Monday, 2 February 2015

Today I Saw • Two


New grown-up green leaves on the trees in the yard. Last year there were green leaves too. But they fell, one at a time, two at a time, and even handsfull at a time. But now there are new ones there. The tree would not have grown very far if one crop had been all it could have. Each spring there is a new covering of green leaves for the tree, so it grows and grows. There is a kind of eternity in having new leaves take the place of old ones and carrying on.

     Our family tree is like that. And yet the wood left by the old leaves is the first wood, the wood that the new wood worked around is the foundation. So we are the second leaves or fourth or tenth. We are still clinging to the wood that the first leaves built. We grow the same, too. If a branch is hanging out over the house then new leaves now cling to it in the same manner that the first ones hung. We must grow the same way because that is the way the twigs are hanging.

     There is so much comfort in the fact that our tree has weathered other springs like ours. That sometimes in the past there have been springs with a lot of rain as this has been but the tree and the leaves weathered it just the same. They grew to maturity and turned red and gold and then they fell. They fell and lay until they were raked off and burned and then seemed to gain some sort of eternity by leaving in the memory of all those that saw them a picture of loveliness, a picture of golden light, earth-made. Then in perfect dedication, the following spring, new leaves take up the task that the old ones left off. Today I saw new leaves.
—Mabel Claudia Knapp Hess

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Easter Picnic

NANCY, JANE AND DAN were starting on their Easter walk at last. They had made their sandwiches, packed their cupcakes and boiled eggs in the big basket Grandmother had given them this Easter, and put in the milk Mother had told them to take along.

Nancy hadn’t washed the dishes; she put them in a pan behind the curtains on the little green cupboard. Jane had not swept the floors. She swept most of the crumbs back behind the kitchen stove where they would not show. Dan had not carried his wood.

They had all decided they could do their work when they came home. They hadn’t even straightened their clothes closets, nor hung up their clothes; they could do that later.

And now they were really starting out. They were going to go along the creek bank and gather some early leaves and maybe pussy willows until they came to the hills then they could go into the woods a little way if they would not go off the wood road. So they walked along, taking turns at carrying the basket.

Dan gathered the leaves he could find and put them into a match box.

They chatted and skipped along until they came to the edge of the wood. They found a little mossy place then, and sat down to eat their lunch. It was very warm by now and they leaned back against a tree trunk to rest after they had eaten.

But soon they started on. They were soon starting down the old wood road. When they turned the first corner- the one by the big dead tree- they came upon the strangest sight. There stood a great rabbit, as tall as Uncle Jim. He had a big scepter, which looked like a giant stalk of asparagus. He was standing very straight and still in front of a little path.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hello,” they answered, hardly believing their eyes and ears.
“Follow me,” said the Easter rabbit, and he turned and walked up a little path. The children looked at each other. The rabbit had left the wood road.

Just then a little robin flew in into the path from a nearby tree. He chirped a little song and then he turned his head and looked at them. Then he said, “Better follow, better follow.”

Nancy, Jane, and Dan started down the path behind the Easter rabbit. They followed him a long way, until they came to a part of the woods where the trees were very thick and large. In a little clearing they a saw a house. It was a wee, wee house with a straw roof and blue door. There were blue willow trees all around the house. The rabbit stopped and waited at the little white gate. The robin said, “Go in, go in.”

As Nancy, Jane, and Dan went up the tiny walk, the blue door opened, and there stood a little white-haired lady, wiping her hands on her apron.

They politely walked in, a little nervous, and stood just inside the door. Inside the house were hundreds of dishes. Some were on shelves around the house, some were in cupboards, some were on tables, and the sink was stacked clear full.

“Sit down;” said the little old lady, “I have just been washing my dishes”.

Nancy wondered where she could ever have gathered so many dishes.

She had tiny white ones, larger pink ones, larger blue ones with blue willows on them; middle-sized ones with roses and forget-me-nots; white ones with gold rings and edges; brightly colored ones, and tiny dishes made of clay. Nancy offered to help wipe the dishes. They were such pretty dishes. Much prettier than the old ones at home she had washed so many times. They washed, wiped, and put on stack away, but there would be another waiting. Then Jane and Dan helped too, but there were always more dishes. At last the little lady sat down, put her apron over her face, and cried.

“I have been here since I was a young girl and I just can’t catch up to these dishes. The rabbit told me if I didn’t help my mother better, I would have to come and keep them clean, but I didn’t believe him. Now I’m still here and I’m no nearer through than ever.”

