Grams story, Part 2
Ten year old Jennie‘s life had changed. Living on a wheat ranch in 1912 was arduous – but much more so with the loss of a parent.
Her older sisters married and started families of their own, leaving Jennie in charge of caring for her dad and remaining four siblings. Each day when school released she raced down the road towards home to the washing and ironing. She felt that she could never do anything right for her dad. She had no memories of hugs or kisses. She thought Fern, her younger sister, was the apple of his eye. In spite of this, she still loved Fern with all her heart.
The newspaper reported a story about some other racing after school. Placing bets on whose horse was faster, they competed down the main street of town. The perpetrators were fined.
Talk in town included the bounty on coyote pelts, the new bridge being planned over the
In 1913, news spread quickly that a Saloon was opening in town and construction would begin on a 16-mile stretch of the
The obituaries sadly included many deaths of little ones from childhood diseases and of adults from accidents, tuberculosis, and gangrene.
A circus called Sells-Floto passed through town when Jennie was 12. They paraded through the streets lead by a “Buffalo Bill” famous Indian Scout and fighter. The following January 1915 Helen Keller and her teacher visited a local church.
That same year
In April 1917, the town installed its first electric lights. It also marked the time when young men volunteered for World War I. The women in the valley did their part by knitting blankets for the soldiers.
The friendship that Jennie and Raleigh shared began evolving into something more. They didn’t have much time to spend together, but when the opportunity arose, they managed to linger just a moment longer.
The Army drafted Earl, Jennie’s brother in law, in August 1918. By October, the “influenza” reached the tranquil valley. Schools closed, church services cancelled, and people stayed home in an attempt to stop the spread.
In spite of the quarantine, when the war ended on November 11, the townsfolk built a huge bonfire where young and old came to sing, shout, and give speeches.
By this time,
The big parade on
Prohibition was in force and every small town had its white lightning. Touchet was no exception and in October, there was a raid on a “corn whiskey” still. Fortunately, the economy didn’t depend on contraband. There was profit in that new crop,Alfalfa, in addition to hay, apples, and wheat.
In 1920, Jennie’s good friend Naomi became the first May Queen. She used a lace curtain for a train, while
The following summer,
She graduated from
Her father accepted her decision and agreed to help with the tuition.
Jennie came home over the holiday and
Jennie responded, “When? Soon, I hope.”