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LOLA GAMBLE CLYDE: Well, John Bond talked about it, about that there was afault thatran from St. Maries on down along the Potlatch, along the Potlatch Canyon and that it runs on down to the Salmon River. And Pm not ageologist so 1 really don't know all about it. But one day we stood on the rim of the Little Potlatch Canyon and he told me sort of, along there -along the Big Potlatch. And he says ere is afault there that runs from St. Maries to the Salmon River. Now that would be an interesting thing. I don't think John Miller talked about that in his book, did he?
SAM SCHRAGER: No, I don't think so.
No. That would be an interesting thing to look up about, wouldn't it?
Yes. I've heard about those ice caves too. I've heard that there are some rightbetween Troy and Kendrick.
Yes, I've heard about that too. Well, it seems that there's this geological faultthat runs along there. And Ithink that might be interesting because I'm not very good at this earth sciences, you know, and I think that's something the kids would be very interested in exploring,- about how this fault runs right along through their country.
SAM: I want to ask you about the play parties.
Oh, yes! The play parties. Well, it was customary on Friday evening in the ruralschools. With the coming of the pioneers, there was very little entertainment. There were no shows, there were no cars, there was no television, there was no radio. So they all had to make their own fun. So each person brought to the community their own ethnic background. The people from different countries brought the singing games of their land. And the people coming here, of course, to this country - they came from other states that had been settled. And each one brought in various forms of pioneer games and that was one of the chief forms of amusement.
It was the Rathaus of those days. You went down to the schoolhouse - you didn'tchoose their partners, you know. And this has been going on, of course, since the days of Adam and Eve, you know. So they had all kinds of games they'd play and most of them were something about choosing partners. And if you weren't allowed to dance, at least they could swing them around alittle bit. And that served its purpose, you know. ,of course, And some of the games they played werefHappy is the Miller Boy who lives by the null, and the wheel goes around of its own free will. One hand in the hopper and the other in the sack. And we' 11 all turn together and we' 11 all turn back. Everybody reverses and the boy that's next to the girl grabs him a partner.
And another one went like this: "We're sailing East, we're sailing West, we'resailing over the ocean and say young man, if you want to get awife - you've got to be quick in the motion." And they grabbed the girl nearest them and away they went. And of course, there was "Skip to My Lou My Darling" with all its various verses. There must be forty-six verses to it all together. And everybody that came from adifferent section of the country could add afew verses as it was sung in their country.
How was "Skip to My Lou" played? Do you remember?
Yes. They all got in abig circle and you chose partners. And you stood and heldhands in this circle. And they sang about "My wife wears anumber ten shoe, my wife wears anumber ten shoe, my wife wears anumber ten shoe, Skip to my Lou my darling." And then you took ahold of your girlfriend and you swung her in acircle round and round and round, you know. And then they'd get in abig circle again and then when it came to "We' 11 all turn together and we' 11 all turn back," one stepped ahead - the boy would step ahead and the girl would fall back. And that gave each a new partner. Um-hum. And they played lots of other choosing partner games. That was the best. And it was achance for the young people to meet together and have fun under the very watchful eyes and chaperonage of the old folks.
SAM: Now they did this without music? They didn't have music?
LC: They sang. And they all mostly sang. Of course, in some of the very early, eventhe earliest people brought some forms of music, like violins. And some schoolhouses , about the first thing they would buy would be a little reed organ. And with someone pumping on the organ you got alittle rhythm, alittle beat to it, you know. But if they didn't have anything they could still sing and clap, you know, clap in rhythm and that was all they needed. And when young people get together, you know, they can entertain themselves without much artifica. music and things. And they played guitars even in those days.
SAM: Did they? Oh,yes, lots of them had guitars and they would play guitars and sing.Un-huh. But I thought when they called it play parties, this is to mean that it isn't adance, is that right?
Oh, well, no. It was these play party games were - there were other games toothat they played. They would play games like "Spin the Platter" and they'd get out and^« twirl apie pan around on the floor. And then they'd call out the name of some girl and she'd run, see if she could catch it. And if she caught it why she maybe would get aprize. Or if she didn't catch it then she had to be the twirler for the next game. And they played'charades"and everybody would act out something, you know. And you acted out different games. And they would play - they'.;* play games like - and if you could guess it that would be fun. And if not you had to pay aforfeit. And some of the forfeits, you know, would be like kissing games. Some very pretty girl, she would be in great demand and she'd have to give aforfeit of kissing some of the boys there. That caused great hilarity and great fun.
SAM: That was OK?
LC: That was OK. Yes, that was just fine. Even in those days. So you see they hada little - they had alittle something going on in those days (laughs) But I thought that in some places they played these play party games instead of dancing. They didn't approve of the regular kind of dances. Yes. Well, that was right. You could always get by playing "Skip to My Lou" and London Bridges Falling Down'" and "Happy is the Miller Boy" if they wouldn't allow you to dance. At least you could play these games and'you got to swing, your partners and girl in your arms tonight" was just about the same whether you were dancing "Black Bottoms" or if you were playing "Miller Boy."
SAM: What's "Black Bottoms?"
(laughs) Oh, that was some kind of adance they used to dance back many yearsago. Something like - what do they call 'em now? What are the dances the kids do now? It isn't Watusi anymore is it? No - and its not Charleston. That was in my age. I belonged to the flapper age and everybody was out doing the Charleston, you know. But now do they do the Big Apple? No, that's out of style too.
SAM: No, they just stand there and move around.
LC: They just stand there and make motions - make suggestive motions - lets put itthat way. They just stand there and go through suggestive motions.
SAM: Well, now, this was usually associated with the schoolhouse?Yes, ah yes. Of course, they did meet in each others homes too. But the schoolhouse had more room and you had more freedom. These schoolhouses generally had little better lights than they had in their own private homes. Candlelight and one little kerosene lamp weren't very conducive to big crowds. But the schoolhouse often had agasoline lantern or something like that to light it up. And the young people then are like the young people now - they didn't need too much light. They enjoyed it anyway. And who are we to say who had the most fun.you know. 5AM: Do you think they had lots of fun in those days?
LC: Oh yes! I yes, I have abunch of letters from folks I taught fifty years agoevery one of them was telling me how much they miss the good old times they had in the good old days. The good parties that they use to have. And that the schoolhouses were in use every day of the week. Saturday night they had their big play parties and on Sunday they had Sunday school.
Did - would this mean say every Saturday night people would get together?
Oh, just practically - yes - practically. They'd have surprise parties at eachother's houses too. if the schools got too busy with their scheduled things then people would open their homes and the young folks and the old folks and the little folks would go to each others houses and have a party.
SAM: Would these sometimes last all night?
Oh I think so - yes. I can remember getting drifted in in one of my early schoolteaching days. I remember the snow drifted so badly we couldn't^ Some if we had wanted to so we stayed all night and went home in the morning. You know the song about "and we danced all night to bread daylight and go home with the girls in the morning." So they had little all night parties in those days.
Was it usually during the winter?
Usually in the winter because in the summer everybody was concerned withputting in crops and harvesting the crops and that sort of thing. They didn't have time for much sociability.
SAM: So this made it a way of getting together, passing the time?That's right. For the long winter evenings it broke the monotony. Right. Now were there other thii«E that would be apart of the program besides the play
LC: Oh, yes - some - yes sometimes the schools would have what they called a"basketsupper and all the girls made pretty baskets and brought them. And it was sort of acharity thing. If they needed some new records or if they needed avictrola or if they needed even just some new lamps. They would have abenefit and the girls would bring suppers and the boys would have to bid on them - on the baskets, to see who would get to eat with the girl of their choice. And the money would go to the school. And they had "pie suppers." Every girl would bake a pie and bring them. Much spirited bidding among the married men as well as the single men. And woe to the man feat didn't buy his own wife'spie! I'll tell you, that was bad, that was bad. And those were some of the things.
Well, now lets say they were going to have aplay party night at school. Wouldthey have things going on that night at the school before -?
Yes, yes. Often the school children would start out with their program. They'dhave like a little Thanksgiving program, maybe. And each would have a little recitation, maybe a little play about the coming of the Pilgrims - about why we should be thankful. And when that was over,then the other folks would shove back the chairs and maybe play singing games, as they called them. Or maybe play some play party games and they'd have lunch and then they'd go home. And that was the social life of the rural schools.
SAM: Were singing games the same as play party games?
Yes. The singing games were - well, they were the onesAyou sang to andplay party games could be anything like "Spin the Platter" and'Post Office" and "Musical Chairs", or "Cross Questions and Silly Answers" and all those kind of games where you didn't sing. The guessing games and that sort of thing or the singing games.
