in thirty minutes. The hired man drove that rig home leisurely, and we took our fresh horse and rig home, making the best time possible. When we were nearing home we saw our nearest neighbor  walking toward our place. He stepped out to halt us, and said that he just had heard that father was gone. It seemed to me such a cruel way to tell us. I think he should have left it to someone else when we arrived.

Everyone for miles around was stunned, to say nothing of what the family experienced. I just would not accept it and wanted my daddy back. Poor mother had no experience with business, there were cattle in the pens half fattened, as well as hogs, horses etc to be taken care of. The only insurance was two thousand dollars from the IOOF lodge. Father left no will, as he felt he could not treat the boys equally. Martin had stayed at home to help him while the others went off for themselves.

The funeral was at the Methodist church in Grand Island, with burial a few miles away, where mother had to invest in a new cemetery plot. The plot where her parents were buried (only her mother at that time) was not adequate for our use. The day after the fourth of July was a blistering hot day. The cortege must have been a mile long, with the dry swirling dust lifted by the horse’s feet and the vehicle wheels making life even more uncomfortable for everyone. Mother was a widow at forty three, I was twelve and a half and Myrtle was Nine.

Mother was appointed by the probate court as administrator, of father's estate, which could not be settled until the youngest child was eighteen, and I was drafted to help mother keep records of receipts and expenditures. Martin and mother carried on. He was just twenty, quite level headed and thrifty, had done nothing but farming and knew pretty much what to do. It was not easy for him and mother always to agree, but they did fairly well. He liked to boss me when she was on a trip to town, and I guess I resented it. We had a battle or two.

The following spring in May I was taken violently ill suddenly, followed soon by Myrtle, Martin and the hired man. It was scarlet fever and diphtheria. A friend of mothers and her daughter about my age were visiting us at the time. (I think our farm must have been a good place for a vacation, as it seemed some one was there much of the time, usually people who could not go anywhere else.) Somehow these people did not contract the sickness. They never were in our part of the house. I can't imagine where they slept if they stayed in the kitchen and dining room. There was a sofa in the dining room, so mother must have solved that adequately. The men were upstairs and we girls down. There was no one to care for us but mother, tho the guest probably helped in the kitchen. I think I was in bed about three weeks, and midway of the session, when it was thot I was doing well, I suddenly realized my fingers and toes were blue, and called mother to see them. Someone was dispatched to town for the doctor. He gave me a shot in the thigh, and as I remember he had trouble getting the needle out. I thot he had broken it. Really don't know what happened. He said I probably had experienced the turning point or crisis, and might have more trouble. No one knew I had heard this. When I finally did get up I had to learn to walk, my feet seeming to have been affected. My teeth and nails were loose and I shed my skin. Mother found many pills on the floor behind Myrtle's improvised bed, which she had stashed away there instead of swallowing. That was the source of much humor to Myrtle's way of thinking.

Mother was always very certain that a couple of soliciting church women friends had brot the disease to us. They had called on us shortly before our scourge, and wore furs, which mother figured must have harbored the germs. One of the women had buried two small children the fall before who died of the disease. Whether that were possible who knows?

It still seems a mistery why I came thru it, as I had had pneumonia or close to it almost every year of my life, once combined with whooping cough, another time when two years of age two doctors said I could not live. Then there were all the other things, chicken pox etc. etc. Too mean to die I guess.

About this time Albert married Vessie Wade, who lived at her sister’s home in Abbott. The Wyatts ran a grocery store in that little burg, (which by the way was named Abbott for a prominent family in Grand Island. I think the older and younger men were attorneys. Grace Abbott was my teacher in high school, I think in civics, and later became the head of the childrens bureau in Washington. D.C.) (Alda was another small town four miles south of us on the main line of the Union Pacific. We sometimes went to church there, where there was a regular church building, or to Sunday school in a school house about half way between, or again to a school house in Abbott, or again to a school house near where the soliciting friends lived.)

While we were still in bed with our illness, but improving, a terrible storm of tornado force hit our district. It might have been the fourth of July. Albert and Vessie were in Grand Island at a circus. The big tent blew down, and some of the big poles or rigging barely missed Vessie. Mother and we girls were terribly frightened. The air was so filled with debris and dirt that visibility was almost nil. Myrtle eased her fright by getting at least her head under her bed. Later when we were able to drive around the countryside the wreckage was very evident. Cornstocks were bare of leaves, alfalfa was only stubble and the loss was monumental. What the wind didn't ruin the hail did.

I don't know who harvested the cherries that year, but have a dim rememberance that Albert and Vessie picked some. I'm sure mother had no time for that, but the guests may have helped, or the neighbors allowed to help themselves. Usually mother aimed to can one hundred quarts, all pitted, mostly by hand, as the pitters available then were slow and not very efficient, tie had two pear trees that bore about that many pears in all the time I can ember. Also father planted an orchard of fifty blue plum trees, and I can't recall that they ever bore any fruit. I wonder why? The cherries pollinated well. What is the answer? We had several kinds of apples too.

The next summer we spent the fourth of July at an old settlers picnick at Cairo, near where grandfather lived or formerly lived. He may have moved up near the Loup River by this time. I don't remember what we girls wore, But I distinctly remember the dress I made for mother for the occasion. It was what we called mull, with a heavy woven stripe in it, and a gray print all over design. It had a deep flounce on the skirt trimmed in narrow black ribbon. Nothing was thot of the fact that at fourteen I was able to do such a thing. When I was much under ten I begged mother to cut out a dress for my doll that I might make it for her. The reply was “Child I know nothing about sewing.”

The next summer, 1902, Martin was taken ill in the night after assisting one of the neighbors at some farm work, threshing or something. Another man who went with him said that on the way home they had stopped at the Abbott store, where Martin had bot some snacks, one of which was a lot of cheddar cheese. I think he ate too much of it and caused an impaction in his digestive system. The Alda doctor attended him, but could not relieve his condition. He was very ill for a few weeks and died Aug. 5. 1902.

Now there was nothing for mother, Myrtle and me to do but to move to Grand Island, as no one was left to take care of the farm. There were one hundred sixty acres in the home place, eighty acres a mile east for pasture and eighty acres south of that planted to grain. The cows were driven to pasture in the morning and returned at early evening.

Mother rented a small house in town, and Albert and Vessie moved onto the farm and took charge. An auction sale was held to dispose of Martin’s personal holdings. There was a small sum left over when his obligations had been met.

After two months mother bot a small cottage across the street . Of course in those days there were no modern conveniences, the water was at the hydrant in the yard and the toilet was at the rear of the lot. There was a barn so our driving horse Old Dan and a four-seater carriage were brot in. Aleo a cow for our milk supply. In summer she was driven to pasture with other cows by a boy who gathered up a number of them. I can't remember that we had her very long. When she was feeling high she would jump the fence and get away, beside making a terrible racket. Then Dan had too little exercise and when mother went in to feed him he would lay back his ears and raise the dickens almost ready to attack her. If let run on the lush vacant lot next door he refused to be caught and returned to his stall, but chased mother instead as if to bite her. Later we exchange him for another driving horse from the farm but had trouble with him. It seemed he was hooked too short in the traces, so that his heels hit something under the carriage, then he would kick up his heels over the dashboard, frightening us out of our wits. I think we must have gotten that matter straightened out because mother used to drive us to school later, when we went to Grand Island Baptist college and academy outside of town. But later one day when mother was leading him and the carriage to the street he bolted, ran down the street and ripped things up in general, cutting one hind leg beyond repair. He finished his days in a pasture where he was boarding, and finally was struck by lightening and was killed. Mother was paid seventy-five dollars insurance.

Myrtle and I started city grade school, which was about three blocks from our house. Myrtle was in the seventh and I in the eighth I think, since I had lost some time because of illnesses. The next year I went to the high school, which was on the south side of town about a mile away. I was anything but well, having many migraine  headaches which completely incapacitated me, and many times having to push my bicycle thru town when I scarcely could see where I was going. Finally I had to leave school in February. That summer a representative of the Grand Island Baptist school came to call. He was recruiting students for that September opening. Mother thot it might be a good idea for Myrtle to enter there. I was feeling better by that time and thot I might be able to get some more education. I could not rejoin my high school class of course. Mother vetoed the idea and when I asked why she said there were not enough funds. I thot about that and decided I was going. I could at least take shorthand, typewriting and a few other subjects and see what I could do. When mother asked how I could do it I said the small amount I had received from Martin's estate would more than pay my tuition and I was using that, possibly forty dollars a semester. So it was that I went to school a year then would work a while and repeat the process. That way I attained what bit of education I was able to get. I selected my subjects as I liked, knowing I would not be able to finish anyway, English,  geometry, German algebra, piano voice etc.

Myrtle took the regular academic work in the four year course. Somehow, it was not until almost graduation time that she was informed that she lacked a a credit of graduating. It was quite a blow. She already had her dress for the occasion. She attended state normal in Kearney that summer, tho she was not at all well, and returned in the fall as an accredited freshman in college.

A widow with two little boys and her parents lived across the street from us. We were close friends. One day I was invited to meet a girl about my age who were visiting them from Broken Bow, a town about eighty miles northwest of Grand Island, on the Burlington. She was a senior in high school and later I was invited to her high school graduation. I went, met her classmates and other friends and had a very good time. Her father was in real estate business and was promoting Texas land at the time. He asked me to work for him for a while, which I did for the munificent sum of six dollars a week. I lived at their home in the country until this girl left in the fall to attend Chicago University. Then moved into town to board and room with other people I had met, and worked for the local newspaper for a while. Then went back home before Christmas, Most of the young people I met belonged to the Baptist church, and I belonged to that church at home. One day after church I was introduced to Ruemont Pigman. He often called my friend after he went on duty. He took care of the town switchboard from about 9 PM to 7 AM. All calls after ten o'clock were five cents, so there was not too much activity after that hour, and he slept most of the night beside the switchboard. My friend resented his calls when they came and was quite infuriated with him. She would have none of his attention, but railed about the old elephant. Once he walked her part way home from town in the evening while I drove the little pony with cart, before any of this haopened she had said something about “Ruemont Pigman”. I thot the words sounded rather unusual and asked “what is that?” She said “OH! That’s a boy.” It happened she was pining her heart away over another fellow who gave her absolutely no encouragement, so Ruemont Pigman was absolutely in disfavor.

