Posted by: patwogan | May 30, 2018

Shirley Temple

This morning I saw a picture of Shirley Temple and it reminded me of a memory that I have never shared here.  When I was about five years old, the owners of the corner store had a contest.  They frequently had entertainment Saturday night.  Sometimes it was singing and sometimes it was dancing, but usually  there was some sort of contest connected with it.  This particular Saturday night they had a Shirley Temple look-alike contest.

Mom curled my hair in Shirley Temple curls, put a big bow in it and dressed me in a pretty little dress.  She then entered me in the contest.  All I had to do was to stand on the stage which by the way was an outdoor stage and smile my prettiest.  I don’t know how many entrants there were in the contest.  I just remember I won second place.  That was kind of a big deal to Mom and Dad.  I don’t remember what the prize was, but I don’t imagine it was anything of great value.

I won another contest one time.  It was a singing contest.  I sang the patriotic song, “Any Bonds Today”.  Again I won second place.  I do still remember the words to the song.  Any bonds today, bonds of freedom, that’s what I’m selling.  Here comes the freedom band, marching throughout the land, selling bonds of freedom today.  Or something like that..  Anyway, it was a song advertising War Bonds.  This time I remember the prize was a dollar.  I would imagine that the song itself was one reason I won a prize.  At that time anything patriotic was almost sure to win something.

I do recall patriotism was strong during World War II.  The newsreels at the movie were strictly patriotic propaganda.  I remember one in particular which showed an American pilot parachuting from  a disabled plane and being shot on the way down by a Japanese gunner.  The gunner was smiling as he shot the pilot.  This would be unheard of now.  We are patriotic, but are politically correct at the same time.  I wonder if there isn’t a happy medium somewhere.

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Posted by: patwogan | May 29, 2018

My Conversation With George

I called Cousin George this last week.  We visited for about 50 minutes.  He has a great memory although his body is very frail.  I started sharing memories of Grandma and Grandpa’s back yard.  He added to those memories.  One thing I didn’t know was that the wash house was a building moved to the farm from Table Mound.  It was placed over the cellar and used as an electrical workshop by Uncle Leo.  He was very talented in electronics ( although it wasn’t called electronics at the time).  He had created a program that allowed people to hear Big Ben in London chime.  People would come from other towns to hear this.  Leo, George’s father became the Dean of Physics at Kansas State University.  I knew very little about him.  Maybe next time I visit with George I can get more deeply in conversation about Leo.

I mentioned the plane that George had constructed with balsa wood ribs covered with tissue paper.  I thought it had a wing span of twenty-five inches.  I remembered it had crashed the first time he flew it.  He corrected me that the wing span was forty-eight inches.  It flew with a rubber band motor.   The propeller would be turned thus winding the rubber band.  When it was wound tightly enough, the plane was held up and the propeller released.  This caused the plane to fly.  I was right about it crashing the first time it was flown.  George said the wheels caught on the fence and the plane crashed.  He took it back and re-attached the wings, putting new tissue paper on them.  A cat got in the building and urinated on the tissue paper which totally ruined the plane.  As I recall George made this type of plane often, but none the size of this one again.  He always had a fascination with flying.

One other memory he recalled for me was about one time when I was eating a candy sucker.  I dropped it on the floor.  After I dropped it, apparently I offered him a lick of it.  Mom told me to go wash the sucker off since I had dropped it on the floor.  I told her I really didn’t have to because George had already licked the germs off of it.  This became one of those family stories told at every opportunity and accompanied by laughter.  I didn’t really understand why it was funny.  George is ten years older than I am and I hope my mind is as sharp as his at ninety-five.

I mentioned about the snake hunt Uncle Leo and a colleague from K-State went on one time when he came down to visit.  George elaborated on that one.  He said they had gone down by the Elk River and had caught several copperhead snakes.  They put them in a burlap bag and he had to carry the bag.  His Dad couldn’t understand why he held the bag at arm’s length.  They had informed him that the snakes wouldn’t bite through the bag, but George wasn’t that sure.  I don’t believe I would have taken anybody’s word for that either.  It creeps me out just to think about it.

