On May 12th, 86 years ago, Dr. R.T. Healy came to our residence in a horse and buggy, chauffeured by his hired driver, to answer the urgent call of Bill Gohl. This was but one of the many house delivery calls Dr. Healy would make tin Morrison County. Dr. Healy had the assistance in our town midwife, Mrs. Margaret Klingseisen, who prepared the Dr. for the procedure. She never left, until she felt there were no complications. In the meantime, Dad in all his excitement, drove his new Model T around the neighborhood passing out cigars to all his friends.
A typical home here in the country had hand pump wells for our water supply. I can also remember a rain water pump in our kitchen for soft water, which would draw water from the basement cistern. Our heat came from wood, then coal and later oil. Light was given to us by way of kerosene lantern. Our refrigerator was kept cold by a block of ice, stored in a shed filled with saw dust. Our bathroom was outdoors, both in winter and summer – commonly referred to as an “outhouse”, for obvious reasons. Only good feature was that we had no flushing problems. Believe we had the use of the original Charmin tissue – a Montgomery Wards or Sears catalog. This is what we would refer to nowadays as ‘roughing it’. Sleeping upstairs in the wintertime was brutal, unless you were fortunate enough to have a feather tick to keep you warm. The windows, that Jack Frost painted for us, made us feel we were in an art gallery. A small square opening, a register, gave us some warmth.
One of my most memorable scary childhood moments was when the gypsies would swoop into town to steal. They started in the grocery stores; from there they invaded the homes. They were well-organized and outsmarted people at every turn. The distractor was the primary culprit. My mom had the best solution – she would give them a loaf of homemade bread, and they’d take off running.
Besides our faith, sports activities were the center of our lives. My dad showed movies in the parish hall along with coaching the town baseball and basketball teams. Later on softball became popular with the youth, usually pitting country kids versus town kids. Believe the camaraderie built character for most of us. Grade school brought another challenge for me, cuz the teachers felt that righting with my left hand was not proper, so they tied my left hand to the side of my desk with wash line rope. You can be certain, I raised my right hand numerous times for bathroom breaks. From this trauma I did stutter at times, but I consider that a minor problem. As a nurse I always gave injections with my left hand; hence they always called me ‘southpaw’.
The most notable changes in our society since my growing-up years, have been in the area of technology, with the advent of computers, internet, cell phones, iPods, etc. I vividly remember how we would snuggle around the radio cabinet listening to Tom Mix and other cowboys programs. I also feel morals have deteriorated. In my time you never questioned going to Sunday church services – it was just the right thing to do. Never heard of abortions, same-sex marriages, or pornography.
Personally, fishing is still my No. 1 sport and pastime. Have graduated from cane pole to high tech equipment. My depth finder takes me to the hot spots. Also went from a regular boat to a pontoon. It gives me more room to roam, and it is safer also.
My final thought is for us to be grateful for the gifts our creator has given us, and pray that God will continue to bless us, especially the citizens of Morrison County.
Buckman’s geriatric citizen,