Below is unprocessed text taken from a scan of our PDF document. It's messy;we know. If you would like to help us clean up these transcripts, please email Devin Becker at email@example.com
This conversation with Jean Wilson Ringsage and Stiner Ringsage took place attheir home in Park on October 19, 1976. The interviewer is SAM SCHRAGER.
JWR: She had no idea what the prairie was like at that.moment. She wasn'tliving on it. She was living in Vancouver, B.C. She was fortunate enough to still have a job managing another hotel. And she had not idea what it was like on the prairie.
SS: About how rough it was?
JWR: No idea. I never told her. use worrying her about it.
SS: You mean, you didn't advise her just how rough it was?
JWR: Not til after the fact :, no. No, you don't. No, we weren't dying,we weren't starving to death, exactly. We certainly had an unbalan ced diet. It wasn't I didn't confide in her, but there's no use— I don't think my kids confide in me altogether. They tell me the nice things and, oh, some of the rough things, when theirs apart.
SS: Not too rough.
JWR: Yeah. But I don't think— it doesn't mean that- it depends- when Ifound that my youngest girl was- she came to visit me and I finally told her, I told her then my problem about Laura, my oldest girl. That she was practically blind in one eye; had a cataract. And she was a premature baby, you see, and had to have an operation. Well, I told her then. But, I don't know, you just kind of don't howl til you have to.
SS: What do you think were the differences at that time- now, you say,now between you and your mother? Was it that she was—?
JWR: My mother was a eternal— she's like my husband. You know, I thoughtI was going to get away from Mother's apron strings when I married Stiner. I married the eternal optimist, like my mother. She was al ways looking ahead- things were- you know the Unsinkable Molly Brown- you know that spirit, nothing ever sunk her, nothing ever really— she'd look at the bright side: It isn't going to last and she always seemed to manage. Things meshed in so that she came out and she was on top. He isn't quite so good as she was. I don't know I don't know, I'm not too sure about him but she was a pretty devout woman in her way. She was unorthodox but she was a true believer.
SS: So you call it the decade, that you grew up in?
JWR: It was. She was. That beautiful. The days— well, it was in the1890's, you know. It was very genteel. People were polite and courteous, and you went to visit a lady and Mother left calling cards, you know, it's the correct thing. And, I don't know, you didn't in trude, and yet you were there with sympathy and help. And you had high ideals. And, as I say, even the town drunk had his principles. You know and the ladies, well they had their principles, too. They were just like gunsmoke and they had their hearts of gold amongst those. They were around. They were beautiful. And we'd pass 'em in the street, and five years old and ten or eight— mmmmm - they didn't fill in the details, but you realized they lived a life apart from yours. But I don't think the bubble started to break til after World War I, and then it went down fast. But it was Horatio Alger, you were always going to— the good guy won out. Lady was virtuous and so on and she grew up to a ripe old age and her children rose up and called her- you know, gave her honor and so on.
SS: What do you think happened? Was it the war itself that changed it?
JWR: I think depression brought us down more than war^; far more than wars.Depression was worse than war. Alright, you died. I suppose for the ones that are lingering in hospitals now; yes, war was terrible. But oh, the years of hunger. The years of just living on the edge of nothing. Look, it started with us in '28 went through to '34- what's that? Six years. And, you weren't dying, but you were just forever wanting things. Needing things. I went out and taught for a year, but they didn't know when I appliedAI was married. I hadn't lied, I'd just simply wrote my name; Jean Ringsage. But they wouldn't have took me in spite of my qualifications because I was married and there was so many married men needing it, but they^were stuck with me and I'd signed a contract. So I went home-
SS: How far away was that?
JWR: Two hundred miles away. And I had to get my children; left 'em withboarded them out, and then for the last six months- five months, had a woman come in and take care of 'em.
SS: They stayed at
JWR: They stayed with Stiner. You know, you're not the only— you're justsurrounded by people poor. People that's been thrifty and some of them even affluent. Then you're suddenly just leveled down to no thing. And up there, there isn't the fruit. There's just a few na tive berries. In fact, one main native berry. Just things to sustain you. A garden is only something brief that lasts at best for six weeks at it's peak. Maybe lettuce two months, with good luck. You've so few resources. Now, in the early part of the de pression, somebody in British Columbia, the farmers themselves got together; they loaded box cars full of apples and shipped 'em to the prairie provinces. We would go there with gunny sacks and fill may be two or three, is all we could afford, up for a dollar a sack. We could manage that, but if you bought them in the stores, we just didn't. We never saw an apple all the rest of the time. When Mother did realize that we were strugging, I guess she got it through papers, because she did send mone and I did buy, maybe one box of apples, and a box of Japanese oranges and, things like that, you calendarines here.
SS: Is that what pricked your bubble-
JWR: Yes, yes. That definitely shaked me. Definitely. Shaked things up,and made you see that this was black and white and what hunger is and how close to the edge of it you are.
That's what you said here; your world was black and white and gray.Well, it's sacrifice. And people dying because perhaps they couldn't get to ahospital. Or miscarriages and abortions brought on and-die from it. That's the lives that are lost. People are neglected. The last few years of our life we had a hospital; a community hospital up there for adollar aday. And from your tax money you paid about two dollars a quarter section. Which was very reasonable and now when Ihad my last baby Iwent to ^hospital. The first there was no hospital. Ihad to have them at home. In my healthy state, it was no great hardship.
SR: We had a half section.
JWR: Yes. But then, you see, there was several years of the Depression.You just struggle along and sometimes people would die.
SS: People up there that you knew? Died?
JWR: I shouldn't say they died I've heard of some of them. Imean-Look, you can die of blood poisoning. You can die of TB. Now here's one I knew died of TB because they never got help. There was no onethere was a wife at home and two little children; he was an English man, an improvident Englishman, and he just struggled along and stayed and did what he could. Stayed in the house coughing his head off. He should have been in a sanitorium. And she should have had municipal help. But^ wasn't; you just didn't get any help. People don't realize what a world is.
SR: Neighbors would do all they could.
JWR: The neighbors would do all they could but they- there was nothing,they were sharing their rags, like I was. You were exchanging perhaps meat for potatoes, if you happened to have a few. It was barter; you were suddenly reduced to barter. Now it hasn't always been like this in our lives on the farmj That period I told you, we were eating carrots and potatoes and bread, but we got skim milk. Our cows went dry. We weren't farmers. You had wheat farms there and that was it. Wheat and oats, and you didn't go in for all these side is sues. I never set foot in a barn til I came down here. We never shipped cream or anything like that. I had to get skim milk to keep the kids going. But it only lasted maybe two or three months and then we got a few eggs, and I don't know, maybe we got, I don't know but maybe one of our animals got big enough that we could sell, it sixteen dollars and buy a little bit of something else with it to vary your diet.
SR: I think after we was married we had plenty of eggs. But they was socheap.
JWR: Yes, but there was some times, there was one or two times— alrightwhen we got going- but there were times before we got going good, we didn't even have that. Another thing— supposing you're doing well, if you see a goal, the end in sight, if you see the end is in sight, and you're going to make good; you're going to overcome something, you're going to accomplish something, you don't mind the hardships so bad. But when it goes on for years and there's no end in sight; Our biggest cheer was Roosevelt down here. We had a guy like Her bert Hoover up there til the end of time- til I left. Just another fellow; same mentality. This man down here gave us a song of cheer. That's when his dad died that I was so willing to move down here.
SS: Because of Roosevelt?
Yes. Definitely. Because he was doing something for his people.he was And one of his brothers wrote that on PWA and they were getting some food; surplus food.
SR: Forty dollars a month.
Yes, and they go4 surplus food. I remember they got grapefruit inthe middle of the winter. And, oh, the luxury of it! I hadn't seen grapefruit for years! Oranges! Peanut butter! All those things. WW just pure heaven. We didn't get 'em. We have never gone on welfare because we were emigrants in here, we didn't dare go on welfare. Of course, we didn't need it. Imean, we thought we were doing fine.
See, I was American and didn't take out my papers til just before Icame down here. The reason I took 'em out was to prove up on the homestead and get some money out of that, to move out of here. Did you have to give up your American citizenship to do that?
Oh, sure! And then, you have to turn right around and get 'emagain, and that isn't easy. Because they ask all kinds of questions and everything. But you know, I was in good health, (must be some appliance on; very noisy) And I know when they give me the charts to look at- great big letters, you know, I says, "Haven't you got anything smaller?" I said, "Give me the smallest you got and start with that." And he did, and he left it there, and I could see it without glasses.
SS: So, in other words, you had to give up your American citizenshipso you could prove up on the homestead so you could sell it to come back here?
SR: I could do all the—
JWR: That was one quarter or a half or anything.
SR: Well, it doesn't make any difference, a quarter or a half.
JWR: I know, dear, but it was- we had a quarter.
SR: Yeah, I bought a quarter-
JWR: They homesteaded it for us.
SR: I'd worked three years and he give me that quarter. With the building on it and that was a nice building, up there. It was warm and two bedroom house. I got a picture of it in a book there. And we could show him that, couldn't we, some time?
SS: But you had to prove up to sell that homestead? You had to give upyour citizenship?
JWR: Anybody. Look, you got all these people coming from all overEurope there and the requirement is, you must be a Canadian citizen in order to get a homestead-
SR: A British subject.
JWR: A British subject.
SR: You gotta be a British subject before you can-
JWR: Well, you'd have to do the same here. I'm sure they did in thiscountry.
SS: But it is too bad that you had to give up your citizenship here andthen just— You were planning at that time to come back down?
JWR: Well,no. Just got that the fall, and your dad died in April May.it was about five months before we come down. No, we were planning on living there, staying there. But then his dad died
SR: We had to come down because of the estate.
JWR: I could get away from the cold and the food- you know, I knew therewas more food here because they could raise . and they had a longer growing season. All those things were big factors.
SS: But you seemed in this letter to be very worldly despite your isolation, in this letter to your mother. You seemed to be very much in tune with not only events going on but with the feeling of- I think the feeling of bleakness and despair that you were experiencing was not so different from what a lot of people were experiencing all over the world.
JWR: That's true all over the world. Yes, we were part of and we knew wewere part of it, but as I said before, we had a newspaper, a good sized husky newspaper, like the equivalent perhaps of the Oregonian or well, more like the Journal . We got it in Edmonton. We read quite a bit. We passed- loaned books around; Mother had a library that would send books clear from -British Columbia.. They were nonfictional books, but they were very good. Mostly on archaeology and oh, I don't know, just things like that. And when you were in politics there, there was just an abundance of propaganda, whatever, going around. You could it and reject it or whatever, but it was there. But Mother- her letters were just as informative as mine. She could write fast and rapidly; she could write under any circumstances. She traveled by bus and she never wasted a moment.
SS: Was she trying to talk to you about losing your idealism?
JWR: No. I don't think it was exactly- it might have been to a certain extent,trying to cheer me up. You know the Pollyanna approach. And I think that's more likely. But she was just trying to tell me- I think that may have been part of it. And I was perhaps complaining about-
SR: Things changed an awful lot in Canada while we were up there. I wasup there for twenty years. Can you imagine? Twenty years. And I know Dad says, "You ought to stay a whole year, up there." You can't believe that it gets fifty below. I says, "They tell me it gets fifty below up there." And, he says, "You can't believe that, you better (sounds like a shivaree is going on off stage!) stay all year." And so, about December the 20th we quit threshing and I went into my pal, had a pardner that year, and he wanted me to go with him that winter and go trapping in the Rocky Mountains. And his dad had taken a homestead up there, and he wanted me to stay up there with him, while his dad went out to work. Boy, that's a hard time to go out to work in the outside. It was 45 where we was thresh ing, 45 below zero.
SS: Did you thresh that long?
SR: Oh, yeah. And it was getting so the days was so short, mostly moonlight, you see, and icicles and everything else was going into the sack.
JWR: It was frozen so hard it didnjt destroy the grain.fiR: I said, "What we gonna do about this grain in the bin there? We've got icicles and everything in there." And, "Oh," they says, "We got nothing else to do all winter, we'll just fan the ice out." And oh, they know, they know what to do. And so I thought, "Well, that's alright." This Ctrl'*H^he died Just a few years ago.
SS: You told me about trapping with him.
JWR: But, one thing now-
SR: And all the Americans was up there; now they were all Americansseemed like, irigt up there, to trap and homestead and things like that.
JWR: They had a you know, you could be a hippie and be very, veryrespectable. Now this uncle- remember I told you his shop was destroyed slide? Alright, this is what happened to him; he mar ried my aunt- well, of course, he reestablished another one in Blairmore about seven or eight miles, and they were going good and then he married her and after, oh, three or four years, he got so fed up with tailoring; now he was a real- he'd apprenticed and become a tailor the hard way, and a lot of the men were fairly affluent there, miners, and they would have nice suits made from scratch. But he was fed up with all that. He wanted to go homesteading up towards the Peace River. This was in British Columbia. And this was my mother's youngel? . sister. A little frail thing. She had a touch of TB when she was young, you know, everybody that's had any family of any kind there was always one or two had it, a touch of it. And they never had any children, too, she wasn't too strong. So this handsome Uncle Fred tailored; brought up in Toronto, never seen a cow only at a distance and Aunt Amy had been brought up on a farm but she never- she didn't milk or do any outside work. There was plenty of boys and men to do it. They and they had to go, oh, I suppose a hundred and fifty, two hundred miles before the railroad was in, and landed up there near Prince George and this homestead on this beautiful lake close to an Indian reservation. And they camped out and they gypsied just all along the way. Now, big sack of flour, you'd mix the bread or the pancakes or the dough on top of it, and she was just an exquisite housekeeper and cook. Had this old one room shack, we came to live in, but it was partitioned off with curtains. She could just take a little one room place not much bigger than that front room and make it into a -
SS: Oh, was that the sister you went to live with after your father died?
JWR: Uh-huh, that's the one. But, you see, in those days, you could gohomesteading and that's how you could get rid of all these young peo ple that had dreams and ideals and fed up to the teeth with all the establishment.
SS: You just offered 'em a homestead out in the—
JWR: Yeah. You see, the country did. And of course, Uncle Fred/throwingup this good business- he wasn't poor and yet he sold it all and took his few thousand dollars-
SS: Why did he take that out?
JWR: The establishment! Why do these young people drop out of these universities and high schools and leave their lovely degrees when they got it going for 'em? You know, the same principle exactly! The great fresh air! Hunting. Trapping. Fishing. The glitter— oh, I don't know. The family just quietly wrung their hands. But it was respectable, you see, you could do that and be respectable. The poor kids now, it's a shame, they can't do those gypsy-like things. And after about ten years, the end of World War I, he went back to Toronto for a year or so and settled in Vancouver. Establishment again. Quite happy. Apartment in town. Then he got into this dry cleaning, you know, that was just the new thing, using these solvents to clean clo thes. And he did very well. But that had to get woed out of his system.
SS: How was it for your aunt?
JWR: Well, it was pretty rough, and oh, she suffered from lonliness! Nochildren. And that was why she was so glad to have us, and she used to maybe borrow a neighbor's child sometimes. Three or four miles away this woman had four or five and she could spare, and you know, take them to her place. My uncle was gone on a trapline. She was very lonely.
SS: To have a child just to have for company?
JWR: Just company. You've no idea.
SR: Well, we've got a neighbor here that does the same thing. She getsher—
SR: Grandchildren. Well now, she says they have to go to school, so she'slost 'em all. And she's awfully nice. And another thing, she's teaching 'em things. Teaching 'em how to do things, you know. Not force 'em to do anything, but teaching 'em how. You know, like when o£ 'em
I was a kid, of course there was plenty^ you had to carry in woodand all that stuff-
JWR: He has never known lonliness like I have. He's always had these brothers, aunts, uncles just running out his ears. He was far better with children when we got married and I had a child than I was. You know I told you about-
JWR: Yes, because I'd had this lonely childhood, and I did have a littlebaby sister, but, my goodness, with Mother and I both drooling over her, why,—
SS: You mean, he could deal with the kids better than you?
JWR: Oh, far better. Far better! Oh, he's an excellent father. He'sfar better with kids than 1^. And the little things that upset me with them he knew what to do with them.
SS: Like? What kind of things?
JWR: Alright, in here we had a stove, awoodstoye. There was little gratesin front, you could swing em to one side, just two little things with slits about like this so the air could come in, Elaine was oily possibly two. take these— he used to smoke a pipe then- put little matches in and catch 'em on fire,I used to roar at her and give her a wallop or two. Oh, lots of little things. "You wait til Daddy comes from his chores, Daddy'll be with you when you're doing it." All day long she'd be in the woodbox, there used to be a big woodbox there, and she'd pick up all these tiny bits of wood, and his burnt out matches, you know, he'd put 'em out and throw 'em in there. And she got neat little piles when he got through. Now this went on for two winters, believe it or not, and he'd go in there and sit in one of those rocking chairs by the fire, and she'd put them and let them burn up til they almost burned her handtf* But it must have worked something out of her system. I wouldn't have put up with that but he would. I don't know how many other things. For instance, on the steps up in Canada. We would come out of the kitchen and go down about three steps, into sort of a porch deal where we had the cistern and wood and that sort of thing, And Forrest was hammering. He gave him a whole quarter's worth of nails to hammer across the steps, just, And tell him about when he broke the— maybe he has told you about it before- breaking eighteen windows when he was a year and a half.
SS: How did he do that?
JWR: Well, you tell him, Stiner.
SR: But you know- that's pretty good, that was all we had in there waseighteen windows. But one of those—
JWR: Big, old chickenhouse longer than this house and it had windows, oh,from about the ground up to here, eighteen panes clear across. Oh, they was smaller than that.
SR: You know it's so cold up there that we had to have— I dug into thebank first and built the logs right into the bank and then put dirt on the sides; twelve feet on the bottom, or, thirteen feet and then come up to the top of the chickenhouse, where it was three feet of dirt, leveled it off, see. That was on the back and on the sides and then in front I had built up from the bottom about three feet, see, and then put the windows in. And we wanted to make the chicken house good, so we found out we had to have a space, I think it was twelve inches or something like that of cheesecloth clear across for air, see. Because there was almost no air in there, without it got air that way. And then on top I put straw. I put first logs across every four feet.
JWR: Well, tell him about the windows-
SR: Well, he wants to know why we had the windows in. So, we put thelogs across and then I put brush^as close as I could get it and then I put straw on- about twelve great, big hayracks full on top of this. And this was twenty-six by twenty feet wide and packed it down and then I put a plank on top of this straw here and I put a wheelbarrow, run a big wheelbarrow out and dumped dirt on it and pressed it down and put dirt on it til I got about eight inches of dirt all over the top of that again. And then the windows— all we could get in there was ordinary windows, you know, - and what was it now? Just one sash?
JWR: No, they were individual I think maybe you got them out ofan old house or something. There were eighteen. There like four, I think to a panel.
SR: They were eighteen window panes.
JWR: There were four I think to a panel.
SR: Maybe four- Four set in and then four like that.
JWR: Either that or there was a—
SR: Well, anyway-
JWR: I think there were six- three six is eighteen-
SR: Well, anyway, he could- the way we had banked the dirt up and everything, he could climb up- now, he was only four years old-
JWR: He wasn't four, dear-
SR: Three and a half, then.
JWR: He might have been three.
SR: Yeah. And so, he'd climb up and he got my hammer- and that was aheavy hammer, it weighed a pound, besides the handle, you know. And I thought, "Gee, he's got a load." He went up there, course I didn't know he was up there or anything, I was out someplace working. I never come home only for meals,as a rule, and so, well, so here was an awful bad story- he had broken all these windows!
SS: With the hammer?
JWR: And he admitted it.
SR: "Well," I says, "that's terrible." "Well," then I says, "I didn'thave to do it." But, of course, I told him, "You never do it again, it's too bad you did it. But don't ever do it again. Daddy'd get awful mad. He'd sure spank you." Well, he thought like this- "I worked hard," I know he worked hard at it. And he got it all fin ished. He took all the little pieces out, you know, when he hit it, breaks the corner flnd things. He took all the little pieces out and made it nice and clean.
JWR: And he never had a cut on him.
SR: No. Sure not. Anybody else would, but not he and I! (Chuckles)So he got that all cleaned off and I thought he did a good job! Well, I said, seventeen windows, the other one was cracked, so it wasn't much good. Well, anyway I went to town and I got this here cheap stuff, you know.
JWR: Plastic, you know.
SR: Yeah, put that in. Well, the chickens would pick a hole in thisother stuff, cheap stuff. It was alright; lasted anyway. But, you know, it was really a good chickenhouse.
SS: You didn't hit him?
SR: No, gosh. Oh, everybody said you ought to give him a lickin'! Isaid, "Boy, they got to lick me first!" No. I says, "Did anybody tell him not to do it? I never told him he couldn't do it, or that he shouldn't do it." I says, "That was his own intention." And just says, "By golly, the chickens haven't got air," he says, "I'm gonna see that they get air in there!"
SS: Is that why he did it, Stiner?
JWR: No, I don't think that was it at all.
SR: You never know what he thought.
JWR: But the poor kids, the two of 'em were not spoiled. And he wouldnever do that again. He was the most responsible, reliable and ob edient kid. But, boy, they always found something new.
SR: I never had no trouble.
JWR: I did. I argued with them. Stiner, I'd tell him all these stuff-"You argue too much with 'em." I never got any sympathy from him. (Laughter)
SS: Would your father have hit you for doing the same thing?
SR: No, he'd give you a lickin and then tell us afterwards. That's why-I thought, I thought differently gosh, I wouldn't do that with a kid of mine." I know one time I got a lickin' over my fingers, when we first moved from Park here to the reservation and I was five coming six, you know, and there was a little tree about this high and about that big around, I guess, you know I had a little axe and I chopped and chopped and, boy, I worked like Forrest did. I was all in when I got through. But I got that tree down. I had a little stump about that high! (Laughter) When Dad got home, I guess he saw it, and he thought it was a cute little tree and that was the worst thing I could do. Well, the first thing he did, he got a switch and he got it, it wouldn't do for me to get it, he tried that, and every time he sent me for a switch, I'd get one that was dry, rotten, about this long. (Chuckles) And Helmer says, "Oh, gosh," he says, "that's no good, you ought to get a long, green one." I says, "You get yours, and I'll get mine!" And I got mine all the time. I never failed. Dad would take it- once and it just flew all to pieces.
SR: Well, he wouldn't go down to get it. I said, "If he wants one, lethim go get it." So, I wouldn't- I says, "There's nobody gonna whip Forrest for that good.
JWR: Makes you feel good, maybe I used to give 'ema wallop. He and Laura used to fight so much. They loved to play and they'd play and then, you know, kids fight. I'd get tired and I'd wallop 'em and put 'em in separate rooms, and I'd run out of Ideas. But I didn't he'd get up at night. I'd sleep through their howling. He'd get up at nights with 'em and take 'em in, 'em whatever was called for. He brought up Uncle Ed's four kids. He was the one that was living here when Ed had his four kids, just like little pea pods. He was the one that loved 'em and babied 'em and made little toys, and Ed was the stern father, more like his dad.
SR: Yeah. I says to his dad, I says, "Why don't you let 'em get on yourknee once in a while? Gee whiz," I says, "they're getting pretty thick now, you know?" "Oh," he says, "I'd spoil 'em."
SS: Ed said that?
SR: Yeah, he said, "That'll spoil 'em. And I don't dare to do that.""Gosh," I says* "knock the daylights ought of 'em afterwards!" I said, "You'll be bigger then and better shape," and I says, "They'll be bigger andAable to take it!. (Chuckles)
JWR: Those kids were very fond of Stiner when they were young. He wasjust like a young uncle.
SR: And Viola, you know, she the oldest. She came and she'd alwayssit on my knee, and I'd bounce her a little bit. Nobody else'd pick her up. Didn't dare. Her dad wouldn't dare. Oh,no, it'd spoil her. I said, "You're crazy!" I said, "She's just a little girl, she needs somebody to play with her and talk to her and so on." And then Floyd came next, "Well," I said, "Viola, you'll have to give him room on this side, on this knee." So he'd get over on that knee you see. Then when the next one came,ARoy and then Clarence- well, we had to give 'em all— well, they was willing. Yes, sure, they'd get right off and let the other one-
SS: The other one on?
SR: Oh, sure. And talk, and we just got along fine. But what got me-I spent three years, and of course, I could have been out all the time. I just give up everything to help 'em out. I could see that he was just going to pieces. The water, for one thing, was- just killed him. And he had to haul water quite a ways, and he had to work hard. Boy, I tell you, when you go two and a half miles to get your water; he had a big tank and all that. Why, you dump that and it used to take me two and a half hours, but I had horses that'd walk that in just a little while and back again. Well, they was the one my uncle had, you know. They were good on anything like that. I could pump that tank, three hundred and fifty gallons, I could pump that in twenty minutes. Just like this, never stop for twenty minutes, it'd be full.
SS: But you started to say, that what got you, he was going to pieces.SR; Oh, yeah, well- Eunice had her piano shipped up there from Troy, see. And she played awfully nice. And Ed played the guitar, and I thought the two of 'em was so nice, and, do you know, somehow or another, they never got along, or Ed didn't, with old And Brickey thought they should do more work and not so much music, see. nPlayin and all that. And they quit playin', and gosh, you know, I liked a little music once in a while. Especially when you could get good music. Eunice used to teach music, see. And she give me a few leswhen sons on the piano. And I thought that was so nice. And she had to quit, No phonograph, no nothing, see. I says, ^1 was used to being in town where I could, when I got through with the mining, all day, I'd go into a—"
SR: Yeah. Or to a saloon where they had beer, and have a beer and talkto a bunch of guys. Maybe buy beer for a half a dozen, and when they all bought their's, that's all I wanted. See. And then go back and have dinner, and maybe just before dinner-
SS: You were missing the music pretty bad?
SR: And here, you had all these darn things a playin' all the time, inthere, you know.
SS: They played together? She played and he played at the same time?SR; Oh, sure. And they harmonized. And it seems to me like, I'll bet you after quite a few years, if they got to playin', they neither one of 'em could play. Too darn much work.
They certainly raised brilliant children. My those kids are bright.Ed's children.
SR: Yeah. Yeah, Viola and all them they used to be—
SS: It's funny the difference in affection. Your falser, it seems, justlike Ed, he didn't believe in showing affection to kids.
JWR: That's right. Just the same thing, that's why they got along sowell.
SR: That's the way they were brought up, I guess.
JWR: Stiner is different. His affection for the children andall that. But he knew how to handle, these crises like breaking windows. And all that
SR: Gee, whiz, I think I think you're starting a fight when you startsomething like that, you know. You've got to warn them, just the same as anybody else, a few times; not once, but a few times. And then he wasn't warned at all. He just knew what he was going to do and he got that hammer and he says, "That's a good thing."
SS: Stiner, what I'm wondering, where do you think you got the idea thata father should show affection to his kids? You didn't get it from your old man, did you? If you didn't get it from him, where did you get it from?
SR: I just corrected him all the way through. I just figured he had nobusiness doing that, see. I always stuck up for myself (Chuckles)
JWR: His mother was a very gentle, soft, loving woman.
SS: Was your mother very affectionate to you kids?
SR: Oh, yes.
JWR: Very gentle and loving. And some of the— his brother, Simon, thatdied, he was the most affectionate person. Just loving to his wife and his children and stepchildren. Just beautiful to them. Kindly. Helped my kids out. Helped me out. Kind of cuddle you up, you know, and he'd give you a squeeze when he'd see you, no matter who it was. He was just friends, just loving. Helmer, that was practically the road to hell. That was almost— Well, we won't go into it!
SS: Helmer was more like his father then? (Chuckles)
JWR: Very much like him. Very Much.
SR: Yeah, Helmer and I used to fight an awful lot over the kids, over thethe brothers. The younger brothers. He got to beatin' up on 'em and I'd say, "Now, you just stop it." I was a lot younger and smaller, but, gosh almighty, I'd fight for all I was worth anyway. And I know we used to do that til I was fourteen, and when I was fourteen, boy, I held my own. I could just break even, and after that, well, after I got around sixteen, I said, "You're just a big coward!" (Chuckles)
SS: So, in other words, Helmer would want to treat the littler kids roughand you'd want to treat 'em gentle.
SR: There were quite a few of us, see. The littlest one could have anythingAnd nobody else dared to take it away from 'em.
JWR: He was the one that was his mother's last child.
SR: I remember Julius, that's in Seattle now, he used to be awful toaggravate Joseph. Joseph was the youngest, you know. And Joseph just— well, he'd aggravate him so much that Joseph could hardly stand him, you know. All you had to do is just poke him a little or, I don't know, make noises or say something funny and you'd get him mad.
SS: The little kid?
JWR: He was pretty delicate. He was born with rickets— he wasn't bornwith rickets, but his mother had TB.
SR: Anybody else would get along fine with him.
JWR: And he was pretty frail.
