Mailboxes and Old Barns: Yes. We Can Do That

1941 8Life back in the day was prioritized and practical.

It was prioritized in that important things were intentionally planned and taken care of.  It was practical in that everything, important or unimportant, was simply handled the best possible way every day, whether unexpected or planned.

In completing one of those personal heritage blank books that is titled along the lines of  Mom, Tell Me About Your Life Growing Up I came across a page that requested that I list home remedies or commonly accepted first aid and health-related truisms. The list:

  • If you fall down, get up.
  • If you get cut, get stitched if it’s gaping wide open about a half inch.
  • If you are bleeding, stop it.
  • If a tree falls on you, get x-ray’d.
  • If a bee stings you, kill it.
  • Don’t walk further than you can walk back.
  • When climbing ladders, keep one foot on the ground.
  • Don’t climb on the roof if you didn’t have lunch and breakfast.
  • Drowning is very bad.  Don’t.
  • Don’t play with matches.
  • Sewing needles work for getting slivers out.
  • The best treatment for a bad headache is ice.

Pragmatic simplicity seemed to govern life on the farm in the 1950s and it made things possible that later generations would miss out on because they didn’t have enough time or couldn’t do it at a platinum level.  In the summer of 1943, my parents and their six (at the time) children attended a parade in a neighboring North Dakota town, about 45 miles distant.  This was The Town Where The Creamery was, where our five gallon cans of cream were delivered by the daily train from our smaller town.  It was also The Town Where The Stockyard Was.  

It was a simple  Children’s Parade and my sister, about 8 years old at the time, was the first place winner in the Doll Buggies section.  I can’t find the picture today, but I have a black and white photo of her, wearing a paper dress with about 6 layers of ruffles from the waist down.  The dress had little cap sleeves and was made of bright yellow crepe paper.  She had a matching bonnet, and the doll buggy was decorated in the same yellow paper arranged in ruffles cascading off the buggy on all four sides.  

A newspaper article from a couple of days later (transcribed, below) tells us there was a war theme for the parade that day.

300 Youngsters In Parade Here

–First Annual Lions Club Kiddies Parade Held Friday Afternoon Here–

Nearly 300 Williston youngsters garbed in all manner of costumes, walking, riding bicycles, tricycles and ponies, took part in the first annual Lions Club Kiddies parade here Friday afternoon.

The parade was the first such event staged by the local Lions club and President R. T. Bennett declared he was well pleased with the event.

“We were especially gratified at the large number and wide variety of costumes,” Mr. Bennett said, “and wish to thank the children and their mothers.”

“The success of the first parade virtually assures a repetition next summer, when we hope there will be twice as many children taking part.

First, second and third prizes were awarded in each section of the parade, and there were several honorable mention awards in each group.  Prize tags were given to the children telling them to call at the Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. store for their war-stampmother children in woods prizes.

Each child received an ice cream bar and a package of candy at the end of the parade.

A special award was made after the parade to a neighborhood group from East Broadway in which 17 youngsters combined to form one entry.  Mary Pettis was dressed as Uncle Sam, pulling a wagon on which Tillie Lou Anderson, dressed in white, was seated on a white throne, with June Ellen Schultz riding in the rear of the wagon.  There were 14 others in the group, each bearing a placard with a war slogan.

First second and third place prizes were awarded in the following categories: Bicycles, Girls dress-up, Doll buggies, Floats, Tricycles and Pets.


What I would love to know is how Mama E Dot (my mother’s nickname in the family) found the time, interest, energy and paper to do this for my sister, and how the whole family took an entire week day off to drive 90 miles round trip (milking cows before they left in the morning, and milking them again when they got home in the evening).  These six older siblings of mine would have been a 1 year old, and the others from 6 to 15 that summer.

They never tried to live anywhere but in today, now, and everything flowed from that, so the time, the interest, the energy and the paper just resulted naturally.

That kind of bare perspective of life has blessing to it and fed the thoughts about life advice  that I listed on another page of the book I mentioned earlier, including these:

  • There really is such a thing as truth–don’t try to reinvent it.  Find it.
  • There really is such a thing as joy–experience it

With today’s MBOB  I honor my mother’s life and her memory, acknowledge her hard work, her love, all the dresses she sewed–paper or fabric, all the dresses she crocheted for me that I wore until I was about 6 years old, all the fried chicken dinners she made, all the piano lessons she got me to, all of the prayers she prayed, all of her life–including the 39 years which were lived before I was born.  She laid aside her earth suit sixteen years ago today and entered  her Heaven Home.

gates, beautiful leaves

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16 Responses to Mailboxes and Old Barns: Yes. We Can Do That

  1. stellap says:

    Your mother was practical and hardworking, but it is also clear that she was a loving mother to you and your older brothers and sisters. My mother also left behind her “earth suit” in 1997, but a little later in the year than yours. Our moms lived through some really tough times, but did their best for their families, and left behind people who miss and will never forget them.


  2. ytz4mee says:

    Beautiful, as always.


  3. elvischupacabra says:

    Beautiful, moving story… thanks.

    I sure do miss that other America.


  4. ctdar says:

    Nice way to start Sundays…thank you Sharon.


  5. Bijou says:

    Another wonderful MBAOB, Sharon!
    You are blessed to have grown up amid so much love, wisdom and dedication.
    (I love your family’s rule for climbing ladders!)


  6. 22tula says:

    Sharon Your Stories always reminds me of this tune.

    Today’s postcard is a wonderful Remembrance of Your Mother.


  7. oriana88 says:

    BRAVA, Sharon! Beautiful words about beautiful memories: there is such a thing as “the good old days”.

    I’ve just come in from digging our car out from under the 20 cm of snow we got two days ago: no machine to do it, except me and plain, old muscle power! But it’s a really beautiful sunny day and I took out my trusty (new: they still make them!) transistor radio so I wouldn’t miss the exquisite Durufle Requiem, which I’m still listening to. Sharon, for your Mom, bless her:

    In Paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,
    et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
    Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,
    et cum Lazaro quondam paupere, aeternam habeas requiem.

    May the angels lead you into paradise,
    may the martyrs receive you in your coming,
    and may they guide you into the holy city, Jerusalem.
    May the chorus of angels receive you,
    and with Lazarus once poor,
    may you have eternal rest.

    Here’s St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir singing this—like angels!


  8. yankeeintx says:

    I feel silly for asking, but why do you wait until after breakfast and lunch to climb on a roof?


    • hardfacts says:

      As a guess, it is cooler in the evening and the shingles are not softened by the heat so you don’t have to worry about the shingle surface giving way under your foot, causing you to fall off.

      I have been to Williston. It is a boom town now due to the oil shale developments.


    • Sharon says:

      That’s just a general rule of thumb to be applied to anyone planning to climb on a roof. What it literally means is–“If you’re gonna climb on a roof, it only makes sense to b e sure you’ve had plenty of good food — because if you haven’t eaten and are not feeling steady as a result, and then you fall off the roof on your head and break some bones, don’t be expecting to get a lot of sympathy.”

      That, literally, is what that is referring to! Another way of putting it would be, “If you don’t have enough sense to take care of your body, don’t be whining about not feeling good.”

      They were real big on accepting the facts regarding cause-and-effect back in the day. 😉


  9. Cyrano says:

    Another fine start to a Sunday. Thanks, Sharon.


  10. texan59 says:

    When I am reminded about the things our parents actually did for their children, I sometimes drop my head as we so often only remember the things they didn’t do for us. There always seems to be some dust blow through when I read your posts each week. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The Tundra PA says:

    And so today would be her 20 year feast day. Many blessings, Sharon.


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