Later the boy where I was living in town made the remark “Ruemont would like to take you to the Amsberry party next week, but he is afraid to ask you.” I said “I don't see why.” Within an hour there was a telephone call, for me and I accepted his invitation, that was our first date. My remark travelled fast as these boys were great pals, did many things together, canoeing, etc, and had a private telephone strung between their homes a block or so apart.

I was home in Grand Island a few days when a Mr Charles G. Ryan called me on the telephone and asked if I were working, and if not he would like me to come to work for him, which I did. (It seemed he had known my father and done business with him. He said my father was a very trustworthy man, always met his obligations, or arranged for an extension. Later he was in Broken Bow to get some records at the Court House, and said to Ruemont's father “I think your son took my assistant away from me.” Dad Pigman said he thot that was right, and Mr Ryan said “And she was the best one I ever had.”) I can't remember how long I stayed, but I’m sure I went back to school the next year. My girl friend came to Grand Island college the next year instead of going to Chicago again, and lived with us the entire year. Ruemont's boy friend went to Valporiso, Indiana to study dentistry, my friend was a fine pianist and had a good voice. Her mother was a graduate of Chicago musical conservatory and taught piano.

I attended the Broken Bow graduation exercises in 1906 when Ruemont graduated, and valedictorian, and delivered a treatise on the “The Development of The Future Electrical Age.” The next year he taught in a small country school. His uncle Oba and aunt Emma, his mother's sister wanted him to be a United Brethren minister, and train at their school at York, Nebraska. He had lived with them on the farm many summers, they had no son of their own just two daughters, both of whom later died of tuberculosis, a little son of one of them died later of kidney trouble. In a few years they adopted a girl about ten years old, but it did not work out. They were too terribly strict with her and finally she left and was married, never to return. Merle Pigman, next younger brother spent most of his time at the home of aunt Susie and uncle Will, [George] mother's younger brother, much of it with them in California. Clyde the oldest of the four boys was a bank teller in Uncle Walter's bank in Broken Bow. Walter was the older brother.

It seemed that electrical engineering was the idea most on Ruemont’s mind, even tho no one had suggested any further education, and he didn't quite see how he could get it. He was the only son to finish high school. He came to Grand Island Baptist college for his freshman year, tho there was no prospect for engineering there, but the first year would not matter too much. In conference with the dean of the school he was advised that Purdue University was a good engineering school, tho it did not have the prestige of MIT which he had in mind but knew unattainable. I think uncle Oba helped him some, and his mother was working the county clerk's office for his dad and sent him her monthly check. Also he worked in the kitchen and dining room at the school, where he gained weight, as there was surplus milk available after meals. This the year of 1907-1908.

We had many opportunities to develop our acquaintance. We belonged to one of the organizations called the “Athenian Literary Society” which put on programs Friday or Saturday evening regularly. There were debates, declamations, musical numbers of various types, piano or voice solos, quartets etc. (Myrtle had a talent for interpretive reading, and did considerable of it even in contests. Her English professor was convinced she should go to the Emerson school in Boston.) After these affairs Ruemont usually walked me back to town, and then had the walk back to his college dormitory alone. One night it stormed and mother had him stay all night. When she went to call him for breakfast he was gone, he had duties at breakfast in the dining hall, which was in the girls' dormitory basement.

I wasn't too happy, because this young man was getting too serious for my taste. It would upset me terribly when I would get word that he wanted me to meet him in the music room during a certain class period, to talk. It was the kind of talk I didn't care for, because I was not in the mood to promise to marry him or anyone else. Nevertheless he did not give up. It was quite useless to try to convince him that nobody could love me, and I could not be cruel enough to say I did not love him. Mother was always talking about what a fine boy he was, so one day I asked her “Why don't you marry him then!”  Mother was very kind to any students we brot in, so there was quite often several boys and girls there for Sunday dinner etc. Usually there was a songfest with me playing for the crowd, but Ruemont usually sat thru it, which irked me and when I chided him about it he said “I'd much rather sit and look at you.” When he left in June to go home and work in the county clerk's office he brot me a small box of candy and gave me a big hug and kiss, which stunned me considerably, but didn't change my mind about anything.

Late that summer I went to Broken Bow to visit for a week or two, met many of Mother Pigman's family and visited at my girl friends home and with others I had met previously. The only thing that bothered me was that Ruemont just insisted that I promise to marry him. I knew that I never could carry the responsibilities of a home, husband and family, but I did not know then the tenacity of that Pigman fellow. Finally he said that if I would not say “Yes” he would join the navy and leave. So I said “Yes” knowing all the time that I had no intention of going thru with the deal. Later in our correspondence I said I was only twenty and did not know what it was best to do, and his query was “How old do you need to be, forty?”

When my girl friend came to town to take me to her home, I had scarcely gotten seated in the buggy when she blurted out “Are you and Ruemont engaged?” I must have looked queer, because it was unexpected and gave me a shock. I managed to say “Well, yes, why.” And her reply was “I thot I might have another chance.” She was a character, sort of a bull in a china shop, rather crude, and I can't picture Ruemont being proud of her had he married her. His opinion of her certainly changed thru the years, and her future from there on was a novel.

Later Ruemont and I had amusing moments. It seemed that when mother sensed that things might be getting serious between him and me, she was a bit on the defensive about it, for she would try to find some way to include Myrtle in my activity we planned together, as if to prevent the development of a serious situation. Ruemont would laugh and say “Well, she is too late, isn’t she?”

During the summer of 1908 Ruemont sent his grade records to Purdue and made application for entrance there, which was given. He had had one year of German, but two years was required at Purdue. He was offered the opportunity of omitting the second year if he could pass an examination in technical German, which he did. I didn’t quite understand that. He was there his sophomore end junior, but was unable to finance his senior year. His brother Elba decided he wanted to go to Kansas City to a veterinary school, and mother Pigman could not finance two in school, so Ruemont stayed out and taught manual training at Crete Nebraska, a small town about twenty miles from Lincoln. Mother enjoyed office work, but detested housework and cooking. Her job paid fifty dollars a month in those days. Both she and dad Pigman were fine penman, and that was a requirement for records in those times. Before living in Broken Bow they had lived in the country where Father taught school, and had some farming on the side, with which mother and Ruemont helped. While in high school he helped in many ways at home. Many mornings he ran for school nearby with bread dough still under his finger nails. Mother usually had a girl for cooking and housework afterward. There was a family of German extraction named Bauer. Tillie was first to work for mother. I think she was married, then her sister Adeline came and Merle Pigman later married her. I think Ruemont’s father had one year of college at Bloomington, Indiana.

In the summer of 1909, when Myrtle was eighteen, the time had come to settle father’s estate. Mother had the income until then, which had been quite uncertain at times. Only one who depends on a farm or its rental can know all of the uncertainties connected with it. According to the state law mother was entitled to a certain part of the estate and some widow’s rights. My attorney made the suggestion, that if we chose, we couild quit claim the home place to her as her own, and not adhere to the law, which gave her only a lifetime interest. All of us agreed to do that. The other lands were sold, the two eighties nearby and one hundred sixty near Cairo, which originally had been bot for Delbert and Jessie.

I can't recall the year now, but mother had a letter from Delbert in the west, where he always was to make a sudden fortune somehow, asking if she would take Ralph and Ernest to raise if he kidnapped them from their mother, they were about six and nine. I was very much against the idea, but mother was all for it, and I was informed that I did not love my brother. Well it went thru and we then had two little boys to support and train.

Before this happened one of father's nephews appeared from Pontiac, Kansas, and boarded with us for a long time. Finally mother got him out somehow, and his wife and three children came to town and lived nearby. He was a deadbeat, but a handsome guy and had a nice voice.

Both Delbert and Albert had borrowed money on their interest in their father’s estate, so that when the funds were distributed they received only some fraction of what otherwise would have gone to them. (Myrtle's and my shares were intact.)

They had operated a garage in the center of town, this was sold and Delbert took off for the west, leaving mother with the entire care of the little boys, do contributed not a cent for any of their needs over the years they were in her care, on the contrary, he was always trying to get money from her, and was very angry when it did not come. He thot mother had plenty, and she was supporting us with funds that probably were due him, since the estate was held up so long. He did not realize that he had been supported until he was an adult.

After we moved into the little house mother bot, our friends across the street rented out some of their rooms to students of the Grand Island business college down town. They needed a place to board and mother agreed to take them. I suppose it was three meals a day, possibly for four or six of them. I recall that it was profitable enough that it supported the table for us without dipping into other funds that year.

When we girls were paid our share of the estate funds I suggested to Myrtle that it would be nice to provide mother with a better place to live, and that if she were willing, I’d like to suggest to her that she let us move the old small house to an inexpensive lot on the outskirts of town where we could rent or sell it, and that Myrtle and I contribute fifteen dollars each and have a modern place built for mother and us. Looking back now I wonder at my nerve at twenty-one.

We moved to an old but adequate place a couple block away and the house was built. We moved in in early spring. Aunt Lina Cour who was father's widowed sister came from Pontiac for an extended visit.

