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Reminiscences of Childhood by Fannie Collom Myers

Papa, Lewis, Ervin and Mattie Ramsdell, Sadie and Mamie’s brothers and sister, and Uncle Will used to sing in the choir at church and was to meet at our house for practice, Mattie playing the organ. And as it was the custom in those days someone would have a rug bee or a quilting bee. At our house there would be several of Mother’s friends come in to the bee for the day and their husbands would come to have supper with them. Then in the evening there would usually be singing and usually a candy pull. Mr. Jones had a married daughter living in Eastport, Kate Cram, and in the winter during vacation she used to come to visit her father, bringing her two children, Frankie and Mattie. As they were around the ages of the rest of us children, Mrs. Jones would have a party for them which we all enjoyed. And they enjoyed our skating pond and sliding place with us. Mrs. Jones had a married daughter, Millie (Eaton) Ramsdell. She had a baby girl, Rena. Her husband worked evenings part of the time so she would have a party for all of us children and would give us a wonderful time helping us with our games and making new ones for us. One Halloween Millie invited us all to her house but we had planned to have some fun by going around first, so she said to come later. We started out and as she lived in part of the Jones’ house, it was next to us. Well, as I was saying, we started out and was making a short cut across the field when something white rose up and started after us, making an awful noise, so we took to the road and for Millie’s. When we got there, Millie was in the house and hadn’t seen anything but later in the evening we found the white costume and Millie had to own up before we would go home. Then, too, Mrs. Kinney had a married daughter living in Eastport, Ida Greenlaw, and she used to come to visit with her son, Cecil. He was a little younger than we but he had a nice Flexible Flyer sled so he was welcome in our crowd. In the summer Mrs. Jones’ daughter from Connecticut, Lillie McPhee and her three children, Edna, Blanch and Clifton, would come to visit both Mrs. Jones and her (Lillie’s) brother, George Eaton. Clifton was just a baby but Edna was about my age while Blanch was a little younger. We had a funny old wheelbarrow that went nearly to the ground and was more like something dug out than anything else. We would put the barrow on a place where the ground had quite a slant to it and Edna, Blanch and I would get in and rock to and fro until it upset and we always called it out boat. Edna always tried to find out what my cat sang. Blanch said that hers sang, “pink, blue, white” over and over all the time. When all the playmates returned home at the end of vacation I used to feel lonely for a time. Our baby sister, Edna, was growing and when the weather got warm a carriage was bought for her and then Lilla and I could take her out for a ride and how proud we were. One day Mother let us take her as far as the store which was over a mile away. There was three stores, one, the nearest, Mr. Samuel Bradbury’s, Carrie’s grandfather. The next was John Calkins. The farthest was Hiram Calkins, a brother to John. Sometimes Mr. Bradbury had the Post Office and sometimes it was John Calkins. The first time we took Edna to the store we went to the farthest one so we could keep her out longer. We almost upset the carriage getting it over the doorstep. M, I was afraid, but promised not to tell Mother for Lilla was wheeling the carriage. Mr. Bradbury was quite an old man and the last time he had the Post Office when us school children would go in after the mail he would tell us to go in and pick out our own mail and sometimes he would turn the bags of mail out and get us to help him assort it, which we all enjoyed. One thing I didn’t like about my baby sister - she had learned a bad habit. As people used cradles at that time someone had to rock her to get her asleep and often stay with her to keep her asleep. Lilla and I used to take turns, me one day, Lilla the next. It used to be rather trying when it was so nice outside and so many playmates around. Another one of our neighborhood families was Thomas Knight and wife, Roberta, with a married daughter, Bina Clark and four grown-up sons, Harry, Hallie, Moody and Fred and a young daughter, Blanch, around Lilla’s age, but she died. So they used to make a lot of Lilla and have her down to their house a lot. One evening Mrs. Knight and Bina was to our house. Lilla and I had just finished washing dishes and Mrs. Knight was hugging her and telling her how smart she was. I got kind of jealous and said, “I don’t care, I can wash dishes faster than Lilla can wipe them.” I didn’t understand, then, why they all laughed. Until I was grown up they used to ask me if I could still wash dishes faster than Lilla could wipe them. In front of our house was a large lilac tree and the way the branches grew there was three places we used for seats. The highest one was Lilla’s, the next Mimmie’s when she was over, which was most of the time and the lowest, mine. We used to like to sit up in that tree and read our books and sometimes we would all get up there and sing. As the leaves and flowers hid us no one could tell who it was. We had a hammock under the tree which we greatly enjoyed on a hot day and used to sit there and watch the clouds to see what kind of pictures we could make of them. And, then too, we liked to play croquet on the lawn but it had to be played without any arguments. I remember more than once of Mother coming out and pulling up the wires in the middle of a game and taking them in the house. No more croquet for that day! It was while playing croquet one forenoon with Mimmie and Lilla that I saw two men sitting by the roadside, in front of George Eaton’s and they had some kind of an animal with them. It looked kind of a dirty white in color and was quite large. I couldn’t see it very plainly so I said, “Oh, look at those men and what are they doing with that pig?” The girls looked and Lilla said, “it’s a bear!” and grabbed me by the hand and started for the house with Mimmie after us. It proved to be a tame and performing bear. The men came in our yard and made the bear do many tricks and Mother gave some food to the men and also to the bear. Lilla was so much afraid that she pulled the window shades down and I had to cry and fight to get a chance to even see him. He was really quite clever. About a year before Edna was born our Uncle Fred was married. Lilla and I went to our grandmother’s and stayed a few days and was there for the serenade that was given them. As I was only about eight years old I was quite excited about it all. I should have mentioned before that when Lilla took Edna out in the carriage that Mimmie used to take Mildred Eaton and that left me without any baby so I would hunt for one to take out. Sometimes it would be Rena Ramsdell if Sadie didn’t have her and then Hallie Knight was married and moved near us and we thought a lot of his wife, Georgie and they had a little girl, Eva, so I would get her. And the four of us children would wheel those babies just for pleasure. We also got a lot of enjoyment out of rolling hoop. At first we had just common barrel hoops and then we had hoops made of wood, painted red with a square piece of board which was connected with a lacing so that the board was in the middle of the hoop and some little bells hung on the lacing. When we rolled them the bells would jingle and the hoop looked very pretty. But on a windy day we would like the old barrel hoops the best, for the wind would blow against the board and they were hard to keep from falling over. Robert Hunt and his wife were some more friends of our parents and they had three girls, Minnie, Nellie and Annie and two boys, Alton and Edward. Mrs. Hunt used to come to the house sometimes to spend the day and bring the girls with her to play with Lilla and I. So they were always invited to our birthday parties. Nellie and Annie were too young to come but Minnie’s friend, Mina Morong, who lived across used to come along with Minnie. Mina was an only child and rather spoiled and wasn’t a very good sport so we wasn’t very anxious to her with us. I remember of being over to Mrs. Jones to one birthday party. I don’t know who’s, for I had such a toothache that I couldn’t go to the table to eat. But, as somehow there was a mistake made and if we all sat down to the table there would have been thirteen, which must never sit down to the table together, so it is just as well my tooth ached. We had a fine time even if we have a shower and the table had to be set in the house instead of on the lawn. And our games had to be played inside. I also remember one birthday party to Carrie Bradbury’s. It was my first evening party and in the winter time. As the Bradbury’s lived some distance from us, Aunt Susan went with us and stayed to bring us home. We had a good time but I was quite young and got very sleepy so when they tried dancing I curled up on the couch and nearly went to sleep. During the fall of the year 1893 the stock was very busy among the homes of my playmates. A baby girl came to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Eaton, they named her Myrtle Althea. And to the home of Ervin and Millie Ramsdell, a girl, Nina. And at the home of Elisha and Lenora Ramsdell, Sadie and Mamie’s parents, a girl, Daisy. And at the Hunt’s, a boy, Clarence. And to cap all, he even called