Thursday, September 1, 2011

In Her Own Words - Our Neighbors

This excerpt is a continuation of the memoirs written by Ethel Hymers Glewwe on her childhood in Saskatchewan, Canada from 1910-1918.

     "My papa was a big man, 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighed about 210 pounds.  He could lift me up to his shoulder with one hand and I'd put my arms around his neck.  Sometimes he pretended he was a horse and get down on his hands and knees and I'd climb on his back.  Sometimes he would hide behind the stove and pretend he was a wolf and I'd run to Mama.  I remember after he took care of the stock at night, he would come in, take off his big shoes and pull up a chair facing the stove.  He would open the oven door and put his feet on it and I'd crawl up on his lap and he would tell me stories until I'd fall asleep.  Then he's lay me in my trundle bed.  I remember once I got sick and I couldn't go play in the snow.  Mama sat me by the window and Papa and Mama made a snowman for me and Papa put a corn cob pipe in the snowman's mouth and he had a straw hat.  My snowman stayed a long time.

     Our bachelor neighbors loved within snowshoe distance.  Mr. Beckmann lived about 2 miles east of our farm.  He was, Grandpa said, a man of letters.  I didn't know what Grandpa meant until a few years later when Mr. Beckmann asked Papa to store his trunk for him.  He was going back to England for a visit and would be back in a year.  But he never returned and we opened the trunk and found many text books on many subjects, so we surmised he was a teacher or professor in England.  There was no address or identification to where we might send the trunk and so we just kept it and the books.  Mr. Beckmann had a dog - his name was Shot - and he gave Shot to me.  He was a big, brown, curly-haired water spaniel.  I could climb on his back, but he made such a nuisance of himself in the water troughs for the horses and cattle.  Papa said he had to go so he took him to town.  This was when the town was closer to our farm.  Papa gave him to the station master.

     Then we had Mr. Lilly.  He lived just south of our farm and sometimes you could see smoke coming from his chimney on his house.  He would come over once a week and Mama baked bread for him and cut hos hair.  He liked Mama and me and would bring his banjo and play and sing for us and sometimes Papa would get out his violin and then we would enjoy singing the old songs.  Mr. Lilly could play anything and Papa said that he thought Mr. Lilly must have been a music man. 

     Joe Rands only lived a mile away and he was a relative of Papa's through marriage.  He was married to a daughter who was adopted by the brother of my Papa's Uncle Jim.  She had died and left Joe with a four-year-old son whom he left with his mother in Ontario when he came west to homestead.  My Papa and Joe were very good friends and he helped Papa and Mama very much.

     Just north of our farm were Papa's cousins - Bert and Bud Crozier.  They lived about a mile as the crow flies - just over the hill.  You couldn't wee their house like we could see Joe's.  Grandpa's farm was straight west and only one half mile and if he was outside you could see what he was up doing. 
When Mr. Beckmann and Mr. Lilly and Joe would come over to our house in the afternoon, Papa would have them stay for supper an then they would get around the table and play Five Hundred.  I would first climb on some one's knee and then another until I'd get tired and Mama would put me to bed.  Sometimes the men would just visit or if Mr. Beckmann brought his mouth organ he would play it for us.  I can't remember ever being lonely."

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