We also discussed the hay stack and he clarified the reason we couldn’t play in it.  Apparently the cow tunneled into it and it became unstable.  I also shared my memory of sitting on the corn planter under the mulberry tree and eating mulberries.  He also confirmed my memory of the backyard teeter-totter.  He elaborated that it was next to a chinning bar.

I always enjoy talking to George.  He brings back good memories of our childhood.

 

 

Posted by: patwogan | May 19, 2018

Describing my Various Homes

I have decided to describe the houses I lived in as a child.  I began my life in a little white house next to the gate to Glencliff Dairies.  This gate separated the haves from the have nots.  We were the have nots.  Glencliff Dairy was one of the businesses of the Johnson family.  Paul R. Johnson was the wealthiest man in Montgomery County.  Besides Glencliff Dairy, he owned the Union Gas Company and several oil companies.  The gate led to the compound where the family had several homes.  The farm manager lived next door to us.  The house where Paul R. and his family lived was a large castle type home.  It had a round turret about three stories high. The roof of the turret was a cone shaped structure which added to the castle look. There was a small house where his housekeeper lived with her son.  I know this because the son rode to high school every day with Dad and me.  He was a track star at Independence High School.  The Johnson home was a tudor style home.  It was made from the same materials as the big dairy barn.  There was a split rail fence along the road leading from the gate about a quarter of a mile to Highway 75.  The home and the barn made a very imposing compound.  There were more homes inside the gate, but they were more modern and were ranch style.  Paul R.’s nephew lived in one of them.  The home of the farm manager was a two-story country style house.  I was never inside of this house even though Beverly and Joe, the farm manager’s children, were guests at our house several times.  In my memory, the Johnsons had two daughters.  I think they went to St. Andrew’s school.  The thing I remember about them was that they had braces on their teeth before braces were common.

As I have said, we were the have nots.  Our house was a one story frame home.  I visited it some years after I was grown and discovered it was even smaller than I remembered.  It had a porch across the front and the entrance was in the middle of the home.  When one walked into the front door, you were in the living room.  I don’t have a good perspective of how big the living room was, only that it was small.  To the left of the living room was my parents’ bed room.  There was a french door that led from the living room to the dining room.  The dining room had a double window with a window seat along it.  It let in a lot of light as it was on the south side of the house.  To the left of the dining room was a small bedroom.  That was my room.  To the right of the dining room was a glassed  in porch which was the kitchen.  The back door of the house was on the south side of the kitchen.  There was a sink with a pump on it on the west side of the kitchen.

You may have noticed that I did not  describe a bathroom.  That is because this house did not have indoor plumbing.  There was a path which led from the back door to the outhouse.  It was a so-called government toilet.  The government made these cement-lined toilets as a matter of improving  sanitation.  This was our toilet facilities.  We bathed in a wash tub or showered with an improvised outdoor shower.

We had a picket fence along the front of our house.  On the west side of the house there was a beautiful rock garden and a fish pond.  Beyond the fish pond there was an arbor with a bench inside it.  It was a lovely setting and I imagine both Mom and Dad worked very hard to keep it that way.  Beyond the arbor Dad grew his iris and gladiolus.  I can imagine that this was somewhat of a show place to rival anything that Paul R. Johnson had.

This is where I spent my early childhood.  When my Grandpa died, it changed drastically as we moved to Great-Grandmother Hudiburg’s house across the road from Grandma so we could take care of her.  That house I will describe in a later post.  It was as big as the other was small.

Posted by: patwogan | November 16, 2017

My Life in Bits and Pieces

As you know I have been worried about repeating myself in my blog.  Today my son and daughter gave me some writing prompts so I can continue.

One of them was to write about how I got my name and whether it has any significance.  I know my parents had been married for quite some time before I was born.  l know the;y played cards with a couple from Dad’s work.  The wife was Latino and after I was born I loved to hear her talk.  I loved her accent.  Mom used to tell the story about her and Mom told it in her accent.  Anyway the story was that she would repeatedly ask Mom, “Beulah, when you going to have babies?”  Mom was twenty-six when I was born.  So I guess that was pretty old for that time.