SR: Anybody else would get along fine with him, but he was always pickening a little Joe, you know. Or, I mean, yes,- little Joe, he was the youngest. And I remember Joe one time, he was excited and, by golly, he threw the scissors at him and they just went like thatthe sharp edge struck him up here someplace- Oh, boy, I tell you, it was dangerous! (Chuckles)
JWR: The Mother was gentle, loving Course, in those days,fathers had quite an image to live up to.
SR: Yeah, but listen, he could use a little brains with it, too. Littlesense. Now, how much money would I have saved by giving that kid a licking after he'd done it?
JWR: Well, dear, you convinced me you were right after wards, but theinitial thing was mad with me.
SR: Go out there and beat up on him—
JWR: Just before, well, I was going to say— Probably we weren't quite ashard up then as we were lots of times.
SR: Oh, no. The only time that I come in handy— when we first had the childrenand you know it was cold in the wintertime, and I was afraid they wasn't covered up too good or something and might get cold, why, I'd if I'd hear one of 'em make a little noise, I'd just get right up. Nobody'd maybe notice that I'd got up. didn't
JWR: I and that was one of the reasons-
SR: Yeah, I think she slept right through that. I'd just kind of coveredthe blankets down and get up and go over there and feel around and see how they were tucked in, and see if they were warm and everything. Found out they was okay, there was nothing wrong, then I'd go back to bed. But they could get me up two, three times in the night.
JWR: Quite often, another thing, he'd bring 'em in to me, or where everthey were- and I told you how cold it was. You lifted the baby out of the buggy and you never could put it back again.
SS: Really? You didn't tell me that.
SR: You know, you know you had a washpan- say, if you had it close to thestove there and maybe you had it half full of water- a washpan, you know, it wasn't dirty so you wouldn't throw it out, and leave it til morning and that'd be solid ice in the morning. You know it must be pretty cold in there
JWR: In the kitchen. Oh, but my youngest one, always rememberthis more vividly I had put her to bed in a buggy, I didn't have a Were, small baby bed, the room fairly small, I had a baby buggy-
SR: And she was awfully small.
JWR: And I had a wool,- oh, they were wrapped up well- there was feathersunderneath, like a big feather pillow and then there was waterproof ing of some kind, a little rubberized pad, and then there was a wool blanket. Always pure wool blanket around her and over her and then over that again there was an old fur coat of my mother's. And then I'd up maybe one, two o'clock to be nursed. You take her in, there was always a little puddle there and a little damp in her blan ket, and I'd nurse her and I'd have to change her. I had a flashlight- I'd have to change her under the blanket! and I used to be so thirsty. Water was always frozen in the glass beside my bed. Sometimes poke down through it enough to break the ice and drink. And maybe I'd be half hour say, nursing her and changing her. I couldn't put her back because that was froze solid, that wet spot in her bed and I'd have to keep her with me til morning to keep her going. I didn't mind those things, I didn't mind, it was other things, you know, poverty and ev erything .
SR: And our house was supposed to be about the warmest.
JWR: It was one of the warmest houses there. But that's Canada.
SR: There's only one thing that would a made it better for us, and I'd abeen tickled to deaths if we could afford buying coal,
SR: Buy coal. It wasn't very much, but we just couldn't afford to buyany.
SS: Is that because the coal would have burned all night?
SR: Yes. And if it did, I wouldn't mind getting up a half a dozen timesif I have to. But it's laying out there and being cold.
SS: But the wood, you couldn't keep the wood going?
SR: Oh, no, I wouldn't try.
JWR: You'd bank it as good as you could when you went to bed but, boy-
SS: Did you have beside the cookstove- did you have another heat sourcein the house? You had a woodstove heater?
JWR: We had a woodstove in the kitchen and in the front room we had aheater, good sized heater.
SS: What kind of stove was that?
JWR: It was a woodstove; both were woodstoves, but you could have burnedcoal if you had to.
SS: Right had a thermostat on it so that—?
JWR: Oh, no. No thermostat. No thermostats in those days. No I neverminded the cold. I could bear it and I never wore anything but- in those days there was your little undergarments were of rayon, And I never wore anything but rayon, til I got to Portland. The first winter I froze was the first winter in Portland. I finally broke down and got some of Mother's little very thin woolies; pure wool. That's the winter that got to me.
SS: In Portland! After all these-
JWR: But it's such a dry cold. It's drier than the Sahara Desert.
SR: Yeah, and I found out when I was up there for a while. I went overto some of these Canadian's— and we never buttoned up the first two buttons here, just leave them open. Working pitching bundles and things. And even if the snow— you know it froze; 45 below and you pitch a bundle up, the snow comes down, it's froze in little, just like a little bit of fog almost, you know, comes down your neck and all and it's gotta melt. And it gets your clothes wet and it'll freeze. But, you know, I asked 'em about the underwear, and they told me what they had.
JWR: You know force and gravity and all that- all these sort of thingsit'selectricity. His dad had this box— (noisy)
SS: His father had a black box?I've got parts of it yet.
JWR: He had that. Well, they called it a black box. I took all the dustout of it and gave it to my grandson. He was always tinkering, buil ding TVs. If anybody had the thing, I guess it would be worth, may be a thousand dollars. It cost about eight or nine hundred dollars-
SS: Well, what did he do with it?
JWR: Well, to diagnose people and to work on their diseases. You diagnoseda person- I've got a little booklet in there- and then you get his wave length or whatever, and then you work on it. Well, this book chapter on it. But to think we had that thing here and I didn't realize what a treasure it is amongst people that's into that line. They are so scarce and so few. And it's beautiful. It's, I'd say, about three by eighteen inches. There's two of them upstairs yet. There's no thing in them, but just because the work is to beautiful, they are so beautifully built.
SS: Was he acquainted with this method? Did he use it?
JWR: Yes he had the machine and he used it. That was in the latter yearsof his practice.
SS: Did he find he could do good?
SR: I suppose he did.
JWR: Well, he retired so soon after that. His widow was quite impressedwith it, and that sort of thing.
SR: Well, she figured he thought a lot of it.
JWR: He thought a lot of it. Thought highly of it. But he was the one Itold you about, healing his sister.
SS: I wanted to ask you about that. I was just thinking; when he washealing his sister and other people; what did he concentrate on? He would think- Here's a person that feels that he has this electric or magnetic power- he called it magnetism. You are the object and he visualized- he was visualizing that healing power flowing from himself into that body. And particularly the part that' ,Ahurting the most; he diagnosed the ailment. It was a case of mental visualization. He had it. He knew it. He believed in it and the patient was recep tive. I was looking for his instructions for the patient. I asked Elaine if she had it. She might have it or Randy might have it, see ing he's interested in this line of work. I couldn't find it. But it'll come sometime. And if I do, I'll xerox a copy for you, but it Avery simple. Go in a room; quiet, separate from everyone else. Lie down on top of the bed, in between the covers; loosen your clothes, if there is anything tight or confining and take off your shoes, close your eyes and then start relaxing as much as possible within you. And think good thoughts. Think loving thoughts. any animosity or hatred in your heart towards anyone, as much as is in you? you can start working on it. Won't happen over nighty I realize that.
SS: If you what?
JWR: If you've had a feud with your next— but, the idea is to not haveany negative thoughts within you. Negative be positive. And then to feel that you are surrounded by this healing power; it's just all around you like the sun's rays. And it's natural; it's nor mal for it to go in you, and you realize that he was thinking those thoughts. Well he's lying down too and sending them. He's working on you and you receive them. And if you have a particular spot that's hurting, why, think of that place in particular as receiving this healing power. This magnetism. And that's the main thing. And after half an hour get up and keep your mind free from worry or concern or if possible. And in dire poverty it seemed to work. But there's two people. He believed so in himself and the receiver was the same way. And he got results.
SR: Well, you know we had a guy, he had ulcers in his leg, you know fromthe foot up to the knee, just broken all out, rotten like.
SS: Which guy was this? Down on Central Ridge?
SR: The guy over on Central Ridge.
SS: We were talking about that before. He's the guy that he cured.
SR: Yes, he's the one that- or, he wanted to know when Dad came backfrom the school, you know. He wanted to know where he was and all that.
JWR: Tell him about the time when you were constipated and what your daddid then. Boy, that was-
SR: I don't remember that.
JWR: You told me- you kids would have any problems, all he did was rubyour spine a little bit and you could hardly get to the bathroom fauick enough!
SS: Is that what he did?
SR: I don't remember.
JWR: You told me that years ago.
SR: Well, if I told you, I guess it's so.
SS: You wouldn't have told^any lies, would you?
JWR: Not about anything like that, I don't think.
SR: I might have told you if it happened to some of his patients.
JWR: I don't know about his patients, but you told me about you kids. He'dwork on your spine.
SS: Sounds like he wasn't- like he didn't believe in being affectionateto you kids, but he still was willing to help you.
JWR: Oh, yes. And he was a great provider. When he got the money, hesure fed those kids, and he clothed 'em well. And then he did educa te Stiner and Helmer; sent 'em to college and did what he could, laterbn. But he just followed the path of all the fathers in those days.
SS: Which was to be strict and not loving.
JWR: To be very strict, yes, never show affection.
SS: Why do you think Stiner became so different than his father? I meando you think that his mother—
JWR: His mother- hereditary. Now his brothers- Julius is an affectionate-Helmer is the only one that's a heavy father.
SR: He's the worst one.
JWR: And I don't understand it. Julius spoiled his kids rotten.
SR: He's just clear out.
SS: Maybe you got as affectionate as you were kind of— you were reacting to Helmer, maybe.
JWR: I think so.
SS: Maybe when you were defending these other kids against Helmer, yourbrothers, you saw what the matter was.
SR: I'd see all the breaking out with Helmer.
SS: Breaking out?
SR: All the meanness. (Chuckles)
SS: continue in the old schools of non- not strictly like the physicians, but other ways of healing.
JWR: Other ways of healing. Some of 'em are real good healers. Realsympathetic, kindly healers.
SR: Well, Dad's was a little different from lots of 'em. His was thehecalled it magnetic, well, they claim that that's a power. Doctors told him one time- that's how he got started, you know, that he had an awful lot of power. Said you should get out to this school in Vulkmer Missouri. So he finally talked him in the notion of going down there. And Dad was interested in it. Not saying that there's not all kinds of other people just as good and don't know it
SS: I wonder what there was about your father? I mean, that there wasthat special quality that they were looking for?
SR: I don't know.
JWR: I think his dad was a man-
JWR: It was a tough spot to be in. He certainly wasn't half as harshas lots of fathers. He gave them lickings, and all that, but still they were never- if he could help it, they were always well fed, ohL he ao-h a little money. Well fed- amply fed.
SR: I can't remember when we didn't have plenty to eat.
JWR: Excepting when you were a little wee kid, and that was an awfullyunbalanced diet. But he was good that way. And here he was farming because it was the only thing to do, yet he had— but he practiced I guess twenty years or more as a doctor.
SS: So he had other ambitions?
JWR: I don't think— until it was awakened. Now that man that he wentto with this neighbor; two of them went up there, he must have dis cerned something in it. He was sort of a faith- not exactly a faith healer. He was a chiropractor, he' this school. Maybe or what, he realized maybe by the way he talked- Now your dad may not have been an angel to the family with all those kids; he was like Ed Swenson, neverthe less he was very affable and very friendly with the patients and neighbors. They all spoke highly of him. They all liked him.
SR: Yep. All the neighbors liked him. (recorder shut off at this point.)
SR: Too fancy or so, and he thought that was too high priced. You couldwear something cheaper for the kind of work you was doing, you was doing dirty work and to wear something high priced and that dirty work, well, he might not approve of that. But he wasn't— oh, he was alright that way.
SS: You said he made you kids- or tried to make you answer him in Norwegian. Did he speak to you in Norwegian or speak to you in English?
SR: Speak Norwegian.
SS: He wanted you to answer him in Norwegian?
SR: Yes, answer him in Norwegian. He tried that not answering, you know,but, boy that didn't work. So after while he thought, "Well, say, listen, you better answer in Norwegian." And so finally when he made up his mind, you know, you either make up your mind or else, why, then we'd just outrun him! (Chuckles) Give him time to think about it.
SS: At first he let you kids answer in English? At first?
SR: Yes. And it never improved. He got stricter, you know, determinedmore. Didn't make any difference. We just didn't believe in it. We spoke the country's language and we had a hard time speaking that and could learn a lot in that yet, so why take on something new!
JWR: That man, when I came here, he had books of almost every religionand,I shouldn't say cult- but some of them were cults. He just was absorbing them and reading them. And just name it and—
SS: Really? His father?
JWR: Uh-huh. Just an immense library of books, for a farmer. They'veall been scattered around. Just- oh, I never saw so many. And things he belonged to things he went into. He had a pretty good mind. So, a person that's been frustrated, saddened by the loss of his wife and living alone- you know, trying to bring up kids; he had problems, too.
SR: Everybody wanted him to give the kids away. None of the boys wantedthe idea, they just didn't stand for it.
JWR: Well, there was relations in those days would take kids, you know.
SR: And the neighbors would have. I know one family from California,and that woman she'd like to have some servant to do all her work and just set around and be the big lady, you know. She got Simon for a while and then finally Simon got tired of it. And, you know, he was only, I don't know how old, but he was-
JWR: He was only about nine or ten years old and doing all those chores.
SR: Get him up at five o'clock in the morning to milk all the cows, andthey had quite a few cows to milk.
JWR: Helmer went over and took him home, I think, saw how he was being exploited and took him home.
SR: And, my gosh, before breakfast he had to do this. That's before breakfast.
JWR: And then go to school.
SR: And then go to school, and to heck with the studying. Got no timeto study. So, he was a slave driver.
SS: I guess.
SR: And he wasn't much better. Old Mc Kinnon was his name.
SS: How much help did you get from the neighbor women? Did they try tostep in and provide a little- you know, of the cooking and the house keeping?
SR: Oh, let's see, that was on Central Ridge. Well, we had a few, butthey was about three miles away. Yeah, they were very nice. I know when Mother died; the girl- the man was a bachelor, that is, he was a widower, but he had a daughter, I think she was about eighteen, nineteen, and she walked up. I believe she walked up three, four miles- four miles I guess- and scrubbed the house; all the floors and cleaned everything. She was German descent. And, oh, boy, I tell you, talk about work there,
JWR: The neighbors were good for a while, but, you know, they all hadfamilies.
SR: She was really wonderful. And we got a fellow working on our houseand of course,, he wanted to know about this one girl. But we told him we didn't think he'd be good enough for her. And there was both- there was a little German in both of them. But this girl was special
SS: He was looking for a girl?
SR: Oh, no doubt. You know he was just a working man. And he was agood worker, like most all those Germans at that time. So, anyway, gosh he'd like to go down there,^he'd sure like to meet her. Well i know one time he'd take a bunch of cherries down there, a gallon of cherries down to her. Well, he had to eat a gallon first before he could get started-
SS: He'd have to eat a gallon first?
SR: Well, I'm fraid he'd eat it all up fore he got down there. You know
JWR: Walking and eating.walking with it, he'd be eating; he couldn't help himself. That guy, you'd tell him dinner was ready and he'd come off of the barn; I know they was working on the barn, and he'd landed up in one of those cherries- we had several trees, big ones, and he didn't have to go too far, he found a spot to keep him for an hour right there. And he got started eating and you Reuben I think was his name.
SS: Did he meet the girl?
SR: Yeah. (Is this part mixed up with another?)
JWR: She died at home. And Helmer was saying-
SR: She died right in her bedroom.
JWR: There was several neighbors came down and they cleaned up the houseand they knew she was dying.- You was telling me this just recently. You kids were out of the house; you were playing outside somewhere, but within earshot, and the neighbor called 'em, "Your mother wants to see you." And that's the time they all gathered around her bed. See, he really tried to be good to her, he went and get a-what was it? a great big barrel of whiskey.
SR: Oh, yes.
JWR: You know, in those days-
SR: Yeah, it was a barrel with two layers.
JWR: there was regular egg nogs given to people that had TB,
SR: Had two layers, you know, full length of the bottles; one layer downhere and stuff put in and then another layer at the top,
SR: Well, it was different kinds. Port wine maybe and brandy. Different things. She had to have a certain brand, and he had to get her's. And then he thought, I guess, he'd get homself some. Well, he needed it too. He was liable to bet that TB.
JWR: He did have a touch of it, being around her.
SR: Uh-huh. But he got over it. He went and got a tent- the doctortold him to get a tent and sleep outside, and, oh, I don't know.
JWR: And drink milk. The milk right from the cow.
SR: The drippings-
JWR: The strippings.
SR: Strippings. Yeah, after you milk out all she's got, just leave alittle in the bottom and save that for Dad, see? Maybe half a dip per ful or two. I'd have a big dipper-
JWR: The stripping of the cow's got the highest content of cream, Thatwas the richest.
SR: I'd over and here Dad come in. And I'd say,"Well, here comes the calf." (Chuckles) It'll get a little bit cold pretty quick. You know, he couldnt stand the warm milk at first, you know, when he found out that he had to, that the doctor said to drink it; he drank it like as if he liked it. And after a while he did like it.
JWR: Yes, the very last of that milk he took - encourage the calf to always drink the mother dry, that's the system of having more milk, is to take every spot of it. It's better, possibly sweeter and it's richer in cream.
SS: The fly problem was pretty serious then?
JWR: Oh, yes. It was. A Mother, I can always rememberjshe had a canopy likemine and a table half as big as this, and the dish washing and all that was done. She'd take and— this was before the days of fly paper and things like that- and she'd just sprinkle the sugar all over it, maybe a couple of handfuls- and then when they all got- it'd just get black with flies (whispers again") Just kill 'em off. And fly swatters. Oh, it was a big deal when you got those andglers down from the ceiling! That was really—
And Mother had a sister that had TB, this Aunt Amy that had wenthomesteading, she had it when she was a girl, and they hardly thought she'd live through this winter. The preacher came about March- Presbyterian, I guess- the preacher, and made her peace with God, very delicately brought it up- and she knew he wouldn't have said that-you know, if she hadn't of given the family serious wor- ries. I don't know what she said- she said, "I'm going to live til we can getCarrrots. I'm going to live. I want carrots; fresh car rots out of the garden more than anything else." She lived and she said, "That summer I just lived on carrots." had plenty to eat, I think they were lacking—
Yeah, but there is one thing-
"Ohi " she said-
Did she recover?
Yes, she'd recovered. She's theknow.
When you were staying there withone that went homesteading, you her, what was their life like, when you were a kid staying ther
JWR: i My sister says, "No matter where you go, you always hit starvation."(Laughter) It was one of their worst winters they ever had. He hadn't got a deer. They were without meat. The cow went dry. We had potatoes and salt fish. There was lots of fish. Abundance of that. But they were salted, and believe me, they were salty. that was it. And we had bread potatoes and salt fish bacon, No fresh meat of any kind. And lovely, beautiful bread and corn syrup, And do you know that winter I spent there, for the first time in my life these two front teeth developed cavities. These are capped now, but I developed cavities right now Such a ghastly I guess we had cereal in the mornihg. Well,.the cow came fresh and then we had milk and we could see hope: with more chickens coming a long. So she'd kill off maybe a chicken every week,or so.
How isolated were they from neighbors?
Oh, a bachelor about a mile away; another bachelor maybe a mile anda half away, and he had the telegraph. One of the relays. He was just on a farm was a bachelor, hut he had a- messages came to him and he was the one that got the message that I was coming and he took it over to her, or he send it over by an Indian. And then, at the far end, about two and a half miles away, air line, or if you skated down there, I guess maybe possibly three miles by horse and buggy, there was another neighbor. And as I said, it was about twelve, fourteen miles from town. Winter was quicker, about twelve summer possibly a little longer and you went through a reservation. I always remember that reservation, and the Indians to keep their dogs from running away, they just; had dozens of them, they'd tie up one leg, and I thought it was so cruel. Now, they had a Catholic Priest there working with them trying to christianize them. There were only about maybe eight or ten converts out of maybe thirty forty people. The rest were just practically nothing. I know he (complete change of subject)
had one Indian helping him She went up there when she was threeand she stayed there til she was almost six. Mother never saw her all that time. Mother, she often said, "Boy, I missed some of the best years of Kay's life." And phe was a cute little girl. She was cute, wasn't she?
I think she's cute in there. (Laughter)
You mean the whole- all hundredand fifty pounds of her?
Oh, my baby sister. That's a sad thing. She had the best brain, shewas the most-- Nothings ever happened I f, I mean she just worked at something that didn't take too much brains, but paid awful good. All she ever reads is fiction. and plays bingo! Isn't that typical of what happens to a lot of who had talent and never did have a chance to develop it? She was just absorbed in having man, that was an alcoholic. a living. She married a brilliant
SR: He was a well liked guy. And he got to be a wino.
JWR: Lovely guy. Not a wino, honey, he was an alcoholic and he drankhard liquor. He wasn't cheap- a cheap wino only in desparation.
SR: He was an awful nice guy before that. Gee, yes. Good worker, andsmart.
JWR: I think now, that's one of the saddest things in the world, tosee these thousands of young people; and brains, talent- they just don't seem to find the right place or don't get it all together, as they say.
I have the feeling in those years, especially for girls, that theydidn't have much opportunity.
No, they didn't. There was so few places for 'em- there were so fewopenings. In a store, a clerk, it was long hours and miserable pay. A nurse, as I told you, it was fine, it was honorable, but my you had to be strong physically to hack it. Boy, that was hard work. Teaching. And secretaries, when I was coming along, they were be ginning to be more plentiful.
SS: So they, it seems like, were just systematically excluded from professions.
JWR: They were. Once in a while you'd read about a woman doctor or awoman lawyer, but, boy, they were rare.
SS: Did that bother you when you were growing up, at the time?
JWR: Didn't bother me at all.
SS: Did it seem unjust?
JWR: You just never thought about it. I knew of a few women lawyers; Iknew of a few woman doctors- I'd heard about them. I thought, "Well; if I want to, I can." Kay and I went to this fair in '57 I think it was, we'll say- I know it was after that, '62 I think- the Expo in Seattle. And we went through the exhibits at this- you know this chain of lights
JWR: All these things. And I said to Kay, "You know, this is the firsttime in my life I've met up with something that I don't think I could master." It never bothered me about these other things, I knew if I put my mind to it and I really wanted to, I could do it, but I don't give a hoot whether I do or I don't. Because there was a few women who were A when Iwas young; they'd broke in.
SS: I'm not sure it would have made it any easier for you.
JWR: No. I couldn't see any great future in it. I didnlt see any greathappiness in it. I thought a farm woman- if she didn't have to work hard- Now, farm women up there in Canada- was, to me much easier- I mean, now in our district, I don't think there was a single woman ever milked a cow. I never milked a cow. I never went inside a chickenhouse, a barn-
SR: Well, I'll tell you, up there it's too darn cold to have a woman goout to the barn.
JWR: A few Ukrainians might have their wives-
SR: Oh, yeah.
JWR: Or hitch up their wives and that, but the average womanyouwere straight wheat farmers; you didn't have any of those shores to do. SO I think the farm women, if times were fairly prosperous had a pretty good life. You had more freedom. You had more free dom^ for creativity. And had you had individuality, there was al ways you could organize other women or do things, or throw your weight around a little bit. I never felt too frustrated. And the other women didn't.
SS: Room for creativity of what kind, are you thinking of?
JWR: There was women wrote poetry, I didn't.
SS: You wrote beautiful letters.
JWR: Well, that's it. If you're going to write, why write and have thingspublished. Phooey! Noisy— And there's not much money in it, really. I never figured there was unless you had— Why not write and make people happy? We just wrote volumes of letters, Mother and I« And everybody seemed to be glad to get *em. And that was fine! I had an audience, and these other books that got published; they're dead and gone! My Aucfoshce w±n continue. If you aren^t hard up for money, why some way, unless you have something especially to say or something you want to pass on to posterity, you could write.A Lots of skilled women I know. There*s women that would go in for breeding dogs and cats and selling them, specially bred things. They wanted to have a little flutter like that. I didn't know too many professional women, really. My mother's friends mostly teachers or nurses, That's what they fell into before they were married and a lot of them married, just girls at home, and married.
SS: You said that after your father died, her qualities that had been latent now came to the fore.
That is true. It's just like his dad; he was latent. He was justlike a sleeping giant or something until something comes in. Now Mother was that way. All those qualities for a administration and in a sense, leadership. I know in the family she was the one. Well, I know Grandmother'd say, "Well ask Viney, she'll know." Her name was Vina. And that just latent, but she seemed perfectly capable doing, you know, she was very adaptable. She could do a number of things. And even when she went back to teaching and then back to hotel work, and then after a while she took up nursing in private home. She was in her sixties then. And, you know, more or less people that wanted a housekeeper companion. She did that up until within a couple of years of when she died.
SR: She went downhill in a hurry. She was tall, carried herself good,and I thought she'd never get all humped up, you know. And all at once, the next time I saw her here she was just a little short thing. All doubled up And, you know, she used to be- felt that she was strong enough to do anything. And she'd tackle anything, why, it never bothered her. But I guess sometimes it must have. Just too much. Oh, I think she fell, she had a hard fall, maybe caused it. Off of the steps; twelve, thirteen steps she went down or something. AWhen you get up in the seventies, you know, you don't stand those things. And it don't take much to make you crippled, when you get around seventy, eighty,
SS: Now you were working for Ed out there. What was the arrangementthat you had? Was he supposed to pay you? How much a month were you supposed to get?
SR: Oh, well, he told me— we kind of arranged that, yeah.
SS: What was it supposed to be?
SR: Well, at that time, it seemed to be alright. It was fifty a monthin the summer, that's all Canada ever paid. And he was an uncle. And, you know, I'd work and make good money and I'd get broke tomorrow and go out there the next day and get a job anyplace up there. Whether I was known or not, see I could get a job at anything. And so, never nothing bothered me. I know I went to a mine one time, they wanted a couple guys there, so I went there, and there was some more guys there. And it come down to one guy to have it- and I guess I'd spoken a little first or something. And so this mine owner told me, "You know," he says, "this guy here," he says, "is a foreigner." And he says, "He has a hard time getting a job." He says, "I'd like to give him the job." He says, "I know you can get a job anyplace. Course," he says, "you're entitled to it, if you want it." "Well," I says, "give it to him." See, I says, "Give it to him." So, that was fine. That was a mine I'd never worked in before. Were you going to get so much a month in the winter, too, from him?
SR: Yeah. I says-
SS: Was that thirty a month?
SR: No. Fifty.
SS: Fifty in the winter, too?
SR: No, it was thirty a month in the winter months. And, let's see, thesummer months was- eight months summer.
SS: How rough a time-
SR: The rest was winter.
SS: How rough a time was he having when you were there? I mean, was itreally rough for him, during that time?
SR: I know it. Rough for anybody.
SS: Well, I mean for Ed before you got the place?Well, it was rough. He had rented— now, the last year he had sold out, you. He had sold out this last year. Everything he had, horses and everything.
SS: You started with no horses or—?
SR: I started with nothing.
SS: You had to go out and buy horses?
SR: Yeah. Anything I wanted. I had to buy my binder. And so, I wentout got my binder. I bought it from Olson, that used to farm there. He was from Nez Perce, Idaho. And he was a pretty big farmer up in there. And I knew him and my brother worked for him down here. And he had five or six binders or maybe more, I don't know. But, any way he had all kinds of drivers. You know in Canada you couldn't get a guy that knew how to drive more than one horse. You know, some of them'd say, "Well, I don't know about driving four," but, he says,- "or two, but I can sure give one the dickens." See? You know, like one on just the single buggy, or something. Well, that's funny to find somebody like that. You can find 'em up there. But in Alberta you find any awful lot of Americans.
SS: And they knew?
SR: They know everything. They come up from here.
SS: Lot of 'em come from Idaho?
SR: Oh, yes and way down South.
SR: He say, "By golly," he says, "that's a real Missourian there." Isays, "How can you tell?" "By the wagon." "Well," I says, "I was wondering what the heck they was doing with these narrow tired wa gons. But," I says, "that's all I could get." "Well," he says, "that's an old Missouri wagon." So, I got what I wanted^ seed grain of some kind. That guy told me; boy, he was a nice guy- but he said he only had six months to live, and his wife didn't know a thing about it. And, he told me he was going to get everything all rigged up so that she don't need any. He said, "She worries enough now." so he didn't want her to know about it. Nobody ever tells her no thing. But that's what the doctors told him; six months.
SS: When you had to start with buying all that equipment and horses; thatkind of put you behind right in the beginning, didn't it?
SR: Oh, gosh, yes. Well, I didn't have much money. I think I went tothe bank and borrowed it. I don't remember how I did it.
SS: How much in the hole did you start out then?
SS: About how much in the hole did you start out then? Probably quitea bit, eh?
SR: Well, I don't remember just how that was. This was in Alberta.
