Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ponies and horses

As a 1o year old, I won a blue ribbon with this Draft Horse named Pete at the State Fair. They stood me on top of a step stool so they could get a picture of me and the horses head. That was fun for me, but I could never understand why I could not sleep with the boys up above the horses if I could show a horse. Somethings were hard to figure out for a tomboy.

First we had ponies, never ridden ponies, and as much as I liked "Hi Ho Silver" on the radio, I did not like to fall off ponies! Being the youngest and skinny, I remember dad plopped me on a pony and told me to "hold on". The first couple of times, I landed on the top of my head. The next time I made it half way down the lane and then fell off. I was so glad to be off that pony that I did not care if my dad whipped me. The only whipping I ever remembered. And I do know he was just mad because I wasn't the star rider he expected.

Somehow, I did learn to stay on a horse, and came to love the horses. One year dad brought home a cross between a dun and a palamino. I was about 13 and it was not broke. My brother said, You cannot ride that horse, You bet I thought, and climbed the wire fence and jumped on the horses back. It tossed me right off on to the top barb wire. Yes, I have that scar too. But with dad's help, maybe my brother helped too, we got that horse tame. It had a gentle gait, I think was called a rack,and I rode it most every day. A great friend to have. Tillie was her name. When I went away to school, she foundered and dad had to get rid of her. I never had another horse.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Homeplace 1893

This is the house that mygrandfather built and my dad grew up here. We moved to the homeplace about 1939, because my grandfather had died,then a son Clifton, and my grandmother all died. The place was up for sale. Back then , if you kept one family name on the property for 100 years,then you never had to pay taxes on that property again. Of course they changed that law, before anyone benefited from it. Never the less, we moved there, There were still a few good years of " Down home on the farm", but war was coming every thing was changed!!

Christmas then and now

Having discussed Christmas with everyone who would talk to me, that means family, no one would tell me if there really was a Santa Claus. So I peeked around and observed. I saw dad carrying redwagon down the stairs, as we went out the door to go to town... We always had Christmas on Christmas eve.

Maybe that is why as a child, I tried to find presents and even unwrap presents before hand, (and of course, rewrap them) I always wanted to be prepared for the disappointment of substitue gifts..I never wanted to cause my mom and dad to be un happy, so I was happy.

And later when I had my own childdren and they wanted to know if there really was a santa clause, I would take them to town and say , "Now look, there is a Santa on every corner."

In the meantime, we would read the beautiful story in Luke Chapter 2, and they would tell the story over and over playing with a manger scene.

I remember one year, I had cut their sister in law's hair, and one of my little girls took the hair and put under the Christmas tree. She said it was Angels Hair. However I did not leave that under the tree.

May years later, we decided to not give gifts as it was a burden to some in our family. We all enjoyed it just as much, and then in later years, with marriages and others involved, we decide to make our family a Thanksgviving family.

Now, we all understand that Christmas is a pagan holiday. Aren't we blessed (so far) that we do not have to be Moslems or Hindus and can serve the one true Jesus ,Jehovah, Messiah.

About our Dad

My brother born in 1926 had these memories to add:

