CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF GRACE SAALE
Our family name was Thorp. My mother had taught school before she married my father, and had sung alto in musical programs. After my grandmother died, my mother’s father came to live with us. He kept busy splitting kindling for the big kitchen stove and for our big rock fireplace in the living room. Our one and a half story house was located near Pond School.
I was the youngest of three girls. My older sisters, who were 4 and 7 years older than I seemed to know everything. I was not allowed to start to school until I was seven years old. My first teacher was Miss Shipley. Once on the playground all of the students were playing “Crack the Whip” and the little boy on the end fell and ran weed stubble in his eye. That put his eye out.
My mother made her own soap from lye and grease, when the soap was set, she would cut it up and wrap it in paper. We would use it for laundry, baths and shampoo. Wash day meant heating boilers full of water and washing with a wash board and two tubs. We had a long clothes line in the yard, but in winter time we hung ropes on the back porch and dried our clothes.
We raised chickens for our own use. Mother baked bread and churned cream and was always busy cooking or doing farm chores. We had a lot of wild life on our farm. I was especially afraid of snakes. I once saw a hoop snake that rolled like a hoop.
When both of my older sisters were in high school, our family decided to move to Chillicothe. The high school was on the upper floor of the old Central Building. When we moved to town, we had our first telephone. We lived on Herriman Street and had the only phone for several blocks, so the neighbors came in to use it. That is the way we got acquainted with our neighbors.
Papa joined the “Modern Woodmen of America” which was a lodge. That was the way to buy insurance in those days; Mama joined the Royal Neighbors which was the Women’s Auxiliary. Papa got to be secretary-treasurer for Modern Woodmen, and mama was secretary-treasurer of Royal Neighbors, so this was one reason they needed a phone. The lodges put on musical programs. I remember singing “in the Good Old Summertime” with a group of children.
My girl friend’s father was a conductor on a freight train and he sometimes let my girl friend and me ride the caboose of the freight train to Kansas City. It was an all day trip. He had a very important job keeping track of the freight and knowing which to put off at each town.
I remember the first movie I ever saw. It was Cinderella. It was shown by a man cranking a box. All of the children who got to see the show paid 10 cents for the privilege.