Sunday, May 08, 2011

Billy's Status...

I realized I've been quite neglectful in keeping my siblings and family up to date on my job status. I'll start using the blog now :-) Although now it's under construction and I have to dodge through all these piles of bricks and lumber and crap.

I completed my certification training in Pittsburgh and flew home on March 26th. That ended a good month and a half certification period up there. I did quite well in the certification process and learned a lot. Since then I've been in a "mentoring" program where I'm sent to job sites as a trainee, working with experienced techs. I'll be doing this until they feel I'm ready to be on my own.

I'm currently on my second visit to the Upper Peninsula area of Michigan, in Quinnesec and Iron Mountain. People up here call themselves "Yoopers" and they have that funny accent you hear in that movie "Fargo". This is my second time up here working at a paper plant run by Verso Paper. My only other trip besides these two was one in Maxwell, CA, which is about 100 miles North of Bobby and Nikki. There I worked at a Natural Gas compressing station owned by PG&E. Unfortunately I couldn't make the time to go down and visit with Bobby and family, but there will be other trips.

It looks like the week of 5/9-5/15 I may be in Beaumont, TX (75 miles east of Houston), the following week sent to Detroit for a couple of weeks, and then a trip to Saginaw, MI for a week. I'm not sure why they keep sending me to Michigan. Hmmmm...

I've had a lot of down time at home as well since being certified, and have been able to complete a LOT of projects. So things are going well and we're getting ready to host a cubic butt-ton of Jones family members in July. whoo hooo

Lot of loving memories of Mom today, on Mother's Day.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Memoirs of Catherine Myers

Mom asked her siblings to write down memories of their childhood for her volume on the Moran Family. Aunt Catherine organized her memories chronologically:

1927 ( August)
We lived at 19 Pike Street. Joe was born. I went to the hospital to see Mom and the new baby. The baby was in a crib in Mom’s room. Joe came home. Mom had him in a carriage. He was crying and I tried to push the carriage, leaned on the handle and dumped him on the floor.

I had a toothache. Mom told me to eat my potatoes and gravy and it would get better. It did!!

We lived (six??) months with Grandma and Grandpa Moran while Dad went to Schenectady to find work. He got a job in Locomotive Works. I watched Grandma trim the wicks and put kerosene in the lamps every day.

Summer 1929
Before leaving for Schenectady, Mom took us to spend a day with Romaine Myers and Dad’s Aunt Sara. Betty got stung on the neck with a bee. She also took us to Kingston to stay overnight with her Aunt Margaret and her boys. One outstanding memory of that trip was getting a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast with canned milk on it (I didn’t like it). Kate took me to my first movies at the Irving before we moved to Schenectady. It was Al Jolson. He sang “Sonny Boy’’ but I don’t remember the name of the film. Dad started calling Joe Sonny Boy.

We went to Schenectady on the train. It was Mom, Aunt Kate, Betty, Joe and I. Dad was supposed to meet us but we didn’t get off the train at the right stop. Dad looked all over for us. We got off at the next stop and took a bus to Schenectady. Dad finally found us huddled in the hallway of the apartment at 19 Park Place in the wee hours of the morning. Dad had the key and let us in.

September 1930
I started to school in a public school just across the street from us. I was all dressed up: New shoes, new dress. When I told Mom I had to sit on the floor because there were no seats, she immediately took me to St. John the Evangelist School. We said our prayers and sang little songs in French. Mom started me taking piano lessons. We were only in that apartment a short time and we moved to 24 Park Place where we had a piano and our own furniture. We had a boarder in our apartment. His name was Mr. Hill. He played the xylophone and was a student at the Union Seminary Theological School in Schenectady. One night we had a fire. Dad said Mr. Hill turned his gas heater up too high and the curtains caught fire. Dad doused it with a pail of water and the fire was out before the fire trucks arrived. The thing that stands out in my mind is the fireman running up the steps with a big hose and an axe.

Thibodeux family lived in the apartment below us. There were a lot of boys in the family. Several of them played instruments in a band. They practiced in our house while mother accompanied them on the piano. Kate stayed with us for a while and worked in the Mohican Market. Then she married Jack Williams and lived for a while in Schenectady. Dad and Jack roomed with Jack’s sister, Mrs. Davis. Then Mary came to stay with us, met Carl Stock and married him. While Mary was with us Mom had a miscarriage and I remember that she was very sick. She thought Betty and I were standing someplace in her room and I could hear Dad trying to convince her that we were in bed. Later, when we moved back to Grandma Moran’s house, I heard Mom tell Grandma about hearing the little person all in white tell her she would be alright. She was convinced that it was her little sister Annie. (Near death experience??)