In April Myrtle had a physical breakdown. Of course she had to leave her freshman class. Later when she was better, and Auntie decided to go to Milwaukee to visit her brother August and family, Myrtle thot it would be nice to go with her, so they were away most of the summer. Mother and the boys and I were at home, I working for Attorney Ryan.

Midsummer Delbert sent a rush call for money, as he knew Myrtle and I had not wasted ours. He had bot wild horses with the understanding that a down payment would be made, then a second payment when the herd was starting the drive to a railway loading point, and the final payment when loading was finished. He should have known he did not have sufficient funds to cover the deal, but felt confident we would come across and help him probably. Well, we said “No”. Mother was stunned, “we did not love our brother.” Then I called Albert and asked him if he wanted to send money. Then mother, Albert and I, and father’s old Welsh friend held a conference, deciding that Albert would go out to Wyoming to investigate. He found Delbert in despair and worse, and helped arrange for shipping the animals with the indebtedness to be collected at destination, There the horses were sold, which was mostly on notes uncollectable, all was lost.

Toward the end of summer Albert came in and asked if we wanted to go to Denver with the family, they were driving a Buick touring car on a visit to Vessie's brother's family. We decided to go along and Albert would take us on to Manitou where we would stay a week and he would come for us then. In Lafayette, Indiana Ruemont had bot a round trip ticket to Denver when he came home in June, so he would go by train. Myrtle was visiting with the Kents in Milford by that time, so we wired her to come home and go with us. She had visited at Purdue with Ruemont earlier. She came in on a Union Pacific train that Ruemont and I were boarding for Maxwell, Nebraska to go to Caroline Robert's wedding. Myrtle had gained considerable weight, looked unnatural and her eyes were quite distorted. I think we had known that she had a goiter, also she had a  troublesome appendix which had been frozen out several times.

A few days after the wedding the gang came by to pick us up and we were off. Mrs Roberts had slept them all over night in the big ranch house on this two thousand acre hay ranch. Ruemont went by train to Denver where he met a Purdue friend until we arrived. It was some trip. There were no roads, and the auto followed a two-path trail a few yards from the railroad tight of way most of the time. We camped in a tent the first night, I can't recall whether we were on the road other nights, but we must have been like sardines in the car, five adults and four children. The night we arrived in Denver we stayed in a horrible hotel. I'm sure it was in the red-light district. Albert took us to Manitou and returned to Denver; we rented a little cottage for a week. We did a great many side trips, a great deal of it by walking. One day Myrtle and mother went to Helen Nunt Jackson's grave, and starting home found they were about out of cash.

Everywhere they attempted to cash a travellers check it was too late in the day, and nearly found it necessary to walk miles to get back to the cottage. We visited the garden of the gods, and one day joined a party leaving in late afternoon arranged to ride burros up Pike's Peak. The drivers in charge arranged the critters in the sequence they wanted them, which left us all separated, and we did not like that. None of us had ever ridden a stiff-legged mule, in fact had not ridden anything much, at least for a long time. There was a station half way up the mountain called the half-way house, where we halted and rested for several hours, resting on crude wooden bunks. Then on up the heights to the house at the top to see the sunrise, only there was not a cloud in the sky and no sunrise. The trail was circuitous, around rocks, curves, ledges etc. most like being in a rowboat, and in the semi-darkness it was not very difficult to get seasick. Mother was first and then I was overcome. Ruemont dismounted and came to help me. It was difficult to get mounted and properly wrapped up at that elevation, the blanket was wound around one leg, up over, and down the other leg. He ran along up at that elevation, which did not help his stability. In the house at the top there were many resting on the floor and not feeling well. Soon I heard someone say “I think he is coming out of it now.” Ruemont had felt ill and started to go outside, but had fallen in a faint and struck his head on the floor. Don’t ride a burro up Pike's Peak.

Then back home, I to Ryan's office where I now was making ten dollars a week. (Of that I used five a week for expenses, giving mother five for groceries one week and the alternating week putting five in the savings and loan account I had taken over when some one wanted to get out.) Ruemont reported to Crete, Nebraska to teach manual training, which began in the middle grades and was a privilege for those getting good grades, making it a rewarding thing for the teacher.

During September after Myrtle had made several trips to our doctor she announced that she wanted to have surgery for her cranky appendix. Not too much was known them about thyroid trouble, but it seems that in going to visit in Milwaukee she had gone right into a deficient iodine zone and big goiter belt, which had made her trouble more acute. It seems that surgery for the bad appendix was a risky thing to have done, but she was so anxious to be rid of her trouble. This thyroid trouble may have been with her all her life, for she was subject to attacks of hysterical screaming frequently. Coming while she appeared to be sound asleep, and more often when she was not feeling too well or had a bit of fever. She never remembered the bouts and always begged us to tell her the silly things she had done. It was very frightening to us, she looked wide awake but was not. When she was small father would carry her about the house in his arms, and she probably would be slapping both of his cheeks just as fast as her little hands could fly; she might run from one bedroom to the other and jump on the bed find off again. When she began to yawn we knew the attack was subsiding. Doctors knew so little about thyroid in those days, even the Mayos. The mother of one of my girl friends went there for thyroid surgery. She spent her last days in a mental institution. That was before it was known that certain associated glands next to the thyroid should not be taken out.

Myrtle went to St. Francis for the surgery, and mother spent a lot of time there with her, even being allowed to stay with her at night. In a couple weeks the doctor gave permission for her to be brot home. She seemed to be recuperating well when suddenly things went all wrong. The doctor and his assistant decided to do some restitching then and there, and drafted me to help. I shall remember it always. I'm sure they knew what was impending, as I could see for myself. She lived a couple days and left us on October 14, 1910. Ruemont came from Crete for the funeral and was a great comfort.

During that summer Ruemont and I had decided that we would be married at Thanksgiving time. I had had two years to grow into the idea and decided to risk the move, but not until Ruemont talked at length with mother and asked her consent. This she granted, but assured him that I could do no heavy work, and that he should know he was getting anything but a sturdy mate. (What a joke that seems now, after the various types of manual labor I've turned out.)

After Myrtle's death, when things were quieted down a bit, I told mother I would not get married, knowing that she would be loosing us both within six weeks, tho aunt Lina and the boys would be with her. It didn't seem right to have a wedding so soon afterward either. Mother would not hear to the change in plans. About a week before Thanksgiving I left Mr Ryan's office, we were married at ten AM Thanksgiving, no attendants, and only fifteen or twenty guests. I think mother was right when she said that if I called the marriage off or postponed it I might never marry, and she would feel she had been the cause of it. Mother had prepared a turkey breakfast-dinner, and her friends served it while she sat at the table with us and the wedding guests, and the minister end his wife. We left on the train for Lincoln about two PM. My brother Albert had our trunk and the taxi completely decorated with old shoes, tin cans etc. When we opened our cases in the Lincoln hotel there was an assortment of rice, parts of apples and other stuff tied in old sox; what a mess.

Ruemont had roomed in a home at the edge of Crete. The parents were going to Texas for the winter and offered part of the house to us, for which we paid very little as prices were then. There was a furnace but no inside plumbing. I had not been told that the main line of the Burlington running from Lincoln to Denver was not more than two hundred feet from the head of our bed, and when a flier went thru in the middle of the night I just rared up out of a sound sleep and yelled “What's that?” Owner of the place came home the middle of April, and we saw at once that it was going to be no place for us, so took another place down town, part of a house owned and occupied by a doctor's widow and her daughter. Another daughter was married and lived in Lincoln with her husband and small son named Rennier. I couldn't see how we were to get our stuff into these two rooms, and was shedding a few tears about it, but Ruemont took me on his lap and began planning what we should do, how we would put the piano across the corner and stow stuff behind it. Foolishly we had let mother Pigman ship Ruemont’s piano to us for just those few months. It was a foolish thing to do but we were young and foolish, but should have had better counsel. Then it had to be shipped back to Grand Island in June.

The people in the Crete settlement were predominantly Czechs I think, tho we had friends in the church and neighbors who were not. Being on the teaching staff gave us quite a circle of associates who were very nice to us, also it included us in some activities that otherwise we would not have been invited to enjoy, such as a dinner by the domestic science class put on for the teachers and schoolboard. I remember the first dinner I served. It was for the teachers and Superintendent. I had the nerve to make yeast biscuits, can't recall the other things on the menu, but f wasn't too proud of the salad. Can’t remember whether we had an ice box.

The year soon was finished and all the stuff went back with us to mother. Some where along the way she had disposed of the old square Bradbury rosewood piano, which we had bot from a woman on our block, who had brot it from Vermont. We also bot a black horsehair sofa and four chairs from her, and she came to live with us for a while. She had one bad eye and wore a wig. Later I reupholstered the chairs in a very nice material; they were black walnut colonial with carved backs. I wanted one of them later, but some excuse was given in its place, which led me to surmise they were sold for a good price after they were left by mother.

Many hours a day my Broken Bow girlfriend and I kept that old piano hot, and many times when mother could not take any more of it she put a shawl around her shoulders and went to visit a neighbor. All that piano, plus the voice practice was more than anyone should be called on to endure.

While Ruemont had been away at Purdue both of us wrote two letters a week, which made quite a volume. I had left them at mothers home after I was married. Ralph Bnd Ernest found them when mother was moving and had a merry time over them. Later when they were grown they would not have gotten any kick from them. There was nothing in them that would not bear inspection by anyone. It might be fun to read them now, or maybe it wouldn't. A young fellow in Broken Bow in our crowd seemed to get a kick out of writing to me and pretending he was Ruemont. That didn’t work long. We used a secret identifying mark at the end of our letters,

We called this fellow “Ceaser”; he had very curly blond hair, another boy had a fine voice, which I liked a lot, but his father was in a mental institution.