I was born at home.  My Mom had two doctors.  Dr. Ellison and my grandfather’s brother Dr. Hudiburg.  He was known in our family as Uncle Doc..  I was born on New Year’s Eve at home.  I weighed eleven pounds and my Mom was five foot two and very petite.  I would imaging a home birth was not easy and especially since I was such a big baby.  Mom said they kept telling her to push and she didn’t know what that meant.  She said later that if they had told her to grunt like she was having a bowel movement she would have known what to do. She finally said Dr. Ellison put his elbow in her belly and pushed down.  That made her so mad that she finally got with it and had me.  I really don’t know how long the birth took, but I imagine knowing the circumstances it was a difficult birth.

My middle name is spelled Joan, but is pronounced Jo-Ann.  I was named after a second cousin on my Dad’s side.  The name Patricia came from somewhere I don’t know where.   I was called Patty Jo,    The folks had a dog named Patsy.  So when I was little, I told people I was named after a dog.  I loved Patsy and she was very special to me.  She was a collie dog that looked like Lassie.  I am sitting here with tears in my eyes remembering her.  I shared my cookies with her and she would run with me around the house until I stopped and then she would knock me down and lick my face.

When I was ten years old two of my older friends from church and I went down to the pond at the railroad trestle.  Ollie Bullock lived across the railroad and he was a butcher who raised cattle and sheep.  While we were there Patsy went up on top of the railroad tracks to look around.  Ollie Bullock had been losing some of his lambs to predators.  He saw Patsy up there and decided she must be the killer of his sheep.  He shot her.  The bullet went through her jaw.  She came running down to me.  I, in turn, ran home screaming all the way.  My Dad went back and carried her home.  She was dead.  I think Mom went to Ollie’s and confronted him.  She made him look in Patsy’s mouth.  She reminded him that a sheep killing animal will have wool between their teeth.  Ollie Bullock cried and apologized profusely.

Posted by: patwogan | November 16, 2017

Kindergarten Rhythm Band

When I was in Kindergarten at Riley School I was a member of the Rhythm Band.  We had uniforms and everything.  The leader of the band was Danny Anselmo.  I have written about him previously.  He was the boy who was with David Fackler when they played with matches in the loft of Danny’s garage and David was killed in the fire they accidentally started.  Back to the band, David was the leader and he had a fancier uniform than the rest of us.  I had a major crush on him.  Our uniforms consisted of white pants and skirts, white shirts and blouses, a purple satin cape, and a purple satin cap.  Our caps had a thing on the front which was supposed to be like a pom pom only it was made of satin.

The instruments in the band were: sticks which were hit together, blocks covered in sand paper which were rubbed together, triangles which were hit with a mallet, and cymbals. I played the cymbals but I wished I played the blocks as I didn’t think the cymbals were very important.  I guess they were as there were only two or three of us who played them.  Danny had a baton which he waved to keep us in time.

I don’t know whether we played along to recorded music or whether we just used our percussion instruments to make “music”.  We played for our parents in the auditorium and also in the kindergarten room.  The auditorium was a large room surrounded by classrooms.  I imagine that when we performed in the auditorium the other classes attended.

The music time at Riley was once a week when music was played through the intercom.  It was introduced by Walter Damrosh who always gave a little speech about the music before he played it.  I have no idea who Walter Damrosh was but I guess he must have been someone important in music.

I have somewhere a picture of the Kindergarten Band with the names of all the people written on the back by my mother.  I was an only child at the time so she had time to do things like that.

I can imagine how we sounded but I know we felt very professional in our uniforms making “music”.

Posted by: patwogan | November 16, 2017

George’s Model T

My cousin George was raised by my Grandma and Grandpa Hudiburg.  After Grandpa died we moved across the road from Grandma in Great-Grandma’s house.  This made me closer to George than all the other cousins.  He and my Dad were more like brothers than uncle and nephew.  George’s Mother had died when he was born and I guess at that time a single Dad didn’t raise a child alone.  Anyway, Uncle Leo lived in Manhattan where he taught at Kansas State University.  Grandma and Grandpa loved George and since he was ten years older than I, my Mom also  took care of him.