During one of the band practices, Joe was rushed to the Ellis Hospital where he had tracheal intubation. He had what Mom thought was croup but it turned out to be diphtheria. He was rocking in the chair saying, “Mommy I can’t breathe”. Aunt Mary nursed him back to health in a steam filled isolation unit. During my first year in school 1929-1930, Betty, Joe and I had chicken pox, German measles and flu. Betty started to school in September 1930. She wouldn’t be six until May but they took her anyway. She was a puny little thing and used to fall on the way home from school. Grandpa Moran came to visit us and took Better and her 21 dolls back to Finch Hill with him. When Dad was working he bought us a toy every payday. My favorite gift was roller skates. Mom told me I wore them to bed and she took them off when I went to sleep. Betty must have come home the Christmas of 1930. Mom took me Christmas shopping with her and I began my tree-trimming career (What! No Santa?). We bought two beautiful dolls at $5 each. Mine had brown hair and was dressed in pink. Betty’s had long hair and was dressed in blue. When Joe recovered and left the hospital, he had to stay in bed for two weeks so he wouldn’t get myocarditis. He was at the “terrible two “ stage and wouldn’t eat anything but puffed rice three times a day.

Jan-Feb 1931
The Moran’s big house on Finch Hill burned down and with it Betty’s 21 dolls. Also destroyed were Dad’s war souvenirs, table and chairs, ironing board and iron that dad bought Mom for Christmas when I was 2 months old, my beautiful teddy bear and many more valuable items, wedding gifts, etc that Mom and Dad had stored on the 3rd floor because there was no room for them on the truck when they moved to Schenectady.

April 28, 1931
Clare Ann was born. Dad had taken Betty and I to the movies. Mom was supposed to go to the hospital to have the baby. Aunt Gert was with her and she didn’t even have time to call Dr. Reynolds. We arrived just in time to hear a baby cry and Dad sent Betty and I to tell Aunt Kate and he called the doctor. Gert delivered the baby. It was the first time she delivered a baby. When we got back with Aunt Kate, Mom and baby were all fixed up and the Dr. was on his way out. My most vivid memory of that day was seeing the foot of Mom’s bed elevated on two kitchen chairs.

Summer 1931
We moved back to Carbondale. Dad was laid off, but before he left he had a piece of steel embedded in his cornea. He used to tell me the doctor had to take his eye out to remove the steel. When you see eye surgery it looks like that. We returned to Carbondale on the train. We had a lunch in shoeboxes. Clare Ann was six weeks old. She cried all the way home. We went to live with Grandma and Grandpa Moran on River Street in an apartment above Kaufman’s warehouse and store. We finally moved to Farview Street and Dad got a part-time job in the mines. I think it was in the Jermyn Colliery. We lived over the landlord. The No. 7 school started. I brought the measles rubella home to Betty, Joe and Clare Ann. Clare was six months old and she got pneumonia. She was very sick and Grandpa’s doctor Dr. Dixon wanted to give her the “new” sulfa drug. The nurses in the family, Gert, Mildred and Mary, were against it. So, Dr. Fineran doctored us through the measles. Sometime in November they started to give out diphtheria toxoid. I brought my slip home to get signed but the day before it was given out I got diphtheria. Aunt Mary took care of me and the house was quarantined. We didn’t get much school in that year. The doctor gave us all a dose of Diphtheria antitoxin and nobody else got it and it shortened my illness. For Christmas in 1931 dad made us a doll house out of orange crates and Mom made curtains for the dollhouse windows. It was all furnished, with four rooms of furniture. He also made us a little table and two chairs. Our big dolls got all new clothes. When we lived on Farview Street, Aunt Kate took me, Betty and Joe to sing on the Carbondale radio. I sang Ramona, Betty Springtime in the Rockies and Joe sang Pop Goes the Weasel.

Memoirs of Uncle Joe (Pt. II)

This is a short of George Hildebrand, who married Grandpa's widowed mother, Clara Whittington (our Great Grandmother):

We Called him George
A man with powerful arms and a barrel of a chest, George always wore his gold rimmed glasses, but kept his teeth in a bowl of water on the shelf in the old barroom. He met our widowed Grandmother in a boarding house where she worked as a cook. The work must have been very hard in those days, and the days were long. He married our Grandmother, and the big man with the big heart took on the responsibility and labor of providing and caring for her and the children.