When the Crete schools were about to close Ruemont was invited to return the next year with a ten dollar increase in salary, but he thanked them and said he wanted to go back to Purdue; then they offered him another ten dollars, ninety a month, but that was refused too. We knew that Elba would be going to Kansas City again the next year, so I offered to invest a thousand dollars in the senior year at Purdue. We went home to mother, for the summer and spent it painting the interior of the whole house. Mother, Lina and the boys had been with us at Christmas vacation and Elba had stopped off between semesters from Broken to Kansas City. I had not been well so we took off for Omaha to see the famous Dr. Jonas at the Methodist hospital. Was there about a week, while Ruemont boarded at a private house next door.

Then to Purdue. Found a room on S. Grant street, but moved shortly as it was not what we thot it would be. I think to Chauncey near main street, had a large front room with an alcove. We boarded with a maiden lady Miss Aiken, a small place with about ten at table, one a Grand Island boy who had been in my high school class and met Ruemont while at Purdue. He was instructing at Purdue. No other students, but adult professors and wives mostlv. Dr Phillips and his wife Hazel, Prof and Mrs Roop, Mrs Ward and foster son freshman Blake Wayne Van Lear etc. I worked part time at the Purdue Experiment station, and then painted a fifty-five piece set of china with simple blue conventional design I worked out.  Then we shipped it home I told mother I would save it, and she said “If you don't break it someone else will.” So I have, mostly. When our thousand dollars ran out mother Pigman added three hundred dollars. Can you imagine two people going to Purdue now for any such sum? Travelling expense, room and board, tuition etc? Also we spent Christmas in Milwaukee, Ruemont went on a trip with section of his class to Allis Chalmers inspection junket, and we visited in Indianapolis with the Sarbers. He was the minister of the Baptist church in Grand Island and had officiated at our marriage.

A Mr Fred Best, a representative from the Nebraska Telephone company had been interviewing graduates at Purdue, and was interested in Ruemont joining the company, so it was arranged that we were to stop in Omaha on our way west for further exploration of the opening. It was to pay fifteen dollars a week. Many of the graduates were going into jobs for much less, some as little as eight dollars, winding armatures.

Ruemont and Alfred Hague, a classmate, established the first telegraph or radio station at Purdue. I don't know which is the right name. By flying a huge kite they finally succeeded in getting a line between the powerhouse smoke stack and the lightening rod running up its side, then a heavier line, and finally the necessary line was taken across to the electrical building tower, and there installation was in a small room in the tower, as I remember it. This kite raised a lot of curiosity, it was the cause of a lot of comment, and wonderment as to what was going on. Just before graduation, when we were going to use the seniors week vacation for a trip, Ruemont was called to some committee, or professor for a talk. Ha. was advised that he had been selected to deliver an oral abstract of his thesis, written about this installation, at graduation exercises in Fowler hall. And thus it was that he spent senior vacation in preparation for that speech delivery, both writing and drilling with Miss Schumaker the speech specialist.

There was an opening available with the Southwestern Bell in St. Louis which interested Ruemont, so we routed our trip home via that city. What a railroad, my chair in the diner at breakfast nearly upset when we went around a curve. He accepted the job, and we did not stop in Omaha to see Mr. Best about that one. In a few days there was a call to Grand Island from Mr. Best, asking where we were and why we had not been to see him, the answer being that the St. Louis job paid seventeen dollars. So Mr. Best said “if you will come to Omaha we will pay you seventeen dollars, and give you a frank to call St. Louis advising them you are not coming with them.” Thus it was that Ruemont reported to Omaha July 1, 1912.

Later I went to Omaha and we rented a small furnished apartment for a couple months, then went into a single room until after Christmas and ate at a nearby restaurant. We did not know whether we were going to stay with the Omaha job, as one of the Corey brothers of Salton Sea dam fame, who was a cousin of Mrs. Ward, Blake Van Lear's foster mother, told us of an opening in Bishop, California near Deaths Valley. I've always been grateful that we did not go to that place.

When we had decided against that move we began looking for an apartment where we could settle down and get our things in one place and buy other furniture. Found a first floor with two bedrooms, beyond our means, at 521 Park Ave.(south 29 Ave.) Had the piano shipped again, also my birdseye maple bed room suite. Bot dining room, buffet, table, chairs , rugs, living room chairs and couch, and furniture for the second bedroom so we could rent it to help out. We had some of this furniture until 1927 when we furnished our home at 177 Park street. The only thing I have now, left from those early days is the sectional bookcase. I closed out my saving and loan account to set us up for housekeeping. Our rental was thirty dollars a month on a salary of seventeen weekly, but a Mrs Rummel, an artist tinting and selling pictures for a department-store took our room until we made other arrangements.

The Price and Teeple piano was one that Ruemont won in an advertising contest popular thruout the country at that time. A sentence “The Ryerson company sells the reliable Price and Teeple piano.” was to be written the most possible times on an ordinary postal card. Ruemont knew that a fellow in another town had won there with a record of nine hundred, and he would have to beat that number probably. He layed out the card for ten columns across the length of it and figured to get forty lines to the inch, but fell a bit short of it. It had to be legible without a glass. He took a week off, hired a chum to sharpen pencils, and worked on the upper balcony where there was very good light. I think he wrote it 1085 or 1185 times, and won the piano. Of course there was a gimmick. By paying an additional hundred dollars a much better and nicer instrument could be had, and that was what his parents did. (Son has the card in his files. I’m sure it is smeared and illegible now. It should have been put under glass.) Ruemont called me by 'phone to tell me, but did not have the nerve to say what his friends dared him to say: “Won piano, need player.” We sold it when we left Ridgefield Park. Hated to do it. I entered the same sort of contest at Grand Island, writing a similar sentence six hundred times. Received a credit check for two hundred dollars toward a piano, but did not use it.

On Easter Sunday, March 25, 1915 Omaha had a terrible tornado, which missed us by about five blocks. I was sitting near the west picture window in the living room and saw it go by. Mrs_Hummel said it sounded light a freight train under her window. I called Ruemont and told him I thot it was a tornado, but he did not think so. Then the air became livid yellow and the rain came. Everything seemed so quiet afterward I sensed that the street cars one block down the hill on the Farnum line did not seem to be running; then I tried the electric lights and telephone and nothing responded. Shortly cars and ambulances came up the hill, going to the hospital a block or so beyond us. Ruemont rushed up and helped to carry in the injured. Every available space, and the halls, was full. In a few days we walked miles thru the wreckage, aghast at the things such a force could do. A great deal later we bot a house at 5611 California street where some of the worst of the storm had been.

At four PM Monday November 10, 1915 our joy was complete by the arrival of a six pound, four ounce baby boy, and I must say things were never the same since. Mrs Rummel had said it would be that way. He was born in our bedroom with Obstetrician Dr Mack and nurse Mary Reeper in attendance, and mother hovering in the background. I had tried to keep her in Grand Island until after the event, telling her was sure it would be late, but she was there on the seventh, he was three days late.

In a few days mother had word that aunt Lina was ill and she was needed at home. Mother had a Y.M.C.A. secretary and his wife and son staying in her home, and Ralph and Ernest were with them. Mother went home, auntie was in a diabetic coma and died in a few days. Her youngest son Henry Cour came for the funeral, and took her to Kansas for burial. Then mother came back to us for a while. Henry stopped between trains to see me while I still was in bed, I had not seen him in years. When he left he said “Now Laura, don't have too big a litter.”

Our little daughter was to have been called Anita Helen, but she was a son, end we had not put too much effort into selecting a boy's name. (There were boys galore among the Pigman tribe, and we were going to show them a thing or two.) Well, the names I mentioned brot to Ruemont's mind someone he didn't particularly care fore and vice-versa. So what to do. Then I rmembered our Crete landlady's little grandson's name, tho I never had seen the child, and since neither of us knew anyone by that name, we decided that would do for a start. Then we wanted euphonius initials, so we played with that idea, and thet that Howard would be suitable, and the initials easily distinguished over the telephone. Neither of us knew a Howard, so that was it.

Our little bundle soon developed digestive trouble. Mother took him up from his basket one day in what seemed to fee a convulsion, others came later. Then his source of food supply failed. Certified milk was recommended, and a special food called cereal. The milk was ten cents a quart, an unheard of price in that day. One time when the milk bill came due and I was short of cash I sold Ruemont’s wedding suit, which he never wore, to old John the Buyer for four dollars, and paid the milk bill. After mother went home I had a young Swedish child's nurse to help.

I think she got three dollars a week. She was about to put son into the bathtub one morning when he stiffened in another attack, and she dunked him clothes and all. After she left another Swedish girl was with us, but she did not do so well. I was frightened to be alone at home with son after the help was all gone. It was an unhappy succession of weeks that summer and fall. He grew in length but did not gain an ounce for weeks. He looked Just like the pictures one sees of the famine sufferers in India. Mother came again and I remember one night, it just Mother said that when a telephone call came from Omaha they were always expecting the worst.  When the doctor took him off from all milk I wondered what could be done to keep him alive. The thing that brot him thru was a diet of orange juice, coddles eggs and graham crackers. I can't remember when other things were added.  It seems like such a queer diet when I think of it now. He had cyclic vomiting attacks until he was ten or twelve years old.  Sometimes we could avoid them with advance treatment. I think his son John has had much trouble of a related nature as a young child. I think they are known as celiac children, sometimes called “banana babies”, I think bananas are high on their diet.

