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SAM SCHRAGER: .. .news in the Deary paper - the Peterson boys?
NELLIE WOOD SMITH: Yes. One of them turned out to be my uncle, transare justa minute. Sam Peterson and - I know them, know them well. Theft, in fact, they were running that paper when the piano contest was on - popularity kind of contest. I was entered in the contest. And a friend of ours, well, he was boarding with us at the time, he saw to it that I was entered for competing in that contest. So, there was - oh, I don't know how'of them - I think it was about twelve or more that were entered in the contest. And besides I had been canvasing for an eastern firm and I had - well, jewelry and kitchen utensil^s and silverware and all those certain things that I was canvasing for them and then I'd deliver when the stuff got here. So I was pretty well acquainted in Deary at that time too. I serviced - I canvassed the town. Of course, it wasn't much of a job. It wasn't so big as all that, but, anyhow, that was in 1910. But I can't that other's Carl!
SS: Carl Peterson?
NS: Sam and Carl and Homer. It was three brothers. And Sam married my great uncle,my mother's uncle. And her name was then, you see her name was Angie Peterson and she married uncle Smith. And she was Angie Smith. She was buried up here at the Deary cemetery. He died before she did though, over in Oregon.
SS: Well, what was this popularity contest?
NS: Well, we were - we had to get subscriptions for Deary Enterprise. And we'dget so many points for each subscription and then when theApaper came to them, there was a coupon in each paper. If you clipped that coupon, that was another hundred or two or whatever it was. Well, they - I walked, I think it was twelve miles. Well, I'd make a trip up into the woods. A lady lived across the - we lived right over on that corner there when I was a girl. And that lady that lived just across the road from me - well, her husband was working in the woods or something and the kids in school. And she took it on herself to go with me to see me. You know, I didn't like to go into places like that alone - out in the camps. But she went with me on my trips and we walked as much as twelve miles a day, making the pounds of those trips to collect those coupons and ...
SS: And sell subscriptions?
NS: Un-huh. And sell subscriptions. And also, there was coupons, trading couponsthat you'd buy that'd go with the dry goods store here. They were in on it. Grant and Giles Dry Goods. And he would sell them a coupon for maybe ten dollars, anyway it was a ten dollar coupon. But by selling them that coupon, they'd trade it out - they got it for about seven and a half or something like that. And they got the value of it the material.
SS: This was a part ofthe same deal as the ...?
NS: Yes. And that was part of it that this paper and the subscription and then thecoupons that were in the paper. And then the coupons, the cash coupons from the store down here, the dry goods store. And I guess that was all there was it one
SS: And it was the Deary newspaper?
NS: Yes. They were part of it. And they were all combined into that get-up, youknow, and then they all - whatever you got from those people was part of your coupon - your selling.
SS: You actually went around and sold to the lumberjacks?
NS: Yes. They all knew me. Every - they knew my dad, you know. Not all knewme, but a great many did and it wasn't such a big place and they'd seeya on the street. And they all recognized me or if they didn't, you know, I'd tell 'em. We told 'em - who - I told 'em, explained what this is. Now if there was anything they needed to buy at the dry goods store - like they handled all the men's, the men's fittings, you know. The workclothes and they didn't have - most of them didn't buy too many fancy clothes, they were busy working, But they bought their shoes and their clothing and well, they had a counter of jewelry too, that they could sell - there was these coupons for jewelry or their clothes - either one in the store then, the same store. And so, you could sell that. Well, I had several jewelry coupons and I sold several. And anyhow, when the finals came, I had about a million and a half points. And the next closest, the second one, was about a million. So, I won the piano that sits over in the corner now.
SS: You won a piano?
NS: Yes, that's what it was all about. The winner would win a piano. And it wassitting there in - it was sitting in a store downtown and you could all see it - what you were getting, see what you were looking at. So.. .that's how I got my piano and I a had one if it hadn't been for that because I know my dad was just working at cabinetry work here and there and it took all they had. And sometimes mother would take in washing when she needed a job, you know. Some of her friends that just didn't have - well, had youngsters, big family, and they'd have mother do part of the washing or something like that. Or do some sewing, mother was quite a seamstress. And this, well, Mrs. Anderson was one of them. One of the first ones we got acquainted with when we first came here. Her husband was a barber she just couldn't sew for sour apples. Because when she'd get her - you know, she'd try awfully hard but she just.didn't know how she'd finally wind up with a seam about that big, you know, and then sew through it. And you know, it looked botchy.
SS: So she asked your mother to do the sewing?
NS: So she used to have mother do it. She used to hire mother to do the sewing forher. Both for her, oh, something for herself, and mostly for the kids and all. You know, she tried hard enough, but she/didn't savvy. So.. .that's the story of the piano.
SS: When you were young like - as a young person - with the family not making verymuch money, did you find there were things that you wanted that you couldn't have? That you would have liked?
NS: Oh, yes. There would be plenty of things. But I was satisfied, I knew they couldn'tbe had. I thought, "I'm satisfied with what I got. Go ahead and make something to take it's place." Or something like that. I was never tied up in lamenting about something I couldn't have. I knew folks couldn't buy it. I didn't want it if they had to do without or pinch, you know, to get it. I wasn't interested in it. So, that didn't bother me much. Of course, I thought.well, I could work. We were staying within our means, and then I was always, I don't mean to brag, but I was always about the best dressed kid in the school. Both in Troy - we all went to school down at Troy there, out there where that Spring Valley Road turns. My school house - I say "mine" - was right in that little three cornered place where that little barn sits and the road turns into the highway. There's a little triangle there. That's where our little school house set. It was called Free Coinage, and the kids knicknamed it the three cornered schoolhouse. Instead of Free Coinage.
SS: Why was it called Free Coinage?
NS: I don't know. It was some - it went way back further than my time and I don'tknow.
SS: I wonder if it had to do with free silver and all that they talked about. Theywanted money to be cheap.
NS: I don't know what it was but that was the name of it from the beginning. ButDad came there in 1903.
SS: But you say you were about the best dressed kid there?
NS: I was. And not to brag and nothing we did without but mother was - well, therewas eight children in her family, there was four boys and four girls. Well, they had - the girls all - they weren't elaborate at all but they bought nice things and they could wear them forever and they never had any - never wore them out or couldn't tell. Until they get so tired of them, finally they just rolled up a big bundle and sent them to mother. "Here, make the kids something out of these if you can." And that's how I had such good clothes, because we couldn't afford to buy the material that they had bought for their dresses. And so that's how I had such nice clothes. Because she, mother, was an expert, you might say, sewing. So, that's the story.
SS: She would remake - she'd take dresses and make new ones from them?
NS: Yes. Un-huh. Yes. She would rip them up and make me clbthes that fit me andtailored and looked just as nice as - just right , just direct from the store or something,
SS: Do you think that most of the kids and the kid's families put much emphasison looking good in appearance in schools in those days? Was that very important to many families?
NS: Well, it was just ordinary. It was just that I had nice materials that I didn'tbuy. "the folks didn't buy it, it was all given to me. And somebody would have a - Mrs. Luzelle Musch you met her. Well, you see, her mother was Mrs. Miller, out here and they lived on the homestead when we did. We lived in their little house there while we built the road to our place.
SS: You lived at their house?
NS: Well,they had a little house off from their place and we got that. I don't knowhow it came that they had that place built. I think they kinda batched there themselves while they fixed their own home, or something.
SS: And so that was near your place?
NS: It was right up -in the orchard, oh, maybe as much as a block from Miller'shouse. Three-quarters of a mile from there was our place. And we built our house. We had built a road that went up the hill and turned, a few turns in it. It was kinda a long mile but straight it was about three-quarters of a mile from them.
SS: So, you were starting to say about Luzelle Musch?
NS: Well, her - my dad had met her father, he was the barber in Troy. And theyon those Troy Days, you know, celebrations, they have pictures of the old timers there and her father is on that picture. A big - they have a great big - I've seen it in the window several times I've been down there on the celebration days. And the other fellow, he - that he had an extra barber that worked for him. I told you his name when I wasn't trying too. But anyway, a young fellow, and Dad had met him - had met Mr. Miller and liked him. And they talked a lot. And Dad invited them - he said the Millers hadn't been there for very while. And he said, and he said that his wife wasn't acquainted with anybody or didn't know, you know, they were kinda strangers there. And Dad said, "Well, why don't you come.out to our place some Sunday? And spend the -" We had no way of getting in there, no transportation of any kind. And he said, "Come on and bring the wife out and spend the day, the break^ould do her good." So,he said, oh, he'd just do that some of these days. So, one Sunday, out they came. Mrs. Miller was expecting - she had one little girl about, oh, maybe two years old, something like that, that she - it was this Mrs. Love, Luzelle's sister, was their first child. And she had that one and she was expecting Luzelle at that time, most anytime. It was almost time for her. So that's when I gdtacquainted with Millers. And so...
SS: Did this have to with the sewing somehow?
NS: Well, I was going to say that-
SS: Or the clothes that people wore?
NS: Yes. Oh, I was going to say that this one skirt that Miller gave mother whenshe saw how she did it. *faiey got acquainted and were real good friends and she, I guess, saw some of the things that mother had made for me. And then Edna was just three and a half years younger so there was part of it, you know, that she could use for her. And anything that she couldn't make up for mew3uld probably fit Edna. She could make a few things out of it to fit her. So, and I was just going to say, that I think I a picture around her somewhere with the skirt on that Mrs. Miller gave Mother that time.
SS: Were you living near Troy at that time? When the Millers came and visited?
NS: We lived right there by the schoolhouse. Um-hum, where the Dinsmore Mill was.The Dinsmore Mill, you know, was just up the road, oh, a block maybe. e that turn there and the, well, the mill was named after my uncle, that is my aunts husband my great-aunU The Dinsmore Mill. The Dinsmores were relatives of ours. And then Homer Dinsmore, the son, built the first garage - service station. That service station there that stands just across from the bank. That was - he put that in and run it for years. And he was a one-legged man. He had the misfortune of - well, he got hit with a baseball. And it started trouble and then again, he was going with Florence McGary who homesteaded up right close to where we were. And she was teaching school all around in different areas, at that time. She was a wonderful teacher too. And -say do have pictures of any of those people,- Why a lot of them I have.
NS: I was going to say - it made me think of her - I have her picture when she wasteaching, you know. Some photos and her husband.
SS: You say^he got hit with a baseball and his leg started getting bad?
NS: Yah. And then he went - she was teaching i then up to Helmer or someplace orother,up in that area. And he was to living out there at the mill, you see, with his folks. And he was about twenty-one, I think, or nineteen or twenty - something like that. And he used to drive up there with his horse - his team and buggy. And on the; way back, coming back there from her place, he had to get out and open the gate there at the Dry Creek Mill. Do you know where that is? Well, that's other cousins were living tnere. They were running the other mill, the Dry Creek Mill. And so he got out of it and he got back in the buggy and cut his toe on that little round step. And it slipped off and hit him on the knee again. And from then on he had trouble with it. And it got so it hurt so bad he'd just finally be limping on it. And he was active, he was a and he would - oh, just a minute. No, it's not on. He would start - oh, excuse me, on the front or something like that and we'd all get into a row. You know, playing and chasing each other around or something, and one'd do some dirty trick, you know, play some prank on the other one. And then they'd get it and the other one take after him. You know, that's always - there was a whole bunch of us young kids, you know, when I was there visiting at that time. And so, when he - so I remember he - when he'd, instead of walk down the steps, he'd just leap over, you know, and go on. That was his style. Or he'd get to the fence, maybe he'd jump over and he - I know I was there one day when he jumped off the porch. Oh, it was I guess, it wasn't any higher than this. But he jumped off onto the grass and started to go somewhere and that fr him and he just curled up in pain and agony, it just hurt so bad. But he wouldn't do anything with it. They wanted him to go to the doctor when he was limping around. Nope, he wasn't going to go to any doctor. So..
SS: Why not?
NS: Well, he just wasn't one that liked the doctors and he didn't want to be pettedor doctored at all. Like lots of men. I know, most of 'em have to be ready to diekbefore you can get them to a doctor. Like that one in there. But he's getting over that now. He's glad to see the doctor occasionally. But ...
SS: So,he finally lost it?