But when she had cried awhile she went back to the sink, and all four of them washed and wiped dishes as they had never washed and wiped dishes before. Their towels looked like flying white sails. At last they could see that the dish piles were growing smaller and smaller. And finally, after a very long time, they really caught up. Then the little old lady kissed each one and gave each one a tiny blue and white pitcher to take along.

She thanked them many times and then, they started on their way again.

The Easter rabbit walked ahead up the little path, carried his asparagus staff, and the little robin hopped along at his side. They all walked and walked. By and by they came to a new kind of forest. The children had never seen such strange tress. They were thin and straight then about four feet from the ground. They were very busy but the branches were very short and grew very close together.

The rabbit marched straight on until he reached a little gate. Then he stopped. The robin said, “Go on in, go on in.”

Nancy, Jane, and Dan walked up to a little house that looked very much like the last little house. They knocked and a brisk little woman came to the door. She had a broom in one hand, and a dustpan in the other. She asked them in and went back to sweeping her floor. She would get the dust and dirt almost to the door, when a draft would carry it back. After she had swept the floor three times, she sat down to rest.

“I have been sweeping this floor for twenty years,” she said. “And it’s always dirty. Just as I get to the door, it blows open and I must sweep it all over again.”

“We will help you,” said Jane. So Nancy and Jane started looking for brooms.

“Didn’t you notice the brooms as you came here?” she asked. “The whole forest around here is full of little brooms.”

And so it was. All the queer trees they had seen were little brooms, growing upside-down.

“Be sure to get ripe ones,” she called. “They have colored handles.” Nancy and Jane each picked a bright new broom and started to help sweep the floor. When they were almost to the door, Dan held it for them. They swept the floor three times; it was clean at last. The brisk little woman kissed each child, and going outside, she picked each one a seedling broom. She thanked them and stood beside the door waving until they were out of sight. They walked behind the rabbit with the asparagus staff and the robin that hopped along at his side.

They walked and walked and walked, before the rabbit stopped again. This time in front of a woodcutter’s hut. He stopped and waited as before, and the robin said, “Go in, go in.”

No one came to the door, so the children went around the tiny hut and found a little old man chopping wood. He chopped and chopped, then he’d stop and carry it to the woodshed.

“I never get the woodshed full before night,” he said, “Then I have to use some to cook with. And the next have to start all over.”

“I’ll help you,” said Dan.

They worked and worked, but the woodshed didn’t seem any fuller. So Nancy and Jane helped too, while the little old man chopped the wood. They worked very fast, and the woodshed started to fill up. Bit by bit, it became fuller and fuller. At last, the old fellow stopped chopping wood, and with his great blue handkerchief wiped back and forth on his forehead, pushing a sweaty lock of hair across and back. Then he thanked Dan and Jane and Nancy, as he leaned upon his old ax.

“I can go home now,” He said. There was a lonely smile on his face.

“My mother used to ask me to carry wood, but I hated to so bad. The rabbit said he’d give me another chance, but one day I forgot. I have been chopping it ever since.”

“I want to thank you again, and give you something to remind you to carry your mother’s wood in”. He hurried into his hut and soon returned with three whittled axes only as long as pencils. He handed one to each of the children and then he said, “Good luck! Remember what I’ve told you.”

The robin hurried toward them chirping, “Come on, come on, hurry up, hurry up.” The rabbit was start away so they waved farewell to the woodcutter who waved his blue handkerchief at them as far as they could see. The rabbit was walking faster now and soon came to a very long low house. The rabbit motioned to them to go in. At first they didn’t see anyone inside as they opened the door, but from far back down a long hall they heard sounds.

In a moment a man and woman appeared. The woman asked, “Do you have to stay here, too?” What are you doing?” Dan wanted to know. “We are hanging up our clothes”, said the man.” We wouldn’t hang them up at home and we wouldn’t hang them up at school. Now we have to hang all these up and have it all done by sundown; but we never can.”

“We will help you”, said Nancy, Jane, and Dan. There were rows and rows of coat hangers and hooks for hats. They all started hanging clothes. As they hung, three, two fell down. As they passed the windows, the children noticed that the sun was almost down. “We ought to hang them slower, but real good”, announced Dan,” or we’ll never get through”. So each one took a coat carefully by the shoulders, and started over. Soon they were all hanging in their places.

