***This memoir was written by my mother to our daughter in 1975.
She wrote about her memories of growing up. She was born in 1908.
I would like to give you the memoir, too, and hope that the spare
sentiments of my mother’s past will entertain you as they do us. It
tells of a different world in upstate New York, a different time. The
memoir will be presented in short chapters and will occur in this post
occasionally. The photos are copies of copies of the originals and
so are not in tip top condition. But I wanted to include them.***
RAG DOLLS AND PURPLE COACHES
“January 1975 . . . I remember . . .
It was Christmas morning and Santa Claus himself was there.
He often did that in those days, stopped in and took the presents
off the tree and gave them to those people they were for.
I remember very well the big beautiful doll he had for me. It had
a smiling mouth, sleeping eyes and long curling blond hair. I was
going to be four years old the next day.”
“We were all in the big parlor where the Christmas tree stood in the
corner. My mother, father, my big sister Kathryn, my big brother,
John, and his wife, Molly, some neighbors from down the road and
my brothers, Francis, who was fourteen and Dennis, who was a year
and a half older than me.
I remember the big parlor had a rug with big flowers on it and lace
curtains at the windows.
It was a big house we lived in on quite a big farm. Inside there were
nine rooms, a kitchen, dining room, sitting room, big parlor and two
bedrooms downstairs and four bedrooms upstairs. There was also a
big attic where my mother stored things and where we played
sometimes on rainy days. There was also a summer kitchen. Everyone
had a summer kitchen on their house. That was because everyone had
big ranges in which they burned wood fires to cook with. The fires made
the house too warm in the summer so the cooking was done in the
summer kitchens, sometimes on a wood fire and sometimes on a
One bedroom downstairs was where my father and mother slept. The
other was the spare room and sometimes I could play in there.
Outside, the house was white and had green shutters at the windows.
It had a large lawn in front with a white picket fence along the road.
All along the driveway, which ended at the big barn doors, there was
a wall made of small field stones on which wild June roses grew. The
roses had pink blossoms and thorns. You needed to cut them with
scissors when you wanted a bouquet to bring in the house.”
to be continued on another day . . .at another time