on my uncle and left a baby girl there, Grace, a little curly, red- haired baby, which Lilla and I began to think a lot of. The year before this, Uncle Willie had been working in Massachusetts for some time and he came home with his bride, Tillie. She was Tillie Oaks before her marriage. They stayed for the summer and she was a good sport and taught us many new games and went to the beach with us and tried to teach us how to float. The night before they returned to Boston we had a sing and as a final hymn we all tried to sing “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” but we felt so bad to have Uncle Willie and Aunt Tillie go, we cried so hard that we couldn’t sing. Uncle Fred raised strawberries for the market and during that time Lilla and I stayed down and helped with the picking. And how good those extra large ones tasted. I am afraid that I was not a very profitable picker for I ate so many but Uncle Fred never told me not to eat them. During the time that raspberries were ripe Grandmother used to let me help myself to cream anytime I wanted so I had many lunches of raspberries and cream. One 4th of July week I remember being to my grandmother’s and my cousin, Al got some giant crackers. He wanted to show Lilla how much noise they would make and just what they would do. He was a few years older than Lilla and I. He hunted around for a can or something to over one but couldn’t find anything. Grandmother had a new tim cake pan she had just got that day. He asked her if he could use it and said the crackers wouldn’t hurt it, honest they wouldn’t, he just wanted to see how high in the air it would go. After much misgiving, she let him take it and it sure went high in the air. But when it came down one could hardly tell what it ever was. Al promised to buy another one. I wonder if he ever did. My first Sunday School was in a school house at the Ridge about a mile or more from my home. The teacher of my class was Myrtle Reynolds whom I liked very much. Then next was a woman older than my mother, Naomi Morang. She had a daughter about my age named Myra and we were good friends. At Christmas we never had a tree at the house but always hung our stockings and put one little table between them for Santa to leave our presents on. And on Christmas morning we would be up at four o’clock all eager to see what we got and there was always plenty. One of these Christmas mornings I remember Lilla was lighting the lamp and in her excitement let the match burn up and burned her fingers. She dropped the lamp chimney and it fell from the table to the floor and there we were in the dark. But Papa came to our rescue and it was lucky the chimney wasn’t broken. The church on the Ridge was Baptist and as I said before, was in the school house but there was a church building across the street from Eaton’s where at times they used to have meetings on Sunday afternoons and mid-week prayer meetings held by the same pastor that was at the Ridge. And then up near Bradbury’s store there was a Methodist Church where the Jones’ family and the Ramsdell’s went. As both Sunday Schools was about the same distance from us and it was too far for me to walk (for a time we had no horse) so I went to the Methodist Church with Mrs. Jones. I don’t remember who taught me but I do remember some of those in the class. They attended a different day school than I did, so I never had a chance to get acquainted with them before. There was Ida Wells and her two brothers, Will and Maurice and an older sister, Mabel. Ida and Maurice would always sit behind me and delighted in pulling my hair, not very pleasing to me, and I never liked them. And, too, there was the Owen family who went to that Sunday School. The children of Abraham and Jessie Owen were Chester, Frank, Jessie, Rose, Maggie and Bessie. Jessie and Rose were the ages of Lilla and I. The boys were older and the other girls were younger. In later years we became fast friends.


Another Christmas or two I should have mentioned - one was the morning that Lilla and I got up and in our rush to get our presents we upset the little table and there was a general mix up of everything. Mother had to come to our rescue to tell us which belonged to us when we thought Santa would have to come back and assort them again. And another time I wanted a pair of low shoes. As I had weak ankles I never could wear them but I thought if I asked Santa for them he would surely bring them. So Christmas morning Lilla opened a box and she had a pair of patent leather slippers. I hurried to open my box and what should I find but high shoes. They were pretty but I was so disappointed that I threw them across the room and almost cried my eyes out. Another time we both got dolls so large that I could hardly hold mine. I think that one made about twenty-seven I had and they kept me busy on stormy days crocheting bonnets for them. I crocheted them out of anything I could get and I believe we called them hoods, then. One day, Mother had made potato yeast and had turned it into the jar in which she kept it, leaving the pan to be washed. So Lilla and I washed our dolls clothes and used the yeast pan to starch them. And, my, to our eyes, how nice they looked when they were dry and ironed. We each had a little cricket and after we made believe wash, turned the cricket upside down for tubs and had a smooth oval stone, which came from the back at Quoddy Head, for soap and what a washing we would have. Another time we were left to keep house and an Indian came to the door. If we had known it was an Indian we would have been afraid but Lilla thought it was Leander Barsley so she wasn’t a bit afraid of him, until Mother came home and said it was an Indian. Lilla said, “I will never go to the door again.” One evening we were left to keep house while Papa and Mother went to Lafayette Dinsmore’s as he and his wife, Lillie, were great friends of our parents. We were alone and having a fine time when a knock came to the door. We wouldn’t open the door so it came to another door. We kept just as quiet as we could and then the knock came to the window. We hurried and pulled the organ out a little as it sat across the corner and squeezed in there and stayed there until our parents came home, then only to learn that it was Uncle Fred who had been to the door. There was another family who lived on the other side of the Jones’. Darius Ramsdell who was a brother to Elisha, and his wife Mary who was a sister to Elisha’s wife, Lenora. They had two girls, Lizzie and Fannie and two boys, Eddie and Willie. One Sunday afternoon Willie went to help someone on the beach or take water to them or something, I don’t quite remember, but he got lost so all the neighborhood turned out to hunt for him. Mimmie came over to stay with Lilla and I while our parents went with the rest. That was the only time that Mimmie and Lilla searched our pantry. They climbed on the high shelves and got into everything, eating a package of raisins and all sorts of mischief. When Mother, after a fruitless search and tired, came home and saw how we kept house, was she mad. Lilla and Mimmie got a scolding that they remembered. Willie wasn’t found for months and then his body was picked up some place on the beach. Sometimes Lizzie Ramsdell played with us. One day I remember, she, Mimmie, Lilla and I went and picked some blueberries and went over to Mimmie’s to play house and was going to have the berries to eat for our dinner. Mrs. Jones gave us some milk and my mother gave us some bread and cookies but when it came time to fix the berries we had no sugar. Mrs. Jones and Mother were preserving and each had used all they had so Lizzie went home after some. Her mother had none either so she gave her molasses and we ate the blueberries with the molasses. I can’t say that I liked them for I never wanted to try them again. Mother used to do some dress making for different people besides making her own, Lilla’s, mine, and her mother’s. Among those whom she sewed for, was Hiram Calkin’s wife, Laura and her two daughters, Bertha and Ella, who were about the same ages as Lilla and I. Their father kept a general store, dry goods, hardware and groceries. One time when Mother was making dresses for Bertha and Ella they came down to stay for the day so to be there and have their dresses fitted. So we played together but Bertha felt quite grown up and when we went on a walk she wouldn’t let Ella or me walk beside her. She told us to stay with those of our ages and there was only the four of us together. In connection with the store, Mrs. Calkins ran a millinery store and at times when she was rushed, Mother helped her trim the hats. The Calkins girls, Lilla and I had dresses and hats, all alike. The hats were gray straw with a narrow brim turned up in the back and a high peaked crown and long ribbon streamers down the back. Sometimes Lilla and I used to like dresses different from other people so we used to go down to South Lubec, either to Freeman Trefry’s or Samuel Marston’s and get the cloth for them. Those were stores near my Grandmother’s and where she traded. When going to Grandmother’s I often stopped into Sanford Huckins’ store on the Ridge, after candy. And Mrs. Huckins used to tell me of one time when I was quite a tall girl around four years old, that Mother brought me in there and she weighed me on the sugar scales and I only weighed nineteen pounds. I could hardly believe it but it has always been told to me for truth. Mrs. Huckins’ name was Emily. And too, at the Ridge, Demetrius