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Latah County Oral History Collection

Remembering Latah County and Idaho Life at the turn of the 20th century

« View All Hilda Carlson Ruberg interviews

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Date: June 19, 1976 Interviewer: Karen Purtee

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0:00 - Hilda's family coming to Troy

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Segment Synopsis: Hilda's family coming to Troy, Nov. 1912 to farm in Big Meadow. Mud in the streets of Troy, clap board house had to be remodeled. Hilda and two sisters go to Spokane to work as housekeepers. Father sells firewood in town.

5:00 - Housekeeping in Spokane; met future husband at dance

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Segment Synopsis: Housekeeping in Spokane. Thursday afternoon off. Met future husband at a dance - he had relatives in Troy. Always had the most responsibility at home being the oldest daughter. Mother worked outside, Hilda worked inside. Father's reasons for coming. Mother liked Troy because it reminded her of Norway, her homeland.

9:00 - Little Sister Fern burned to death in 1918; winters in Dakota

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Segment Synopsis: Little Sister Fern burned to death in 1918. The day before had been a family reunion with pictures taken. In Dakota, kids climbed up on the windmill, Hilda gets her finger tip cut off in the windmill hook-up. Getting in trouble in school for something she hadn't done. Winters in the Dakotas. Helena and sister on the frozen snow in Troy.

22:00 - Mother's children all born at home; pregnancy and female puberty

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Segment Synopsis: Mother's children all born at home. Helena and sister sent away when sister is born. Didn't know mothers were pregnant, secrecy of childbirth - no discussion with adults about facts of life. Helena hid in the closet when first menstrual period came. Helena too embarrassed to watch birth of kittens. Children were better off without knowledge, they enjoyed being children.

29:00 - Hilda describes her play; chores

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Segment Synopsis: Hilda describes her play, harvesting imitated. Chores included dishes and scrubbing the wood floors.

30:00 - Play continued; Helena and sister imitate the family's dainty cows

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Segment Synopsis: Play continued. Helena and sister would imitate the family's daity cows and chew their "cud" in the shade - pitch gum.

31:00 - Hilda's cooking for men on thrashing crew

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Segment Synopsis: Hilda's cooking for 28 men on a thrashing crew., thirty days in Genesee. The menu, the cook wagon described, Family and threshing pictures. Serving the meals, keeping the wagon clean, "public" plumbing. The threshing crew. The undependable clock. The shade cooler; they did the washing too.

49:00 - Cooking for threshers on Burnt Ridge after marriage

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Segment Synopsis: Cooking for threshers on Burnt Ridge after marriage. Made $5 a day - big money - on Genesee thresher crew.

52:00 - Work as housekeeper, lots of girls found employment in Spokane

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Segment Synopsis: Work as housekeeper, lots of Troy girls found employment in Spokane. Helena's sister didn't like being a "servant", Hilda felt like part of the family. Thursday evening dates. Entertainment at the Palouse Round Hall in later years.

58:00 - Literary programs on the Burnt Ridge

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Segment Synopsis: Literary programs on Burnt Ridge, oyster soup, the Literary Paper (continued).

60:00 - Literary paper; Helena taught at Burnt Ridge school, boarding with Hilda

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Segment Synopsis: The Literary paper. Helena was teacher at Burnt Ridge school, boarding with Hilda. The music and dances at the Literary. Churches.

68:00 - Hilda's mother was a good hostess and served lots of food; Norwegian recipes; ladies employment opportunities

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Segment Synopsis: Hilda's mother was a good hostess and served lots of good food. Fattigman, "poor man's cake" - a Norwegian recipe. Mother's cooking, some about mother and father. Posing for portraits. Ladies' employment opportunities: housekeeping, teaching, clerking in a store. Knee pants for boys, the stylish tight sheath dresses.

78:00 - Hilda's mother was extremely clean; mother's goiter and death

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Segment Synopsis: Hilda's mother was so clean she wore the paint off. Once when she spilled boiling oil on her foot, her only concern was for the stain on the floor. Mother's goiter and death.

86:00 - Swedish and Norwegian names; setting up Hilda's first home

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Segment Synopsis: Swedish and Norwegian names - all "sons"; Carl Carlson becomes Carl Rose due to confusion. Setting up Hilda's first home (1914). Hilda operates the farm after her husband's death in 1931 for 5 years.

90:00 - Raising beans, farmers' economics after WWI; depression

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Segment Synopsis: Raising beans, farmers' economics after WWI, depression. Selling wheat at 220 a bushel during depression so she can by her girls some Christmas gifts. Sold butter, had people follow her into the store to buy hers. How she made butter. Helena's creamery tales. Hilda's chores to keep the farm running. Hauling water to Burnt Ridge.

104:00 - Hilda has her babies at home; pregnant girl though the was growing because she ate watermelon seeds

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Segment Synopsis: Hilda has her babies at home, first daughter arrives before the doctor does. The pregnant girl who thought she was growing because she had eaten watermelon seeds. Morals were of a higher standard then as compared to now. The bad girl was marked and an exception. Hilda's chores before her baby was born.

111:00 - Hilda and her husband fishing; what Troy looked like in 1912

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Segment Synopsis: Hilda and her husband fishing. What Troy looked like in 1912; horses up to their knees in mud. Raised strict by mother.

116:00 - Milking and responsibility not entrusted to all the children; Mother's tumor turns out to be sister fern

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Segment Synopsis: Milking a responsibility not entrusted to all the children. Ed's tricks in milking. Ed wears a dress to fool the cow. Mother's tumor turns out to be sister Fern.

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