Mar 14, 2017

Minnesota Stories

Pin ItWhile in Minnesota, we were on the lookout for bears all the time. In fact, Bob thought he had seen where one had been, but as he went down the road it turned out to be big dog tracks. We finally saw a bear between the house and barn as he ran across the frozen sag pond.

At the house there, the back porch was screened in and the refrigerator sat out there. We left the grocery boxes stacked there, as well. Several nights, we heard noises on the back porch and finally opened the door to discover a skunk knocking the empty grocery boxes around. We were not too happy to have a skunk. 


In later years, when traveling from Texas to Oklahoma we encountered another skunk. We had pulled up to a stop sign and weren't sure which way to go. Bob was using old maps and I was navigating and said to go left even though I had no idea which way we should go due to the roads being changed. After going some ways, we saw signs indicating we were going the wrong way and Bob made a U-turn, hitting the skunk as he did. It was almost like we drove to Oklahoma just to hit that skunk.

Another case of a varmint in the house was a ground squirrel that got into our bedroom during the night. I stepped on him and he slid down the bannister--and we just let him go! He wasn't there the next morning, and we never knew how he got in to start with.

We picked choke cherries and rhubarb, and made pies with the rhubarb and jelly with the choke cherries. The choke cherries were about as big as the end of your little finger, and they were like making jelly out of apple cores and peelings. They didn't grow anywhere we had lived before. The rhubarb made good pies. It was in a bed in the backyard where someone had planted it years before.

Moccasin flowers grew in the ponds, and so did cattails. Paul asked me why the cattails didn't have any cats to them. One day when Paul was less than 2 years old he wanted to know who he saw in the mirror when he was all gritty and dirty.

The second summer we were in Minnesota, Bob spread some herbicide to kill the broadleaf plants and thought he was killing the thistles. He ended up killing a bunch of garden plants at the same time, including the okra and tomatoes.



Naming the Pets and other Animal Stories

Pin ItThe kids were little bitty when we got a collie puppy. We picked her up her in San Antonio while visiting after the holidays and took her to Minnesota where we had bought a ranch in the east central part of the state. We went up there every summer for several years. We had bought the land for investment and the former owner leased it back to keep his cows on. A retired ranch hand parked his trailer there for the summer each year and moved it somewhere else for the winter. We returned to Texas for the winters and rented a place to stay in various places.

In Minnesota, we had an electric fence that kept the cows out of the garden. Buckets hung from the wire in several places. They had concrete and nails in them. I was going to teach the kids to stay away from the electric fence when it was on, and told them not to touch the buckets because they would "bite" them. They all reached out and touched a bucket. One of them told me later that they didn't know what I meant when I said it would bite them.

Bob and I would have named the puppy anything but "Lassie," but with four little kids, guess what the dog's name was? Later, the kids were always surprised that everyone seemed to know her name. Either Paul or Sharon asked how people knew what Lassie's name was because they would say, "Here, Lassie!" 

After we had moved to Leggett, one of our neighbors had a dog named Riley, who was part Dachshund. He had big ears and a long tail and he was slung low to the ground. One day Riley came down to see us and it started to rain. We wrapped Riley up in plastic bread sacks with rubber bands to hold his "rain boots" on so he could go home. The neighbors laughed about that for a long time after.

I think it was the same neighbors who gave us two Siamese kittens. One we named Tinkerbell, though he turned out to be a boy, and the other was ultimately called Charlie. He had a different name originally, but we can't even remember anything before "Charlie." When Sharon was about four years old, we saw a movie on The Wonderful World of Disney about a pet cougar named Charlie. Sharon went into the kitchen and started following the cat around and calling him Charlie.

Charlie followed the kids down the road one afternoon to where they were putting in an oil well. He disappeared along the way. Laura said that he would find his way home or come home for supper, but we never did find him. Sometime after that someone else gave us a Siamese cat, and we named him Charlie, too.


Feb 20, 2017

A Snake in the Dining Room

Pin ItBob and I built the house at Leggett on about 25 acres on a county road. It was rough country acreage and we did a lot of clearing by hand. Most of the snakes we found were harmless, but there were coral snakes that the cats would play with, and also moccasins there. I had been in the habit of killing snakes by chopping their heads off with a hatchet outside. 

One night when I was there by myself with the kids, a snake decided to get inside the house in the dining room. We had just put new wallpaper in the dining room after spending a long time deciding it was right for that big room. Rae Janette and I had put the wallpaper up. According to Bob's calculations, we had no wastage. I was afraid to kill the snake in there for fear of getting blood on that new wallpaper. In the end, I killed it in the entryway with the hatchet.

