The handwritten memories of Ethel Raymer Poray were submitted by Sandra Salinas, granddaughter of Ethel Raymer. Sandra notes Ethel Gladys Raymer Poray married Peter Poray. Ethel was born January 14, 1891. Her father was John Frederick Raymer, Jr. ((1859-1941), and mother Nellie Estella Blavelt (1861-1918) from Wolcott. They were married July 3, 1881 in Sodus Center in the presence of Elda L. Gaffney & Rev. Matthew Gaffney, John's father was Frederick Raymer who came from Germany.
Note by typist, Dorathy Luedecke Hardie: this is typed exactly like copy including spelling and punctuation; if something is unclear I have inserted (?).
MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD
By Ethel Raymer Poray
My foreparents on mother's side emigranted to this country in the early days of the New World. They liked the freedom of living and doing as they pleased and to worship their God without the restriction of a denominated government.
They settled for a while in the Connecticut region but finally they took up their permenate home in New York State, where they purchased a tract of land and built them a home. The country was raw and rugged. It was a hard life for a woman as they were confined to taking care of the home and could not travel about as the men did in their work. The winters were very cold and it was a fight for survival. Sometimes there was but little food for them but by careful portinating they would manage to get through the winter. In the spring things would look brighter as there would be fresh greens to use and fresh rabbit meat to add to their scanty menu.
The above was related to the writer by her Grandmother and as she has long past away I am writing from memory what she told to me. She was a direct descendent to the White family that came across on the Mayflower and one child in each descendent has a marked distintion. A nerve in their chin will jump when they are excited. It is of course more noticeable to the child than to anyone else. It is known to each family and many a joke is told about this trait. Father's parents came from Nurberg Germany
When my mother and father was married. They settled in a small hamlet called Lock Berlin. There was eight children born to them. Five girls and three boys. My father and mother worked very hard to raise their children in the straight and narrow path and to give them a good education. They finally purchased an old family home of my fathers father and the family moved to it when I was but a year old in the year of 1892. It has been in the family ever since until our father and mother passed away. Our life on this large general farm was full of adventure. There was all sorts of animals both wild and tame and the children could find fun in either their work or play. Our father raised sheep and a herd of cattle consisting of milk cows from which we derived the milk butter and creamed cheese for our daily use. The butter was made from the rich cream skimmered off the milk which was poured into large pans and set to cool. The cream was kept into a large earthen crock and when it ripened to the right stage it was poured into a large church which had a dasher and handle to raise up and down to make the butter seperate. It took about a half hour of steady dashing to get the butter but the golden butter at last would be there and then the buttermilk was drawn off and cold water put into the churn to wash it out. The butter was then lifted out by a ladel in to a large wooden butter bowel. It was then salted to taste and worked over to press all the water and what buttermilk that might remain into it out. When this was done it was firmely packed into a stone crock or crocks and covered to be used for the family. Sometimes there would be enough to take to the store to barter for groceries which would be needed by the family. The buttermilk was used to make delicious waffles or pan cakes and golden biscuits.
Mother who was a school teacher by profession was also the best home maker for miles around. She cold whip up the most delicious cakes, pies and doughnuts, one could ever put into their mouth. The bakeing was all done on or into a large kitchen wood range. Which my father and brothers thought, took an awful lot of wood. The wood had to be chopped to fit the stove. This wood was trees felled from the forest and hauled by sleds, in the winter time to the farm yard where it was sawed into just the right length and some had to be chopped in order to go into the stove or fireplace. Mother could also make most delicious pies from the apples and berries grown on the farm.
The farm house was a large cobble stone house built by Capt. Jon Swift when he was recruiting and training men for the protection of our shore near Sodus Point. It has four large fireplaces in it. One in each end of the main section of the house and one in the each end of the upper. The uuper rooms are entered by a winding stairway with bannisters leading from the hall which is located in the center of the house. There were seven rooms on the second floor, two master rooms with a smaller one off each, and three smaller bed rooms. On the top landing with the hall is a large room and small one connecting together and led to the upper porch and a large room and small one connecting with the large rooms. The girls share the large bedrooms and the boys had each the small rooms. It was also the family wash room and in the winter time lines were strung up across the back end to hand the washing. It was a very large room 40 x 70. With an attic above for storage. There was also a back room off this where they say they used to keep their oxen. This was of course before my father's time so it is only what was handed down that I know about.