SAM: That could be play party games
LC: Oh, yes, yes. In fact lots of people call play party games - they think of itonly in terms of singing games. But that's not so, they were lots of other party games where you didn't necessarily sing. Like "Musical Chairs" and like "Spin the Platter," "Forfeits." Anything where you had to guess something, and get it wrong, then that was the paying of a forfeit for being wrong.
SAM: Where did these plays come from that these kids would put on?Oh, well, sometimes they would make them up and those were the best of all, if they had alittle history that they were interested in and could write alittle pilgrim play. And some people could be the Indians and some pilgrims, and others something else, you know. And that they wrote their own and what they thought they said. That would show alot of imagination and creativity. And they learned to spell, incidentally, and use proper grammar and then they'd dramatize it. And put it on for the benefit of their folks. Sometimes they'd just learn pieces that they learned regularly in school. Generally there were little verses that had agood moral teaching to them, you know. And often they learned pieces like "Little Boy Blue" and so on from their literature books. And then they would - whoever got to know them the best and could speak them the best - they would get to elocute them for their parents, for the enjoyment of their parents at the program - at the school program.
SAM: Did they ever put on "melo-dramers"?
Oh, yes, yes. Sometimes the young people of the community if they were ambitiousand felt the need of getting together, why they would have plays. And there was a publishing company called the Sam French Company, and they turned out aregular line of plays to be put on by rural schools. Didn't take much scenery. It didn't take much costuming, and generally they were funny ones, you know, that would appeal to the audience and send you home laughing. What about the feed? Did they have abig feed when they had aplay party night?
LC: Oh yes, yes. And they often had - yes sometimes, generally sandwiches andcookies, and maybe cake, and coffee. Generally always coffee and that would be - sometimes the communities would get together, maybe for New Year's Day. Christmas Day they didn't very often get together but Thanksgiving and New Year's many of the communities made a regular habit of putting on abig Thanksgiving dinner at the schoolhouse and everybody come. And New Years was another favorite time for them all to get together and eat abig New Year's dinner and then dance in the evening - and the afternoon and evening - and visit. And those were good things to do with roads drifted and snow blowing. And people were very limited in how far they could go for a good time.
Who was it that decided if there was going to be a night party? Would it be theteacher?
Ithink generally it was the teacher that promoted it. That was part of their all-aroundbit of public relations - would be to see that the young folks had achance to get together and visit. And she was generally official chaperone. She and the school board would be the official chaperones for these parties and things. And that was kinda the way it worked out.
What would they call the evening? An entertainment or aparty or what?
Yes,yes. School entertainment. Sometimes they called it the school program. Andsometimes it was just "we're going down to the school for alittle party." And sometimes there were women's clubs. Later on there got to be women's clubs in the communities and then the women's clubs were great at sponsoring some kind of adoings. And entertain their husbands, and the friends and the young people. But in the very oldest times, in the very earliest beginnings, I think it was largely sponsored by the teachers. Another thing they did almost before - before I was ateacher in the community - was having taffy pulls. And that was another chance for young people to get together, and socialize. And it didn't matter if theywere pulling candy or what they were doing. It was an opportunity to meet and^get acquainted. And so they served a real purpose, I think.
SAM: Did people of all ages dance in the play party games?
LC: Yes, they - well it was mostly the young people but it just depended on thecommunity. In some of the communities the old people came too and they'd.et out - especially where they danced square dances, like "Virginia Reel" and all the old "swing 'em on the corner like you're swinging on the gate" - all the old dances where there were callers. There'd be a caller and then they'd generally had a violin and an organ, the school organ. And they'd have somebody who could play the fiddle. And they'd dance. And they did that from the beginning, I think, of homestead days, because someone wrote a very lovely poem about the boy playing the fiddle so "she could dance on the puncheon floor." And a puncheon floor, of course, is a sod floor where the sod's just been turned up. So that would kind a hard dancing but I guess they did it. Yah. Yah.
SAM: How long did they continue to have the school entertainments?
LC: Well, until the schools were consolidated. They did it up to the very last. Andthat's the one thing the rural people miss more than anything else - was it took away the center of their social life. The life of the community had centered around the schools - the dancing, the square dancing, the play party games, the entertainments marking the seasons, the interest in what their children were doing. So all those things entered into it. Now here comes my - now turn it off a minute, here comes my sister and Tom.
SAM: Well sure. It doesn't matter, it doesn't make any difference. Its better toput it down that way because then we get it the way you say it instead of - form acircle, everybody holding hands,and then you would start and sing: "Happy is the Miller Boy who lives by the mill, the wheel goes around of its own free will. One hand in the hopper, and the other in the sack. The ladies step foreward and the gents fall back." And that way you would change partners. And then you'd go around the circle again, say the same thing: "Happy is the Miller Boy who lives by the mill, the wheel goes around of its own freewill. One hand in the hopper, and the other in the sack. Ladies step forward and the gents fall back." Then you change partners. But in the meantime there'd be somebody who was "It" would be in the middle, and he would jump in and try to grab a partner so that the one who lost his partner would have to come into the center.. Then sometimes the singers would change it, like -a- "ladies step forjvard", you see or sometimes the gent would step forward. Sometimes the lady would step for ward. And that would give you a different partner. That was "Happy is the Miller Boy." And lets see, what else do we have? Well, "Skip to My Lou." You have that here already.
EGW: I think you had partners for that. You stood in a circle but each had apartner.And then somebody would be "It" that's in the middle. And that would be:"Skip, skip, skip to my Lou. Skip, skip, skip to my Lou. Skip, skip, skip to my Lou. Skip to my Lou my darling."
LC: One girl was the skipper and she'd get out and skip around and then she'd stopin front of the boyfriend. And then she chose him and they'd swing and then everybody'd swing. Isn't that right?
EGW: I think so. And so then, "Gone again, what'll I do. Gone again, what'll I do.Gone again, what'll I do. Skip to my Lou my darling." That would be if they lost their partner, you see. And they had many, many verses. They'd make up verses,too.
SAM: Well, how did you loose your partner?
EGW: Well, somebody would come out from the center. You'd have this "It" person inthe center who had no partner. And they would come out and get your partner from you. And then you would be "It."
LC: And you'd have to go on and dance with somebody else then.
EGW: Then a similar one to that would be "Pig in the Parlor."
LC: I hadn't thought about that.
SAM: I've never heard of it.
EGW: And one - everybody formed in a circle excepting one who was chosen to be the"Pig" and the "Pig" had to stand in the middle of this circle and then you sang: "My father and mother were Irish, and I was Irish too. We bought awee piggy for six pence and it was Irish too. We kept the pig in the parlor;we kept the pig in the parlor; we kept the pig in the parlor and it was Irish too." Now at acertain spot there you all changed partners and - or did you do"a grand right and left?' That's it.
SAM: What's"a grand right and left?"
EGW: Get up here Dad and we'll show him what a grand right and left is.
TOM WAHL: It's the same thing as it is in square dances.
EGW: Un-huh. You stand in a circle. . .
TW: Right hand - get up-
LC: We'll be the girls, yeh.(sings) Right hand to your partner, your left hand to your neighbor.
TW: Your right hand to your partner. Yah,yah. Your left hand to your neighbor.
LC: (sings) "And your right hand to the next one you meet and then all promenade."
SAM: Oh, I see, I see.
TW: We did it a little wrong because the girls were always - they were standing wrong.The girls would go this way, and you would go that way and take her hand next. And you take your right hands - then you go inside of her. I would go behind you and take her.
EGW: You call that a grand right and left.
TW: She's my neighbor, the one across from me.
EGW: And for anybody who gets mixed upi/tyhoeun sing it. And you right hand to yourpartner, your left hand to your neighbor, the third one is your partner and we'll all promenade."
TW: That's when there's four - oh yeh - this is your new partner.
SAM: This would be singing, no instruments?
(sound level returns)
TW: could be both, but usually just singing.
EGW: Yes, now this man who led it in our community, he just sang with a good loudice and we all followed after him. Everybody tried to sing. And he was a good voi singer.
TW: Of course, a lot of square dances were sung too.
EGW: Yes, a lot of the square dances were sung.
SAM: Well, would they figure that this kind - these ones that we were just talkingabout, would these be dances or would these be games?
EGW: We called them games. And - now you'll find it this way-
TW: There was a little difference.
EGW: In the country communities, some objected to dancing, but if you called themgames you got by with them, you see. But others didn't care and then you had the square dances. But there's really very little difference.
TW: Agame usually had an "It". And the dances usually just changing of partners orscrambling for partners.
SAM: Do you remember - a - one that I wrote down that looked interesting to me was"Water, water, Wine Flower." Did you ever hear that?
EGW: No, no. That's a strange one to me.
TW: Are you - are you researching games? Is that what you're interested in?
SAM: Well, we're talking about the old times in the county for the museum -
TW: In general?
