V. The Move to
In March, 1917, the S. E. Wood family moved to
From Ellington to
We had spent the night in the home of a neighbor,
Frank Thyson. We ate our noon meal at a Camp Point restaurant. Previously five
or more boxcar loads of machinery, livestock and household goods had been
shipped by freight from Fowler,
We all stayed at the
After living in the farmhouse for several days we had an unpleasant surprise. Bedbugs! Mother said, "It is no disgrace to get them, but is a disgrace to keep them". It was a daily task to inspect the bedding and beds for the insects. Bottles of carbolic acid were obtained from Pitney's Drug Store. In those days there were no insect sprays to use, so the acid was applied with feathers along the baseboard and around window and door frames. If a live bug was found it was impaled on a needle and then burned with a match, rather than being swatted on the wallpaper leaving an ugly red stain.
I never found one on myself but they had engorged themselves on someone during the night. In appearance bedbugs are very similar to wood ticks, but their odor is different.
I was glad that I had learned to identify bed bugs.
I discovered there were bedbugs in the henhouse on the
Before proceeding further with my memoirs, I want to give a tribute to Mother.
A. My Mother
In addition to her regular duties as a wife, mother, and family helper, Mother had most of the responsibility for the care of two invalid children.
While living in Ellington, my sister Fern, at the age of two, fell down basement steps in the barn, causing a head injury. She developed epilepsy which partially paralyzed her left side. She attended public school for three years, after which Mother was asked to teach her at home.
My brother Charles had
Mother was a wonderful person, loved and admired by everyone. She was most devout; her religious faith and love gave her the strength to carry on through many difficult situations and periods. She was always there willing to give a helping hand.
B. Life at
Entering school at
I had to make new friends and develop new interests. I didn't have many changes of clothing, and what I had I felt were out of date. One day one of the girls asked why I wore the same dress so often!
I became very self -conscious and developed an inferior complex. I felt so embarrassed, I seldom volunteered in class. I'd painfully remain in my seat when I needed to ask permission to go to the toilet; I'd be noticed as I walked across the room to leave! Several times the situation became even more embarrassing because I hadn't asked permission to leave!
During my sophomore year we
In 1917, after the
While living in
I will remember Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918. What a lot of excitement! Bells were rung, a bonfire was built, and the Kaiser was hung in effigy. Another memory of Armistice Day (1918) was a burn received. When frying some pork and carrying the hot skillet to a table. I slipped on an apple peeling on the floor (We also were frying apples for noon meal) pouring the hot grease on my left foot. It was a very painful burn which was slow in healing.
Before the new house was finished we moved back to the farm into the basement of the house. One rainy night we were suddenly awakened by our parents. About a foot of water had come into the basement. My father had put on his hip boots, gotten a ladder, and was ready to help us get up to the floor. The carpenters had to work around us from then on that fall.
The next year we children had a mild case of smallpox. We were quarantined for a four-week period. As we had our school books home, we were able to keep up with our studies and easily pass the semester exams.
During our summer vacation time we had little time for play. Father had planted a large strawberry patch; many days I helped pick strawberries from dawn to dark. Mother had a large garden, and she raised a lot of chickens and ducks.
When school was in session and I needed some money for school supplies, I was given some eggs or a few hens to take in the buggy to sell at the Dennis Poultry House.
Raising chickens can
have a lot of problems. If baby chicks are caught out in a rain they may have
to be brought in and placed in boxes by the oven door to dry. If they are
frightened while in the brooder house they panic, smothering one another.
Diseases, such as cocciciosis,
I well remember the big Easter snow of 1920; it was a two-day affair. During the morning hours of April 4, 1920, 4 1/2 inches fell; later in the day an additional 6 1/2 more inches had fallen. When church bells rang on Easter eleven inches of snow was on the ground.
On Monday regardless of the cold weather and the snow I walked up the railroad track to attend school. Most of the other students from the country were absent that day.
C. Teaching at
graduating from high school in 1921, I attended
Never will I forget my first day, rather, my first half day of teaching school! I was so embarrassed, for I didn't get there until noon!
Sunday I had accompanied the family in our car to
After reaching home the next forenoon, I had to change clothes and then drive the horse to school. I had telephoned Glen Sickles, the director, who lived closest to school, telling him I would be late, and for him to notify pupils, and the other two directors. Even so, I'm sure some of the pupils hadn't gotten the message!
I knew that a previous teacher had resigned from
There were two events that the pupils and their families looked forward to. One was an evening program prepared by the teacher with the pupils. After the program we had a box supper. The older girls and ladies had decorated boxes filled with goodies to be auctioned off. Anxiously the girls waited to learn who would be their supper partner. The other event was a basket dinner at the close of the school term. At home Mother helped me prepare for both first and second grade teaching certificates. By the fall of 1923 I had a Limited State Elementary State Certificate, but with only eighteen weeks of college education to my credit.
second year of teaching was at the one-room school in
this year I became engaged to marry Wilmer Cornwel1. As few married women were
permitted to teach then, I resigned from a job as the primary teacher offered
spent the fall of 1923 at
My parents had called their farm at Augusta the "Cornucopia Farm", a farm on which they hoped to profitably raise livestock, grain, and fruit. They were disappointed though. They had had a lot of building and farm expenses. My brothers were too young to help Father, so he had to rely on a lot of hired help.
to both wet and dry seasons, financial reverses, and the Depression after World
War I, my father lost the farm. He had a sale and moved back to