When George was in high school, he bought or acquired some way or another a Model T Ford.  Fred Chilcoat was a friend of his from church and they would both drive/ride in the car.  Fred Chilcoat was also going with cousin Naomi MaGee at the time and they subsequently got married.

I don’t know how a Model T worked, but I know there was some way you could advance the spark or something on the steering wheel.  It did have to be cranked to start and you had to be careful doing that or it would kick back and could break your arm.  Anyway when you retarded something and advanced something else you could make it run very slowly.  The thing I remember is Fred and George driving it up Grandpa’s driveway–a very long driveway.  They would get it started and then driver and passenger got out and changed places while it was running.  Kind of like a Chinese fire drill if you get the picture.

I don’t know where Grandma and Grandpa were  when this was going on, but I bet they weren’t  happy about it.  I sounds kind of unsafe to me and it probably was.

Fred and George both enlisted after high school and Fred was in the Navy.  George ended up in the Ar;my and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.  He was wounded severely in that battle and it  somewhat changed his life.

I loved George and he is and was my very favorite cousin.  He and I have always been very close, but as I remember he never gave me a ride in the Model T.  He might have offered, but my Mom probably wouldn’t let me do it.    She never did let me do fun stuff–whine, whine.

Posted by: patwogan | November 15, 2017

Whoops

I started blogging again this week and after I wrote two or three blogs, I realized I was telling the same stories I had told years ago.  I guess that is what comes from growing old  .  The memories although still important are not interesting if told two or three times.  I am going to have to read through the printed blogs and make sure I don’t keep repeating myself.  So it may take a few weeks before I start again, or perhaps I will just blog some thoughts that are presently in my mind.  Please be patient with me and know that I just want you all to know how much I love you.

Posted by: patwogan | November 14, 2017

The Automobile Accident

My parents always drove older cars.  However, one time my Dad came home with a new Oldsmobile.  I was really little, probably two or three.  The car was green and that is about all I remember about it.  I do know that it was the first new car we ever had.

We had gone to Uncle Dayton and Aunt Bess’ house that Sunday after church to eat and play cards.  We kids played outside and as always when the cousins got together we had a good time.

Aunt Bess’ house was at the top of a hill on Highway 75.  I think that probably contributed to the accident.  We left after supper and as we lived north on 75, Dad pulled out of the driveway to make a left turn.  As he pulled onto the highway a car came from the north driving the speed limit and hit us broadside.  I was sitting on my mother’s lap and must have been sleeping because I remember nothing of the impact.  I was thrown from the car.  My mother and father were both quite seriously injured.  The neighbors and Uncle Date and Aunt Bess came running to the accident site.  They couldn’t find me.  The car had been thrown to the opposite ditch from the driveway.  They searched and searched for me and finally found me under the fender of the car.  I don’t know whether I was still asleep or had been knocked unconscious.  We were all three  taken to the hospital.  I had eaten fried potatoes with homemade catsup for supper.  When we got to the hospital, apparently I started throwing up catsup.  This caused the nurses to think I might have internal injuries.  The only injury I had was a cut on my little toe.  I do still have a scar to remind me of the accident.  One weird thing is that I was wearing sandals and they never did find one of them.  The car was totaled.  The wreck was written about in the local paper.  The car was one of those that people came and looked at and marveled that anyone had survived.  The Oldsmobile was a heavy car and that may be one reason we were not killed.

They kept me in the hospital overnight for observation.  Both my parents were injured bad enough that it was several weeks before they were dismissed.  One of the family stories which has been repeated is that when I was dismissed from the hospital I complained that, “they hadn’t given me anything to eat, not even any ‘lick-woods'”.  I honestly don’t know where I stayed while Mom and Dad were in the hospital.  There were little stories in the local paper that told how they were improving.

