If you haven't already done so, you may want to read The Introduction to this series of posts.
Papa, Mama and the Children
In due time Papa came home; they lived on the farm at Goose Lake and Grandpa and Grandma moved into Columbia City where Uncle Hale entered high school. In February 1901, Mama gave birth to a little premature boy. John Wise Brubaker he was named but he lived only one week. He died in Mama's arms, this was a shock to Mama and she would talk of it for years. They buried him in Scott Cemetery just north of the schoolhouse where they both had gone to school. It is only about one mile from the farm.
Soon after this, they moved to Lorain, Ohio. Mama's brother Harry and other relatives lived there. Papa got a job fishing commercially. On January 16, 1902, I was born. Also premature I weighed in at only 2 1/2 pounds. They despaired of my life. They tell me they kept me in a bureau drawer lined with cotton and when they had to hold me I was placed on a pillow. One of the crazy things they told me was that when I cried for sometime, a neighbor asked Mama if she had craved anything before I was born. She said yes she had, gooseberries. So they gave this tiny baby some gooseberry juice and she was satisfied and went to sleep (Ha Ha). For several weeks I was in a precarious condition but in a few months I was a big fat baby. They said it was Mellon Food that caused my recovery and I was a very healthy child.
When I was about six months old we came back to Indiana, to a small farm on the Loon Lake road just south of the family farm. On April 14, 1903 my sister Choella Jane was born. It was such rainy bad weather and no one could get through the muddy side roads. Doctor Alice Williams from Columbia City had a difficult time getting to the delivery. Aunt Hazlette Burns was there and she had a little pug dog. She put a note for Grandpa Wise around his neck and sent him home. Then Grandpa Wise walked the five miles or more to see his new granddaughter
Two years later and at least one more move, this time back to the farm, my brother Bill (William Hale) was born on February 22nd 1905. Doctor Alice and Aunt Hazlette were both there again this time. I can remember Aunt Hazlette bringing us girls into the room to see our little baby brother, and I think I can still remember the way he looked and I asked to see his feet, which I thought were remarkable. Mama was a semi-invalid and had help all of the time and Papa took care of us kids at night. I'm not sure why but we would be at the farm for a while then move some place else but when Billy was about one year old we moved again.
We first moved to Emaline and Rose Robert's place near Grandpa Wise. This was a log cabin house surrounded by an old fashioned garden. I can still remember the perfume of the old fashioned flowers; the daffodils, sweet William and the perennial sweet peas and the lilacs and other flowering shrubs. To me it was paradise and even today I am transported back 70 years when I smell narcissus. It was wonderful for little girls to play in and Papa bought a horse and said I could name it. It was Dora, because in my excitement I found a door so male or female, I named the horse Dora.
While living at the Robert's place, Jane was about three years old and having difficulty with her speech. She always said "Me" instead of "I". One evening Papa placed her in a high chair and left her in the dark kitchen, the door was open into the living room, and he told her she could come into the living room when she said "I". After a short time she began to cry and said, "Oh Papa, me tan't say I." Of course Papa took her into his arms and never again tried to make her say "I" and after that let her speak, as she liked. She said a lot of funny words but he let her alone.
While we lived here, Mama had to go to Columbia City to the doctor so often that Papa decided to move to town. I don’t remember the first house but Papa started a rug-weaving factory in a small building. He had a couple of looms and had Horty Bills work with him in making carpets. Some were made of rags, which had been sewed into long strips. They were woven with rug cord into long sections then sewn together to make the correct width and length. The other loom took ingrain carpeting (old) and made it into a fluffy kind of carpet. I wish I knew the process but whatever it was it became obsolete when oxminster carpeting became in vogue. It seemed to do well and we moved into a three-story brick house on North Line Street; it is still standing. He put his looms in the basement and did very well, I think.
I was old enough to remember most of this. I helped Mama, she was sick most of the time, and I can remember how proud I was to do some of the work. Grandma Wise had Billy most of the time and we were so happy whenever she brought him home. He was a beautiful little boy and Grandma made Buster Brown suits and really spoiled him, but he was a darling little boy. He sure loved them a lot and remembers their love of him.
After a time Papa sold his looms and took a job of some kind and we moved to a little house on North Elm Street. We were living there in the fall of 1907 when I started to school. Miss Mary Raber was the first grade teacher in the West Ward School. She knew our family and said if there was room I might start, even though I was only five years old. On the second day of school they accepted me and this is a time I'll never forget. It was such a wonderful thing to be able to read and write. I was so proud and happy.
It seemed we were always poor but Mama was able to get us what we needed. On Valentine's Day I just had to have some Valentines to give to my friends. Now, I don't think very many kids could buy Valentines but you always had one or two boy friends and you just had to give one to them. So Mama took some paper and cut it into heart shapes and she took a begonia blossom and used it as a pattern and decorated the heart with these. She made beautiful Valentines for me to give. I don't remember who I gave them to, but I'll never forget how lovely they were.
I have many fond memories of this time but Mama got worse all the time. She became very sick, they called it Tuberculosis of the ovaries. In early spring she went to the old Methodist Hospital in Fort Wayne and had a complete hysterectomy. So with Mama in the hospital, Jane and I went back to Grandma Brubaker's on the farm and of course Billy was with the Wise grandparents. I finished first grade at Scott's School, with Harper Waugh as my teacher.
Grandma Brubaker was very stingy although she was very well to do, with a 200 acre farm and two houses in Columbia City. When she packed my lunch for school she gave me half of a boiled egg. I remember that when we asked for sugar for our cereal she would say, "Don't ask for things not on the table." But I guess she was good to us in her own way and probably Papa imposed on her. I do know that he trimmed her large orchard and worked constantly on the farm while we were there but it seems that Grandma never made Papa happy and he could never do anything to please her.