NS: Well, finally they got him to go to the doctor then, after that. He was havingreal pain most all the time. He want up there. It was tuberculois had set in, under the knee cap. And so, they decided it had to be amputated. And soon, Dr. Carflthers was running the hospital in Moscow there - it was before Gritman's time. And he was in the hospital and they decided - they checked the leg and they said, "That will have to come off." And Homer balked, said no one was going to take his leg off. I f he was going to die, he'd die all in one piece. And he wasn't going to have that leg taken off, he just couldn't imagine himself running around with one leg, you know. And he didn't know much about it. So they were going to take it off, up to there. And they operated anyhow, but first they tried to scoop out that material, you know, that had formed under there. And they said you could just rake it out with your fingers. And, well they tried that first but when they opened up the bandages to inspect it, why it had gone wild. And they'd thought they'd take it off, but they come to investigate it was taken off clear up, t think, four inches from the hip. Four or six. And he had - but they had an awful time. All of his relatives and everybody coaxed him and pleaded with him to have that removal. And he was determined though. He didn't want to, but finally - and then this girl he was going with all the time —he had said that would have ended him and Florence, ' cause he wasn't going to marry - they were engaged - and he wasn't gonna be hobbling around or hippty-hop, or something like that. He thought the^K or kinda of a nickname that some of them used to use.
SS: Hop-a-long? you know.
NS: Well, yes, something like that, He was always - he was afraid that "Here comesOld Hippy" or something, you know. Or Hoppy-go- handsome.
NS: But they finally - and then she coaxed him too. He had said he wouldn't haveanything further to do with Florence after that. He didn't want to - he'd really be disgracing her and she was a fine girl and she was a smart girl and he didn't want her tied to an old foggy-hopjlike her was going to be, in that case. And she begged and pleaded with him to have that. She said maybe that would turn out and there's lots of people running around with one that are very important people. So she finally convinced him and so then they finally did - he decided then to let them go ahead and operate. And they cut that leg off. But she was sincere about it and all and so finally, they were - after he got well and all - then he kinda began to get over his shyness about that leg, and he had, I think it was - well, I don't know what. It was in the summer time, but anyhow, that was removed and his family ordered him the best artificial that they could locate fenywhere. It was, I don't know, several hundred dollars that they had to give for that leg to - And then he wore it there for a while and walked around with it at home there some. And boy, he looked like aA he was a handsome fellow anyway - and witty as could be. So he finally decided on Sunday he was goin g to go on up to the Dry Creek Mill.
Go and see and Jenny.
NS: and Jenny. They lived there - were Moscow residents - live right there on Thirdand -what's that street second from Main?
SS: Ah, Adams?
NS: No. Not Adams. I think it begins with an A though.
SS: It doesn't matter.
NS: Well, anyway, that's where they lived in Moscow.
NS: They did move later. But at that time they lived up at the Dry Creek Mill. Andhe was going to up and see them. He had to go and, you know, show off. He was getting along, you know, so good. And he was walking on that leg and it just looked like there wasn't a thing the matter with him. So he rode up - he was quite a horseback rider. And prim as you please, he was fussy. And so he stradled his horse and started out for Dry Creek. And he rode up there and back. But on his trip up there, his stump - his leg - well, the riding with that saddle had caused a rub - well, there's someone. Just a minute. You want to turn off your machine?
Someone: Hi, Nell.
NS: Hi.Someone: Here's the I borrowed from Marvin. I'll bring it back.
NS: OK. Thank you.
Someone: OK. Tell him "Thanks a lot."
NS: You mean Wayne?
NS: You mean Wayne?
Someone: Ah, Wayne. Yah. I said Marvin.
NS: Un-huh. I thought you meant Wayne.
Someone: Yah, I know.
NS: OK. Thanks.
SS: So he was riding along and his stump was rubbing the -
NS: He didn't realize it and all. But I think it rubbed him - destroyed, you know,- injuried the - agitated that thing someway or another. And he would never put that leg on again. And that ended that career. And he went around with one crutch and - and later on he got to be a man. But he always used that from that time on. And he was only twenty-one years old.
SS: You mean, did he use a peg-leg at all or just a crutch? One crutch?
NS: Un-uh. He used a crutch and he would get around faster on that crutch than youand I could on three of them.
SS: What happened with him and Florence?
NS: Well, this wasn't so very long until they were married. And they were happyas you please, you know. And he finally got over his shyness, you know,and finally did realize it could be done and he made the best of it. And then they finally had - she went on teaching and they had a baby boy. And he now is in with the Washington, Water-Power Company in Spokane. And a fine fellow.
SS: So she loved him and it didn't matter to her?
NS: No. She said it didn't matter to her because he was the same Homer that shealways had And so he - well, that's the way their story goes but what was
SS: must of been really hard for him to adjust. I can imagine it must have^ough.
NS: It was because he was one of these proud fellows. He was always spic and spanand proud as a peacock. And well, he just couldn't see himself hobbling around on one leg. And - he finally got over that. And after he built that - after they were married and I guess, when the baby was small,they - he built that service station, or had it built, anyway, In fact, that was the first that was in Troy and it was quite a thing at the time. They were all so proud of that and I saw a big write-up in the paper one time about the first service station in Troy. They had a write-up. I think I have the paper somewhere. And, anyhow, he kept on with that one crutch, you know, and he had it reinforced until it was a big stump - you know, that big at the bottom and all fixed to suit his case. And he'd gotten kind of heavy by that time. And as went along, he got to be quite a heavy man, he must have weighed - oh - a hundred and sixty-five or seventy-five, maybe. But even with the one leg. And so as he - whenever he'd stop at the service station or someone would drive in he'd go "Hi, there!" You know, he'd come out a "hi-ing" and a laughing and always greetrthem., you know. And while he was a-cleaning the windshield, he was a-telling 'em a story. And then they'd let - the paper said something about they don't think anybody ever drove away from his station that wasn't laughing. he was just kind of a clown anyway,/and he was just full of pep and ginger. And he was full of tricks and stories and things, you know, to make people laugh, you know.
SS: Ohb of things that you mentioned when we were talking before that I wasthinking about was you said that when you first came to Bovill here that there was me, girls that you were going to school with - that there was some jealously.
SS: And I was wondering what they were jealous of. You told me they weren'tthat sharp and the teacher sort of favored them, but why were they jealous?
NS: Well, I guess they were average but they were petted. She made a pet ofthem, she just took a fancy to them. And she kind of made pets of them. But she thought they were^ery brilliant, so very smart and all, but they were just average. Good, I guess, good average kids as far as books concerned but their manners were rather poor and, well, - Firstl began to go parties and they - a young fella that lived here in town with - lived with his sister there. And he took a fancy to me some way or other. And paid more attention to me, and she liked him, -t'he older girl. And so she wlways was throwing up something to me - throwing him up to me, you know, and all. Well, I didn't have any strings on him. I thought he was nice and treated me nice. Oh, there's another
SS: She it up to you but ?
NS: I don't know, it just - I went ahead pretty much with my own business andI had my studies to keep doing., you know. And I decided I didn't like to quarrel with her, or have any words with her but she moved her seat and sit behind us then, the two of 'em. She had her sister, the same as me and my sister. They were about the ages to compare. And she - they moved their seat then so they were sitting right behind Edna and I. Elsie and Althea were their names. And so, and then they'd sit there and chuckle - pssst,psst - you know, and whispering - psst. And you couldn't study to save your neck. They always. as loud as they could andk a whisper, and the teacher just let them talk. And then every once in a while they'd bring in his name, Perry's name. Ano^then something about me. Something about I was running after Perry or Perry was running after me. Or that she was going to beat my time or something. Oh, I don't know, just any little silly thing would set them off, but anyhow I wasn't interested because well, we were good friends but we were just everyday acquaintances. And it got so that afterwards he would come by and pick me up on the nights we'd go to - when we'd go to parties. he took the whole family. And they'd all gather and go on to somebody's house and each one would come and bring their family. old — If they had babies, why they took them in the bedroom and them in the bed and let them go to sleep. And they'd play games and had music. My folks they had the piano by that time and then Dad played the violin and I played guitar. And my sis played the mandolin so we had music. And then some of the boys, they played the harp. And we'd just have a grand old time. Lots of fun. Old time fiddling contest, you might aay. Would Kave o\d time pieces, and all that they'd play.
SS: Was there a lot of difference - was there much difference, W, between theget-togethers in Bovill here with the way they had them in the country on the homestead? Was there much of a difference between the kind of entertainment?
NS: Well, nothing at the homestead.
SS: Oh, I thought you said before how the fellas used to come in the next dayall...
NS: They did, - that is - but we didn't have any parties.
SS: Wasn't any parties.
NS: Nothing like that. But they would just come in/andwe knew they were comingprobably. Maybe they would be back the next Saturday and maybe they wouldn't be.
SS: It was more just visiting, than a party.
SS: Well, in Bovill here, these parties - you talked to me about them before - didpeople get together for - would they go way into the night and that kind of thing?
NS: Oh, it would, they would, probably maybe eleven - twelve o'clock, maybe.
That's about all. They'd break up. Some of them might be working, you know, and...
SS: Were they all people who were close friends? How did the group form thatwould get-together?
NS: Well, they just got acquainted with all our neighbors and so it got to be ahabit. Then we having the meeting next' or "come to our house next Saturday night" or something like that. And that's about all there was to it. That meant everybody.
SS: So it was all of the neighbors, everybody.
NS: Un-huh. Everybody that wanted to come, why just.that many more and thatmuch more fun. And they played all those silly games, you know, that they used to play so much. Spin the pan - spin the bottle and then they even had to even play Post Office. And all those games.
SS: Do you think - did much competition among the girls for the young men orwas there such a thing?
NS: No. There didn't seem to be much except this one. He seemed to be kind ofa prize or something and this girl wanted him and she was - oh, I don't know, I don't know, she was just - she wasn't particularly - well - what is it I want to say She wasn't one that wasparticularly appealing to people. She had kind of a rude way with her, sometimes. Kind of hauctty way but she kinda had boys on the mind. And I didn't. Well, I and we came to the party, you know, just as friends, and all. But she didn't come to that party hardly ever.
SS: Were young women supposed to be quite reserved? And...
SS: There weren't rules like that for ..?
NS: No, there weren't. We^all kind a like homefolks. We home folkstogether. And we just had - I know that - and this one fella, he just socialable like he'd meet ya and walk down the street with ya. You know, and that's the way we went together. And he was just a wonderful person. Anyhow, and he lived just about the second door from us with his sister
-did he ft?
Someone: Got the medicine him but that's it. I had to open his mouth to makehim take it.
NS: So I'd go along with him and he finally got so he'd come after me. And we'dbe going maybe nextdoor, maybe two-three doors away or whatever it was. It was mostly that group in that end of town, was mostly what it took in. So, it was the Hayes and the Rogers and the Smiths and, I don't know, quite a few of those. One of mygirlfriends at school was Florence Smith, whe was Mrs. George Wiley. That's another one you could see. And - if you happened to be down at Deary - I mean, at Lewiston. She used to live in Deary and her husband was George Wiley. He was, I believe, the postmaster there in Deary for a while and now he's - he was an awfully nice kid. A real pal. 70o He was just a good, straight, honest, One day, well, we were all standing around - it was during recess. It was early morning recess- that was when we were in nineth grade. And Florence and George, and myselfand, I don't know, a few there. But we were standing around there and I think maybe we were all talking. And pretty soon we decided, some of them had left their lunches or something. And was one of these tin boxes of wafers - these suga^kind, you know. Sugar wafers. And George said - "Well," - or somebody said, "Lets sample those let's have a lunch," you know, and they were all laughing. And we ate those wafers, most of them anyhow. And then we said, "Well,hthat kind of spoils things. Now we're - how we going to get out of that?" And he said, "Well, we'll all chip in and pay for that." And he said, "No, you won't. I had the idea to do this." And so he paid for the wafers, told the teacher that we had eaten those wafers and offered to pay for them. I don't think the teacher took any pay but that's what we figured he had brought that for his lunch. And I never did forget that, we -all kids - had to eat those wafers. And it wasn't as if we were starved a"t all, and it was only recess.
SS: Was it his lunchbox?
NS: I think it was in his, un-huh. It was wWde — he probably didn't bringanything but that. But I think he was going to eat it for his lunch. We always figueed he was, anyway. And after we got it eaten,why, we said we've got to do something about that. We wanted to all go and tell him- -Pess. up,We wanted to tell him that we had eaten them and George said, "No. I'll go, I'll tell him." for the rest of us. It was alright with the teacher. He just laughed and thought it was a big joke. But that was the kind of guys/chummed around with.
SS: You know, when you talk about the dances and that kind of thing, what aboutthe people who were on Bug Row, the people who were the well-to-do? would be on
NS: That was up in the other end of town. That up where Howell's Roomingup there is, you know.? That was the hospital, af-feer it was built there. was built for a hospital. But anyhow,the people- T.P.Jones, the woods superintendent he was. And well, them and the banker and his wife, banker Nilson - and oh, I don't know, there was quite a lot of them, kind a stuck-ups a little bit. The lived up in that end of town. But we were just the common folks. We all had a.