The house and a large red barn with sheds was built upon a large hill and one could look towards the west for miles and also to the north west to Ontario Lake. On the east was a large timber forest. There was close neighbors and all the children would come to our house to play, and in the winter time we kept the hill very icey from riding down with our sleds. We would fasten them together and down we would go, the front and back sled doing the steering. Father had built a large barn and shed at the bottom of this shill on one side of a road, which we slid down. This is where he housed his milk cows. There was a large yard where the cows used to feed around a haw stack, when the weather was mild. Sometimes he would place large wooden boxes about in this and feed the cows when they were being milked. Often we would swipe them and slide down the hill in them going round and round until we hit a stone and flop over. It would make the hill very icy and good old Dad did not appreciate it very much. He often would scatter ashes over it but the children would wash that off with pails of water. One time when we were going down on a sled we went right through the barn yard fence and it sort of took the fun out for awhile as I have some scars still where a piece of splinter went in my knee. When the snow was good and crusty we would get on our sleds by the kitchen window and go down through the fields, for about a mile. The worst of this was, that we had to walk back, so we did not get too many trips out of it. One day as we were riding down there came a little black animal towards us, we did not know what it was until it got very near and then we all started running and screaming, it turned out to be a skunk. He did not get close enough for us to get scented.
We often had sleigh ride parties and home dances. All the young folks would be invited to someones home and we would all bring something for the refreshments, which would be served around twelve oclock. Sometimes we would have an old fashioned square dance with a fiddler who would do the calling. The parents acting as chaperones sitting along the side, and the young folks would dance but often some of the older ones would join in especially to show that they were still young at heart. The first time I ever danced with a boy was at a Barn dance which my brother and his cousin gave, when Father built a new barn. I surely was the high light of my young life. I was very bashful at the time but I soon began to have so much attention by the young men who thought I was cute that I really got to be a very good dancer. My sister who was a couple years younger than I, had hurt her foot so she could not enjoy the danceing that night. Whenever there was a dance or party, she and I always were invited, we would go together with our brother to them as our parents thought we were too young to go out with boys. When we got to the party we were on our own as our brother would have a girl and had to take her home before he would come back for us. We had many a chance to be taken home but we would respect our parents wishes and wait until our brother would return for us. When we got in high school and the other girls and boys were allowed to go out to the school parties, we were then allowed to be escourted by some of the young men. Often we would go double date and it was a lot nicer for the boys to share the expense of the ride to and fro. After leaving school and takeing a business course our lives changed, to the fact, that father did not have the right to tell whom we should have for our friends. Mother was very careful that we met the best people and would allow us to entertain our friends at home. We were allowed to have school mates come and stay all night when we were in grade school and we in turn could go stay at their home. There used to be a weeks celebration called Soldier's Reunion which was held at Margretta Grove near Sodus Point each summer. It was afterwards held at Bonnie Castle which was across the Great Sodus bay and people who attended it rode across on a steam boat. One of the boats was called the Sunbeam and was pioleted by a man by the name of Thomas O'Grady whom we knew and many the time he would let us come up to the pilot house and steer the boat for a spell. He would point out the different spots of interest such as, Le Roy Island, Guarrd Warren's Point and Garfield Isle and many others which names I have now forgotten. Sister Bea and I used to have a couple girl friends which would come and spend the week of the Reunion with us and we would go to this and also attend the dances at Welches Pavillion and also at the Castle when at the Reunion. One night while at the Castle we were danceing and the last boat pulled away from the dock before we would get down to it. We did not know how we would get back across as we knew our folks were waiting for us and would worry but the boat Captain said he would make one more trip and see we got back. We knew we would get a good scolding but we had tried to get the boat and had just missed it. There were others in the same prediament so it was passed over lightly. It never occured again I can assure you.
In the fall of the year the Firemen would have a weeks celebration at Lyons and then we would go to our girl friends home for the week. It was loads of fun and we would meet our friends and take in the shows and ride on the Ferris Wheel. One day my chum and I had a couple of young men with us and we had such a time keeping away from our younger sisters as they were then too young to keep company with boys and would try to tag along. We did not want the boys have to pay their way into the shows, so we hurried on ahead when they had stopped to buy some popcorn and got on the Ferris Wheel they had failed to keep an eye out and thought they could catch up with us, we watched them from on top of the Wheel and they would look all around and peep into every tent as they went past and they could not find us. The boys kept paying for rides and we rode round and round for a long time. Finally we got off and started to find them. They soon spotted us and came running up both as angry as bees. We all had a good laugh at them and both said "You just wait until we tell Mother on you it wont be so funny then." Mother got a big laugh along with us when she was told, so the kid sisters felt quite hurt.