SAM: - in general, yah. Well, this is something I know Lola knows about and veryfew people talk about.
TW: The ones to send him to would be the Hills.
LC: Yah. They're not around.
TW: Aren't there any of them?
LC: That "Wild Flower, Wild Flower, growing up so high. Something sorry, she surelyshe must die. But they sent someone to see her and she revived." Yeh. "Well, what will we do for her? Wild Flower, wild flower growing up so high. So sorry - so sorry, little so and so must die. What shall we do for her. We will send Sam Schrager to see her, see her, see her. We'll send Sam Schrager to see her and she'll be alright now" or something to rythme.
EGW: That would be more the kids would play because I never saw that played in thegames at the schoolhouse where the adults were.
SAM: Would the kids and adults both play or would it just be the adults that wouldplay the party games?
EGW: Both. Both would get out and play at the party games. Largely the young adults.But anybody would come and play. And lots of times you would take a young adult, he would see some oldish lady and he'd run and get her and bring her out and she'd have fun. Lots of times the little kids were out there. They'd get pretty well mixed up but Well, there'd be outdoors games as well as
EGW: Un-huh, some could be played outdoors.
TW: There was, there was "Drop the Handkerchief of course.
EGW: This one that Lola names is the - little children often play that one outdoors,about "Wild flower, wild flower." But those -
TW: Now that's the first time I ever heard that one.
SAM: What's "Drop the Handkerchief?"
EGW: Oh boy, that's an outside game.
TW: Well, you can play it inside too. We did.
EGW: Yes, you could, especially if you had a gymnasium.
TW: See you all get together in a circle, a ring. And -
EGW: Yum,hum. And there are-
TW: And there is an "It" and "It" runs around the outside with a handkerchief, dropsit behind somebody and the somebody is suppose to chase 'em and catch them. What happens?
EGW: Well, it goes like this -
TW: If they get clear around the circle before she gets caught, then the guy thathas the handkerchief, or that it was dropped behind, is "It."
TW: But if he catches her before, then he goes back in his own space and she hasto be "It."
EGW: She has to be "It", un-huh. And,uh. ..
TW: Simple game but very exciting.
EGW: That's an outdoors game mostly and for kids. "Drop the Handkerchief is forkids. I never saw adults join in that much, very much of the time.
SAM: Would party games usually be in the schoolhouse?
EGW: Yes, they would always be in the schoolhouse.
TW: Then there's one called "Post Office." Tell him about "Post Office."
LC: You do that, Tommy, you. He'll get a kick out of hearing you.
TW: I never played.
EGW: I never did know.
TW: I never played "Post Office."
EGW: No sir, I never did know. I've heard that-
TW: Well, they didn't - they didn't believe in kissing in my neighborhood. And thatcame into "Post Office".
EGW: They questioned Abby about it and she couldn't give them how it was done either.
LC: Well, it was something about - if you got - you had - you wanted to mail a letter,you went to go mail a letter. And one stamp, it took one stamp, that was one kiss. And if it was something else it took two stamps. "How many stamps does this one take?" "This one takes. .. "
TW: You got special deliveries too.
SAM: How did you get matched up?
LC: Yah - special deliveries.
TW: Well, didn't you have to go in to see the postmaster?
LC: Yah, somebody was postmaster, yah.
TW: Were they in a darkened place, or..?
LC: I don't know.
TW: I think so.
LC: (laughing) I never indulged. My schools wouldn't stand for that kind of insult.
TW: No, they wouldn't, mine either.
LC: None of my schools would have allowed it.
TW: They left out the best part.
EGW: Well, I'll tell you,fromthe way I saw the kids play it. "Did you get a letter?Did you stamp it?" And they'd stamp right on your foot and that's all there was to that part.
TW: Stamp on your feet, yah, but this.. .
EGW: This I don't know about, this other.
TW: Then there was in all kinds of games, there was a thing , . redeeming forfeits.You've heard about that?
SAM: Urn, what was that?
TW: Well, I don't know. In some game or other, if you lo se you have to put up somearticle - pocket knife, watch, pencil - whatever you had for having lost, I guess. Then when everybody had lost something , then you got to redeem your forfeit and you got up there, you held the...
EGW: Now then, I'll be, you can hold it over my head now. You tell me, tell me partof it: "Heavy, heavy..."
TW: "Heavy, heavy hangs over thy head. What shall the owner do to redeem it?"
EGW: "What must the owner of this pretty thing do to redeem it?"
TW: Oh, "pretty thing."
EGW: "Fine or superfine?" If it's a man, if it's a boy, he says "fine." If it's agirl,$he says 'superfine."
TW: "It's fine."
EGW: "He must run out to the big tree and back as fast as he can go."
TW: Or three times around the schoolhouse or anything you thought of.
EGW: Anything you thought of.
TW: Or he must declare his love for the school teacher.
EGW: Or he must catch the cat, or anything that comes into your head. And then whenhe'd done that he could get his pocket knife back.
TW: And when it came to declaring love for the schoolhouse, well, he didn't usuallyredeem it - or the schoolteacher.
LC: No, they usually just let that go - that would go by default, wouldn't it?
TW: There was one though when you were teacher. My mother was setting up a difficultproblem and Wilber Cameron - Wilfred Cameroon - he was the one had lost his pocket knife or something. And he must declare his love for Miss Gamble.
LC: Oh yeh! and he did too.
TW: And he said, "Miss Gamble, I Shore"love you."
LC: That's right. He "shore" did. (laughter) (aside) Sit down there; Gussie, sitdown, there and listen with us.
TW: Of course, the person doesn't know who she's telling to do what, and so thatmakes it a little more chancy.
EGW: That's "Forfeits."
SAM: How do you wind up being the one to choose? Howdo ya -
TW: Oh, how do ya?
EGW: The one that says -
TW: Yah, how do you get to -
EGW: - to sit down here?
TW: How come you're sitting there telling them what to do?
EGW: Oh, I think -
TW: You must have lost something.
EGW: No, I think kinda maybe the two oldest kids kinda just take it over. "I'll bethe one."
TW: You may count out too. Like "eeney, meeney, miney, moe." Or any of the otherthings.
LC: You know how "counting outs" went?
SAM: I remember "eeney, meeney" - they even had that when I was a kid.
EGW: Now you mustn't say that anymore because ours went "catch a jigger by the toe"and that's out now. You can't say that. Oh, yah,yah. Oh, yah, even when I was a kid, my mother told me we oughta say,
SAM: "catch somebody by the toe."
EGW: Right, right.
TW: But in our day it was "catch a nigger."
EGW: Then later on we went to school with Negro boys and so then we were all justas still as we could be, you know, when it came to that.
(End of Side A)
EGW: And everybody said it isn't quite the same.
TW: And'Pum Pum Pullaway"was sure similar.
EGW: That's it! "Pum Pum Pullaway"is the same thing as"Blackman." But we couldn'tsay "Blackman" so we said, "let's play Pum Pum Pullaway."
SAM: What was - how'd that work? "Blackman."
EGW: Oh, yeh, this is outdoors game for children. And you have two bases, like oneat this fence and one at the schoolhouse as base.
TW: The base, yah, usually a line that you stand up in front of or on.
EGW: And you're safe when you're on either one of those bases. Now one person ischosen to be "It." This "It" is quite a thing. And often one older boy or girl who's a fast runner, when they go on the school ground, instead of having any argument or counting out or anything, just say, "I'll be "It"." And volunteer and get out there. Then the kids -
TW: 'Cause if used to be, it took all noon hour to get the "It" decided and thenit was time to go back in.
EGW: Right. Well, it sure took all the recesses. But somebody'd run onto the fieldand say, "I'll be "It"." And then the kids will run from this base over to this base. We'll say that base was the fence and this base is the schoolhouse.
TW: And the idea is to get through without getting caught, isn't it?
EGW: Yeh, run back and forth between these two bases without getting caught by the"It". And the "It" is required to grab you and pat you three times in the middle of the back.
TW: And then there's two "Its" when he does that.
EGW: Then there's two "Its" and it keeps on and on and on.
TW: Until pretty soon you're all in the middle or there's one last one left -
EGW: Maybe a last fleet runner or one that's awful strong and he can jerk away fromthe ones that go to pat him.
TW: And he might be the "It" next time.
SAM: You mean, everybody run at once?
EGW: Yeh, everybody can run at once. And usually you don't even get the game finishedin a play period. You just have-ta -
SAM: So,is the "Blackman" the one that was "It?"
EGW: Ah, it doesn't - yes, it could be.
TW: What does the term "Blackman" come in? I don't know as it had anything to dowith it at all.
EGW: I don't know. We just called the game "Blackman", and we never used it afterthat. Just say, "What are you playing?" "I'm playing "Blackman"." But since the Negro boys were there we said, "We're playing "Pum Pum Pullaway"."