SS: Like they wouldn't get together with you down here? There wasn't that kindof mixing?
NS: No, they didn't. They didn't mix with us. were just - and then lateron they had what they called, well, five Hundred club. They used to play five hundred and then it got to be kind of pooling one way or another. The ones that liked to play bridge or whist, you know, they kind of had a club of their own. And they didn't want to associate with, They called the other bunch, oh, some funny name, just a -kinda a hick name.
NS: Well, something like that, you know, which was - but I can't think of thename of it. vAnyhow, it finally got divided so it was the bigger bunch than the other group. They didn't like the - the lower bunch didn't like the other bunch as well. And the others were - it was just mutual. The other group didn't like the - oh, razamataz kids, or whatever they called somebody. I I can't think of the name now. But anyway, we didn't let it bother. They met someplace after they got the meeting out, you know, and playing cards or something. That was in later years, why, they had separate meeting nights and got along all right, but some of them got a little bit slighted because they could play bridge, you know, and play what the others played^ and they weren't asked to join the club. They said they thought they were just a little bit snooty, you But most of us didn't care. had enough fun of our own in their own group. But it was just a little bit - when it came to the parties or the gathering - it just kind of a little bit aside from- they had things of their own. But now when it came to mingling with them through town or some kind of- something's going on for everybody to be interested in now, why they were sociablet The bunch were.
SS: Were card clubs mostly - were they mostly for the people who were the Bug...?
SS: The Bontons?
SS: - mostly for them? Were they the ones?
NS: No, it was just some of them that decided they could have a little club oftheir own because they liked to play bridge, you know. Now bridge wasn't as common then as pinochle or something likejito them. Most all of them could play some kind of card game or - the common games. But they didn't go so much for five hundred or pit - no,no,I mean - five hundred or whist. Or - what is that other I named?
NS: Bridge. Now something like that was their game.
SS: I see. Where as the more - the ordinary folks were likely to play pinochleand that kind of game.
NS: Um-hum, yes. And hearts and, yoh, you know, any kind of games, justcommon games. And I don't think I played any of them because I didn't know how.
SS: The people who were on Bug Row.. .did they call it Bug Row, by the way?
NS: Oh, no. They called it the bontons or the muck-mucks or hightones, youknow, - some of the bunch when they were speaking of them sometimes they might be a little bit nasty about it, they'd call 'em that.
SS: Well, how did the people know that these folks thought of themselves asbeing muck-flt-mucks and ?
MS: Well, I guess it didn't bother much, they thought, well, theywere where they wanted to be. They had the things/they wanted them to be and pay no attention to it.
SS: I mean is how did they know that these upper-crust people thought they wereupper-crust - in those days?
SS: I mean,these days it'd be you'd have a Cadillac or you'd have a fancy house.I mean, was it...
NS: Oh, well they probably had a big - they had all mostly large houses there andpretty nice furniture and pretty well fixed up. And the rest of 'em, well, they were very common but they - most of 'em had things real comfortable and ordinary.
SS: Yah. Well, did these well fixed people actually talk down to people a littlebit?
NS: No, I don't - don't seem toTike they did. Oh, sometimes I suppose theymade remarks about the - Rinky-Dinks, that's who they were, when they got their card clubs.
SS: The Rinky Dinks were the people who were the common people?
NS: Yes. Un-huh. So they called them the five Hundreds and the Rinky Dinks.
SS: You say - I mean I just wonder how somebody who thinks he's superiorshows it to somebody who he thinks he's better than. I mean that's a -
NS: Well, they kind a splurged - they kinda dressed kind a foxy, you know,kinda elaborate. And we all - the Rinky Dinks - kind a thought it was kind a foolish to strut around dressed up in a burg like this, but they, I guess, they liked -that was there way of doing. But then, I guess, they just took it for granted they stayed within their , each one, kind a minded their own business. But,yet We'd all go to some kind of something that was going on for everybody. And they were nice neighbors , you know, but they just did - the social clubs and all, they kind a made a separation. Now Mrs. Ellison was in the social group and Mrs. Nelson, and all, but they were just the nicest people you ever saw just to meet them on the street and all. I know they were always awfully nice to me.
SS: Were they mostly management people and the business people of the town?Is that who they were?
NS: No. There was quite a few/that way. It was the banker, as I said, andthe doctor's wife and , oh, who all was it?
SS: The logging bosses? The foremen?
NS: Yes. Mrs. Jones and the -^^ the more uppity Bontons, that werethat way, part of them. But, I don't think any of them really snubbed them exactly, the other. But doing things like that, we just kinda each one took his own path and
thought nothing of it. But when something unusual was going on and everybody'sbusiness and all, why, we all mingled and there was always a meeting on the street when they'd stop and talk to you - and they'd talk and chat, you know. just all nice common people. That card party kinda got - tried to make a split between 'em, but it didn't bother them any.
SS: Were those the people who were more likely to be interested in politics andthat kind of thing too? I wonder if they were the ones who were the politicians and were trying to get in ... ?
NS: I don't think there were any of them here were really running for anyoffices or anything like that. But - and I never paid much attention to it, because I didn't care much about politics but I can't remember that they ever let politics get too deep into them. Now then, we were speaking about Mrs. Krier and Mrs. Murphy, and some of those. Now they were in that group. Now, the - oh, I don't know, later might have been in the other group, but they came from the east - Minnesota , I think it was - and so they were in the group with our parties that we had. And, I don't know, I guess that. the° folks kinda made it their business to invite those people to all their nice parties, you know, because their father'or their husbands or somebody could make it with the Potlatch jobs - that is the better jobs, the boss jobs or something like that.
SS: I think Mrs. Fi sher was probably in that group too, some.
NS: Well, she was later, when she started teaching. She taught here for -well, she'd been teaching for, I don't know how - I think, pretty near twenty years. And she taught all the way from the primary clear up to high school. First one grade than another. And somebody would say, "Well, if your kid goes to school Fisher, he'll either know something or else he can'taget it She'll pound it into him. He'll know something when she gets through with him." She was -
SS: She had a very good reputation as a teacher.
NS: Yes. They said that she set right down on them. And if they didn't getsomething,you had to have an awful good reason why you didn't.
SS: I wanted to ask you about - I heard that there's a story that goes along withwhen you and Ernie got married and went on your honeymoon. What's that? I never have heard anything about that.
NS: I think that was all in that book that - "The Trees Grew Tall".
NS: Have you ever had that?
SS: Yah, I've read that. I don't remember it in there, but -
NS: Well, I don't know if that's in it or not but he got everything like that hecould from us, but we were going to be married. I don't know whether - who started that. Whether Ernie had suggested it or whether it was one of his brother's wife's sister - lived in St. Maries. They called her Aunt Sadie. And so, her name was Sadie Fielding - they lived up there. And it might be that she said, "Hey, when you going to get married?" or something. And "Well, come on up to my place and use my house for a night." You know, she might have - I don't know, something like that might have been the trouble starter ot it or maybe - he just might have said, "Aunt Sadie,how about we come up and see you?" or something, you know. I don't how that part - but anyhow, it was arranged that we would go to St. Maries and be married at Aunt Sadie's. So we went down and caught the train down here, I think at four o'clock in the afternoon. It was a passenger train then. And so, we - it wasn't bad, I think, —. it was kind of a dull day if I remember right. Kind of cloudy, or something, but anyhow, we caught the train at four and his brother and/wife and their little girl - she was three - went with us there. And we started out andifound the road to the railroad into St. Maries. And when we got up to Clarkia or Fernwood, I think it's just near Clarkia, and that's only twelve - fifteen miles from here. And they got up there and we were stopped. And it was a log train off the track, they had a logger had gone up ahead of us. It spilled off some logs and the track and there we sat. So, all we could do was sit there and wait til they got it fixed. So we sat there for a couple of hours or more, and I don't know how long they had been working on that wreck before we ever went up that way or knew anything about it. But we got there and that's what we found. And/always from home. And so we waited and waited and finally they got things patched up, so they let us by. And we were suppose to be married at eight o'clock up there so then by that time it was pouring rain, just a-pouring it down. And/Sadie and Uncle Will had been down the depot to meet us at eight o'clock and we weren't there. And they said that it'd be delayed quite a while, they told them at the depot then what had happened. Well, they come back after a while, another few minutes or half hour or something, they'd come back through that rain and meet us again and we weren't there. So we didn't get in there til about ten o'clock, something like that. And in the pouring down rain and when we got there, the minister had been waiting at her place for quite a while then, to marry us. And anyhow, he said, "I'll just have to go." He said, "I can't wait any longer," because he had promised to marry another couple up in the other end of town and it was time for their appointment then. So, he said, "Well, tell the folks if they want to wait till this performance is over that I'll be back." And so we waited around after we got - after we got down there to their place, so we had to wait a while then till he got his performance done the other couple. And then he came back to us. Then, so that, I don't know, there was somebody else that —
SS: "Ernie and Nell. Our wedding bells - June 18, 1913"
NS: Well, I just found this again - this thing was lost and I was justhaving fits about it because the - because I was so proud of it and I keptyso good. And, now then, and then it finally came to light. I don't know what that is. Something I wanted to keep, I guess. Yes\ Hve^s our jptcu^vrc .
SS: Um-hum. Lovely wedding picture. Why did you decide on St. Mariesinstead of Bovill?
NS: Well, I don't know. Well, there wasn't any place that - oh, let'ssee. That's a play we were in in later years.
SS: A play in Bovill?
NS: Oh, yes. We had hometown plays/levery once in a while, a bunch of usthat chummed together.
SS: What play was this?
NS: Oh, we had several of them. It's the "Great and"Biscuits and Bills" and I don't/the nam® of them were. But, now this is Marvin, this is Now this is the second generation, see after had grown up. And we've had and I know was up in a balconey, it was supposed to be. They fixed a balconey. And that was from - then
SS: I sure did know him.
NS: Well, now, he's one of the oldtimers and he's full of AeVi 1 , you know.He'd - he sang, he had a part in it. And he had said something about - he was singing to me, you know, and then I said, "Please, I'll come down in a I'll come down in" And then he - then I don't know how it all went, but anyhow that was that part of it, and it all turned out funny in the long run. Then another one, another play was "The Great Winners Mine." And I was supposed to be a little school girl
SS: The Great what?
NS: And I was a little school girl that was staying with this old farmer and hisfamily and going to school - working for my board. And then Ernie's nephew, Bill Smith, was - and he was a great pal of mine and he was sweet as could be. He passed away now. And he was supposed to be a school boy that was - he was working for his board and doing the chores all around and going to school. And, of course, he had a crush on me.
END OF SIDE B
NELL SMITH: And that John McGary - I don't know if you'veheard of McGary Butte out here? - well, was him. And he was supposed to be the city slicker, you know, til he came along. And he was, of course, making a play for me to gather information/about this farmer's place. He'd heard there was a mine on it, and so he was being nice to me, you know, to get what information he could. And that made Bill mad, you know, he was just - didn't like him at all. And he'd do everything he could everytime he'd see me talking to him and all. And so, one time he came in just in time and Bill went - he planned it in this play - and he went and opened the lid to a box or something and he says, "Sick-em", and his dog jumped out thejj^and ran off- chased him clear across the stage and, boy ! Andflone of the fellas, Hollenbeck,-well, he was a wacky over inventions, and so he said he invented a good invention, he says, "You just lift up the lid and chuck in a hunk of beef or pork and turn a crank and out comes all And that speel, everytime it would seem funny, that same speel And so...
SS: Was it a real dog that jumped out?
SS: Did the dog chase him?
SS: The dog was trained to do that?
NS: Yes. And Bill brought his dog there, you know, and he had known, Sick-em"
SS: It was Bill's dog?
NS: Un-huh. And he chased John then. Took them off...
SS: And that play?
NS: Yah. So, we used to have real good plays. And then we had the "01d Maids'invention", here. And,we11, that was riot. They offered - didn't was a big crowd but - and they offered, I don't know, double or something, - a dollar a pair - or a dollar a ticket,anyhow, at first, I think. Anyhow, they offered us extra if we'd put it on again the next day or two. So..
SS: You did?
NS: No, I don't think we put it on again. Then we put on another one later on.
SS: So what was the "Old Maids' Convention" about? That sounds like a prettygood one.