Trumpets in the Bathtub

Pin ItWe opened the store, Mr. Bandman, in 1996. My second husband, Paul, was a band director and repaired instruments, as well. Any trumpet player knows to give the trumpet a bath periodically. That's why there were trumpets in the bathtub. Later, when we had the store at our house, there were trombones in the bedroom due to the fact that Lauren at one of the rental companies insisted we had to have a certain number of trombones.

When Paul was still working as a band director, I ran the store. One day a lady who came into the store bounced in and said she needed reeds for her step-daughter's flute. I was just far enough ahead of her to know she didn't need reeds for a flute. I could talk about the instruments well enough that a lot of people didn't know that I couldn't play.

Jan 12, 2017

Refrigerators, Ice Boxes, and Washing Machines

Pin ItDuring World War 2, from 1942 to 1946, metal was scarce, and you couldn't even get a new car. You had so many bronze and silver looking pennies because they didn't make copper ones during the war. I remember sorting somebody's pennies and putting all the gray ones in one stack and all the copper ones in another stack.

So it was after the war that everyone started getting new appliances. Aunt Oakie got a Frigidaire refrigerator, which was still being used by Mama in 1993 when she died. Shortly after Aunt Oakie got that refrigerator, my family got a Kenmore two-door refrigerator. These both had to be defrosted, but before we had a refrigerator we had an ice box. The ice man came every other day and you put a sign in the window that pointed to how much ice you wanted that day. Occasionally we stopped at the ice house to get ice on the way home from Grandma's, and put it on the Model A running board. Most people my age still call a refrigerator an ice box. One of Daddy's most favorite things was having ice cream in the refrigerator to have any night you wanted it.

Shortly after the war, we got a used washing machine that was the ringer type. Then we got a new Kenmore. Both of these required rinsing and running the clothes through the ringer at least twice. We had one tub that had wheels on it and another that you sat on a wooden stool that Daddy built. We drained the soapy water out of the washing machine with a hose that watered the grass outside of the fence. Every week you could tell where the water had drained because of the green grass. We mostly did washing on Monday and then ironed on Tuesday and cleaned house on Friday. Wednesday and Thursday we didn't have a certain chore.

I don't remember how we washed clothes before we had a washing machine. Grandma used to put her clothes in the water on the stove. Aunt Oakie sent her work dresses to the cleaners. All our clothes were hung on the line to dry. We used starch where necessary, and the work pants were put on pant stretchers, which caused them to have a crease as well as taking out a lot of the wrinkles. During the '50s when all the skirts were full, my petticoats were starched and hung on the line so they would stand out. The starch was a compound that you bought dry and used hot water to mix up. You dipped the clothes in that mixture after they were rinsed and you put them back through the ringer. After they dried on the line you had to sprinkle them with water before they were ironed.

One summer Bobby and I helped Mama hang out the wash and then she would to take us swimming at "Terrible Smells." Its name was actually Terrell Wells and it was a sulphur pool. It was a private pool that was open to the public, but they could refuse service to anyone they wanted to. Most of the city parks had public pools at that time.

A Roadster in the Entryway

After growing up and completing college courses through San Antonio College and then a bachelor's degree at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, I embarked on marriage. Our wedding occurred on June 27th, 1964, at Redeemer Lutheran Church in San Antonio. We had met and then lived afterward in Corpus Christi, Texas. Laura Katherine was born on June 19, 1965, and Paul Robert was born July 1, 1967. Rae Janette was born September 30, 1968, and Sharon Lynne was born July 6, 1970. Elizabeth Ann was born April 17, 1976.

My husband, Robert (Bob) Goodman, was a mechanical engineer. His hobby was old cars, and first we had a five-window coupe. It was tan. We took it to a car show in Corpus Christi when we lived there.

Bob had a passion for 1932 Ford roadsters. One that he built from a '33 truck chassis and motor, and from body parts that he already had ended up in our new house in the entryway. It was with the supplies of boards and sheetrock. Rae Janette had to help him move it. This kept it safe before he had the shop or garage built, but it stayed there a long time even after that. As you would imagine, some people commented on it being in the house. We sold this vehicle without the seats and the insides being finished, though had a good green paint job on the body parts. We sold it to a guy from Houston.

Over the years we spent hours and days and weeks looking for old cars on ranch and farmland. We spent some time visiting Ford dealerships looking for NOS (new old stock) parts. There are no parts available today; you have to get new-made parts to build a roadster.