IN MY MOM'S WORDS:
My parents went on a blind date in the summer of 1924. The next thing that my father knew was that my mother was with child and had to marry her right away. They were married on November 20, 1924. They moved into the same house just four miles east of Winamac. They lived in the same place all the rest of their lives.
I was born to Walter and Cora Peters, in a cement block house four miles east of Winamac. I was born on February 2, 1927. It was a very cold day sot they had the bed set up in the living room close to the stove so they could keep warm.
Water Peters was the son of Henry Peters and Laura Smith. Cora was the daughter of Gottlieb Warmbrod and Lavina Werner.
I was the second in the family. The brother older than me was Willard Howard. He was born May 2, 1925. The sister that followed me was Olive Mae, born a year later on September 22, 1928. My next sister was born on July 17, 1930. Her name is Ellen Grace. Norma Fae was born on December 27th, 1935. Dad came to the stairway door and called us all to come down and that Ellen was not the baby any longer and wanted to see what we had in bed with Mom. Then on December 11, 1937 the youngest sister was born. Her name is Lulu Belle. She was named after the Lulu Belle from the radio that we listened to all the time on WLS the barn dance.
When we were about 4, 5, 6 and 7 we was sent upstairs to sleep. We slept in the bedroom until we was moved upstairs. As each of us was old enough we were sent upstairs to sleep. At the age of 10 or 12 Olive and Lucille moved into the north room upstairs, so we could have a little more room to ourselves. Willard had been moved into the east room several years earlier. That left the three younger girls in the south room. Since we did not have any closets in or room we had a board put up on the south wall which was the only wall that they could put a nail into the wall as the studding on the inside of the house. That made the house colder because it was without any insulation in the walls.
I remember that every Sunday we spent at Grandma and Grandpa Warmbrods. With Grandma Warmbrod having sores on her legs, she could not walk very much and had to have her legs wrapped in new bandages almost every day. So us girls took turns dropping in to change the bandages. We kids could play and keep entertained. Grandma would have a chair in the corner of the kitchen where she could set and still help with peeling the potatoes and help clean green beans. She would do anything else she could while sitting in a chair.
In the middle of July dad would go and hook up the binder to cut the wheat, oats and rye. After the grain was cut into bundles, they had to be put into shocks all around the field so they could dry out. About a month later Uncle Ed would get his steam engine going and start to the farms around the neighborhood. That was what they called a ring. They would get in touch with everybody and they would see whose grain was ready first and everybody would go to that place to start to thrash the grain. While the men were taking care of the grain, the woman would cook the meals. When noon came around the men would be well feed. They could really work in the afternoon which they would be working until almost dark. They would have real long days during the thrashing season.
We came up during the depreciation so we had to either grew our food or used everything that we had to make whatever we had to live on and eat. We had to make our bread and bake it every two or three days. That is why we had to can everything that we could not sue right away. We had a large garden and a very large truck patch so we would have plenty of food. In the fall we would butcher hogs. That would be about two or three at a time. We would have about 8 to 12 hams and shoulders that we could hang up and have some meat to eat all winter long. That would also make a lot of sausage and bacon to have on had to eat. The sausage would be stuffed and then we would can some of it to make it last a lot longer. There were no refrigerators at that time. Later years we would have an icebox. By having the large truck patches we would have a lot of potatoes that had to be dug in the fall. We would have to haul them to the house to put in the basement. Dad had made bins down there to put the potatoes in. Dad also made some shelves to put the cans on to keep them cool in the dark. We could cook a meal with buying anything from town except we had to buy 25 pounds of flour and 10 pounds of sugar and about 5 pounds of salt. We did this every so often. We had to milk the cows and from that we made the butter to use on the table. Sometimes we would make some cottage cheese from sour milk. We learned to make a lot of different things that we liked to eat and did not use anything that we did not have on had or did not grow ourselves. We only had outhouses and no lights. We had to carry a lantern or lamps in the house. We did not use candle to light our way around. We were afraid of fires from them. Dad would not use the barn to smoke or let a bum use the barn to stay at night because of fires. Dad was a smoker but he never lit up in the barn or near the barn.