Blanch had a store. There was three boys in the Blanch family, John, Bert and Fred, that I remember, who went to the Sunday School with me. Our school changed from two terms per year to a four term system. During one vacation our school got the needed repairs - new floor, new desks and slate boards instead of the old, painted blackboards. How proud we were of our school house all fixed up so new, careful not to scratch the desks or spill ink on the desks or floor, to make stains. The girls took turns in sweeping the floor at night, four of them staying each night. But as I always had gland trouble I couldn’t sweep. Sometimes I stayed and sprinkled the floor for the others to sweep. Miss Fanning finished teaching to be married to John Trecartin. How sorry we all were to lose her for she had taught for a long time. There were many tears shed that last day of school. It was in the spring of the year and as the teacher had the fire in the school house to make she used to, when possible, lay it, all ready to light, at night. We were home, playing in the yard when we looked toward the school house and saw a big smoke. How frightened we were for we thought the school house had caught fire but it was only that the ashes was hot enough to ignite the excelsior which the teacher had used to help kindle the fire and the smoke came from the chimney. It was in the spring, too, that the teacher let the beginners out early and they had some matches and set fire to John Rice’s field, which came near to burning his barn. The teacher let all the older pupils out to fight the fire. And then on spring there was a noise, like which no one had ever heard around there and it caused much alarm. Even the cows in the pastures would run when they heard it. Mimmie, Sadie and Mame, Mabel Kinney, Lilla and I went to gather cowslips and we had just begun to pick when we heard this awful noise. I think that Chester and Vin was there, too, but anyway, as we were just at the edge of the woods, the noise seemed to come from there. We didn’t lose many minutes in getting home. Later we learned that the noise was a “sirene whistle” on a dredge in Lubec Narrows and Uncle Fred was working on it. Us girls and boys would all go either in John Card’s pasture or David Boyd’s and dig spruce gum often getting quite a box of it to last us for a long time. It was in strawberry time and Edna was about six months old. Mrs. Kinney took Mr. Kinney to work so she could have the horse for the rest of the day so she and Mother, Mabel, Lilla, Edna and I started out for Boot Cove, strawberrying. Mother, Mrs. Kinney and I in the seat of the wagon and Edna on Mother’s lap. Lilla and Mabel sat on a box in the back of the wagon and all were having a fine time. We stopped in several places to look for berries, wild ones, and the road had many long, steep hills and as we were going up Katie’s Cove hill the harness gave way letting the wagon roll down. Lilla and Mabel jumped over the wheels, one out one side and one out the other, hurting themselves a little but the rest of us just sat there and let the wagon roll until it stopped at the bottom of the hill. The old horse was a gentle fellow and stood still in the road and waited for us as if he didn’t know what to do without us. We were in quite a difficulty for we were miles from any houses and for a few minutes didn’t know just what to do. Mother took the horse to the foot of the hill and took our hair ribbons and shoe laces and tied the harness together and finally we started out again. But as the harness was just only holding we had to walk the kills, only Edna and I riding, until we came to a farm house where they gave us some rope to fix the harness then we rode to Uncle Fred’s. Lilla was completely tired out so she stayed there all night and I went home and stayed with Mabel until Mrs. Kinney went to bring Mr. Kinney home from work, helping Mabel to get the supper. But poor Edna was sunburned to a blister on her face and we got no strawberries.


In 1894 Uncle Willie and Aunt Tillie came home again bringing a little baby girl, Alice, with them. They went to keeping house in part of our house while Uncle worked for the summer. We were glad to have them home again but found that Aunt Tillie, with a baby, didn’t have much time to spent with us as she did before. In the evening the grownups of our neighborhood liked to play croquet and often played until they had to put torches on the wires to tell where they were. Usually the party would be at Lafayette and his wife, Lillie Dinsmore’s with Mrs. Dinsmore’s sister, Lizzie and her brother, John Burns and Lewis Ramsdell, who later married Lizzie Burns, and the Ramsdell girls, Florence and Mattie. And what a gay party they were, with Papa and Mother. They would usually end up by coming in and playing on the organ and singing before going home. One day in the spring of the year, Mother was house cleaning and had everything out of the sitting room to paper and paint it. She upset a quart of white paint on the floor so had to wait for that to dry before doing much. Lewis Ramsdell came in (his nickname was “Button.”) Button said, “Why work? Let’s all play marbles.” So he sat down on the floor and played marbles with us children and coaxed Aunt Susan and Mother, to play, too. We had a fine game all trying to get a large candy striped glass marble which Button put in the center of the floor and we had to hit it with another marble to get it. I don’t remember who won. It was on a Sunday afternoon and Uncle Willie and Fred were to the house with Papa and I had gone down in the field. The men were out in the back yard and I heard Uncle Fred call to me to stand still and Papa came and killed a porcupine a short ways from where I was and I never saw it until it was killed. Another day I went down in the field alone. It was just before haying time and the grass was very tall. I looked and saw a black thing with a white stripe through it weaving in through the grass. On getting nearer to it, it proved to be the tail of a skunk. I lost no time in getting to the house and it was lucky that I didn’t get too near him. I was always roaming around through the field and pasture alone and this time it was in the fall. There was a little light snow on the ground and I was down in the pasture when I saw a speckled bird which I thought was one of Mother’s Plymouth Rock hens. So I started to try and catch it and it went first under one brush pile and then another so I had to give it up. When I told Mother she said it must have been a partridge as the hens were all in their house. Down in our field near Eaton’s fence were three little hollowed out places with two cedar trees in each place so Lilla, Mimmie and I each had one of the places to fix up with broken dishes and bits of glass for a play house with a make believe stove where we used to bake our mud pies and cakes. We had some beautiful cakes with sawdust for citron and frosting. One morning I was all dressed but buttoning my shoes, which, of course, were high, so with the button hook in my hand I ran down to the play house. And on the way I found a piece of a white china lampshade with a long tail-like end on it. I thought if I broke the end off what a beautiful plate it would make and as it was quite thin I took it and tried to break it with my hands. And as it broke easier than I expected the piece snapped up and scraped a piece out of my wrist leaving a long and very deep cut. I managed to get to the house and said, “oh, Mama, I done it” and fainted. It was quite a few days I had to carry my arm in a sling. I still have the scar of that beautiful plate. Lilla and I also had a room upstairs in the house for a play room where we had our dolls and toys and could take our playmates there anytime we wanted to. We had an old hoop skirt that we used to have quite a lot of fun with. We also had the top part of an old baby buggy which we used for a wagon to play ride in. One day Mimmie sat in it and as she was the largest of us girls, she got stuck and we had to pull the seat off of her. How we all laughed at her. Another day she was the lady of the house and I knocked at the door at the foot of the stairs. She was sitting in my little rocking chair. In her haste to go to the door she jumped up and fell down stairs. So that phrase was repeated whenever we met each other for a long time as we always used to try to make out that we had some kind of a secret which we didn’t want the rest of the playmates to know. One day Lilla and I was up in the play room and we hadn’t been getting along very good. Something had happened that I said “damn.” Lilla went down and told Mother that I swore at her so I was called down stairs and when Mother asked me, I said that I swore at my doll but Lilla still said that I was lying, that I had swore at her. Mother was making pies. I got a scolding and she told me to stick my tongue out as she was going to cut it off for telling a lie and swearing, too. I was made to sit in the pantry, where shew was working, for a long time. She also told me that if I did things like that the divil would get me. Some night he would come and take me right out of bed when I was asleep. That night I went to bed and got almost asleep when I saw the worst looking face in the dark that I ever saw and I began to cry. I cried so long and so hard that Mother came to see what the trouble was but I wouldn’t tell her and it was far into the night before I finally went to sleep. And to this day I never told her what I cried for that night. I had