On the Farm----
This is in response to being asked what I remember about my Dad, Wm. K. House, and my growing up on the farm. He loved to farm and take care of livestock. He was a good farmer. Seemed to know what to do at the right time and saw that it was done in the right way. He was a hard worker when he was able. Due to having rheumatic fever at age 13, he developed a heart problem that he had to endure until his death at the age of 52.. I remember about three different times before I was 10 years old when he was sick, and neighbors came over and stayed all night because they didn’t expect him live. One time a Doctor came over and stayed all night. Dad would have been in his 30’s. He always bounced back----must have had great determination and great faith. Not being able to work steady much of the time, I remember him always having a “hired hand” working full time for him. Often they would live with us if they were single---- a couple of families came up from Tennessee at different times needing work, and my parents rented a house nearby for them.
My dad did not show his emotions or seem to get unusually upset with us, at least verbally. He executed his discipline by the way he looked at you. If something was wrong, he said very few words, but you knew what he meant.
I very well remember exceptions to this---we always had a large garden. Being 8 to 12 years old I would always lead the horse that pulled the plow when making the garden each year. He would get very upset with me that I couldn’t lead that horse in a straight line.
He liked to whistle--I especially remember him whistling from the house to the barn in the morning, and other times too. He liked the “Mocking-Bird Song”. Would say to my mother “Good Morning-Glory!”. He wasn’t very talkative at home, but he liked to laugh and joke with people. When he and I would go to the grain elevators or to the filling station to get the car serviced --- he would talk with everybody. He liked to be around little kids and tease them. Unfortunately, he did not live to see any of his grandchildren.
He was active in and a good supporter of the Harvey’s Chapel Church. Was very faithful--would not talk business on Sunday’s. I remember an Insurance salesman coming to our house on a Sunday afternoon. He told him to come back the next day. When I was in my early teens the church furnace went bad, so my Dad and two others bought a new furnace. The church had no funds for that. I remember the “revivals” and “homecomings” each fall. The church overflowed. Anyone who had ever attended the church would come back for these events.
Not many organized activities in the community back in those days, as there are today. They attended parent-teacher meetings and ball games at the school, and ice cream socials frequently. On Saturday nights we usually went to Arcadia to see a western movie that was shown on the side of a brick building. Almost all of the community was there. A big part of their social life was getting together with neighbors, or my uncles and aunts, and often the preacher, on Sundays after church for a fried chicken dinner, greasy gravy and home made noodles. Especially on holidays we always made home-made ice cream. Dad and Mom liked to play checkers with us and eat popcorn after supper. My bedtime usually was about 8:00 pm., because we got up early.
Something that I will never forget is the night our barn burned in 1936 when we lived a quarter of a mile from Walnut Grove. I was ten years old. It was so hot that night that we were all sleeping on the floor near the screen door, trying to get some kind of a breeze. No air conditioning at that time. About midnight Dad noticed a fire in the barn. He yelled at me to go open one of the barn doors, while he opened another door to let the livestock out. Mom says he ran out in his bare feet. It was raining hard and I fell flat on my face in the mud before getting to the barn. Dad had opened the door for the horses and they were running out toward me, but I did get out of the way very quickly. The horses were then let out on the road, and the next morning a couple of neighbors had found them and brought them back. The barn burned completely to the ground. I remember him being very sad, but he drew up plans and a new barn was built, one of the nicest in the area. The haymow was floored and had a high roof, so a great place for a basketball court. After that, I had more friends !
It does seem like that we had some real bad snows in those days. I remember my sister, Annabel and I going to my uncle’s home a mile away, crouched down in barrels, on a big sled pulled by a team of horses with my Dad driving. Snow was too deep for cars. I always wondered why it was so important that we go over there before the snow melted!
Another experience at Walnut Grove. I was about nine years old. It snowed so hard that day that most of the kids could not get home from school. Dad and Mom called the school and offered to help--so eight or ten about my age walked to our house and stayed for two nights before their parents could get them. Dad had just butchered a hog that week, very timely, so they had fresh meat to feed them. Remember, this was during the depression, and all the food we had was grown or raised on our farm. Every winter neighbors would help each other butcher. Always on the coldest days, in order to help preserve. Would then hang the meat in the smokehouse to cure.