TW: "Pum Pum Pullaway" differed only in this respect: that you could, if nobody ran-
EGW: Then the "Its" xrould say -
TW: -the "Its" could, yah, could insist on your coming by -
EGW: They could say, "Pum Pum Pullaway. If you don't come, I'll pull you away." Thenthey went to the bases and grabbed the kids that wouldn't come off their bases, took them out and patted them three times on the middle of the back.
TW: That's about when they get about down to the end, you know.
EGW: Lots of awful good fighting because they'd say, "You never hit me three timesin the back. One of those hits was right on my shoulder." "No" and then the kids would have to stand, each one standing by what they thought. And usually they'd settle it, before the period was up.
TW: Then there was "Prisoner's Base" too.
EGW: That's outdoors.
TW: It was very similar except -
EGW: "Prisoner's Base" was outdoors.
TW: - instead of making you into "Its", no, it was two teams, isn't it? And you have-
EGW: Well, there's two kinds. "Prisoners Base" is the kind - "Prisoner's Base" and" Dare Base". "Dare Base" you have two sides. "Prisoners Base" you have a prison, you take three sticks and set 'em up here, or four. And along here's your fence -
TW: Or make a circle with your toe.
EGW: Yeh, here's your fence and you put a stick - here's a fence and you put thisside up there. And here you've got a board here, a board here and a board here. And this is a pen. And then two of the fleet runners - it could be three but we'll say two - say, "I'll be "It"," and "I'll be "It"." And so they stand one at this end and one at this end. And all the other children stand down on one big base and say, "Who will give us a dare?" Well, you set a stick out here a few feet from the front of this. Somebody will come to give you a dare and they'll run up, touch their foot against this little stick and then run for their base. If they're real fast, you can't catch them, But if they're not so fast -
TW: You have to stay a certain distance from there.
EGW: They had to have this much headstart - they stick this little stick out hereand touch it.
SAM: They could touch the stick before you could come after them?
EGW: Sometimes. Yes. They touched the stick - this little stick here. We'll put alittle extra stick. Here it is. And the kid who's giving the darewill touch this with his foot and run for the big base, which will be the other fence or something.
TW: Before the "It" can get 'em.
EGW: Before either of the "Its" can get him.
TW: Now where are the "Its"? Are they in the prisoner's base or -
EGW: No, they're right here, right at the edges.
TW: Right here.
EGW: Now then, if they catch this guy that gave the dare, they'll put him in here.
SAM: In prison.
EGW: Then it's up to these that are out there to come and get him out.
TW: Then you can rescue him.
EGW: He stands in there and he holds his hand, holds out his hand. And if some^ 'runsin there and touches his hand, he gets out. But in the meantime these two catchers are dashing and catching. And every one they catch goes in here. The game doesn't end until you've caught every one and have them in_ nere. Unless the bell rings.
TW: And while you're out catching, if you're the "If, one of the "Its", while you'reout catching, why there might be somebody else releasing all the one's you've caught. So it gets to be really -
EGW: Yes, touch them on the hand and they're out.
TW: - but it'd still be fun. That was a good game.
SAM: But only these two guys were the only two that are - only two people that cancapture,
EGW: Yeh. Or if its a big bunch down there you might have three captors, one here,one here and one here.
TW: You kinda arranged the number of "Its" to make it exciting. If there;s too many"Its" it'd be no fun. If there's too many that aren't "It", it'd be -
SAM: And what was the other game that was like that?
EGW: Well, "Blackman'"s a little like that but not a lot, but the other one is -a - "Dare Base." that Vou choose sides and you have a prison. You must have two prisons, don't you?
TW: I think so.
EGW: I think each side has a prison and you catch from each other and put them inthe prison and which ever side gets them all in the prison first is the winner. And that's a real good game too.
SAM: Well, when I was young the most popular game like that was "Captured Flag."It was a similar game where you had two prisons and each side had a flag that was guarded by the side. And there were two territories and as soon as you crossed into the other side's territory they could - if they hit you three times, you had to go to prison. And then the object was for one person to steal the flag, if they could manage to get that flag and get back over on his side. And it was the same thing - and if you hit the people who were in the prison, and then they were free.
EGW: Yes. Yes. Now that's what we called "Steal Sticks" and instead of having a flagwe just had sticks. And you'd try to steal each other's sticks. But that was just like playing this.
TW: Now when Dave was a Boy Scout they were playing "Steal the Flag."
EGW: Oh, yes.
TW: A little newer version of the an old game.
EGW: Oh yes, of what we called "Steal Sticks". Well, because -
LC: Sam's from New York State originally.
EGW: Oh, yes. Our co.untry schools would have only one big flag and that would haveto be raised on the flagpole. And so -
TW: Oh,boy, and you treated it with respect too.
EGW: But you could gather up quite a few little sticks around the woodshed. And stealeach others sticks. That was pretty good too.
SAM: Well, it seems like these play parties, that they didn't, you don't hear aboutthem much. You hear about the entertainment, you know, that there'd be entertainments. But people don't usually talk especially about the play parties being part of it. It sounds like the entertainment was almost an excuse for everybody to get together and have a lot of good play party time.
EGW: Well, that's right . First of all would come your little program where the childrenperform. Then would come refreshments. And after the refreshments,then you'd either - if it's a school that allowed dancing - you'd have maybe square dances or maybe just plain dances. And if it didn't allow that,you'd have these games which are practically the same as a square dance. And those we said would be like "Skip to My Lou" and "Happy is the Miller Boy" and then there was something about "The Needle's Eye." That was real slow - around in a circle.
TW: Oh, yeh. "The Needle's Eye."
EGW: "The Needle'sEye, it does supply" and you just go around in a circle.
TW: Didn't you go weaving in and out, or?
LC: Yah. You two stand up - you stand up. Now just hold up your hands. They'dhave "The Needle's Eye, does supply - da-da, da-da."
TW: And the whole circle goes through, doesn't it?
LC: Yeh, the whole big circle: "the thread that runs so truely. And many a lass haveI let pass, because I wanted you." And they'd catch a girl, see?
TW: And they'd catch that one - yeh.
LC: And then, I forgot what they do with the girl. I think that girl takes the placeof ft girl that's standing, see? And then she gets to hold hands with some other boy. And then the next time its "Many a beau have I let go because I wanted you." And they'd drop down and then the boy had to get out and there was a new boy holding hands.
EGW: And if they were kind of witty they'd make up little things. And I can rememberthem saying, "And many a fella I've kicked in the cellar because I wanted you."
LC: Yeh, that's right.
EGW: They'd kind of make up their own as it went.
TW: Yeh, and if its not too much supervision,these terms they use might geta little rougher too.
EGW: They're recording this so -
SAM: Would they go all night?
TW: Well, they'd go 'til -
EGW: Well, till midnight, probably.
TW: - nominally. Once in a while though, they'd run way t'ward morning.
EGW: In the Mt. Tomer school they never went past midnight. And I think in Gray Eagle,where Tom went, when they had square dances, I think that would run past midnight.
TW: Yeh, we danced - well, there was a time when we didn't dance. About the timeof the Sunday schools there wasn't much dancing.
TW: But - ah - they did both. But what was the parties that lasted the longest werelike New Year's, Christmas, Thanksgiving - when there wasn't much farm work to be done. And you'd come and eat noon dinner. And then along in the evening while the women All were washing up the dishes and so forth, everybody went home. Athe men went home and did the chores. The kids stayed and played if they weren't big enough to do chores. Then they'd come back later. Some - then what was left of the dinner, you'd eat it again for supper. And then you'd play cards a lot of the time. Most of the daytime they played cards. Then after the evening meal usually they'd dance or play games or both. Sometimes intermittenly, you know.
EGW: Now, Sam has never seen square dancing - or you said you'd never seen -
SAM: Well, I have. Square dancing is more common, I've seen that. People still -
TW: But he can see it.
EGW: Right, well now this - the little games. There was so little difference betweenthem and the square dance. Just very little. The square dance they'd play music for; this some good singers would sing out as the lead.
TW: What about "The farmer's dog lay on the back porch, and Bingo"
EGW: Now that one wasn't a bit popular in our school.
TW: Well, it wasn't much of a game, was it?
EGW: No - un-uh.
TW: More like a dance.
SAM: But I take it that it was less of a caller in the play party game. It was moreeverybody singing.
EGW: Everybody sang.
TW: It did require somebody that knew the game and somebody that was kinda bold.
TW: And in her neighborhood there was a whole family of these -
EGW: Good singers and not shy and very cooperative. And there was one young man thatsang and led all the - in fact the small kids in school thought that you couldn't have a party unless this Oliver Hill was there. And they thought that he made up these games.
