Rag Dolls and Purple Coaches: A Memoir part 4

“The next year the teacher put me in second grade with Dennis.
The teacher’s name was Miss Annie Meade.  She was a very old
lady who had come over from Ireland years ago.  I liked her
very much . . .

The school house was small.  It had only one room and a woodshed.
All the eight grades were in that one room but I think there were only
about three or four pupils in each grade.

We had half an hour recess in the morning and afternoon and one hour
for lunch time.  Everyone brought their lunch in a tin pail.  Everyone had
their own drinking cup because the water came from the well and was
kept in a big pail.

We had lots of games we played–tag, of course.  And hide and seek. And
London Bridge and Drop the Handkerchief.  In the winter we played Fox
and Geese.  We always kept a Fox and Geese track made.  If it snowed in
the night whoever got to school first in the morning walked round and
round it to clear the new snow off.

We also had a game called ‘Auntie-Eye over the Woodshed.’  You would
choose up sides and one team would be on each side of the woodshed.
Then you’d throw a ball over and yell ‘Auntie.’  If it failed to go over the top
you had to yell ‘Pigtail.’  If someone on the other side caught the ball they
could run around to hit you with it and take you captive.  Of course
whichever side finished with all the players won.  Sometimes it would take
a week to finish a game.  There always seemed to be a lot of ‘Pigtails.’

We played baseball, too, but the rules seemed to be different from today’s
rules.

At home there were more things to do.  When I was five and a half I spent
one day at a neighbor’s house.  They had a big collie dog that would walk on
a treadmill to turn a big churn around to make butter.  I thought that was
great.  We  had to turn the crank on our churn ourselves.  When I got home
that day I found I had a new baby sister.  We named her Mary.

When Mary got older she was pretty good to play with.  So I played outdoor
things with Dennis and inside games with Mary.  We had hundreds of
paper dolls.  We cut them out of magazines and catalogs, not real paper
dolls.  We made our own from pictures.  For clothes for them we had to
find another picture the same size and cut just the garment and put tabs
to fold down on it.  We made furniture for them out of cardboard and
played for hours at a time with them in the spare bedroom.

We had lots of rag dolls our mother made us.  I especially remember the
Topsy-Turvy dolls.  They had a head on each end of the body and had
no legs.  One head was a white person, the other black.  There was one
full long skirt sewed on in the middle.  Whichever way you tipped the doll
the skirt covered one head.  It was like having two dolls.

We loved the little china dolls we had.  Their faces were so sweet and their
eyes so blue!  I remember a very sad thing that happened to one of those.
In the winter my brothers had to bring in lots of firewood before supper
to last the night.  One day, like a silly, I laid my china doll on her blanket
in the wood-box for a bed.  Dennis came in with wood and I’d forgotten
she was there!  I felt bad and so did Dennis.

******to be continued*******

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2 Responses to Rag Dolls and Purple Coaches: A Memoir part 4

  1. Stefanie says:

    That is so awesome about the neighbor’s collie and the treadmill!

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