NS: It was just all women, there. And each member having called a bigconvention. And all these old maids came and well, one of them was a woman, I guess, she was about eight feet awfully tall woman - and they called her - her name was Tiny Short. And oh, then all of them had crazy names like that. And then I was Rebecca Stout, I think it was, something like that. And they were all there to work ways and plans and means of getting a husband. They were all working to get a husband. One had a way and an idea and then another one. And they were trying to decide what all to do about them. And then each one had to get up and make her speech about what they thought would be the best way and all. And finally they, the one - well, I think that was well, that was another lay , I guess. Well, anyhow, one play©itherin that play or in another one that we had, and these girls or ladies were supposed to be made over because they just didn't seem to be very attractive or something. So we were going to put them, - he had a big invention and so he put them into this cabinet and now he asked them all their ages and everything like that but he cautioned them that they mu6t tell the truth or sometimes it was distastorous. So, he put this one in there and then they had to turn the crank for a little while a few times- and she'd come out whatever this wonderful girl that she wanted to be, you know. All dressed up and it was just another person that was ready and dressed for that. And then one of them, she wanted to be - he'd ask what she wanted to be when they went in there, and so she wanted to be twins. And so they got her all fixed in, but she - they turned this machine on and all and pretty soon,why,out walked these two little short girls, you know, all frilly little dressed, tip-toe around. The twins, and another one, the one woman, she just couldn't resist about her age. She didn't want to tell that. So they put her in the machine and turned it and pretty soon all the tin cans and glass and stuff came rattling down in the thing. I've forgotten what she turned out to be, how the rest of it - I don't think - it was just an awful clatter and an awful noise. She didn't tell the truth about her age.
SS: Oh, I see. This wasn't the "Old Maids' Convention", this was another play?
NS: I don't remember, it's been so long since I - I don't remember how much -we put on so many of them that I don't remember just which one was which.
SS: Whether it was part of the same play or not?
SS: Do you remember what your favorite part was that you ever played?
NS: Yes. I remember most of those. Well, it was when I was a little girlgoing to school, I made me a wig of rope and raveled it all out and fixed the - dyed it, black dye. And then I had great long braids on each side, braids,and tied with a big red ribbon and all. And was just, oh, just like a school girl. So.. .and then the one time, the "01d Maids' Convention", we had it up at the church. And I don't know that was the same as the part of the replay of the one we had down at the hall or whether it wasn't. But anyhow, I think it was a different one But anyhow, I was dressed up as a very snippy, hightoned, lady and I was dressed in my feather hat on - big velvet hat and a feig feather in it and I don't know all the trinkets and - someplace or other they^ot that picture. I think Mary Fisher has it. And I was up there at coming down the back steps the church and they caught my picture just as I came down the steps. They were taking pictures of the different ones. But I was kinda...
SS: Who usually put these plays together? How did they ever get going?
NS: Well, it was Bill Smith mostly. Well, it was Bill and his uncle, that's Billand Perd.
SS: Perd Hughes?
NS: Yah. You,
SS: I know of him.
NS: Well was his uncle and his sister, Mabel, that's my chum and...
SS: What about the - I heard that the Parker boy was quite an actor.
NS: Oh,you mean Parker - he was professional. And he traveled all through theEast Orient and all. fiuite a while with a troupe. And he was, well, just professional. When he was speaking he was just real good. He - well, he, he took his training, he studied in Moscow at the University of Idaho for a while. But anyhow, when he got through he signed up with this company and they were glad to get him. He was just real good. But the trouble with him, he drank. And in the long run, I guess, he met his Waterloo in Spokane down on Skid-row. But he was awfully nice and smart as a whip but just couldn't let liquor alone.
SS: I heard that he - that during the winter sometimes he'd come back here andrest and recuperate and he'd get involved in plays here.
NS: Yes, that's true. One play that - oh, a couple of plays/that I saw when hecame back. But, oh not real named. And Mrs. Harkins lived over on that street near us and then next door to us and she said and one of them was - anyhow, she took the part, she was the only leading lady. She must of been fifty or more and anyhow, she was kinda dressed.in old grey. And she was always talking about her patent medicine. And everybody she talked to she always had somethingAabout - advising about her patent medicine. Well, it was very good plays we had picked. And one of them, I was - just Bill and I put on a skit in between changes of scenery. And so, there 's just three months difference in Bill's age and mine, we were just - we just sitA behind the other in school. Thought as much of him as I did my brother, pretty near. And anyhow, he was supposed to be this young married couple like we were. And he was the man and I was the wife,and I didn't know anything, it seems like. That I was just green and he called, I think,overthe phone and why I was sitting and what all have for dinner, or something. And so I got up there with the recipe book and -well, there you had two eggs and I was brealdngthem into the container and then and I just put in the two eggs, I think, and didn't break them, I think, just dumped them in and let them break themselves. And I had, oh, I don't know, whatever it was. Oh, it was salt and it didn't say how much so I just dumped in a cup full of salt. And, that's the way the recipe went and - you - oh! - nobody could have eaten it but I didn't know how to cook bu^ I was trying to fix him a nice dinner.
SS: And he was talking to you over the phone?
NS: Well, he had called, I think, over the phone or something. Anyhow, Ihad promised to fix him a nice dinner. I was gonna surprise him and fix him -
SS: Was he giving you instructions on how to cook on the phone or were you - ?
NS: Well, they had - someone had told me to do it and I had a book there -cookbook there to look into and it wasn't - whatever it said why, it plenty rr allowance, you know, for people who knew how to cook, you know. And so I didn't suppose anything. And I was going to bake teacakes for supper - dinner. And so it said - well, it didn't say how much tea to put in so I just dumped in a bunch of tea and all. Oh, I don't know, all kinds of crazy things like that. And then finally, I mixing it with my hands and I had it all over both hands. And I didn't know how to get it off and I started to cry and ...
SS: Got it all over your face?
NS: Yes. And then he came home and I was just in tears and in an awful fix.And finally we decided to go out to dinner. And she called her dad and told him she just wanted to come home to mother again. . in the long run my dad sent us a check and patched things all up. We got started again. It was just a little quick thing, uou know.
SS: Was it - had you made up the skit? Did you and ...?
NS: No. It was just a little short play,that had just two people, you know. Justone that we picked fills.
SS: And you say Leo was real active in those plays? Huh?
SS: Leo was real active in those plays?
NS: Yes,he was.
SS: He was quite a funny fellow, wasn't he?
NS: Huh-huh. He was just full of life and pep and - oh - all the time. And healways had something to say. I don't remember all the things just
SS: Well, you remember the ...
NS: One time I was the dressmaker, I was supposed to be the dressmaker ofthe town. And, I know, kind of a leading part.
SS: Did the plays, do you think, give the people - give a lot of people a changeto really perform and get up on the stage, entertain the town?
NS: Well, it so many of them. It was just our bunch, we got starteddoing them. And our bunch would get together with another play and start. I could tell one story that I don't like. No, I won't put it on here though.
SS: Maybe you could tell it without using the names. If it's a good story xbot^hcuj
NS: No, it isn't a very good one and I'd just as soon nobody'd know that. It was- I guess, I'd better leave that sometime for...
SS: Here - just tell me (break)
When you and - newlyweds in those days, when you were young, when theyfirst got married, did most of them have a lot of learning to do?
SS: On how to get along with each other and on how to make a go of life? Were...?
NS: Well, I think they were more settled, a little bit. Well, now some ofthem get along all right now. And yet some of them -a few have had some of that training in school, you know. Some of these home ec's and all those things. Now they've taken sewing in school, they've taken cooking and they've got quite a little start. But what we had, at that time, our mother taught us. And we knew how to wash dishes and how to cook spuds and things and we knew all those things. And mother'd leave them for us to do sometimes. "Now you make a salad and I'll do this." And we just learned as we grew up. And I don't£Umk that they were so much different in some ways. There's a bunch that are the same and there's a bunch that are different. Now ^ both times, it seems like. Part of them are - that do know how to get along. I was just raised in a common family and we had work to do. Most of the people, and especially if they had large families, they generally give the kids a job and they were supposed to do it. And they generally saw to it that they did. I don't know, the kids - well, in those days now, in the beginning in those days when we used to have those parties and all, well, now - today you talk about a popcorn party or something, you know, kids aren't interested, "no-no" They want a car. They want to go tear around in a car. Well, they act a little'snotty-tude' they want to spike some punch or something. They got to do different. Well, we didn't have any of that. Sometimes we would have - season permitted - cider and - but we used to have popcorn, you know. Pop up a whole dishpan-ful of popcorn and have that and maybe popcorn balls And maybe another time we'd have a big dishpanful of apples and then - I remember one particular night we had a taffypull. And some of them didn't know anything about it and they were pulling taffy and they didn't get it - and down it goes,a big chunk of it on the floor. And they'd make such a mess. But they all had a lot of fun.
SS: Well, do you think that family, in those days, was more stable - when youwere getting married? Were husband and wife really married - were they closer more likely to stay together, or does that make - is that a good question?
NS: Well, I don't know. It seems like that you didn't hear of so manydivorces. Course there's more people now,too. But you didn't hear of so many divorces. You get married now and then maybe in three weeks, you get a divorce. And -
SS: Well, I think about how about you and Ernie knew each other for yearsand years before you got married and I would think that you'd get to know each other pretty well that way before you ever did get married.
NS: Yes, and I knew he had lots of faults and I suppose he knew that I had sometoo, probably. You usually can't see your^faults as well as you can the other fellow's. But, anyhow. And to tell the long and short of it, when we were going together there, you know, a little while,we'd known each others habits and ways quite a lot, but anyhow, when we did get married, his folks - now by that time his sister had moved here from South Missouri, and she had a large family, and then there was his brother and his family from Missouri, and it got to be quite a bunch of his relatives around here. So when we got married, most all of them said, "Aw, you just wait. I'll give him six months, and that's as long as it'll last. Give them six months till it will be all over with." And I said I'd like to see some of 'em back now again.
SS: Why do ^ou think they thought you weren't going to last?
NS: Well, because he had such a rotten temper and disposition and he was sofussy and he'd been humored to death.
SS: He'd been what?
NS: Spoiled rotten. And so - And most of 'em kinda catered to him rather than -Hhave him a jawing and, well, I didn't. I was cool and calm and took things in stride. Tried not - I tried to get along. But I spen.1, I thin^the first year or so of my marriage crying half the time. But then, I guess that went along and helped it anyhow. I was I am yet. And so wherf anything would go wrong, I'd spend time crying. I got over it. But anyhow -
SS: What would Ernie do when you'd cry?
NS: Well, he'd be gone to work probably by that time and he didn't - hewasn't one that ever know till after he'd say a lot of dirty, mean stuff or mean and ornery to me and all - he wasn't the guy that would come and apologize. That just wasn't in his book. Apology would have inade a -made a wonderful lot of difference to me - it would have just kinda patched all that up in a little while. If he had just at least come to me and said he was sorry or he made a mistake or something - but nope, he wouldn't do that. So -
SS: But you knew when you married him that this was the kind of guy he was?
NS: Yah, I knew. Of course, I thought I'd make him over, like a lot of thegirls do. But, I don't know, maybe I needed some making over too, . I couldn't see it But, anyhow, that's what his folks said, "We just give them six months." Because they knew what a disposition he had. And he's kind ^ overbearing and all, you know, and all.
SS: Can you remember, it hasn't been so long since I got married myself andI'm wondering, can you remember in those days what the kind of things would be that would upset a wife?
NS: Well, I don't know. Some of 'em still hang on, I guess. But he used tomake a remark about cooking maybe he didn't mean, about something I - I know the first few weeks, I guess, after I was married or the first month or so, why, he said, "I wish you'd fix lemony these days. I just love lemon pie." He said, "I could eat a donen lemon pies." So I said, "Oh, well, I will try some of these days." Or something like that. And I thought, well, I'll take him by surprise so I spent one day after he went to work, why I started in to bake the lemon pies. And solvent out and got the recipe and made them. And, oh, they looked so pretty and I made six of them to be sure I had enough for two of us. That's one of those things a wife knows not how to do.
SS: The wife knows what?