When son was about a year old we bot a new house on California street, about two blocks from the streetcar line. That winter son had bouts of tonsillitis repeatedly until the infection went into the glands at the sides of his jaws. He looked like a muffled chopped chicken, and was very pale. The doctor said he was too young to have a tonsillectomy, specially in that condition. After repeated bouts it seemed nothing would help except spring weather, if we could get that far.

In May I was preparing to visit in Grand Island, had a new suit, hat etc. when I was taken ill with the worst migraine I ever experienced. I could not even get the baby out of his crib and Ruemont had to come home from the office. I had had some very severe pains recently, and with this development it was thot I should see our doctor Mack. After an examination and an ominous look on his face he called in another doctor in the building, and he came in for a look see. Then I was told I was going to the hospital. I said I was going to visit my mother, but was assured I was not going anywhere. Mother came running as usual, I lay on the sink counter while my hair was washed, and other things put in order for trip. Mother came down stair saying “This baby is running a temperature.” Sure enough, it was one hundred three. I hated to leave, but there was no way out. Again Mary Reeper took care of me after surgery by Dr. Henry and stayed on for several weeks. When time came to remove the stitches it was found there was quite an infection, so instead of two weeks it was four before I could leave. Dr. Mack decided it might be best to remove son's tonsils while I was in the hospital and we had the nurse.  Son's temperature had subsided now and he was brot in for surgery. His daddy stayed in  the operating room to see it, but soon came hustling into my room, asking “Which way to the bathroom.”  Evidently he was near fainting. Later he said “I can see surgery on adults, but not such a bloody operation on such a little tike.”

While we lived on Park Ave. Ruemont's father had surgery at the Methodist, by Dr. Jonas for on intestinal loop which had bothered him for a long time, and other doctors had pronounced caused by all sorts of eroneous things. That finished his trouble. (Mrs. Jonas taught my Sunday school class and was very generous about entertaining our group of church women in the church.  They had a luxurious home on west Farnam St, not far from Park Ave.)

We had been home only a few weeks when Ruemont told me that a man from the AT&T in New York was visiting the company in Omaha, and had approached him, ask him if he would consider a transfer to the AT&T in New York. Prior to this there had been an offer from Chicago, but this was not very tempting for some reason. He seemed to think he would not like the group in Chicago with whom he would be working, and would not fit in with them. I can't explain any more then that. We were given adequate time to think about the New York offer, there was not to be any rise in salary at once. We probably were receiving nineteen or twenty one dollars a week. Later we expected a two dollar advance about every two years.

There were a number of things to consider. Mother was to be considered, and living conditions in the east was all Greek to us green Nebraska kids, finally I said “Well, what are we going to do?” and his answer was “Well, if I weren't married I would take the offer,” and my reply was “Then we are going, no woman should hold her husband back when he is educated to progress, and he should not have her hanging to his coat tails to hinder him.” The die was cast.

Mother was quite unhappy, but finally recovered. The company sent in packers to handle everything except the china, which fell to me to do, as Ruemont was in the midst of a lumbago attack. We were told that things were being packed as if being sent to Australia, then put in storage until we could get an address to which to ship them, hopefully in the near future. We could not see what things could be used in our new location, so we sold the bedroom furniture, the Englander couch and a few other things.

We decided to have aunt Emma come from Kearney for a visit before we left. She objected to any discarding we felt we ought to do, which was quite a hindrance to us. We gave her our new lawnmower for uncle Oba, and I took her shopping for a Palm Beach suit, on which I had to do some altering.

Ruemont had made windows screens, frames fitted with screening for the entire house, including a sizable back porch with four or five screens on two sides, and a couple, plus the door on the entrance side, the lower section was sided up to window sill height. The front porch was not screened yet. The terrain of the property was quite sloping, and there were two other houses neat to and second door away almost identical to ours. We did not care for the sloping terrain, and when we found that the city was cutting down a hill not too far away, we arranged to have one hundred five loads of dirt hauled in to level off the lot, it cost fifteen cents a load. Also we had a garden, how we did it all so soon I don’t know. We had paid cash for the house, and I think we had something more than thirty-five hundred dollars in it when we left it in the hands of a realtor to sell or rent.  It rented for several years to a railroad man, a wife and small daughter. Shortly after they moved in the wife came home one day and found the place ransacked. We were anxious to sell the place and did so at the first opportunity, not knowing that when the war came it would have sold for several thousand dollars more.

We took aunt Emma with us via Union Pacific to Denver for a farewell to Ruemont’s parents, then dropped her off at Kearney on the way back to Grand Island. I was to stay until Ruemont found a place for us to live “In the east.”

Mother was sure she would never see us again, saying “You just as well be going to Paris.”

A couple of fellows, named Egner and Rockey from New York AT&T had been on missions of some length to the Omaha office, so Ruemont had that much contact with someone to make suggestions as to living accommodations. They shared their rented room in Ridgefield Park with him.  Fortunately some one of the trio was away on a trip most of the time. They did sleep three in a bed one night. Instead of finding a place to live Ruemont was sent to Texas to help plan telephone facilities down in the Rio Grande district. There was a fellow down there named Villa who was raising cain. That was about August or September, and he was not finished with his work until a bit after Christmas, when he was back in Grand Island, then Omaha, and Des Moines.

I looked out the dining room window and then said “Mother here comes Delbert.” Of course he was looking for money as usual, mother could not let him have any, and when he left in a day or two he was more than angry. In a day or so we heard from him in Omaha via telephone, where he threatened to do dire things and be jailed if we did not come across with cash. I talked with him and reminded him that he never had repaid anything he had gotten, and had made the remark that whatever he had gotten he considered himself that much better off for it.  I told him it might be a good idea to get in jail. I finally said I would send him ten dollars, but it was the last he was to have, and not to ask for money again. Before he called he had gone to the Fontenelle hotel where  Ruemont was staying while on duty for the AT&T and asked him for money. Ruemont told him that the money he had was company and could not be used that way. He was furious and told me what a so and so big shot my husband was.

Rennier had his second birthday while hie daddy was in Texas. We had a picture taken together and sent a nice enlargement of it to his daddy in Texas for Christmas, with quite an emotional effect.

When Ruemont had finished at Des Moines he met me in Omaha, where I had gone for a periodic checkup with the doctor after my surgery. He found further trouble, so back into the hospital for another siege. Ruemont and I went to a movie the evening I was to be admitted, and when we arrived at the hospital, my nurse Miss Foster was wondering where her prospective patience had flown. Things went well and I was out on time. We took a Pullman for Grand Island, which was a trip of about one hundred fifty miles.. There had been torrential rains, the tracks were under water and things were pretty precarious, so we just crept along, stopping and starting, which made sleep impossible.

Son and I developed colds, and when Ruemont was ready to return to New York we were quite miserable. In spite of this I felt that I wanted to go with him this time for sure,  tho there was still no place to live. I needed help in transporting a husky two year old boy over a long trip. We had a living room on the Pullman all the way to New York, an extra fare train from Chicago to New York. Son’s cold got better along the way and mine worsened. There was a severe storm accompanying us all the way, we were delayed three hours at Albany by a freight train wreck, which had piled coal cars up on the tracks. We arrived at Grand Central, where we collected several dollars refund on our fares, as that was the amount due us for being late March 5, 1916. Across town on the forty-second street car line, and a west shore train to Ridgefield Park. Mr. Rockey met us and we walked all the way to his home in the snow. The Rockey family had moved up from Atlanta and rented a big house on Preston street. Their son and Mr. Egner were living with them, and the son had suggested that we come there for a few weeks and have their large front bedroom, and board with them, until we found a place to rent. Mrs. Rockey served us lunch and I went to bed, and their doctor was called. He gave me too much belladonna and I nearly choked.

I was disappointed in the things I saw, as I thot the east would have the latest of everything, but things proved to be exactly opposite from that. First I asked Ruemont where these awful railroad cars came from, and where all the black haired people likewise. I couldn't understand how such large wooden houses could be safe from fire. My idea of perfection was an all brick city like Denver.

Spring began to open up and we began house hunting. We heard of an upper floor in an old house which a young couple was vacating, being transferred back to Chicago by the Western Electric. The Rockeys happen to know them, and thus the contact, we rented the place, Living room, glassed in porch, serving as a dining room, two bedrooms and bath. We sent for our goods and spent Memorial day unpacking. The old gentleman who owned the place lived on the third floor, his stairs leading down just outside my kitchen door; He liked to say “Hello” about mealtime. Our rent was twenty-two dollars a month. This was the summer of the polio epidemic, which was a very frightening time. The Methodist minister had two little boys, his wife had been on a trip to the midwest and a few days after arriving home one of the boys died of polio. We tried to keep close to home and shield our son. He had a sand box in the back yard under a tree where I could watch him from the window, but when he became ill with one of his recurring digestive upsets we were very frightened, but it turned out not to be polio.

Ruemont was away on trips some of the time. One night about midnight I got up to check son's covers, and as I was half-posed to get back into bed there was a terrible shock and roar. I was terribly frightened, and later found it was the Black Tom explosion, supposedly set by the Germans at Bayonne. Toward fall we learned a new two-family house was being built a few doors away up the hill farther. We made haste to investigate and was able to get it for twenty-six dollars a month. It was a great improvement, bedrooms not too large, but everything new and clean. We moved in later and lived there about three and one half years. It was only two blocks from the church and public school,  and maybe a half mile from the West shore railroad station at Little Ferry. Our address was 118 Christie street.  Wartime inflation was increasing, and the owner of the house was a money grabber, so our rental soon was thirty dollars, then she decided to sell while getting out was so good. It was not what we wanted to own, but it was sold and we had to move.  We found a fine lot end bot it, hoping to build, but with economics as it was we found that impossible. Even when I cut down the size of the plans the next bid was as  high as the last one as prices were advancing rapidly.