a tiger striped cat, which I got when a kitten, over to Jones’ and I named it “Sambo Jones” or Sam for short. He was a large cat and a great fighter. Chester’s dog, Jim, was frightened of him and wouldn’t cross our yard but would go away by the woods to get across to Eatons’. My cat would also box. I used to stand him up in the corner back of the door and tap him on the ear. He would stand there on his hind legs and hit me back. I was the only one who could touch him. One day Lilla tried to box with him and got a long scratch across the nose. Sometimes he would come home after being out all night, with his ears all chewed and his head so bloody that I would put him in the doll’s bed and cover his head up, out of sight. Late one afternoon I was coming home from Eaton’s and there was Sam and another cat having a fight. So what did I do, but pick Sam up to take him home but that time he was really mad and bit my wrist in several places before I would let him go. I can still see some little white marks left by his teeth. And then one day Mother had thirteen baby chickens and the mother hen out in the back yard and Sam killed twelve of those chickens. As this wasn’t his first offense, Mother said that he would have to be killed. So she and Aunt Susan hunted and called for him but he was under Eaton’s barn and wouldn’t come out. I was crying to think that I was to lose my cat and they made me go and call him. As soon as I began to call, he came. They took him to a mine shaft back of Knight’s house and that was the end of “Sambo Jones.” I will add that to this mine shaft all around got rid of their cats. It was very deep and had a fence around it to keep cattle or people from falling into it. Another thing at Christmas time, we had quite a job for all the dolls had to be dressed and set in a row on the couch so that Santa could see how good we had kept them before he could leave us any. So broken arms had to be fixed and the clothes washed and ironed and when Lilla and I both got them all lined up there was quite a couch full of them as she had as many, if not more, than I did. One she had, whose body was whittled from wood and had a china head we called “Nellie Stiff Legs” because she couldn’t sit down. All that family of dolls had names. Edna had begun to walk after much coaxing from all the family. Lilla used to coax her with a bright pink writing paper box. Edna got sick with an abscess and later had to learn to walk all over again. It was in the summer and Mother had gone somewhere and left Edna with Lilla and me. We went down to the well which was not far from the house and while we were drawing the water a big snake came up on the curbing of the well. I tried to hit it and it sprang up at us. Lilla left Edna standing there and ran for the house so I had to carry Edna to safety and then hunted for the snake but couldn’t find it. Lilla was sort of afraid of a good many things and one was darkness. One day in the fall of the year Mother had gone to town which was four miles away and as dark came early we had been watching for her and there was a bright, big moon so we thought we would go out and look again for her. So Lilla lighted the lantern. I made fun of her, it was so light with the moon, but when we go out to the corner of the house,(here I will say that our line fences were all stone walls.) I said, “oh, look! What is that in the stone wall?” Lilla dropped the lantern and fled for the house. And I had the laugh on her for there wasn’t anything there. Too, we always watched for Papa to come home and ran to meet him to look in his dinner pail, often finding candy or figs in there. It was in the winter Lilla and me were both sick in bed. Mother said later that it was pneumonia, and how sick we were. Poor Lilla was delirious at times and perhaps I was, too, for I can still remember seeing big rolls of something rolling toward me and such rolls piled up, one on top of another, seeming to smother me. As we were in the same room, one day Lilla told me that she saw the same thing. I don’t know how long we were in bed for I forgot the run of the days. The first day we were able to be around the house I said, “Let’s play dolls.” Only to be told by Lilla that it was Sunday. On Saturday night in our house all dolls and toys, except books and pencils and paper had to be put away. And there was no playing in the play house on Sundays. We went to church Sunday School and after that, if we wanted to, we could go on a walk or read or write. And these were our Sunday limits. It was in the summer that Edna and I were both sick. I had cholera and was pretty sick. Dr. Bennett was called to both of us. One day, Grandmother was called as they thought that Edna was dying. The Doctor was called in a hurry but after that she got better. While I was in bed they fed me flour gruel and scalded milk. I could hear the family talking of green peas and cucumbers so made up my mind to get my share somehow. The first day I was able to get out of doors I went down to the garden and picked a lot of peas and cucumbers and stayed down in the field and ate them and then topped off with raspberries and blueberries. It is a wonder I wasn’t sick again but it didn’t hurt me one bit but I had to keep it all to myself. Anything my mother hated was anyone who lied or who stole from her and if she knew of our playmates lying she wouldn’t let us play with them. Sorrow was again to enter our young lives, for in October, Papa was taken sick with typhoid fever. From the first of his sickness Lilla and I did all we could to help Mother, doing the errands to the store and looking after Edna. Sometimes I sat in the room with him while Mother was busy. And it was during the time that Papa was sick the I got chicken pox and Edna, too. Also, Uncle Will who lived in part of our house. One day we thought that Papa was better and expected that he would soon be around again. But a relapse came and on the 17th of November 1895 he died. And what a sad house it was. Shortly after the funeral Uncle Willie and family went back to Boston. The minister, John K. Lawton and wife moved into our house. I stayed most of that first winter with my grandmother for it was too lonesome for me at home. Mrs. Lawton, whose name was Nellie, proved to be a good friend to us girls and did much to keep us happy. When I was at home we often went in there and played games for the evening. One of the games was “Halma.” Mrs. Lawton’s mother, Mrs. McIsaac, lived with them, too. She used to make a lot of patch work and was a nice old lady. A year or so before Papa’s death, Mr. Jones’ daughter, Lizzie, married Simon Boyd and they lived in our hours while they were building their house. Lizzie Boyd was a good sport, too. She used to sing old songs to us girls, one of which was “Brian O’Lynn.” Sometimes we used to go in and eat dinner with her when Simon was away at work. After she moved into the new house they adopted a little girl, Blanch. One summer, for a while, Lilla looked after her while Lizzie worked. While the Boyd’s were living in our house, Mother and Aunt Susan took Lilla and me and went to Eastport. We had our pictures taken and Aunt Susan bought me an Express Cart. It was a good thing, too, as we lived four miles from the ferry landing. They had it to haul me home in. And what fun I had with that cart. I would pack up all the things of my toys and pile the cart as high as I could, lugging them out the back door of the house and haul them around to the front door and take them all in the house and be moved to a new house. The next time I moved I would take them out the front door and in the back. They were always put in the same room but to me it was a new house. And then in summer I did quite a bit of haying with that cart even if I did all the work myself. I would be the horse and haul the cart, then pile the hay in it, get up and tramp it, then be the horse again and haul it away. Lilla and I often stayed to Uncle Fred’s in haying time and what fun to ride in the hayrack on a load of hay. But one day I was tramping hay and I got sick with the smell of it and had to go to bed. I can still smell that awful sweetness when I think of it. It seemed to smother me. When down to Uncle Fred’s in the summer he would put a swing up in the barn for us and open the big doors and if we had some one to push us to give us a start we would go very high but I was always such a coward that he sometimes put up a little swing just for me, that wouldn’t go up high. It was lilla that got the fun out of the swing and also out of the hayrides. It seems as if Lilla and I always knew how to cook and do housework. One day, when we were quite young, Mother left us to keep house. It was in strawberry time and in Dinsmore’s there was a lot of wild strawberries so we went and picked enough for supper. Then Lilla decided that she would make a layer cake, too. She made the cake with a made cream filling and I had to keep tasting that filling for her to see if it tasted like Mother’s. Then she made too much and I had to eat that. When Mother came home Lilla had strawberries and cream, hot biscuits which she had also made and a layer cake. But poor me, I was sick. And for years I didn’t eat made cream filling. Our next teacher at school was Helen Reynolds and there had been some changes as the Knight boys and Lizzie, Susie and Frank Whalen, Willis and Arthur Barsley, Kilby Barsley and Ethel Barsley, Ervin Wilcox had left school. Also, Ethel Morrison, with her mother, Annie, had moved away. But as Ethel was younger than