SR: I don't remember. I know I paid up when I left there; but I didn'tpay it all. I went and told 'em, I says, "My gosh, you know your interest is taking an awful lot of money," I says, "you're gonna have to come down on a lot of that interest." And I says, "I'll give you-" I forget how much it was that I owed him, but anyway, I told him I'd give him two hundred and fifty dollars and that's counting interest and everything. "Well," he says, "I can't- I'll have to write to the head office to find out." So he did, and when it come back from them, he told me it was alright up to them. They was sati sfied. So that way I just give him the two hundred and fifty dollars and I was clear with the banks. And that's a good thing to be, you know. Even if I wanted to come back there. But I never got nothing for the land, much. And, well, the guys that bought the land, they didn't have any money either. What you going to do with 'em? Like a guy up there told me, "What did you do with the land?" I says, "I give it to 'em." I says, "You know Old Gray-" nobody liked Old Gray, he was from Kentucky or someplace down there; oh, he was cheap, tight, guy, see.
And he'd lend people money, he was watching every cent all the time.And you'd have to have it. "Well," I says, "Yeah, I give it to Gray." Owed him six hundred or a thousand dollars- no I owed him thirteen hundred dollars with the interest, I hadn't paid the interest.
SS: So, you gave him the land?
SR: I gave him the land; about thirty-five, thirty-six hundred dollars, guess.
SS: Worth that much money?
SS: The house and everything?
SR: oh, yes. Everything. Barn, chickenhouse; good chickenhouse. Yeah.
SS: He gave you thirty-six hundred dollars?
SR: Oh, no. He gave me I think, two hundred and fifty dollars, or something like that for the hay I had there. And then I had a sale and I sold- bought some things on the sale. But for the land; for the half section, he bought the whole half section, the homestead. It was good pasture land. It was worth- after a few years, it got to be worth a lot of money. Any kind of land up there, you know, like that was worth fifty thousand after eight years after that. Just tell 'em you want twenty-five thousand for a quarter, they'd just come, hand it to you and go look for the cornerstone. About eight years after that.
SS: How much did you get for the land then?
SR: Well, I don't think I got anything. I don't know how much I lost.
JWR: You owed so much on that place up there by the time you got all thedebts paid and everything, you only had about fifteen hundred you could call your own, I think. Isn't that right?
SR: I don't know.
JWR: From Walter Gray?
SS: About fifteen hundred is all you had left after the debts.
JWR: When we came down here by the time we paid all our debts and that,why, - he may have paid you so much, but you really owed that man over a thousand dollars.
SR: Thirteen hundred.
JWR: Thirteen hundred, and then we tried to pay all our bills up beforewe left up there, so we didn't have hardly anything. That was the problem.
SR: Well, it cost to come down here, too.
JWR: It was quite a complicated business coming down here. We had tomake, oh, four or five trips to see the consul in Edmonton. And all the immigration, it was really tough. It was during the Depression. All they were concerned about whether you'd be a public charge. That was on their minds. Were you strong? Were you healthy? AndrtHis stepmother and his single brother had to vouch for us, that they'd keep us, that we'd never become public- and need public assistance of any kind. So we had to make it when we came down here all by our selves.
SS: In other words, you couldn't do it because you agreed not to whenyou came down? Is that wtaf?
JWR: Yes. That was one of the things. And fortunately— No, we were ableweactually, we had that little thousand dollars. You'd be surpri sed how far it went along. No, we never had to. We got by. We manaaged.
SS: What was Immigration like? Were they nice to you, or not?Polite. Come back in three month's time. They'd always ask you for first one paper then another. First they got his stepmother's and that wasn't enough. They got your brother's; that wasn't enough. They had to have a second party. And they had to have so many charac ter references and proof- you had to prove; prove you were a good character. You had to go to the, well to the Mounted Police and you had to go to^different neighbors. And no matter what you had they wanted another paper. And then trail up there, and you have to go up there and spend a night there and come back. It was kind of expensive for us. Mother helped us financially too while we were in that state of moving. She was happy we were moving. And look into your politics and what you believed in. They wanted to know everything. It was really a challenge. We didn't know til practi cally the last month that we were going to come; whether they'd ac cept us or not. Just really tough.
SS: How long did this go on then? About ten months?
JWR: From May til October. As soon as we decided we were coming down hereit would be about the first of June- your dad died the 22nd of Maywell
SS: What year was this?
JWR: '35. We worked all that year.You know, you asked me some of my impressions of coming down here.
JWR: Well, you must remember, my father was an American. My mother's auntswould come up with a great flourish frequently; every year or two some of them; there were three of them that were Americans. Married to Americans. One was a Civil War widow. And they were more Ameri can than any American that ever lived. We could hardly stand the patriotism sometimes!( Chuckles) And born and brought up in Canada. There's no Americans like these adopted Americans. They were fine good, upright women. And then being married to Americans. And it wasn't the contrast like somebody coming from Rumania or Norway for the first time. A lot of the sharp edges were taken off. I wanted to come. Anything to get away from the cold and the starvation. This looked good down here. Roosevelt looked good. I liked his ideas. And his brother wrote and thought it was just going to be a new world for him and it was. Saved his life. And saved his family.
SS: Which brother?
JWR: Helmer. And then, there were surprises when I came here. There weresurprises. The psychological things. Adjustments that you didn't plan on, that you never thought about. I never thought about the isolation of snow and trees. I felt far more shut in by the trees here than I did from the openness of the prairie. Oh, there was a lot of people, but the trees were just oppressive; they were so close and so many of them. That was a feeling. And then the heavy snows: Canada had cold, but very little snow. And snow was never a factor in stopping you from going yplace, and here it was. That was some thing that you had to deal with. But it was just like being on a stormy sea and coming into a millpond. See, we were related to prac tically everybody in here through marriage. Just solid.
SS: In Park.
JWR: In Park. There'd be cousins married to somebody else, if it wasn'ttoo direct. His uncle; his cousins, they were dotted here. Oh, there was a few people, I guess,that weren't blood relationship, at that time, but I later they married. And it- Now you- I was amongst people that were first generation Canadians. Had come over from Europe or moBeso British, or even Americans. And I don't know the first generation people have a vitality that the second and third don't. They've been aggressive, they've been posi tive thinkers. They've been wanting to better themsellves or they wouldn't have made the move. And maybe had a little more money in order to get the passage to get over here. They had something special about them. And those peopley^^m interesting to be around. Some of them were very talkative about their background. Could tell you about their home situations and what they came out of. And I al ways found it stimulating.
SS: In other words, there was that vitality in the first generation upthere— was somewhat here, the second and third-
WR: Completely gone. Beautiful. Calm. We talked a lot more. We talked-Possibly- well, I don't - I would never say it was malicious gossip. They were friendly and open. But, boy, there was conversation about anything and everything, and some of it was pure gossip, but it was based on the truth. You know what I mean. It wasn't fiction. But here there is a quietness, a cautiousness because of the close re lationship and a desire to get along. You know, you get sterility from a situation like that. It's the same way in politics. All the interesting things; if you're quiet forever and for the sake of peace keep quiet about these things, you get to the place where your mind just becomes sterile. You're better to fight these things and stir ring them up and letting them flowr. through the whole community.
SS: Do you think it's because the people were related that made so muchdifference?
JWR: I think a lot of it was. And they liked one another. Oh, there werelittle petty rivalries and all that, but nothing too moving or too stirring. And the lack of poll- no poli- well, everybody was solid practically for Roosevelt, so everybody was in agreement. There was no church in here. Course there wasn't in Canada. I don't think all the time we lived in apart from those two student preachers that came when we were first married, I was never inside a church. They were too far away. But there was just a very-
SS: Dullaedd, is what it sounds like.
JWR: Dullness, It was dullness, I did find it. But then, on the otherhand, there was a lot of pluses. Sometimes I felt like Esau, I'd sold my birthright for a pot- a mess of pottage. I thought, "Boy, I got all this- it's so much pleasanter, I've got this nice, big house. Water in the house. A Plenty to eat." But, oh, the dullness! And then, I thought, "Well, never mind. Just carry on. You won't » live here forever. You're going to get out when the kids get to' highfechool. Just make the best of it." And the quality of kindness was in these women. His relatives were just so nice to me. When I come down here they had, oh, I don't know how many hundred quarts canned up for me. His stepmother and Ethel, Helmer's wife with her four kids, she put up hundreds of quarts. And everybody thought no thing of eight hundred quarts. I don't think I had quite that many, I ain^d for that when I was on my own, but I guess they must have had four or five hundred quarts, at least. And potatoes. And they had a lot of the essentials. Now in Canada, you may have had the impulse but it was stifled. You didn't have anything to share. That is one of the things people don't think about. It -as necessary to give, and to give freely, and don't look for anything in return. If it comes your way, fine. But it isn't an exchange. It's just as necessary as love or food or shelter; to give. And that was just clamped down on so cruelly with depression. I couldn't give things to my mother, my family. Maybe a little token, but not the things you want to give. That's what happening to a lot of people now, there is something going on in this big world. That was one of the casualties; this giving. So few people recognize how much it means to some people, and a lot of people. Even the scalawags love to give. Not necessarily to get back, but it just makes you feel good. It's part of life, it's just right in you, it's^one of the— to me it's just one of the original urges that's in people. I think people share. Even animals,
And people now have a surplus, and it's able to go around. We giveto other countries. That's what I noticed about United States; that giving. And it wasn't organized. Organized charity is something something's missing. It's like this Christmas exchange. Something's missing. But this was neighbor-to-neighbor, friend-to-friend. Some body 'd bring you over some beans and you'd have a little surplus, just the little happy exchanges. Clothes to make over for your kids from somebody else's. There wasn't even that to make over in Canada. It was just rare you got a dress or something to make over. It was just dismal. And then I loved to— when we got out and got a car- his brother died, thisAdelicate brother, and we got his car and then you can see America. Perhaps it's rather sad to say these things about the greatness of America, but I just have always thrilled to the road building. The lovely big machines biting hunks out of hills and the. I never saw that up there. They have 'em now, but they weren't there when I was up there. But they were here when I come down. Not like they are now, but still they were great. And the plumbing that works. That's America
SS: When you came down, did these women just give you all these jars?
JWR: I'll tell you what happened. Brother Joe was single, and he'd worked.He bought all the sugar and all the jars. And he bought the fruit. And Ethel and stepmother furnished the labor. Yes, Joe, his brother was the single one, so that we'd have plenty of fruit and vegetables. Canned beans and tomatoes and corn and all that. Yes, Joe was the one that put up the money for those things. And stepmother—
SS: It was waiting for you when you got here?
JWR: All waiting. That bathroom was a fruit cellar then. And it was brandnew, it had only been built two or three years and all nice and clean and shiny and all those lovely fruit jars waiting. Oh, I was just thrilled to death. We'd been hungry so long. And there was a school for kids to get to without too much effort. But children, on the whole, they were fairly gentle little children. There was a pretty rough bunch up there in Canada, at that particular school. Always had been.
SS: Let's talk a little bi£ about those years up there. Because just tocompare them, I don't understand them as well as I would like to. For one thing, you mentioned the school up there as being rough.
JWR: Discipline was always a problem. When I taught it was a terrificproblem. But not all schools are like that. The other two schools the kids were just good as gold.
SS: But there; why?
JWR: I'll tell you why. I had five teenage boys; I only had about four -teen, fifteen kids, but I had five teenage boys, and I just had to ride herd on 'em. Naturally, I wouldn't lay a hand on a kid as big as that, and they liked me. And I was friendly with 'em. I don't know whether it particularly helped or not, but at noontime we had an old— some of the girls played the organ, one of the older grade eight girls played the old organ and I'd dance with the boys, tea ching them to dance. And I got by, but they weren't learning too much. They were just anxious to be out of grade eight and gone. And, another thing that bothered me up there, was a family of five that came. Not enough to eat. And he was the horsetrader. Those children were so under nourished. I used to give the youngest one practically all my lunch, cause extra milk; IM take milk, .plnt of mllk and shed practically all of It. They had their bread lard and alittle white sugar. That was their lunch of the time. And just before Imarried I asked if there was anything Icould buy from those people to try and help them eat. And they had an old horse- well, it was anice horse, but it was starving and before Igot it- delivery on it for thirty dollars it died from starvation. Those things bothered me. And, then the teachers that succeeded me, they had problems- the boys eventually come out and then, oh, some of them were accused of favor itism and one teacher was married, and they said she favored some of her own children and another family. So, Idon't know. And then my Laura was eight, but she was so frail from all these operations. I realized she needed somebody to kind of watch over her- give alittle background; never mind for the learning part, but just to be kind to her and to help her along. Ithink down here the teachers were verythe ones that they started with were very nice. Idon't know whether they did any better or as good, you know, for their learning- ac tual learning than they would have up there, but I just liked I really liked the children better, they were gentle.
How did you feel about teaching up there? How did you find teachingfor you as work?
Well, I tell you, teaching was going to be something Idid to earn meenough money to go to acollege and be adietician. I've always loved teaching or cooking. And to be adietician or to teach cooking. And that was quite athing up there. You could either work ahospital or you could- every school had it's cooking, and shop for boys. And I thought I'd like that, and I would have. I'd have been good at that. But when I got in a school- the first school was just a dream no disciplinary problems. I began to see the unfairness; those chil dren weren't having a chance. Little girls that had to work so hard at home and they were kind of tired and weary. And boys that were just waiting to get out- in the grade eight, you know. They were maybe fifteen then, they had been kept out of school so much. I re member one kid; I said, "You'll be fifteen, are you going to school?" "No, not after fifteen." "Well," I said, "let's forget the rest of this work. You're going to have to have mathmatics. Let's sit down Aand figure out fields and how to measure grain in the bin and all these things." Now, that's the kind of teacher I was. Give the kid what he's going to need. And give it to him fast. Never mind about literature. "At least,"I says, "you can read and you can write. And let's get on to the things-" And he just peered into it. I don't know whatever happened to the kid, but that was it. And there's been a few other children like that. I could just see their need and see what they were heading for, especially boys. And when you gave them something to prepare them for life like that, knowing they'd never maybe see high school again. But, no, I liked to teach certain sub jects, and when you had eight grades— well, usually I never had more than six- the age groups kind of came out that way- you weren't doing justice to those children. Sure you got by. I happened to be looking fod* some thing else and I was reading one of my old inspector's re ports- inspectors came around twice a year- and he graded me good. But, no, I think- if it wasn't for the busing, I think consolidation has meant a lot for children. One teacher to one subject-or to one room. Well, and if you hve more, fine, that's just a bonus. But I wasn't conventional enough, my background. I know how I felt when I was a child. When I'ye got the moodson, I want to learn something; pour it on, and I'll take it and I'll figure it out. And there were some things I thought were rather- oh, there always is in any cur riculum, rather superfluous. Not too necessary.
SS: Sounds like you didn't find that self fulfilling.
JWR: I wanted to be doing- to be teaching a group would havebeen just up my alley. That's what I would have been happier at. A group of girls or men or whatever- I just would have loved to have taught that. Well, dietician would have been okay but, you had to have college and I didn't have. I had enough credits for one year ofi college, but I needed three more. And then I got married.
SS: Was getting married, I mean at the time, did it seem- was it a difficult choice to be giving up your career?
JWR: No. Well, of course, I figured on teaching another year there. Theyliked me well enough, I could have taught another year,but I got pre gnant. It's one of those things. That was one of the things you had to face. There wasn't any handy pills in those days. Rather primitive your- well, they worked and after a fashion but you usually had a few errors while you were getting the hang of it. But I really figured on teaching. It wasn't that unpleasant. Teaching some sub jects, I just really enjoyed it. I liked English, and I was a good art teacher. And history. I could bring 'em to life on history, be cause I loved it so. Anything- well, I dontt know whether it's al- ways that way, Just bored me sick and I had to do it. And in writing- I was a pretty good teaching writing. Well, on the whole it wasn't bad, but math was rather hard, because the children found it hard, and it was just uphill work.
SS: You mentioned birth control and how it was going underground.
Yes it was.
At that time. Where did you get the information you got?Most of it was word of mouth from other women. I never got it from- Inever even asked adoctor. Other woman. Some of it was pure fic tion, and othere was authentic. That's how it came about. Actually the clinic didn't tell me anything I didn't know. But it was con cise to pass onto other women that maybe didn't know. And also a source for where to buy your materials from. Your supplies of different kinds.
Were diaphragms the main kind of contraption at that time?
They were one. But condoms were quite frequent. Men usually- quiteoften wore them. And, oh, I was just trying to think, what the brand name is- suppositories- actually it's quinine and cocoabutter, is really the base of them. They have them down here, too. And some of them even had foam. Those were the main ones. And if you're conscientious and figure it all out, why, after you've had acouple you kind of catch on. It amazes me with all the years and with all the wealth of technical advice and doctors- I am reading what my grandkids have floating around- and all these things. They're using some of the quaint old methods we did. They had, of course, they had the rhythm method; and that was one, too. Perhaps not as per fect as it is now. But I'm just amazed in all these years they haven't come up with anything
Massachusetts- they've had afight back there, tooth andnail to get the information.
SS: You said the clinics were sort of underground?
Well, yeah- in Vancouver, that was one of the more advanced placesNow, in Alberta there wasn't any. And for instance east, in Ontario East, you wouldn't dare have a clinic. Vancouver had a clinic- birth control family planning clinic- where they would help women and fit them and give them advice and you could buy any of these supplies that you needed. That's the one I got my information to Alberta through- to pass on to other women. But, I just feel kind of sad sometimes that they haven't come up with something a little- and haven't perfected it.
SS: How broad was the understanding? Most women understand the importance of birth control when you were growing up?
JWR: Yes. I don't know. You didn't hear much about it til you were aboutto be married. Then you could either feel justified to ask. It was never discussed among- I don't think it was never discussed with an other girlfriend. You waited usually til within a few months of mar riage and then went to either a doctor or a married woman and she passed along the information.
SS: I heard that a lot of doctors weren't very sympathetic to it.
JWR: Well, I think my doctor in town was sympathetic; yes. Because hewas quite helpful. But, of course, there's a lot of French Canadians up there and a doctor would have to be discreet who he was talking to.
SS: Your mother's generation; do you think the knowledge was
JWR: No, it certainly couldn't have been. I think she was just plainlucky. Bore three children four years apart. She never seemed to worry about anything like that. She says, "I don't know what women worry about. Ionly had four and I never had to go out of my way." That is one of the biggest holdups- hangups or points of confusion with young women. Even in this generation, you run into a person that would be sterile under any conditions or very difficult to get pregnant and they'll give you some stupid little thing, and you know scientifically it hasn't got a word of truth in it, and then those women wouldn't have a child anyhow. I don't know- my mother- 'course, with my father being gone so many months in the year, that might have helped, but she said she never had the slightest problem. And she was twenty-eight when she got married. That's something else again.
SS: But I was just wondering about the change in attitude from her generation and your generation about these things. I understood that like in the 1800's and even to the late 1800's there was great reluctance on the part of most women to try anything. They did- well, that's it, it was considered almost a sin if you did anything. And children were gifts from God. Of course, it was a rural district, you could have- there was always something for the children to do. And, no, I really-
Was it a religious faith, do you think?
Well, it was religious and economic, both.
SS: There was an economic sense in having kids?
JWR: Oh, definitely. You know America was largely rural - and Canada waslargely rural and the more, boys you had the more men you had, the more help you got. There was always more work than a woman could do in the house and a man outside, and children, they were, - well even in his case, those boys, they gave his dad a big boost. Just a big boost. And he got up into the very comfortable farming area-bracket as a farmer through his children's labor. Oh, yes, and they didn't seem to mind it so much. And even in those days, the women- I think there was some simple methods of birth control they resorted to. I don't know how effective they were. But not too different from what they're still using now.
SS: Some of it was just kind of folklore though.
JWR: Folklore and-
SS: Do you remember any of the folk ideas that wouldn't have been grounded in fact? Were there things you could drink and that sort of thing?
JWR: Well, no, I don't remember anything like that. The period in themonth was considered quite important; even in those times.
SS: That's not folklore.
JWR: No, it isn't. You see it was based on fact. But then one brightsoul she figured it out- I don't know how she ever only had two kidswell, she said, "You know, the only times is fourteen days after your period. And you should never get pregnant." That's the good old Jewish way of being fruitful and multiplying.
SS: That's what they think.
JWR: But she only had two. Well, that's just it, you see- That's justwrong. But others were pretty near the truth. It's surprising. One woman I knew, she only had two children, she says, "I know to the day when that egg passes." She knew that. She could feel it. She says, "I feel funny. I'm not sick," she says, "but I can tell when it's passing down." And, then she says, "When I get the all clear feeling in two or three days, whatever, I'm okay." Another piece of fictionby a woman that had never had a child and she said, "Always keep your left arm above your head, when you're with your husband!" Alright, go ahead, take your pick. Another favorite folklore was douch dng with potassium permanganate. Mild antiseptic. Proved to be pure fiction. Now, I'm afraid that the ones that were most reliable are the ones that they're still using today, plus the times. Quite a few years ago they figured out about-
SS: Well, this makes me think too, of the question of when girls werelearning the facts of life; did they have to wait until they were about getting ready to be married? They must have learned a lot sooner than that.
JWR: I must say that you learned an awful lot through reading books, justplain books and literature, even select literature that was above reproach. I don't say about the facts of life, but I don't know how they could write and yet be so informative, and say nothing. Like for instance the Bible. Speaking of Sarah, "It had ceased after the manner of woman." Beautifully said. You got the whole thing. And reading every day- England, this old king, they went in, one of the Jewish men went in to stab him, and he'd locked the door and went over a balcony and left him there stabbed, and they all waited, and waited, his men outside for him to come, the king's people, and they said, "Maybe he is covering his feet." Now, that literature, I don't care if it's Midvictorian, it's got expressions or just references and the kid that's half way bright can get it. And then there was farms: the facts you could learn from farms. You just learn all the facts of life from farms. Far more than you'd ever— and there was rural people, and then there was aunts, now Mother was very- I think she'd have answered me anything I'd ask her, but I didn't ask her, but I'd talk to her sisters; Amy and Frances, and oh, they were just most communicative. Any area of life; of married life., they could tell you about it. And I asked them quite a bit, when I was in my teens. Now they were women that were extremely happy in their mar ried life. Just joyous, happy women. That was a very good impression for a young person. None of this weeping and wiling and being the underdog by any means. I happened to beAin a family where there was just joyous, happy, loved women. Loved their husbands. Very healthy.
JWR: But, I don't know, I guess there was never anything formal and therewas great gaps, I'll admit. But until you just about got ready to get married, why,you- then there was neighbor women; happened to be some of the ones you knew intimately that filled you in. But there isn't too much to know. Actually, the whole thing - young peoplethere's only one thing they have to know- to start in with any way, there's other things they'll have to work out. If they have a fool proof method of birth control, that's the giant step forward. I didn't have it. It was trial and error for a couple of times. So, I don't feel that the gaps that I didn't know, I dQn't think I could have been filled in too efficiently with anybody. It was mostly by other people's experiences and what worked for one don t always work for another. And I don't think I missed too much. And then there was books. It wasn't too long after I was married there was quite a few books I found to married people that were available. Some of them are dumb things! Others were quite helpful and quite clinical. So you didn't really lack.
SS: I had the impression that was really changing. That it was somethingthat women found it really difficult to discuss.
JWR: They did. Now my mother found it difficult. I just knew enough thatshe was Mid victorian enough that she'd tell me honestly, to be sligh tly embarrassed, but it was much easier to talk to her sisters. And her sisters knew the score just as well as she did, and she knew that they told me. So you just^around. You can try to give a child in formation. That third child of mine, she was a lot younger, she was about twelve or thirteen. Laura and I, the older one, we talked about anything and everything in front of her, but you couldn't pin her down to tell her anything. None of these little heart-to-heart talks. There was just a shyness a reticence, there was something, don't ask me, but Laura was so open and so easy to talk to and we'd talk back and forth. But, I don't think it's so much in people as it is in literature now, just so easy and so available. I feel a little sad that you still see abortions going on. You still see so many un wanted children being born. I wish there was something a little more foolproof. That's the sad thing to me. I'm just appalled at the po pulation explosion.
SS: You mentioned that when you got married, that you ^kind of wishedyou hadn't had your kids so soon.
JWR: Yes, but whatever we did, didn't work.
SS: What difference do you think with your getting on your feet at thebeginning?
JWR: I think it made an awful- it would have made a lot of difference.That extra twelve hundred or a thousand would have made a great, deal of difference. Yeah. Tremendous difference.
SS: Twelve hundred or a thousand, what?
JWR: Dollars that I'd have brought in as a wife; teaching.
SS: And you could have kept teaching even though you were married?
JWR: At that time. That wasn't a depression, yet. The depression hadn'thit. See we got married in '26 and the Depression didn't happen for a couple of years later. And teachers were still very much in demand. Still a shortage of teachers, so I could have taught. Yes, it would have made a great deal of difference. And that's why I feel very sorry for children that's come along at times, and even now when they're unplanned for. I think that's one of the best things that ever hap pened; children that's being planned for. I think that's great. That's a big advancement. Big help.
SS: What was it like when you were first marrried, those first years whenyou were at home and you were both struggling to get by?
JWR: Well, it wasn't- we weren't the happiest, those were rather unhappydays. I was just unhappy with everything. I'd only been married about a month til I was pregnant. Just like that. And I was misersick able^during pregnancy. One of these vomity kind. Then I had her about fourteen months afterward; I had another and it just seemed to be just one baby after another. But depression hadn't hit, and we had one good crop. Well, when we just got over— and thought we might get ahead. didn't even have acar then. Very few had cars. Just barelyncfriN^those two babies so close, then the Depression hit, so we never had a chance. And if we could have put off those children there's so many things we might have done. We might have migrated- left right away, and got into a more fertile area of the world, either in British Columbia or come back to the United States someplace.
I know we even had offers- at they were offers to me formy husband and I for work down here and this was before we deci ded to come, from people in California I had met. But by the time Elaine came I was more philosophic and I'd got it all together bet ter. I'd come up with reality. Depression really brought it onalright, this is the cold, hard facts of life. You aren't going to have this, you aren't going to have that, and you've got this, now you start from this But before I had dreams and visions and a happy little house. But it was very pleasant for farm wives up there when times were good. Lots of social life and you had a nice snug house and coal and food. We could have enlarged our house and a basement. Lots of women had running water in their house. I shouldn't say lots, but if you got a little affluent and you were at all handy you'd get those things. But then it was just wiped out; first one thing- goodness, just never a chance. I think by the time Elaine* even just before she was born, I taught a year and then I come back and just got pregnant again, and I decided I'd stay home anyway. I had a little money that I put into the pigs.
SS: Is that where the pigs came from? Your money from teaching?
JWR: Yeah, that's how we got our start. Got them in my name, you see, Icould justify having them in my name. 'Course, the money, too, got us out of debt and got us some better supplies of food and it just went a long ways in those days.
SS: Were your dreams at that time when you were a young married wife thatyou would be staying there and be quite successful?
JWR: Yes. That was really- yes, it really was. Because there was no reason why, there was a lot of successful farmers around there and I knew that we were just young and starting up, but there was a lot of us. And they just went down like tenpins, too in the depression. We all went down. You get twenty-five cents for your wheat and then maybe bad crops on top. There was nothing for anybody, the rich or the poor. Some of them had the advantage, maybe^better houses to start with before they went down, but they had to give up their cars. Just couldn't afford gas and everything like that.
SS: What do you think that it was that made you— that made you change?Was it growing up in age?
JWR: No. It was- I got one or two people, and it was a type of religionatype of a religious experience, and I got a new vision and a new idea of life. More positive and more intimate. I just simply just reversed. I started to look at myself- at myself and God- God as a in me. You don't pay any attention to your husband, politics, the Depression. Every day is you. And what can I see that God has given me this day? What does he want me to do to use it wisely? I'm like the steward, or I'm like the wise housewife- I was comple tely absolved from bonds with anything or anybody else. And you just simply are resolved to keep up that relationship as being the dependable one. Not even people that's dear to you, sure. But the minute you take the pressure off depending on a husband or a mother or whatever and turn to yourself and your inner resources which were at that time just- the juices were really flowing. And every day I would get up and think about those things; meditate a while. It isn't that your material things change. It isn't that your mo ther-in-law, I didn't happen to have one, but we'll say your motherin- law stops being mean to you, or incompatible; it isn't that any of those things change. The miracle is that you change. Your attitudes your insight into that person or insight into this, it changes and it just doesn't matter any more, where it once, it was just mat tering, because of the injustice. You suddenly-
SS: The injustice of what?
JWR: Life, or the Depression, which was really a cruel injust thing. Forinstance, people hutching little piglets down here- I mean, and you re hungry. People dumping just carloads of food in the ocean in Van couver and you're starving. It just doesn't seem just. There was a lot of things that were injust, and they bothered me. Children go ing hungry, and when you know there's an abundance in another part of the country. There was never any lack of food anywhere during the Depression, it was lack of the means to buy that food. And America was just as productive and Canada had just as many orchards; more fish than she knew what to do with; more cattle. It was there, but we weren't geting it, and that is an injustice. And it bothered me.
SS: That was part of your unhappiness? What was going on in the society?
JWR: Yes, it was part of it and I was part of societyand I was being hungry, too. It wasn't only for me I was hungry, my neighbors were hungry, too. My friends in the city are freezing be cause they have no coal. And to be cold in Canada was a very sad thing. And it wasn't- well, it's the economic thing and I think I was reasonably right in my diagnosis of it; a to be so, at that time.