SAM: Which Hill family was that?
EGW: Did you.know that Lola?
LC: Oh, I suppose they did.
EGW: Agnes Carlie thought that -
LC: Ollie made them up.
EGW: We couldn't play these games unless Oliver was present and she thought thathe made them up and made up the music and everything. She didn't know they were old.
TW: Well, isn't Myrtle still around?
EGW: She's dead.
EGW: Stella is here.
TW: Stella. Stella is there.
EGW: She could tell you all about it.
LC: No, they're not related.
SAM: Ada Hill? Her family? Lives in Viola now.
LC: No, no.
SAM: This isn't a Viola Hill.
EGW: This is John O. Hill and they lived by Moscow. There's one daughter there yet- Mrs. Olson.
LC: She lives out around Tomer Butte, on the south side of Tomer Butte. She's Mrs.Alfred Olson. But, on yeh, those were good games.
SAM: But what you're describing - that was mostly - that kind of - when they'd gettogether and do the chores and then get back together again. That'd be for a special occasion like
TW: Yah, usually.
EGW: Thanks - like the Thanksgiving dinner.
TW: There'd be the whole neighborhood - adults, kids and all.
SAM: That really sounds like something.
EGW: Community dinner - un-huh.
TW: You see, you were isolated from the towns for the most part all winter.
EGW: There's nothing in town. There were no theatres - that is if you went into Genesee.
LC: There was no radio at home and no television at home. There was nothing.
EGW: You read at home.
LC: Yes, you read at home but there was no-
EGW: And in the town of Genesee there was no -
LC: Because the first radio I heard was when I taught the Snow School down here.And then you put on earphones and listened. And was the first radio I'd ever heard.
SAM: Where'd all the dishes and plates and everything come from? Would the familiesbring them? Did they get them off the cookwagon.?
TW: Usually that was the way it started. But by the time Lola taught there was abunch of that stuff at the schoolhouse at a kitchenette connected with the schoolhouse.
LC: They had a kitchenette.
EGW: A school that I mentioned that we had all these good games and this good singer,they brought their own dishes. Everybody brought their own.
TW: It'd be like a potluck; it'd be like a potluck.
EGW: Everybody brought his own plate, knife, and fork and they usually didn't bringanything very fancy - not their best china for sure.
TW: You always ate though. Everything you did, you ate.
LC: Oh sure, that was the main thing. Here I'll read you a reminiscence fromJohnny - Jack Piatt. "Lola, I don't remember I've ever seen you since you taught us at Gray Eagle and I thought you were swell. The only time I ever - I think that you ever really took us to task was when we stold some matches from the kitchen so we could go out and smoke mullan leaves. Shame, shame,"he says. "The kids now have gone on to far greater stuff. Good luck to you." And that's from Jack.
TW: Yah, Jack was quite a character.
LC: Yah. He stold matches and went out and smoked the mullan leaves.
SAM: Would the little kids sit up and watch the adults then?
EGW: Yeh, and any that were too small they would put down a quilt or coats or somethingon top of the desks and you'd lay them down, they'd go to sleep. And they'd sleep right there while the folks were out there on the floor.
TW: Every kid, every family, every hired man, everybody in the whole neighborhoodcame, unless they were sick in bed and usually they came then. And these kids- the school desks were here and they'd rick'em up like cordwood on the side of the room. And they slept - or some did - and some of 'em ran around all night.
LC: Yah, like my granddaughter OreAnn would run all night.
TW: And you never saw any bottles but you saw lots of bosoms because all these littlekids had to be fed. And you didn't go out in twenty below zero weather to feed 'em. Ladies kinda demurely sat over in the ladies side of the room, more or less. And verv graciously and gently, sort of stuck their little baby's head in underneath the blouse or something and nourished it.
LC: At a Mother's Day school program, and this will slay you— Lt was a good morningcommunity where I was teaching and we invited the mothers into tea. Well in the middle of the tea time the little babies were getting hungry, so mothers just sat there - openly, and unashamedly and proudly nursed their babies.
TW: That's the way to do it, yah.
LC: And some of these elderly ladies that wer.critic teachers there - oh, they lookeddown their noses. "How rude and how vular." I said, "Gals, this is Mothers' Day. These mothers were just exercising the first privilege of motherhood." And I said, "I'm for it." Those babies needed refreshments far more than these big,fat, old teachers sitting around there looking down their noses. And, I was right.
TW: Well, another interesting thing about it was to the kids - most of the gradeschool kids - it wasn't worth looking at. And as soon as you thought it was worth looking at, why then you had been so well indoctrinated that you were afraid and you didn't know what direction to look. And your face turned red if you even opened your eyes.
SAM: Well, I would guess it must have been a real good chance and place for courtingtoo. That the - thqt sort of thing.
TW: Well, there was so much embarrassment with courting that little tiny kids, maybeabout four or five, would go around with their arms around each other. I know a case I'm going to marry 'er" or two like this. And the little boy would say, "I'm, going to marry 'er/" But the young guys - oh, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen on up to twenty, they're pretty shy about this and scared of one another. But then the schoolmom and the leading bachelor, they got pretty - a - what would you say? Pretty bold? Pretty erogant? Pretty flamboyant?
LC: Some of them did. Some of them. Not me! Don't look my way! (laughing) Someof them may have. I understood that several of them did in the past. But with me - I was well chaperoned by Grandma Wahl.
SAM: But I would think that the games - when you have all these chances to pick yourpartner and let other people know how you feel about a girl.
TW: Oh, yeh. This was quite a thrill, quite a thrill if the pretty little redheadedgirl dropped a handkerchief, even, behind you and got you to chase her.
EGW: Well, yes, now you'd think so but thinking of this -
TW: Then there was another where they touched you too, wasn't there? Instead of ahandkerchief they patted you or something?
EGW: That's different. That's, of course, an outdoors game. He's talking about theseparty games. He'd rather have the party games.
TW: Well, we did a lot of those inside.
EGW: Well, now I was thinking now of this school that I'm talking about, this GrayEagle, this is Mt. Tomer. Of all the chances, as you would say, for courting only - there was only - one marriage among any of those people.. Ed Nelson and Helen Erickson and they were - later years when they were grown up, they married but -
SAM: I'm surprised.
EGW: - the rest of them married elsewhere.
TW: Well, you have no notion of the economic problem that people faced. The problemof - if you got married you were going to have kids and you had to be able to support 'em and you had to have a roof over their heads. And there wasn't a whole bunch of old houses around so that you could go in with your long whiskers, you know, an -
LC: (laughs) and they didn't have the pill in those days.
TW: No, they didn't. So you were going to have kids and you gonna have't have a placeto support 'em. And on a dollar a day if you were lucky enough to get a job.
SAM: She describes in here - this woman, Mrs. Ball - how when they - the parents- well, she's making it funnv - but thev'd be dancing along at the olav narties and then everybody would break feat after quite a while. A nd said, "Parents could always tell which couples were thinking of marrying by noticing the two or three couples on the floor, three or four games after everybody else is finished. They don't even seem to notice that everyone's eating. Then they start thinking, 'Well, am I gonna have't give the father thinks , 'am I gonna have to give my son the best cow or can I get away with less than that?' And mother thinks, 'Boy, I finally saved up enough linen and I got all the table cloths I need. And now its all going to go again.' "
TW: Most girls had hope chests that they kept adding to.
EGW: But this is, as I say, was the only one resulted in marriage at all and theywere grown and gone from the community for a long time before. Well, lets go now to some more of those old games so he'll get them straight. Lets see, we said, "Skip to My Lou" and we said, "Happy is the Miller Boy." Did we say that one?
SAM: Um-hum. Um-hum.
EGW: And we said "Needle's Eye" and -
LC: "Kept the Pig in the Parlor."
EGW: - and "Kept the Pig in the Parlor" and I don't think we got that one very well.I think I'd have to write these out before I could do - what?
TW: You had somebody in a pen in that, didn't ya? The "It" was in the pen?
TW: You circled around him -
LC: I know about -a-
SAM: "Old Dan Tucker." I've heard of it.
LC: u Old Dan Tucker." "Get out of the way for Old Dan Tucker, you're too late toget your supper." And its like "My Dog Rover" - what was that dog? "The dog lay on the back porch and his name was - "
EGW: Oh that was awful. We didn't like that one. "Bingo."
LC: Yah, "B-I-N-G-O. The farmer's dog lay on the back porch and Bingo was hisname." Go ahead Tommy.
TW: The Chautauquas, when they came in, they introduced a lot of these acting games.That is, you acted out a fairy story or something.
EGW: But that wasn't the kind you played in the old schoolhouse.