“Thank you”, said the men and he gave them each small walnuts. “Thank you”, said the woman. “Whenever you are tempted to leave your clothes lying around, just open up this walnut shell. It has hinges like a locket. Then you will be reminded of the days and years we have spent trying to correct bad habits. The habits of putting off until tomorrow, what you could do today. Goodbye.”

The children went outside then stopped and opened the walnut shells. Inside were tiny pictures of an Easter rabbit holding an asparagus staff. A very loud clatter behind them startled them, and they turned. They were back at the edge of the forest, leaning against the big tree. Each rubbed his eyes as they watched a big rabbit leap out of and over their lunch basket and jump through the woods. A startled robin flew away, leaving the crust he had been eating. The sun was going down, so Nancy, Jane, and Dan picked up their coats and baskets and started hurrying home.

I think we may be sure that they washed the dishes, swept the floor, carried in the wood, and hung up their coats and hats when they went home!

How about you? Did you do your chores today?


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Life Story: Second Version

(Editor's note: This life story was incomplete when I received it. Hopefully someone in the family finds the rest of it so we'll know what happened next!)


by Claudia Knapp Hess

     "My ancestors were all pioneers to the Rocky Mountains.  They all came here to be in Zion.  My Mother's parents lived in Marysville, Idaho.  My Father's parents lived in Hibbard Idaho, where they had come when Dad was two years old.  They had home-steaded a place a Dad had build a one-room house upon one corner of it and there he brought Mother after they were married.  On May 11, 1911, I arrived:  Ahead of the doctor and causing quite a bit of excitement.  Dr. Walker soon came and Grandmother and Dad who had been there to meet me probably felt better.
     "A friend of Mother's, Claudia Dayly, came to care for us and I was named her name plus part of Mother's as a gesture from Dad.
     "Before I started to school I didn't have any playmates.  I played with my cousins when I could which was not very often.  When I was too small to remember, my first baby sister was born and died.   My first memory is of my baby brother being born.  We played together a lot of course, and I was set to watch him a lot.  I remember of being tied to a rope on whose other end he was tied and I was to keep him on the high places so he could not get into the spring mud-puddles.  I used to like to visit at Grandmother's house.  She lived a quarter of a mile away and two of her daughters were still home.  Aunt Esther and Eveline.  I like them both but I like Aunt Evie very much.  I liked Grandpa too.  He was fat and kept everyone laughing.  He had made a violin.  He made grave markers and made designs upon them.  He was a very good artist.  He was a shoemaker and a sawyer as well as a farmer.  But he had hay-fever and farm work was bad for him on that account.  He used to whittle a lot when I can remember him.  He made us little rolling pins and potato mashers.  He liked Uncle Josh phonograph records and Hawaiian music.
     "When my brother, Warren was small, we were visiting up at Grandmother's one Sunday when Warren disappeared.  Mother found hi in the irrigation canal a long way down stream and was able to get him out.  It was almost like a funeral, they worked and worked over him.  Dad breathed in his mouth and gave him artificial respiration and they prayed over him.  Grandmother and Grandfather both gave him up but Dad would not.  Finally after what seemed hours, he started to breath though he was unconscious until sometime in the night.
     "Then we had a baby sister in December, but she caught whooping cough from us and when she was seven weeks old she died.  Mother's sister, Aunt Alta came and stayed with us a little while then.
     "Every Sunday as far as I can remember Dad would take all of us to Sunday School and almost every Sunday we would go back to Sunday Meeting.  In the long winter evenings we used to sing either wit Dad playing on Grandfather's violin or playing chords on the old organ.  Quite often Dad had meetings and when I was a little older they both went and I entertained the kids by making up stories to tell them.  They were great long stories continued from one night to the next. 
     "World War 1 was raging at this time and we were wondering if Dad would have to go.  Grandmother and Grandfather Hale moved to Smithfield, Utah about this time and they visited us on the way.  Uncle Joe, Mother's brother was drafted.  In February 1918 Mary Marjorie was born, on Valentine's Day.  When she was about seven months old we, Mother, Marjorie, Warren and I went to Smithfield to see Uncle Joe before he had to leave.  It was high adventure.  We went on the train.  We took our lunch and ate on the train but in Cache Junction we had to change trains and we had a long wait there.  Grandmother had petunias in her windows and tea roses in her yard that bloomed all summer and were a lovely dark cerise.
     "When I was seven a new adventure started.  Mother took me in the buggy to school one and a half miles a way.  The school house was made of rock and was square.  It had a wash boiler out front filled with cement to hold the flag pole up.  It had four rooms but the first year I went they only used three.  They had a class called the beginners which had kindergarten activities and took a year to learn.  So when I started as a beginner Mrs. Fullmer was my teacher.  I had to walk to and from school.  I walked with two neighbors who were in the eighth grade.
     "Grandpa died that fall.  The Armistice was signed.  During the winter an epidemic of influenza swept the country.  School was let out and all the neighbors had turns having it.  Grandmother Knapp had it at our place and then all of us did.