SS: What was the diagnosis that you had?
JWR: Well, it was something brought on by - just contrived by the peoplein power themselves and they so slow to see. I think if you- Well, I was very much in line with all Roosevelt's proposals- alright it was an artificial answer, but at least for the time being it worked. And when there was nothing being done, he did get- even in those foodsthose surplus foods that were flowing to people. Things got better. Things got much better down here, every year we were do wn here.
SS: Did you see the source of what the problem was coming from?
JWR: It was an economic thing.
SS: People making too much profits?
JWR: Not altogether. It was- well, listen, I could spend three days telling you- but it is profits. It's part of it profits- it's people — For one thing I think it's^lack of distribution of things. People are sometimes in some cases- there's really no pat answer, but in lots of cases, people aren't being paid anywhere's near enough for what they're producing. There's exploitation. That's one thing. And in Canada you always paying an exhorbitant price for anything you bought; that was another factor. People- it was too late and too lit tle. That was another factor.
SS: You mean when they started out?
JWR: Well, anything; to get a thing in motion to help you,Ato help thepeople, it was always too little and too late. That was another thing. And, oh, well, it's a huge subject. I've spent hours and days^ but it was an economic thing. But the thing is- my background al ways was and continues to be, if God's in charge, if you let Him in your life. And I suddenly turned off- stopped worrying about the whole world and started worrying about myself and my own immediate things. Not that I'm blind, if I can do something; do it. But the change has to come from within everybody before you'll ever get any lasting- because if you- alright you liked a good man, he looks good, he talks good, but if he hasn't got the moral integrity to hold out when he does get in a place where he can help people, what That's why you have to have people that are able to withstand and it isn't easy. I'm not blaming politicians. They get up, they get so discouraged when you're perhaps trying to do what's right.
SS: So you didn't feel that the problems— the problems didn't disappearat all?
JWR: No, they didn't. Nothing disappeared at all.
SS: You decided that you couldn't do anything about them?
JWR: I decided I can do a great deal, yes, for the people I know and immediately, right now. Watch for your neighbors. It's surprising if you would turn off trying to run the world- let God do a little of the worrying- and just start looking. You don't do it- it doesn't come one day- but start looking. And part of it- it's almost like ESP- write to so-and-so. Mrs. So-and-so might like to-go with you to town; give her a ring. Do something for maybe an old neighbor. Maybe I'd take 'em a loaf of bread. Some old bachelor, somebody, you know, that they haven't got, It isn't much charity, it's just thinking. And above all, don't do it selfishly, if you're going to do it looking for something in exchange, you've lost it all. And be loving about it; be unselfish. And have a purity. Don't be but tering up to someone to get something, maybe with a longpistance idea that maybe, of "Well, maybe someday, he'll do something, or maybe I can borrow something." You know, you have to have more or less purity and integrity when you're working that way. Ifgave me freedom. You know, I took that- I got that attitude- didn't get it myself, I had help from a friend. And then I carried on, and things were getting better; I patched up a- there was someone that had never spoke to me for years, and I made the first move, and they were just tickled to death. And they were so happy. It was a..relative that had been alien ated, and they were just bitterly opposed to me marrying. He hadn't spoken to me for years.A And I wrote and, oh, they were just overjoyed, just for me to make the first move. Then I had been intensely unhap py about the school situation. "Alright," I says, "I'll wait. I'll not get worried about it."
SS: Unhappy; why?
JWR: Because I didn't think my children- Well, delicate little girl likeLaura- I don't know why, the teacher was rather rough-and-ready, that's why she was able to manage things. I told you about that Canadian school. I didn't look forward to sending them there. And I was going to have to eventually.
SS: This is the one that was charged with
JWR: Yes, and there was a few other things Alright, I knewI was needing a lot of things, just wasn't asking for any fancy- but you don't even pray for them, you just wait. And it's something like Stiner's dad. There's always lifef,orce around you, and your needs are known. And whatever should be yours is going to come to you. You have to make it happen though. You have to be there and do your part and be aware and be alert. And then his dad died unexpectedly. Gave us a way out; I didn't plan that. Most of the things in a X life, I've s^n them clearly, that they should be done, and then the circum stances come about; I am aware of 'em and I'm not afraid to leave the past, I can just jump the past in nothing flat, if I have to. Really, I can. Sure, take what's good out of the past, but don't ever be married to a farm, to a job or anything. Be willing to flow and to go That's why I'm so happy my daughter was able to- she's lived over thirty years in Ported, just way past time. For better or for worse- sometimes you're worse off actually.
SS: This understanding you came to-was this one friend that helped youunderstand these things?
JWR: Yes. One time one friend- one meeting of about eight hours-
SS: Did you and she just spend—?
JWR: No, it was a man. A young man. And he was a preacher, but this hadnothing to do with his- it was religion, but it wasn't what he was in. But I was up there-
JWR: She had one. She was fortunate she only had it on one eye. And I hadher up to the specialist and I called him, I mean, he'd bosrded with us, and I just said, "Hi." and asked him how college was going, and he said, "Great." And he said, "Oh, something so wonderful's come into my life. A new experience." And so on. And he said, "Can I meet you in the YW; fifty cents a night. And it was pleasant and they had a restaurant. And, oh, he talked to me six or eight hours. We'd take a break and have more coffee, and come back again. And then he wrote to me only once or twice and gave me some literature. Somethings only have to happen once and you get the picture.
SS: Was what he was giving you a teaching that he understood?
JWR: Yes, something that had come into his life. A group of people hadcome into his life.
SS: Is this the same group that you're part of now?
JWR: No, it isn't. This is an advancement, I might say, but the other hasmore or less passed out of existence.
SS: Did it have a name?
JWR: Yes it did. I'm trying to think. The Oxford Group it was called atthat time. It was groups of people, young college people for the mostoh, it could be anybody, as far as that's concerned- it cut across. But it really started in Oxford, I think. In England. And people that were- young people that felt they weren't getting enough out of the established religions. And one man in particular was a leader, and- I mean, it had come to him first, that the way to spread your faith one to another, and then in groups, and then in homes. And they met, and maybe there'd be two or three at a sitting in homes, and invite other people to a home, but never big rallies. But later on it di sintegrated because it started with one person and it clung to that one person, which is always- I can see now, and I knew then- but I said, "There's something better." But it was a good start. Gave me the discipline. Gave me that separation, shall we say, of your own identity. Of your own self. Your innerself. And independence that I hadn't had before. I was too much influenced by outside things. Well, most people are.*I mean, I was responding, I was looking for help to come from outside. It there is a flowing into you and out, like that. But it was a great help; a great help. And then there was nothing down here. You know, I'veAmet another one before or since that man. And there was nothing down here-
SS: Someone of the Oxford group, you mean?
JWR: Yes, it was just sort of a loose affiliation. And it's gone completely out of existence. I tell you, it fell into- oh, it fell into a- not that it's fell by the wayside ffli to terrible, but it sort of disintegrated as it initially started out. It became the Moral Rearmament Group during the wartime, and^them it swung over to a group of young people now, that is sent out as singing groups. Up With The People. Have you ever seen or heard them? Do you know what they are? Well, that was an offshoot of them. That's about the only twinkle, they've just become. I've gone to them once.
SS: Did you in your life before that though, you hadn't been around churchesand you hadn't had a very religious life?
JWR: Oh, dear, you just don't know me.
SS: When you were a kid?
JWR: Oh, yes, I Mother- you just had Bible every- Sundays were mostwewere Presbyterians. It didn't matter- you could drop off in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean there on a rocky island and a Presby terian or a Scotchman would have his Bobby Burns to read and his Bible til the end of time. Bobby Burns may have been kind of a rake, but never mind the Bible would cure all that.
SS: No, I just thought your isolation from the communities that you'-
JWR: No, we went- in the summertime Mother and I went could walk down tothe- could walk down the mountain to church, and we did all through the summers. Wintertime; no.
SS: It was your father that wasn't too excited—
JWR: Well, he never got excited, no, he A honor and virtueand all that, but never mind— Of course, I can see his point, too. Churches in those days were pretty stodgy, but they were an influence Kfor good in those days, possibly. I used to go and I never went much to Sunday School. I can't remember ever going to Sunday School excepting in this one place where I went to school for a few months. But Mother, it was her bounden duty and her delight to teach me. You the Bible every Sunday and you went through the catechisms; What is the chief purpose of man? Man's chief purpose is to glorify God and join him forever. I can recite you I'm glad now I had to memorize. I don't believe in memorizing like that altogether, but still it's— There's only one magic period when it's easy for you to memorize, those golden years when you were a young child. It just comes so easily. And, oh, Mother, she may not have gone to church but she had quite religious women friends, and they'd talk and this other lady would pray and they'd go over the Bible chapter and verse and Mother'd say, "Well, now, it says so-and-so someplace else." Oh, she was always a devout Christian. Oh, she freelanced. We'd go to anything, I mean, we never- Baptist or Anglican or almost any thing excepting Catholic. And we went to a great many different churches just wherever we could learn something.
SS: Well, this understanding that you got; did you consider that a veryreligious experience for you?
JWR: Well, I don't know; I think it was. I can't say there was a definitecoming up of a sun, but within about a month's time I could just see the change it was making. You do so-and-so- I mean, I would take a step in faith and I could see the change in my life. And then I could see things happening to me. I was able to forget things. I was able to overlook things. I progressed beyond tolerance, for in stance,- I mean it was a period of growth to love. Tolerance and lovebut at least I became tolerant, then you love a person when there's no need to be tolerant. And you don't have the power to forgive peo ple yourself. You may want to. You can be nice to a person and it's possible for a human person to be kindly and tolerant towards someone else. But I think perhaps the first experience I had of something else outside of me was to ask for the ability to forgive someone. I can't hardly think of anyone that I've ever been at enmity with. But there has been one or two that have treated me cruelly and just unjustly. And when you ask and then it's just there, just instantan eous. And the old feeling never comes back again. So something's gone on. Something's going on inside of me. That is one of the big gest things. That, and the— being in a disagreeable situation. The situation doesn't change; but you change your inner thoughts, the whole thing changes inside of you and it's just like you're able to stand it. And then quite often I've found that after a period of standing it something will happen to alter the situation.
SS: Would you look at it as a personal relationship with God?
JWR: I think so, yes. Yes, it's that essentially, yes. There's a powerout there beyond me. Yes, I do. That's bringing these things in. And it just happens a great many times; a great many things. Lot of them are small things; just small things. But I find I'm just gently bloc- ked. Just gently blocked. And I'll find out afterwards, I wag;. And I found out too, if you don't get too frustrated when those things happen, you accept them. The things you have to guard against is- you can accept a great many things, but don't get in a situation where you're being forced to do anything that is not morally right. I think I'd be cut off from help if I was in a situation like that. If I continued on in it. Whether it'd be a job working for a boss that was fleecing the public. Or whatever, you know what I mean. I'd quit it. Because I feel that I wouldn't have- I'd be cut off from mv source of energy or whatever you want to call it.
SS: At this time- what year was this when that happened?
JWR: I'd say it was December, '33.
SS: Was that a low point?
JWR: Well, yes it was. Because I was up there- yes it was. Iwas slugging along just in r depression. Now, Mother used to help me with money for Laura; she knew about it then. And naturally, anytime I took her to a specialist- I think I took her up there many a time and they couldn't even operate, because she was so delicate, so weak. And, well, I don't think I knew that when I talked to him, I was bringing him over to that specialist- I come up on a Saturday and I kind of thought I'd spend Sunday in town and go to the doctor Monday. And, yes, it was a low ebb. And I- but it had been going on for a year or two. And then, it was n't more than six months til - oh, it was a little longer than that- no, I'm wrong, it was more than that- Yes, it was a year and about five months, because I wasn't pregnant with Elaine. A year and five months.
JWR: No, it was '33, and then it was '34 Elaine was born. And then '35when we came down here. Yes, it was '33, December. And I got pregnant with Elaine; a very big surprise in January.. All the barricades failed. But it didn't upset me like the others. I thought, "Well, this, maytbe the answer to something." And I was very placid. Very calm about the whole thing. And waited and waited and waited and in about ayear and five months this answer came. And all the time Iwas carrying her we were poor, poor, poor, but Ididn't- it was a period of development. And I'm glad I had because I could stand the change of coming down here. Ifelt Ihad to suppress myself in a sense here. Because I told you you cooperate to the point of ste rility. Ihad to drop alot of my forms of self expression and exubrance, and get myself busy in the little humdrum busyness the other women did. Knowing you're preparing for to pass your tests and be come a citizen, you're very conscious of all the things they could object to in you. And when we came across- you're never too srue. You know, if you become acitizen by applying for it and being accepted you don't have all the rights of a natural born. You know, even at that time, they could have deported you.
SS: When you're becoming a citizen?
JWR: When you've become one.
SS: Once you've?
JWR- Yes. There are certain things- now for instance- now, of course,I think this there's the political angle, and,outrageous political, Idon't know what they call it, moral turpitude- whatever that means, and if some body wanted to get nasty- not thatl'm worried too much about either one- but it's surprising. And, you're not too sure, so you just become quite quiet.
SS: Your exuberance when you came down- did you really feel that that-Imean, it wouldn't surprise me that it would be that way. You know that you were rather afree spirit up there and coming down here-
JWR: That I'd throttle down?
SS: Well, that would be kind of forced upon you. Because Ican see thatbecauseIdo feel that sense in the rural communities that there is a certain comformity in the States. But that didn't affect you up there?
JWR: It wasn't. It wasn't there. There was now for instance,yer4 quite good friends. She was old enough possibly to be my mother. And she was a Boer from Africa. Brought up beautifully. Private schools in England. Her mother— well, her father was a Boer, and her mother was an English woman and it was quite a scandal in the family when they two married. You see that was at the time of the Boer War. Well, then she was the offspring; she and her two or three sisters. They were sent to England and beautifully brought up and she married this very nice Englishman from a- they had a hopyard; hundreds of fields of hops in England. And an estate. An estate so big that they remodled the house and found a room that was roomed up and nobody ever knew about. Charming people. The happy and a sprinkling of Americans there, too. Quite a few Americans.
SS: What would you consider the kind of person you were that was changed?Did you try to tell some of this exuberance that you had?
JWR: Well, just love of. going ovs in the community. Politics, I guess wasthe Politics and, oh, it was such a big thing up there. It was just like election year, and all year social event. It was there. It was just like I was going to say a rally down therepolitical rally at Kansas City or something like that.
SS: And you were outspoken?
JWR: Down here?
SS: No,up there. Speaking your mind.
JWR: Oh, you could speak your mind much and people wouldn'tget queer ideas about you here- oh, if you'd ever speak out, they'd think- "She's this and she's that. She's something else. Something even worse." No, there was much more freedom. Much. And then just going- I think the fact that you weren't so penned with roads and snow and that, you got out more in the wintertime; met other people. But- you're useful. You see, you go to those places and it's sort of a form of self flattery, it builds up your ego. You're useful at those gatherings. You're imaginative and you help put on things to raise money for different political rallies, and you stage little plays and that, just impromptu things and parties. And it's fun. Just afterwards that I met that person, I thought that, "Well, look, I'm doing this and it's fun." Just afterwards that I met that person I thought, "Well, now, look, I'm doing this because there's not much else to do. A lot of it's ego-building. A lot of it's because I'm useful. There's other people could do it, but perhaps because I've only got two children I can do it perhaps a little more speedily, or easily than they can." And I didn't think it was doing my homelife any good. Stiner got awfully tired of those things and he took it to heart. Political talk just rolls off my back, but a lot of it he took to heart more seriously than I did A But I could always read the paper, I mean it wasn't quite that dead, but I quit being active.
SS: Well, was your activity on behalf of the reform?
JWR: No,it wasn't that. No. it never went that deep. It was, let me see,mine was more on the social fringes- Now listen, you've got a very small community, and it's divided, but we're going to put a party on, and the money- usually I wasn't involved with money, for, I shouldn't say for so much the political parties themselves- as for community affairs. But, some of these things would overlap. Some times they'd maybe raise fifteen or twenty dollars and that would be divided. The school would need it.
SS: With times being so hard I would think that people were probablywanting reform of
JWR: But then we were divided. See, there was divisions.
SS: About how it was to be spent?
JWR: Oh, definitely. Definitely. There was.kind of a Farmer-Labor party.And then there was the conservatives like they were more or less what they called the conservatives. And then there was the UFA's- United Farmers, and then there was this new party that came in, this party that actually came in. As I say, the previous guy, I forget what hte$ name was, he was the bombshell, he bombed out.
SS: Were you allied with any of them?
JWR: Not really. And that was another thing. I didn't have a vote. Imarried an American and I lost my right to vote.
SS: Oh, really?
JWR: Yeah. Oh, yes.
SS: That's a nice little custom.
JWR: Well, if a woman hasn't enough brains to marry a good guy in Canada,especially when there's such a shortage of women, you just better straighten her out gotta I out! So they just take her vote away from her! (Laughter) I didn't think it quite fair, no, that's one thing, but that has been changed. Oh, they've changed so much. They've come a long way, were a baby, as they say! So, I was just really free-lance with them all and I argued with 'em all, and I was the one that put pins in their balloons. And I was right so often. I says, "if that does so-and-so, that'll do so-andso." Well, in six or eight months it would. Then I could say, "I told you so." Kid 'em along and have fun with it.
SS: So, the political and the community life were sort of intertwined.
JWR: Oh, they were just so intertwined. If you got into something youcouldn't say that you were really involved with any great thing. And most of the time the political people didn't come there to raise money, they just came to listen to you have you listen to them, I mean. That was that area of it.
SS: But then down here there was a stress really on conformity; peopleacting and behaving like each other?
JWR: That's right. That is true.
SS: That didn't exist up there?
JWR: No, that didn't exist. We really enjoyed one another for what theywere. We didn't try to change 'em, unless l^ie; tried to kid 'em. - Kid that guy into getting his wife to a hospital and she didn't make it, she got stuck half way there and had it 25 degrees below zero. (Laughter) It would have been easier if we'd left him alone. I don't want a melting pot. I like people the way they are. I think it's just silly.
SS: So they whipped you in shape down here, made you feel like- they werejust as suspicious of you.
JWR: Oh, definitely. Either that or it just knocked 'em cold. And, besidesI rather enjoyed it because I was having enough to do with, and I guess we had about the second best home in there then, you know. We had a pump- you know, a pump in the house here. That was really an elegant thing. And we had class, boy! (Chuckles)
JWR: Yes, in this house when come down. That was wonderful after we'dhauled water in Canada for eight years, this was really great! And I enjoyed^fixing up the house then. There was a lot of little things like that.
SS: Well, when you were up there in those years in the late '20's, mostof the time, what did you do? What did you spend your time doing? After you were married and not teaching. Was there mufib you could at all?
JWR: Well, we had a phone. I used to phone. And another thing, I wentwith Stiner a great deal. Now, for instance, he'd go to- the men seemed to trade work and move back and forth from one another's pla ces considerable at times. If he would be going over to help a nei ghbor- you only have to have these happen a couple of times a week to break your week up, because I had to work and do things the hard way, you know,wash on the washboard, make bread and make butter, and all those things I had to learn. I wasn't as fast as I should have been being an inexperiences girl. But I learned right away quick. If he was going some place with the horse; grab your kid, be always ready to go within five minutes. And I was and I never kept him. I'd hop on a water tank- we'd have to get water may be once a week. I'd visit with the woman maybe half an hour while he wa^ doing that. Well, okay, that's something. Over to another neighbor- so-and-so's got something I need, he'd be going over to another neighbor. Maybe he'd be talking to the man for half an hourhe's always loved to talk, and I'd visit with that wife, maybe an hour
SS: Usually when he went over to work, could you go over for the afternoon?
JWR: Yes. And sometimes a whole day. Not always, but maybe a whole daydepends on how well I knew the woman. And then their husbands would come and sometimes their wives would come down. And we did a lot of visiting. I mean, if you get out a couple of times a week- pretty good. Try to carry on the work you had and I had two small kids. But I'd take my bread along lots of times. If you were making bread, throw a blanket around it, it would be in a big pan like that, you know, and I'd put the pan with^blankets over it, and a dish towel over it and away we'd go! And bake it in the other woman's place. The time wasn't so heavy on my hands. I took a woman's magazine or two and I took the Ladies Home Journal, and it seemed to me I took another one. And the newspaper was a pretty ponderous big newspaper. An awful lot of reading in it. But, you know, I was only married about a year, and I decided I was reading too much. Taking up too much of my time; too much fantasy and espetfcally fiction. And I just ruthlessly cut off all my subscriptions excepting to the news paper. I says, "Phooey on that. I'm not going to live in a dream world." I've always been quite a reader and loved to read, and I said, "That's it." And then maybe after- oh, I^went back to sub scription all the time I was there, but I did get books. Fairly worthwhile books from Mother. Mostly archaeology or history or some thing like that. She'd mail them up in the wintertime; maybe only three or four times.
SS: When you were first married, was it rough right away? The firstyear was difficult then?
JWR: Yes, difficult as all get out; financially^until we got a crop.
SS: Did you get a crop the first year?
JWR: Yes, we did. But, you see, Edflhad left us that winter before, andit was his first crop and he owed quite a Wt. And, oh, well, it wasn't as hard as a lot of times, but still, it wasn't as good as it should be, we had to just kind of watch things, and then I had a baby to prepare for. And then the next year, I guess possibly it was a little better year, but I was pregnant then with the next baby.
SS: This first year was '26?
JWR: '26 we were married, and I had my little girl in '27. Then '28- yes'28, in March, I had the boy. '28, the whole town, all the business section burned down, and that made it rough,'cause our butcher and a lot of people we used to trade with and run up bills at all summer long were gone. right out. And then the Depression started right in. We just seemed to feel it from that time on; and poor crops. I guess it must have been '31 and '32 I went back to teach, something like that.
SS: When you went to teach- during that time, was that a difficult timeto be away from home?
JWR: Oh, yes. They were a darling little age, yes. Two and a half andthree and a half; they were a lovely age to be away from home- yes it was hard, but, boy, you get so desperate for money, you'll accept it. It really was tough. But, Stiner, of course, he was awfully good. He was good, and I knew he'd be good to the kids when I left. Oh, but, we were just desperate for money! I guess it was that year before I went to teach we were down to carrots and potatoes and stuff like that. It was just wretched. Stiner and I managed, we were fairly aimable. The only thing we have ever quarreled over is poli tics, and he's so gullible! Boy, even today, sees something, "Oh, boy, that's a good guy." He was for Mc Govern; I just looked at him, says, "How could you." Of course, he was against Nixon.A I was so dang disgusted last time I voted — for you know who? Dr. Spock. I says, "Anybody-" I says, "he can't be all bad. He's a good baby doc tor." But he was the same way up there.
SS: I think that's a (laughter)
JWR: Never mind. Lots of good people were. Well, you didn't have muchchoice, did you?
JWR: He was kind of a nice guy and when I found out how they lied about him —
JWR: Nothing happened.
SS: At what point did you begin to despair about being able to make it upthere. Make it in a way that you—
JWR: Oh, I'd say bout by the time- between '28 and '29. I woke up quick.He was always-the- optimist. I gave up right now; I didn't give up, I kept going through the motions, but I knew the jig was up as far as trying to ever get out of debt. Oh, we'll get a good crop next year- the price is to Just absolutely old Polyanna. But right now I'd say about one good year and the Depression, we'd had it^. But he didn't give up. Don't want to be in a place any more, and still have to be there.
JWR: Well, but there was no place to go. That's another thing. You don'twant to be where you are, but there's no place to go to. That's the desperate place. Everywhere you think, everywhere you'd know, there was no work There was no work- people were having it tough out at the coast. Mother happened to have a job, bu t she couldn't support us. And then, finally, when we got down here, and there was a few others made a dash- -the coast, and they had a relative or two to give 'em a toehold when they got in. There was about three families left where we were, right at the same time. I don't think he has ever been too perturbed or he ever worries. If he's got bread; what more do you want? He doesn't even need of wine. And me, the old dietician in me, she's always looking at the vitamins; this doesn't balance where's my protein? But apart - wars and everything else, nothing has touched me like that did. That bleak period. And it was hanging over down here, too. I could realize what Roosevelt was doing for us was more or less artificial, but it was helpful. I was very grate ful for it and what he did for the other people.
As I say, everybodywas a Roosevelt person, which I was, too at that time, although I was a newcomer and he was the first one I was ever able to vote for after after we got our papers. And- but I sometimes wonder if we hadn't had a war if it would have ever worked itself out into a period of selfsufficiency without being artificially propped up. That's why- these promises, promises now-with politicians, I wonder, I won der. I just know they're promising things they can't fulfill on. Not because they are trying to deceive us, but I just feel it's not going to work out like they figure it will unless something happens. Something unexpected. It's rather sad, but, oh, we'll wait and see. We'll wait for the unexpected. I just wish people had it a little easier. I feel sorry for the young people that's trying to get through school on a shoestring. Some have it just awfully hard. I think they have it every bit as hard as we did in our early married life. may in cities and they mayjbe on foodstamps and everything else, but, boy, some of them are struggling. The miserable places they have to live. Some are better managers, some are smarter about their small resources- I say some of the young people. But, oh, I knew a brilliant young fellow out there, one of my granddaughter's boyfriends; oh, what a brain! I think he had five scholarships- three of them- I don't know how many he had. He could have gone to Reed College, and I think he finished up at Portland State. Oh, the poverty that kid lived in. It's just a crime. He never got a decent meal half the time. Lived with three or four other kids in some kind of a miserable place just off Grand Avenue; just a hovel. And he was so sensitive and bright and an awfully nice fellow. He and Jenny drifted apart. But I thought, oh, what a crime to have people- especially with a- I don't know what his IQ was, but it must have been something out of this world. He could speak several languages - just picked 'em up.
SS: The other women up there near Wainwright, were they- were some quitea bit more able to manage than others?
JWR: Yes, some people were much more able to manage on very limited- yes,there was a difference. You know, you'd be surprisedyi so many women in that district couldn't sew. I was one of the few that was a seamstress. There was other American- I think there was three women amongst us that could sew; that were really good seamstresses. I don't say I was good, but I could make a dress and I could even make a shirt for my husband. They couldn't sew; well, that's an awful handicap.
SS: Why not?
JWR: They just didn't seem to- they'd never learned. They never knew how.They'd been in places where they could always buy 'em, and they always could buy before the Depression hit them, they always bought their clothes. They weren't too expensive in those days. And then suddenly they couldn't buy 'em. And there was two or three of us used to ex change sewing for food. I remember I did some work for cabbages. I was very glad to And I did sewing for somebody else for po tatoes or something like that. We were running short at the end of the spring. But, some were— well, it's just like now- some are mi serable cooks. The poorest of poor cooks, but then there were others were just real good housewives and managers. They seemed to have a few basic ideas of nutrition. Anybody that could read, they could put a balanced meal together, but some just didn't seem to catch on.
SS: Well, when you felt like you wanted to leave and you wished you coulddo something else, did that- how did that make you feel during that time?
Well, it was depressing. You rea£ my letter there. It wasgloom.
SS: It is gloomy.
JWR: Yes, it was. It was just a constant- like a black cloud. Yeah,first it was just- I wasn't alone, there was so many others like me. And you couldn't see any— you just knew there was no end to it. . were very realistic about conditions up there. You just knew this was it. And another winter coming up of cold and everybody had a crop of some kind in the garden, but before spring you'd be short of something every year. And every year your children were getting big ger and 4ewer clothes; You'd have to have more bought clothes. Mother was buying these little snuggles to sleep in, you know, little sleep ing suit with the little feet in them- down to here, fleece lined to keep kids warm at night. Not everybody had 'em. Some poor kid would be sleeping in their underwear. But she sent enough money to buy them these pajama-type sleepers, they called 'em sleepers, because they had little feet in them and really keep them warm. And helped out that way, and I got cod-liver oil from her to keep them up. Just a few things to supply some of the vitamins. The long winter nights are short of those vitamins A- see, A and D. Not enough sunshine.
SS: Did you still worry about the kids not geting balanced diets?
JWR: Well, I didn't worry exactly. Alright, this is it; it isn't right.You know it isn't adequate. There isn't a thing-- If you can do some thing, watch it. You know if you can grab a few cabbages and if you can get so-and-so- watch your chances J make a break for it and do all you can, you get past worrying.
SS: Make a break for it?
JWR: Well, I mean- if you can get some cabbages over there and get 'em ata reasonable price, buy it! Quick! While you got a nickel on hand, or whatever, or trade- for it. Cabbage. source of vitamin C. That was one of the main things. You see, there was no oranges, no well, there wouldn't be much in apples— no oranges and tom atoes. In an emergency you could use them, but you gotta get C some where.
SS: That's how you did it then was it just a day-to-day kind of struggle?