We had a large number of horses on the farm as this was the only kind of machinery used then, and we raised a good many acres of beans berries and corn which had to be culivated. There was a couple orchards of apples, peaches and pears, which had to be sprayed, so it was a great need of keeping a hired man and also in the harvest time extra help was hired. How we did hate it when time for thrashing, having to prepare food for so many men. It seems we could never get them filled, fresh bread, pies and large kettles of potatoes to peel and cook besides other vegetables as my folds were great believers of plenty for every meal. We girls had all those dirty dishes to wash and they surely looked like a hugh mountain. We would take turns each meal, one to wah and one to wipe. It was changed each day so one would not get all the dinner dishes which was at noontime to wash. Sometimes we would have to make up the beds for some of the men who lived too far away from home if they had to thrash the second day. We did not like this very well as then us girls would have to bunk down stairs ??ing room and get up early so as to help with the breakfast. While we were still quite young our task was to drive the cows down a road to the pasture, for the day and then around five oclock we would have to go round them up and bring them back to the born for the night. We had a black dog with a large white spot on his forehead, his eyes was ringed with a golden color and he could pick out the animals that was to come to the barn and if one was missing he would know and would go hunt around for it. If the animal had broken out or had strayed he would come back and bark and coax us to follow so as to find it. It it had got tangled up un the trees or bushes we would soon find out.
One day in July we useually rode the horses down to the creek to water and each had their favorite horse to ride. There was Flora a white mare which we all liked to ride, she was just like a rocking chair so graceful when we galloped her. Black Tom was everybody's pet as he would stand still if you fell off until you clambered back on to his back. Often when he was to be tied in the stall he would run backwards and out the stable for a brief run but always came back when he knew there was some oats waiting for him. Fanny was a deep bay and his mate in the harness. She had a black main and tail. Old Bill was a mean ornery sort of a horse. He had a spaving on one of his back legs and walked stiff favoring that leg. He'd take a bit in his teeth and balk when he was driven. One day we had him hitched onto a two seated berry wagon or carriage and he refused to go ahead. We let him stand for a while then pulled the check rein to the left and turned him completely around until we go him headed straight where we were going he forgot he was balking and we got to the place we wanted to go without any more trouble. He'd take a nip out of you if you got near enough to his head especially when he was in a balking mood. This particular day we had instructions from our father not run the horses as it was very hot. The thrashers were to our farm thrashing out wheat, oats etc. We walked them until out of fathers sight then of course we gave them their heads and they galloped to the bridge over the creek to the gate. We noticed as we went over the bridge some dogs on the bank and then seemed to have cornered something under the bridge, we went to investigate still on our horses and found they had some of Fathe's sheep there, we also say some sheep laying on the hill side all torn and dead. We hastily let the horses drink then we hurried back makeing them gallop as fast as they could go. Father saw us comeing and he was yelling stop running them horses. We paid no heed and when we got close to him we told him about the dogs and sheep. All the men quit thrashing and some being neighbors they all got their shotguns and rushed to the pasture. They shot two of the dogs but the third got away. One of them belonged to the head thrasher but he wouldnot acknowledge it as at that time they did not have to wear a collar. The sheep that got away from the dogs were scattered for miles and had to be rounded up and counted as the government paid for part of the loss with the dog tax collected. the men had to dig a big trench to bury the dead ones. There was over a hundred and was a great loss as they were pure blooded sheep. and their wool was in big demand. The sheep that were bitten had to be treated and the rest were so frightened. Father sold them at a sacrifice to a woman who lived in another township.