When Willard was between 10 and 12 we were going to the field down by the woods with the horses hooked to the wagon. Willard was running with another boy along side of us. Dad told him to open the gate which was a couple of barbwires wrapped around the post and when he did that the wire flipped around and came back and hit him in an eye. We just turned around and took him to the house. Then we took him to the doctor in Winamac. The doctor just put a bandage on it and said that he had to be taken to Logansport to a specialist. That doctor said that he had to go to another doctor in either South Bend or Niles, Michigan. Willard could not see as far with only one eye so he did not stay in school after he got into high school. He quite going to school and he got a job driving a milk truck picking up milk at the farms and taking it to Winamac to the Dairy that had started after Grandpa went of the dairy.
When Grandpa and Grandma Peters sold the diary, he had a model T Ford delivery truck that he brought out and put in the haymow that had a bank to get into the haymow. They put into the barn and left it there for a long time. The barn had large doors so you dive straight into the barn. The doors could be opened at anytime like when putting the hay in the barn or blowing the straw into the barn as they were thrashing the wheat. The doors was locked when they was closed. We would play in the truck when we were in the haymow. It was daylight because we could not see in there at night. We would throw hay down for the cows and horses. In the winter time we would have to throw down some straw also.
In the 1930 during the depression Dad was a smoker so he would go to the woods to cut wood for the stoves to heat and cook. That was the only way to heat and cook. He would pile the brush on a pile and in the spring, he would have a very large pile. Dad would take the wood in long pieces that had to be cut up and split them. After the brush was burnt and the ashes would cool off Dad planted some tobacco plants in the ashes. When the tobacco started to turn brown and dry out Dad would cut it off and take it to the house and hang it up in one of the buildings until it was dried. He would take it down and put it in a bag to crumble it into fine pieces they would take the stems out and roll it up into a cigarette that he could get maybe a nickel a package.
When the bums came down the road and would stop into get something to eat. They would cut a large pile of wood to be corded along the fence. He would have about tow or three line along the picket fence from the gate to the chicken lot fence. There were always bums going down the road and stopping for something to eat. They were willing to cut the wood to get something to eat and drink like water and maybe a cup of coffee.
We always had to make and bake all the bread we ate. By putting a cake of yeast, some sugar and some potato water in a jar of starter after taking a cup or two out firs. The cup or two was taken out would be used to make bread by adding for or five cups of flour that would be mixed into the starter until mixed good. Then it would be set aside to raise double its size. Then it would be mixed down again. It would then be made into loaves that would be set aside to rise again. After raising it would be put into the oven to bake for about an hour. You could smell it as it baked and as soon as it was done it was put out to cool. We would get one and cut or tear it to get a piece and put some homemade butter that you had made earlier. It wouldn’t take to long for the first loaf of bread to be gone. You would have to make another batch of bread. The stove was a wood burning stove. We had to do all the cooking with it. The stove was also used for heating.
We had to get up real early and get the iron kettle hung on a tripod with a fire under it. Then we had to pump water and carry buckets of water to fill the kettle. That was before electricity. We had to get the cows milked and feed. We also feed the chickens and hogs. After breakfast we would be ready to start to go out and kill the hogs and get ready to butcher them after pouring boiling water over them to scrap the hair off the hogs. They would be ready to start cutting them up. The intestines were taken out and put them into a large pan. The intestines would be scrapped clean. The heart and live would be cleaned up to be put in another pan. Then intestines were cleaned up so they could be used to stuff with the sausage. The sides would be cut into large slabs of bacon. The hams and shoulders would be trimmed so they could be sugar cured. That is to rub them with salt, sugar, and red peppers. They would be wrapped in several layers of newspapers then wrapped with a clean feed sack and tied up to be hung up so that they would cure.
I remember one time during the week we went to Winamac to Grandpa Peters Dairy. While we were there Grandma Peters made her chocolate milk that she made a lot for us. We thought that it was great and loved every bit of it. She then too us to her house which it was in town, it was close to the river. She always had a garden, even in town. They sold the Dairy and moved out to the schoolhouse that was just one mile north of our house. They lived in a chicken house while they were rebuilding the school house for their house. I remember one time that they had a family reunion in the school house and all the Peters family were there. There were several generations and some I don not remember seeing again. I do remember that there was a great uncle there from Germany. It was in the thirties when the Germans did not go over to good in the United States. He was not given a very nice welcome treatment by everyone. I can just remember some of the people that were there. I do not remember seeing everybody together again.