NS: The wife knows a lot how to do or how not to do. I made six pies and so,he said, you know,Athe remark, "I could eat a dozen pies if I had 'em right now" or something like that. And so I made those and had them for supper. And he tasted my pie and I don't know what their mark was but he said,"Good ! What's the matter with this?" (laughs) And I said, "Well, what's the matter now? I thought you loved lemon pie." Well, he said, "You can't eat them things." And I told him he wasn't a bit nice in how he said it. It just let^with both hands. And, of course, that hurt my feelings because I worked so hard to get those nice pies on and than he should say something like that. I thought that was terrible. And so I tasted the pie and I found outAI douldn't eat it either. It tasted so bad that I knew something had gone wrong, but still he didn't have to talk at me, he could have been nice about it. He didn't have to talk like that. So those little things sometimes make an awful difference. And still then - just the way you say them. But I found out - it was bitter as - and the recipe called for so - oh, so much lemons and so much eggs, and so forth. And you put in the juice of so many lemons and the grated rind of the lemon, you know, for flavor. Well, I did all that but I grated it down into the white, you know, too. And that made it just I had just barely grated off the oil, you know, on the outside - I found that out later. I said I never would make him another one. So it was a long time after that, after I had told a neighbor what had happened, and she told me that's what was the matter. So I had made one once in a while but I made it while he was gone to work and he didn't see it. If it didn't turn out just right, I ate part of it and put the rest of it in the garbage, til. I gotAl could turn out a pie so that taste like it was supposed to.
SS: Well, when - is that what you do though, when you get upset, you just cryand just... ?
NS: Yes. Some people don't. Some people can josh back and, you know, andlet it go. And I couldn't.
SS: But you wouldn't just get mad at him back. You'd cry instead of gettingmad?
NS: Well, yes. My feelings were hurt and I just cried. And I do yet, whenany of them say anything here that gets me down, I clam up, generally just shut up and start crying and go about my business, and let them do the same. Because —
SS: I would think when you were first married there'd be a lot of things thatcould come up like that, because when you're living with someone for the -
NS: There's lots of adjustments to be made, on both sides usually. And then,later, after I became pregnantI- he always wanted chicken for dinner, you know. I was supposed to have chicken ready when he came home that night. And so - I think it was on Sunday and he was going to have to work/iSunday - anyhow, he would always would chop the chicken's head off and pick it for me, and then I could finish. And so, this time he went away and he forgot to kill the chicken. So, - and he gave me strick orders, "Be sure have chicken and dumplings," when he got home. Well, that was all right, I liked it too. But when I went to get - there was the chicken in the box. He had bought it from somebody and they had put it into the box and it was alive. And I thought - oh, dear, now what do I do. And I had never cut a chicken!^ head off in my life. And I just didn't think I could do it and I was pregnant - must have been four - five months. And anyhow, I took him in and i got ahold of his feet and I come a whack down and he ducked. I don't know, nart of its nomh or nart of its hill or and I was just about ready to scream. I was so nervous then. And so I put it up there again and whacked again and I got a knick on the back of its neck. then I couldn't see straight. And I thought, to loose I've got do it. Now, I can't let the poor thing run and suffer, all cut up. And so finally - four or five times I tried and I fsnally got its head off. And then it laid out there - that head laid out there and blinked its eyes at me - oh, I about croked. Did you ever see one after, you know ? And I thought, why But,I think I started crying about that, it got my goat so bad that I had to pretty near butcher the old hen a little bit at a time. And I finally got it cleaned up and when he came back I wasn't in a very good mood when he came home. And I said, "The next time you wantAchicken, you cook it. If you want chicken you'd better be mighty sure its already claaned - killed, because I suffered everything that day trying to get that chicken dinner ."
SS: Well, was
END OF SIDE C
SAM SCHRAGER: .. .just to order you around and tell you what to do. Wasi like that?
NELL SMITH: Well, kind of. It didn't do him a whole lot of good though, 'causeI was easy going and I liked to cooperate on everything. But I liked to reason with him and take things He wasn't much in the habit of reasoning about things. But anyhow, —
SS: The in-laws too, I would think having a lot of his relatives around wouldhave some effect too on people.
NS: Well, I just waat to tell you about a little like that. There was a littlearauewent came up that was supposed to be told that a very slanderous remark about me. So I was making a play for one of his nephews. Well, that boy came here all the time, he considered me more than - when he wanted advice, he'd come to me instead of his mother or any of the rest of the family. And he was an awfully nice kid. He'd come to me and say, "Well, Aunt Nell, what do you think about this and so-and-so." And he asked about the girl he was thinking marrying. Maybe you knew the Butlers, down on the ridge?
SS: The name doesn't -
NS: Well, anyhow, her name was Butler and he said - he was asking what Ithought of her and what I thought about his getting married. And then I told him. I said, "Well, now, it's not for me to say. That's your doings. But all I can tell you is what I'd do or what I think." And I said, "I know she's an awfully nice girl and I think she'd make you a wonderful wife and all. But there's other things to think of" I said, "You'll have to remember that you'll have debts and bills to pay, and all that. You have to think ahead fbfthat." And anyhow, but I said, "I don't tfrink you could find anybody that could be any better." And I said, " I recommend her." And I said,"She's an awfully nice girl." An/ a good kind to have." And he took that all in. And we talked about it a long time. And he used come down-any he'd come and ask me about it, what I thought about it. And well, I wasn't so terribly much older that he was, but anyhow, he wanted.advice on a lot of things. And then this might be what one of the parties in a big family bunch had told a nice story on me that I was chasing him, I had a crush on him. And it kind a - well, reverted to slander, you know, in the long run. And I knew that why - theyAthink that-he came here to visit us all the time when he wanted to. And anyhow, when that story got back and I found oulr what it said, it hurt my feelings. And when he got home from work, I told him I wanted him to come and eat his supper. And I said I wanted him to come ith me, I said, "a little matter to settle." And he wanted to know what it was and I said, "Well, so and so told this big long story on me and," I said, "I'm not standing for it." And I said, "It's degrading to him and it's also to me!1 And I said, "They're not going to tell stuff like that on me." And - no, he wasn't fussing with the family. One thing he said, " You i just got a bunch of hell in you tonight. And that's all that's the matter." And I said,"All right, flnd I kinda begged him and told him that - what it was all about. He knew it wasn't so, and so did I. And so,he knew himself it wasn't. So after I had talked long enough, I said, "All right, brother. You stay here. I'm going. I'll fight my own battles. If you don't want to fight for me, I'll fight my own battles." And X said, "Well, it's the whole bunch I have tov" So then - well, when I got ready to go he said, "Well, I'll go along." He said, "I'll go with you." I said, "Oh, don't bother you any." I said, "Don't get and you wouldn't do it."
So I said, "I don'tcare if you go or not." Well, he muscled right along.He went right along with me. He say anything. I said, "You don't have to take part in anything." But I said, "You can tell what you know and what you don't know." So he went with me, went up - at that particular time there was a whole bunch that lived together, the ones that had been, a couple of them that had been supposed to have made this talk, were right there, with the rest. And so finally, I said to one of the parties,' I said, "Say what would you think if I told you I heard something or other about.." And I went ahead and related something about somebody that put them in the same that they were trying to put me in. And he said, "No, I just wouldn't pay much attention to it Nell. said, "I had that happen to me" he said, "one time, years ago. Somebody told something on me." he said. And I said,"Well," I let him talk awhile about the subject. And I said, "Well, Bill I didn't know that. That was just a story- a similiar story- that I fixed a up to see how you would feel in my position. " And/he had settled his/ne. And then I told him what the story was. And I said, "I'm not just about to let it sit that way either." And I said, "And the parties are right here that are supposed to have started the thing." And I said, "It's up to them." And I said, - well, one of them,ike was just figgiting. She was just in the chair and she just started laying it off. And I said, just grabbed her by the shoulders walked up behind the chair and grabbed her by the shoulders, - and I said, " you sit still here until you hear the rest of this." And I said, "You're going to hear this. All of it." And I said, "So's the rest of'em." I said, "I don't intend for things like that to be told about me." And so, the - she did. She just calmed down. She had to kinda held her head down there. She had to listen.
And, anyhow,then finally they all denied it. Hadn't anybody said a thing that they - why they wouldn't of thought of such a thing. Well, I said, " I want you to know what I'd heard that it came from here." And so I said, "And I'm not about to live under that." But they were all just as nice as pie and they all made all sorts of apologies, £ou know, that they didn't want anything to do with tt. They wouldn't think of it - of any accusations or anything like that. So anyhow, I talked to them until I finally got things settled in my mind. Got them all begging my pardon and all this and that. And so, to where everybody was settled and everybody denied it. And I said, "Well, I had heard it. Now if anyone wants to speak up, they should be so sure of themselves." Butihey all crawfished out of it. And they declared they didn't have anything to do with it. And I said, "Well, now, if you're sure it's going to stay that way, why we'll forget it then. Because, "I said," I don't intend to live under that." And so I left them and on home then** And I (did hear anymore and we were about it, Yo best of friends. They always had been best of friends all though.
SS: Well, had one of them told you about it in the first place? How did youever get the news?
NS: I don't remember how I got the news. It came through somebody or other.
SS: It sounds like that was - that in doing that was a lot better than if you hadn'tdone it, it would have kept going.
NS: Yes. And, why, it could have been a nasty mess. But I had my fightingclothes on and didn't - that was unreal for me. I never did any scuffing but I sure had them on that night. But I - what was I going to say. If I knew what he was going to do, why I'd just threw myself across the bed and start crying. And praying. (They'll get cleaned up here pretty soon} And then thi'.s when I told him that"rou just stay here and do as you please, and I'll do the Same." But then I thought, "I'll thrash oul/while it's hot." And so, everybody or anybody wouldn't confess anything. And I said, "It's liable to make trouble between two other people, young people." And I said, "I don't want them fussing over me when there's nothing to it." Well, they were good friends too, they were the best of friends. And when they got through, I told them/what I thought about them.
SS: You mean this guy and his girl?
NS: Yes. And they were just iW, and that's why finally got mewrung into that. But anyhow, it didn't stay that way. When I got up there and I found them all there.
SS: It's funny, I get the idea/it was all from that way - that the man - thehusband - wasn't too sensitive about it at the time and the wife was. I don't know how much it's changed but I think it's changed some since then.
NS: Well, I had to learn to ignore a lot of it. But, well, I still cry andgo, about my business go off somewhere else and say nothing.
SS: You know, I want to ask you a little about drinking too. 'Cause yousaid to me once when we were talking, that you can see where a lot of the problems that you had to cope with had been on account of that. And I know that alcoholism, drinking, was so wide spread with the loggers in the . days, especially. Was that a really difficult problem in the early days too?
NS: He had , before I married him. He used to drink for yesers in theEast, he drank quite a lot. But, after we had been going together for a good long while, and all, and I was a-bucking I know first, we had been going together for a long time. And time he wanted to kiss me goodnight, and we had come home from, , he had been drinking and I said, "No". I said, -you know that favorite saying, well, I'd heard that saying,-and I said, "Lips that touch liquor shall not touch mine." 'Well, you mean it?" And I said, "Certainly I mean it." So,well, it kinda got his goat,, you know, and so he went on to - well, was going to quit drinking and all. slowed down, a lot. But once in a while he'd go on a toot. But time came and he just about quit his drinking, you know. He'd might slip one or two. And of course, I thought I was going to change him when we were married. I'd fix that, all right. He'd quit all that for me. Young people get kinda - little girls espcially - get high ideas about that. They are always going to change them. And I suppose The, man has the same idea, they think they'll change a lotJhabits the girlfy Thalafter you get settled you'll make them over, but that doesn't work. Anyhow, but he didn't drink much for a long while. But he got so then later he did.
And he never could sit down and talk things over in a cool conversation or-well, not the point - but debate things, you know, just working things out with one another. And never did do that. He just couldn't and so finally here one day, it was after - oh, after my boys were 10-12 years old i guess, and he'd been drinking pretty heavy He'd stop everytime he'd come home from the shops - stop at the tavern. And he was spending a lot of money then too. He twenty-five, thirty, forty dollars liquor bills.there each month, maybe more because he'd set up drinks for the other boys and so forth. Anyhow, heAmade pretty good wages for what times they were then. And he'd the check when he came home, and - well, unless he cashed it downtown. But he gave me the money and I always paid all the bills and tended to all those things because he didn't have much schooling along that tine so he didn't like job.
SS: How'd he get his liquor money?