me and an only child of a timid nature, she wasn’t missed much. The others had left, some to go to high school and others to work. I had always sat in the seat with Lilla but now I sat with Mary Knowles, a girl about a year younger than me. She had two brothers in school, George and Joseph and two little brothers, Samuel and Allen and a baby sister, Nellie. Mary and I became fast friends as our school up to this time wasn’t graded. The one who did the most in arithmetic was the head of the class, so Joe Knowles and I usually led those of our age. And sometimes, when there was some problem he couldn’t do, or one that I couldn’t do, we would sit together and do them. As he was only six days older than me, the boys used to tease him about sitting with a girl and as he lived near the school house and was very bashful he would go home and stay until the bell rang at recess. Chester Lyons was younger than me and couldn’t learn much so the teacher let him out early sometimes as he used to annoy the school. But his father sent word that he sent Chester to school and he was paying his taxes and he wanted Chester to stay in school. After that he had to stay until school was out, much to Chester’s dislike. But one day the teacher let him out a few minutes early and he wanted to say something nice to her so he walked up and before the whole school, out loud said, “oh teacher, I think you are handsome.” Chester Lyons had a bad habit, too, of chasing the girls and trying to kiss them so Miss Reynolds told us to take our hat pins and stick them in him if he didn’t let us alone, so Chester had to behave. There was some new ones added to our school, for James Kelley and wife, Jane, with their family, Chester, Ernest, Inez, Ralph and Clarence moved into the Morrison house. And Minnie Lyons of another Lyons family moved into our district. Lilla and Mimmie were beginning to feel too grown up to play as we always did, so Sadie and Mame Ramsdell and Mabel Kinney and I were more together. But at times all were young together. It was in spring time, the snow was melting, making a large pond in front of our house by the side of the road. As there was some ice under the water, the boys, Chester and Vin {Jones}, said we would play boat. They had long boots and us girls, that is, Sadie, Mame, Mimmie, Mabel, Lilla and me, all got on our sleds, which they fastened together and hauled us up and down through the water. We thought it much more fun than sliding. One day I was sick, or, that is, I wasn’t feeling able to go to school and the pond I just mentioned was frozen hard and as there was a bare spot in the road the horse sleds would drive over the ice by the road side. I was on the couch by the window and was looking out when a horse fell down. The next thing I knew, I had fainted. I was awful silly that way, fainting so easily. One time I fainted when seeing a hen getting its’ head cut off. One fall, I should have mentioned this long ago, Mother and Papa went to the fair at Machias. As Machias was twenty-two miles from us and they went with a horse and wagon, it meant that they had to get up early in the morning and of course, it was late when they got home. But they brought us home things from the fair and we were waiting for them when they go home. Edna was big enough to get into a lot of mischief and could talk so one day I came home from school to find my game of Tidley Winks all broken in little bits and in a small dipper on the stove hearth, Edna was making soup of them, she said. During Papa’s sickness she had been given most everything she wanted to keep her quiet as her crying disturbed him. So she had to have many punishments to break some of the bad habits she had formed. And those punishments brought almost as many tears to the eyes of Lilla and me as they did Edna. The spring after Papa died we moved for the summer down to the village where Mother, Aunt Susan and Lilla worked, leaving me to take care of Edna. At first I was quite lonesome, missing my playmates, as I was only ten but soon I found some girls and we used to play on the beach together. They were Lillie and Lina Ryerson, Rena Howard and Ina Robinson. We would dig wells in the sand, make mountain chains, lakes and streams. The other girls would go in the water but as I always got cold I had to stay out. It was just after my eleventh birthday that Lilla cut her finger while working. As it was a Saturday and they were short of help I said I would go and work in her place. I had never worked before but I had worked only a short time when I cut my finger, too, taking a slice off the end of it. I had to stop, too. So Mother took the whole of us and went back to our home in West Lubec. When we got to the Ridge there was a tent where they were taking pictures so we had our pictures taken with a big dahlia over our fingers to hide the rags. At first we went home week-ends as we still had hens and the house to look after. What fun to hunt for eggs after being away all the week for the hens were let out to run where they wanted to and there were nests all round in the field as well as in the hen house. Toward fall Aunt Susan got sick, or that is, she got housemaid’s knee and was unable to work so she took Edna and me and went back to our home and I went back to school. As Aunt Susan couldn’t get around much she was rather cranky. Mame Ramsdell was sick and the doctor was there so I went and sent him up to see Aunt Susan. Up to this time she wouldn’t have a doctor and she was pretty mad at me for sending him in. But I told her she was bad enough when she was well and worse when she was sick and I couldn’t stand her. After a time she was glad he came. Evenings, either Sadie and Mame would come to my house and Chester and Vin would come over or we would all go down to Sadie and Mame’s. Sometimes we would all go to Kelley’s and Mrs. Kelley would give us a lot of molasses and we would make candy and play games and tricks but we were never allowed to stay out later than nine thirty. Some nights I would stay with Sadie and Mame all night and she was full of cute schemes, that is, Mame was. If her folks told her to come home at a certain time she would set the clock back an hour so she could stay later and they wouldn’t know it, she changing it again before going to bed. At times she forgot to change it back and then her father would be late for work. In December Mother and Lilla came home for the winter. Aunt Susan was better and did some nursing through the winter months. Lilla went to school with me but she had left off being a regular playmate. I was having trouble with lameness in my ankles and had to miss much school and many were the nights that I cried half of the night with the pain in them. So I sat around all day and read or crocheted and sewed. It was at this time that Mrs. Kinney was a great help to me. Mrs. Kinney was Mabel’s mother and she used to play the game of “India” and many of those afternoons when I was to home too lame to walk she came over and played all the afternoon with me. But she hardly ever won. David Boyd married Annie Card and lived near us. They had one little girl, Agnes, and I used to like to go there and look after Agnes while Mrs. Boyd did her work. When younger we had always gone to the Boyd’s, when David’s mother was living, and played around in the barn. There was always a lot of little kittens there that was so wild that no one could ever catch them. And the old, tiger striped mother cat had a white tip on the tail and was name Sed. Mary Knowles and I had become playmates to a certain extent. I often went there but her folks wouldn’t let her go out much. We used to go sliding together and then go in her house and sometimes Mrs. Knowles would have ice cream waiting for us. I think that I have already mentioned that Joe Knowles was bashful. Well, I will add that the whole family of children were. I will always remember the first day that Samuel came to school. His father, William, had to carry him in, in his arms. The teacher tried to talk to him but he hid his head and cried so the teacher showed Mr. Knowles the seat he was to have and he put him in it. But Sam just slid to the floor, under the desk and stayed there until noon. In the afternoon he had to be carried in again and it was several days before he would sit up or pay attention to any classes. I will also add that the Knowles family were very smart. Later in life George and Mary graduated from Bates College and the rest of the family were all away ahead in their classes. In the next house to Knowles lived a family by the name of Batron. Enoch and his wife, Ann, and Ada, David and Willie and a little girl, Alice. Ada was in Lilla’s class at school and David was in mine. Willie was younger and Alice was too young to go to school. Then there was Elijah Kelley and his wife Sarah. Their family was all nicknamed by their father. Horace was Thunder; Fred - Lightening; Myron - Hail; Velma - Sunshine; and Kelsey - Rain. Mr. Kelley was a Grand Army man and it was for him that we all went to gather evergreen and flowers to make wreaths for Memorial Day. There was another Ramsdell family, William and his wife, Emma. Their children were Eva, Walter, George and Verna. These Kelley’s and Ramsdell’s were related to each other and well all school mates of mine. We were beginning to have evening parties now, first at one house and then another. Alton Hunt was keeping company with Lilla. He, Eddie and Minnie had changed schools and was coming to our district, which was No. 5 East, instead of going to