Mother came east to visit us in 1917 and again in 1919. I often thot of how worried she had been when we left the west, and here she was with us and enjoying it. We took her to Coney Island and other places, up to Bear Mountain on the Hudson River boat. When we arrived I asked where the mountain was, I was accustomed to the Rockies. Orange Lake up there was the first time son got his feet wet in a body of water. Just his feet, and he did not like it one bit.

When we were forced to move early in 1920 there was nothing to rent at all. One day I looked out the kitchen window and remarked “I wonder if that nice looking house over there an Hobart street might be for sale.” We knew the man living near it owned it, so we made inquiry. He decided he would sell it for seventy-eight hundred dollars. We had bot an Oakland touring car in 1919, so we did not have much we could use as a down payment, but we asked him if he would take our Liberty bonds for that, which he did. Also allowed us to pay off a multiple of one hundred dollars at interest-due periods.

He took us to look at the house, and I realized that he was doing something very displeasing to the tenants; he had offered to sell it to them, but they were not interested, and now he was selling it out from under them. They were very snooty people, he having a good position with the New York Central. They did not like us one bit, and took their time to hunt a place, having to buy too finally. We had to vacate before we could get possession of our house. A neighbor next door where we were living offered us a room for a few weeks. The man was a railway employee and our meals were staggered so that we did not interfere with each other in the kitchen. I can't remember where our furniture was.  (My tears in Crete over moving seemed quite silly before I was to finish all our moving games.) Finally we moved to 119 Hobart St. We had been renting a place for the car. Now Ruemont set to work to build a driveway and a one car garage, we were practically the same distance from the church and school as we were before. Son started school from there, kindergarden, then first grade. He was leaving Miss Godfrey to have Miss Anderson in first grade; someone had said she was a cross teacher, and that was all he needed. He was frightened and cried, but finally I was able to persuade him to wait and see for himself; that I was sure he would like her and everything would be just fine.

After we moved into the house son and I left on a trip about July first. Ruemont was coming west on a business trip later. I'll never forget the night we left on the  Pullman, standing in the hot railway yards at Wehawken. We all returned in late August.

Brother Albert's health began to fail, finally he was taken to the Mayos in Rochester Minnesota, where they diagnosed his trouble as pernicious anemia, for which there was no cure. He soon lost the use of his legs and was in a wheel chair until he died in 1921. Meanwhile mother was helping support the family, the oldest girl was graduating from high school and went to work for a wholesale grocers company in Grand Island.

Mother was not too well, she had had trouble with dental equipment and had surgery for it and other troubles. Albert seemed to sense that she was in serious trouble, and said he thot she had the same trouble he had. Ruemont was on a western trip in early 1923 and stopped to visit mother. She was very poorly and discouraged; she suddenly made up her mind that she was coming east with him, breaking up her home, giving many things away to friends and to Ralph and Leah, and letting them stay in the house, where they had been living with her.

Our doctor ordered blood tests immediately and found mother's hemoglobin count at fifty-five, which he didn’t seem to think was too bad. He came several times a week and gave her shots, which upset her terribly, but with no improvement. She thot caring for her was too much for me as I was having my own troubles, and she did everything she could to avoid being a burden. She would not wait to be helped to the bathroom in the morning. One morning she fell, bruising her ankle very badly. Her blood stream could not repair the damage, and she lived just ten days.

The funeral services were held at our house in the evening, with Rev. Alec Fraser in charge. People of our church attended. Next day her body was put on the train at Penn station and Ruemont and I accompanied her to Grand Island, where all plans had been made for services at the Methodist church, and burial beside father, Martin and Myrtle.

Attorney Ryan called and asked that we come to see him at his home. I had heard that he was not well and had been to the Mayos. He said he had turned mother's affairs over to Attorney Horth, whom we had know for many years. I could see Mr. Ryan was in a bad way; he died about two months after mother.

Delbert cane from the west for the funeral, and before he left he had borrowed money from Mr. Horth on his share of mother's estate.

Son stayed with a friend while we were away. Miss Decker was rooming with us that year; I think she stayed in the house alone.

Mother's estate was not settled for a long time. The bottom had fallen out of the price of land, and it was thot it might come back to a better figure if we waited. The income from the farm applied to the cash bequests that were named in the will. Delbert and I were to get the residual equally There were of severe drought, which further decreased the value of land, and huge dams were installed in the state, lowering the water table in general. When I pondered what was to happen Ruemont said “Forget it.  I haven’t counted on it nor depended on it, so we shall not miss it.”   In the end Atty, did not get much of the money back from that he had loaned Delbert. Nevertheless periodically I received letters from Delbert, asking me to buy out his interest for a thousand dollars or so. I don't know whether he couldn’t or did not want to see that he had nothing left.

When I saw a letter from him I always had to brace myself for something unhappy or disagreeable. So I had it both ways. Mother wouldn’t give the boys money behind my back, and then when she was short she wanted me to collect for her. I could not win.

Some time before mother's death after auntie died, Ernest left for the west and this left her and Ralph alone. She was anxious for a smaller house, and also get back to a hard coal heater instead of furnace with central heating. So she sold the house and bot a one floor cottage in the next block. That was where she was living when she left to come to us.  She left this house to me since I had put money into the big house. After many years I think I sold it for fourteen hundred dollars. She had paid thirty-five hundred for it. We did not use Rennier’s legacy toward his education, neither did we tell him about it. When he was ready to make the first home for his family we presented him with it. He and his wife Jean were quite astonished.

The united State, government lowered the boom. It was decided that a huge ordinance loading plant was needed between the Burlington and Union Pacific railroads, running west from Grand Island. Alda and Abbott were about seven miles apart and this plant was to be midway between them. The soil from the various farms was assayed and classified at a certain price. The owners were notified of the price affixed and were told that if they were not satisfied, to take it to court. So thirty five square miles were  confiscated, and thirty some million dollars spent on the project. If it had been a commercial company taking the property there might have been some chance to have contested the price, but with the government, well, it is said you can't fight city hall.

Mother’s will provisions had estimated the property at two hundred dollars an acre at Mr. Ryan’s estimate.  It doesn't take much brains to see what the results were at $55 an acre. The specific bequests ranged from five hundred to two thousand dollars, depending on the age of the descendant, and how much aid mother had previously given each one. The younger ones were given the larger amounts. There were seven grandchildren. I can’t remember whether Vessie shared in it, since mother had helped her so much, and she had had quite an inheritance from her father.

When my grandfather brot his family from Germany it was during the years of the exodus of many Germany families from the military establishment to the land of freedom and privilege. Now after years of struggle and toil to enjoy some of America's freedom and privileges, there appeared another military establishment in Germany to be opposed, and to which way father's efforts and those of his descendants must sacrifice. Somewhat ironical, don't you think?

When we bot our lot in Ridgefield Park in 1920 and found it impossible to build on it, and then bot the house at 119 Hobart street, we waited several years for times to get better. We improved the lot with sewer, paving and trees on the curb.  Finally I started planning a house to fit the site, fully modern as houses went then, two bedrooms, living, dining, bath rooms, many closets, garage underneath on Hudson ave, as the terrain was on a slope and permitted it. We sold the place on Hobart and construction started. We had to vacate before our new place was finished, rented a furnished place from friends who were at Budd lake for the summer until Sept. 26 when we moved into the new all brick house.

The funds from the sale of our place, plus a huge mortgage from the savings and loan put us on the road to the first home of our own design and choosing. From here Rennier went to eight grade at Roosevelt school, and then to high school where he graduated in 1931.  We lived in the house at 177 Park street for twenty-two years, the first five of which Rennier was with us before ho entered Purdue University where his father had graduated. Then too he was very anxious to get as far from home as he could, not unlike the fledglings of today, hoping to shed the restraint of home and parents. He graduated in 1935 and then took an extra year’s work. He married Jean Sanders in February before graduating, she had two years and four months to go to graduate. They lived with Jean's parents until she finished. Son had a job with the telephone company in Lafayette, Ind. during the second year. Jean's parents were very anxious that she get her degree and made it possible. Ruemont also received a degree at the same time in 1937. Afterward the four of us toured the west as far as Yellowstone.

In 1959 Rennier and Jean had a Cape Cod cottage built, but occupied it less than a year. Son realized it would be impossible to support a family on the salary this company was willing to pay, so with Jean's permission, he struck out for something better, which he found thru the University employment department. So it was that in June 1940 they moved to Rockford to the Illinois Bell Telephone company. That was the beginning of better things for them as far as employment was concerned, and it was a long arduous road, as it usually is for the most of us. They were able to be relatively near Jean's parents for quite a period of time, certainly not as far removed as we had been from our people most of our married life.

A few years later Ruemont happen to meet the Illinois Bell Telephone president in the elevator of the company building in Chicago. He made some inquiry about Rennier, and Ruemont replied that it seemed son had gotten stuck out in Rockford location. It was not too many months until we heard that our family was being transferred to the Chicago headquarters. So it seems the proof of the old adage that “The wheel that squeaks loudest is the one that gets greased.” The house built in Lafayette had been sold when they moved to Rockford and a larger one bot in that city. Now it was for sale. If they were able to sell without a loss they were lucky. That never was our experience. In Downers Grove, a suburb of Chicago to which they moved they were able to rent for a while before they bot another house, where they lived until they were transferred to New York to the AT&T company for a couple of years, and then back to Downers Grove and the Illinois Bell Telephone company for two years, then back to New York again after selling another house and building one in Glen Rock, where one had been bot on another street on the first move there.

