Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 5: Burley, Idaho

Oops, I'm a little late. I meant to post this up yesterday, but didn't quite get around to it. So welcome to Amanuensis Tuesday.

In this instalment of Elsie’s manuscript, we find the Underwood family again on the move. They have been moving consistently down the Snake River, and this time is no exception. Burley is the next major town downriver.

So much for Raft River Dad and Mother had left and moved to Burley, Idaho. Everything was a lot different in a large city. We now could have a doctor, up to now Mother was our doctor. Dad became deputy marshal in Burley. Dr. Fremstead was our doctor, he also owned the drugstore. Dad and Doc. Fremstead became very good friends.

Here Mother got her first real stove. It was a Home Comfort. If you can fall in love with a stove, I’m sure Mother did this one. The top of the stove was real large, you could cook your pancakes on one end, it was that flat. and smooth. It had a reservior on one side. Now our bath water was heated without being put on the top of the stove. In a wash boiler. The boiler was hard to lift off. Now all we had to do is dip the hot water out of the reservior to the tub. We had to refill reservior but it was done by big bucket fulls. We now had hot water anytime for washing hands and faces without heating the kettle. Or using mostly cold water.

The stove came withe several large kettles and a huge tea kettle. The all including the reservior was all blue and white heavy enamel.

We also got some new bread pans, which would hold six loaves of bread. She usually had enough dough left to make a round loaf. Some of the time this bread would come out of the oven as we came home from school. This loaf she let us have was mostly crust, being round, made in a pie pan. With freshly churned butter it was um’um. We never wasted much time in getting home on baking day.

Mother now had a big oven to bake her bread and a warm place to help it raise. Also a warming oven to keep things warm while cooking the remaining dinner.

She would mix her bread at night, cover it with a cloth, them place it on the warm reservior to raise doing the night. The next morning it would have risen to the top of the pan, ready to make into loaves.

One night the dough came over the top and a big ball of it fell into our hired man’s boot, which he was drying back of the kitchen range. Dad was jealous he thought Mom had done it on purpose. Poor Mom she didn’t know anything about it. Dad teased her about it. “Just like the dough in Lenard’s boot.”

Us kids thought it funny.

Mother had another baby girl (Vida) She only lived a few months. The Fremsteads took care of her but she passed away. We all came doun with “typhoid fever” except Dad and my oldest brother Walter. (Drinking water was the cause.) Mom always thought she could have saved Vida.

Our baths were in a wash tub every Saturday night, with a spit bath inbetween. Our face cloths as they were called, made out of old underwear or old towels. We were lucky to have soap only laundry soap. Toothpaste was salt or baking soda.

One day when I was real small, Mom had me standing on the oven door washing my hands and face. She left to get a towel to dry me. I got hold of the soap. My hands were small and wet and the soap quite soft, from the heat of the stove. The soap slipped out of my hands, on to th hot stove top. I tried to grab it, before Mother got back but every time I got the soap in my hands it would slip away again, going across the hot stove. I burn the middle of my hands very bad. Not living near a doctor Mother used lard on them. Oh, how they hurt. I sat for days with my hands on the cold window panes. I had learned my lesson, the hard way.

Sometimes Dad would like to take me to the prison with him. It usually at lunch time. Dad always said the prisoners liked seeing me. They would ask me who I was? I would tell them I was my daddy’s little lumman. Dad was proud when I told people I’m my daddy’s little lumman”. Even when I was growing, my dad would ask if I was Daddy’s little lumman”

Being English, I couldn’t pronounce the letter “W” I still had my front tooth out. I must have looked funny.

When it was snowing and Dad was marshal, walking his beat. People used to say they could see which way h’d gone, by the size of his foot prints. He was a large man and he had a large foot, size twelve. He’d leave foot prints in the snow.

I have never understood what being English would have to do with Elsie’s childhood inability to pronounce the letter “W,” but I have noticed that within our family a great number of things are ascribed to being English.

Speaking of pronunciation, I used to mispronounce poor little Vida’s name. To me, it looked like it should be pronounced “Vee-da.” Elsie corrected me quickly. The correct pronunciation is with a long “i” sound, as “Vie-da.”

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