     "By the time school started again in the spring I had finished all my books and I was older than most of the other kids so my teacher put me in the first grade.  Then she gave me second grade books and when school was out in the spring she promoted me to the third grade.  My sister Thelma was born that spring. That summer Dad took me up on the canal back of Grandmother's place and baptized me.  Brother Orson Ricks confirmed me the next day.
     "At nights we had to carry in the wood and get the water.  I used to think I pumped more water than any one ever had.  Our reservoir held six big buckets and we only carried small buckets so it took quite a while.
     "Miss Ivins was my third grade teacher for a little while, then they separated the children and used all four rooms and had four teachers, so Miss Squires became our new teacher.  That winter Miss Ivins got influenza and died.
     "After the first year when our neighbors graduated, I walked to school with a girl who lived down the road a ways, Belva Park.  I liked Belva but she sure bullied me around.  We walked to school every day together.
     "In the fourth grade our teacher was Reba Ricks who later became my cousin when she married my cousin Irvin Widdison.  That spring our school house burned down and the school teacher's little sister, Isabelle, who was my dearest friend died after a very long illness.
     "My sister Anna was born that spring.
     "We used to have a lot of programs in school.  Some of us sang a lot and we all tried to find new songs before anyone else could learn them.  We had spelling contests too much like our grandparents used to do.  None of the schoolhouses were modern and we had to hold up our hands with different combinations of fingers protruding for different privileges.  Like one finger to talk to someone else two to go get a drink, three to go out to the old toilet behind and schoolhouse, and four to go up and speak to the teacher.  If we had more fingers they would have thought of a code for them too.
     "Mr. Wardell was our fifth grade teacher.  He was probably my favorite teacher.  He taught us a little music and a little dramatics, poetry appreciations and the fun of a sense of humor.  He also tried to make very good penmen of us. Miss Young was our sixth grade teacher.  The new school house was finished.  It was modern, drinking fountain and all.
     "I was twelve years old this spring. My brother, Alma, was born.  We visited in Ashton for a while. Aunt Finnie, Mother's sister lived there.  It was always fun to visit at Aunt Finnie's place.  We had visited her at Warm River long before when I was about four or five years old.  She had taken us to Great Falls.  Then we had visited them in Ashton on their farm, before they moved into town.  Dad had taken us to Ashton in the buggy and it was really thrilling, we saw big shade trees that looked like some we had seen in the Tarzan shows.  We stayed quite a long time.  WE had plays and dressed up and watched the moonlight on Fall River.  I was ten years old then.  Now two years later when Aunt Finnie lived in town Aunt Theola, Lella, Zara and Maxine were there and Dad's niece, Sylvia Larsen, went up with me and we had a wonderful time.  Zara and Theola played duets and we sang and it seemed almost enchanted.  I remember thinking sadly that we would never all meet like that again.
     "I had been staying summer nights with Grandma, she hated to stay alone in the evenings.  One night there was a terrible storm and I had to walk up there after dark with lightning showing the way ever now and then.  She used to tell me a lot of things.  About the man who “according to the paper) had chopped up his four children.  About her own children who had died.  She had pictures of them on her bedroom walls.  She told me about her second boy who was next to death and who told her he could hear angels singing and music, then he died.  She told about her baby boy who was a twin and whose twin had died at birth.  Raymond wanted her to take him to Rexburg to have his picture taken and she did and not long afterward he had died.  Leaving his picture for her.  I can still see him sitting there on his little chair in his dress.  Two daughters died when they had been little.  One when she was seven years and one when she was tiny.  They were so real to her.  She had a picture of the larger one, but it's eyes were colored wrong she said.  She told of the suitor of one daughter threatening to kill himself if she would not marry him.  She told him she would not so he promptly went out on her bedroom doorstep and shot himself.  She talked about Grandpa and told me the first time she saw him in Conference in Logan, Utah.  She said he was so handsome that she just kept watching him where he was in the balcony.  Then when they left the meeting she saw him again and this time she could see he was crippled.  He always walked with a cane and his feet were crooked due to some disease he had when he was three or four years old.  She used to play phonograph records.  One she had was the Wreck of the Titanic.  I had nightmares a long time after that.  But she told me about pleasant things too.  About the apple-peeling bees they had before she was married.  About the Gypsy who put a curse on her because she would not give her some coral beads she wanted.  The gypsy told her she would never have anything.  She told of the time when she was little and they could hear Indians near by.  She said when anybody died in their tribe that they stayed up all night screaming, cutting themselves with knives and dancing.  One Indian woman used to come over to her mother's home and beg, and she had a cute little girl with black eyes and hair and Grandma, who was small herself at the time used to comp"