The Depression during the1930’s was very tough. My sister remembers my Dad coming to the house crying one day -- one of his team of horses had died. Everything was done with horses back then, no tractors. My Mom thought he was upset mostly because he needed another horse to farm with--but didn’t have the money. I distinctly remember the day we all came home from town and a foreclosure notice was posted on the gate to the barn. Dad was very upset--apparently they had not notified him. He went back to the mortgage company, got it worked out somehow, came home and took the notice off the gate. Somehow he managed to keep the farm.
You asked me about my chores as a child. My Dad liked to be around livestock. We had Belgian draft horses, usually two or three riding horses, and he raised cattle, hogs and sheep. Sometimes we would even have goats--their purpose was to eat the weeds out of the barnlot. He would make trips to Kansas City by train out of Indianapolis to buy young cattle, have them brought home by freight train, and then feed and fatten them until ready for market. As long as I can remember, it was my job to feed some of the animals, or throw hay down from the haymow. He was very particular in keeping weeds out of the garden, corn rows and fence rows along the road. I got to do some of that too !
That was some of my rainy day jobs--and picking up rocks off the fields.
When I was 12 years old we moved from the Walnut Grove farm to the House “home place” two miles east of us. My great-grandfather, George House, was the first House to settle in Hamilton County, Indiana, in 1841, and purchased this 160 acre farm. My dad was thrilled to be back on the farm where he was born. He was the sixth child of Robert M. and Ida House. He had five brothers and three sisters. As I got older, into high school, he and I would go to the barn and milk the cows and feed the livestock, usually before breakfast. Then same thing over in the evening. On evenings I practiced or had a ball game, he usually would have the work done when I got home. For about five years after high school I farmed the 160 acres plus another 140 acres that we rented.
My Dad and Uncle raised and showed Belgian horses at the County and State Fairs. When 10 years old, I joined the 4-H club and started leading and “showing” the horses at the County Fair. From then until I was about 22, every year we would enter eight to ten horses in competition from all over the midwest. I would go with my Uncle to one or two County fairs in Indiana, and usually to the Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio State Fairs, and a big one in Chicago called the International. At the State Fairs we would sleep above the horses in what was called the hayloft. Each morning we would feed and water the horses, curry them and then take them for a walk for exercise. We had a lot of fun at these Fairs. My cousin, Ralph, continued showing horses at the Fairs for several years and now his son Kent is still carrying on this “House Belgian Horse” tradition.
Growing up with riding horses, I learned to ride very young. Used these horses to round up the cows at milking time in the evening. They always seemed to be at the other side of the farm at that time. Also, when I was in high school we would have rodeos in certain towns nearby, usually on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes lots of people would be there-- I had a bay mare we called Lady. She was one of the fastest. Lot’s of fun! Sometimes after working in the fields all day, a friend and I would ride our horses about three miles into “Dogtown”, in the evening just to buy a Coke.
Not as much “playtime ” while growing up on the farm then as they have today with Little League and all the organized events. Not many boys my age nearby. Would get together with my cousin sometimes to play “catch” and basketball in the barn. Our house was a tall two story with a scalloped gable on the west side. I had a rubber ball about the size of a baseball, and seems that about any spare time that I had, even when I was in high school, I was throwing a ball against the side of the house. Back then I knew all the major league baseball players names, so I would pretend to be the pitcher and throw the ball against this scalloped gable to a particular batter. Depending on how the ball would hit the scalloped part, the ball would either come straight, or go left or right, and if I caught it the batter would be out. If not, he would have a hit. This was the way I practiced. Must have been very disturbing to my parents, but remember my mother telling someone that at least she knew where I was! I really enjoyed playing softball and basketball while in school. Continued playing on organized independent teams at Noblesville-- basketball until about 25 and softball until age 30. Have a clipping from the Noblesville Ledger about “this ole House” not ready to topple yet!.
Now, about Yvonne and I---she was attending Anderson College. We were introduced by my cousin, who was also going there. He was dating a friend of Yvonne’s who lived in the same Dorm. This was in the fall of 1948. We seemed to enjoy being together, and I thought she was pretty attractive. I think she liked my car. Anyway, we dated pretty regularly until we both graduated. Then we were married in November 1951 at the Park Place Church near the college. Yvonne had gone there throughout college. She knew everyone. She often sang in the choir so our Sunday evening dates usually started there.
No, I did not know how to cook when we got married. Not something I learned on the farm. Now I can fry an egg and heat water in the microwave. But Yvonne knew-- had a lot of experience cooking at home.
As you can see I have some great memories, and I am thankful for the experiences I have had in growing up in a farming community, and for a good family heritage.
By Wendell House
(May 1, 2000)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Brother and Sister