Eventually George bought the old hotel they called The Halfway House on Finch Hill (it was halfway between Carbondale and Clifford). Dad said it was a stage stop at one time, before the auto was invented. I do know for sure it was a famous watering hole during and after prohibition; for many years afterwards the raw materials for producing wine, cider and whiskey continued to grow behind the hotel. The huge apple orchard stood upon the hill, and the rhubarb, elder berries and grapevine grew and bore fruit for years after the bar closed.

Dad took care of the bar after dark when he was young and single. When a customer said “Have a drink with me”, he would reach for his bottle of tea, pour it carefully into a shot glass, and down the hatch, pick up the money for two shots and wait on the next customer. They said the reason he held his liquor so well was due to his red hair. When the farmers from Clifford dumped their produce in Carbondale, it was their custom to stop there on the way home. As long as they kept both elbows hooked behind the ridge that ran around the bar, they stayed on their feet. When the elbows came loose they would fall on the floor. If a customer was too drunk to walk, George and Dad would carry him out to his wagon, lay him down comfortably in the back, untie the horse, and with a gentle slap on the shank and a giddup, the horse would take his master home. There never seemed to be a problem with drunk driving then, but I wager there was many a farmer who woke up next to his barn in the morning wondering what happened.

Grandmother tended the bar during the day. They had a bell on that door and she could hear when someone entered. She would leave her canning and cooking and go into the barroom. Being alone in the house, she would have the big collie with her. He would also answer the bell and sit in the bar watching the customers as long as they were there. No one spoke too loudly, or made any sudden movements.

George worked steady night shift, seven days a week, as a fireman in the D&H Roundhouse. It was his job to fire up and prepare the big steam locomotives for their runs. Dad said the Roundhouse crew called him the Iron man because he worked so hard. He rarely slept more than four hours a day. After his supper he would light up his corncob pipe and sit next to the potbelly stove in the old barroom (at this time, of course, the bar was no longer in operation); when we heard the pipe fall on the floor, he was sleeping. Grandma had his lunch pail packed at ten p.m., after which, she would wake him. Farm work on Sundays was limited to milking the cows (when George and Dad had the twelve head in the mid 1930s), and feeding the horses and chickens. On Sundays, he drove Grandma and Uncle Paul to Mass, when they were well enough to go; he would wait in the car, and then drive them home.

Some mornings George would not make it home; as 8:30 a.m. came and went, Grandma would tell me to open up both garage doors wide. I sat on the porch waiting for him and was amazed how well he drove the car into the garage. One time he didn’t come out of the garage for a long time, I went in to help and found him sitting on the running board of his new 1939 Plymouth. His legs would not work, but he was all right otherwise. Dad said he would drink whiskey from a beer glass, he didn’t believe in those small shot glasses. This did not happen every day, however; George loved his land too much to neglect it. The trees in his orchard were always trimmed and the trunks whitewashed. The two large gardens up on the hill and the small ones down by the house were always free of weeds and neatly cultivated.
Many mornings my Mother or Father would wake me early, so I could walk across town and wait near the garage for George to come from work and get his car. On such days when I rode back to the farm with him, he went straight home. I did not suspect it then, but now that I am older, I believe Grandma may have called Mother or Dad to send me out, or perhaps Dad surmised that George might stop that day.

Summer and fall were the busiest and best seasons of the year. I would watch in awe as George drove his team of horses cutting hay; so close to the trees, rocks and walls, raising the cutting arm at just the right moment, and sideways on the hill without tipping. The mower was the hardest pull for the horses. Every muscle in their body would be straining and their tongues hanging from the side of their mouth. I noticed how George would drive the harnessed team to the machine so they could see what they were about to pull, then back them into it. The brown horse, Bob, always seemed to hesitate and stall, only at the mower; he must have known it was going to be a hard day. I was always on hand to hook up, but too small to throw the harness over the horse. George would then take his knife and cut a switch (a small branch from a tree) in front of the horses so they could see it. He would take a little time right there at their nose, and swish it back and forth just gently before going back to mount the mower. I never saw him use the switch, but I could hear him curse and yell when Bob lay back in the traces. When the hay was cut and raked it was always my job to go ahead of the hay wagon and cock it—that is to say, stacking and piling the hay, so Dad could throw it easily onto the wagon. George would load and drive. It was that summer in 1938 that I was feeling my job was not very important. Somehow George sensed this and yelled down from the wagon “How old you gonna be next month?” I told him I would be 11 and he said, “Next year you will be old enough to drive the team.” And I did. Years later I realized why I had to wait until I was 12; my voice would have been so high, the horses would never have listened to me.

