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Monday, October 27, 2008

Stories from Great Auntie Fern (chapter 1)

My name is Fern Alice *****. I was born in 1909. April the 3rd, 1909. And I was born on a wheat ranch that my father had homesteaded; about eight miles from the little town of *****, Washington. They moved out from Kansas by train in the 1800s. And while my father built a house on the land that he homesteaded, he put a big tent in ***** where the family stayed while he built a new house on the wheat ranch. Roy was born there.
The next year, Jennie was born there. So they lived in that tent at least two or three years 'til the house was built and they they moved out to the wheat ranch. Ethel, Grace, Blanche, and Floyd were born in Kansas and they moved out here by train. Paul and Roy and Jennie was born in ***** (in the tent there) and I was born on the wheat ranch.

I only lived on the wheat ranch a year until we moved to town because, by that time, the older ones were ready for high school.They had to move to town so the older ones could go to high school. So, I was a year old and Paul was two years old when we moved to town.

I was two years old, almost three when my mother had her last baby. It was a boy. And she (her mother) didn't make it.

She got Septicemia, which is blood poisoning and they didn't have antibiotics in those days so she couldn't be saved.

That's when I remember more because I was staying with the neighbors while she was sick. And the baby ‑‑ our friends Charlie ***** and his wife took the baby Lawrence, and was to keep him until the sisters and I could help take care of him. But he never returned because they got attached to him and they kept him all through his adult life and my father supported him.

But then my mother died in 1912, January 1912, and I was staying with the neighbors. And while I was there, I remember seeing the funeral procession going by.

Later in that day, I came down with Typhoid and pneumonia. My oldest sister carried me in a suitcase at least a half a mile up to the road at 11:00 at night to take me to the hospital. I was in the hospital three months.

The neighbors took turns taking me at night when I came home so I wouldn't suffocate. I've got a great big scar (pointed to her chest) where they took the puss out of my lungs. Nowadays they take it out of your back.

Here I am, 99 and still ticking.


Notes:

When Amanda comes to town she sits with Auntie Fern and records her memories.
Fern, who will be 100 on her next birthday, is the only surviving sibling of Amanda's Great Grandmother Jennie.


Fern was carried into the small town by her sister where they could catch the train which would transport them to the hospital, 16 miles away.

Jennie was born in 1902, so they may have lived in the tent longer than two or three years.

I chose to leave out last names and places to respect Auntie Fern's privacy. She does not have a clear understanding of blogs and the internet.


22 comments:

the planet of janet said...

amazing story. looking forward to more...

Kila said...

Wow, and we complain if the computer is a little slow.

Loved this post.

99 years!

Gattina said...

How interesting I love to read old people's souvenirs ! My God what a difference compared to our lives today !

kitten said...

Wow! Wonderful story! Hope you have more soon!

nikki said...

Wow, my grandma lived to be 96. I loved to listen to her stories. Aunt Fern sounds like she is an amazing woman!

Peter said...

Auntie Fern at 99 is doing a lot better than just ticking Pamela, she sounds like the true pioneer material that went out of fashion about 50-60 years ago.

Shelby said...

Please give Auntie Fern a hug from me. She reminds me of my grandmother. My grandmother's mother died after childbirth when my grandmother was 2. My grandmother and the new baby were taken to some relatives down south to be raised while my grandmother's father worked.

Jettied said...

I love this story. I love stories about the olden days!! I can't imagine. Living in a tent!! I miss so much listenng to my grandparents talk about the struggles they went threw and it amazes me that they have such a positive outlook on life with all they went threw!! I hope many more happy years are ahead for Aunt fern.
I had a great grandma fern!!

lisaschaos said...

This is great! I wish I had thought to record my great-grandmother's memories on paper. I always loved listening to her stories of covered wagons and moving from Kansas to Missouri when she was young. She was born in 1902 but left us a few years ago.

The Dishes Will Wait said...

How priceless, to preserve a bit of family history. Looking forward to reading more!

Karmyn R said...

I think about the things I will be telling my grandkids some day. One thing I am certain of - I will never have it as difficult as they did back then.

Tiggerlane said...

Absolutely riveting. I love these stories...and I know we are spoiled and soft when I hear from the generation of Aunt Fern. Tough as nails...

I hope we all have a little of her mettle in us.

coffeypot said...

Great story. My dad was born in '03 and mom in '06. I loved hearing their stories, too. It was a different world then.

karisma said...

Wow that is a great story! I remember reading old letters from my dads side of the family. People sure had it a lot harder in those days but as it was normal for them did not seem to notice! Amazing how matter of fact they took everything. I love reading real accounts! Thanks for sharing!

MarmiteToasty said...

Im glad these little personal snippets of history are getting told before they get lost and forgotten....

x

Junebug said...

Did they keep the farm house on the wheat ranch? My husband's mother was so small and premature when she was born in 1915 that they put her in a shoe box and in the oven to keep her warm. She lived to be 92.

JanMary said...

Amazing memories.

Thanks for sharing them with us.

Amanda said...

I feel very privilaged to be able to sit and listen to her stories. She is such an inspiration to me. And to think, she's got SONS in their 70s!!

Alison said...

this is a wonderful post...I love stories like this, and to hear it first hand is priceless. what a strong, beautiful woman!! I hope you share more.

dawn said...

I am so excited to read more. I think I have said it to you before, but I do love to read historical stories of people. And she has the same name as my mom (except my mom's name has a silent e on the end. Great story and I am looking forward to the next segment.

wendster said...

Wow. That was a great story. Pus in the lungs? I had no idea!

Three months?

The trip in the suit case was a great visual. Loved it!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I loved your story!I hope you will share more of them, I found it very interesting:)