NS: Well, he'd give me the check he'd so much of it or he'd just runup a bill until tha last of the month, andbiaybe cash the check down there as he came through and then bring me back the rest of it. So anyhow, he got so - and he was drinking sometimes heavy. One night.Thanksgiving think it was and he had to work. But I had a big dinner. I fixed turkey and the trimmings and dressing and everything. Fixed a nice, big^dinner - I had learned to cook fay that time. A nd I hock waited supper. And we waited and he had to work all day. Anyhow, he didn't come and he didn't come. And finally, the kids - finally I had to give them - couldn't . have a family meal together. The kids were getting tired and hungry and he hadn't come. So finally I gave the kids supper and tucked them into bed. And the dooys were (about seven-eight years old about that time, the oldest ones, my coat and going to settle this, a little bit. So I went down there. And hwwas with the boys to the tavern. And I said, "You going to stay here or are you going to go home with me?" Well, he wanted me to stay with him and I said, "No, I've got enough of this ." And I've forgotten what I came down here to attend to but. I says, "It's time for you to come home." And I said, "It was time a long time ago." Asaid, "The kids - I held them back from their dinner. I had a nice dinner for you and I held them back and they waited and waited and waited." And I said,"finally I had to feed them and put them to bed." And "They are asleep now" and I said, "I'm still waiting dinner on you." Well, he was- and starting on the way home by that time and I had he pretty well tanked by that time. He was kinda wobbling along the sidewalk to step off and pecjie ignored And he said, "You'd make a good preacher, wouldn't ya?" And I said, "Yes, and I've got a good sermon for you too." as ready for him. And he said, and I just poured it on, anything I could think of. And "Well, it isn't so bad.
He couldn't see where he done any harm. And I said, "OK, but if you're proud ofthis job, why all right." I said, "Go on ftrand tell your boys that you're proud of Tell them that you're so proud of this kind of act. " And I said, anyhow, he didn't have any answer and he come along with me like a And he came on home. And I think he didn't eat any supper. I think he went on to bed. I don't remember ft he did or not. Anyhow, I was awfully upset. I tried - I worked a good portion of the day fixing up a nice meal and all.
SS: And being Thanksgiving, too. That's special. Special meal.
NS: Yah. I wasn'thankful for the way he was treating it though. But anyhow,when he - when I rose up to him, I let him know back, you turn around and see. And I was a pouring it on so heavy. He was going to feo back to the tavern and I said, "No. hbt until you go down^and tell them it's fine and dandy - if it's all right for you to do this way. Don't you want to be an example to them? You think you're ready for it? " I said, "You go in and tell them that you're sorry about your" He didn't have any answer. He just run along like a nice little boy. And I didn't have any more trouble like that. I went after him a few times. I went down there one time - and, my, just around They all knew me. Of course, I wasn't born here, but pret'near, they'd known me all my life. And here's one and he's a laying on me, you know, on my shoulder. And this one was telling me,"yes, I've known Ernie for a long time. Yes, Oh! And I was getting so disgusted with that and they'd get right in your face to talk and that old boozy smell could knock you for a loop. And so I said, "Ernie, come on, lets go home." "You wanted to stay a while, aiow stay another -" "Oh, why don't you stay?" they were all sticking And I said, "No, ihe's going home with me." I said, - and anyhow, I got him by the arm and took him waltzing^out and took him home.
SS: Is that usually the way he would drink - with his buddies down at the bar -social drink?
NS: Yes. That was most of the trouble. That's the trouble with most men. Theystart having a social drink, and they get of/socials and too many drinks and they stagger all the way or maybe they forget to come home.
SS: Was that a problem when you were first married, the first couple of years?
NS: No, not so much so. He didn't - once in a while he'd get a drink or t«bextra, but he was pretty much into that again - that he...
SS: Could you see it coming?
NS: Yah, I noticed it. He was getting more so and that's why I took a hand andtried to - but...
SS: So drinking seems like -
NS: That's style now, I guess.
SS: In most - in the early days when it was moonshine, well, I guess that wasjust the lumberjack way. I've never been able to understand it but I get the idea that the lumberjacks in the camps would all - just as soon as they'd get out of the camps -
NS: Yah. They'd all rush to town. Walk to town and cash their check and maybethey wouldn't have anything back home with.
SS: Never could save any money, it seems.
NS: Especially if they were bachelors. Why they would just - and maybe they'd getabout so many that they begin to get topsy and maybe went to sleep on the bar and somebody else'd pick their pockets. And they didn't have anything when they got ready to go home. So.
SS: Do you really feel that that's been a problem that's plagued you in this world?
NS: You mean drinking?
SS: Yah, that drinking's been...
NS: I certainly do. My father used to drink quite a lot. He didn't ever do likethey did. He would come home with too much on him. She didn't like it. And so when - we lived at Troy there, he went to drinking with some of the guys downtown and then he had to walk that two miles and a half back out home. Then, I always stayed up with mother. I wouldn't go to bed until mother did. And I'd sit there, and I've seen Mothericrying her eyes out .. And she'd and I don't want to go to bed until you - I'll stay with you and wait for Daddy." And I always called him Papa then, too. And then finally, if it were a night, we could see him turn that corner and come down to the house. And he'd come wobbly. He'd take his bottle home with him. He'd take his bottle into a little kind of a barn that was between the road and our house. And he'd hide this bottle there. And come up. And the next day that bottle would disappear 6ome way or other. Mother would put it out of commission. She didn't - he thought he was hiding it so she couldn't hit it.
SS: Couldn't find it?
NS: Yes. Anyhow, he used to drink off and on I was littleAnd then I seen it a little older, he'd
drink. Oh, she must - the line "We haven't the money to drink on, anyhow."Because she was washing to help keep things going and - or sewing, anything she could do,you know. To her, drinking was just a bugbear to . So I know, one night I was slepp downstairs then and she and Dad slept upstairs. And I don't know, I was asleep in bed and I heard - I had something wake me up upstairs. And they were just planning that they'd had enough of that and "if you're to go and spend it any longer" she leave him. I think, he didn't want her to fout if that's what she wanted, nothing elee would do her, why he'd have to take it and all. And when she was about ready to say "go back for good", and I know I out, I started crying. But I hollered upstairs to them and I said, "No, you can't do that. " And I gave them a little lecture. And they forget it all right away.
SS: They forgot?
NS: They forgotjjhe family, I guess. Decided they won't. It is hard to tell ifyou're taking a hand and'spoiled their plan. So I saved the day there. But he was good. My dad was a good man, he just liquor toomuch once in a while. Especially when he was out of work he'd sit downtown and play cards with the fellas down there and drink.
SS: He had nothing better to do?
NS: Un,huh. And so,—
SS: So you had a - your experience when you were young made you - I think, itmust have made youkfeel strongly about it because you saw how it hurt a family.
NS: I should say so. And well, my people were religious people, from the start.my great-grandmother was a wonderful Christian woman. And I don't remember him - grandfather - so much but he was - oh, say, I've got a letter I'll show you someday too, if I think of it. My great-grandmother was - well, she was the mother of twelve children and then one of the boys had married - one of the older boys - and his wife died and she left a little girl five years old and a two months old baby, a boy. And grandmother tpok that baby too. And the sister took the - the sister of his wife - took the little girl. And I think - well, that made her thirteen there that she took care of. And, well, she was just a Christian woman alLher life. And her boys were all raised ' her raised that way. And my grandmother was one of them. Well, there's mother, well, she was devote Christian. Every night they had their family prayer before bedtime, a reading j Bible reading. So some of them would read the Bible and they'd all have family prayer. And Grandpa White, oh,he just didn't seem to partake of much of that - I never saw - I didn't see much of Grandpa, I don't remember this - some of those little things, I guess, didn't get knitted in with him so stoongly because... I liked him and he liked me but there just wasn't that something that held him so close as Grandmother. And anyhow, then it came on down to mother. Well, Mother wasn't so much of a church-going person, but she lived the right life, but she lived right ideals and all but she'd go to church once in a while when she could. But Grandmother, she, I guess, taught class - Sunday schools and all - and one of the boys would have to - sometimes there'd be no minister there for them, they had a little country church. And there'd be no minister Uncle Willie would have to substitute then. My Uncle Willie had to preach that day and he was a strong Christian man. I guess all of them were pretty
END SIDE D
NEILSMITH: ... so religious as
SAM SCHRAGER: Do you remember as a kid growing up,having a goodreligious life?
NS: Well, yes. That was just kind of born in me, I guess. The folkswere all - my Grandmother would - well, my own Mother's mother, my grandmother,was cat on a farm and when Sunday came, they came in a rig hitched up - a sleigh or a wagon, whichever it happened to be - and the whole family piled in and they went to church. And maybe they'd bring somebody home with 'em for dinner. They almost always take somebody else, or maybe it was their turn to go to somebody else's house. And that's the way that ran.in those days.
SS: What church did your family go to in Missouri? What was the kind?
NS: I think it was a Methodist Church. I'm not sure, but I remembergoing with them. Before we started out West, Mother was visiting people, we got around to visit a few before we were to leave, and it was wintertime, and snow and drifts and terrible. But she wanted to see these - they fixed it so uncle was to take us with a sled. And they piled us in and we kids took cold. Catch cold, it wa? way below zero, I guess, you know. It was just awful blustery, and Missouri I don't know, can get that way too. And we went over several miles, these people's place and they wanted her to stay,and Mother stayed on I guess, a day or so. And there was my sister and I - that's all there was at that time. My dad was already out West, and so forth. And we had caught bad cold, we had croup. That was the favorite notion of us, it was croup. Us kids cold, we'd be as croupy asvcould be. And we both had the croup and they doctored us for that and they wanted to put some kind on us to take care of that cold, andttreak that up. And I didn't want any plaster but she started to grease us up,you know. And this Mrs. Birch, I think it was, said, well, the best thing she knew of was skunk oil. You know, they had a remedy of some kind that you made of skunk oil. And-skunk oil? Skunk grease? No, I guess they called it oil. And they - and anyway they wanted to grease us with that, you know, before*. to bed. And morning I'd be, you know, broken up. And I bawled and squawled and so they didn't. I wasn't going to have that stinking stuff on me. She me, "Why it wouldn't hurt anything." It'd make me feel better, but I just cried and had a fit about it. I wasn't that way really, but that's something I just hadn't tolerated yet was to get skunk And so, they said, go on then, on to bed then." So I did. I u,as They waited until I got good and sound asleep and they just plastered me with it. I don't know, I don't remember about the next morning, but I know I was Kitnnq mad to think they'd me with it when I didn't know it. But it was all over with then.
SS: The church in your community back there, Missouri, was that one thatone that most of the people from around where you lived went to? Was it a
NS: We didn't live there. We were up visiting Grandmother at that time. Shelived in Galatin, Missouri, and we lived in Triplet. And so, we were up there visiting but all the people from miles around in the neighbor gathered at this little country church. I think they called it. I caa have a few faint recollections of that part of it. I wasn't very old.
SS: Do you remember when you were growing up what kind of exposure you hadto religion?
NS: No. I just - well, I'd always been at Grandma's when they had theirprayer, return thanks, you know, at the table, and their nightly prayer, and their Sunday meetings and all. It was just part of a day's run. I was used to it and, 0 I was kind of favored that way. And then finally, when I was - oh, I guess, I must have been about ten, years old, we were living in Parma,4in Southern Idaho.
SS: Oh, you going to tell me about when you got lost?50.
NS: Well, no. That was part of it.
SS: Because I remember you praying when you - what were you going to say?
NS: Un-huh. I was going to say - well, that was before then too. But I went tohome from school one evening and mother wasn't there. She was just at the next door neighbor's though. I knew where she was. And so I was stretched out on the floor to read the Sunday school paper that the teacher gave me the Sunday before. So I was going to read that. I was laying there on my stomach reading away, and I don't know, I suppose the story - whenever I read a story in a magazine;I look at the picture, if something happens to somebody that isn't just right, I'll cry about it in spite of myself. So, I suppose probably, the story in the paper was experiences that these people had had in the story' touched me, I think. So I just laid there and read this and then I just turned myself over to God £r a.U 4ime And I thought, "Well, that's what I want - that's what I'm going to do. That's the reason I'm alive." And so I had nothing to say. I don't think I even told mother. It was already over with between God and I, so -
SS: That was it.
NS: i was kinda , Oh, I don't know, I just kinda went along with thatall through. In the night time I was a good hand to judge pretty much which was right and which was wrong before I did it. was always - oh, I've got to have a handkerchief. Now, I guess that calls for - (blows nose). I'm always tried to do what was right, regardless.
SS: Do you remember when - here in the - when they had Prohibition in theearly days, and they tried to put a stop to the drinking, you know. Were the churches very active in that around here, in trying to stop the liquor?
NS: No, I don't think they really - they didn't approve of it, butt\I don't thinkthey really put themselves up as fighting it exactly. Well, out in front just to fight it, you know. i've often said I'd like to have been here when - oh, what's her name? Oh - the old goJ with the hatchet?
SS: Well, what did she do?
NS: Well, do you remember the one that said - the beainneX* of the Prohibition?
SS: The WCTU?
NS: No, that's one woman that made such a time for herself. We alwaysrefer to her. Cindy - she took a hatchet and went around busting the kegs and all.
SS: Oh, yah.