The Fourth of July was a big day. George would stop at our house after work and take us all to the farm. If he could not get us all in one trip, he made two trips. George, Dad and I would go to Clifford to buy the cabbage plants. By the time we had the plants in the big garden on the hill, the party was ready with plenty of ice cream and watermelon.

When I left for the Army he was there at the train station with my parents, and a big ten-dollar bill. I was in Japan when the big heart finally gave up. Maybe it was too much whiskey, too much work and not enough rest; but the Iron Man died.
I am so sorry we did not call him Grandfather—I think he would have liked that.

Memoirs of Uncle Joe (Pt. 3)

These were stories Uncle Joe told of his childhood:

How to Weasel a Dog
I suppose during that particular time period in the early 1900s, there must have been an infestation or overabundance of weasels in the area. The long, thin rodents could find a way into a chicken coop at night regardless of how tightly locked it may be, stealing eggs and sometimes, killing chickens. To solve this problem the farmers would look for a dog, probably of the short-haired terrier breed. The dog was taken to a farmer or neighbor (who sometimes lived a great distance away) lucky enough to have trapped an elusive weasel. The squirming rodent was dumped from a burlap bag into a large steel drum. The dog owner then dropped his dog into the drum, and the action began. After a period of time, when they felt the dog was thoroughly weaseled, they tipped the barrel over, bagged the weasel (if he was still alive) for the next session and cared for the dog's wounds. Some dogs were so mutilated they had to be shot (a shotgun stood nearby). Those who survived became the best weasel dogs in the county. They could probably smell a weasel from half a mile away.
It was this particular story that made me lose grandma's favorite cat. He was a huge, one eyed, battle-scarred, gray colored tomcat. He would go in and out of the house anytime he chose; no other cat had such privileges. He would go to the door and yowl when he wanted out, and yowl again to come back in. When he was in, the tomcat followed grandma around the house and they talked to each other. On one particular day at 4:00 p.m., I took the pail to the barn where the grain was kept, in order to feed the chickens. The lid on the big steel drum was ajar. As I lifted the lid to dip the pail, I encountered the biggest barn rat I had ever seen. He evidently jumped into the drum and ate so much grain he could not jump out.  I shut the lid and went back to the house for the tomcat. Grandma was not around and the cat came to the door as I entered.  I carried him to the barn and dropped him in the barrel. As soon as he hit the bottom he sprang from that drum like a shot from a gun and ran straight into the woods without stopping. We never saw that cat again. Grandmother asked me a few days later if I had seen her cat around, and I told her I hadn't seen him for three days. I had to get that rat out of the barrel with a hayfork, which I would have done in the first place, if I hadn’t heard the weasel story.

The Cat Family
Domesticated animals on the farm were not always considered pets. Certainly there were favorites now and then who received special attention because of their appearance or disposition. Our cat family seemed to be the most ignored and self-sufficient animals on the farm. They dropped their litters either somewhere in the barn or underneath the back porch, nobody seemed to care much if they survived or died. I never saw them being fed, only during the milking in the evening and morning. At that time they would sit in a straight line approximately four feet from Dad's milking stool. When he was sure I was watching, he would give each one a squirt from the cow's teat. That was fascinating to see each one in turn rise on his haunches and catch that stream of hot milk in the mouth. This was the only time they appeared for a head count. If a cat didn't arrive for the milking, it was either dead or in labor. After the milking they would receive more milk in a large round pan. When that was thoroughly clean they were on their own.
It was the cat family's job to keep the rodent population down to a minimum; the family ranged from five to eight, or more. When numbers were reduced (bad timing on the roads, or just missing in action), one or two young kittens were introduced from another house hold. The first thing Grandma did before turning the new cats loose in the barn was very important. She put them in the hen house with that flock of fifty or so screaming, pecking, laying hens and the big mean rooster. The cats kept a good distance from chickens the rest of their lives and so did their offspring.