By force of necessity it has been inevitable that I learn to call Ruemont by his first name given to him at birth. It came about, of course, by the fact that all business associates and friends knew him as George Ruemont Pigman, and consequently he was George to them. I have called him by that name for some time now, tho it has taken years to train myself to do so, and still seems unnatural. I am referring to him from now on as “George.”

During summer vacations George, Rennier and I travelled many miles thru out the east, New England, New York, New Jersey etc, which was a great experience, as we were accustomed to western country plains and mountains.. After son was away at school George and I found it more pleasant and to our liking to take our vacations in cooler weather toward fall, and as our vacation privileges increased in length we were able to go farther afield, south and west. I doubt that either of us had any desire to go to Europe. Toward the end of the 1940s we began looking for a piece to locate after retirement. We knew we would not stay in the east after the termination of our AT&T employment, age sixty-five was compulsive retirement age. There was no need or reason for staying after that, we had no relatives there, and life was to be quite different when we were on our own, as to mode of living etc. Our son and family were in the midwest, so each fall we made it a plan to wander thither and yonder in search of a place we thot attractive, comfortable and economical where we might settle down, eyes ever open for that retirement spot. Somewhere not too far from our family, but not so close as to have them feel we were breathing down there necks. A comfortable climate and a place where the children might find pleasure in spending some of their vacations.

In 1946, I think, returning from a circuit of northern Michigan and Wisconsin, we stopped with our family a day or two in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Rennier asked if we had been to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and we asked where that was. He said it was a popular place located on the thumb that stuck up into Lake Michigan, and that maybe we ought to look over the location, that many of the telephone people thot it quite a nice place to spend their vacations. Our allotted vacation was used up, but that next year we would investigate the suggestion.

In 1947 we travelled to Sturgeon Bay, contacted the manager of the Wisconsin Bell Telephone company and began to investigate the locality. We saw some undeveloped land on the shore of Sturgeon Bay, and thot it looked quite desirable, but on inquiry found that it belonged to an unsettled estate of a bachelor who had owned it. We sought out his sister who said it was in probate and would be decided soon. We left word that we were interested, and asked for the first refusal if it should go on the market. During that winter we received word that things were in order, and if we still were interested to come out during the next vacation to talk business, which we did.

In 1948 we took title to a plot one hundred fifty feet on the water front, and extending four hundred feet to the public highway.  (North Bayshore Drive.)

That year or the following we started improvements in a small way. Also in the fall of 1948 we sold our house at 177 Park street, Ridgefield Park, and looked for an apartment. Again nothing to be had we had to wait until one in process of erection was finished.  Our buyer was anxious for possession so our very kind friends John and Elizabeth Browning offered to share their home with us meanwhile. The new owner let us reserve one room for the nine wfeeks we were waiting to occupy the apartment in Riveredge just north of Hackensack. Some rough things we stored in the generous garage we rented under our apartment.

He decided to build a home and an auxiliary guest house, rather than one large place to maintain, figuring it would work out best that way in all ways. Then I began house plans all over again. The terrain again was on a slope and needed plans to accommodate it. We .found a builder who was highly recommended as to skills and integrity.

Our doctor had thot it advisable that George retire before reaching sixty-five, saying it probably would prolong his life. He had had several serious bouts, surgeries, virus pneumonia, which turned up scar shadows on his lung, which showed arrested tuberculosis. (Probably contracted from aunt Emma's daughters).  We were not sure our economics would permit early retirement, but I surely was glad to attempt it, and there were few economies with which I was not already acquainted. So George asked for retirement April 1, 1950, which was granted. This meant that our apartment lease had some time to run, and as the shortages were decreased by that time the realtor required one hundred dollars to release us from the several months still in our contract.

On March 30, 1950 George's associates feted him with luncheon, afternoon reception, gifts and mementoes, while I was working against time loading our Ford beetle, and watching the Allied Van men load up our furniture and junk. When that was finished I went home to bed exhausted. George came home loaded with all sorts of things, plus goodies left over from the parties. That was our last night with the Brownings.  George complained the next morning that his entire night was a procession of people approaching him from the distance with hands extended toward him. We took early leave of the Brownings with regrets. They had been staunch friends indeed.

We stayed a couple nights with son's family in Downers Grove, then word came that the van with our worldly goods would be in Sturgeon Bay on a given date, so we had to be there when it arrived! We had rented a roomy furnished log cabin for three months, with ample room to take our stuff, the rougher packings were stored in a garage. The Frank Raffelts had many summer cottages.

Snow was on the ground all the way from Chicago, and there was some very cold weather during April. Once the temperature was ten above, with a very strong wind. It did not last too long and we managed to endure it. It was not long before building activities began. George kept a diary of each day, temperature, how many men working and what activities. We bot a seven horsepower tractor for our own use, and it helped a lot with the heavy work George wanted to do. (He lost many pounds doing manual labor). A well had to be driven down one hundred thirty seven feet, a large septic tank installed for the two houses, etc. The place was not ready for occupancy by July first and we had to vacate the cabin. We moved into the lower section of the main house until the upper floor could be finished. Dr. Mac, and Gladys my niece, and twin daughters cane by from California to New York on a trip. We had company galore. I fed them and every one took things as they were. In building there were too many vicissitudes to enumerate.

While pouring cement walls for the larger house basement the builder also did the foundation for the guest house, which we hoped to do mostly ourselves. Son helped to frame the guest house during his vacation, the family was in a cottage down the road. It took a year for George and me to finish the house for the occupancy of our family the following summer during their vacation. We had help with other parts of the building such as plumbing, heating, shingles and ceiling board. We did all the insulating, wall board, window installations, painting inside and out etc. cabinets, cupboards and closets.

We lived in our house the winters of 1950-1951 and 1951-1952. The temperature was down to thirty-two degrees below zero for three days at one time. We were snug with plenty of food and heat, and didn't have to go out or commute to business.

October 1952 George and I drove to Texas. He remembered the place he had in been in the fall of 1915 and thot it would be nice to see it again with me. He thot we might settle down at Harlingen, but we rented a cottage in McAllen among other “snowbirds” until the last week of March when the temperature and humidity became intolerable, and we took off for San Antonio for a week of exploration. During the winter we made new acquaintances and enjoyed life very different from what we had been accustomed. Then to Dallas for a few days and on north. I think we circled around to visit in Nebraska.

We established a large garden of vegetables, flowers, berries rhubarb etc, and enjoyed sharing it with the neighbors. Later we cut the size of the plot as it was more than needed even when sharing. Eventually we rented a frozen food locker down town where we could store frozen produce year around and have it for use when we came home in the spring.

In October 1955 we drove to the west coast with a new Ford, rented a top floor in La Jolla overlooking the Pacific and enjoyed travelling around that section during the winter. We found a few retired telephone folk a couple blocks from us, making it more pleasant. George took up oil painting and enjoyed two different teachers very much. We left in April, going north up the coast, visiting relatives and friends almost to the Canadian boarder, then southeast to Bonneville dam, Boise, Salt Lake City, Denver,  Grand Island, Downers grove and home.

Fall of 1954 we journed east, up into New England visiting many old friends, then down the Atlantic coast to Florida. Settled near Sebring in the Crum cottage resort, where we met many congenial people. Both of us joined the adult education group in oil painting and George also did some woodwork on a small scale. We returned to Sebring for the seasons of 1955-1956 and 1956-1957.

During summer of 1957 we were informed that the pioneer telephone association of Wisconsin was organizing a group to visit Hawaii for two weeks. I made the remark that I had no desire to go to Europe, but always had wished I could visit Hawaii. George said “Well then we are going.” I was very anxious then, hoping for some way to avoid going, but we made plans and left the last week in October for Milwaukee. I think our good friends the Matheys drove us down there. We stayed at a hotel over night, having dinner there with two cousins, took a taxi to the airport in the morning and met the rest of the group flying with us to Los Angeles. We had suggested that a friend in Green Bay should go with us.

She was Mrs. Schillings sister Miss Hansen, and did considerable travelling. She decided to go, and we had a nice travelling companion. The group totaled about nineteen, mostly from Milwaukee, there were all kinds, two young sisters who were not exactly like the rest of us. We had a little time to wait, but we were soon out over the Pacific and arrived at the Honolulu airport a bit after sunup. This was before the days of jets and took about ten hours going west, possibly eight hours flying east. There was quite a committee of the telephone people of Honolulu there to welcome us.

Our friend Elizabeth Browning had gone on a trip a short time ahead of us and when we arrived at the Surfrider hotel she was there to greet us. Her party left the next day to return home. I can't remember whether by plane or boat.

He toured the island of Oahu, flew to other islands, to stay over night, went to a luau, etc. and saw many wonderful things new to us.. We had made arrangements with the travel company that we might stay on after the others had returned to Milwaukee, and use our passage in the spring, we found an apartment in the Diamondhead Ambassador apartment building 2957 Kalakaua Avenue across the street from the park. We settled down, bot a year old Hillman Minx car and proceeded to enjoy ourselves. George began to paint but was not very satisfied with the results. So I went out and found a good teacher and persuaded him to go to class.

Later Fredrick Taube came to the island and organized some short term classes, and I persuaded George to Sign up there also, altho he thot it wee too expensive. It turned out rather humorously, because the two teacher were diametrically opposite in their methods and ideas. Nevertheless he enjoyed the work and learned some new things.

I had surgery on my feet in Queen Emma hospital, the most rewarding thing of my entire life, I think. In 1958 we were back with the Crum group in Sebring, then in 1959 we decided to try the east coast and settled in a comfortable place in Delray Beach for the winter.