NS: And I said, "I'd like to have been there and helped her out and got merou? a broad ax along. I wouldn't have stopped at a hatchet."
SS: It wasn't Ida Tarbell, was it?
NS: Nope. It was supposed to be way back. It goes way back there. I know her -can't think of it. But - So I don't know. I was kinda curious. It's always paid off, this you know, paid off day after day and all the time. It's the best way for a fella to get himself rigged out right with God in the first place and stand by it. Now sometimes they slip. I know, I got into a habit of , oh, I don't know, kind going places after I was married and all, and more or less, but I don't think that maybe it was the best thing. Nothing particular. Oh, I used to go to the dances and card parties and all, and sometimes I thought "some of those weren't so good. And I got so I didn't care anything about them. And -
SS: But you'd gone to dances before you got married too. Were they different?
NS: No. I didn't go to them much before I was married. Ernie didn't danceand so when - oh, I went a few times,- but I know that I was - well, I was 15 when I came to Bovill - I was past 15. I was 15 in August and it was in October when we came here, last of October. And so, I know that one dance Dad had to play for it. The dance up here at the hall, one time - well, it was a different place but it was where they were having the dances. And one fella there asked if he could take me I said, "Well, I don't know. I'll have to see what Mother says about it." Or something like that. Or see what Dad says. And I asked _ if it'd be all right if he walked home with us - or no, if he'd walk me home. And Mother said, "Well, yes, I guess so. If he wants, he can walk along with us." And he walked home with me, and said, "Good night^madame." And, well, that's -well, he didn't come back for anymore. That was - I didn't care much about him. He wasn't the best, and he didn't have too good a reputation. But I just kinda hated to turn him down just for nothing.
SS: Well, when you say that - I know that some people that are very religiousdon't approve of dancing and cards, but do you really think that there's something a little bit wrong with that?
NS: Well, it isn't so much, I think, wrong with it, it's generally what theaftermath comes - what it leads to. Sometimes in dancing,the people if they aren't anyone that's already dedicated to life, why they can be led into trouble sometimes. You go to dances and well, you'll get invited out. "Let's go have a little drink" or "Let's go here"or"Let!s go there." They get led away until »t oos'H ccfi WwuAxj or something like that quite often. It doesn't always do it but it can be trouble. I know one dance I went to with a man and his wife that I knew real well, and he insisted, "Come on outside." And "Let's have a little drink." And I said, "No. I worft." And "Ah, come on." And someone said - I said, well, somebody's wife. And no, she didn't - she wasn't - she wouldn't care, or something like that, and anyhow, she wasn't watching or she wouldn't - I knew And anyhow, she didn't drink. I knew I didn't. And so I said, "Absolutely not." I said, "No." I wasn't going to. I said,"I came down here to dance, not to run around." And he - I looked up at him. "Well, all right then." He thought he'd change my mind. He was - I noticed several other girls going out - ot other people going out. You know, a lot of them, you know, maybe they're halfway proud to be running outside sneaking a little nip. I didn't have any use for it in the first place. Now that - this son here is minus a kidney because of that. And this girl was one of the other son's wife, she was minus a kidney. And I said, well, what do they gain by that? They had their fun while it was going on, they thought. But they had a lot of fun entertaining and big time. What is it to them? Their health's ruined. you know, just awful tough just lately, again. My stomach - well, lets take a of beefsteak and pour alcohol on it and see what it'll do. That's what it does to the inside of your stomach when you - why shouldn't I hate it.
SS: Do you remember Pat Malone?
NS: Oh, sure. Yes. old Pat. He was kind of a good old scout in his way.But he was the cop here for a long time. But he'd like to get around the corner somewhere and get a little nip out of somebody's bottle himself pretty well. I think that book tells -
SS: It does tell some - I talked to John Miller - when I talked to him about Pat,he said, "Well, you could probably never come to the end of the stories about Pat Malone." And I've found that to be true. Everybody seems to know different funny things about him.
NS: Well, one time there was one good joke that they had the upper hand at -it was - and it wasn't a drinking man, I think. They had him to go in and get a flask and, I think, he had them fill the flask with tea at the restaurant. And gave him, I don't know, a dollar or two to go in and get that for him. And, I don't know if I can tell this story or not, but that's about the way it was. Anyhow, he was going to catch somebody that was bootlegging, you know, and he was going to sell him this bottle for so much money. And it turned out, he was the one that got stung in the long run. He was out^his money. And I don't know what they did about the -, it was tea«he got instead of whiskey.
SS: Instead of whiskey. Yah, yah. I've heard that. I've heard that. Well,Pat was - was Pat a soft guy or was he a rough guy or what?
NS: Well, no. He was kind a easy going. And, well - and Mr. Ellis and Mr.ran the hotel at that time and Pat had had a room there for years. And then they had a baby then and when he got so he could walk, why he was hanging around after Pat all the time. He was always Pat's boy. And he'd - well, then everytime Pat would lay his pipe down and go do something or other, this little kid had it - David had that pipe and had it in his mouth. And he'd give him candy and things. And if his mother wanted to go somewhere - oh, a card party or to something or other in the afternoon - why. Pat would babysit. He'd watch that youngster follow him around. And he thought, I think, as much of Pat as he did his mother. But-
NS: If t I was going to say now. This and my other son is innow. He has a restaurant there - the Statehouse - and he's a professional cook. A good one. He cooked when Leslie was to graduate - see it's Leslie's father. You know who Leslie is, don't ya? And lives up here at the corner. And when they was to graduate, he said, "All right son. I want to do something or other for you." He said, "When it comes time for you" when he had to furnish - the juniors were giving the seniors a dinner, I guess it was, for their graduation. Anyhow, Lloyd told him that he would - he said, "I'll furnish your dinner." he aaid. And he got the whole works. He said, "I'll make up the dinner and furnish the materials and things for you." And so, he - and they haven't got done yet raving - the people that ate there that night. Raving the good dinner they had. And it was swell. He could really put it out. But he had to watch himself that day. I as soon as that dinner was over, he went to the saloon. But he could put out a wonderful dinner but he would drink and he still does. He never comes over from the coast hardly without going to town and getting smacked. And Ernie got so disgusted with that - after he done that several times. He said, one time, he told me he was going to come over, about such and such a time, and that's after he'd been coming every once in a while to visit here. But he always managed to get first place. And I said, — He t coming over to stay a couple of days. I said, "Well, that's all right if he comes over," but I said, "Lloyd," I said, "Don't come unless you come sober and stay sober while you're here once." I guess that kinda hurt a little bit. I intended for it to. And I said, '"Cause I don't care to see you otherwise." And I said, "And I'd appreciate it if you'd come and sober, why that's fine." And so he hasn't been - he's been kind of particular. He came here not long ago and he stops up at Lloyd's - I meanjiat Leslie's. He spends most of his time up there with them up there. And he gets and they take off downtown and gets Leslie to drinking sometimes, well, Leslie's learned to do pretty much of it h^ self enough, and the gang he runs with and the fellas he works with. They stop every Friday evening after their work gets finished, stop at the tavern and the boss treats them all to .liquor. And maybe it gets you know. I've seen him pretty well jagged-up. There's a joke about him. I was up there one evening and somebody brought Leslie home —d I've forgotten their names - pretty well under. And he got as far as the front room floor and fell down and she couldn't get him up to go to bed or - or wouldn't do anything. And so he was just practically out. And we pulled on him and tried to get him up and everything and couldn't do anything with him. And I said, "I'll bet I'll get him up." And she had kinda given up getting him. I went and got the broom and I started t^ him. I just spanked him proper with that broom and pretty soon he said, "Help. Let me alone, will ya? I'll get up." He And he said something about, "Well, don't let her see ya, don't let get at you. She'll get the broom." He said, "She hit me one time and I haven't forgot it yet."
SS: Now - I just remembered. Did you say to me once that at one point you.gave Ernie a choice?
NS: Un-huh. I about jumped to % That's the only time in my life, Ithink, that I can remember that he'd sit down and talk a thing over. And so, that's when the boys were about 12 or something - the older one. And he'd been drinking pretty heavy at about that time and he said - we were arguing about or talking about it. We weren't arguing - but we were kind of calmly - for some reason or other he happened to be calm and willing to talk. You couldjnever pin him down to reasoning or talking a thing over, he generally something else to do. So, he went on about it and I said, "Well," I said, "I think we better have a talk here about this thing." And I told him, I said, "Now, I've put up with this thing for years, and I don't like it." And I said, "That isn't the way we started our business. You told me you were going to quit drinking and you haven't done it." And so I said, "I've come to the conclusion, I'm just about the end of my rope." I said, "If you keep this up I'll stay with you until the boys are big enough to root for themselves, until they make their own living and take care of themselves. And then we're going to be done." I said, "It's going to be one way or the other." I said, "You're going to quit this drinking or else it's going to be - when he - when they're able to take care of themselves, then I'm gone." "What?" Then he got serious. "Nell, what would I do without you?" And I said, "Well, that's up to you to find out." And "Well, I couldn't take care of the bills and everything. I wouldn't know where to begin at to do.." First time I knew I was so valuable. But anyhow, he said, "I just wouldn't know where to begin at. And I said, "Well, that's up to you J' I said, "You could And he finally decided that - and he didn't. And he cut down pretty much then. He only Ujflwit oh these last several years, you know. It's just once in a While he'd happen to getJthe gang in and he'd a get a little tipsy too. He'd get too much. And, but -
SS: I think it's very, very hard once you start your drinking - it's like anaddiction and it's not something you can kick easily at all.
NS: No, no.. For years now he's started up just after he waswhen he was seventeen. And then after the boys, would be coming up to visit them, a bunch of those young kids, you know, all hanging out, come to his place. And have beer and all and he got started and he said, "Oh, no. I can take it or leave it. I don't - it won't hurt me" he said. And "I don't have to keep it up." I said, "Yes, but it'll get ya." And all. "No, I can take it or leave it. Just nothing to it."
SS: Do you think that's the first time that Ernie understood just how importantit was to you when you told him you would leave him?
NS: Well, I think so. I never set any ultimatum until that time. Anyway,/Oiclc said he could take it or leave it, now you see how he can. You see, he went into the service and he drank too. And he got to be - and he came back in a fix and he said, "Well, Mom
SS: .. .tried to stop
NS: Well, it didn't bother him a bit in the world. It didn't seem to bother anybodyelse. And he -
SS: Do you think that many people held it against Pat that he didn't try to do a- try to stop it.?
NS: No, no I don't think so. They all just kind of laughed him off as a joke.And his - he knew all the lumberjacks and he was always going to catch a bootlegger but he - I know they used to walk down the track and hide their bottles along the track here somewheres, where they figured no one'd find it, you know. So they couldn't have anything special on them if they started to pick them up.
SS: I was going to ask you about one thing else - another thing. And thatwas about the depression here. I was going to ask -
END SIDE E
SAM SCHRAGER: .. .and stop the operation. Did that make a very hardtime for your family?
NELL SMITH: Oh, it was pretty tough for everybody. They were all alike. Andbut I don't know if it's^so much worse than now. We give- well, there was a little bag of sugar about that high for four dollars. And now, and it's just about like that, you know. Well, we had to have our trading stamps to get the sugar. You had tickets — I mean -
NS: Coupons. I've got a book of those yet. ANd so many coupons for sugar,so many for meat. You had to have a different kind for meat. And , oh, I don't khow, there was, I think, three different kinds of- what you say - I guess, coupons. Some of them stamps and some tickets, little round buttons, you know.
SS: Did Ernie get - was he able to keep working then or did he get laid off?