No. 2 East. During stormy weather Minnie would often come to our house and stay all night or until the storm was over. Some of the parties I mentioned were surprise parties. One night we went up to the Owens family. As they lived two miles or more from us, we went in teams or sleighs and sure enjoyed the ride and always had a good time to the party wherever we went. Inez Kelley had a party. Mame Ramsdell and I wasn’t invited for Inez thought us too young to go to parties although we were only a year younger than she. When Lilla came home I asked her what kind of a time she had, and here it is. They were having a fine time playing some such games as “Needles Eye” or “London Bridge” when Mrs. Kelley came in the room and said, “why Inez, I didn’t know that you were going to have a rough crowd like this. I thought you were going to have a few of your Christian friends in and have a sing. Why, you are wearing my carpet all out.” They broke up early and Mame decided that we were glad that we were young. There was box suppers held at the school but I didn’t attend any of these. And we also had spelling matches. I was so ashamed I didn’t know what to do when I went down on the word “oats.” We had only one try and I said in a hurry, “oates” so down I went. I have always been rather dumb in spelling, anyway. In the spring before returning to work, one day, the old crowd met. That is, Chester, Vin, Mame, Lilla, Mabel, Sadie, Mame and myself and decided to make a fire and roast potatoes down in the field. We gathered a lot of wood and started the fire in our field. Then Chester said that perhaps our mother wouldn’t want us to have a fire there and we had better put it out and go to their field. So we put the fire out, supposedly, and started across the field, each one carrying some of the wood and kindling when Mabel, who had a lot of paper and wood, and the fire blazed up in her arms and what a hustle there was to put it out when she dropped it in the dry grass. But there was no damage done and we roasted our potatoes after all. In April we moved again to the village for work. This year Mimmie went with us to work too. She and Lilla chummed around with Susie Griffin and Mame Ryerson and there was a new family that lived near us, Hattie and Effie Kelley and were quite good friends. All these girls worked in the factory while I stayed at home to look after Edna, who wasn’t yet the school age. One day it was very high tide and twelve o’clock noon. I always went around the wharf to meet Mother with Edna. Hattie was coming around the wharf and we were talking. There was one plank of the wharf that extended beyond the rest and we were talking of how high the tide had come up. Hattie said she dared to go out on that one extended plank, so she went. The plank wasn’t nailed down so it tipped up, letting her in the water, which was very deep. One of her feet was sticking up when Nealy McCurdy came along and grabbed her by the foot to pull her. She kicked and in he went, too. There was a little excitement getting them out. And how we did tease Hattie after that. Hattie was always, it seemed, doing something to be teased about. There was a merry-go- round in town and evenings she, Effie and the rest of us girls would go to it. One night, as she was getting ready to go their lamp chimney got broken but Hattie said, “never mind, I can dress in the dark.” Now, the dress skirts at that time all had cambric linings in them. So when Hattie got to the merry-go-round her skirt was cambric side out. No more dressing in the dark for Hattie. Added to our crowd of girls was Jennie, Annie and Carrie Robinson and Lena Dysart. We went out in the evening, we always came home early and no boys. We could have our good times without them. The summer went on, with Mother and Lilla working and me getting the meals and looking after Edna who had found a little playmate, Charlie Hilton. One day while on the beach they found a sunfish and played with it. As a sunfish is poisonous they got poisoned with it. At first, Mother and Mrs. Hilton thought it was a sunburn but later learned the difference. But, my, how those two did screech before there was something found to relieve their poison. One day in the fall I had a new dress make of some kind of woollen material. Mimmie was going out and was putting perfume on so she went to put some on me, too, and in some way upset the whole bottle. Such an overwhelming odor! I had to take the dress off as it made me sick. That dress hung on the line out doors and was washed, but as long as I had it I could always smell that perfume in it. And that cured me of wanting perfume for still I can’t stand it. We moved back to our old home in December and I returned to school but had to work very hard to keep up with my class after missing so much school. During the winter we had parties and candy pulls, as before. I spent some time to my grandmother’s and found my cousin, Elena, who lived near Grandmother’s, with her father, Zadoc and mother, Rebecca and she had two sisters, Elmira and Lucinda and two brothers, George and Irvin, to be a good playmate. We attended church with Grandmother and also Sunday School, together. The Baptist people had built a new church on the Ridge and I attended the Sunday that they held a dedication service in it. There was several ministers and it was a long service. When it came time to take up the collection it seems that they were much in need of money to meet expenses, so one of the minister’s, Mr. Cottle, who must have been a better beggar than the rest, got up and how he did beg. It seems as if one just had to give, the way he put it. Mr. Cottle was a native of North Lubec or he preached there until retiring and then moved to Lubec. But at times he went and preached and I had heard him many times. I well remember parts of some of his sermons. It seems that in the middle of his sermons he would always bring in something about a cord or wood and a dozen of eggs. I think that he even said it in one funeral service I heard him preach. There was also a Holiness Church built at the Ridge and as it was something new they got many converts but soon it was a thing of the past and the church stood idle for a number of years and then was sold to the town. It was made over into a school. At the Methodist Church, revival meetings were held and many new converts were baptized. Among them was Chester Jones and John Grass, the minister’s son. It was a cold day in the spring of the year with ice in the water. Poor Chester was only about eleven years old and seemed quite afraid but Mr. Grass carried him in and dipped him, while I stood and shivered for him. There were also revival meetings held in the church across the street from us. Lilla and I both came forward. Lilla was baptized when the weather got warm but Mother thought me too young to know what I was doing so I wasn’t baptized. There are a few more things that I should have written before and I will write them now. And then this will cover the first twelve years of my life and after that one is no longer a child. One morning Uncle Fred came after Aunt Susan, saying that Grandmother had fell on the ice and broken her arm. At first we could hardly believe it to be true but it was. She fell while coming home from church on a Sunday night. There was another baby born to Uncle Fred’s house, a boy, Burton. Uncle Fred was quite proud of him. Edna had started school. The first day, Miss Reynolds, the teacher, told her to hold one finger up and she wouldn’t, for she said it looked too foolish. So Miss Reynolds took Edna across her knee and spanked her and as she cried so hard and Lilla and I cried, too, she sent Lilla home with her. It was a long time before Edna would go to school again. Edward Eaton and wife, Jennie had moved into their new house and had a little girl, Hazel. Mrs. Eaton’s two sisters, Carrie and Lottie Johnson had come from Portland to live with them. Lottie was about my age and it was me that she first started to school with. From the first time we met we became good friends. None of our school had ever been vaccinated but on a certain day it was spread around that the doctor was coming to school to vaccinate us, which was a false report. But Lottie had thought of a way of getting rid of washing dishes and thought she would try it. So, on the night of the vaccination rumor she hurried upstairs and stuck a bunch of cotton on her arm with glue, then went and showed her sisters where she was vaccinated. It worked until some of the girls went in that weren’t in on the secret, then poor Lottie had to wash double the amount of dishes. It was the first day of April and I was so afraid of any one playing an April Fool on me that I wouldn’t do anything that I was asked to do. And Lottie was the same way, for that was one year we wasn’t going to be fooled. At school, Chester Jones told us that Millie was having a party for us children and wanted Lottie and I to come over wo we were in high spirits as we always had so much fun to Millie’s. So, after supper we dressed all up and went to Millie’s. The house was all in darkness as no one was home and then we didn’t know what to do. We didn’t want anyone to know that we were April fools. But, finally, we had to go home and own up to it. But the next day at school we wasn’t on speaking terms with Chester. Lilla and I went to Uncle John Schofield’s. He was a brother to our grandfather and we thought a lot of him and his wife, Ann. He had one grown up son at home, Daniel, nicknamed “Duck” whose wife was