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Life Story of Mabel Claudia Knapp Hess - Part 2

Part I • Part II


"Once my youthful world was bounded
By a circle at your feet,
Then the lines were stretched and widened
To the schoolyard and the street.
But the center of my circle
Was your tender, watchful care.
And when storms or darkness gathered,
My footsteps led me there.

Far horizons called and claimed me,
But they kept us not apart.
For an ever-open highroad
Was the pathway to your heart.
And although the circle widens
To some distant, shining star,
I know your love will find me,
And your hand will not be far."

~Josephine Wetzler

When I was eight, my dad talked to me a lot about being baptized. Then one Saturday in the May right after I turned eight, he took me up back of Grandma’s house to a turn in the canal and baptized me. The man who confirmed me was Orson Ricks. His daughter was so sweet and good, you just loved to be around her. Her name was Isabella. She had pretty red hair; it was long and in two pigtails around her head. Her oldest sister was my teacher in the fourth grade. Near the end of the year our teacher married my cousin, Irvin Widdison, then even later the schoolhouse burned down. Then on May the 4th or 5th, Isabella died. She was so pretty when we went to see her. Her hair was so shiny and a white bow was on her tummy to hide the swelled look a little. They said she had dropsy and leakage of the heart. I was one of the flower girls and carried gladiolas. As I stood by  her, I promised never to forget her, or how she looked; and always to close my eyes in prayer, because she did.

That summer Dad helped me join the Farm Bureau’s Pig Club. The class work was a little over my head, as I was younger than the rest, so Isabella’s older brother Robert helped me with long division in figuring pig-feed. I had two purebreds, Madison Beauty and Black Bob. Bob finally grew to be a huge beast, about 700 pounds, and Madison Beauty was about 500 pounds, but she was a good-looking lady and never outgrew it. When I was in the fifth grade, we had to go two miles to school, until the new building was finished. Mr. Henry Wardell was our teacher. Two grades were about all we needed in one room and as he taught the sixth grade about Longfellow and some of his favorites, we listened in. So from him I learned to love poetry. He was a great dramatist, and because of him I can see how powerful a good teacher could be.

About this time Dad had a hired man named Bunker Box. He worked in the summer and fall for us, then went to Ricks in the winter. He was a football and basketball star, and the most real matador I have ever seen. One day Segus, who was Dad’s purebred Holstein bull, got loose. When he was a year younger, I had chased him with a home made bow and arrow, but a year changes a bull. When Bunker and Dad tried to corral Segus, he took serious offense. So around and around they went. The orchard had only small trees 12 feet high or so, and a little more than a broomstick trunks, but they were all the protection Bunker had most of the time. Even so, Segus plowed into a couple of them. We kids climbed in the manure spreader to see the show from a safer distance, and the show was really on. They purred and dodged, and at tight moments Bunker chewed his apple harder than ever and the bull got the core right between the eyes. I remember this very clearly, but not the climax. Finally, though, with both Bunker and Dad mounted and working together, they drove the bull to a sturdier corral. Bunker was a big blond fellow with this shoulders, like my own son much later and like him, too, he fell heavily and swiftly for one girl, Eva Fritchie. Soon they were married and moved away.

We used to have a lot of programs in our school. It was a real challenge to keep one renderable song ahead so we could sing at the next one. They probably sounded pretty silly to the teacher. We had a lot of peanut showers, too. Everybody brought a big bag of peanuts to school, then in the afternoon, after recess, we’d get someone to call her out and when she came we all threw peanuts at her or him. After that we gathered them again and had a party.
In the summers, the two celebrations I looked forward to, were the fourth and twenty-fourth of July. There were the program, parades, rodeos, fireworks, and foot races that made them all such wonderful days. They helped us remember our independence and the pioneers.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Today I Saw • One

     A new little house. It looked large as the truck took it past the other houses on the street; but when they installed it upon its basement foundation, it looked pitifully small. One side had no windows. As soon as they were married two people who had been born in different countries were going to live in it and were determined to make it into a home. Already, two huge trees were very near in the next lot. So there would be birds.
     A flowering bush was near and spring was here, with the possibilities of a new lawn and countless annual flowers.
     The planning was yet to be done for the placement of the furniture and the very new curtains that would look bright and cheery now, but would be still hanging there when dark days came and life was not April. The flowers would not grow and come to blossoming without weeds and watering. The lawn would not grow well without mowing. The pretty dishes that would soon sit in the new cupboard would have to be washed and replaced hundreds of times. The pretty floor would get tracked and smudges would appear on the shining glass windows.
     But life was in its April and now everything was shiny bright. The dreariness of doing things over and over had no part in their dreams as they planned and fixed the house.
     The monotony of washing the dishes and having to adjust their wishes always to fit two people was a problem that would still come up. Not in April but maybe in November.
     In November the sun isn’t always shining and the leaves of the trees and the birds wouldn’t be a cheerful mediator.
     Some days you will ask yourself if this is the way things always turn out. November is a time when windows don’t sparkle the way they do in April and a lot of mud tracks in.
     The little new April house won’t know if it’s a happy home for a long time to come. When November comes and then December and the pathway is muddy and sticky, when it is a hard problem to go down and get the mail, when the wind whips around the back corner and talks of death and change and fallen leaves, when the skies become gray instead of this cheery blue, when you aren’t seeing the street that sits in front of you; then you will begin to become acquainted with you little April house.
     Oh, little girl from the land of the high Alps, from the land of friendliness, from the land of dreams where you have lived while you equestrian lived in Mexico riding his white charger, be wise; keep somewhere a bit of April in your small house. Keep some happy token of this time where you can take it out and look at it, and then as constellations burn and your happy April comes back, the magic will return. If you can keep enough of April to mix with the drabness of the latter days, then will your little April house be the place you are dreaming it will be. And always look for loveliness. Always enjoy the happy things. Keep your April; keep your April in the small house that Today I Saw.

—Mabel Claudia Knapp Hess

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Life Story of Mabel Claudia Knapp Hess

Mabel Claudia Knapp was born in the early dawn of May 11, 1911. She was the first child of Justin Willis Knapp and Mabel Fedelia Hale. She was born at Madison, co., Idaho, in a little town named Hibbard. 
Weight: Eight pounds, Height; 20 inches, Hair: Brown, eyes brown, the doctor was Joseph Walker.


 Early Life...
When I was about a year old, Mother became sick and I had to stay with Grandmother Hale, for a while. They took a picture of me while I was there. I was frightened when they took it and it shows. Later when I went back to my home, my first sister was born. She only lived a half hour because her cord was twisted and she was undernourished because of it.. Her feet were crooked, too. Her name was Justie, and I have no memory of her.  

About a year later, my brother Warren was born. I can remember vaguely when this happened. The next summer, Dad decided we needed another room on the one room we had, so he built one. Until the door was hung, they had an old quilt hung over the door space. I was afraid coyotes would get in. We frequently heard them bark and yap at nights. Sometimes before my brother was big enough to go along, I used to go with my dad on the horse behind his saddle. We’d go on errands, and to the pasture after the cows.

When Warren was over a year old, we had a new little sister. They named her Elizabeth Marie. She was born in December, and at Christmas time when we went to the dance, we got whooping cough. The baby caught it, too, when she was seven week old, she died. I can remember how she coughed and coughed, and then she’d get weaker and weaker, until she’d lost consciousness. My parents worked over her and brought her back to consciousness after she seemed dark and gone, but once they could not. I wasn’t frightened, I just felt like I was looking on. Later I deeply regretted not having a sister near my own age. She was a lovely child was tall and had brown flecks in her eyes. My brother and I could not go to her funeral because we still had whooping cough. A woman named Alice Smith stayed with us when Mother and Dad went to the funeral.

The next summer, when we went out to play, there was still some gravel out in the yard, so Mother would let me play on it and put a small rope around my waist. The other end was put on Warren, so I could keep him out of the mud at the bottom of the pile.

Once that summer, while we were at Grandmother’s, Warren walked away, and when mother found him, he was in the canal. All of us looked for him, but we looked in other places. All afternoon they worked over him, and gave him artificial respiration, and finally Dad breathed in his mouth, before he finally started to breathe on his own, even then he was unconscious until the day.

Nearly every Sunday, we went to church in the buggy. When it was new it had a top on it with black fringe all around, but the fringe wore off. Then the top wore off, but we rode to church in it, anyway. One way we looked we could see the Teton Peaks, and the way we could see two huge buttes, and off to the northwest, we could see the Sawtooth Range.

As far back as I can remember, my dad was Sunday School Superintendent. In the winter, the auxiliary organizations put on plays to pay their expense through the coming year. There were a lot of dances and programs, too. We had a sleigh with a large wagon box on it, and new straw in it with quilts over the straw. We sat on the quilt over the straw, wrapped in more quilts, when we went anywhere while there was snow on the ground. On winter nights when Dad didn’t have to go to a meeting to play-practice, he played chords on the old organ or borrowed Grandpa’s violin, and we sang songs Nights when they left, I made up stories and told them to the children until they went to sleep.

When I was real small, I had two aunts living with Grandma. I enjoyed them even when they teased me all the time. When I was six years old, the World War I was still being fought, and pretty bisque dolls that had come from Germany didn’t come any more. That Christmas I received a celluloid doll with a collapsible rubber column for its body, that could collapse by pushing down her head to make her squawk. She was very disgusting. Just before that time Warren and I had the hard measles. Dad carried us in the kitchen in the morning, then back to bed at night. Along about then, Warren had picked up the lovely bisque doll I had, and had thrown it at me, and broken it. Now I had to put up with this monstrosity. In February, on Valentine’s Day, my next baby sister was born. I was almost six years older. In the winters, we used to go with Dad in the sleigh to feed the stock out in a field. He took the gun along, so sometimes we’d get a big white rabbit to eat. Sometimes we went with him to hunt ducks. Quite a few times I went with my grandfather to fish. He fished along the banks of the Teton River.

When my baby sister was about six months old, we went on a train trip to Smithfield, Utah to visit my grandparents. It was quite a great adventure. We stopped at Cache Junction for quite a few hours, then went on. My uncle Joe had been drafted into the army, and would soon leave to go.

Grandmother had a large house (it seemed) with four rooms, a glass door, and full basement. The basement was lined with bottles of fruit and other canned food. We stayed two weeks.

The fall when I was seven, Mother took me in the buggy to school. It was the first I had been away. But it was wonderful. Ah, to learn to read! The teacher was Mrs. Fullmer. Her husband was a soldier and was away at war. She told about “The Little Red Hen.” After the first day, I walked one and a half miles to school with two eighth graders who lived across the street. Their names were Leslie and Afton Park. In the late fall the war ended, and a few days later my grandfather died. He had previously had a stroke and now he had another after he’d been in a coma for seven or eight days, he did. Dad and Grandma cried, and they shaved his mustache off. There was a lot of influenza so they held his funeral outside and we children couldn’t go. After Christmas, a lot of people caught the flu, including Grandma. She was staying a while with us, and then we caught it. School stopped because so many had it. Nothing tasted good. Grandma was well by the time we were sick, and she gave us tomatoes and vinegar, but that didn’t taste good, either.

In March, another baby sister was born; they named her Thelma. My teacher said I could read well enough so I could go into the second grade. That meant that I had skipped the first grade entirely, because the first year you went to school, you were a beginner. Miss Ivins was my teacher at first, and then they put two grades of children in each of four rooms, so it took another teacher. We had the new one, Miss Squires.

By that spring I was eight years old. Mother wanted to get her father a nice gift for Father’s day. I told her I thought he would appreciate a home-made book best. On my eighth birthday she made one for me. It was a small book full of poems. I loved them. A lot that are still my favorites are there. For forty years I have kept as much of it as I could reasonably keep from falling apart. Mothers don’t always get much credit, but maybe it’s a little like praising of part of yourself.

"Poem of the Week"~ Post Register Newspaper

"My joy in spring is more than
birds that sing;
And it is more than budded leaves
that start;
'Tis recollections of a former
A spring that now is lost, save
in my heart:
Small eggs of blue in orchards
white in May
Armloads of lilacs on our
Wedding Day."

By Claudia K. Hess
Shelley, Idaho, United States