My brother sent this picture to me so I have to make another memory to go with with the picture. I remember the time my brother and some friends were playing ball in the barnyard. I had climbed up into a wagon that was sitting there, and decided to climb out again. I got as far as the tongue and lay down on it, trying to figure out how to get off of it... ( Not to smart) and finally fell off, landing on my elbow and breaking it. I remember going down a dark stairway to an Xray machine, and the next thing I remember was that cast itching so bad. It all ended fine. I remember that I could always twist my left arm a little further around than any one else. A kid has to show off something!!!!

Then there was a great snowstorm.
We lived close to the Walnut Grove School and they brought several kids to stay all night who could not make it home. I was not in school yet, but I remember mom put 4 of us in my bed crossways. I thought it was a great time, and people came for their children all to soon to suit me. If anyone remembers that, let me know.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lightening Strikes- The barn fire 1935

Something that I will never forget is the night our barn burned in 1936 when we lived a quarter of a mile from Walnut Grove. I was ten years old. It was so hot that night that we were all sleeping on the floor near the screen door, trying to get some kind of a breeze. No air conditioning at that time. About midnight Dad noticed a fire in the barn. He yelled at me to go open one of the barn doors, while he opened another door to let the livestock out. Mom says he ran out in his bare feet. It was raining hard and I fell flat on my face in the mud before getting to the barn. Dad had opened the door for the horses and they were running out toward me, but I did get out of the way very quickly. The horses were then let out on the road, and the next morning a couple of neighbors had found them and brought them back. The barn burned completely to the ground. I remember him being very sad, but he drew up plans and a new barn was built, one of the nicest in the area. The haymow was floored and had a high roof, so a great place for a basketball court. After that, I had more friends !

The above was written by my older brother. As a 5-6 year old, I was scared...Thatwas a big fire

and a neighbor came and took me to her house for the rest of the night. When I went back home, the oats in the bin smoldered for days. I have no pictures of the old barn but her is the new one built in 1936.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


About Me before we moved to the home place.

I remember I was ready for school , had a nickel for something, And I swallowed it waiting on the bus.
My mother did not know what to do, so she called Aunt Nellie who said to give me a big laxative and wait for the nickel to appear. I did not go to school THAT DAY.

And on the trips to Brown County, I remember Eula Gunning taking warm milk for her girls, and she being so nice, wanted to know if I wanted some. NO WAY could I drink warm milk.

The Huckster came to our house occasionally, This was during the depression. They came from a little grocery in Dog Town (Omega) . Mother bought very little, sometimes a can of baking powder. But sometimes I would get a penny sucker. Then they were big and such a treat. I must have been a little spoiled!

Then I remember going with mother to the grocery in Noblesville, It was in a building, rather narrow with long shelves on each side. With a counter all along the front. If you wanted a box of cereal, the clerk would get it down for you. Mom would take a crate of eggs, and see how much he would give her for them then, buy a few things with that money. I remember a banana or orange was quite a treat, And dad would have bought 10 cents worth of candy. Some chocolate drops, or some peppermint candy.

At the home place, my grand father had built it for his large family, and at the time there was natural gas. So they piped that in and had gas lights. Some of the gas lights were still there when we moved there in 1939. The big transoms over the doors let the air move from room to room, but the gas source had run out.

During the time we lived there were the ration books in the war. Since dad farmed with horses and we seldom went to town, mom said they would trade gas stamps for someone’s sugar stamps My mother was a good manager and she made the best chocolate cake, whether she had to make it with sorghum, molasses, lard, real cream or plain milk. She just adjusted the recipes and never looked at a cook book. When I was away from home and after my dad died, She went to stay with Esther Newby Day when she was having her 6th child. My mom made them chocolate cakes and they loved them and were amazed how she could do it with out a recipe

At the end of summer the basement shelves were filled with canned fruit . The bins contained onions, potatoes, beans. They worked hard and were very self sufficient. Not many I know could do that today. I am thankful for the family I grew up in and the ways we lived.

