Monday, June 17, 2013

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 21: Bees, Dogs, Chickens

To read this project from the beginning, click here.

It’s hard to believe, but we have come to the final installment of Elsie Crocker’s manuscript. This post transcribes the last two pages.

We moved closer to Boise. Here Dad got us settled before, going to Portland Oregon, to work in the shipyards. A war was going on, World War One. The pay was pretty good.

This place was a lot smaller than Shaws place. Dad got a lot of bees, about twenty or thirty swarms of bees. Dad got these bees ready before he left. He even put starters in the hives for the bees to build on. The starters. were a wooden slat with some honey comb across the top. The bees would fill in the rest and fill it with honey, some of the swarms did so well he put double decker tops on the hives. We had a clover lawn and ran bare footed most of the time, so you can imagine how many stings we got.

Walter Underwood, Sr. in his beekeeping gear several years later, in Oregon.

We had a lot of honey, we ate honey on everything. Sometimes the swams would split, if they had two queens. It was too crowed for two queens. The bees before leacing would swam on the out side of the hive. It would look real black with them, when they were ready to leave they would swarm in the air, making a round cylinder circle. Bill and I would try to stop them by throughing up rocks or dirt in the air. We didn’t want to loss these bees. Mother saw us one day She yelled at us to quit doing that as they may light on us. Where ever the queen stopped the rest stopped also.

Once in a while Bill would find a swarm in one of our trees. We would let our dad or neighbor. where they were. They would get an empty hive and try to shake some of the bees into the hive, hopeing to get the queen. The rest of the bees will follow the queen. They would leave the hive there until the next morning. Nine out of ten the swarm was in the hive, then they took the hive and put it with the others.

Dad wore a fine net screentype hat around his head. A cloth was fastened to the bottom of the screen and fell around his shoulders. He also wore long gloves. Some time he would get stung anyway. Did he look awful! He would swell up real bad. He never went to the doctors, but I’m sure he should have. Now days we get shots. Some people even die with bee stings.

At this place Mother had to sell the bees, hives and all. She just couldn’t take care of them.

We had some good neighbors close to us, I had a real good friend ashort way up the road. She had a married sister, with a very small baby.

My friend’s name was Roxy, her brother’s name was Hazel, a funny name for a boy, my mother always thought.

Roxy and I was together a lot. She started me to crochet. We were sitting under a shade tree, one day, she tried to teach me. I just couldn’t get the hang of it. But the next day I was out there by my self and made a lot of this lace “mile a minute” it was called. I could not make it that fast, but I had got the idea how it was done. I went into the house to show my mom what I had accomplished. Mother asked “Was Roxy here I never saw her?” No I did it by myself. I said. I just couldn’t make my fingers going and hold the thread in the other hand, after I had it figured out, it was easy.

Roxy had a big black and brown dog which thought could sing. We would find a nice shady place and Roxy would bring some dried peaches, her dog and a mouth organ. She would play the mouth organ and the dog would sing. We didn’t know then it hurt the dogs ears. He was howling not singing, he wasn’t held there or tyed, he could leave any time, but he didn’t. He looked very professional and cute. He would sit on his hind legs, with his front legs up, just like he was posing. I’m glad we didn’t have him sing the whole time we were there.

Roxy only took a few peaches a day, we would eat them. They were so good. Well, one morning Rozy’s mother called my mom and asked “How was Elsie feeling? Mother said “Just fine, why”? Roxy’s mother told her Roxy and I had eatened a half flour sack of dried peaches. Roxy was real sick. The peaches had swollen up in Roxys stomach. Roxy got well in a couple of days but that was the end of our afternoon dog shows.

Here is where we had a lot of watermelons too. Some one was stealing them so my brother Walter and the neighbor boy Hazel decided to caught them or to scare them away so they made some buck shots. Then that night we went out and layed doun in the water melon patch or near by. We waited and waited for a long time We got cold and damp. We finally gave up. Dis appointed no one showed up. Dad said he was glad That buck shot might of hurt someone.

We had chickens on this ranch, one afternoo it rained (as we would say) cats and dogs. The chickens were getting wased away. Mother yelled go fast and get the chicken coope door open or we will lose a lot of the small chickens, Mother and I was gathering them up in our aprons as fast as we could. It was really coming doun, I was running back and forth, trying to keep Mother from getting so wet. Well I stepped on a big clencher nail, which a nail with three sides for a point. It is so hard to get out once it gets in. Poor Mom had to get this out of my foot without hurting me to much.

And that is the abrupt end to Elsie’s manuscript, or at least my copy of it. When she first completed it, my dad, who was a printer at the time, made and bound several copies and distributed them to relatives. The copy from which I have been transcribing is not one of those bound copies. At one time it was stapled, but the staple has long since disappeared. Some day I would like to compare it to one of the bound copies to make sure that the pages are still in the correct order and that none are missing.

As you can see, this manuscript ends before the Underwood family leaves Idaho. Although I do not have the rest of the story in Elsie’s own words, I will soon post an entry telling the rest of the story as I know it.

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