One spring morning my sister and I drove the cattle down to the pasture and the creeks were running full as the snow had melted and water was rushing madly towards the lake. The bridge had been fixed with new planks and some of the old ones were laying on the bank. We did not think of the danger and decided to take a ride down stream on one of them. We picked up two poles and I was to stand on one end she on the other. I got on my end and as she touched her foot to the plank she gave it a puch and it spinned around and I landed in the creek. I went down under twice and the third time I managed to grasp a low hanging bush and pulled myself out. She was so scared she could not help me. We did not dare go back home until my clothes dried so I took off my under things and hung them onto bushes in the sun to dry and ran around in just my dress until that dried. The sun was nice and warm and they dried quickly. Mother was worried so she sent our other sister who is four years older to find out where we were, as it was long past noontime. When she arrived were just about to start home. We never got along with her and would not tell what had kept us but she was right there when we told our mother what had happened. We got a good hard scolding and had to promise not to try that again. We never got along with our older sister as she would tell things on us that was not so and so we never wanted her to play with us. She and our brother was always putting the blame on us when things went wrong in order for them to escape being punished.
The woods surrounding the country side was full of beautiful spring flowers and we would have loads of fun finding hills of the Mayflower, Dutchmen't Britches, Addertongues and white and red lillies. There was all kind of trees such as maple, beech, birch and basswood with its white blossom, also the Pussy willows which grew near the creeks and the elders, with their tassels hanging. The elderberries and black longberry grew thickly and many a time we would enjoy picking them for our mother to can to make into pies. One of my favorite pies was the elderberry.
There was all kinds of apples grown. Kings, Bellflowers, Seeknofarther, Sweet boughs, Talman Waggoner, Rip in Pippen, snow apple, Baldwin and Russets, Jennethan, Sheepnos Spitzenburgh and Jellflower also Northern Spy. We children used to pick up the apples many a day in the fall and when we were going to school it was our task when we got home. Saturdays was always an apple picking up day as Father dried them in a large evaporator. Every evening we would have to go out to the evaporator and slice apples to be loaded onto the kiln to dry. These evaporators was a large room where pareing machines were set up on one side of a large table with a slatted belt that would carry the peelings and cores away and the peeled apples would roll down to women who sat on chairs next to the table and they would trim off any skin or blemish left on the apple. The apple was then thrown into a square hole in the table and carried by a belt to the bleacher where brime stone fumes bleached the apple so they would not turn brown. The apples then went into a bin to the slicer. After they were sliced they were spread onto a kiln which is a large square room with a slatted floor over heat pipes from a furnace and they were dried. The slices was turned three or four times by a man with a large shovel. When they were dried enough they were shoveled into a bin to be shoveled into bags and in turn sent to a dealer to be marketed. Other times the best apples were picked off the trees and they were barreled or crated to be sold as fresh fruit. In this century the apples are all picked and placed into boxes and trucked to the processing plants or market. Many goes to the processing plants for the makeing into slices for pie or made into apple sauce for babies and adults. Some are sliced and packed into large cans and frozen to be sold to the large pie makeing plants. The old evaporators which used to dry the apples are now gone and these new ways of preserving has taken their place. Just like the automobile has taken over the horse and carriage.
The women folks of the family used to have a horse called Whipsey which was bought for driving on the road. We had a bright and shiny top buggy with bright red wheels and rubber tiers. This took the place of Old Tom after hye had died. We used to have lots of fun with that old fellow and never had a whip to make him go fast. Often we would get scolded by our Father for we would race some of the neighbors when we were comeing from town after we got the groceries which was at least once or twice a week. If we wanted him to go we would just reach out and give his tail a tug and he knew we wanted him to go faster and we would generally beat anything on the road. The roads were hard packed dirt and would the dirt and gravel fly. The neighbors got as big a kick out of seeing the old fellow run as we did in makeing him. We never tipped over either. One night when we were comeing from Youth Fellowship meeting it was quite dark and the moon was the only light, Tom stopped and would not go when we tried to get him too. We got out the carriage and there was a limb from a tree blown into the road. We could have gone by it but the horse knew that somebody might not see it and run into it, we got out and moved it, got back in and he started on with a slight whinny as if he was relieved. He would always bring us back safely. Our horse Whipsey was once a race horse and she had slim graceful legs. She was a trotter and made a very nice horse to drive. Just enough pep to make one keep on the watch and not sleep while driveing. She was gentle and us girls could put her harness on without any trouble. She had never done any hard work and when we were not useing her she was idle. One day father came in the house and told mother he was going to try to culivate the garden and a few beans with her. Of course us girls hated to have him take and make a work horse of her but she said hush he'll soon bring her back to the barn. We had some hoeing to do in the garden as we used to keep that cleaned from weeks. We were weeding right near where he was useing the horse to culivate. Our next door neightbor was just over the fence and had been talking with us and knew we did'nt like the idean. Father hitched Whipsey to the culivator which she submitted and picked up the reins to start down the row. He said Gidap and she started off just like she did on the road, with a trot. Father could not get her to slow down to a walk and she snaked him along on a trot too. We just rolled on the ground with laughter and our neighbor did too. Father got back to the end of the row and stopped her, unhitched and without saying a word took her back to the barn. We did not let him see us laugh and nobody said a word about it. He did not seem to be mad about the incident but we were afraid if we let him see we cared he'd sell her although he had given her to us when he bought her.