You Too Will Cry
We received the telephone call around 8 p.m. that night. Grandma said, “You have to walk up to your other Grandmother's house and tell her that her brother Denny is dead. He was found frozen in a snowdrift.” She gave me a flashlight to swing back and forth in my left hand as I walked up the right side of the road; Uncle Paul reported on my progress from the bar room window. Grandma Moran was alone in the house and knew something was wrong when she saw the light swinging down the road toward her. As soon as she opened the door, I casually gave her the message as instructed. When she sat down at the table and began to cry, I put my hand on her shoulder and asked, “Why are you crying, Grandma?” She replied, “You too will cry when your brother dies.”

Little Red Wagons
It's just not possible to buy a little red wagon for a five-year-old who has a three-year-old brother. We will never forget the pulling and shrieking that took place Christmas Day on Franklin Street. There was no other way but to come up with another dollar, hurry down to Shaws on Main Street, and rush back with another red wagon just like the first. I don't remember who made the run to Shaws that morning, but it probably was the same culprit who made the mistake in the first place.
Our little brothers felt very proud and important with their wagons. They finally found a way to contribute something to the family. They would circle around the field behind the house, loading the wagons with scrap wood and branches for the kitchen stove. This was very helpful to our little Mother, especially on bread baking day. The young ones were kept busy all day while the rest of us were in school, and could be seen from the kitchen window. The hungry stove took all the wood they gathered to bake bread. Mother would mix her dough in a very large silver pan, punching and kneading until it was right. Then it was put into the bread pans and placed high out of reach on racks and shelves around the kitchen to rise, and then put into the oven for baking.

There is a unique skill and dexterity in berry picking. You only approach the bushes that appear to hold the most and biggest berries. It is a serious crime to pick on a bush owned by someone else, unless, of course, a brother or sister owns it. This could result in bloodshed. Ownership is immediately established by the first person to reach the bush. The right hand is held palm upward, fingers bent, and thumb rolling back and forth across the fingertips. The left hand is used to gently move the branches of the bush, or to hold your small picker. As your right palm fills, you fill the picker (a small cup or can). When the picker was full, it was dumped into a large pail, which was kept carefully in the shade, but not out of sight.
Cooking and canning huckleberries seemed to be a necessary requirement during the Great Depression. The whole family was involved, from old Grandfathers to pre-schoolers. If we left earlier than our brothers, sisters or friends, we told them which path we would take—Path No. 1 or No. 2. As the latecomers arrived, they sang out our names. When the pail was full we hurried home, usually with enough light for a game of softball. Our softball had been taped and re-taped so often, that it could not be hit much farther than the pitcher. Before each game I had to lock my dog Buddy in the cellar; otherwise, he would lurk behind a tree or in the tall grass, field the first hit, and take off for the woods with ball in mouth. When both teams failed to catch the dog, they began chasing me.
In later years we picked berries at Newton Lake. The pails were easier to fill because these were High Huckles (big berries on high bushes). The distance to the Lake was much greater; if we could not catch a ride, we walked five miles. My brother Art went with me, but only if I promised to take him for a swim after we filled the pail. That was not a hard promise to keep, since we both loved the water and still do. We would dig a hole in the ground for our berries, beneath a shady tree, and cover it with branches until we left.

Pee Gerard
My last chore at the end of the day was to supervise the emptying of baby brother's bladder. This was a very important task, since we had only three to four beds, and nine in the household; sometimes we slept as many as three to a bed. On my way upstairs, Mother would say, “Don't forget to pee Gerard.” I would lift the little brother from the bed, holding him underneath the arms from behind, and gently, but quickly walk him to the bathroom. Once there I dropped his drawers, aimed for the toilet, and commanded, “Pee Gerard”; little brother always complied after four or five commands. He never woke up, and we would have a dry night, but rarely a restful one. When the brothers were small there was no problem pushing them back to their side of the bed after one of their rollovers, but as they became heavier a push became impossible. I soon discovered that a quick pinch on the upper leg was very effective.