dead. He had two sons, Harry and Jimmie, who were a bit older than Lilla and me. One day while we were down there they gave us a pair of pigeons, one white and the other dove color, which we named Dickie and Beauty. Mine was the dove colored one, Dick and she became a great pet, flying along with me to school and to the Post Office and waiting for me and flying home again. And after a time, Dickie began to lay eggs. But Beauty got stepped on by the horse so there was never any little pigeons. I had him until he died of old age. Another thing he used to do was untie my shoes. While I would be filling the lamps, as the oil can was kept in the wood shed, Dickie would get in there. Filling the lamps and cleaning the chimneys used to be my job most of the time. I enjoyed filling the lamps for our oil can was different than any I ever saw. It was called “Good Enough.” The faucet was on top of the can and a crank was turned to fill the lamp. If they were too full, turn the crank the opposite way and take the oil out. How many times I have stood there and filled those lamps and then emptied them again, just for fun, I couldn’t say. But you know that children are easily amused and I was only about ten years old. Mrs. Kinney’s daughter in Eastport was sick and sent for Mrs. Kinney so Lilla and I went over to keep house with Mabelle. The Kinney’s had moved into a big old farm house that sat back from the street. And how spooky it seemed at night time there. In the evenings we would study or play games and then before going to bed would eat a saucer of raw potatoes, cut up with vinegar, pepper and salt. I don’t know what kept us from being sick! One day, Mame, Sadie, Lilla, Mimmie, Mabel, with me, of course, went down in Dinsmore’s pasture. We saw their white horse standing there so decided that we wanted to ride on it’s back so we got the horse over to the fence and either Mame or I was to ride first. So it was me. The girls held the horse but try as I could I couldn’t climb on his back. After, Mame made a few attempts and failed. Horseback riding was given up. We had no saddle or bridle, perhaps it is just as well that we didn’t. It was in the middle of the winter and good sleighing excepting a few “thank you Marms” in the road. Mrs. Kinney went to church with the horse and sleigh. Mr. Kinney didn’t go and as there was only she and Mabelle, Lilla and I rode with her. Coming home when we came to a place where the “thank you Marms” were, as there were several together, we decided that we would walk over them so we all got out and somehow Mrs. Kinney dropped the reins. The horse started for home so we had to walk the rest of the way. Sometimes I would go over to Mrs. Kinney’s and she would be sewing carpet rags and I liked to sew them, too, so would help her, if she would let me sew on the other end of what she was sewing and then I would keep watching her and take the same color she did and after a while we would have both ends sewed together. I must have been an awful pest to her but she always seemed to like me. One day Mame Ramsdell and I was playing together when we saw a dragonfly or a “Devil’s darning needle” as we always called them. I was told that if you swore they would sew your mouth together. So I was telling Mame and when I finished telling her, she said, “I don’t believe it.” Then she said “Dam, there, now, come and sew my mouth up if you want to.” So that proved that it was a false statement. It was a big blustering snowstorm and as Sadie and Mame lived far from the school and in back a long ways from the street we had them go in and stay all night with us, sending word to their parents by some man. And what a time we had. As all the folks were at home, then, the four of us slept in one bed, that is, what time we slept. We got down to say our prayers and even then we couldn’t calm down. One knelt by the bed, the next put her head on that one’s stern and that is the way until the four of us were strung out across the room. The next day there wasn’t any school and the girls had to stay and that night, too. I really think that Mother was glad when the storm let up and they went home. Mr. Jones was doing some remodelling to his house and Mimmie’s room was all torn to pieces. She stayed with us until it was fixed, which was quite some time. I don’t remember what happened but one night we got to fighting, as children will, and in the middle of the night Mimmie got up, dressed and was going home. But Mother heard her as she was going out and sent her back to bed. The next morning the quarrel was forgotten. One time in the fall of the year Sadie came up to stay all night with me. We slept downstairs alone. Now, on the Ramsdell place, there was one apple tree that had small apples but they were good and had lots of seeds in them. Sadie brought up a milk pan full of these apples and we went to bed and ate apples until we couldn’t eat any more. And then we named them and bit into them to get the seeds and threw the apples down behind the bed, until they were all gone. To name them was to give them the names of some boy then take the seed and say, “one I love, two I love, three I love I say, four I love with all my heart. five I cast away, six she loves, seven he loves, eight they both love, nine he comes, ten he tarries, eleven he courts and twelve he marries, thirteen - health, fourteen - riches, and all the rest are little witches.” And sometimes there was eighteen or twenty seeds in those apples. Lilla and I had always slept together until one day we asked if we could each have a room as there was a room downstairs not in use. So Lilla was to have the downstairs room and I was to keep our old room. That night at bedtime I went into her room and told her a lot of ghost stories and hinted how low her window was to the ground and would be easy for one to get in, then I went to bed. Soon, Lilla came up and said “I guess I will sleep with you tonight,” and that is what I was trying to do. The last day of school there always was an entertainment in the afternoon when all the parents came to see their children show off. In one of these entertainments which was at the end of the summer term I represented the state of Pennsylvania, with a red crown on my head and a gold star on it. My part was, “I represent the state of Pennsylvania which was founded by William Penn. He made a famous treaty with the Indians. “We will meet, said William Penn, under the broad pathway of good friends and brotherly love.” And the Indians replied, “we will live in peace with William and his children as long as the sun and moon do shine.” Fred Kelley was fire crackers with a punch fastened to his crown and each of us had a torpedo, so when Fred repeated his part, at the right minute we could throw them. His part was, “I am firecrackers, sir, I represent the 4th of July. It is somewhat hot for it is summer time and the sun is very high. I am noisy (there the torpedoes) it is true, but that is the way on the dear old Fourth of July (and more torpedoes). There was the thirteen states represented and altogether we repeated something about them. “We are the thirteen states, that first to the Union came.” I don’t remember the whole of it but do know that I couldn’t throw the torpedoes hard enough to make them go off. Another last day of school, Chester Jones and I were in a dialogue together. He had a high beaver hat that the teacher had borrowed and a grip, while I sat in my little rocking chair beside a small table and held my doll. Chester was a doctor. Here is the play: Me: Come and see my baby dear, Doctor, she is ill, I fear. Yesterday, do what I could, she wouldn’t touch no kind of food. She just tosses, moans and cries, Doctor, what would you advise?” Chester: {coming in with hat and grip} Well let me see, oh madam, pray, what have you offered her today. Oh! I see a piece of cake (the cake was on the stand) the very worst thing you could make her take. But let me taste, Oh! Yes, I fear too many plums and currants here. Let me taste again so as to make the matter plain. Me: But Doctor, pray excuse me. Oh! you’ve eaten all my cake up now. I thank you kindly for your care but do you think it hardly fair? Chester: Oh dear me, did I eat the cake. We it was for dear baby’s sake. In mustard water soak her feet once more, give her pills and powders, as before. Tomorrow you will be quite sure to say, she will be all right. Good day! Me: Good day! I was about ten year sold when we had this play. One year there was a school picnic which I went to, up to Estey’s grove at East Stream, which was quite a few miles from home. We went in a hayrack with plenty of tin horns to blow along the way. It was a beautiful day and very nice in the grove. This grove was used for picnics by all the people around and there was a long table made with seats on each side of it where we ate our dinner or lunches, which we took with us. We played games such as “Copenhagen” “Bull in the Ring” and many more. Mr. Estey, who was quite and old man, and claimed he could cure all kinds of sickness, came up and we gave him his dinner and what food we had left over as he lived alone. Arthur and Willis Barsley and some others said that they had headaches and had been laying around so the teacher told Mr. Estey and he said he would cure them. They sat on a seat by the table and Mr. Ike Estey stood behind them and began to massage their heads, beginning in the middle of the forehead and rubbing down their arms and every so often would say, “feel it, feel it, feel it running out through your