JWR: Well, it was more like a week-to-week. Well you don't have aAstore,it's more like that. But you're always conscious. Evan with the men, even in a prison, you can't go on rehashing the same thing and keep your sanity. Drop this for you, and pick— you know they have to get in line. Alright, there'll be another day there'll be something else you gotta be concerned. And the other will have to go to the end of the line. (Chuckles) Get in line. And then if they're rea sonably healthy- they were healthy. never had a, I don't I ever took a child to a doctor in Canada, except ing Laura. And down here, I think the only things - they had a school nurse that gave 'em shotsK-or whatever, and I think my boy, I took him in for an ingrown toenail. But apart from that, there was never any sickness. Oh, that's right, we got the itch and had to get some itch medicine in town. It was the "in" thing here at all the time. Everybody got itch. The kids had it and you lathered 'em up and got rid of it.
SS: Was Laura's cataract really serious problem?
JWR: Very serious. Fi^ operations. She's had seven altogether and shefinally lost her eye. Very serious. And she finally ended up with glaucoma so bad that it just ruptured the eye. A very rare type of glaucoma. And, of course, she was married by that time. No, she'J from glaucoma, that was right. Let's see, she had glaucoma when she got married and then afterwards- that's right- it ruptured and they had to remove it. But that was her last operation.
SS: But while she was a kid?
JWR: While she was a kid, she had five operations. She had one for thecataract; she had, well, let me see, she had three to correct - her eyes were terribly crossed because there was no movement in this eye. She had three operations for correction. That's four right there. And then while she was in her teens she had to have this operation something for- what is it they do for^glaucoma? I don t know, she had another operation, I think she had five before she was married and two afterwards. It was always nip and tuck with her and she got behind in her school. She spent one year in Portland in a school for blind children; not that she was blind but because it gave her eyes a break; more individual attention. And she was just happy there. She was about thirteen, fourteen.
SS: Did that make her growing up difficult?
JWR: Very, yes it did. She's been much happier now that she's married.Yes, she was unhappy lots of times, and she was small. And jealousyher little sister was quite attractive, but then Laura married very well.
SR: We still call her little sister.(Chuckles)
JWR: She's bigger than her, but she's—everything evened out after while,and everybody was happy. The sisters married fairly— although there was quite an age difference. Laura was twenty-two when she got married and Elaine was almost eighteen, so it wasn't too long and they were all raising kids together. They were both raising families together, it wasn't too long after I say- . And Elain's oldest and Laura's youngest were born the same year. Everything's worked out pretty good. You know, before we mentioned that something about women and men, and you were saying that women were stronger in some ways. In some ways. I don't know why- maybe it's my mother as much as anyone else. You knew you I^weaker in some ways physically, but then you knew in the longbrun that you had the endurance; you had the ability to cope with tragedies, calamities- well, nature just gave you the break when she made you. And, I never dreamed that of fefeling the thought I had a least bit inferior; in fact, I slight edge. But, you know with Mother
SS: But this idea of being stronger, and the endurance is more, do youthink than a man's?
JWR: We always figured it was, yeah. It must be- well, good gracious, youought to have seen the work my grandmother had to go through bringing up all those family, even with a hired girl. We always figured the woman had a tremdous responsibility. That is the working class that we were, you know, just middle class farmers; my mother's people back East. Just comfortable, but all the rest. Everybody worked and ev ery body managed. And you manage, you planned. You got your kids in college back East there. Got 'em educated to face the world. We always had the feeding that we were the strong ones. In any family although the men
SS: When you say stronger, do you think that has to do with like beingthe family, too?
JWR: Yes. It was more the moral support. The s ft ihe guardian, youmight say, of the family's finances. management. Mother did all the business for Daddy and wrote out all his letters, and boy, you had all that and if you didn't know where the money was going and how it was coming in— Mother, I don't know, we just felt that we were worth our weight in gold to our husbands.
SS: Were women generally better educated, had more culture?
JWR: Yes, I think the women at that time out West- there was quite a number of women that had fair educations. A lot of them had ventured out like Mother. They were pioneer women. Althought they hadn't mar ried back East they were pioneer women in a sense that some of them were women that had brother or something. They'd had education they came out, they'd even keep house for a brother or something in those days. It wasn't too frowned upon til he got them married off and and in the pioneers days there was no- not always boarding places and things like that for men to go to so, if he was a bachelor his sister might come. She'd naturally get snatched up in nothing flat. But, I think— Mother's friends were pretty well read.^ Not all of them, but some of them what they lacked in books, they were sure good business women. There were a lot of women— that's why I think women weren't half as frustrated as you think they were.
JWR: Because they were the ones behind the scenes and managing their husbands business, whether it was a grocery store or a hotel or maybe managing some other business. Some of them even worked in their husband's offices. Of course, if a man had just a plain job it wasn't so.
Not all women. Now you take Helmer, he wouldn't let nobody do anyof his business. His wife, she didn't touch anything. (Chuckles)
JWR: That's what the trouble with Helmer. And that's why his wife- hispoor bright wife- Ethel was a real smart woman. Twice the brains that he had.
SR: Oh, yes. Sure she was. (Laughter)
JWR: They had old
SS: But you know, that's the picture you get; is that the woman's spherewas restricted.
JWR: It was restricted, that's true.
SS: And that's theif
JWR: I don't think men was quite as free as you thought, because a lot ofthem were pretty well penned down. The supporting husband that had jobs, believe me, they didn't have it all that gasy. They had such long hours to put in at their stores or their shops or their profes sions, if they had 'em. Or if they even worked. Like one of Mother's friends, he worked at this- oh, I don't know- sort of a clerk or pay roll master or something else up there in a big mine in this town where we lived in. And he worked hard, long hours. He didn't have much left over for beer and skittles, just pretty stolid. I don't see that they had anything too free.
SS: Do you think the men were^much freerer in that sense?
I think a lot of the men that had just nine to five jobs- they didn'thave it too easy. They worked awfully hard; desperately hard. I don't know whether you'd say the woman was free. She was free to do, you know, the house and the church and a few little things like that. She have the freedom women have now. There wasn't nearly the amount of things to go to for outlets. You could go to poetry reading or a lot of things like that or even an encounter group or something like that- There was nothing likeAgoing on, I'll assure you. But, you'd be surprised at the things you can enjoy, even within a limited group. Awoman, if she wasn't too burdened down with too many child ren- and a lot of people had a hired girl, parttime, anyhow, she could visit, she could have pleasant visits with other neighbors. She could go on the train quite cheaply. We did an awful lot of train travel quite reasonably to see just— Mother to visit with her relatives and friends. We used to go up to Nelson about a day's journey; had a brother up there and a grandmother in due time.
SS: Did your mother ever come visit you up there?
JWR: Once. That was during the Depression. Even then she was- she visitedme twice I guess, twice. In Canada. But then the Depression clamped down and she wasn't getting as much. She got changed to a different job and she didn't have the money to go. Let's see, it's pretty near a thousand miles from Vancouver. But I came out there with Laura, and I saw her quite often, and she came a couple of times. But when I was younger we'd go quite often, just little jaunts on the train to different places where we'd once lived. And we made this big trip back to Prince Edward Island when I was four. So that was nice. I don't know Mother seemed to have a very pleasant, relaxed life when I was little. She didn't seem too unhappy. As long as Mother could read. As long as she had letters and pleasant people to talk to. Amiable women to talk to. She was a most adaptable person. That's what she made me thing; that women were really great.
SS: Because they wer e adaptable?
JWR: Yes. Any situation. Those are the ones that survive. You could takeher from that little mountain home; take her to the desparate island bring her into a city and she was just flourishing in nothing flat. Sic months time- six months or a year here she was in a real well paid job, and just managing beautifully for several years there before she went back teaching. And there was no hullabaloo, no howling. It was just, "I'm going to do that." And there was no weeping, no tears, no worrying about failing, no worrying about toyf kids misbehaving. You knew they were going to be good. You knew they'd do that when she was gone. She just knew, why, she. never give it a thought about my kids getting out of line if I'm not there.
SS: Were you raised by your parents to- with a lot of discipline and obedience, or was it mostly free?
JWR: Pretty free. Pretty free. Daddy growled once in awhile, but I canonly remember him giving me a swat once. I think he swatted me- give me a slap with his hand. I think I was kind of sassy, I think I said something. No doubt I needed it! And see those buffalo horns up there? Alright, on those two lower buffalo horns there was always a set of switches- just sort of moral persuasion. Once in a while when I'd make my mother desperate she'd give me a few licks across the back with them. And do you know, it was mostly about clothes. Come every fall there was a battle. I didn't want long woolen under wear on. It scratched. I hated it. I wept. I'd roll it above themy knee. And then wool stockings. Another battle. The underwear was lumpy, I couldn't make it fold over nice around my ankles. I think I got swatted pretty near every time. And then there was other things; I was kind of dilatory geting dressed. Take my own sweet time.
SR: She had her broke in when I got her! See, her mother and I was justalike! (Chuckles)
JWR: Oh, she thought he was an angel. She thought he was just the mostwonderful husband, and they just sided up and they ganged up on me, oh, boy!
They ganged up on you?
Oh, they were just awful!
I didn't say a word.
Mother said it all.
Her mother would always jump in! (Chuckles) You just leave himalone!
Were they really alike?
They were. That's what I say, I got shortchanged when I got married.You know when I dream; I dream quite often of my mother and I dream of him, and I'll be talking to him and then it's mother! Mother, she 111 be saying- and then it's him, they're just absolutely twin souls. Well, when Mother died, I felt I'd lost one of a pair of oars in my life. Still got one! No, I was going to tell you one more thing about discipline; Oh, I don't know, they outtalked me, that's one thing, my mother and her sisters. They were very persuasive. Little Kissingers running around, that's what they were. But I remember I Ghandi pulled a when Iwas only about five years old. I don t know what it was- they wanted me to do something and I protested, "NO!" It was likely about clothes or putting a coat on before I went outside. I calmly sat down in the kitchen about like this, in the middle of the floor, right in the flow of traffic, I crossed my little legs- I didn't know about. either, he wasn't around, and I just sat there for about an hour, waiting. Nobody paid any attention to me. Final ly I got tired and got up. (Chuckles)
SR: That's the best way to do her.
JWR: But I knew lots of parents would have just blist^ed my little bottom, but nobody paid any attention. I had my little Ghandi defiance streak there. What did Ghandi call them" His sit-ins?
JWR: Nonviolence, yeah. That's it. That's what I did.
SS: But how was it they were so similar?
JWR: They both talked a great deal. They's absolutely always optimistic.You can be in the bottom of a coal chute and the load's coming and, "Oh, no, it isn't going to hitJ." And nine times out of ten it doesn't Absolutely optimistic about everything. They're realists, I don't know, I can't say that it's always consoling- sometimes it's nice, but sometimes its' Oh, they bawl 'em out sometimes, they aren't always right.
SS: What would make them side against you?
SR: I never-
JWR: I don't know, it didn't matter what it was. If My husband would askfor something or want something, if he'd want four slices of bread, and I figured he shouldn't have it, I said, "Stiner you're eating too much bread. Eat your vegetables. If you're hungry fill up with some fruit." "Oh, let him have an other loaf of bread. He's a hard working man." You know, just any little thing like that. If he wanted something, he just might ask me gently and I'd I)d say, "No." Oh, she'd swing right over. Swing right over and help him out and agree with him.
SR: Yeah, every time. She was too agreeable! (Chuckles)
SS: Do you feel that you tried to raise your kids more or less the wayshe raised you?
JWR: I think so, although, my children were very different from what Iwas. Very, very different, Elaine, the youngest one's more like I am. I think it's because she didn't have the other two so close to her. The other two were more interested in themselves and playing with themselves. Didn't talk to much to me. They weren't particularly interested too much in being read to too much. They were action, they were like their dad. Action; hard work; moving things; tearing things down outside.
SR: A lot of people would have given her a licking when she was little.
JWR: Who? Me?
SR: No, Elaine.
JWR: Oh, yeah.
SR: And oh, by golly, we never give her a licking. Well, yeah, you did.
JWR: Oh, I'd wallop her every morning pretty nearly when I'd comb her hair.She had her hair in braids.
SR: But then it's things like we was missing eggs. We used to have a lotof eggs, you know, and we finally didn't get any. Well, not quite.
JWR: They dropped down.
SR: Playing with the chickens. She found out that hens liked the eggs, soshe was breaking 'em for 'em! Feeding it to 'em! (Chuckles)
SR: Oh, I don't know. I don't think it ever helped.
SS: That's what they thought.
SR: And then there's Forrest, look, he just went right up. He was a bigofficer and never had no trouble. I says, you know to Forrest, - I forget now what it was- And he says, "Well," he says, "I just knew I had to get right down on my belly and study." Oh, you know, we tried to get him to go to school- high school- in Portland. Sent him to four different ones, because we couldn't get one of the boys from here to go with him, you know, why, he just couldn't stand it- a bunch of strangers. He'd be too lonesome. So, finally when he got in the service- that's what he wanted to do. I signed him up the first day he was of age.(Chuckles) And his mother whipped him. .
SS: His mother didn't like that?
SR: Oh, no, but I signed him up.
JWR: Al didn't want him going off and getting shot and all that gruesomething. His dad says, "Well, let him go."
SR: There was a war on, you know. And I said, "Well, listen, a guy thatwants to go that bad, he'll never get hurt. He wants to get in there, there's something that tells him that he'll never get hurt." And he's never been hurt today.
JWR: He and his dad Stiner was just awfully goodfather with the kids. I mean, he'd just take 'em out and work with 'em. They were always together. Very amiable. Very, very, happy. Laura was happy in her own little way. She liked— I'll tell you one thing- I never made my kids— I did a few times, it wasn't working so hot- I used to yell at 'em to do dishes or to do this, but finally, especially when I got to the city- here on the farm, we all had to pitch in and the kids helped me. Laura did outside work and I did the inside work. But I found out- that's where I'm more permissive than a lot of mothers- "Alright, what do you want to do?" Nobody wanted to do dishes, and I didn't blame 'em. I didn't like dishes either. Laura says she'd- she liked to mow the lawn. Small as she is she liked gardening. Elaine liked to wax floors and to tidy and dust. I said, "Well, I'll do the dishes." No problems, everybody did what they had to do. Elaine would bawl me out for messing up the front room. She was only about thirteen, fourteen- "Mother, there just nobody in the world can come home from town and in five minutes occupy every chair and daveno in the front room. Purse, pack- age, coat, coat." She says, "Five things all taken up." "Alright, dear, I'll pick 'em up." And I'd go pick 'em up and put 'em away.
SR: You see?
JWR: But, I don't know, and she turned out- Did you teach your daughtersto cook? No. She's just the best cook. Laura, I did make an effort with her, I sent her to a girl's polytechnic school, you know, cooking. Lousiest cook of the bunch. So what!
SR: And she doesn't like to cook. know, about
JWR: as permissive as you could be, their choices ofwork. Anybody that could read, I couldn't cook much when I was mar ried, when I was first married, cause I never had the chance to learn, I mean, there was always myself and an aunt, and she did all the cook ing and I'd help. But anybody could read a cookbook and can learn to cook. Cooking isn't that hard. You don't have to make such a big deal out of it. If you like to cook, you'll do it.
SS: You don't have to train to do it.
SR: Four years.
JWR: You know me, you can't help it. Two and a half, dear, two and a half.
SS: You know you talked about your father's attitude about who you shouldand shouldn't marry?
SS: Now talk about these lazy Englishmen, you mentioned it to me.
JWR: Those remittance men, yes.
SS: Remittance? What does that mean?
Well, at that time, there was a great many remittance men. They werethe scalawag-younger sons, usually and fairly well educated, of the English gentry, shall we say. The family was so fed up with them, they'd maybe got in a scrape or two, ran away from thekrmy-
SS: Back in England?
JWR: Yes. Or got a serving girl in trouble or whatever, so they gave themmaybe thirty dollars a month or something to stay out of the country and stay here, and as long as they stayed here, why, they'd get it. So, they were called remittance men, because they got a remittance from the old country. Daddy was just fed up to the teeth with them,.'
SS: Were there really a lot of them around?
JWR: Yes. There were, I'm not kidding! Well, I shouldn't say a lot, butevery locality might have two or three of them floating around. There was none where we lived. Everybody was, but, you see, that'd be about twenty years before, or thirty years before I was out there farming. Thye'd thinned out, there'd been a war and they'd had to go to war and had been honorably shot! But my time, I mean when I was a young child they were still around. And Daddy would say with scorn, "That remittance man!"
SS: Were most of the Englishmen around there, were they remittance men?
JWR: No, they was some real good- there was some solid married men, yes.
SS: Well, what would these men do while they were there?
JWR: They d just float around. Maybe.take a job up or have some littleclerical job that only took a short time of their day and they'd drink- a lot of them had drinking problems.
SS: They didn't contribute too much to the community?
JWR: No, not really, excepting charm.
JWR; Yes. Quite often they were very charming. I was thinking about education; sex education and things. How you are molded when you've very, very young. Daddy would mention some of these remittance men and snort. And then there'd be maybe words. Some of them actually would marry. "Well, I don't know who'd put up with him." And so on. Mother would quote Anyhow, when they're mar ried, "He will love thee- he will hold thee after marriage when hiswhen the love has lost its force." Or some thing like that. "A little better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse." You know, just about that. You know that's Lcc$k] H all, about a typi cal Englishman that's interested in his horses and his dogs. Once the first bloom is over, a little better than his dog and a little dearer than
SS: his horse.
SS: Some of that attitude was not the highest opinion of the English?
JWR: That's right.
SS: Was that partly because the English had such status pretensions?
JWR: They did. There were some very pretentious English that didn'tcontribute anything, excepti©tt you might hear of a long list of notables that they had descended from. Or they'd known better days in the old country. just didn't seem to have a very good status They was mostly working'— the town was built on a coal mine- ground a coal mine. You had your clerical workers-
SS: Which town was this now?
JWR: Coleman and Blairmore, both of them. And then you had the merchantsNow for the most part, there was a lot of them- the workers were Welch; they were Bohemians; there were Poles; there was some English. There was some Scotch. There was a lot of Sc otchmen.
SR: And Russians.
JWR: There was just a sprinkling of Russian and those people.
JWR: And Austrians, and like that. But not too many- well, there was afew English that had followed mines in the old country. They ere pretty good guys.
SS: Well, what kind of class distinctions were there then, at that time?
JWR: In the small towns?
SS: Yeah. There generally are, distinctions.Yeah. The distinctions are very much like they have been in the United States; White, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant. Whether you were Scotch or Irish- the Northern Irish- there's some Northern Irish in me- or even English. That was the upper crust. I mean, there were no lords or ladies, or anything like that. That was the cream of the crop. And that was the majority of the people. And your business would de termine, too, your status. But they really were the people that held the jobs- the better paying jobs- the people in the mines, they were the ones that- although actually they had more money than some of the others because they worked hard- but they were people that spoke broken English. A lot of them were Catholic. And just the same dis tinctions that are here.
Well, going down the status ladder then who underneath the Scotchand the WASPS, who would be next?
Well, the Scotch were in with the WASPS.
Yes, that's what I mean.
Next would come these hard working miners.
Like the Cornish and the —
Well, I said, Welsh. They were in with the group, too. If they wereWhite and Anglo-Saxon and Protestant, that put them in whether they were a - whether they worked in the mines. There was very fewthere was maybe the doctor, the mine owner or the superintendent and a lawyer or two and abanker or two, that were the top. And, well, the bartenders- no matter what they were- they were kind of- they were on the fringes.
SS: What about Wainwright? Was it similar?
JWR: No, there was more White Anglo-Saxons there than down in the coal minesThere were far more people that were White Anglo-Saxons. And they were practically all farmers, excepting for a small town like Deary or a little bit bigger.
SS: So the farmers really were the-?
JWR: They were. They were the elite.
SS: Not the townspeople?
JWR: Well, the lawyer, the doctor, the banker and perhaps the lumberyardkeeper and maybe the merchant. You know, the farmer, the rich farmer would be on a par with the merchant or maybe the—
SS: How do you think the democraticness of the people towards each otherin a community compared there and here? Was there less or more class distinction up there? Do you think?
JWR: I couldn't see a great deal of difference.
SS: Either place?
JWR: Either place. I think I see the same distinctions possibly today,even at that little place of Troy. The banker, the doctor, the dentist- they're just perhaps a little cut above the average farmer. Although farmers- some of those farmers couldAbuy them out and sell them again. But they are, because of their training and that, they're respected.
SS: What about this anti-Catholic feeling up there? It seems like yourfather certainly had it, didn't He? His opinion of the Catholics.
SS: Where did it come from and what was it?
JWR: Well, listen, it's history; actually it's history. After they werethe ones that got defeated. We won 'em. But they- well, you take any community that puts- they were thdones we^ felt put a burden. They had these huge families. There was a great many of them were poor. We didn't have too many, but there was always a few of them. And eight or ten children. I think possibly they were the ones that gotif there was a little passed around, they had to have a help ing hand. There was a merchant though I knew who was a French-Cana dian; he was well respected because he had come up the ladder. Money counts in any country. If a French-Canadian's got money and a good job and reasonably honestL well, he's acceptable. But just like the Kennedys- this man had charm and personality, and I'm sure now it's melting. But you know it's a problem; when I was back in Ontario about five or six years ago I went to the Montreal Expo with my sis ter, and oh, we'd read the papers there- they were just in a frenzy, one small place, I think it was outside one of the big cities- I guess this was up in Toronto at that time, it wasn't Quebec, it was Toronto, there was a whole community was insisting- I guess they were in the majority, the French, they were insisting on speaking French and having all their children taught French. They refused to speak English. And, well, there was the English- I could read the letters, I was there for about a week- letters from the Canadians, mothers and parents,"What are we going to do with out children, they can't sp eak French, and the teachers-" Oh, you know, you can just imagine how it would be, your kid- It's just like this busing they'd either have to bus them or separate the school.
SS: Were most of these Catholics French? Up there?
JWR: Oh, yes.
SS: I mean how many ?
JWR: Oh, yes, they're mostly - well, I shouldn't say mostly- there wassome of the Bohemians and Polacks and these.
JWR: Yes, oh, yes. Some of those foreigners were strong.
SS: Was the attitude that you got at the time from your parents thatthere was something wrong with their religion? Or something wrong with their culture, or what was the reason for their being inferior?
SS: They were not the kind of people that you would want to consider marrying?
JWR: Look, if you marry a Catholic- Let's say we start out like thislet'sget down to the nitty-gritty- alright, you marry one. My son, was about to marry a Catholic girl. Well, it wouldn't have mattered it would have been the same thing. Are you prepared to let your child, you'd have to have your child, especially in those days, be brought.in a Catholic faith? Now mind you, the Catholic Church has come a long way like everything else, but that's what it meant. Alright, I would not be willing. Definitely, my parents wouldn't be. Are you prepared to support all the children that God sends you, which may be ten or twelve. That's what I said to my son. I says, "She's a beautiful girl," I said, "but you know she's an Irish Catholic and she's told us. She leveled with Vywn* I said, "Are you going to be prepared to support all the children that's going to come your way without doing one cotton-picking thing to prevent them coming?" Now some Catholics just will not have anything to do with birth control. Even the rhythm, some of them are so fanatical. Well, it's things like that- Aere, you have all these kids; poor maybe,- if you're on a moderate income, by the time you got ten kids, you're a poor person. You're struggling to bring them up. It's hard work. You're tired out. You're dragged out. That's the main thing I got, I don't care if they think the Pope's the greatest in the world. It's the prac tical nitty-gritty things. You're more apt to have to go on welfare and have handouts. You live in a small community, farming community supposing you're like in some areas.like around Quebec.
Your kids have to go away tomake a living. They have to become educated in some trade by the government. Now they do it, at first they didn't. So it's just an uphill battle for them. Most of them come from the poorest of homes. They've had no culture. Nothing but church and home. That's in my time, in my generation. Now the borders and the lines have just smeared out practically. But it was so clear-cut. Here you were would you want to see your daughter, like Mother she had three kidsM Her sis ters didn't have any, but one, one sister has one child and that's it. I wouldn't want to see a daughter of mine, I wouldn't want to see my sons supporting all those children. It isn't the religion, it's the result. It's the practical thing. It's the result. And even if you go further, an abortion; no matter how sick that mather is, what bad shape she is physical. We hdd a friend, His name was Duffy he was an insurance agent for some company out there, and of course, he was going to get all he could and he went to this Catholic family, they thought it would be good to have a modest insurance just to to have even bury one or the other; they hadAa physical; the man passed just fine, nothing to it.
I think they had eighteen kids, seventeen bythen, that poor mother, she had- the doctor says, "Jack," he says, "that woman has everything wrong with her in the book, and she's still having children." Her muscles were all torn on one side from pregnancies. She couldn't wear a corset, she was too deformed. She wasn't a big woman. She just had to take tight sheets, wrap them around, of flour sacking, you know they had lots of flour sacks in those days, tied around. And you know in pregnancy the pain, carrying a child more to one side. She'd just rubbed that through. And all the other things wrong^ They had no more than twenty pounds or sugar in that place. And when I came down here, I saw a great piece in the ? .Mr. and Mrs.- some French name, had received a letter from the Prime Minister of Canada on the birth of their eigh teenth child. And Jack said it just used to make him boil. Every year another one. The family priest would come and baptise the lit tle darling. "Fine boy you got there." "Fine girl you got there, John. Boy he's a lovely child." "Another next year, God willing, Father." Now you see, it really isn't the religion, it's the every day practice of life. That's what happens.
SS: Was there any when the Ku Klux Klan was being all thatactive up there?
JWR: No. No. I don't.
SS: Because they were down here, you know.
JWR: I know. I know. And you know it's a puzzle, I never knew they wereout West til two years ago. I don't say I'm a whiz at American his tory. But you know, you were over there in the La Grande and I missed-
SS: Two years ago?
JWR: No. Two years ago I found out, this happened before the war, the lastwar. But Mrs. Segrist was a Catholic of course, she was a French- Canadian that came from Canada, and oh, she was a beautiful woman, and a lovely old lady of ninety now. And she told me her brother, he slept in the same- in the rectory or wherever, the Catholic priest did to help protect 'em. They were up there so strong.
SS: In La Grande?
JWR: South, In La Grande. I didn't know they came out of the And she says, "Yes,"she says, "and they were so bitter against us Catholics'.' The priests for a while, they'd threatened 'em and threatened 'em so and said such dreadful things about 'em. She says, "My brother, he wasn't married then, and he went over there just to give 'em a little—".
SS: That's who they were against out here, the Catholics, not the- actually there weren't any Blacks.
JWR: Well, I was so surprised.
SR: They used to be awful on the Blacks.
SS: Yeah. But not in the West.
JWR: No, I don t think there was anything^up there, because there was noBlacks either. And what happened- they wouldn't get anywhere in Que bec. I think it's purely an American-
SS: Well, I'm pretty sure they were in Canada, too. It was the Americanswho were doing it, but I heard they were in Saskatchewan, that's why I mentioned it.
JWR: I wonder where they'd be located? What were they fighting againstup there?
SS: Catholics? I just wondered.
JWR: No, they never got up in our district. We had French-Canadians, butthey weren't in abundance, there weren't too many.
SR: That's why the Catholics are getting more lenient now than they usedto be, I think, don't you?
JWR: They're stronger politically there and they're stronger for theirown language in Canada.
SS: Do you feel that the Catholics there tended to be considered morelower class at that time?
JWR: Yes, I do. I'm sorry- it's like this- it's- let me see, how couldyou say it? It's like a Negro in a ghetto. They are so under privi leged from lack of education. And from not- their limited-their food supplies- alright there are some comfortable ones, but they are so limited. I don't suppose hardly any of 'em get beyong grade eight. And they just go to church and raise these huge families, they're just so circumscribed by their economics.
SS: What about the Ukrainians up there?
JWR: Prosperous. Prosperous.
SS: The Ukrainians near Wainwright were prosperous?
JWR: Oh, yes.
SR: Oh, yeah.
JWR: Marvelous workers. Free souls.
SR: They're not Catholics.
JWR: Listen, they're Greek Orthodox. They're a form of Catholicism, buttheir priests can marry; once, I think or something like that. They are Catholic, too. But the ones up there, boy, the priest never had a chance with them. Of course, they wouldn't pay any attention to the Roman Catholics and there wasn't any Greek Orthodox around, and most of them I knew were married in the Protestant Churches. And they were free souls.
SS: They were considered, let's say around Wainwright, they were considered higher class than the Catholics were?
JWR: Oh, yes. Definitely. And they keep their ethnic customs and theirsinging and marvelous workers. And they seem to- Now, you'll find them advancing. These people we know, their kids have all been well educated. They've married well. Good positions. And they're so ambitious for their children. And they're smaller families. They don't have these huge families. Definitely. Anything that's— and they're active politically. They assimilate and yet they keep their national customs. They have their dances and their fun-times to gether. I like the Ukrainians.
SS: Did they mix much with other people, like yourselves?
JWR: Oh, yes. They mixed with us very, very much. A They're something likethat, you know, very strict authoritarian father.
SS: He didn't didn't get along with his father?
JWR: Just couldn't get along with his father. Mother told me that muchbut it was-
SS: Where did he come from? From the States?