My Father: The Family Physician
He said his neighbors and friends often asked for his help when their mares or cows were having difficulty giving birth, or when any of their animals were sick:
  • If a horse had the heaves (similar to asthma in humans), the prognosis was to wet the hay and make an adjustment in his grain intake.
  • A dog with a dry nose that expelled everything he devoured had distemper. A mixture of raw eggs and whiskey was forced into the dog; very soon, the dog was able to hold food.
For those of us requiring medical attention, the following remedies were commonly applied:
  • A shot of whiskey, one tablespoon of honey and the juice of a lemon were mixed for the night cough. One teaspoon of this elixir was taken as needed.
  • Octagon soap with a pinch of sugar was squeezed into a paste and applied to bring out the infection in boils.
  • Castor oil was delivered with a tablespoon (to those who didn’t gag), or mixed with orange juice (for those who did). The oil was mandatory for constipation anytime, but also deemed necessary in the Spring of each year to cleanse the system—whether or not it was necessary.
  • One teaspoon of Mercurochrome was used to gargle the throat when it was raw and infected (but you couldn’t swallow any).
In the early days, the kitchen coal stove was allowed to burn out every night, to be restarted each morning; this not only conserved coal, but also eliminated the inhalation of coal gas during the night. Each night enough kindling had to be cut to start the morning fire. One cold winter evening on Franklin Street, I cut my second toe right to the bone, as I was cutting kindling with Dad’s small hatchet. I limped upstairs with a shoe full of blood; removing the shoe and sock, Dad cleansed the wound; pushed the skin together over the bone; taped it tight, and told me to walk to school on my heel for a few days. When we lived on Pike Street, my knee slipped out of the socket during a football game. Somehow he slipped the kneecap back in, and bound it with an ace bandage. Within two weeks, I was playing football again. On Willow Avenue, during a game of Kick the Can, I was too close to the kicker, and received a deep wound in the head. He calmly cleaned and closed that wound.

One early morning in the Autumn of 1954, Uncle Paul called and said his Mother fell down the stairs and could not get up. Dad and I drove out to the house and found her lying at the bottom of the stairs. Together we were able to move her to a chair underneath the kitchen light. While we were waiting for the ambulance, he began to work on her head, which was bleeding badly. He had her head shaved and the bleeding stopped before the ambulance arrived. Our Grandmother died in the hospital some days later as a result of that fall. It is still a mystery to me how Uncle Paul was able to climb over the top of his Mother on one leg to reach the phone. After the funeral as we walked together Dad said, “I wish I could have done more for her.”

Elizabeth A. Myers

Betty and Clare with John and Kathy Williams, August 1947

Betty in Detroit, 1947

Betty 1948

Betty and Clare, August 1948

Betty in Indianapolis, 1952

Myers Family, Christmas 1953

Betty, Leo and Clare in Heidelberg Germany, February 1956

Betty and Art in Heidelberg, Germany, March 1956

Grandpa Myers

Grandpa wrote this short biography in 1976 for Susan. Again, I assume it was a class assignment. Mom must have digitally transcribed the original letter; or maybe one of the kids:

When my mother came to this country she was 15 years old. She went to work as a cook for a boarding house in a place called Rock Lake. That’s when she met my father. He was hauling timber to a place called Forest City and it took him 12 to 15 hours to make a trip with horses; that’s all the power they had them days. So he would always be telling tales. I remember a couple of them. There was a barber that committed suicide so when he passed this place he wanted to hear some one say “do you want a shave.” Another one was he had to drive through a woods and he seen something cross the road as big as a telephone pole. The horses were so scared they ran until they got home. In the Depression of 1930 It was very hard you see at that time there was no welfare, no unemployment compensation, no Social Security. Not until President Roosevelt was elected. But the people shared what they had. The people then were much closer together than they are today.

People who could picked coal. They had gardens and then they put all men who were able to work on what they called the W.P.A working on high wage and also working around hospitals or other public buildings and they done very good work. You can still see some of their work along secondary highways. There were no crimes those days like there are today, the people of today don’t have what it takes they are used to soft living. We have progressed too fast for the good of our own people. We should never have to be dependent on other nations for oil or gas. We have thousands of acres of coal in Pennsylvania and in other states.

The influenza broke out in 1918. All of our family on both sides survived it, but others did not.They could not bury them fast enough so they piled the dead bodies in the morgues and the only thing seemed to help the people that had it was whiskey. I was in the army at this time.

My father was a deputy sheriff of Wayne County. He caught the first man who was hung in that county. This man was wanted for murder. Them days they worked in the woods cutting timber and taking bark off hemlock trees. These two men were friends so they got drinking very heavy and they got quarreling and one of them hit the other one over the head with the axe. They were also a friend of my father’s. He hid in a cave for a week. My father knew where he was, so he told him if he would give himself he would do what he could for him because they were both chums. So he took him in. But at the trial he was convicted of first-degree murder and was hanged. My father turned in his badge because he thought he didn’t get a fair trial.