At one time Aunt Geneva (Tad’s wife), lived in a house south of Ray parkers. There they had a root cellar that was built into the ground. It also had a little spring running through it where they kept their milk. That was a fun place to explore when I was little. I stayed o/n with them once. The time my folks went to the Chicago World’s Fair. She tucked me into bed upstairs in a cold cold room, and wrapped a brick she had heated on the stove in newspaper and put it at my feet.

I remember butchering hogs. They would build a trestle and pull the hog up and hang it after they shot it and then butcher it. Peel the skin off, gut it, and let it bleed out good. The Bible says to eat No Blood. They used a lot of stuff of the hog, but never the blood . They made mincemeat out of some of the head meat, They cleaned the entrails to stuff with sausage. My but that was a lot of work, and they put the fat in a huge iron pot, built a fire under it to render the lard, and cook the cracklin’s.
But one job I disliked the most was using old oil based paint to paint a hog house. I must have been a rebellious teenager. Why does a hog house need to be painted? But I did it and had paint all over me. I am so thankful for the water based paints of today.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One horse

The one horse walking plow like I have on the old cistern behind my house on Plum street. Was used when I was young to plow the garden because you had to get in around the peach trees. And we just used one horse, and maybe the guy in this picture doesn’t know that? Dad would put me on top the horse and I would have to duck under the trees. I expect he put me up there to keep me out of the way.

A shivaree was always the mostest fun! It would usually be on someone’s birthday or an anniversary, or someone new who moved into the neighbor hood. It was a group of families from the same neighborhood and church, who would quietly gather after dark along a road, and when everyone got there, they would then go on to the appointed house in the dark, No lights on the cars. Great excitement for us kids! Hoping to catch the people in their nightclothes, everyone would gather outside the door while someone knocked urgently. Then when they come to the door you would shout Shivaree and go inside. Everyone took food with them and things the couple could use and things to eat. Us kids would just play and have a great time. There was always a crowd. The tradition must have faded out after World War II . I don’t remember any more.

A Wake
I also remember going to Sherman Carey’s wake. He was an old man sitting up in a chair behind the old base burner. He was pretty much in a coma, Big swollen legs. Friends from church and community came and just sat around and talked. There was lots of food brought in and spread over the kitchen tables and you could go eat anytime you wanted. They would make beds of coats in the bedroom and let us kids go to sleep. I remember getting up in the night and everyone was still sitting talking and he had not died yet.
It is a comfort to have someone with you when you are waiting for someone to die. I don’t know why, it just is. I remember staying alone with my mom when she died. Oh yes, there was a Respite girl who was there, but I told her she could go get some sleep which she did. So I just watched mom breath until she quit. It is a lonely time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This is a painting I did from an old picture taken in 1944 or 45. That is my dad on top of the hay wagon and Uncle Tad on the tractor. They are using a Gunning Hay rake. Bud (Ralph) Gunning and his brothers designed it. It was the first equipment after just pitching it up onto the wagon from the ground, so quite an improvement. I remember carrying a brown and cream colored Jug to the hay fields to give the men a drink of cold water. When the wagon was full, My dad would drive the team to the barn. There was a system of pulley's across the top of the barn. Then my dad took a big iron fork that was attached to the ropes and ‘Set’ it in the hay. He would yell something, and I who was out in front with a draft horse hitched to the rope, would lead the horse, who would pull the fork of hay into the mow. When it got to the right place where the man inside wanted it dumped, they would yell something and I would turn the horse, and go back and get ready for the next one. The guy inside would “trip” the rope and we would start the process over and over. They always had a wagon loading in the field and one unloading at the barn so there was not much delays. They could only put up hay when it was dry. First they had to cut it, turn it, and ted it. That was to make it into rows. They would have to wait until the morning dew dried off before they could start. They worked hard to get the hay up before a rain came. After that method, most people bought balers and used them. .
When it was time to make hay, the farmers, cut their hay and they went around together to help each other put it up. All the women came also as they helped cook a huge dinner for everyone. Because I helped making the hay, I got to eat at the first setting with the men. Oh, it tasted so good.
Just for prosperity’s sake, I will add one last hay making story. When my husband got out of the service, he borrowed $2000.00 at the bank and bought a couple milk cows . By the time the next summer arrived and he was making hay. The neighbors came to help, but we just bacon as meat in the freezer and not a dime to spend on food. My mom says “you aren’t just having bacon as the meat” and I said that is all we have. She said no more and we had plenty of food. A neighbor,, probably realizing the situation, said Bacon is nice for a change.. Sometimes you just do what you have to do.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Jehovah Father, Jehovah Son, Jehovah Holy Spirit