JWR: Well, listen, he was born in Liverpool, England. I think they wereenroute to United States at the time. He was born there and was just a- oh, I don't think he was a year old when he came to the United States. And there was about eight brothers and sisters. But, I'd love to find my family, but Wilson is such a common name. It's so hard to trace. They settled in Vermont. He had one or two of his school books. He had his old arithmetic with him. He always hung onto it, I don't know where it's vanished. And the place- the name on it, New Hampshire Rhodes- Al and I can't find it on the map. Al's our son-in-law and one of his hobbies is genealogy; family genealogy. We found Mother's birth certificate, "their marriage registered and we know the name of the father and mother now, and we're sort of at a dead end. And Al has advertised in some of the books, but he's never had a nibble on it. You know they have their publications, these people that dig into family history^. But that's all we know about him. Really, I know so little, I'm ashamed. He had a sister named Emma. He spoke of her fondly. Yet, if I'd ask him anything he'd just clam right up. Yes, I'd like to know. But his father was very—And he was the baby in the family. I'm surprised. And he was a marvelous worker. And he was bright, and well disciplined and all that.
SS: Did you know right away when- after your father died, did you knowright away that this is what you wanted? To come down here and take this place?
SS: Was it much of a struggle in your mind to decide what you wanted?
SR: Nobody else wanted it. But my oldest brother, he was always that way,he wanted my youngest brother to have it. My youngest brother says, "I don't want it."
JWR: His youngest brother didn't have a home.
SR: And he still tried to force it onto him. That's Helmer.
JWR: Yeah, that's Helmer.
SR: And then they wanted my uncle to be the administrator, see. Well,I had dealings with him up there, and he didn't come out just the way wanted to So, we didn't agree on that.
SS: Why was that up there? Because of selling the horses and that sortof thing?
SR: No. Well, I told him, I says, "Couldn't you have left a saddle horse
SR: I says, "Every day I've always had to wrangle in the horses." We hada bunch of horses; nineteen I think it was. Well, with the saddle horse, nineteen. And they were scattered over, we had a section and a quarter, I think it was. And so, he says, "Well," he says, "I'd like to, but that guys says, "I'll give you five hundred for the hor ses. And I want every saddle horse, the saddle, the bridle and every thing." So they'd be turning down all that and there's nobody else up there, when you come to think about it, that'd give five cents for anything. They just didn't have it. They wanted you to walk off and leave it.
SS: Well, what was it then that you didn't agree with him about up there?
SR: The uncle, you mean?
SR: Well, like he told me when I come out of the mines, you know. We'dmake an agreement. He says, "You know,"— I'd stayed there one year see, that is I come^in the spring because we had made this agreement. And he says, "You know, I can get a binder, it needs some repairs, for fifty dollars." From a neighbor across the coulee. And, he says, "It needs some repairs," and, he says, "I figure it s about twenty dollars for repairs." And, he says, "I'll go over there and I'll pay for the binder, and you pay the repairs. Twenty dollars." Well, I had cash, see. So, I says, "Sure, that's fine." And he says "When we get through with it I'll give it to you." I says, "Alright." So when it comes to settle up, you know, he had his sale. Well, he got the dunner for the fifty dollars, the note was due. Well, he said he was going to pay for it, see. Well, he hadn't paid for it. It was just a note that was due. That isn't the way to pay for it.
SS: Due on the binder?
SS: Had that fifty dollar note due?
SR: Yeah. You see, that come due. And here, he says, "You've got to paythis." I looked at it, I says, "You know it's got your name on it."
SR: An old guy in that district. He used to farm up here at Nez Perce,Idaho, and my brother used to work for him and I was well acquainted with him. Olson was his name. And he had quite a few binders. He'd been working for a feller named Meyers, or some darn thing like that. He had several hundred acres. And he farmed four hundred and fifty acres. And he bought a bunch of binders, and you know, he hired these guys to run the binders. And he was a poor farmer himself. If a rock was this high, big, round rock like that, you know, he never thought about clearing that off his field. They'd just sow the grain in there and run the drills and everything all around it, you know, if the horses could pull it, they'd pull it right over the top of it. That's the way those guys did up there. So when they got through with their binder, it was about two years old, why, the bottom part was shot. The drapers wouldn't turn. You know ground over there and smashed it underneath there and the drapers wouldn't turn. Well, he didn't know anything about binders. There was a good binder. I knew all about that binder or any Mc Cormick binder. I could take a brand new binder and look at it and I could tell you whether it was any good or not. I looked at the packers and all that stuff was just like new, see. Everything that did the work was like new only the bottom part was shot. "Well,"I says, "I can that up." Isays, "How much do you want for that binder you got in the brush?" You know the brush grew around it for a couple of years. "Well," he says, "take eighty dollars." I says, "Okay, I'll give you eighty dollars in the fall." So in the fall when Igot a little more money, Iwent over, and he says, "It's eighty-five now." You know, interest, see. Isays, "Okay." So I give him eighty-five. But you can't do much about it. So, then I got the binder done, straightened it up, you know, and it cut good. And that one day I was in Wainwright, and we had an awful good guy in there, he had a brand new Mc Cormick binder out there; Mc Cormick- Deering, it was, and it was in the edge of town. He kept all his machinery out there, and people kept a swiping off it, swiping off it, you know. "By golly," he says, "there's nothing left." He and I went out to see what he had left out there. He just had that platform.
JWR: Just what you wanted.
SR: I didn't tell him that's just what I wanted. "Well," I says, "Yougot something left there." "Yeah," he says,"I got something left." "Well," I says, "what you want for that? You might as well get rid of it all." "Well," he says, "if you want that, you can have it for twenty dollars." I says, "Okay, I'll take it." So I give him twenty dollars.
SS: And you got the platform?
SR: Yeah, I put that on. Same as a brand new binder. Of course, it didn'tdo me much good, but I took it, and I had the best binder in the coun try and the neighbor told me, he says, "I don't give a darn what I have to pay for that binder," he says, "I want that binder when you have that sale. And nobody would bid ten cents on anything. See, it was -25 and the wind blowing.
JWR: That's the day we had our sale. snow for Alberta courseit was only there, I suppose, maybe two or three days, but,-
SR: Well it was -35.
JWR: I know,below, but-
SR: Or 25.
JWR: Below. Oh, it was a desperate day.
SR: They didn't feel like spending any money, you know for a binder, thattime of the year. So, 'course, I know he would have give it if some body would offer more. He put down fourteen dollars/xand he got it.
For how much?
For fourteen dollars?
That's depression for you. That's why we suffered.
I had one cow- I had a bunch of cows and I sold 'em. The first calfwe sold, nice looking heifers, three year old, coming fresh, thirtyfive dollars.
For the heifers.
Yeah, thirty-five dollars.
We had had 'em sold for sixteen, too.
Yeah, and then, oh, I traded some for horses. That's how we got horses, too.
But this is when you were selling off, and you were going to move downhere.
When we moved down here.
Did that sale make you feel pretty bad, when you didn't get any moneyfor anything?
You know what to expect. And that -35, you were so glad to be escapingIt was just part of the loss.
And I knew she wanted to get out, too.
He wanted to get out, I didn'tI wouldn't mind, I'd stay.
But I figured, Isaid, "Look, you come up here,Ayou take our shareof the estate, what would happen?; It'd be all swallowed up to pay Honest John's debt.
JWR: See? There was that mortgage on the place, and owed the bank anda few other places.
SR: Well, I straightened up with the bank before I left.
JWR: I know you did, dear.A 2u get this mortgage off ourback, and we got down here with a thousand dollars. So we were bet ter off. We had lost the whole thing, if we'd stayed up there it'd been just swallowed up. And had that miserable weather.
SS: Were you in favor of getting this place right away or did—?
SR: Oh, I was. Anything with a home. A place to stay.
SS: Well how did you find out that you were going to be able to get thisplace? Did you come down here for a will? Who was the executor?
SR: Listen, my dad had a place over on Central Ridge, 560 acres over there,you know. That had to be sold. Nice buildings on it and everything. Did you ever see the buildings on it? I suppose you saw it there.
JWR: We all knew we were going to get a share of the estate. And we tookthis place for our share of the estate.
SS: Did you find that out up there? Or did you come down here?
JWR: They knew it pretty well before he went back up there. He was herea week or so.
SR: For the funeral?
JWR: Yeah, down for the funeral, you see. Talked it over with thebrothers. And the stepmother told you then what she— there was no will and she was going to get, what was it? $5,000 and the house.
SR: She wanted $5,000 cash and then she had that adopted girl; little girl,you know.A And I know they thought a lot of the little girl. I don't blame 'em. And, of course, they wanted $3,000, something for her.
JWR: And the car and the house.
SR: And they got the brand new car that Dad had. And, oh, there was different things.
JWR: But she was very generous. And she said—
SR: Oh, she was the best in that whole outfit.
JWR: Just wonderful.
SR: And she stuck up for me just like-
SS: Just like-
SR: Just like her mother.
JWR: Like my mother.
SR: Stuck up for me.
JWR: Stuck up for him because she never saw him many times.sR: She said I was the biggest help she ever had.
JWR: Best one of the family.
SR: I know- and I knew that she'd never get along with Helmer. Evenif he lived a hundred miles away, he'd come back and raise- he's like a yellar jacket coming in, you know and stinging everything.
SS: Why didn't she like him?
JWR: Listen, I'll tell you what happened. Helmer's marriage- he made theworst mistake he ever made in his life. He took Helmer and Ethel, just a little newborn girl, ks She $5 being a little bride, she didn't know too much about housekeeping, moved in with him- with his dad, and this other stepmother. Well, you can just imagine.
SR: That didn't last.
JWR: That didn't last. And Helmer is hard to get along- He's just grandas a brother-in-law up there. He was just real nice to us. He^done the nicest things. But, oh, that was a terrible mistake. And he thought- Well, Ethel, I can understand her- that mother-in-law of his was so efficient. She was just a whizz. She could cook for twelve people like I could cook for one. And Ethel just stood around there and didn't know what to do. And then she accused Ethel of not help ing her. That poor Ethel was just overwhelmed by her. Her speed and not knowing what to do and feeling out of place. And she just went up to her room and satAand read.
SR: Yep, it happened at dinner so she grabbed a book and something to read,and here's the dirty dishes and everything. My stepmother couldn't stand that. Believe me, that had to be cleaned off and cleaned and put away before you did anything else. But, Ethel never could under stand that. And, of course,naturally, Helmer'd stick up for her.
JWR: Listen, Ethel learned to be a good housekeeper and a good cook. But,she was just newly married and. no experience. And her mother had died and left her as a young girl. She had a stepmother, too. She said she never worked. She did help a little on the threshing crew. She knew how, but then-
SS: How had your father gotten this place? How did that happen?
SR: Well, he bought it from Grandfather.
SS: He bought from his father.
SR: Well, not exactly. Grandpa gave it to his son, Ed. And then Ed, hetraded—
SS: For land on Central Ridge.
SR: The way it was, he sold it to Ed- to Dad- for I think $2000, I thinkor something. You know, you couldn't get that much out of it in cash in this country at that time. There was only twenty-five acres broke here when I come here. See. This here whole hill, here I broke up after I come here. And that five acres over there. Well, anyway, he got-
JWR: He gave Ed the money for this place.
SR: Yes, he gave Ed the money, and then Ed could take that and move tothe Central Ridge, that is,Amake a deal with the old bachelor over there to pay so many thousand for the place. I don't know what it was now, but maybe thirty-five hundred or something like that. I think that's what it was. I think that's what the old bachelor give for it and he built a house on there and he sold it for the same price.
SS: Ed did?
SR: No the bachelor. And then Come along, I think he got it for the samemoney, and he paid so much cash, see. Whatever the guy wanted. It didn't matter if it was all cash- all Dad had to do was to go good for it. And Dad's credit— cause any of the banks around there was good, good as cash, see. So he could into you know, and the place was his. And so- But I know he wouldn't do that for Helmer and I, but he did it for his brother.
SS: But then Ed didn't stay there. He decided to go -
SR: He stayed there for eight years, I think it was. And he got eightthousand dollars- a feller come along- —He-stayed there for eight years, he got eight thousand dollar offer for it, and then he made arrangement for Dad to take care of the old folks. And then-
SS: How was that? Live with your father, or what?
SR: Well, I think that's the way it was. Dad had it rigged up some way.He built onto this house over foPl on Central Ridge, see. And he took 'em in there.
JWR: Ed originally was supposed to support the old people the rest of theirlife for having this farm.
SS: Then he sold-
JWR: Then he sold the farm to his dad, and then his dad eventually endedup by taking care of the old people. He even took 'em clear up- when he went practicing as a doctor- to
SR: He took 'em to the coast,
JWR: And the grandmother died out there. And then the old man, though,he finally ended up with Ed after his dad died.
SS: Your dad.was he the oldest of the brothers?
SS: Was he the oldest?
SR: He was the oldest.
JWR: And Ed was the youngest.
SR: Yeah, Ed was the youngest. There was six brothers in the family.And so, anyway- Ed went with the eight thousand dollars- didn't last him long.
SS: Up in Alberta.
SR: Well, he finally went up there but he told me, he give his sister twothousand dollars in Southern Idaho. And he shipped some cattle down there.
JWR: To help him out.
SR: To help him out, see. Now I asked and she said they paid himfor those cattle. She tells the truth. And Ed said he still had a lot of money coming back out of that.
SS: So, Ed was not the executor of the will, then? Who was the executorof your father's will?
SS: Helmer was?
SS: I see.
SR: I consented to that. I'd rather he'd have the whole darn thing than»have Ed have it. Because of the deal he pulled off on the binder deal, you see.
SR: You know, he said he'd give it to me after he got his part of thecrop off. He was through farming then, you see. He sold the place.
SS: You two were one mind about coming down here. Did you both agreecompletely?
JWR: I was half way anywhere before this happened. Let's put it that way.I was about half way on my journey, any direction before this happened. Stiner thought that we might take that money and live up here. He didn't au$ll it. He thought it was a pretty good idea to come down here, really.
SS: Was there a lot of strain on your marriage at that time?
JWR: No. We were pretty good.
SS: You knew you'd be staying together whatever it was you did.
JWR: Oh, yes. Never any problem. In Canada you just never think aboutgetting a divorce. Just one of those stable things. Never mind whether things are falling down or falling apart or what, you carried on. The kinks come out if you keep on going. No, there was no strain on pretty good. The first years, were, I don't know-
SS: The first few years it sounds like were rougher.
JWR: Yeah, with two little kids so close together. I think they were harderbut then you'd-
SS: Did you feel that you were immature at that time?
JWR: No, I felt like I was very mature.
SS: For having those two kids and all that, at that time?
JWR: Yes, I mean, I was grown up at twelve. I really was. I wasyouknow with my little sister and being shifted around and being responsible. I really think I was older than most children for my age. No, I never felt immature. I felt inexperienced in some things, but that isn't the same as being immature.
SR: One thing it is warmer down here. I knew it was warmer down here.Of course we have mud and rains.
SS: Did you like the idea of coming back to the old home place here?
SS: That seemed like a good- you were coming home in a way.
SR: I hadn't been back here for twenty years. Not even for a visit. Andso- but I can stay there, sure, I can stay there, but- and I could stand the winters. A But toward the last I began to notice the co Id more than I did before that. Wonder why?
SS: Why? Were you getting older?
JWR: He was forty-five.
SR: I was forty-five.
Did your neighbors, your friends up there, did they leave too, or didthey stay there?
No, there was some of them stuck it out, but some left, Stiner. TheUkrainians all left.
SS: They left?
JWR: You bet you they did. And they just prospered like green bay trees.
SS: After they left?
JWR: Yes. They suffered like everybody else in the Depression here, didn't they?I think- they always had better gardens than the rest of us.
SS: But they left?
JWR: Yes, but they left.
SS: Where did they go?
JWR: Vancouver. Well, it's close- You know where Westminster is, on theway up to Vancouver? They got a mushroom farm. George was an excel lent farmer. He learned how to raise mushrooms and they just made money hand over fist.
SR: He had his kids trained-.
JWR: They had three girls- I guess there was two girls and two boys at homethen. There was about three in the family, and he usually had some cousins or something to pick these mushrooms every day. MaybeAhad a neighbor or two. They have to be picked, you know. And, oh, he pros pered. He had one barn and one shed, and then he had the two. It's a whole story, it's just fascinating; those mushrooms. And how to grow them and he learned a lot. And he did well.
SS: This was George?
JWR: Bedora. The one-
SS: You liked, yeah.
JWR: The And the one that always—
SS: He was a pretty close friend of yours?
SR: Oh, yeah.
JWR: He was always sociable. He loved people. He was one of these kind,just liked to visit and go. And he'd go to town and he'd go by and, "Come on, Stiner, go to town with me."
SS: Was he unusual for the Ukrainians? I mean, in his being open toother people, or were most of them that way? Oh, they varied. Now there's that other one that lived closed to us. He was a regular, oh, I don't know, he was just like a clam, and his wife was worse. Butane was more open than a lot. He was a matchmaker. Now, that's something. You didn't have a matchmaker here in Park.
JWR:You see how I miss those things.
SS: What was he doing? Getting people married?
JWR: That's right. The Ukrainians would come over from Ukrania, and hadn'tbeen here too long. Couldn't get a girlfriend. George knew everybody. He knew them up north. He knew them in Edmonton.
SS: Ukrainians? He knew the Ukrainians?
JWR: Ukrainians. He was a wheel amongst the Ukrainians.
SR: Found 'em all the time, kept up with his friends. And they alwayscome— (both of them are talking at the same time)
JWR: There was never a meal, I don't think they didn't have company. Hewas always trying to get this- he had a daughter that wasn't moving too fast, you know, George would know some person up there, "Well, you know there's so-and-so's son over there, maybe you ought to meet him." And he'd make pretty good matches. One fell apart, but then, he said, "Gosh, you know he shouldn't have beat that girl." He said, "I didn't think he'd do that." He got mad at her and he walloped her a few times, and she wouldn't take it. She was about second genera tion.
SS: Uh-huh. You talked about the Ukrainians as being - a lot of thembeing first generation, and pretty backward in their tie* to the old country. You're talking about that guy that made his mother sleep out-
JWR: Yeah, yeah, that's his wife's sister. They aren't all like George.
SS: But George was a real progressive fellow, then.
JWR: AHe couldn't stand living amongst those people, that s why he moveddown in our district where there wasn't another Ukrainian.
SS: Oh, is that true? They weren't living around
SR: Yes. They come there.
JWR: They come there to But there wasn»t another Ukrainian aroundthere.
SS: How far away was the rest of 'em?
JWR: About sixty miles up there.
SS: Oh, that far? I see.
JWR: But there was a few in town on the railroad section, a few Ukrainians.But he just made a clean sweep, he said he was just going to get clear away from them.
SS: Why? Because he didn't like 'em?He thought there was too much drinking, and they weren't progressive enough. And he was interested in politics and such. And all they wanted to do was party. They weren't all like that, but he thought it was good to get his children- he was ambitious for his children. He had very smart little children. I was going to say about his boy, now he thought an awful lot of his boy- and he went to school.
JWR: I think you told him that.
About that kid- remember I told you that teacher had tests, ;and thiskid didn't get enough help with his fractions.
He just couldn't understand fractions business, see.What was the method? Was it from George Debore that you were going to have him do the walls?
JWR: Yes. Sure, everything. He and his wife. His wife was really smarter in alot of ways. You had to listen to her, too. She was so particular. Their walls were beautiful.
SR: And she'd always mix the mud, see.
SS: How did she teach you how to do that? What were the directions thatshe gave you for doing that?
SR: Well, for one thing, after she talked to me up there- I had an oldwould blow log house there, that between the logs and things, and I said, "You know, if I use some of that mud they talk about, maybe I could use that thing to put grain^ and things :.." So I mudded it up inside, and George came along one morning. Every other morning or so they'd either come or go, you know.
JWR: They'd go to town past our place.
SR: And so, I says, "Hey, come on in here and have a look." I said, "Whatdo you think of that mud I put on here?" It had dried then, see. Mrs.Bedore took a very good close look, you know. And after she got through she said, "Looks alright." You know it mustn't crack— see. And if you get too much mud and not enough straw, you know, it'll crack. And then it was mixed with clay, and put all the straw it can possibly JWR hold in it. And clean straw, you know, not^mixt-fivlre stuff in the straw. Nice clean straw.
SR: And not only that-
JWR: It's mud, you know, you put water with it.
SS: Tell me how the directions were - how you do that? I never heard thatyou told my friend, but not me, when I was here before. Oh, well, it's an awful to it. Well,you mix your clay first. Just like you'd mix anything else. You get your mud mixed up nice til it's thick enough and it's just like a gravy, see. Then you start putting straw in, and not too much at one time, not a big lump. Be sure that every straw gets in it.
SR: Now the way they had it, they had a - it dug out and made a big vatlike, you see.
JWR: Like a pit outside.
SR: They'd two of em and oneM be walking this way andthe other one this way-
JWR: Barefooted. The women.
SR: Barefooted. Dressed nice and their dresses up about a foot, you know.And just walk barefooted in that mud, it'd be about eight inches deep, maybe, and catch all the straw and pull it down, I suppose they'd kind of grab it with their toes, like this, and walk around there til it got so that it was so full of straw that it would hold 'em up. It was full. Okay, there you are, men. Have your pick, go ahead and put it on the logs. So that's what they'd go out there and load up their arms with this here mud and go out and slap it on. And George told me, "You got a good arm, you'll be alright." But, he says, "You got to have a good arm. You gotta throw that thing right in there good and tight."
SS: Throw it on the wall?
SR: Good and hard, you see.
JWR: Stiner had laths on his house.
SR: I put lath on.
They had some kind of little poles.
Well he said in the old country years and years ago, he said theyused to put little pegs, like that, in the edge of the logs, see, ev ery edge of the log and put it on that way. But, I thought, "Well, heck, I'll put laths on."
We were figuring up the other day, two dollars, and what was it? Twodollars and eighty-five cents
SR: For lath. Well, they was only fifty cents a bunch and you know youget about this much.
SR: Yes, and they're four feet long.
SS: So that would do the whole room there?
SR: And you get-
SS: Oh, did you do this room, too?
SR: Oh, I did the whole house]
SS: I didn't know that.
SR: Well, a lot of guys tell me-
SS: I looked in here before, but I never.
JWR: Did you see the,.?
SS: Yeah, but I didn't notice it in here.
SR: Oh, yes. Everything.
JWR: (Apparently they have moved away from the recorder while inspectingthe wall.) Well, you can see where that part is here.
SR: I told her how to put a board on that.
SS: What consistency is it when you actually put it on the wall?
SR: I told you. You mix the mud first then put in the straw. That's allthere is to it, then you put it on the wall.
SS: But do you put it on and will it just come off in pieces of mud oris it almost like sheets? .
JWR: You scoop^it on a board, didn't you Stiner? ^Then you scoop it up andthrow it. You can see
SR: You can see my lath sticking up here. George told me that it shouldn'treally be like this you know. Yeah, well, but I says, "Well, heck with it. I gotta have because of the wall (can't pick up the separate voices - two or more speaking and too far away from the mike). Here I want to show you something. Now on the other side like-a log wall, is pretty straight. But on this side, you put a streight edge from the top down, and it'd be about four inches lacking touching the wall, or maybe five inches. If you hadn't filled out with something^ hold. 1 the lath, and then coming back it would come in, see, and then you have to fill that space in with mud. That's where you have to have a good arm, to throw it right through that. Four inches of mud.
SS: When did you do that? Which year?
SR: Yeah, '36.Shortly after you came down.
Yeah, well, it was just practically the first year. We came out herein '35.
And then the next winter we started on the bedroom.
She said that winter, she said, "You've £ot to mud this house." And,Isays, "Okay." So Igot all the directions from George. He couldn't come down. He was coming down to do it, but when he done it, he don't leave it rough like this. When he gets all the mud on the walls, up to the ceiling there, he takes a square board, you know,,,
JWR: Where it's dried.
Well, it's gotta dry first. We had it in July; it took about a monthto dry. Because it's thick.
SR: This mud isn't a quarter of an inch like this lath and plaster, youknow. It's thick.
JWR: Some places it might be an inch and a half to two inches, or more.
SR: Oh, yeah.
JWR: It's irregular because of the logs.
SR: Oh, yeah, and it's gotta be perfectly dry. Alright then, when it'sperfectly dry you have to sprinkle water on it, until you get the out side wet. When that outside gets wet, you take a square board, you square that off, like this, until you get it square. And I could see where George would have that til it would just look like a window pane, Just as smooth as a window pane. I tried to tell her how to do that, "Oh, no," she says-
JWR: I like it rough.
SS: It looks nice rough.
JWR: I like that.
SR: She wanted to leave it, I says, "Okay, I'll leave it just the way itis." So I did. But if George did it, you'd swear it was nothing but-
SS: Were there other things too, that the Ukrainians did that,,c .
SR: Now, here's another thing I want to tell you about that I told theother guy- was this got full of water here one day, see. The roof on top there- the water was coming down to beat everything, and there was a shake out here so it run in on top of this roof.
JWR: We didn't have a light or anything there.
SR: No, I think I put up just about where the light is, see.
JWR: And the whole thing was hanging down like this here- I mean it washanging- well,it had
SR: I never noticed it hanging at all.
JWR: It was, too.
SR: So I just says, "Well, alright." I brought a tub in and set it downand I put my finger up and here it come down just like you'd turned on. a faucet I set the tub right underneath and got - when it quit run ning, well I just wiped it back and filled it up like that.
JWR: Pushed it up again.
SR: Never touched it since. So it's just the way it was. And any otherplaster that would be on the floor.
JWR: Well, dear, telling him about finishing; or let me tell him.
JWR: To put a finishing coat on it. And it's lime, isn't it? Lime andsand and-
SR: Oh, yeah.
JWR: r horse manure. Now a little bit of clay. Isn t there a little bit ofclay?
SR: Oh, yeah.
JWR: About a of each.
SR: Yeah, wait a minute now. Now listen, I'll tell you what George said-
SS: This is the finishing coat on top of the-
JWR: On top of the-
SR: When you have it all smooth- you should have it smooth like Georgehad it. Well, I left it rough. And that takes more paint, more of everything, you know. Well, now you want something to hold the paint. I didn't know at that time, but I know it now, see. So you mix that- this is the third coat, you might say-
JWR: No, second coat.
SR: Second coat. You take a pail you put a third of horse manure in thispail-
JWR: Horses on grass, no grain.
SR: And, well, of course, George was particular. You don't need to bethat particular. I wasn't. And you don't have to. But, yeah, he says another thing; he says to be real good, he says, get a three year old- they chew the food better, see. Well, you don't need it that- but it doesn't matter what the horse eats, if it eats grass that's what you want, you want, you want that grass
JWR: No grain.
SR: cut up, see, and it's all juicy and everything, and you put a thirdof each of these- a third of sand, third of clay and a third of this horse manure and you mix that up, see. Mix that all up. Like if you was cooking something.
JWR: Like you was mixing a batter for biscuits.
SR: Batter for anything. And that's got to be a certain thickness. Well,they put it on with their hand. But you know the thickness you could put it on with a brush if you wanted to.
SS: And that provides a primer coat for the paint?
SR: Yeah. And some guys think you'd put that right in with the coat- thefirst coat that you put on. Well, then you've lost it. You haven't done anything right. You've lost the whole thing. When all you need- George says, just keep the horse in over night, and they would catch that manure, that it had that night. That's about all you need for a whole place, but for this big house, you know-
SS: And then the lime would go on the top of that?
SS: Then you put white lime on top of that?
SR: Remember now, this is green, more or less when it's put on. It'sgot to dry perfectly dry. And then when you start painting, you put that lime on. Well, you*put it on with a brush. But I started out with a spray- and oh, that would have been thick. But I didn't have anything to strain the lime, you know to get all the things that would plug it up with, or anything, but if I'd a had that I could have gone over it and just sprayed it, just got it white as snow, the whole thing. See. It just sticks on right now. And after that you can put any kind of paint on. And the Ukrainians, they never put anything else but lime on it. They never painted. Whitewash.
JWR: Whitewash. Sometimes they'd mix it with skim milk, and sometimesthey'd put a little blueing, you know this old-fashioned blueing, used to blue clothes with, they'd that in, to make it pale blue.
SS: Were there any other old country Ukrainian ways that George knew thatyou learned, that you saw—
JWR: Building fences.
JWR: Remember that hog fence that we put around the garden?
SR: Yeah, yeah, but now listen, I want to finish this first. George toldme when I told him- you know they never did the ceiling. I'm the first one to do the ceiling. And I said, "George, why don't you put the ceiling in?" He said, "We never do. We put just-" You know it was what they called regular ceiling stuff. We had it here, what they call joints, see, and this house had 3 joints. See it's special for ceiling. And he says, "We paint it blue." Well, I wanted mud. So, I went around to see that every board was solid- he said, "Be sure to see that every board is solid." And I went along and nailed up anything that was loose and then I nailed it solid, but I put lath on about every three inches. And George said they never did put any ceil ing in. So that's the Canadians, that's the way they do their house. They've done that all their life up there. They never put a ceiling in. Well, Mrs. Bedora, she give me the idea though. Well, she got to thinking- I said, "That's funny, you never put a ceiling in?" And she said, "Well, yes," she says, "there was one guy that put a ceiling in, and he put little round poles in the ceiling." You know the idea of little round poles? You put 'em in, I supposed they peeled 'em. Put 'em in. It's to hold the mud. And so, I said, "Well, why not use t lath?" So, I said, "Boy, I'll put lath on." So I put lath on and I never had no trouble.