Our oldest sister was married and she lived in town near the High School. Sister Bea and I had started going to High School the winter before and we had a room with a woman on Smith street. We found bed bugs in the room and so we would not stay. We found another place and we had made arrangement to furnish food for our meals and the landlady was to prepare our meals for us. She had a son and an adopted daughter. The boy was older and used to tease his little sister about her pronounceation and we used to take her part. Like all boys he just enjoyed getting into an argument so we got along famously. There was an older girl who was in High School who roomed there also. She used to have a boy friend called Red and he would sometime spend the evening at the apartment. We would gather around the piano and sing. One night he lost his cap and had to go home bareheaded. One of the other boys had hid it on him and he had to come after it the next day. The next winter we stayed at our sisters home on Carlton Street our next door neighbors were girls of our own age which went to the High school, we would have loads of fun every night after school hours. The two Mitchell girls and the treel Mills girls who lived across the corner. Mrs. Mills used to make home baked bread and often she would invite us over to have strawberries and fresh bread. They raised berries to sell and were they nice.
On Saturday a bunch of us used to go to Williamson to the skateing rink it was quite a pasttime. It was called Cottrell's rink and was over a Hitch-barn where they used to rent out horse and buggys to people who came to town and had to get out in the country. Farmers used to leave their horses there to keep them out of the weather when they came to get their supplies and spend the evening in town. The barn burned down and now it is a parking lot and an implement store is built on the place where the barn was.
The High School we attended was in Sodus and in the spring and summer we used to take the Sodus Bay Trolly into the High School. We would have to walk a couple miles to get the trolly and ride three miles to school. It meant we had to get up real early eat our breakfast and then hike it over the several hills to catch the 8:30 trolly. Students from Sodus Point and all the way up as far as the village limits would have students passes, which was bought at the beginning of the Semester and lasted until school was out for the summer vacation. When we arrived at the stop where we had to get off, our faithful dog was waiting to greet us and would escourt us home after he had put up his paw for us to greet him. His name was Don and a beautiful yellow and white Collie, looked a bit like Lassie the dog which we now see on T. V. He could climb up a ladder and many a time we used to play Hide Go Seek and he would be right on our heels when we tride to hide in the hap loft. He knew he was to keep quiet and so we did not mind when he hid with us. One night our father was taken ill and as we did not then have a telephone, we had to walk past a large woods to get to the neighbor's house who did have one, we could use, to call the family doctor. The doctor would have to drive seven miles to come for the call for our sick father but he would not let us down. We all miss-him (the collie) Mother was a very interesting woman. She used to like to take a walk in the woods with her children and would point out the different kinds of trees and vegitation. She could name each and explain the difference to us. I often recall the flowers and beech, maple, oak, willow and bass wood trees. There were a great number of beech and in the fall it was sort of fun to gather these three cornered nuts that would fall. The squirrels were very interested in these nuts and if one would sit quietly on a log they would see them gathering them. They would take them to a hole in a tree or would bury them in a hole which they would carefully hide from any other animal so as to have for the long winter ahead. Often we would find mushrooms that grew in the forest and in the pasture lands. We were told the difference in the ones that were edible and the ones that were poisonus. The ones we found in the woods were cone shaped and looked mush like a sponge. The ones we found in the pasture was flat oval on a short stem and would be a light petal pink underneath. The poison ones were white with a ring around the stem. The hillsides were often covered with wild strawberries and in the edge of the woods were black longberries. Often we would come back to our home with a pail brimming with these delicious berries.