SAM: That's interesting - that's interesting though. The Chautauqua is somethingI've heard a little about but I think it's real interesting because it seems to have brought in a whole lot of new ideas from other places. That was a regular circuit that they had. I've heard of Chautauqua, New York where it originated.
EGW: Oh, is that where it originated?
TW: ; Well, yah, it was a non-profit thing. The people that ran these here were Ellisand White. Ellis and White Chautauquas. They went by that name. But in order to get one in your town you had to have enough citizens sign-up - pledge a certain amount of money or they wouldn't come. And a lot of them got stuck. And I guess it happened often enough that they sorta died a natural death. But a certain amount of public spirited people, when things were a little bit prosperous, would sponsor the Chautauqua. But I think the Depression is what ended them. I don't believe they came during and after the Depression.
SAM: What would the main features of them be here?
TW: Oh, they'd put on a, you know, they'd stay what,two weeks? At least a week.
LC: Yeh. At least a week or ten days.
TW: Yah. And they would have programs all day, nearly, didn't they? And lectures,and plays, and music and, you know, all the things that - They had a tent usually with a stage in it. Then there was usually someone with the troup delegated to take care of the kids and keep them out from underfoot. And they entertained these kids by teaching them games.
EGW: A man who I heard lecture there was Pvt. Pete who was a soldier in the FirstWorld War. And he gave a lecture.
TW: He was a writer. He wrote a book and sold his books after the lecture.
EGW: Yes, un-huh. Now what else was there that was good?
TW: Well, there was one man came from Australia describing the land, the country,the aborigines, the people and so forth. And one of the things that he did that fascinated all the kids was, if you brought a heavy piece of cardboard, he would cut out of if a boomerang that would work.
TW: And so this was a big deal.
EGW: Yes. And then I heard two young girls, I suppose maybe high school age. Andthey interpreted James Whitcomb Riley. And I think they played a little on a piano to go with this.
TW: There was a Dr. Miles that lectured there and by some hook or by crook, he gavethe same lecture at two different years. The same man in the same town. The name of his lecture was "The Tallow Dip."
EGW: Oh, yeh.
TW: And the tallow dip, of course, - course, first thing he explained was that onelady, one time, was so glad to meet him because, "I've been taking your pills, Dr. Miles, for the last twenty years." But he said, "I'm not the pill man." And then the tallow dip was the old candle, of course, made of tallow by dipping a string in tallow. And I don't know quite - I've kinda forgotten what the point was of this. But it was. .. - I don't know what. There was some significance to using that for the title. I've forgotten it through the years.
EGW: Then there were good singers. Quite a group of lady singers. I can rememberreal lovely, fine singers.
LC: And William Jennings Bryan toured the Chautauqua too.
TW: They had some good performers, well known people.
SAM: What about the plays that you mentioned came along with that?
TW: Well, I can name a few of them. One was "Cappie Ricks". Another one was the -was it "The Pinafore?" Kind of an operetta?
LC: Yah, "H.M.S."
TW: Oh, one I believe - I think that they dramatized "Tolden Hills" there one time,a novel of that period. But I'm not certain. That could have been a separate thing.
SAM: But then you say this had an effect on the kind of games that people playedat -
TW: Well, this was the entertainment they did to keep the kids out of the road. That'swhen the games came in. While the parents were listening to a lecture that the kids couldn't hardly stand, why somebody was out on the playfield - or several people out in the park teaching the little kids these games.
SAM: These were new games, not like - ?
EGW: No, not the traditional thing.
TW: They were more an acting well known fairy story. One of the best ones was "Snow-". Well, the one where the -
EGW: "Sleeping Beauty."
TW: "Sleeping Beauty." Yah.
EGW: Yah, sorta get the kids acting in little plays.
TW: The kids all go through this. They sang, they sang songs.
EGW: But we never-
LC: That's the woman that came out to your school and saw them do it. This Mrs. Ball.
EGW: Oh, I see, un-huh. Well, boy, ife been really-
LC: Here she talks about it. And this is just exactly the way it was at your school.Because the teacher came out after the school program and said, "Now this ends our little program." And she thought it was over but the fun had just started in then.
EGW: Oh, yes.
LC: So you're the one that came out and told them. See?
EGW: Oh, yes.
LC: Because that's Mrs. Ball and she went, out to your school and saw them do it.
EGW: Well, she couldn't have come to a better place because we had Oliver Hill outthere it was done and done right.
LC: No. That's when they had it. She did, she went out to your school and saw it.
EGW: Now then, the "Virginia Reel" - that usually is a square dance and you playviolin music for this. But we had it at Mt. Tomer where you could sing to it because they were against dancing there. And I don't remember just how that went. Can you remember any of the words of the "Virginia Reel?"
TW: No, no. I don't think:I can.
LC: And they clap (claps).
LC: Yah, they did a lot of clapping. When you dos-a-dosed, you know.. You ran downthis way and you dos-a-dosed and came back this way. And then you swtfng your partner again. You skipped the length of the way.
TW: Oh, yes!
EGW: Yes, I know now. Now your partner would stand beside you -
LC: -opposite you.
EGW: - and the one - yes - there was -
LC: -two long lines.
EGW: To hurry and get it going, a man in charge could just line up all the boys onone side the and all the girls,/other side. And this would be your partner. Maybe you didn't want that partner at all, but it didn't make any difference to start the game quickly. And they would say, "A right hand swing with your best likeness". Your "best likeness" was diagonally across from you and at the iar end,you see. So "a right hand swing with your best likeness, a left hand swing with your best likeness, a swing right hand v with your best likeness, you're the one my darling." And you came back to your place. And then "Dos-a-dos with your best likeness." And your "best likeness" wasn't even a corner, you see. It would be the one a way diagonally down from you.
LC: Yah, that's right.
EGW: "A dos-a-dos with your best likeness, dos-a-dos with your best likeness. You'rethe one my darling." And you'd go through this whole thing just by singing this, and you couldn't really call it a dance. You called it a game. But it was "Virginia Reel."
TW: We did run through "Skip to My Lou," didn't you?
SAM: It's funny. It just seems like without the music, I'm so accustomed to thinkingof having music with any kind of dance that I think of, that the idea of being able to do it without music. It must have been really -
EGW: Well, they all sang.
TW: Then they all sang. The words were simple and you all knew 'em.
EGW: And this man in our community had this big voice, a splendid singer. He could- oh, he could just sing anything and everybody followed after him. And there was lots of music there without instrumental music.
TW: (singing) "Flies in the sugar bowl, two by two. Flies in the sugar bowl, twoby two."
LC: You got it!
TW: "Flies in the sugar bowl, two by two. Skip to my Lou, my darling." And that'sabout all there was to it.
LC: You got it now. That's right.
SAM: I'd like to-
TW: "Gone again, what'll I do?" I don't remember how you played it though. But the
partner was gone anyway.
LC: Yah. Yah, you- there was one extra one always and you came and swung with thisone, see? And that left that other one out, see? That one you stood by - partners in when a big circle - partners. And then/the one that was "It" in the circle came up and took your partner, then you had to get out in the circle and go and swing somebody. Then that left that girl. And sometimes they'd run all the way around the circle and then pick somebody and then that left an extra person when that one -
EGW: Just a way of mixing.
LC: Oh yeah.
EGW: A mixer. What you'd call - you know dances they call 'em a mixer? Well, thiswould be a mixer. The one in the middle would come and choose a different partner.
LC: Yes, un-huh.
SAM: Well, I was wondering about the marriage customs. Were they - were theredifferences the way it was then and now.? I'm sure the courting was different because the attitudes about it were different.
TW: Well, for one thing, a horse didn't run off the road.- v/hen you're in a buggy.He knew the way home. You didn't have to park.
EGW: Well, now I can tell you a wedding that took place when I was in the grade schools.The oldest daughter in the family, an older sister to this man that was such a good singer - could keep the program going. She was, I guess,about twenty-two and the young man from the community and he was about twenty-three. And one day, the children of my age didn't appear at school. And somebody said, "Martha is getting married today." And so as we came by the home of the bride that night - the Hill House - we looked up there and here we saw all the kids that we were in school with all dressed up. Everyone was dressed up and the two boys had on their kneepants, you know. That was their best suits. You didn't wear long pants. The pants came to the knees. And we knew that the wedding had been right there that dav but iust a familv wedding, it was. Ond right in the home. And the minister from the Lutheran Church had come out. Well, this young woman, her uncle was a minister but whether he was in Moscow at that time or not, I won't know. But anyway, the wedding was a home wedding. Many.- more home weddings and not much church weddings.
LC: That's right. It was mostly home weddings.
EGW: Home weddings. Church weddings were expensive.