The next memories I have is that Mom and Dad and I were staying in the little house in Independence that I loved.  I loved it partly because it had a basement and partly because it had a sidewalk I could ride my tricycle on.  While we were there Aunt Anna came to visit with her boyfriend.  He drove a blue Rolls Royce convertible.  Can’t you just imagine the buzz that caused in Independence.  Three things stand out in my mind from that visit.  One, Mom made me say “The Crooked Mouth Family” and she started laughing so hard she had to leave the room because it made her broken ribs hurt to laugh.  The other was that Aunt Anna introduced us to Italian Dressing and used a pepper mill on it.  I complained and she said in her New York accent, “you must have gotten a lump of pepper”.  The third thing is that we went to Caldwell Drug Store and had curb service.  When they brought the ice cream cone, it was one of the flat bottomed kind.  Aunt Anna, again in her New York accent said, “we ordered an ice cream cone,, not a bucket”.   I really think Aunt Anna had something to prove to the people of Independence.  As I have been working on my genealogy, I have discovered that she was married to one of the DeMotts.  She divorced him and went to New York.  When she came back in a Rolls Royce she was basically thumbing her nose at Montgomery County.

I have digressed.  We never again had a brand new car.  I did get to ride in a Rolls Royce although at the time it did’t impress me as much as it should have.

As I reread this I am reminded that this again was one time I was in God’s hands and he protected me from harm.

Posted by: patwogan | November 14, 2017

Grandma Greer

After my mother’s mom died, Grandma Greer (at that time Grandma Metz) moved into her son’s house to take care of the kids.  Mom was only eight years old and Dale was a few years younger.  Savoy at that time was a teen-ager. but wasn’t old enough to take care of the family.  My Grandma Greer did what any grandmother would do and picked up the mantle of caring.

Her son, my grandfather Metz was a mean person.  My mother told me later that she thought her mother had died after having a miscarriage because he wouldn’t take her to a doctor.  I think he was older than my grandmother, although I am not sure about that.  I just know that Mom said he was mean.  She loved her brother Savoy  because she said he had taken beatings that were meant for her.  He drank heavily and the more he drank the meaner he became.   I think my Grandma Greer knew the children were in jeopardy and for that reason she moved into the house to protect them from him.

For this reason, Mom loved her dearly.  Mom left home when she was about thirteen and went to live with a family in Independence.  She kept house for them, cooked, and took care of their children.  This allowed her to continue her schooling at Montgomery County High School.  This is a period in her life that she talked little about and I didn’t ask her questions like I wish I had.  Now that she is gone, I wish I knew more about that time in her life.

Grandma Metz had three children, Jessie, Anna, and Walt.  Her husband died and she married David Greer.  She moved to Independence.  I think Aunt Anna bought her a house there.  I loved the house she lived in and we did spend a few weeks living with her after my parents’ automobile accident.  (I will cover that in more detail in another blog.)

After David Greer died, Grandma Greer spent some time living with us on the farm across from Grandma Hudiburg.  These two grandmas were kind of a bone of contention between Mom and Dad as you can imagine.  They had both had their own homes and were used to doing things “their” way.  Grandma Hudiburg spent quite a bit of time at our house.  I loved both of these Grandmas and was really fortunate to have them in my life.  I do remember one of them telling me that she used to like doing dishes with her mother.  That was one job I did not like.  My thought, although unspoken, was that she was so old she probably didn’t remember that.  I wasn’t the sweetest little girl at that time….not bad, just sassy.

Grandma Greer taught me how to play Pitch.  We played draw Pitch.  I don’t remember whether it was four point or ten point.  As I look back on it, she must have been desperate for someone to play cards with to attempt two-handed draw Pitch with me.  I was smart enough, but I didn’t know the fine points of the game.  She also taught me to play solitaire.  The game of choice in my family was Pinochle..  Uncle Dayton and Aunt Bess would come over Sunday night for a game of Pinochle.  The grown-ups played and the kids watched.  Sometimes we would get to sit by someone and be their helper.  Grandma was always very patient with us even though we slowed the game down a little bit.  I loved being her helper.