Father was always too busy to take these jaunts with us so it was mother who would take the time so that is the reason why she is mentioned so much. He always thought it was a waste of time and energy which could be put to better use in working the orchards and field crops, letting his children grow up without his personal supervision. That is where so many fathers lose out in the confidence of their children and they soon outgrow the need for him finding what they most need in the help of others. I have often thanked God for an understanding mother. When she died it was if our own hearts had died too. If there was anyone sick in the neighborhood she was the one they would turn to for quidance and help, although she had the care of her own eight little ones. Five girl and three boys meant big task is cooking, mending and washing as well as teaching.
She raised geese, turkeys and chickens and always found the time to set the broody hens so as to have young broods of each around. Father used to raise enough wheat, oats and corn to feed all the stock as well as poultry. It was remarkable what good luck she had in raiseing the little ones. She would sort out the fresh eggs enough for setting and would place them in under the broody hen and cover her over with a crate for a few days to the other hens would not distrube her. She kept water and feed near so the hen could reach it. Every so many hours the hen would stand up and stretch look down at the eggs and turn them around with her bill. This would five the eggs a chance to cool a bit, just before time for hatching which was twenty-one days, the hen would often be let out from confinement and would go dust herself or wet down her feathers then faithfully go back and set over the eggs. Just as soon as the chick would start pecking their way out of the egg she would be clucking away like a mother singing a lullabye to her child. After they all came out of the egg, the hen was moved to a coop with a runway for the baby chicks to get out in the sun and scratch around. This coop was built with a peeked roof with slats across the front a board was placed across this a night to keep the hen and chicks safe from prowling animals which would kill them if they could reach them, but dureing the day they would be fed and watered in the runway which had a screen nailed over the top.
The turkeys always made their nests in the woods or along a fence row where they were hid very carefully. The hen turkey would watch very careful that no one could see her steal away to her nest and after laying her egg she would scratch leaves and dried sticks or grass over them, when she had laid enough for a setting she would set on them just like the hen did in the chicken family. It was a proud day for her when the baby turkeys hatched. The old Gobbler would act like he was neglected and would sort of pout around as the mother turk would not trust him with the babies as he would peck them to death. He surely was a mean old fellow when he was courting his mate. If anybody came near he would stick out his head and gob-ble and fan out his tail feathers. Often we had to carry a stick to chase him or he would peck and beat you with his wings. The geese was most interesting. They fed mostly on tender grass and needed lots of water. They did not require as much dry feed as the other poultry but when the young goselings were hatched we would five them a wet mash in a sort of trough and they would gobble it down and drink lots of water also. The old Gander was sort of a mean one, he would chase you and bite, hold and beat one with his powerful wings. You would get black and blue if he did, so we would always keep our distance and see that he did too. One time one of the young ganders broke his leg and we put a splint on so he could get around and he got so very affectionate that he would follow us around like a puppy dog. If we mowed the lawn and would sit down to rest he would climb into our laps put his head in under our arms and settle down as quiet as could be and how he hated for us to get up to finish our work. He hated our younger brother and if he was outside playing, he would sneak up behind him and give him a pinch on the seat. Our brother would holler like everything and we would have to run and rescue him. It was real laughable to see him do this as we knew he was jealous just like people who cannot stand to see some one else being made a lot of. The young ducklings was so very cute. They were just like lumps of butter running around on little legs. We just loved to feed them hunks of bread soaked in sour milk. They would gobble it down so very fast and sometimes would even take your finger with it, which did not hurt as their bills were smooth. They loved a pond of water to swim in and we would enjoy watching them follow the leader, which was generally a gander, who would quack and then start out as much as to say come on gang.
We never misssed the life in town as there was so very much to do and see in the beautiful country side, rolling hills as far as the eyes could see woods and towards the north one could see Lake Ontario with its blue water sometimes there would be crests of white caps when there was a storm comeing. In the fall of the year one could often see water spouts hanging down from the sky like big black tails, if one looked very closely you could see the whiling water being funneled up into them.