My Grandfather on my mother’s side came from Gloucestershire, England also my Grandmother. My father’s parents came from Germany. When my grandparents on my mother’s side came here, my grandfather worked in the coal mines. In them days they worked long hours. They lived in a company house and traded in a company store and no matter how much they made they still owed the company store.

A typical day: Back them days going too school and remember the old hickory stick that was in the corner of the schoolrooms. And that’s what we need now. After school we picked coal. On vacation days we would pick berries and work in the garden. I also sold papers after school. My father died when I was 7 years old. I got as far as 5th grade when I was 11 years old and then I went to work in the coal mine. I went to 9 o’clock mass on Sunday morning, went to Sunday school in the afternoon, and came home and played baseball. My big day was on a Sunday when I played ball. I was not the only one who went to work so young. Not very many boys or girls went through high school them days. The boys got jobs in the coal breakers picking slate out of the coal or working in silk mills. Those were the days of child labor. I worked in the mines tending door for 90 cents a day. I worked in the silk mill at night 11 hours a night for 10 cents an hour.

They were a lot of contagious diseases those days. It was just a matter of the strong lived and the weak died. I remember they had what they called the Black Maria. It was a black ambulance pulled by a pair of mules they used for mine accidents and there were a lot of them those days and we only had one hospital and if a man got killed in the mines before they took him out,if his shoes were any good some one would take them off him. And also his lamp and his water bottle. I remember a story one poor fellow was taken to his home on Electric Ave. He had a wife and 4 children and when they took him home his wife met them at the door and told them to take him out of their a dead was no good. The Coal Co. was very ruthless them days they thought more of the mules than they of the men. Mules cost 300.00 a piece the men didn’t cost them anything. Those were the days when they used mules in the mines for power. I worked in them before it was electrified, but we had some good days.

We would save a 1.50 a month and get a horse and buggy from the livery stable and go on picnics out to Crystal Lake for the day and my mother in the evenings would put her shawl on and go visit the neighbors. I can remember my father and mother was in big demand at house parties. My father was one man band. He played a mouth organ and a violin. He had both around his neck so he played the mouth organ and violin at the same time and my mother would call off the square dances. She would also sing. So you see they had good times in the good old days. There were no cars them days so they made use of their legs which God gave them.

Dear Susan I hope you can read this letter, and get something out of it, your mother and your Dad will help you, they are the last of the old generation. You must be a big girl now, looking forward to see you in the Summer. Please excuse this writing I am getting a little shaky.

God Bless You,
Grandfather Myers

Written in January, 1976, Arthur Myers, age 79, DOB 1896

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In Remembrance of Elizabeth A. Myers Hernquist

Elizabeth A. Hernquist passed away peacefully on January 18. 2011 in her home.

Born May 30, 1925 in Carbondale, PA she was the daughter of Elizabeth Moran Myers. On January 12, 1957 at St. Rose Church in Carbondale she married E. Theodore "Ted" Hernquist, Jr., who survives.

Mrs. Hernquist was a graduate of St Rose High School in Carbondale and of St. Joseph's School of Nursing in Carbondale. She was first employed as a registered nurse in Indianapolis during the polio epidemic. In 1954 she enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where she served as a Registered Nurse First Lieutenant for the 388th Fighter Bomb Wing at the Air Base in Etain, France. She then worked for a short time for the former Allegany Nursing Home and the Cattaraugus County Nursing Home in Olean after which she stayed home to raise a family.

She was a member of St. Mary of the Angels Church and the Olean American Legion Post #530. She was a charter member of the Women in Military Service for America. For several years she volunteered for Meals on Wheels. Along with her husband she traveled to Florida each year for seventeen years until 2008.

Surviving besides her husband are two daughters Mary (Don) Chuboff of Watkinsville, GA and Anne (Bob) Rueppel of Lancaster, PA; five grandchildren, Derek Chuboff, Sarah Chuboff, Kelly Chuboff, Katie Rueppel and Colleen Rueppel; one brother Arthur Myers of Owego; one sister Sister St. Gerard, IHM of Scranton, PA and several nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by two sisters infant Mary Myers and Clare Jones and three brothers Leo Myers, Joseph Myers and Gerard Myers.