We had an
outdoor pump that had to be primed before use and an outdoor toilet called a
privy. A Round Oak coal stove in the living room and a cooking range, coal fired
in the kitchen heated the house. We couldn't afford electricity and had to use
kerosene lamps to read and study by. I slept upstairs (no heat) with an old
carpenter Ed Stanton that was teaching my dad to be a carpenter. He slept on his
back with knees up in the air and mouth open all night. I asked him why and he
said it was to catch flies. He had false teeth which he wore except when he sat
down to eat he took out his teeth and put them in his
pocket. We had to take a couple of warmed bricks wrapped in towels for our feet
to bed in the winter.
Across the tracks was an abandoned apple orchard of about 600 trees. I knew
where all the best apples were Jonathans, Macintosh, Spys and Snow apples. There
were also some black walnut, butternut and hickory nut trees.
We cleared the two acres of rocks left by the glaciers eons ago in Michigan and
planted tomatoes. Large beautiful Ponderosas but never were able to sell any
because everyone else had tomatoes that year. We also raised about 100 Plymouth
We had to walk one mile to the one room school with 8 grades in one room. When
the teacher would call 7th grade Geography or 5th grade Arithmetic every one
could hear the recitations and learn from them.
My dad bought a farmer's old broken down Maxwell car and the farmer towed it to
our house with his 2 horse team. It didn't have electric headlights. They were
carbide that one had to light with a match. The first thing dad did was wire
those headlights for electric power. He overhauled the engine and got the
Maxwell to run.