Grandma Greer also taught me how to fish.  There was a pond under a railroad trestle northwest of our house.  I think it may have been on our property (actually the railroad easement) but I am not sure.  I know we walked through the pasture to the pond.  Kurt asked me if we walked down the railroad tracks.  I don’t believe we did.  Anyway we would take worms which we dug from the back yard and two cane poles.  They had hooks, sinkers, and bobbers on them.  We fished for whatever bit the worms.  It seems to me that we caught mostly little perch.  Grandma would clean and cook them and they were quite good.  They had to be eaten with a slice of bread so if you got a bone, the bread would go around it and keep you from choking.  Anyway that was what Grandma said.

I was very young at that time and believed whatever Grandma said.  While we were fishing I would sometimes get bored and fidgety.  She told me that if the tip of my pole got in the water, the fish would see it and know we were there and would not bite anymore.  She also told ;me that if a turtle bit you, it wouldn’t let go until it thundered.  Snakes, on the other hand, wouldn’t let go until the sun went down.  I believed Grandma and did not mess with turtles or snakes.  Now you might say that my Grandma lied to me.  I don’t know that she did and I certainly have never tested out any of these Grandmaisms.  I still stay my distance from snakes and have spent many afternoons shooting turtles.

I really don’t know how long Grandma Greer lived with us.  I don’t recall her death or funeral  I wish my memories of her were stronger.  I do know she thought you couldn’t survive the day unless you started it with a “bowl of oats” .  She was adamant about that and later we found that Walter was allergic to oats and was one of those people who shouldn’t start the day that way.

Grandma Greer was more easy going than Grandma Hudiburg.  I loved them both even though they were different.  i can’t remember Grandma Greer ever hugging me.  I am sure she did.

I do recall one incident that happened while she was living with us.  I have a vivid mind picture of it.  My Grandpa Metz had come to visit.  I was standing in the kitchen with Grandma.  I even remember the pattern of the kitchen linoleum;  It was gray, red, and black with a geometric pattern.  I was just standing there listening to them talk.  She said, “Walt why do you always have to be drinking when you come to see me”.  I remember nothing else about the conversation.  I just thought that was strange.  I know I always thought my Grandpa Metz smelled funny, but I didn’t think much of it.

I remember Grandpa Metz’ death..  I don’t believe I attended his funeral which was in Wichita where he lived at the time.  His wife whose name I think was Alvie spent all the money he had on his funeral service.  He died outside a bar in Wichita where he had gotten into a fight with someone.  He fell and hit his head on the curb and died.  That’s all  I know about his death.

I think at the time he died, Grandma Greer was already dead.  I hope so.  He had caused her enough grief in her lifetime.  I really think Mother had written him off long before this.  I guess you would say his death was Karma.

Posted by: patwogan | November 12, 2017

A New Writer In The Family

Tonight I took time to re-read an English assignment of my granddaughters.  It was an eye-opener.  I had read it before, but apparently I was either tired when I read it or I was not as aware of the talent she had.  It is masterful writing and she was only a junior in high school when she wrote it.  She is now a junior at Oklahoma State University.  Her major is English and I think she is planning on becoming a writer.  Her professor recently told her she has a real writing talent.  I would definitely agree with him/her.

Her mother is a talented writer and her aunt is a free-lance writer/photographer who has a blog entitled Dine and Dish.  She has been the key-note speaker at several blog events.

When I finished reading Kennedy’s essay, I immediately called her to congratulate her on her talent.  I told her she needs to keep writing.  The difference between a successful writer (besides the talent) and one who is less successful is discipline.  I urged her to write every day.  I guess I haven’t been a very good example lately as I have lacked the discipline to write in my blog every day.  Sometimes just putting words down on a blank piece of paper is enough to trigger ideas.

I hope she will take my advice to heart and keep on writing.  I have asked her to send me examples of her writing as I am very interested in reading them.

I am so lucky to have so many wonderful grandchildren. They are all going in different career directions, but all are unique.

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