NS: No, he was still working most of the time. He's never been out of work a wholelot but one time when Wayne was a tiny baby, I took him to a specialist. We were about to loose him. I'd lost two others when they were babies. And I - when Wayne came, I saw he was following right in the steps of the others. He was getting just like the others had, gradually going down. He was loosing about half a pound a week. And, you know, he wasn't only two months old. And that was an awful itf So I said to "Lets go take him to a specialist." We'd had him to the doctor here all the time - he was supposed to be one of the best in the Northwest. But he didn't - and I was nursing him and he had - well, my Dad said, "I don't think your milk's agreed with that baby." And I said, "Oh, it^surely is." And the doctor said it was all right and all. The doctor had OK'ed it. And I didn't want to wean him. So anyhow, I asked Ernie to let's go - to take him up to the specialist in Spokane. "Well, I can't get away from work. You know. I can't go." Of course I wasn't thinking in those lines, in those terms. I was thinking baby first and then work. But he was so tied to his work, he couldn't leave. Well, I said, "Nobody asked you to go." I said, "I'm saying that we should take him to -" He said, "Well, if you want to. If you want to go and take him, why, I don't care your going, if you want to." And I said, "All right. That's what I want." I said,"I can see him failing everyday,"and I said, " He's right in the tracks of the others. I can see it coming." And so he said, "Well, you go take him up then." So we went to Spokane and it was right during Christmas time, bad weather, but we went. I stayed all night at my mother's. She was living there then. And then I had the appointment - called for an appointment when I got in town. And I went to the doctor the first thing I was there - by, I don't know, seven or eight o'clock. Something like that, I had an early appointmentcause I got there and there were several other people already there. It was awfully early. I must have been there seven-thirty or eight, it might have been eight. But anyhow, I knew enough not nurse. I'd have to wait my turn. He said, "Don't nurse him till we tell you to." And so he was crying, it was eating time and he was hungry. But I had to walk the floor with him and everything to try to ease him/as much as possible, until they could^see me. And finally when they did, they checked him from his - the top of his head to the soles of his feet. And they said, "That's a wonderful specimen of a baby." He said, "That is a wonderful baby. Nothing apparently the matter with him.;' he could see anywhere. But "Now we'll start on the other line." He said, "Now you go and nurse this baby for twenty minutes." And he said,- and he was so worn out. He had been sick here for weeks and all - gradually slipping. And he was so worn out, he nurse him a little bit and then he'd see him relaxed and fall asleep. So then, he said, "Now nurse him, and see that he doesn't fall asleep on ya." He said, "You just keep picking at him, wiggling around,keep him at it. Keep him nursing for twenty minutes." And I said, "All right." And so he - I nursed him twenty minutes, and then took him - he called off to the nurse, "Well," he said, "It's time." And I took him then and weighed him. They had weighed him before I'd nursed him, took him back and weighed him on the scales again. And he'd got two ounces of milk in that twenty minutes. And I just thought I had plenty for him. And sometimes I'd have milk clear down on my dress, leaking out. But he had gotten just two ounces to the bottle - in weight. So then he said, "Well, I think there's your trouble." He said, he told me I oughta - he says, "That don't mean I want you to wean him, not by any means." He said, "Mother's milk is too Board to duplicate, to not use it." And he told me to fix him up a formula. Told me how much to use and how much this sugar, whatever it is they call it. Dextramaltos, I guess it is. And, well, what was the other part he - proportions I should use. And then he said, you take common cows milk and let it sit in a pan - an open pan - over night until the cream raises on it. Then skim that cream off and throw it away or .whatever you want to do with it - put it in your coffee or whatever. And give him that blue milk. And he said, mixed with those other things, and after the first feeding of that - his first feed after he's had that, well, he - I was sitting right close by the heater and he swung his little hand around and burned the back of his hand bad. And afterwards, it sure made him awfully cross and cranky, 'cause that was a nasty burn he'd had'd been fighting and kicking. It was just a little mite, but I was close to the stove to keep him warm while I bathed him. And after that first feeding ., he went to sleep and - he just cleaned that bottle off- and went to sleep and I thought he'd never wake up. He was just so hungry and so worn out. And I never had another speck of trouble out of him.
SS: You just didn't have the milk., that it seems.
NS: They tested mine and the cows' milk usually is from two and a halfand three percent fats. Mine was fourteen and two-fifths percent fat. It was just poisoning him. He couldn't take it. It was nothing - he was just living on fat, like they said. That's what they told me, just like he was living on fat without any bread - or butter without potatoes or anything to go with it. Because all he was getting was cream. And after that - after got that balanced, why there was nothing to it. Only on the way home - I was supposed to come home to be home for this - New Years. And it was snowy and oh, it avas blustery and stormy. And when we started from Spokane on that electric line - they were running then. And we got down there a little ways and they'd have to stop and put that that sits up on that line - it had jumped the track. And we'd have to sit there until somebody get - would put that trolley thing back on its track. And then they come a little further and stop again and I asked him,- well, I said, you see, I'd have to come as far as Palouse and then change cars and then come on up here. And it was on Saturday. And I Saturday or Sunday, Saturday I guess it was. And so, I told them, I said, - 'well, I began to thinking along the last there - I said, "Does anybody got the time?" I asked him how much time and I asked him about meeting this train that comes up here to Bovill. And he said, "Well, I guess we'll make it all right." And I said, "Well, I want to know. I've got a sick baby here. And I've got to be careful." I said, "He's tiny and he needs - he can't stand - " And I said, "If we can't get into Palouse at that certain time then there's no taain out on Sunday, and that'll be clear in Monday, then, before I could get out." And said, "And me trying to up at a hotel with this baby like this. I can't see it." And I said, " I'd have to have different plans than that." I said, "If I'm not going to make it in time for that train, I don't want to get off of here at all. I'll have to go on through to Moscow." And I said, "I have an aunt living there, and I can get to her place with the baby." And so that's when I went to up there to Aunt Mary's - in a taxi to Aunt Mary's. And stayed with her. And then that's on the Saturday and then —
NS: Yah. And then Monday, I called a taxi to come after me and take meto catch that train Monday morning. (Oh, what is he doing? He's trying to work his way out of there, I think.) It was all right. The fella came down and got me. And as long as we were traveling through town, up to that other dppot - that used to be up at the other end of town - up at the north end of town.
SS: In Moscow?
NS: Un-huh. And just.I was - well, we were kinda turning a corner and I said,"Well, what train is that going along up there?" "That's the - oh, I said, "Well, that's the train I'm supposed to be on." And he said, yes that is what it was. And I said, VWell, that's it. You can just turn around and take me back where you got me because that's the train I'm supposed to be on." And so, he did. He took me back there and then I had to start again the next morning. lAvas two - three days getting home from - let's see, from Saturday morning early till Tuesday, getting home.
SS: Till Tuesday?
NS: From Spokane, down here. And by the time I got home, he'd caught enough
cold manning those doors around, stopping to put trolley thing back on the line andhe had caught an awful cold and just about had pneumonia. So when I got home, Ernie wasn't working. He laid off some way or other, for a while. It wasn't very offen that he had that way but he wasn't working then at that time. And I said, - He said, "Well, what'll we do?" And I said, "Well, if you'll take of the baby kinda why I can keep things going." He said, "No." He said, "You take care of him yourself and I'll do the work because I don't know anything about what to do or do it right." And said, "I'll take care of the kitchen and all and you take care of the baby." So I did. And I steamed him- fix me a croup tent over his bed and over his little cradlerk bed-thing, crib, I guess you could call it. And then I put sheet clear over it. And then I stuck my head inside so I could see how strong it was. I was and watching him to see if he was all right. And tt was two-three days like that.
SS: Vapor you used? Warm vapor?
NS: Um-hum. I think we used it that time, we used, oh, the stuff you use todress the poles - to cure the poles in the cedar yard.
SS: Oh, creosote?
NS: Um-hum. We used creosote. We used to use it to steam 'em with. And gothim out of it fine and dandy. After a few days, why he was all right again.
SS: Did - during the Depression, did Ernie work full-time or was he on apart-time?
NS: No, I don't think he had any part-times. It was, I guess, full-time or notat all. But I don't remember.
SS: Do you remember having to cut back on your usual way of living duringthat time?
NS: Well, yes. You had to change your menus quite a lot. It was like itis, you know. You had to use, oh, we had to use lot of oatmeal and we used cornmeal and, oh, just a whole lot like it is now. And raisins and things,you know, that they let us have. And something else, what - anyhow, there's several things, I can't remember just now uy^ost oJLL but they gave you certain things to make your cereal - mush - out of. And you had to use. potato bread, but some kind of brown bread. And, oh, I know, just things like that that were cheaper, I guess, and were supposed to be healthy things. Some of them had a fit because they had to use those other things that they didn't like, but I said, "Well, any port in a storm is all right."
SS: Gee, I see it's two o'clock. I'm going to have to go. You probablylunch then. I have to eat some lunch and try to see somebody else this afternoon. I don't know who.
NS: I just wondered if Wayne's got lunch ready. He could
NS: Great-grandmother and it was written to her during the Civil War andit's from Grandfather - her husband. And he - he and his buddy enlisted the same time from, I guess , they were living in Marcellane, Missouri, at that time. And HP they went to the war and along, I guess he'd been in quite a while, but anyhow, they - I guess he's with - I don't know, the North or South. I think they were with the North. And they came along - the people from the South - I'll consider he's a Northerner, anyhow - came along and they wanted to exchange prisoners then. They wanted to give up some of their prisoners and all and exchange them. And Grandpa was drawn on that list but his buddy wasn't. And so they just took them right now. Counted out so many men and went on. And Grandpa told his buddy, "I've got to go now and I haven't time to write my wife or anything. " And he said, "Will you please write her? " And he said, "You watch the mails and if anything comes for me from her/ ind read it and answer for me." And he said, "Write and tell her where I am and what has happened and that I'll see her as soon as I can, if possible." So "Twll her to take good care of the babies while I'm gone." She's the one that had the twelve, you know. But she, of course, only had - I don't know how many at that time. She only had three or four, maybe. But anyhow I have the letter that he wrote to her. And I was just trying to think where, if I can finger where that was. And that letter was dated April the seventh, 1863.
SS: Incidently, you talk about the Civil War, do you remember Joe Wells?
NS: Yes. I ffinew him well.
SS: And his wife?
NS: Yes. They were old timers in Deary. They were there before they hadand sometimes would get to drinking a little bit with the boys and all. And they'd all get to kidding and laughing and drunk. They just treated him like any other, like the rest of 'em. You know, he wasn't a black man to them. He'd sometimes say, "Ha,Ha - why, Joe Wells. I'm the only white man in town. The rest; are all Swedes." he said.
NS: They all laughed, that was a big joke then. And just recently in the lastfew years - his son Chuck died, oh, I guess, over at the nursing home. Chuck Wells. And they had a daughter, Mary Wells. She lived there in Deary for quite a long while. She married a man by the name by the name of King. And she had a boy and a girl and they went to school there at Deary a long while. But - and I' dorft know, I think they say that the boy lives around this part of the country somewhere.
SS: Well, the girl lives in California and she's a rather well-respected educator,in California.
NS: Um-hum. Well, Mary was a smart woman, very smart - quite a brilliantperson.
SS: Do you remember what Lou was like? Joe's wife?
NS: No, I didn't know her, really very well. I've seen her, you know, but Ididn't know her. But she was, well, she was - stayed with Mrs. Lawrence - no not her. It was the daughter, Mary. When Mrs. Lawrence baby was born , Lawrence had the post office there and the little grocery store out between the Helmer and Deary. And she - Mrs. Lawrence was to have this baby and when it was born, why Mary was staying there taking care of her and I guess she was midwife and all when the baby was born. And anyhow, she named - oh, she had a baby after - Mary had this baby girl after that herself, and she named her Loujjaster. And the 'jiaster' was after Ester Lawrence, Mrs. Lawrence's name. And I guess Lou was after her mother.
SS: Did you know Mary?
NS: Yes. Of course, I didn't get to fee with her very often because they, you know,they were in Deary and we had no means of travel or anything. But I knew her and she was always in church . there and all. The same as the rest of them. She was just one of the bunch. She lived there and she died a few years ago. I imaging that could have told you a whole lot of things or majibe even Mary. But - I've been wondering, if sometime now, when I could get a hold of an ancient Idaho map, while it was still txi still, what is it?
NS: Territory, yah. I'd like to see if I could find where I was when wetraveled by wagon across there. Now there's a place between
END SIDE F
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40:00 - Snootiness of "bonton" people; Five Hundred and Rinky Dink Clubs; socializing for job advancement
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Segment Synopsis: Snootiness of "bonton" people. They had their own club and didn't socialize with others except for town functions. They played bridge, while common people played games like pinochle. Five Hundred and Rinky Dink Clubs. Use of socializing for job advancement. Mrs. Fisher's skill as a teacher.
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75:00 - Home economics now; parties with popcorn, apples, and taffy; first effort to make lemon pies; having to kill a chicken
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Segment Synopsis: Training at home then, home economics now. Parties with popcorn, apples, taffy. Ernie's family thought they wouldn't stay together because he'd been spoiled. She cried a lot their first year, and he didn't apologize. She thought she'd make him over. A bad experience in her first effort to make lemon pies, with his hostility. Having to kill a chicken because he forgot.
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101:00 - Husband's drinking at the tavern; lectured him on Thanksgiving night; dislike of the tavern
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Segment Synopsis: She wouldn't let him kiss her the first time he tried because he'd been drinking. Women think they'll reform their men. At times his drinking at the tavern was costly. She took him home with a strong lecture one Thanksgiving night, after holding the meal for hours. Dislike of tavern.
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