Grandpa Peters would go to the woods, just north of the house. He cut the trees down then brought the trees to the house cut them up at his sawmill, that he had built by himself. He would cut all the lumber from the woods with the help of the four boys. When the boys were old enough they could help him run the saw mill and help cut the trees down. The house was made out of native wood and he made his own plans. He put a bathroom in the house which was not an usual thing in those days. All the houses in those days only had an outhouse so you would have to go outside every time you had to go. Grandma Peters always had a very large garden. She even had a large strawberry patch. They had a large chicken house that they had at least about 300 chickens so that she could either have chicken to eat anytime or she always had eggs to use or to take to town to sale. After grandpa finished the house he said that our chimney needed to be fixed, which meant that the chimney had to be taken down to the stove hole on the first floor. That was where the cook stove was hooked into the chimney. At night we had to be very careful going to bed upstairs. We even had to watch when we got up during the night. This was before the electric was put in. It was a great thing when it was put in.
We always had to go out to the outhouse everyday no matter what kind of weather was outside. We started with an outhouse that was made with wide boards and there were cracks between the boards that you could always watch what was going on all around. Later we got a nicer outhouse that you could not see between the boards. You had to leave the door open a bit because it was really dark. It was closer. We did not have to go into the chicken lot anymore. There were several gates that you would have to go through to get to the old outhouse.
Spring, after it had started to get warm and the doors were kept open to keep it cool. One evening everyone was giving me the devil about one thing or another. After I had eaten my supper I got up and ran out of the house. I went out into the chicken lot. There was a peach tree in the corner. So I crawled under it and was hidden out of sight of the others. I sat there and watched while the rest was looking all around for me. I just watched and let them keep looking. After a long time I quietly went into the house. And then I headed upstairs to bed. I tried to forget all about it. I let it be forgotten but things seemed to be a lot better after that.
When the thrashing was done at our place we would take our straw ticks (beds mattress) out and empty them. We would fill them with new straw and stitch them closed and then put them back on our beds. They would be really piled high for a few days or even weeks before we would have them smashed down so it would be easy to get into the bed. They really smelled clean.
The thrashing ring would have a big meal one evening at the school house. Everybody could use as a meeting place when they needed a place for several families together.
Dad had Clyde Kruger put the electric in the house. It took him several weeks to put all the lights and plug-ins in. There wasn’t very many on the outside walls since the walls were made of cement. It would be hard to get up the walls with a plug-in. We were glad to get that done because we did not have to take a lamp or lantern everywhere we went at night.
The one thing was a lot of work for us was to get the grain ready to run through the thrashing machine. It was to run the binder to cut the grain and to go through to shock the grain. It would take at least about 7 or 8 bundles to make a shock. They were left to dry out for at least about a month so they would dry out enough to be ready for threshing. At that time everybody would have their grain ready to start the thrashing. The thrashing machine would start at one place and then go on down the line. While the men were thrashing the women would get the meals and help in every way that they could. They would keep the small children busy and out to the way of the machines. Every year after they finished thrashing we would then fill the ticks.
One summer was a lot of fun for us because they came past getting the road ready to blacktop (highway 14). We watched as they hauled load after load of gravel on the road all the way up the road. They then put oil on the gravel all the way to where they stopped putting they gravel. They would do about a half mile at a time. They graded the gravel and oil up to one side of the road then they would grade it back to the other side. This would work the oil in good. After doing that several times and adding more oil they leveled the gravel and started to roll it several times to spread it even. They then would start on up the road and do the same on up the road. While they were going past our place it was great to watch what was happening. Until this was done there was a hole that cars would get stuck in, just south of the barn on the road. When people would get stuck in it and dad had to pull them out with his team of horses.
work the oil in good. After doing that several times and adding more oil they leveled the gravel and started to roll it several times to spread it even. They then would start on up the road and do the same on up the road. While they were going past our place it was great to watch what was happening. Until this was done there was a hole that cars would get stuck in, just south of the barn on the road. When people would get stuck in it and dad had to pull them out with his team of horses.
When I was in high school we started to go to Pleasant Hill Church. We like going to church there better and there were more young people our own ages. That I where I meet DeVon. I really fell for him. I always thought that it was a boys place to ask a girl out so I would just watch him. I waited for him to ask me out. After that it did not take long for us to decided to be together forever. We were engaged in March (16th). And married the same year in April (20th).
More to come as I finished more of my family scrapbook pages.