One time which I remeber clearly was a hurricane which ripped through one of our apple orchards tearing out seven or eight of the large trees. This was a big loss as sometimes they were torn way out of the ground but some could be saved by being raised up with a dirrick hauled by horses and then braced, the exposed roots being covered with dirt. Everyone used to have lightening rods on top of their house and barns to protect them from being struck by lightening. One time during one of these storms the lilghtening came down the rod and followed the ground killing a large pig which was in the pen nearby. We were always told to never stand under a tree during an electical storm as it very often struck a tree and if you were under it would kill you. It is wise to heed this as often for fear of getting wet we will seek the shelter of a large tree or anything that will keep us dry. One time a man and his son was hoeing corn on a hillside and it started to rain with considerable lightning flashes and thunder, they were nearly finished in the hoeing and only had a short ways to go before they would. The father stopped his hoeing and called to his son who was a wee bit ahead of him "Come on son lets get out of here before we get soaked." The young man said "Go ahead and I'll be along as soon as I get to the end of my row" he was anxious to get the job finished. The father went on to the barn and suddenly there was a flash of lightning and looking towards the field he saw his son struck by a large bot of lightening killing him. The father never got over the shock and in a few days he was stricken with a heart attack and died. Everyone said he was already dead from the shock and grief of seeing his son killed.
One evening while my brother, sister and I was bringing the cows home from the pasture, there was a lightening storm and it struck a large pine tree along the fence line just as we were passing. The bolt knocked us down but we were not hurt only scared and after that we would have a queer feeling in our stomach when ever there was an electric storm coming up. It can surely do queer things. A man and his wife was asleep in an upstair bedroom a bolt of lightening came down the chinley smashed their bedstead into bits of kindling and never hurt them a bit for (??? page is cut off)
Everything seems to be so interesting in the spring of the year. This especially true on the farm. The baby lambs are born as well as calves and baby pigs. The trees start to bud out and the green grass to grow. It seems there is something new to see every day.
There was an old gentleman who used to go around to the different farms to shear the sheep. His name I recall was John Glover a very interesting man to talk too. He was very adapt to the job of shearing the sheep and one could watch him in facination. He used a hand shears and would hold the sheep down by keeping it's head under his arm and would shear the whole fleece off without even taking a nip of the sheeps skin. The fleece was rolled up and tied in a square bundle several fleeces together. This wool was then sold to a wholesale buyer to be cleaned and carded and shipped to a place where it was made into yarn for woolen garments. The sheep looked very funny with it's wool all gone but it was not long before it would grow out again and would be just as think. If the wool was not cut it would shed out and be lost to the people who needed it for yarn.
The same thing is done only by plucking. Ducks and geese feathers which are used for pillows are plucked out by the people who grow them for their feathers. These are the soft downy ones that grow around their breasts and back. These feathers would be lost for they would be shed by the ducks and geese. The ducks and geese lay their eggs in the pond if they are not kept locked in their pens until after they have laid their eggs which is in the forenoon. It is lot's of fun to gather them as they are so much larger than the hen eggs and the shell is a pearly white and thicker than that of the hens or turkey eggs. Often a hen will hide her nest and after a while she will hatch out a whole flock of tiny little chicks and then she will come out from hideing to show them off and to teach them to scratch for worms and insects. In order to keep her from wandering off and the rats or foxes catch them we would shut her in a coop and she would be fed and watered also the baby chicks would have feed to eat and they could scratch for bugs and worms in safety. The baby chicks seem to know how to scratch for food as soon as they are out of the egg shell. It is very interesting to watch them when it is time for them to hatch. They will peck a tiny hole in the shell and gradually as they get the strength peck it until it breaks apart and ememrge. They are sort of wet and weak at first but finally they get all dried off and fluffy down is all over them. They resemble little balls of cotton with legs and a head. Some of the baby chicks are yellow and some are black and white.
It is lots of fun to walk along a creek or pond and see the frogs leap into the water and swim along to a log or lily pad. To peer into the clear water to see fish swimming around and to catch crabs as they swim backwards. Boys and girls who live in the city miss all these things and they do not have the chance to watch natures wonders and see her beautiful wild flowers growing. That is why I thank God for the wonderful childhood I have had and for the understanding parents given to me. While we are young we take all these tings for granted. It is too bad that we have to grow old and become a Mother ourselves to understnad what our parents gave us and too late to say Thank You.
Contributed by Sandra Salinas and typed by Town of Sodus Editor Dorathy Hardie. All spellings and punctuation are as in the original. Thank you in advance for directing all questions about persons that Ethel mentions to the Office of the Wayne County Historian.
Copyright © 2001 Office of the Wayne County Historian
Copyright © 2001 Sandra Salinas
Coding Copyright © 2001 Dorathy Luedecke Hardie/ M. Magillk
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