fingers” and all the while he was mumbling something to himself that we couldn’t understand. Whether he done it or not, the boys played all the afternoon. We started for home in the middle of the afternoon arriving, perhaps at six or seven o’clock amid much noise along the way. I had a good time but that was the only school picnic I ever cared about going to. We used to have a drill at school with wands and also dumbbells. And if you could see Fred Kelley do the dumbbell exercise you would know why his father called him “Lightening.” But, anyway, our school was asked to go to the high school in Lubec to an exhibition, to do the dumbbell exercise. We all felt greatly honored and won much applause. One winter for a week or more, Grandmother was sick in bed and Uncle Fred came after me, just to have someone to be near if she wanted anything. It came up a big snowstorm and I was looking kind of lonely when Andrew, my cousin, said he was going to load gun shells and I could help him. He did a lot of hunting and always kept his empty shells to fill again. He had little measures to measure the powder and shot and that was what I did, kept measuring the powder and shot while he put the concussion caps in the end. Between the powder and the shot there had to be some paper gun wads and another wad on top. The afternoon passed so quickly that I was surprised when dark came. But, my, how black and dirty my hands were. When I was quite small Uncle Fred used to take me upon his knee and tell me stories and he always made them up. One he told me I still remember only not in his words. It was why the bears haven’t any tail. He said, “one day it was very cold and a bear got awful hungry and hunted all around and couldn’t find anything to eat. He came to a lake with a big hole in it, that hadn’t frozen yet. And, as all the bears at that time had great, long tails, the bear thought if he sat at the edge of the ice and let his tail hang down in the water he might catch a fish. So he sat there a long time and when he went to get up his tail had frozen in the ice. So he pulled and pulled to get his tail out, but it broke off.” So that is why the bears don’t have any tails. I used to enjoy his stories. The first summer we moved to Lubec we only took a few of our things to Lubec. So one Saturday night we started to walk home, about four miles. Edna was in the baby carriage and someone came along and offered Lilla and me a ride as far as the Ridge, which was about halfway home. And as it was dark and Lilla was afraid to walk on from there with me, Mother told us to go in Huckin’s store and wait for her and Aunt Susan. Well, we got as far as Huckin’s and I decided I would go to Uncle Fred’s and spend the week-end and wanted Lilla to go, too. But it was about a mile to his house and the road was nearly all woods on each side and very dark, so Lilla wouldn’t go. So I said, “you can stay here, then. I am going.” So I went. I got there safely and was having a fine time when who should come in through the door but Mother. And was she mad! But Uncle Fred put his arm around me and said, “you shan’t touch her, for Fannie is going to stay here.” After a while Mother went home and I had a pleasant week-end. There was a big fire in the woods at the Style’s place and my, how it did burn. There was men fighting it for three days and nights and then a rain came, which was a good thing, but it took a lot of it before the fire was all out. At night, even in the rain, one could see sparks along the fences and rails and before the rain, how that fire did run up those trees. I thought it fun to watch but I was only eight or nine and didn’t know much better. One day there was someone to the house and stayed to supper. I don’t know if it was the minister and his wife, or Mary Williams, a cousin of Mother’s, and her fiance, Mr. Roberts, but anyway, we were eating and had raspberries and cream. I was always making mistakes. I ate for a while and then said, pretty loud, “Oh, I forgot to look to see if there is any worms in these berries” and looked at Mother. My, what a look she gave me. I didn’t do it again. I must mention something of our life at home, how the house was kept. First there was a parlor which was fixed up as well as the average of that time and was closed with drawn shades and used only for company. Then the sitting room where we could have all the fun we wanted, with our games and dolls. The dining room was small but the table was always set with a white cloth and hand embroidered tray cloths. A white screen was over it when not in use. We always ate all our meals in the dining room. There was a bedroom off the parlor and one off the sitting room in which our parents slept. There was two bedrooms upstairs and as there wasn’t an attic, there was a door that opened in one of the bedrooms into a place that we called under the eaves, where we used to store things out of the way. One day, Aunt Susan was up there and the floor was only a few boards, far apart, and Susan made a misstep and down went her foot and leg into Mother’s bedroom. Of all the hollering until someone could come to her aid! The kitchen was a fair size and as I stood by the sink and washed the dishes I could look from the window out in the pasture where on the back line fence stood two tall cedar trees. I often thought that I would go out to them. The back end of the pasture was quite grown up so every so often I would go so far and then see if I could find my way home again, until, at last, I dared to go all the way to those cedars, alone. There was many part-way trips made at first. One dy I came to an old stump around which, was the smell of a skunk, so that stump was names Skunk Stump, and I had marks like that all the way. To show just what kind of an uncle Fred was, I must write of one visit there. I had been there for several days and as I was pretty lame I couldn’t get around much. I had gone to bed at night but was thinking of home, so began to cry and wanted to go home. It was about nine o’clock at night and they heard me crying. Grandmother came in and wanted to know what the trouble was. When I told them I wanted to go home, Uncle Fred asked if I wanted to wait until the morning and I said “no.” So he said, “well, if you want to go, you can.” And as I couldn’t walk and it was a very cold night in the winter, he told Grandmother to dress me up warm and got plenty of comfortables. He had no horse, only a yoke of oxen, so he yoked up the oxen in the sled and his wife, Linna, went with us to help keep me warm. I got home about ten o’clock. My mother said, “Why didn’t you spank her and put her to bed until morning?” but Uncle Fred said, “Now anytime you want to come back, let me know and I will come and get you.” I stayed at home for a week or two and was ready to go back again. In my early years I was let play in the dirt making mudpies, etc, in the mornings. But after dinner I was washed, combed and dressed in three starched petticoats with ruffles, lace and tucks, made by my mother and a starched dress in summer, all ruffles and frills, and had to keep out of the dirt. So that time was spent playing dolls, croquet and swinging in the hammock or going to see some of my playmates. There was one playmate, that by her actions, made me form plans of how I should bring up my own children, should I have any. This playmate, if she couldn’t always have her own way, would say, “well, if you won’t play as I want you to, then I won’t play.” So all of us had to give in to her to keep her in the games. So my mind was made up then, that if I ever heard on of my children say that, that they would stop playing right then. And that is one thing that I carried out. And as soon as I heard, “then I won’t play” into the house they came until they could play the game fair. When Lilla was seven years old she began to learn to sew by making a nine block quilt. As I was only five, I wasn’t big enough to sew but there was a few scraps of cloth they let me have and I went off by myself and started my quilt of four blocks. I went down to grandmother’s and got more pieces, so after a while Mother saw how well I was doing and she gave me more pieces and I finished my quilt. I liked to sew. We also made aprons for ourselves, with just a band across the top like the grownups and made them of bright red, all by hand. Mother was teaching Mattie Ramsdell how to crochet. Lilla and I slept in the next room and we were awake. We could hear Mother say, “chain three, put your thread over and put the hook through that hole, pull the thread through two stitches and then through two more, etc.” So the next morning we could crochet. I don’t remember how old I was at that time but it seems as if I could always crochet. I was nine years old when Edna was born and that winter I made wide lace for petticoats for her as I was lame and couldn’t go to school. Now I have done enough looking back at the first twelve years of my life so here I will end. And I hope if any one ever reads this they won’t think it too much bragging about myself. One thing more I must add to show how dumb I was. Of course, I was only eight or nine, perhaps younger, and I heard Papa talking of putting an ell on the house. So every morning I would go out and look on the end of the house to see if he had put the “ell” on it yet. As I didn’t know what he meant by an ell. Written by Fannie Collom Myers (illiterate) June 1943 Dedicated to my sister, Lilla, whom we always called Lillie. (Lilla B. Knight)


Patricia McCurdy Townsend

lubecpat@adelphia.net