TW: We could stand a little bit of description about knee
( end of side 3)
TW: Well, Jim Cameron liked to describe how he looked. He said, "I always had a bigstomach. And they always had knee pants. I always had knee pants". And he said, "I looked just like a toad. I always looked just like a toad." And you look at Jim while he told this and you could kinda believe it. He was convincing. But these were quite a style. There was a little button and a tab on the bottom of these pants and you were either supposed to either have that buttoned above your knee or below your knee. And nobody ever was sure - so usually you had one above one knee and one below the other knee. And then,of course,you couldn't have your bare legs down underneath so you had long stockings that pinned up onto something up above. Now some of those things were called pantywaists - and they had little garters.
LC: That's where "pantywaist" came from.
TW: That's where - yah - and some of these pantywaists had a little kind of a rubberbiscuit on the end of a thing with a sort of a bitch-links slipped up over the biscuit. You stuck the biscuit up through the stocking and you slipped this up over it there. And that was supposed to suffice; and all ingenious devices for fastening up your stocking. Now one way was a safety pin that fastened onto your long woolen winter here someplace. And the other end had one of those biscuits and bitch links on the lower end. by pinning the safety pin through the stocking and through your long part of your underweat and that left the biscuit with the bitch link hanging down out of the bottom end of your knickers or your - whatever you called them.
TW: And more often then not, if you played these games with any enthusiasm at all,something happened to the stockings - usually just one leg at a time, you know, and the stocking would dangle down around the top of your shoe. Of course, if you had high shoes, it didn't handicap you much. But if the biscuit was still hanging on and the safety pin came loose, why that kinda made a tail and if people stepped on them when you were playing "Drop the Handkerchief why it slowed you down momentarily.
LC: That'd be no good.
TW: In spite of that, that was the only real bad thing that happened to boys in myyouth - was that when you were dressed up you had to wear these - these knee pants. Otherwise you could wear bib overalls and have fun. But a -
SAM: You went there to the parties - you were supposed to get dressed up in thesekneepants?
TW: You were supposed to, although in the country schools kids got to wear overallsquite a bit. The mothers even got tired of these - trying to keep these things repaired and in working order, 'cept Mrs. Braizer.
EGW: She just had one child.
TW: She just had one kid and he had to wear stuff that I wouldn't of been caughtdead in.
LC: You wouldn't of been caught dead in it!
SAM: Was this an Eastern style,you think?
TW: No, this was all Western. Well, I don't know where it came from.
EGW: That's where it started.
TW: It was the only kind of pants you could buy. You couldn't - boys couldn't havelong pants 'til they were sixteen. Now I don't know why that was. And if it was a real do ting mother she might wait till he was long pants, I think, when you were there, didn't he?
LC: I think so, yes. Un-huh.
TW: No, by gosh, he had to borrow mine. His mother wouldn't let him. And I got minebecause my cousin was older than I was and I inherited them.
LC: That was a practical - that was a practical, sensible way to do it.
TW: And Howard got to wear mine because he was in a play. And I was sure mad at himtoo, 'cause I wanted to wear them. It was the only pair of long pants in the neighborhood.
LC: Oh, dear. Oh, dear.
SAM: When would people get married mostly? About what age?
TW: Well, when the girl was about sixteen and the man was thirty.
EGW: That was earlier. That was earlier that they married about those ages. But thisabout twenty-three? Wouldn't you say? couple that I remember, wouldn't you - Matha was about twenty-two and wasn't Carl
LC: I think so.
EGW: Not more than twenty-five. And that was the only wedding that happened aroundthere. Now in my generation, very few girls wanted to get married because that was only for people that didn't have any talent. The girls were all thinking about a career.
SAM: They were?
EGW: Well, this was a little before that too, yah.
SAM: When you were young?
TW: You see in my - my high school -
SAM: That would have been when? In the '20's?
TW: '29. There was one girl that got married, Muriel O^ier, Merle Older, and everybodythought, "Oh, gosh, isn't that awful! She's such a smart girl too. Oh, isn't that awful."
LC: I'll tell you a worse one than that. Somebody came home and told Leota Canfieldthat they heard that one of the gals was engaged. "Why", she said, "engaged!? I didn't even know she was pregnant yet."
EGW: Of course, that was more the recent days. That was more the recent days.
TW: Yah, when I was in high school, there was a girl didn't come back to school thenext year. And it was whispered around, "She committed suicide." Nobody ever said why but everybody kinda wondered. It was that serious, getting pregnant without having caught the man.
EGW: Yah, it was that serious. That was bad. Uah, but I was thinking though of a- the time like when I was small, in the grades. Now that's the only wedding that I can think of, was -
LC: Now I remember when Bertha Jones got married and they came out in a buggy. Andthe minister came later and the minister lost his way. And he went over to Mrs. Anderson's place, way down in there. And Mr. Anderson was out cleaning out the barn and he stuck his head out through the manure hole and the minister said, "Is this the home where they're having the wedding today?" He said, "No." He said, "We've had too many weddings here already." And he banged the manure door shut. G.W.: Just the one man himself - he'd had one. His own.
TW: Well, what usually happened, the girl - well, some of them, got married young- but, usually, the girl, if she was going onto school, she went and taught school or she got a job. Or she worked in somebody's house for awhile and didn't get married until later.
EGW: Well, this young lady had graduated from the eighth grade and lots of timesthey didn't go onto high school a-tall. Eighth grade was real good, if you got through that. And then she had done, as you say, gone in and worked in town for a Doctor Valenda, I guess. Did you know - Fernanda, or -? Well, anyway, that's the one. She went in and worked in his home..
TW: I know him. I took chemistry from him.
EGW: Yah, that's the man. She worked in his home, I think . Or some home in town,anyway.And then when she got up to a suitable age,she married this neighbor boy she'd been going with. And they'd been going to church together too. They were Lutherans.
SAM: I must say, I'm surprised to hear you say that young women were thinking ofcareers when you were in high school.
EGW: Yes, and that would be in the thirties. That would be -
TW: She taught school years before she got married. So did Lola. And years aftershe was married.
EGW: Yes, then I was going to say about Mary Alice. Mary Alice was a foung womanin high school with Tom and she said, "When a girl -", well, she graduated in '30. Huh? '29?
TW: '29,She graduated with me, '29 with me. She graduated early. And like so manyothers, she went to Normal School long enough to get her teaching certificate. Typical.
EGW: Right. And she said, you know, that they'd said when there was a group of themtogether- say, "She's,so-and-so ," naming so-and-so "she's getting married." "She's getting married!? Doesn't she have any talent?" See? It was the last thing to do. The last thing to do.
TW: There were a few girls that were set on marriage.
EGW: Yah, but not very many.
SAM: When do you think this idea came in? Because now-a-days we tend to think ofit as sort of a new idea, but I know it isn't, from what you're saying. You know, the idea of a woman having a career of her own other than just being -
TW: Now she has a career because she wants things. Then she had to have a careerbecause she wanted to eat. There was that much difference.
EGW: Yes. And also there was no money.
TW: Now it's your standard of living. Then it was almost survival. That is, you hadto get out of the family home pretty quick.
SAM: But most of the mothers of the girls hadn't been teachers too, had they.7
TW: Yes, most of them had done something.
EGW: Well, another thing too. A lot of these mothers had had so many children andsuch an awful hard life of cooking and raising these children. And they just hated to see their girls go into something they thought would be like this. And they thought it would be so much better if the girls would have a career.
TW: If you got married and had a kid, you were trapped for the rest of your life,that's the way the mother's taught their daughters. And there was some justification too.
EGW: Yes. Yes. You were just stuck.
SAM: Well, of course, these were mostly the children of the people who were moreor less the pioneers -
EGW: Right, right.
TW: Well, it was the children of the generation after the pioneers.
EGW: Yah. Like your grandfather would have been the original pioneer, then your fatherand people of that age would be speaking against marriage.
TW: See, now, my grandfather came into this country in 1879, just as an example andit's quite typical of everyone. He had thirteen kids and times got so hard that even with the free land and all, it was just the problem of clothing and feeding those kids. And then by the time those kids were raised or some maybe just a little older, like say my mother.for example. She sure thought that this was awfully foolish to a - for a woman, as she said, to make a brood-sow out of herself. And to have all these children which you couldn't provide for yourself or your kids. And you can go up to the cemetery in Moscow here right now and you'll see - it's not hard to find a family name, baby after baby, after baby, after baby buried one year after -
LC: There's four little babies all in a row.
TW: Yah, there's one good one -
LC: That's Steffans, four little babies all in a row.
EGW: So you can see why then these mothers then taught their daughters,"Have a career.Don't get married. Make your own living. Make your own way."