JWH: It was going to say, remember that hog fence he made? It was hog proof.He put down poles, and he put down- you know what apoplar tree is?
JWH: Vie just simply cut them, leaves and everything, just shoved thebutt ends down of the pole, and Iguess they overlapped so they'dand then they dried and it just made astiff barrier so the hogs wouldn't go through. Wasn't that the way it was?
SR: You made them tight as you can.
JWR: Yes, just as tight as you could jam temrnin between-.And as high as you want.
And up as high as you want.
I put in four and a half acres-
Those hogs are so hard to fence for. And when they'd dry they'd getso stiff and those-
SR: Those poles, they grew not big around, and very tall,You'd have 'em long enough so they'd stick way behind the wagon. Load 'em up. And Iremember that's how Laura- the wagon backed up on her. Itold Laura "Don't play-" it was awarm day, and I'd cut alot and yet. Put em on there. And had the horses hooked up Iguess Ishould a had 'em unhooked. But Iwas so busy, didn't have time for nothing. I could cut an awful lot of trees if nobody bothered me. And Ithought the kids would listen to me. And I says, "Don't play under there." And, of course that was an ideal little house under there, and they was having fun and I was maybe fifty yards away from 'em, cutting and dragging 'em up and cutting and dragging 'em up, you know. I get a big load on there, and I had a pretty good load on there. I looked and I saw this one horse, oh, I just never did like her anyway, and if she ever got her bridle or anything hooked up in- around the ton gue on anything- she had to back up, that's all she knew, back and never quit; just keep backing, see. And there was those kids play ing behind. And I saw that and I began to run, run for the horses, you know. I was afraid she'd start backing, and she'd back like a bullet if the line got underneath the tongue, see, and she'd start pulling back. Gosh, I run and I got there and she was abackin'. And here she backed up on Laura's chest.
JWR: Chest and she just went- and she weighed about thirty-six poundsjusta little -
SR: Yes, and that big load right on the heavy hind wheels, narow wagon.
JWR: About five years old.
SR: And, you know, of course she knew I was mad because I told her notto get under there. And when she heard me coming and all that and got out of there- I kicked that horse in the stomach and I pulled her around and got her out of there, and boy, she got up and she run ground with her mouth open. Just went about as far as from here to the door and she got her breath. And if she hadn't been scared to death of me being mad at her- them being underneath there- she wouldn't a done that. But boy she knew that she was in the wrong, and she got up and run and got her breath. Boy, that was a relief. I could have killed that horse.
JWR: AHer ribs weren't broken.
SR: . I was so mad at that horse, and I had an awful good horse on theother side.
SS: If she hadn't run, she wouldn't have gotten her breath back very easy.
JWR: well, you might have had to have given her artificial respiration.
SR: Well, the way she got up, you see, and started stirring-
SS: It was good for her.
SR: Oh, that was the best thing in the world. She got up by force, shejust made herself get up, right now, see!
JWR: These Ukrainians wouldAremarkable things, with just- Now, those otherUkrainians that moved in, remember above us there, they made buildings, sheds and buildings with-
SR: With that brush.
JWR: rush. But they weren't quite as brushy, and then they mudded them.They just put the poles up and then they trimmed it back somewhatbut still it wasn't sticking out-
SR: They left branches sticking out.
JWR: They left branches to retain the mud and they'd mud it on both sides.
SR: It was just like a wall.
JWR: For a chickenhouse and things like that.
SR: Yeah. And the floor in the granary, mind you, was as hard as thisfloor here. They tramped it in. Oh, boy-
SS: I'm going to have to go pretty soon, but I want to ask just a littlebit about what happened after you came down here. After you took this place, did things start turning around financially? How long was it before things started looking up?
JWR: I don't think- Well, I'd say it was about three years. We got morecattle; sold a little more grain, til we got roots. It wasn't real good. We got some more land broke up, but we never were in the bindsuch a bind for food, never like that. It was gradually improving.
SR: Well, the first thing I knew- twenty-five acres! I thought they hadmore than that, and I said, "My gosh, Dad had cleared this."He had cut the brush off over there- stumps as high as this table, all over it. And I was looking at it and the horses coming running through there, "My gosh," I says, "they run into one of those stumps and get gutted, you know." And, I says, "We'll have to kiock them out." I hit 'em with a sledgehammer; I could knock the little ones out. And Forrest was just little- what was he, eight years old?
JWR: He was eight years old-
SR: Oh, but, he liked to be out with me.
JWR: But we got on our feet- we really- we never got in debt down here.We kept clear of debt. We never got in debt. And you got a little bit of money. Once in a while you'd work a little bit, you'd tradewe did a lot of trading here of, you and Cory with work. The neigh bors would haul things for us. And we just kind of moved along. And then we went to Portland--war was on, that was when the child ren was ready for high school. Then we moved out. We never made a fortune in here. It was a good thing we got out when we did, because the people started— it wasn't long after that thatt the big ranch sold, and the people had moved out. Sold their land, they had grad ually acquired two thousand acres in here. It's just lucky that we got out when we did.
SS: In other words, the community was on its last legs?
JWR: It was on its last legs, just about the time we left. The peoplemoved out of here
SS: They did?
SS: When did they move? During the war?
JWR: Yes. To some war work. His cousin moved, Dicksons moved, andthe sons, the young sons and a lot of the young people left. They left. There were three of us left right away. And then there was a few more left.
SS: Were able to make good money in Portland?
JWR: Oh, yes.
SR: Oh, yeah, I made good money.
SS: Who did you work for?
SR: Oh, I worked for different outfits.first
JWR: He worked at the shipyards and then he worked at carpenter work andthen he worked at Reynolds. That's about the size of it.
SR: When I worked on an outfit, why, I put my eight hours And whenI got home I worked maybe another eight hours.
JWR: Oh, not quite eight hours.
SR: Well, worked all the time.
SS: You worked on the house?
JWR: He was working on the-
SR: On different
SS: Did you own a house out there?
JWR: Oh, we bought a house within a year and we sold it within five years.You know where is? Maplewood on the west side -
SS: Oh, yeah.
JWR: Well, we were about five miles from Beaverton. That's where webought our first house. And then we bought one on Stark Street; didn't live in it. Then we went to Park Road. Do you know where that is?
JWR: Hundred and , we had a house there for about five years.Then we moved on this side of Rocky Butte, we still own a very small place there and a beautiful great, big lot. Between 92nd and 82nd.
SS: Were you able to go to work soon after you got there?
JWR: Yes, my girl was in school and I went to work too. I worked-
SS: Did you consider that the point at which your finances - I mean youstarted getting on your feet?
JWR: That's when ' really started making money; getting ahead. Wemade more on our real estate- that was solid cash put in the bank.
SS: How did that work? The land, the places that you bought kept appreciating in value?
JWR: He built them up and improved 'em. We doubled 'em.
SR: I doubled everything I bought.
JWR: Just doubled.
SR: And some of 'em a little more than double.
SR: And one of 'em I bought for $2,350, I think it was, the last one.Lumber laying all over that great big lot there. And they'd want money to dieaaritit And I knew I wasn't lazy, I could clear it. I built about seven, seven- what is it? Not yards, but seven-
JWR: Where Randy's living now?
SR: Yeah. Anyway, it was a big pile of lumber, about this high and wide-
JWR: Divided it up, yeah.
SR: f£om thm place over here and about sixteen feet long. I think it wasseven, what we called seven hundred feet, or something like that.
JWR: Oh, that's a beautiful lot. We still own it.
SR: And anyway,- 'course on the very last, I had a fire right there closeand burnt the thing up. That was alright.
SS: You were there. What made you decide to come back here? What wasyour reason?
SR: I couldn't leave this. They thought when I left here I'd never comeback. I says, "You're crazy." I says, "I'm comin' back." I says there's lots of work to be done here. I broke up seventeen acres here. I hired it done, and I got it all paid for. I think I paid for it as soon as they got it broke up. But after they plowed with a big plow, you know, why I managed to put it into crop. And a lot of guys says, "Well, you turn that stuff under it'll never rot." I says, "Listen to that old fog," to myself, "he must have been born two thousand years ago." When they had to burn every little stick, you know. So I went ahead and the second year I had a crop on it. Nice crop. "Oh, how did you do it?"
SS: Was that after you retired?
SR: No, when I was starting out, see.When he started out
JWR: One of the best years- the best crop- small crop that was just a flukewas the year we raised that alfalfa. Got seed from it,. You remember that come up, and he got seed. Boy, we got a nice little ne^tegg there. But, talking about Portland: he retired promptly, the minute We came back here, he was sixty-five. And, 'course I was- there's fifteen years between us, and you know social security wasn't much then, and he had invested everything- every nickel we'd saved up in Portland, we poured it right back in here. And so I had to keep on working for the next twelve, fourteen years.
SS: Does that mean you were separated a lot during that period of time?
JWR: come out about November or the first of December and then wouldn't goback til April. And I'd spend my holidays here and my kids would be here, part time. But we were separated a lot of the time. But he wanted it that way and I had to work.
SS: Well, why did you want it that way? Stiner.
SR: Why did I want to come back here?
SS: Why did you want to come back here?
SR: Well, it was old Grandpa and Grandma's place, and we used to be tickled to death to come from Central Ridge over here and see 'em. And I used to get a kick out of it. We'd go upstairs and have a good sleep at nights. Grandma always-
JWR: There was food, there was 1 There was^t bread and -
SR: Yes, and a lot of good blankets to sleep underneath. Oh, I thoughtthat was wonderful.
SS: You really enjoyed being here with your grandparents, you mean?
SR: Yeah. For a day or two. We couldn't stay more thanshe
SS: Did treat you good when you were here?
JWR: She was awfully nice, I guess. The first thing Helmer'd do, was to go and lookfor the cookies, of course. I wouldn't touch 'em] But he had the nuts or the brains to go ahead and just take 'em! And I never had the guts to do that. But Grandma said, "That's alright, go ahead and help yourself." So, that's what you were thinking of? That you wanted to come back and because it was your grandparent's place?
SR: Well, yeah, and I had mudded it and I looked and I said, "That mud isstill on."
JWR: Some people marry women, other people marry he's one of these menCourse, he'd come up in the wintertime for four or five months. He'd that marry the land. He's tc ? Did you ever read that?
SR: Another thing, we always had water down here. Nobody else had water.And, you know, they all howled about water. We had it, but we had to haul it up here, see. You had to dig down, I think the spring water that we got it out of was about five feet deep down there, that's all. And we'd get a couple barrels of water out of it, and that'd last so long and then you go and get a couple more barrels. And that was good water, too.
SS: Did you mind being separated from your family?
SR: Well, I had so much work to do up here that— the only thing I didmind was cooking anything. Heck with the cooking!
JWR: He just hated-and he had diabetes, and we finally got him regulated.
SS: So you just worked- even after retired you were still working everyday?
SR: Oh, yeah.
JWR: Fifteen hours a day.
SS: On this place?
SS: What did you do on it after you came back? How many acres did youclear up?
SR: I didn't clear up any. I did it all before I left here.
JWR: He farmed what he had, and he had extra combine and all the littlestuff- The only thing now, you see-
SR: I was starting to clear some more over here one time and the boythat maybe came up, and I figured he'd have it before very long and I wouldn't bother. But,"Oh, gosh," he says, "Dad don't cut those trees down. Leave 'em." And I'd trimmed it all around, brush and everything out. So, if he hadn't a bothered me, I'd a had it all plowed under now.
SS: Were you then making some money on this place with your crops?
SR: You can always if you know how and you don't spend any money. You'rebound to come out a little bit, you know. And I'd rather just work than to go out and spend. That's work itself! Go to town and run around there. You know you come back as tired as you ever was working!
JWR: The best money we ever made on this place was when he yltffc In the soilbank. We got cash and no expense putting it in. That's when we made money on it.
SR: So I quit, and I'm looking at it now, and I'm still going to start in.Cut those trees down. I was looking the other day, there's about forty or fifty little trees, oh, big enough, you can get some wood out of them, you know. the idea
SS: So you didn't mind^comingAback at all, Jean?
JWR: Oh, I thought- No, I didn't like it at all. I thought it was a wasteof life- but, oh, well.
SS: What? To come back here?
JWR: I don't care for it at all, no, really. I like city life. I'm sorrybout that.01 I know it's a shame to disillusion all these young toy ecology. Some day the city is going to make a comeback. Some day it's no wonder a city falls to pieces. Too many people hate it. They Cities are wonderful, don't love it enough. They don't understand it- How you going to get along when you get to that city- you know to heaven? The City Four-Square? You'll never make it, boy you're going to go off as a a long ways. Now she just hates going over there, but she's going to settle down and make the best of it. You got to feed the creature.
JWR: Mrs. Baker.
SS: Oh, yeah.
JWR: Got a beautiful place at Moscow. Five acre farm. Beautiful horsesand all that.
SS: She'a be happy there.
JWR: She'4 be much happier there. But this guy's gonna come out here andhe's going to stay there til he dies. Just like Stiner. You know, some men have other women, and think it's
SS: What do you mean?
JWR: You can well, the man that one alright, you may not likein the city, it. But you can still carry on a life after a fashion,^ You can tolregular erate, live and let live, he comes homeland supports you.. But with a farm what you going to do? You can't fight it. It isn't likelure you could fight another woman. You can maybe ihim back from another woman, but with a farm you're licked. And she knows she's licked, and so do I. So you live and you live your life, and^regroup and car ry on and do the best you can. But it's an awful waste. It's a terrible waste of human potential. Twelve, fourteen years.
SR: Well, you know when I came up here from Portland, I had in mind thatthe first thing_was to get And there was always work for me and good money. I get hot and cold water; running water in here. I've got it just the same as you have in the city. Yes, but there's more than to the city, dear. He doesn't see that.
SR: Well, yeah, you can mix up with a lot of different people.
JWR: Lovely people Lovely people. All kinds of things.
SR: I'll tell you one thing I've had happen in Portland- you know, "Canyou give so much for this? Can you give so much for that?" And, you know, you feel like you should.
JWR: That don't ever bother me at all. I have my own little-thingsI look after.
SR: And pretty soon, you get well acquainted, they expect it. See.
JWR: Well, I don't know about your friends, but mine never bothered me.They usually try to keep me going. Keep me . Th ink of all the nice people.
SS: Did you find that to be difficult though, I mean, separated so much?I think my idea of Laura snd me being separated for half a year, would really kill me.
JWR: Perhaps it would be terrible if you were younger, but, look, it'sanother case of finances. He come out here. He had about a hundred dollars- ninety-eight dollars- social security. Every nickel we owned just wiped out- putting in the bank for years- he wiped all out-put it in machinery. That's all he had. To get this farm going and to put the water in, he went in debt; fine- at forty-four dollars a month, that left sixty-six dollars. Couldn't live on it. Couldn't possibly exist on it. And he was having a struggle. I just had to work. There was no choice. I had plenty of friends. I had two daughters there at that time. Well, that's it- if it's the only place he can be happy; go. I had my friends and I had my children, and my work I liked. So you just keep on going. And if he love pine trees, and he loves I don't think he's worrying about me straying away, and I'm not worrying about him, so just go on.. But then, as I say, there's a back ground in our family of men going to sea, and my father like that. We're kind of used to them, you know, a little bit touched in the head. My dad.he was so restless. He could just hardly wait to go tramping around. I'll have to tell you my experience sometime about him. It's too long, I can't tell you now. Very, very interesting.
SS: Tell me—
JWR: About my father.
SS: Now, how shall I remind you of it?
JWR: Ask me about experience. Otherwise yotf'd go down. You have to beable to make your way alone by yourself and be selfsufficient. Have your own interests. Your own things. And just purely out of compas sion that you come back and feed 'em.
SS: The men?
SS: Do you feel that you had that independence? Did that independence inyou date from that religious experience? Back then?
JWR: No, not altogether. No. My mother— people said "How d© you stand it.with him gone all that time?" And, oh, she'd give a very wise answershe said, "I know he loves me, he's true to me. I never worry, never ' r my head, and he always provides, for me. And I have my just my little girl and I, and I'm healthy," And then, my grandmotherJused to be left alone, of course, she lived in a small compact village, but the men would all go down to.Bermudas or West Indies in the wintertime. Boy, they were really taking their lives in their hands; those little sailing vessels. We have to develop something. decent
SS: Did you make I money when you were working in the nursery?
JWR: Not very good there, but it was a living, and I had this house outthere. And it was a living and it was fascinating work. Just so in teresting.
SS: Enough to save, too?
JWR: No. It wasn't enough to save on. If I did it was very little, maybenot too much, no. When we saved is when he worked and I worked and I put all my money in the bank, that's when we got ahead, and then a few good business deals. But I had a talent for finding out nice friends— I could always find houses that needed remodeling. We could have made so much money, it was just there for the taking. We could have gone on for ten. fifteen years remodeling homes and doubling our money every six months.
SS: Did you do remodeling too?
JWR: I helped him, but a lot of it he had to do because it was carpenterwork.
SS: But then by your working in Portland was that saving the family money?By your working, I mean.
JWR: Oh, yes, sure.
SS: I mean after he retired.
JWR: After he retired. Well, what would we live on? Now listen, it'slike this, what would we do for money? I couldn'^— I did save some money. I only worked six hours a day.ftI wasn't strong enough physically, really for eight hours a day. Started in about six-thirty in the morning and worked- and it was a pretty hard day. But that gave me time to help my daughters because they were having their babies close and enjoy life. I enjoyed it. See, I'd come home from work about two and lay down for a couple of hours, and boy, by four o' clock or five I was up and ready to go for another five or six hours. I'd go out maybe, I'd only be home maybe about one or two nights a week.
SS: You mean you'd enjoy the nightlife in Portland? And doing things?
JWR: Well, there friends. It was very quiet and modest things, it wasn'tgoing down on Broadway. But there was always places to go. Friends- Just women friends, just hen parties.
SS: How did that compare with what it had been like here? I mean, wasthat a lot more liberating than anything with the Community here?
JWR: Oh, yes. I found some very interesting people in Portland. Some ofthem- people's lives are interesting. I found lots of people. I had lots of friends. Far more places than I could ever go jjsi or
SS: Where di you meet them mostly?
JWR: Met a lot of 'em through my association, church association and work.Those were the two principle places. And some of them you come bythrough different people. Through my daughters' marriages and that. They had in-laws they brought in. They were on the fringes though, but most of them- there was one or two girls at work I got quite fair ly close to.
SS: Was it your brothers- now you had brothers that were already in Portland when you went? Is that right? Who was there? Was Helmer there already?
SR: Yeah, Helmer'd gone there.
SR: And Simon was there.
JWR: He was well established.
SS: He had lived there for some years?
SS: Is that what made it easy for you two to go there? Did they help youget started?
JWR: Yeah. I had a cousin come down from Canada. He was the one thatasked me, and they told me to come and live with them and I went with thenu Had a huge house. He was a mining engineer. And they had a five bedroom house, and we moved there. Just myself and the kids to get them started- and three kids. I lived with them from Septem ber til, oh, about the end of November, and then we rented a house of our own. But then his brothers, I say, this Simon was so good. When I found a house and moved into it, why, he helped me move the furniture. I was pretty well established by the time Stiner got his crop in- crop sold and closed up the farm here. I did come ba ck.
SS: What year?
JWR: That was '42. And Helmer was helpful. Forrest was so lonesome. He'sjust like his dad. Idon't understand people like that. Lonely for Park.
SS: Forrest was?
JWR: Yeah. And the kids out here. I stayed with ? and Elsie for a whileand I enjoyed Elsie. I liked her. He couldn't take it. He had to go downtown and live with Helmer and Ethel. At least, they were some thing or somebody. That kid was in four or five high schools and back up here. And by the time he was—
SS: Why did he want to be with Helmer and Ethel?
JWR: Because they were family. Somebody that looked like Park. But hedidn't stay with them long, about a month, I think. He quit and w-nt back and started high school in Deary. He never really graduated.
SS: He left Portland and came back here? Who did he stay with here?
JWR: No, he came back to Deary, and went to high school.
SS: Who did he stay with in Deary?
JWR: There was a woman there, a widow woman. He stayed with her and milkedher cow and did a few chores. He was the luckiest kid. Luck comes his way. No matter where he goes there's always somebody that takes him in and thinks he's wonderful.
SS: Well, when you were here
SR: He was good. He was a good kid.
JWR: Quite a likeable kid.
SR: He was like me. He didn't mind work.
JWR: Neat, and he would help a woman in the house, no matter what.
SS: In the '30's when you came back here and lived here- what was thecommunity life consist of in Park for you? What was it?
JWR: Really, there wasn't too much- there was very few doings. Sometimes they'd have a little dances and card parties. They were great pinochle people. And I just hated pinochle.
SR: I never cared too much.
JWR: .There wasn't much social life of any kind excepting we'd visit. Usually we did it in the afternoon and then came home at night. We visited quite a bit with this Uncle Ed- His Uncle Ed lived in Deary. And I just loved his wife. And so we d visit there and^sometimes we'd spend the night there
SS: With Ed and his wife?
JWR: Yes. And the four kids. The kids just loved ift. And I liked Euniceshe was just a lovely woman. Gentle, sweet, lovely woman; that's Ed's wife. Just lovely.
SS: So there wasn' How about the interest? Would anybody be interested
JWR: No, there was a few dances, but, I don't know, these guys here all hadfour left feet, I think. (Chuckles) The dances weren't much fun. No. I tell you. As I say, that time I was out here chopping wood, Stiner was late coming home, or didn't have quite enough and this guy calmly sat there and watched me chop wood.
SS: You didn't tell me.
JWR: Didn't I?
JWR: That wouldi never happen in Canada.
SS: He sat there and watched you do it and talked to you? ,
JWR: Yeah. One of these clod lumberjacks.ABut Stiner had worked- that was the first I was here, and he had worked out in the woods. And he'd go and wouldn't get back til Saturday, and he always left me a lot chopped up, but this time I was just a little short. And there was nothing to it, I was perfec tly capable of doing it, but it was the principle. It just would never have happened in Canada.
SS: Well, the difference too-Another thing, I never went to a place that I saw a woman chopping wood, I would go right over and say, "You better let me chop that wood." And I remember getting a job, I think it was in Alberta, yeah, and there was a fellow from the United States- from Southern I someplace down in there, and he had a wife and she was used to having things done around there. And she was going to have a baby before very long and I hired out to him through the employment office in Calgary and I got out there and he went in to Calgary and I mis sed him, see. So, I got out there to the ranch and here she was car rying a big slop pail out about as far as from here to the gate out here, you know- that electric gate- to feed the pigs and then she'd have to lift it up over a place about this high and pour it into a trough. And I saw her coming with this; I was just walking up, you know, and I said, "Wait a minute here, you better set that down and I'll take it over." And so, oh, she says, "I can do it." "No," I says, "you better leave that." And so, anyway, I think I talked her out of it. And I took it and emptied it. And oh, she thought that was wonderful, helping her. Well, my gosh, she didn't go over a month or so til she had a baby. And that fellow come into Calgary, and nothing to go in there for. He ordered so many men and every thing and here I was out there before he was.
JWR: Well, Stiner always was beautifully polite. And Forrest, I taughtmy kids, both the boy and the girl, never go to a place that you don't share the household work. Get in and help the woman, you know, if you're a girl. And , help, I told 'em you go over there and if they re going to be milking cows help milk cows. These clods around here. I had to educate these kids, I just tell 'em, "Get with it now. You get in and help. around and do a few things."
SS: Was that the custom in Canada? In your community? Ro help?
JWR: Yes. They were very good. The were, trained.
SS: How come—?
JWR: As I say, I would call a man by a first name, and he would call meMrs. And they' If I needed water, if I needed wood, if I needed a child looked after, I mean, fell down and got mud or something on it, pick it up, bring it in. Just do anything. And these clods here would just sit there and look at you. I thought they'd be like him. Stiner was just excellent-
SS: Was that around here? Was it the same way around Central Ridge?
SR: No, Central Ridge was different. This here was just a bunch of igwnoramouses. they ^ , "Oh, that's a woman's job." Men got that idea to tell their boys, "Oh, leave that,"- you know they had a lot of girls in the family- "that's a woman's job. Let her do it."
SS: Isn't that the old Scandinavian ways of doing things? Old country ways.
SR: Yes, I think so. I think so.
JWR: They brought it down here. Third or fourth generation. And boy,there's just a like that. They had five boys and one girl. And, boy, they're marvelous workers; they're Germans, but, . boy, those boys don't
SR: Well, Germans, as a whole are good-
JWR: They're marvelous managers.
SR: You don't need to worry about that.
JWR: But, still it's the upbringing.
SS: You also talked of- before, about how you couldn't be friends withthe men around here either, because of the suspiciousness.
JWR: A woman had to be much more discreet. You couldn't show too muchfriendliness or laugh or joke. Just the most innocent little re marks, you would never dare say anything out of line. Not that I would up there, but- I don't know what on earth kind of women they associated with in their youth, but-
SS: I wonder if that was another old country way?
SR: Could be.
JWR: A woman had to be just very, very circumspect.
SS: Prim and proper, eh? What about the local women here?
JWR: Just as quiet and just as discreet.
SS: I mean, could you develop the same kind of close friendships herethat you could up in Wainwright? Or was there a difference—?
JWR: There was a difference. Now, there was one older woman and I werevery close. Mrs. Stratton, one of my best friends now, it took me twenty years before I got very close to her- this woman that came with the newspaper today. We're very close now, I see her every day, but when I first came here, she was completely absorbed in her mother, father and her children.
SR: That's right.
JWR: And I never broke through to her. And she's one of the most intelligent women in here, but she was just so closeknit, I never got to know her. There was- I don't know, I wouldn't say I was close to her but th: , this cousin Mary, a divorced woman with two little kids, and she came here just the same week we came down from Canada. , We were thrown together in desperation because we were two newcomers and the last ones in, and we were quite friendly, but not close. But she'd call me up. And there was other friends here that1. I'd see quite often. They were neighbors; good neighbors, but not close friends. Ethel, Helmer's wife was one of the- one of my close friends She was one of my best ones.
SR: She was really nice.
JWR: I Acloser to her than anybody else here.
SS: But Helmer wasn't here at that time, was he? Wasn't he just going toMoscow now and then?
JWR: Moscow- well, that's what I mean, I'd go out there maybe e-very weekor two and I'd see Ethel. Or sometimes oftener than that. Sometimes we'd be out there every week.
SS: Do you think the adversity in Wainwright and the desperation of thesituation brought people closer together up there?
JWR: Yes, it did. It did, but still there's prairie, open prairie- I'vebeen in at least three different sections I've lived in for a year in Alberta. They're all friendly. One friend I had, I still have, one of my friends, is where I taught last in Alberta. And she come out here this summer, all the way from Seattle, she saw her sister and come out here, drove out to see me. And her sister died and I was to the funeral. No, everywhere I've been on the prairie I've had close friends, and I've had- These people were kind in a way. They were kind, but Mrs. Rist and I were about the friendliest in here.
JWR: Beaulah was a friend of mine, but I wasn't close to her.
SS: The Torgeson family from what others have told me were one of the real,typical old country- they were gone by the time you got there.
JWR: Yes, they were gone. I never knew them.
SR: Ole Torgeson, you say?
SS: Yes, Torgeson.
JWR: knows them, I don't.
SR: I talked to Torgeson years ago, and he knew I'd been down in SouthernIdaho, that's about 1915, I came back from Southern Idaho, and I thought I'd come in and see Grandpa and Grandma, you know, and I stop ped in there to see them. And oh, he thought we'd have a nice talk, so he asked me about growing alfalfa. And I told him there's nothing to it, you know. I told him how they did down there. I says, new ground, they sow it. They soil with it. You know they have a bunch of soil-
JWR: You know, before they sow the soil- you know that alfalfa has to beinnoculated with nitrogen. And the)?e hfli to be some of those little bugs in it. So that's why they take some of the soil where alfalfa was growing, so it'd pass it along to That's the idea. Then what'd Old Torgeson say to you?
SR: No they hadn't grown any here then.
JWR: Wasn't that the time you went down to visit and _ always got someone to help em? Wasn't that it?
SR: No. No, he never asked me to help him.about him
JWR: Well, somebody was complaining the other day, and they said he alwayswhoever went there to visit .i, he always got them to help him.
SR: That must have been Stratton.
SS: Were most of the people in here at that time still Norwegian? Whenyou came back in the '30's? They didn't have the friendliness that you had experienced elsewhere.
