The way of life in the 1910s and 1920s found people who were very energetic, busy, and happy, with a very simple lifestyle. The hardships of doing with less of most everything, taught us an appreciation of things, which are now taken for granted i.e., our country and its people, and the opportunity for new challenges.
In 1918 when a heart patient had a flutter there were but two choices, either move to California (often to die there) or if you had no money you could move to the country for clean fresh air. On behalf of my heart, in the fall of 1918, Dad built us a one-room home in Waynedale. Water was pumped and carried from the home of neighbor Henry Metting. Saturday night baths were taken in the same big galvanized tub mom used to do the laundry, and we thought it was fun the first 2 or 3 days. A refrigerator wasn’t necessary, as it was a cold winter. Snow blew in on our blankets and I snuggled to my willing brother Jim and all was warm and wonderful. Later we talked of our wintry experiences with other kids, only to find out that many others had experienced the same conditions.
In the spring, after the garden was seeded, the next project was a window-box refrigerator. A large box was placed in the biggest window with large supports outside and a big door opening on the inside. The next winter the cold was put to good use. In the summer of 1919 the memories of snow on our blankets encouraged the installation of 1″X 2″ wood weather stripping. It surely is surprising how a few strips of wood and a lot of love can warm up any home. Later on that year, Dad built a lean-to room next to the kitchen and a bedroom for the two of us boys. We lived in this home, crowded as it was, and enjoyed every minute of it. An outhouse was standard equipment for the first 12 years and we didn’t have any worries about plug-ins.
During the winter months I did a lot of trapping. I didn’t make much more than a dollar a week but it went a long way. The neighbor did better than I, but he skinned and dressed all animals, even skunks. Mother told me, “Absolutely no skunks.”
At school there was a big window with a mammoth fan that blew through the whole four grades of the Waynedale School. This warm spring day I accidentally got a skunk in one of my traps. I had to take it out of the trap, as it was dead, and if I took it home, I would be. Somehow, that skunk ended up next to that big fan over at the Waynedale School. Needless to say school was quickly dismissed and we all enjoyed a free day. Mom didn’t find out who dunnit until later when school let out and she had completed her term as PTA president.