TW: At least until you had a start. That was the idea. To have a start.Now my dad,just for the example, the difference between us. My generation, most kids didn't even think of going on to college. A lot of them didn't finish high school and they didn't have to either. But, my dad, he thought very highly of an education because he saw how handicapped he was without it. He'd only gone to the fourth grade, I think. And at one time later, he got, at his own expense, got to take some high school courses in the winter time. With me, now, I went to college for three years and then had to quit. And Donald, he didn't even - that's the brother of this Mary Alice - he didn't get to go to college. He went to Normal School and got a teacher's certificate which he could get in two years. And so did his sister Mary Alice. And so did you girls, didn't you?
EGW: One year. You could get it in one year.
TW: You got your teacher's certificate first and then went to college later at yourown expense. And so many people did. Oh, many of guys I went to college with were doing it the same way. They were older than I was.
SAM: But how much opportunity was really open to woman as far as the different choicesthey could make? It seems like most of you became teachers.
EGW: Well, they could do this: they could teach; or they could be librarians; orthe well, this would be teaching too - but give music lessons, teach that; they could be a seamstress; they could make hats, work in a millinery store.
TW: And of course, all of them dreamed of going to Hollywood and being in the movies.
LC: They say, you know, all of the "It Girls." "We could all have been Clara Bowsif we hadn't given it up for George and the children."
SAM: That was pretty strong, then? And then people were really influenced by themovies, were they?
TW: Oh, it was the only thing! It was it was Fairyland. It was THE thing, wasn'tit? I don't know of anything now that corresponds to what the glamor of the movies.
LC: Well, Elisabeth and I - we were both going to be English teachers and we wouldhave been good ones.
EGW: No. I was going to be a writer.
EGW: But I never got a chance to be that. Because just about the time I sat downto write one sentence,then I'd have to get up and chase the pigs or cook some food or something, see. But that was in my mind that I would make my living writing short stories of the lives of people around me.
TW: If she'd have ever got started at that she'd have never have raised her one chick,or had it even.
EGW: That's right. That's right. Yah, that was my idea.
SAM: Well, it sounds like that when you get right down it it, though, there weren'tthat many different possibilities that women could do., not compared to the way it is now.
TW: Teaching, teaching was the main out if you were a smart, intelligent woman. Andmarriage was about what was left for the stragglers.
EGW: Well, sewing though. You know, you could sew.
TW: Yah. Some of them had a talent.
EGW: Some of them.
TW: And, of course, there's a lot of people attracted by the entertainment field.There're a lot of modeling. The girls that had the - whatever it takes.
EGW: Yes, and running little shops - ready-to-wear shops.
TW: Yah,yah, that was done. Yes. Clerking too. Clerking in a store.
EGW: Clerking, clerking in a store.
LC: Well, I was going to be a teacher and I went down to Albion Normal and saw theold women, seventy-five years old still teaching. And everybody was saying about them, Aren't they 6ver going to die?" "When are they gonna die?/ The kids would say to me, you know. Oh, and I said, "I'd better hurry home before Dad - before Earl Clyde - changes his mind."
TW: Teaching - about two generations earlier, teaching was a man's name - man's (EW:Job)field. They were the - that was the pioneer generation. It was a school master then. But a - in my time, school teaching was a woman's job. Almost reserved for women. You almost (Break) Main, what would you call it?
LC: Social Season.
TW: The social season always occurred when farm work was not going too strongly.Usually in the fall of the year after harvest and everybody had a little money. But it did occur other times in the year too. Farm auctions - they still have them. Still the same thing. When you went out of business, t hat's the way you did it.
EGW: Fall was a good time for farm auctions. Change farms or even when you wantedto get rid of surplus stuff.
TW: Yes, my dad had a sale and I had one too, just to get rid of stuff that was obsoleteas far as you were concerned.
SAM: But it turned out to be a real important part of the social life then too, tobe able to get together with your neighbor?
TW: Well, you saw your neighbors; you got acquainted with people from further away.Yah, that was part of it. In those days, of course, these sales all furnished a free lunch at noon. But since the Depression that ended. Too many people came for the free lunch and crow ded out the buyers.
LC: But all the ladies would go and sit in each others' cars and in the old daysin the buggies and they'd sit and visit with each other and got acquainted. I think it was quite the social season for the women.
TW: Yah, I sure loved them as a kid.
LC: And you got a few miles away from home. Even if you just went over the hill,you'd never been over the hill. You didh't know what was over there. And that was g reat stuff to get in the buggy and go over.
TW: For example, we went to a sale out in the Tammany country, I guess. How thatTammany is south of Lewiston. Or at least it was in the Lewiston Orchards. And we went from our farm near Genesee - that's twenty miles from Lewiston - we went down the day before. We went out to the sale and then we came home either that night or the next day. That was by team, of course, you see, so -
EGW: Have you been to some of the auction sales around? They're just the same, justthe same thing. Auctioneers stand up with his -
TW: Except that there was always the stock, the livestock, and the cattle and thehorses. Horses, of course, -
EGW: Oh, it was pretty - it was just like being to a stock show.
TW: were always quite attractive . That was your motive power for farming. So lotsthe and lots of times there was - they always kept the horses til/last because that would hold the crowd. Everybody came to either see how the horses sold or to buy an extra horse or buy a good horse or get a mate for oneNhe had or some such thing. And harness. Gus still can't go to a sale without bidding on harness.
SAM: You grew up there by Genesee then?
TW: Yeh, um-hum.
SAM: So you probably have strong memories of the stock show and all that?
TW: Yah. Ofcourse, Gus would remember that better than I would but I was about -ah, in the grades then when the stock shows were going. That was along about - well - before World War I.
EGW: They had lovely stock shows more recently in Uniontown (Wash.) though.
TW: But these were the big. things out there where the mill now is. Where the pondis. Where they've got their -
EGW: Oh, in Lewiston, you mean.
TW: Yah. The Lewiston Stock Shows. That was the big deal. That's where the Piattboys always took their cattle.
SAM: I was thinking of the Genesee Stock Show.
TW: Well, yah. I remember them too. They were a little bit overshadowed when theyhad the Lewiston ones though.
LC: Yah. We heard Bob Gray, you know, telling the other day about how he polishedoff Greasy Davis' horses and brought them in to the stock show. He had to curry them and wash them and trim their hooves.
TW: I was pretty young when they had the Genesee stock shows. That was when Mildredwas - that was before I went to school so my memories are not too good of it. Five, I think, I was about five years old then.
EGW: Uniontown had dandy stock shows just up until, oh, twenty years ago, or so.
TW: Yah, since we were in Pullman they had some.
LC: I need a good chair to sit in because -
SAM: Would you say the old - that horse trading was real - was that the kind of thingmen talked about?
TW: Oh, there was a lot of horse trading. Now Gus is a better - I didn't get in onmuch of the horse trading. But Gus can tell you about horse trading. Tell him about the horse that - wasn't it? - who was it? Was it Chuck Sands? The horse, you know, that his hindend would get ahead of his front end? Do you
GUS GAMBLE: Oh, yes.
TW: How did he have him rigged up? Did he have him in a buggy with shafts on eachside so he couldn't turn around?
GG: Yah. He had him cinched right up there so, by God, he couldn't turn around.
TW: And traded - you traded him the one that wasn't any good either, didn't you?
GG: Yes. He bought two sixes that swam. And Yes, he traded off to me in thebarn over at Whiskey Pete's and he said It's such anice horse." So - and "Gentle?" "Yes!" "And you can ride it?" -"Oh, yes" and he jumps right on its backside in the barn, yes. But the damn thing, it had a flounder - or - its hindlegs were shot.
End of side C
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Segment Synopsis: Importance of play party games in lives of pioneers. Happy is the Miller Boy; Skip to My Lou. "Spin the Platter," "Charades", paying forfeit by kissing. Party games were as good as dancing. Importance of schoolhouse to social life. Basket suppers, pie suppers, children's recitations preceding play party. Children wrote their own plays; melodramas from Samuel French Co. Thanksgiving and New Years community celebrations. The evening usually called school entertainment, program or party. Participation of adults as well as young people. End of rural schools spelled end of community social life.
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Segment Synopsis: "Wildflower, Wildflower", a children's game. "Drop the Handkerchief," an outside game for children. "Post Office", a kissing game, not played at many schools. Redeeming forfeits - one hard task was declaring love for the teacher. "Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe" was hard to play with Negro children.
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Segment Synopsis: More about play parties. Needle's Eye. Long parties and dinner on New Years, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. Importance of leader. Isolation of communities. Everyone in community came to play parties; many children slept there. Breast feeding children at parties; some older women object to this at a Mother's Day tea.
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Segment Synopsis: Mothers didn't want their daughters to have the difficult lives of bearing and rearing many children, as they had done under pioneer conditions. Many women went to Lewiston Normal to be able to teach; marriage was the major alternative. Influence of movies on women. Teaching had become a woman's job - men who did it were looked down on.