In l960 we found a house in Lake Worth farther north. George's physical troubles were increasing and we wanted to be near a certain specialist in west Palm Beach. He was in Good Samaritan hospital a few days in November and December. Thanksgiving was our fiftieth wedding anniversary and we had hoped to celebrate in a small way. We had dinner on hospital trays. He was home a few days when suddenly it was necessary to go back to the hospital, where he was until we flew to Green Bay, Wisconsin on March 28, 1961, then to Door County hospital until the end came June 9,1961. I visited him and helped to care for him every day of the hospital stays. In Palm Beach it was sixteen miles a day and in Sturgeon Bay about eight miles.

We had known for seven years that his time was limited, but we tried to live as normally as possible between hospital bouts. He filled every minute with some absorbing hobby or travel. He was very brave and never complained; left me a beautiful letter.

Our children decided that our burial plot should be in an IOOF plot in Waverly, Indiana, where Jean's people have plots, and where I hope to be.

On September 5, 1961 I sold the Sturgeon Bay houses, furniture in the guest house, boat, tractor, mower etc, and moved to an apartment in Downers Grove for a year. I gave quite a few furnishings to Richard and Nancy who were about to go housekeeping. Their wedding was planned for June 10 and George insisted that it not be changed because of his critical illness. As it turned out he died the day before the wedding. It was a difficult time for the family in every way.

In the fall of 1962 Rennier and Jean decided to accept another transfer to the AT&T in New York, but not unless I came east too, involving me in a big responsibility. So once again I was returned to New Jersey, but in an entirely different neighborhood in ray old age. Two years at 535 East Ridgewood Avenue, then seeking an apartment more to my liking and in a quieter section at 356 Gilbert street.

From a single descendant who had a very doubtful physical start in life, I now have quite an entourage. At present all have promising prospects in life, in every way. (If only this old world will settle down and engender some peace, love and good will). There never is a dull moment, and I enjoy watching the development of each one.  Frankly I am quite relieved that all of the guidance, support and other vital influences molded into the developing of young humans all is not entirely on my shoulders at my time of life. I trust that all of my influence has not been totaled up on the negative side. I never shall cease encouraging everyone to get as much education as he or she can absorb, end to strive to make this old world a better habitation for all people.


Richard Edwin Pigman January 12, 1939; married June 10, 1961 to Nancy Ann Rodgers October 3, 1938. (Divorced 1969)

Children: Elizabeth Ann September 19, 1962

George Richard June 4, 1965.


Anne Louise Pigman September 1, 1942; married August 24, 1963 to

William Curtis Patrick April 15, 1940.

Children: Kristin Laura June 9, 1967

Kathleen Anne August 29, 1969


John Howard Pigman August 30, 1945. Married Aug. 1, 1970 to Constance Marie Zizunas, June 6, 1945, Catholic.


Marcia Emily Pigman September 16, 1947• Harried Sept. 27, 1970 to

Steven Gary Morrell, March 19-- Jewish.


Sarah Emily Pigman February 3, 1954.


Richard Edwin Pigman remarried Dec. 11, 1970 to Patricia Ann Sprang Oct. 1942.


This bit of history covering period from 1799 to 1966 compiled by Laura Emily Ramsthel Pigman during 1966. Later statistics added.




Thru the Ramsthals in Milwaukee, and told to them by the grandparents, it was said that when Napoleon’s soldiers overran south Germany “away back when” some fresh soldier angered one of the Ramsthal women. She dared to slap his face, then managed to disappear and hide in the hayloft. Some nerve!


The date of Delbert's death is obscure now, but it probably was in the middle 1940s. As always, he sought quick fortune but never found it. He and a friend obtained permission from the park authorities to go prospecting for gold, I think, in the vast area of the west. They had an old car and were admitted to the area on a certain date, and expected to emerge by a certain day. When they did not return a search by plane was instigated. The car was sighted, and shortly afterward their bodies. They had taken a supply of water with them, but had used it in the car radiator. Finally becoming confused, went the wrong way for water which was near by, eventually dying from thirst and heat exposure.


My great uncle Adelbert Kent a bachelor farmer living near Grand Rapids, Michigan, was badly injured and disfigured in his face by a kick from a horse.  He is in a picture with Grandfather Kent. He is the one at the right of the picture. Grandfather is the curly headed one with a beard.


A strange thing comes to mind. While we were living in Ridgefield Park, I think, I heard from my mother that she was entertaining a nephew from California, Harry Thompson, the youngest son of her sister Dora Kent Thompson. They had left Nebraska when Harry was a small lad under ten. I heard considerable about him and his visit with mother. He was of college age I think, later became a dentist. The winter George and I spent in La Jolla, California (1955-1954) and went north in the spring visiting along the way as far as Bellingham, Washington, we visited many relatives and friends, among them Joe Thompson, Harry’s brother. Harry came to see us there and we had quite a visit. When I mentioned Harry’s visit to mother in Grand Island years before no one knew anything about it and all seemed surprised. I never was able to figure it out. Was some one doing an impersonation and was mother taken in?


My mother always was very sympathetic to friends and relatives needing help in any form, money, nursing, help in the home, etc.  However, I can't recall one instance of the assistance being reversed. It may be that such treatment begets only contempt.

I can recall similar experiences. One concerned a young man whose mother was a widow. His father had been in a mental institution, since the son was an infant, and died there. We thot the son worthy and assisted him some as we could, but the mother had an idea that she wanted us to do something in a larger way, so asked us to take a mortgage on her house. This George refused, saying that we expected nothing in return for what we were able to do, but that he did not went to go in the mortgage business. The mother was furious.

A similar incident was a close relative, whose husband an inventor died and left her nearly penniless, tho they had lived much beyond us all their lived. She admitted that what she aspired to was a marble castle with a golden stairs. We contributed a modest sum each month to her over a period of a few years. On our last ca11 at her home she related how she had been received at the hospital center in New York, treated free for cancer and apparently cured. That was many years ago and she still is living, so I presume it was a cure. She ranted and raved about the doctors, and her being used as a guinea pig. It cut me deeply when I thot of the thousands of dollars she had enjoyed in free treatment. She tried to be a Christian Scientist and was very hostile toward medical ideas. I said something that angered her even more, and she read ne out as resembling her horrid father who was always overzealous about his family's future welfare. She had gotten part of her inheritance from her father, and when that was deducted from her final share she was furious. She inherited from a cousin a sum of money equal to my inheritance from there. Hers was taken over by the New York City relief administration, in repayment for what they had doled out to her for a period of twenty years. She still is on city relief as far as I know, but at least once she was west inveigling money from a wealthy nephew. My inheritance is all intact with my grandchildren.


Somewhere about the age of six or seven I must have realized I was the the family's ugly duckling.  I imagine some of that feeling was caused by one brother who didn't let me forget it. Then too my little sister was a pretty child, with dark snappy eyes and hair inclined to curl, and of course all “youngest” are much cherished. How I got the idea that all girls turned beautiful when they reached eighteen I don't know, but that was what I really anticipated. What a disappointment!


When George and I left La Jolla, California after our winter there in 1954 we visited along the west coast, one stop being Portland where Delbert’s youngest son lived with his wife Francis, a daughter and two eons. We were invited there the first evening for dinner, taken for a ride around the city, and to call on the married daughter.  Next morning our telephone in the motel rang. One of the sons was calling to say that Ernest's mother had died during the time we were at his home. She lived in Portland too, was married and owned property. She had taken her husband for all she could get and practically thrown him out of a home. She surely brot much heart ache to many people. I can't feel that she deserved the easy exit that she experienced. About four PM, evidently about the time we were with Ernest's family, she had remarked to a neighbor that she felt very tired and was going to lie down for a rest. That is where they found her. She had taken up with the Amy Semple McPherson cult, and was very active in it, being one of the white-robed angels or some such position. Ernest's son asked if we cared to come to the funeral. I would have felt quite, hypocritical if I had gone, so the only thing I could do was to say that we would continue our journey on up the coast and return in a few days, when they would be in a better situation to finish our visit.


When Ralph and Ernest were with mother, one of them must have had some foot infection, athlete’s foot possibly. Mother made up a solution of Potassium Permanganate and stored it in a quart jar on a cellar shelf. Later she sent one of the boys to the storage to bring up a quart of grape juice. She opened it and drank a bit before she realized she had swallowed not grape juice but poison. Of course she was terribly frightened, but she had presence of mind enough to do something immediately. She telephoned the druggist and he instructed her what to take as antidote. It was effective and probably saved her from serious consequences.


About the time son was twelve or fourteen years old I asked him to dispose of an Energene [Ed.: Energine was a spot remover] bottle full of water he had left standing on the sink drain for several days. It was about five inches high, with hexagonal sides and a screw cap; he took it to the basement. It was about five o’clock and I was starting dinner. I noticed I need bread and asked son to go to a nearby store and get a loaf. While he was away I was preparing carrots at the sink when I heard a loud report quite unusual. I went looking for the cause about the house and out the window at the house next door. Finding nothing I went down to the basement. From the stairs everything looked normal, but I continued to search. I opened the floor to the furnace room. The furnace doors were wide open and the fire pit of live coals had a deep depression in the center. Ashes and burning coals were scattered in front of the furnace as far as the wall fronting opposite. A stack of newspapers piled at some distance to the left of the furnace were ready to ignite, and the air was so full of dust it was difficult to see. I ran around the furnace and opened the basement window, then dashed upstairs for a towel to wrap around my head, and back down stairs to shovel up the coals and ashes. What would have resulted had I not been there or not insisted on thoro investigation I hate to think about.

A bit of imagination was all it took on my part. When the boy and the bread arrived I asked “Son what did you do with the Energene bottle I asked you to to dispose of?”  “Why?” “Did you put it in the furnace?” “Why?” “Because you nearly burned us out of a home.” He learned what steam under pressure could do. And I learned never to depend too much on a juvenile.