Jesus is God, Jehovah the Son, the Messiah of Israel, the light of the world, the way,the truth, the resurrection, and the life. He is the Lamb of God, the Savior, and yet the image of the God. (Col.1:15) All things were created in him, through him, and with reference to him (Col.1:16)

When I was in my early teens, a traveling preacher, who specifically held revivals in country churches . It was then that I was convicted by the Holy Spirit that I was a sinner. So I went forward and knelt at an old fashioned alter and asked Jesus for forgiveness of my sin, and asked Jesus to be my Savior. My life was forever changed, slowly and forever. I have never loved Him more than in my aging years. The traveling preacher told me to read my Bible everyday,and pray every day. That was good advice.

One memorable lesson that I learned was to be careful what I asked for!!! I was quite young and living in a new house: The rug on the floor was wearing out. So I prayed for a new rug.

No, I did not get a new rug, But many years, and having moved across several states. There was that old house, with great old rugs, all covered with grease and grime. Yes, I learned to be careful what I asked for. Now I see that he has filled my NEED before I ask.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Feed Sack Dresses

In the 6th grade, my aunt made me 2 feed sack dresses. My mother bought me a dress, and I was thrilled to have 3 dresses to wear to school that year!. The next year, I had home ec in school and I made 2 skirts and 2 jackets which I wore "forever". Times have changed so much. No one wore pants or jeans of any kind. And even when I had 4 little girls, I remember having 28 little dresses on the line one morning!!! I wish I had a picture of that now. The difference between being poor or rich, is being content with what you have!!

My mother did not like to sew, but I did enjoy it. We had an old treadle sewing machine that you worked with your feet. And even after I ran the needle across my finger, which I have the scar to prove it, I sewed for many years until pain of arthritis took the joy away. I decided early to teach each child to sew when they were in the seventh grade. So I started buying material, and when they wanted something, I would say , I'll show you how to make it. We kept that sewing machine busy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A depression child,but never poor

It was a farming community , and mom took the eggs and traded them for a few groceries. Dad would buy a 10 cent sack of candy to eat on the way home.

I do remember the winter my Aunt gave me a hand me down wool winter coat. It was a camel colored coat and mom cleaned it with kerosene . It hung on the clothes line to air for days but always smelled of kerosene! I hated the site and smell of that coat, but cold Indiana winters made me put it on.

No one ever mentioned the coat to me, or how it smelled. I had no idea that I was poor.

Later , when I had a 3 year old , a two year old, and a 8 month old child, I took an old wool coat and made it into a coat, pants, and mittens for the 3 year old. But I was never poor.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


A wolf story

I Remember When: “ A spade was a spade”

“Maybe I was 5 or 6 years old. I was spending the night with my Aunt Muriel House who lived between Cicero and Walnut Grove in White River Twp. Indiana. There had been a wolf getting into the farmers sheep and killing them. So they organized a hunt to kill it. That was legal and encouraged at that time. Every one who gathered took their vehicles out into a field and were in a circle so they could shine their head lights together and could see to kill the wolf, while others were chasing the wolf into that direction. My Aunt had warned me to be very quiet, not to scare the wolf if it showed itself. She warned me and warned me.. However, the minute that wolf showed up in the circle of lights, I stood up and shouted “There it is” I was so excited. What she did to me, I do not remember!!! Later, the wolf was Mounted and put in a glass case in the Walnut Grove School and was there for years. They were known as the Walnut Grove Wolves. I was told my Uncle Charlie shot the wolf. If you know of other stories about the last wolf in White Rive Twp, let me know.