JWR: Well, I tell you. I think that in ^ quiet way, they did have a concern for you. Now, like my old Scotch Grandmother- she wasn't a cud dly kind of a grandmother, but she'd always see that you were fed. That you had a good supper. She'd always see that there was plenty of quilts on the bed. Maybe she'd go up there, and she'd feel your feet, and if she wasn't quite satisfied she'd bring up a nice iron wrapped up in an old sock to keep your feet warm. You know, I think they had it here, that quiet kind of kindness. They were pretty good Good old instant food for Helmer. about seeing that you got fed. The minute you got there you got cof fee and when did you eat last. That's the principle. There is a kind ness there that I appreciate. It doesn't catch you on fire, exactly, right away, doesn't ignite.
SR: Well, Helmer wasn't treated the best when he was here, either. Nowthere's some people take advantage of a guy that's making it by hard work. He worked awful hard.
JWR: Helmer, he'll go out of the way to help a neighbor, too.
SR: Oh, yeah.
JWR: He's that way, he's awfully goodo
SR: And Mrs. you was talking about, they always got along fine.And Helmer had nice horses, and he farmed this place one year. And he did a nice job. He put it all to beans. They only had twelve acres, and he put it all to beans. And I know Dahl lived down here. And I think it was Dahl that said, "You know," he said, "that's the straightest, nicest rows. You can see 'em for a long distance. I haven't seen anything like that since I left some Eastern Country." "Well," I says, "over on Central Ridge, that's the way they used to do." We had lots of land, but if we put forty acres into beans or corn or anything like that, it was all done nice, straight rows. Every thing. And Helmer had horses that'd go up that hill there just as good as some horses'd go oiyflat ground. And he thought nothing of it. He says, "'isn't heavy." Boy, they were good horses. Took good care of 'em, too. Fed 'em good.
SS: Do you feel that Helmer had the same passion for work that you did?The same real desire to work?
SR: Oh, yes. He worked harden And he figured that if he didn't get upin the morning, you know, around three o'clock in the morning if he had to to get things done, why, he'd starve to death. Or his horses. Or his cows. Everything had to be fed.
SS: You mean he worked harder than you did?
SR: Oh, there's nobody worked as hard as he did. I worked hard, but may
JWR: Stiner works hard, but Helmer makes himself work. You know, I mean,he'll break something up with his clumsiness or his roughness and then he'll have to stop and fix it. That's what's the problem with Helmer. He just goes in like a bull whatever he does.
SS: You think Stiner enjoyed work a little more?
JWR: I think so. Helmer has to work; he likes to work, but, boy, sometimes it's just kind of hard the way he does it. Whenever he's doing something, whenever we go up there, it's broken. It can be brand new and it's broken.
SR: He would cut with an eight foot binder all day and then sharpen it inthe evening. Things like that.
JWR: And they're both very physically strong. But I was going to mentionsomething about these people. Do you realize that I was in here, a lot of these people had never been anyplace but Park. His cousinexcepting to a lumber camp. I don't know how much cultual is. His cousin lived there with his dad. All their lives, lived here. Dull. All their lives there, and those^clods watching me chop wood. Born in here. Died in here. That sort of thing. His cousin over here; born here. And Tilda, and raised in here. Her cou sin down here, born and raised in here. And then their kids, never been anyplace else. Never knew anything else but this. Mrs hadtwo husbands and thirteen kids, or twelve kids. I mean she'd had been up to Canada in a covered wagon.
SS: It must have made a big difference in their outlook on life.
JWR: That's just it. They were not malicious or anything likethat, but, I mean, it did something to their lives. Now that's really had spark and life. She and her first husband went up to Canada in a covered wagon. Well, that's something.
SS: Did you find you had more in common with her than the other women?
JWR: Yes, I did, and yet she was old enough to be my mother. Much morein common. She was a very interesting person.
SS: You would talk with her about—?
JWR: Anything. She was well-read. She'd read everything and been placesand seen things and very good outlook on life. And her girls were about my age. She was just real good. She could talk about anything and everything.
SS: Most of the women; what did they talk about here then?
JWR: Your children and recipes. The schoolhouse and how your kids weregetting along. And that's it. That was the whole thing. There was nothing else there to talk about. And maybe Goldie used to howl about her father-in-law. She didn't like him. And I'd have to console her. This little woman that was married to his cousin, he took her home where his dad lived. It was his dad's farm and I couldn't expect the old man to leave, but the kids got on his nerves, and she'd come over here and weep on my shoulder about it. But, I mean, there was troubles like that. And, I don't know, well, I'd see them, I suppose I'd see the women, I never went to but once or twice, but the daughter used to come over here occasionally. There was enough women that if you even saw them once a month, why, that was enough. S£: That was enough.
JWR: Yeah, that was enough, and everybody was very guarded and cautiousand they'd never mention ck. neighbor ,.
SS: Oh, really? You don't think there was gossip?
JWR: Well, they never did to me, and I don't think they did too much betweenthemselves.A Oh, there was another woman that was left, there was a Mrs. Austin- not Mrs. Austin- what was Mrs. Austin's daughter's name? Clara, Clara Williams. I was friendly with them. She was in high school—
SR: And Sadie.
JWR: Well, I wasn't so friendly with them.
SS: School? Did she teach school here?
JWR: No, she taught after she left here. I was usually quite friendlywith the school teachers here. I boarded one em here, one or two of 'em here for a while.
SR: He was a nice guy.
SR: What was his name?
JWR: Art and John Williams.
JWR: Now, they were quite friendly with us. But they were awfully poor.
SR: You know, Art still comes up but he hasn't been up this year.
JWR: He's retired, that's why. He said he was going to retire. But theywere people that we were quite friendly with. And these Dicksons that went out to Portland, left here the same time we did. They both died now, but they were friendly with us. They were from Okla homa, I think.
SS: They hadn't been here for that long?
JWR: No. They were outsiders. But that's the one that really had themost life.
SS: So you found that you were 'in many cases with newcomersthan with the old-timers?
JWR: Yes. And the conversation was livlier.
SR: And Cory, now he was from Oklahoma.
JWR: Oh, he worked awfully good with him. His wife was just a pure character.She was the kind that I had gotten my kids off to school; I was just going to relax and unwind, she'd call me up about eight-thirty in the morning, "Well, I got.out " Well, when you saw that washing- I don't know, she dipped it in and she dipped it out, and shook it a Five kids, little and hung it. She got it all done. She was the cheeriest - she was a character. Kindhearted. Soup! I remember one night where car broke down and we went there at two o'clock in the morning; warmed up the soup. Let me seg one gallon of water; one potato; one onion, I think, or maybe it was two potatoes and one onion. But never mind, it was warm. She was so friendly, you just enjoyed her.
JWR: Didn't have to be food, it was the friendship.
SS: That's interesting because, Laura and I, that our friends since we'vemoved here from Oregon have pretty much been newcomers, too. People that haven't been here for that long.
SR: Well, they had a hard time with the old-timers that was here, andthey saw that they needed a lot of education or something.(Laughter)
SS: The people that were new here?
SR: That used to be here. They were just different from us, see. Nowwhen we went over on Central Ridgeback
JWR: We'd been.in Canada and back again. couldn't stand them here.He got awfully tired, he liked to get out. I think that's why he got out and over to Central Ridge.
JWR: Your dad.
SR: No, it wasn't that. He says, "I'll never make it here." He says,"There's a new country; prairie land if you want it or timber, or a little of each." He says, "I'm going over there."
SS: You started to say that people over here- the new people that camein thought the old people were kind of backward. That's what you were starting to say.
SR: Yeah, well, now, after they got out and got around with the-
SS: Got more worldly, had more experience.
JWR: He'd been up to Canada twenty years, and boy, I'd been around a lot.
SR: Not only that, but over there on Central Ridge we had all nationalities. We had French, and we had Irish- our first closest neighbor was Irish, of course. And then, let's see, the Swede we could get along fine with, you know. It was three miles down there.
SS: On Central Ridge?
SR: But he didn't come for a few years. Didn't come right away. Hebought a place that my uncle homesteaded. He got that, and that's how we got-
SS: When this guy was buying up all the land in here, did he try to buyyour place, too?
JWR: Oh, yeah.
SS: Buying up the land and this place?
SR: Yeah, he wanted it, sure.
SS: Did he offer you good money for it?
SR: Yeah, he offered me-
JWR: He offered what he offered the rest but it wasn't too good.
SR: Well, at that time it was better than it'd ever been offered. ButI said, "It's not for sale." And I'd been saying that all the time. And, I've had I don't know how many offers, see, to sell- to buy. I don't want it. You know, this's something that I can remember back when I was just a little kid, and I used to enjoy. I used to enjoy coming over here, and you know, this house was built when I was still pretty young. And I remember this house more than I do anything else. I think it was in 1900, well,»I was only ten, and we only made about one trip here in ten years, from Central Ridge over. We couldn't go we had to we had to get big enough, for one thing, to ride a horse.
JWR: Thirty-five miles on horseback.
SR: And it had to be bareback, because we couldn't find enough saddles.Well, gee, ask me if I can ride bareback? Sure I can ride anything! I can ride a rail all the way over! (Chuckles) So, I got it from this Setlow, this Swede, he left me a saddle horse, and it was thin, it was thin as a rail, but it was alright. Something to ride.
SS: You came over by yourself?
SR: No. My brother and I. He was twelve and I was ten, and we knew- wethought we knew the way, and we found the way over here. And, you know, it would cut across a lot of places that you wouldn't know about now, you see. When you cross the river on the ferry-we crossed the river, what do you call it?- the Clearwater, ferry- when you got across you went right up one of those draws, right up to the top of the hill. Well, any kind of you had to go around the switchbacks and things.
SS: Did you come over here for special occasions like Thanksgiving orsomething like that? Were there special times when the family got together?
SR: No. The special time was when Dad could spare us in the summertime.And we had to, you know, forty acres of corn; forty acres of beans to hoe and clean up and five acres of orchard around the house. That looks like brush and stuff around the house; that's orchard, and there was no weeds supposed to be in there. You had to clean every thing. And for two boys, that isn't bad. And you keep all those beans and all that corn and stuff cleaned up. And sometimes weArented from neighbors, because we said, "We just can't take care of it." You take sixty acres of whatever you can-
SR: Oh, yes, that's on the outside of Dad's place.
SR: Well, what you get from Dad- it just depends on what he thinks youneed. If he thinks you need five dollars, he' fgive it to you, but if you don't, he won't. And he'll want to know all about it. "What is it for?" You got to answer all those questions.
SS: So for him, you were working pretty much for nothing?
SR: Yes. All the time. And if you worked outside and come back in, thatcheck goes to him.
SS: It does, huh?
SR: Yeah. Well, you could keep a little of it, you know. If you'd argue.
SS: That sounds like an old country custom, doesn't it?
JWR: Helmer had a lot of trouble with his boys- his boy is an awfully smartkid and he ran away.
SS: Helmer? You told me about that.
JWR: And he treated him different after that.
SR: Yeah, well Helmer run away.
JWR: Helmer tried to bring his kid up-
SS: The same way his father brought him up?
SR: I guess so, and his boy just found out that his dad run away, and after that his dad treated him better, so he run away.
SS: You do you think he found out that Helmer run away before he-
SR: Yeah, there was a lot of guys that knew about it.
JWR: Everybody'd tell. That's one thing, they always pass something likethat around.
SR: Sure. Why, I'd tell him in a minute.
JWR: He ran away to school.
SR: Well, the way to break him of that is to just leave him. Get out-And I wouldn t tell him nothing.A Yeah, he stopped by here and had dinner, said he was going someplace, I don't know where it was.
SS: Is that what happened? Did the boy stop by on—
SR: No, but I say, if he did.
JWR: before we came here. But some of the neighbors I think surmised.
SS: Well this fellow here, is a kind of funny one, that you should do allthat work for your parents. Doesn't it sound kind of like parents were kind of exploiting their kids?
JWR: Well, in Canada, that American family, this horsetrader? The kidswould work for Stiner and then the old man was up there in his buggy ready to collect
SR: And get the money from me right away.
SS: What did you think of that?
SR: Well, I didn't think much of it.
SS: Did you ask your kids to work out?
JWR: Oh, no.
SS: Well, how do you feel about your father making you do that. Was thatfair?
SR: Well, I'll tell you the way I used to think. I farmed it one year.Dad says- that last year, he says Helmer had it- "Now," he says, "I'm going to have Stiner- going to rent the place." Well, I rented it and he says, "You know," he says, "you made,"- he was honest, one thing- he says, "you got seven hundred and fifty dollars coming." He says, "You know that's too much for a kid." (Chuckles) "What would you do with all that money?" So, he says, "I think a hundred and You're fifty dollars is all you need." Just going to school, see. (Chuckles)
SR: Well, I knew him, and I said, "Yes." And I had a notion to tell him,"I could work out and make enough money, you can just keep the whole darn thing." But I was too afraid that he'd do it! (Chuckles) That he'd take me up on itI.
SS: You mean that you only got a hundred and fifty? After seven hundredand fifty dollars of work?
SR: Yeah. That is what he told me I had coming out of my year's work,see.
SS: But you earned seven fifty?
SS: How did he figure that? Out of the crops he made? Or what?
SR: Well, I made a better crop, maybe, than my brother did before.
SS: Well, seven hundred and fifty was what you should have gotten afterhe got his rent?
SR: Yeah. After he got his rent and the debts was paid off.
SS: You made seven hundred and fifty clear then?
SS: But he took six hundred of it.
SR: Yeah, he took- so he left me a hundred and fifty.
SS: But did you know that before you war going to farm the ranch?
SR: Oh, he told me. He told me he thought a hundred and fifty was pi entyinstead of seven hundred and fifty.
SS: He told you in the fall?
SR: Yeah. So, there you are.
SS: Did you rent from him again, after that?
SR: No. That was my last year, you know. See, I was twenty-two then,and I got a letter from Southern Idaho to come on down, I had a job there, I forget now how much- it was a hundred dollars a month, see. Riding ditches.
SS: Doing what?
SR: Riding ditches.
SS: Riding ditches?
SR: That's what they call it down there. You go to this place here andthere's so much water to let out to this fellow and so much for the other guy. And you got to take a lot of bawling outs here and there. You got to be honest.
Well, that don't seem— twenty-two, you were no kid at that time.He told me that story, I says, "Well, boy, anybody that's dumb enough at that age to take that attitude deserves something."
No, but, this is alright, this is your dad
Doesn't make any difference.
Yeah, I know, but here when he was in an accident and he thought maybe that he wouldn't pull through, he had a guy come out to make out his will, and he says, "Well," he says, "I'll tell you, I've got so many quarter sections and I want the best quarter sections for the two oldest boys. With the buildings on 'em. And the rest of 'em can have what's left." So, he favored us, because, he says, "They've done all the work around here."
Was that after or before you rented from him?
Oh, yes, this was when we was kids.
That was when you were still young?
Oh, yeah, I'd say seventeen, sixteen or fourteen, something like that.
So, you felt obligated to him?
So, you felt like he would do that. I mean, this was before he gotmarried, see. And he didn't want to get married. He wanted some of us to get married and then stay there on the place. Well, I didn't like that idea.
Why— 'Cause you would have been renting from him?
You'd be running the place him, you see.
Wouldn't be your own place?
SR: No, it wouldn't be yours.
JWR: And he might put up an argument like he did before.
SR: And so, it might break up everything. The best way is to get out onsomebody else's place. I could get along with anybody. Anyplace I ever went I always got along fine. I had no trouble. All I had to do was stay - stick around home and I got into all kinds of trouble.
SS: So he did decide to get married though. He changed his mind.
SR: I don't blame him. He was only— he was forty-five when he got married. That isn't old. And she was young enough. She was thirty.
JWR: She made him a good wife. Good housekeeper.
SR: He was about fifteen, sixteen years older.
SS: Did you see a lot of that- of the work of the kids being just slaveryin the way of the parents?
JWR: I think there was an awful lot of that in years past. It was universal. It was just a universal thing. And girls would go out to work and send a good portion of their money home to keep their family.
SR: Yeah, I've seen that.
JWR: That was done so much. I never had to do it, but then I would haveresented it. I was always generous with the family when I had it. Al though.
SR: Say, listen, we had a phone in here, way in the early days.
JWR: About '45, I think or so.
SR: When we left, the first thing I said and a bunch of us said- "Let'sbuild the line up." You know private line, we had a pfivMc line. Put in all new poles and everything. And so, yeah, they thought that was fine, and got it all fixed up and left. And I know when I come back everything was— there was no phone in. Right across the canyon there they got their phones in.
JWR: They had one- had one. And there's no road between here andthere.
SR: That's the Weavers for you. That's the Weavers for you. They wasso many of 'em that, boy, I tell you, they wasn't going to let that- I sawed with the Weavers up there in the Three Bear country. I saw how they worked. They were good workers.
SS: Were there others except for you? You're not even old-timers in someways.
JWR: There was no one stayed here- there's second generation and JerrySmith over here, but his dad was a newcomer, really. There's just no body- Mrs. moved in here, oh, I don't know, '25 or '28 or something- no, I think it was '30 when she moved in here.
SS: It sounds to me like that by the time you came here in the '30'sthe community had declined. It wasn't lively like it had been.
JWR: They had a post office and they had a store in here.
SS: In the '30's? There was still a post office? Was the store gone?
JWR: No. No the store was gone.
SS: Mas the church still here?
JWR: The church was here but it never functioned as a church.
SS: They didn't use it?
JWR: Oh, once in a while. They had a little Sunday School, that was aboutall.
SR: Long before that they had a store right down here at Torgesons. Youtalk about Torgeson. They had a little store and you could buy am munition for your rifle or your .22s or anything. I remember one time I come over here. I was ten years old- well that would be in wouldn't it? 1900. Yeah, 1900- see I was ten years old when I went down there. And my cousins from over here and Helmer and I went down there and we all wanted to see how much money we had to get some .22 shells. And it took ten cents- fifteen cents for a box of shorts. And so I had ten cents and my cousin had some and my brother had some and we got a box or two of shells. And, oh, boy, could we celebrate! (Laughter) And those shorts- we could kill anything we figured with those. Well, now they had a store and that was Selma Torgeson that run the store at that time. She was the oldest girl.
JWR: They used to have a doctor in Deary.
SR: Yeah,'used to have a doctor, Bank in Deary,
JWR: was just a lot of things around here.
SS: That was in the '30's the banks closed. Was the doctor gone too in
SR: Well, wait a minute- that doctor was in there when I went to schoolin Moscow.
JWR: Yes, but not we came down from Canada, dear, that's what I'mtalking about.
SR: No. No, I know. And that would be- well, he left I think shortlyafter that. What year was Helmer, my cousin, operated on- or looked after to see where the bullet went? You know, he shot himself- he was monkeying with this pistol -i by the orchards down here, see- and when he went to get another shell why he couldn't get it out^and he was fooling around with it, and I guess it was one that revolvs around and first you know that thing went off and went into his stomachache. And so, of course, the doctor in Deary, my uncle took him in there, he thought he'd understand- well, you just as well take- well, a good horse doctor would know better I think- because the doctors at that time as a rule, they didn't know anything- just passed examinations and—
JWR: Well, dear, they didn't have the- peritonitis at that time—
SR: So he had to probe.around and he figured that thing glanced, I guess,when it hit a gut or something- it got so hard it glanced around- Well, gee whiz, swing that probe around, well heck- so that was wrong so they finally had to take him to Moscow. My uncle got tired of it and took him to Moscow and Gritman then opened him up inside there and he told me he got that much blood out oflhim there, inside. SEE.
JWR: Just rotted away.
SR: It had been in there for two weeks.
SS: He died?
SR: Well, he finally died.
SS: - Whose son was he?
JWR: His cousin.
SR: My Uncle Stiner, that I was named after, that lived over here.
SS: Your Uncle Stiner?
SR: It was his boy.
SS: His name Helmer?
JWR: His boy was named Helmer.
JWR: They's got a lot of mileage out of the same name. The kid would diethey'd give it's name to the next kid.
SS: So he died? That's a shame.
SS: That was in the early days?
JWR: Yeah that was in the early days. There was a lot of people; young,people died with accidents, accidentally shot or a tree
SR: I tell you, he was real husky. Those boys was the huskiest; likeathletic people. He come along in a trail and if there was a big log up there that he could walk straight under, he'd just reach uphe was iftuZU tall- reach up and put his hand up there; "Hya." he'd say, and he'd go right over the top of it. (Chuckles) By gosh, never saw a guy give a sprint like that. Go right over the top of it! By golly. But when they go to shooting inside, that's a different thing. But he was tough, he stayed with it a long time.
JWR: I think a lot of these people that moved in even from Minnesota hadbeen places and had more to say and talk about.
0:00 - The bubble bursting after World War I; seeing Roosevelt as salvation even in Canada; Stiner becoming a Canadian citizen; thrashing in harsh weather
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Mother's optimism; the idealism of her age. The bubble burst after World War I - the suffering of years of depression in Alberta. Teaching away from home. Doing without medical care and varied diet. They saw Roosevelt as a salvation. He had to become a Canadian citizen to prove up on the homestead; six months later they immigrated to the U.S. Cultural information she got in Alberta. Thrashing until it was 45 below.
21:00 - Uncle giving up his tailoring business to homestead and the isolation being hard on her aunt
Direct segment link:
30:00 - Stiner's ideas of discipline differed from his fathers; protecting his younger brothers against Helmer
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Refusal to hit his son for breaking windows of the chicken coop. His father's discipline was all wrong; Stiner always got a dry, rotten switch which fell apart when he hit him. He gave the affection to his Uncle Ed's children that his uncle didn't believe in. Stiner was unhappy when Ed and wife stopped playing their instruments, under father-in-law's pressure. Stiner's philosophy of discipline. He protected younger brothers against Helmer, who treated them more harshly.
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Father's interest in "black box" for diagnosis of physical ailments. Father's instructions to patient who would receive "healing power." Father cured constipation by rubbing spine. Father was a good provider when he had the money. His strictness was similar to most fathers. Where Stiner's affection came from. Father's innate skill to heal.
64:00 - Father having to look after children after his wife died; having a large library; wife's and aunt's cases of TB; living near a Native American reservation
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Father in a difficult position, having lost his wife. His effort to make the boys speak Norwegian. His large library of books on religions and cults, and interest in correspondence courses. People wanted him to give the kids away; a family who made a servant out of Simon. A German girl who cleaned house after mother died; a match with a man who worked at the Ringsage's. Father's care for wife when she was dying from TB. Father drank strippings of milk to protect against tuberculosis. Killing flies. Aunt's TB was almost fatal. The rough winter staying with aunt on her homestead, with a poor diet; their neighborhood, with an Indian reservation.
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
94:00 - A man with six months to live was giving his land away; difficulty immigrating during the Depression
Direct segment link:
104:00 - Her adaptation to America; family related to everyone at Park; Openness and talkativeness in Canada versus quietness in Idaho; no political discussions; getting lots of canned fruit
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Her adaptation to America. American traditions in her family. Attractiveness of Roosevelt. Oppressiveness of trees and heavy snow in Idaho. Family related to everyone at Park. Vitality of first generation people in Canada compared to second and third in Idaho. Openness and talkativeness in Canada compared to quietness and dullness here. No political discussions here. Living was much easier here: relatives gave them hundreds of quarts of canned fruit and vegetables. Giving is a basic impulse that was thwarted in Canada. Impressiveness of American machinery.
116:00 - Trouble handling a kid while teaching in Alberta; her desire to become a dietician or cooking teacher; planned to keep teaching
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Trouble handling big teenager while teaching school in Alberta. Starvation diet of horse trader's family. Children were gentler here. Her desire to become a dietician or a teacher of cooking. Difficult lives of children near Wainwright - she tried to teach them what they needed for life. Her mixed feelings about teaching. She planned to keep teaching after marriage but got pregnant.
Direct segment link:
127:00 - When women learned about birth control; resistance to birth controls in rural society; inaccurate ideas about birth control
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Women learned about birth control just before marriage. Cultural resistance to birth controls in rural society, the more children you had the more work you could get done. Inaccurate folk ideas about birth control. Learning the facts of life through great books like the Bible. She felt free to ask her aunts, who were very happy in their marriages. Many women found it embarrassing to discuss.
140:00 - Having children right away hurt their chances of getting on their feet; realization of need to rely on herself and God; view of the causes of the Depression; source of her inspiration
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Having children right after marriage hurt their chances of getting on their feet. Her unhappiness in first years of marriage. The realism of depression eventually replaced her hopes and dreams. The opportunities they perceived to become a successful farm family like others in the area. Contribution of her teaching to family income. Her realization of need to rely on herself and God, causing a basic change in her attitude towards life. Her deep concern for unjust suffering in the depression. Her view of causes of depression. Need for individual change. Her belief that she could help those in her immediate environment. Giving must be selfless. Patience resolves problems by creating favorable circumstances. Source of her inspiration,
158:00 - Learning the teaching of the Oxford Group; religious background in her childhood; changing views in her life
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Learning the teaching of the Oxford Group from a preacher she knew in Edmonton. Change from outward to inner direction. Decline of Oxford Group. Religious background in her childhood - Scotch Presbyterian love of the Bible and Burns, importance of religion to mother and friends. Her progress from tolerance to love - changing view of her life.
173:00 - Having to suppress her exuberance in Idaho to conform; Politics and social life were closely intertwined in Alberta but not in Idaho; life difficulties began right after they were married; hard to be away from children to teach
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Need to suppress her exuberance in Idaho to conform to local mores and protect her status as a new citizen. Her active involvement in politics in Alberta would have been criticized here. Politics and social life were closely intertwined in Alberta. Her absorption in home life here after coming here. Socializing in Alberta by visiting neighbors while husband worked or visited with their husbands. Her decision to cut out fantasy reading of fiction. Difficulties began as soon as they married, and continued through depression. Hard to be away from children to teach, but she was desperate for money.
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
205:00 - Women were stronger than men in some ways; value of women and their culture and influence; women's freedoms
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
224:00 - Many Englishman in Canada were "remittance men"; being discouraged from marrying English; class distinctions in towns and Alberta
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Many Englishmen in Canada were "remittance men", banished and supported by their families in England. Parents discouraged her from marrying English, with their status pretensions. Working people in their Rocky Mountain town. Class distinctions in the towns favored WASPS. Class in Alberta.
235:00 - Anti-Catholic feeing in the community; Ku Klux Klan threatening the priest; Ukrainian-Canadians in Alberta
Direct segment link:
249:00 - He was the only one of the brothers who wanted the Park place; Helmer wanted the youngest brother to take it; Stiner's disagreement with uncle of money
Direct segment link:
250:00 - Buying a binder and platform; working in harsh weather; relationships with father's second wife; Attitudes about coming back to Idaho
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Buying a binder and platform. Their auction when they left Alberta was conducted in -35 degree weather, and got very little money. If they'd taken money instead of the place at Park, they would have lost it all in Alberta. Good reactions with father's second wife. Helmer's problem when he took his newly wed wife to live with his stepmother. How father acquired Park place. Attitudes about coming back to Idaho. She was mature but unhappy when they were first married.
Direct segment link:
279:00 - The material for whitewashing; making Ukrainian-style hog fence; Laura's near accident under the fence; Ukrainians building buildings from brush and mud
Direct segment link:
297:00 - Their situation after moving to Park; Park disappearing as a community; on retirement Stiner returning to Park to farm; her dislike of living in the country
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Their situation after moving to Park. They got by exchanging work and trading. They went to Portland when the war started and made good money; both worked and he remodeled the houses they lived in, which they sold at good profits. Park disappeared as a community. On retirement he returned to Park to farm because of his "marriage" to the place. He thinks spending money is more work than work. He invested their Portland savings in the farm and she continued working to support them. Her dislike of living in the country; her acceptance of separation. Amenities of city living.
Direct segment link:
304:00 - Lack of community life in Park in the 1930s; backward ideas in Park about women's work; wasn't close to women in Park
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Lack of community life in Park in the thirties. Friendship with Ed and wife in Deary. Dances weren't much fun. Rudeness of a Park man who didn't offer to help cut wood; backward ideas in Park about women's work. She wasn't very close to women at Park. Quiet concern of Park women about her welfare.
318:00 - Helmer was a hard worker; Park people rarely left the valley; why his father went to Central Ridge; riding from Central Ridge to Park as a child
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: Helmer's incredibly hard work. Most Park people had rarely left the valley except to work in lumber camps. Neighbors spoke of children and recipes, and were very guarded. A daughter-in-law's problem. The outsiders had more life - a friendly woman. Why his father went to Central Ridge; variety of people there. Offers to buy his place. Riding from Central Ridge to Park as a child. Farm work as a boy on Central Ridge,
330:00 - The boys had to give all earnings to farther; Helmer's boys ran away; Father didn't give Stiner enough money; He left despite father wanting him to stay
Direct segment link:
Segment Synopsis: The boys had to give all their earnings to father, and work at home for room and board. Helmer's boy ran away (he probably heard that Helmer had, too). Father gave Stiner $150 instead of the $750 he earned after he rented the place at age 22. When he thought he might die, father wanted the two oldest boys to get the best quarter sections. He left home despite father's desire to have the boys rent.
Direct segment link: