Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In Her Own Words - The New House

These are some of the memoirs written by Ethel Hymers Glewwe on her childhood in Saskatchewan, Canada from 1910-1918.

Building a New House - 1913-1915

     " Papa always planned on building a new house for us - so while Mama and me spent the winter of 1913 in St. Paul, he worked hard getting the grain hauled to town and using the money he made for selling the grain to buy lumber and building supplies.  the he hauled it to the farm and stored it in piles to ready when the time came that he could call on his cousins and neighbors for help.  He dug out the cellar under the kitchen of our house and erected support posts under the house.  The sod on the outside had to be removed, so he took it off about half way down.  Winter set in, but it was rather a mild winter and he was able to mark out and lay a foundation of stones for the addition.  Grandpa and our neighbor,  Joe Rands, helped.  Grandpa said he always did the cooking.
    Mama and I came home from St. Paul in March, 1914, and from then on it was a very busy year.  I remember Mama and me hauling away the sod off the house and putting it into a dry well hole that the well diggers had left when Papa was trying to reach some drinking water in our farmyard.  Usually the farmers began planting wheat early in April and when not planting, other ground was worked  over to plant in May - the corn and finally on Queen Victoria's birthday - potatoes and garden vegetables.  By June the crops were growing and there was a slackening of farm work and time for a house raising.

     Papa's cousins, Bert and Bud, Joe Rands and even the men and their wives from town came.  Some brought their children.  They moved most of the furniture outside and some into the granary that Papa and Joe had built.    Everyone had something to do - the ladies that came helped Mama cook the meals and many brought food and we all shared.  It took about three days to get the walls up and the roof closed in, before it rained and I can remember the night it rained.  Papa had moved our bed back in, but the roof leaked and we got wet and Papa put a canvas over us like a tent.  I thought it was fun, Mama was worried about all their work being ruined - Papa always made an adventure out of a catastrophe.  Finally the house was finished and Mama was very happy.  We had three bedrooms upstairs and two big clothes closets, a large living room and the old kitchen.  A cellar door and stairway was built under the stairway that went upstairs - it was such a nice house - a permanent wall was built to close in the pantry and a heater stove was installed in the living room.,  From this stove a pipe was extended to the bedroom upstairs and a pipe  from the cooking stove in the kitchen heated one of the bedrooms above the kitchen.   One bedroom had no heating pipe, but it wasn't much different that the one with the pipe.  I remember the upstairs was always cold in the wintertime.

     Grandpa wanted Grandma and their daughter Cora and son Allan to join him and hopefully stay.  But Cora was just graduating from high school and she had a group of piano students she was teaching and she didn't want to come.  Grandma and Allan came and Grandma brought some furniture, but she didn't like the house that Grandpa had on his section of land so they moved into our house and Grandma and Grandpa slept downstairs in the living room in their own bed and Allan slept upstairs in one room and I slept in the other room and Mama and Papa slept in the front bedroom upstairs that had the big closet.  Mama said it was wonderful to have so much room.

     Mama put in a big garden, Papa plowed about an acre - and I remember helping her with the measuring line and dropping beans and peas into the ditches she made with the hoe.  Grandma helped with the cooking, she could bake the best bread and cookies she called oatmeal rocks.  Mama did a lot of vegetable canning and usually when the harvest was over she had rows and rows of jars full of peas, beans, and carrots.  We had citron preserves and later on we had raspberries and strawberries that we grew.  We had pickles too and sauerkraut.  We considered ourselves very fortunate and one of the more prosperous farmers.  Grandma had a brother named Charles Kipp and he lived in Oregon.  His wife died and he wanted to visit his sister in Saskatchewan and his sister in St. Paul - so he came to visit.  I liked Uncle Charlie.  When Uncle Charlie was ready to leave for St. Paul, Allan went back with him.  Allan had to go to school and Grandma was persuaded to stay the winter of 1914-1915."

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