Atkins Family History & Genealogy
Biographies & Family Trees
Find records of Atkinses by their first name:
Most Common First Names
- William 3.2%
- James 2.9%
- John 2.5%
- George 2.0%
- Mary 1.9%
- Robert 1.9%
- Charles 1.5%
- Thomas 1.4%
- Henry 0.9%
- Edward 0.8%
Atkins Last Name History & Origin
Nationality & Ethnicity
These are the earliest records we have of the Atkins family.
Atkins Death Records & Life Expectancy
According to our database of 20,053 people with the last name Atkins that have a birth and death date listed:
These are the longest-lived members of the Atkins family on AncientFaces.
Anonymous, U.S.S. SC-508
If I were an artist with nothing to do.
I'd paint a picture, a composite view.
Of historic Sicily, in which I'd show,
Visions of contrast, the high and the low.
There'd be towering mountains, a deep blue sea.
Filthy brats yelling, “CARAMELLA” at me.
High-plumed horses, and colorful carts.
Two-toned trusses, on hustling tarts
I'd show Napoleonic cops, the Carbinieri.
Dejected old women, with too much to carry.
A dignified gentleman, with a Balboa beard.
Bare bottomed bambinos, both ends smeared.
Castle and Palace, Opera House too.
Hotel on a mountain, marvelous view.
Homes made of woods, brickets and mud.
People covered with scabs, scurvy and crud.
Chapels and churches, great to behold.
Each a king's ransom, in glittering gold.
Poverty and want, men craving for food.
Picking through garbage, practically nude.
Stately cathedrals with high toned bells.
Ricovero shelters with horrible smells.
Molding catacombs, a place for the dead.
Noisy civilians clambering for bread.
Palatial villas with palm trees tall.
A stinking hovel mere hole in the wall.
Tree fringed lawns, swept by the breeze.
Goats wading in filth up to their knees.
Revealing statues, all details complete.
A sensual lass with sores on her feet.
Big breasted damsels but never a bra.
Bumping against you, there should be a law.
Creeping boulevards, a spangled team.
Alleys that wind like a dope-fiend's dream.
Flowers blooming on the side of the hill.
A sidewalk latrine with privacy nil.
Two by four shops, with shelving all bare.
Gesturing merchants, arms flailing the air.
Narrow gauge sidewalks, more like a shelf.
Butt-puffing youngster, scratching himself.
Lumbering carts, hogging the road.
Nondescript trucks, frequently towed.
Diminutive donkeys, loaded for bear.
Horse-drawn taxis, seeking a fare.
Determined pedestrians, courting disaster.
Walking in gutters, where movement is faster.
Sicilian drivers, all accident bound.
Weaving and twisting to cover the ground.
Homemade brooms, weeds tied to a stick.
Used on the streets to clean off the brick.
Bicycles and pushcarts blocking your path.
Street corner politicos, needing a bath.
Arrogant wretches, picking up snipes.
Miniature Fiats, various types.
Young street singer, hand organ tune.
Shoeshine boys, a sidewalk saloon.
Barbers galore with manners quite mild.
Prolific women, all heavy with child.
Il Duce's secret weapon, kids by the score.
Caused by his bonus, which is no more.
A beauteous maiden, a smile on her face.
With a breath of garlic, fouling the place.
Listless housewife, no shoes on her feet.
Washing and cooking out in the street.
The family wash of tattle-tale gray.
Hung from a balcony, blocking the way.
Native coffee, God what a mixture.
Tiled bathroom with one extra fixture.
Families dining from one common bowl.
Next to a fish store, a terrible hole.
Sicilian zoot suiters, flashily dressed.
Bare-footed beggars, looking oppressed.
Mud smeared children, clustering about.
Filling their jugs at a community spout.
A dutiful mother with a look of despair.
Picking the lice from her small daughter's hair.
Capable craftsmen, skilled in their art.
Decrepit old shacks, falling apart.
Intricate needlework, out on display.
Surrounded by filth, rot and decay.
Elegant caskets, carved out by hand.
Odorous factories, where leather is tanned.
A shoemaker's shop, a black market store.
Crawling with vermin, no screen on the door.
I've tried to describe things I have seen.
Panorama of Sicily, the brown and the green.
I've neglected the war scars, visible yet.
But those are the things we want to forget.
I'm glad I came, but damned anxious to go.
Give it back to the natives, I'm ready to blow.
Finis: The author of Panorama of Sicily remains anonymous, but he has our praise and thanks for allowing this to fall in our hands.
The crew of the Subchaser, U.S.S. SC-508 April, 1944
1 medium sized possum
3 or 4 medium sized sweet potatoes
Place whole possum in pan and cover with water. Add salt to taste. Cook until tender, then drain off the water. Cover again with water and boil a few minutes longer. Again, pour off the water and cover with more water and boil awhile longer. Pour off water, (this gets rid of the "wild" taste). Have sweet potatoes boiled until tender and salted to taste. Place possum in foil. Arrange potatoes around possum. Wrap and put in oven, 300 degrees for 1 hour. Bon App'etit And you thought possum were just roadkill?
Another War and Finally Retirement
Then came the war, right after you had given us our first grandchild. I sat by the phone all day and when Jack's grandmother called and said we had a grandson (Denny Atkins Fredericks, Nov. 5, 1941), I burst into tears. Thus, started our first grandmother and grandfather years.
The war brought many changes. The boys loved the country so much we decided in 1942 that we would rent our big house and move out to the country in Snohomish. Your Dad managed to trade with a mailman in Snohomish who wanted to move to Seattle. Our lives became much different. We had a nice little house but had to go back to cooking on a wood range and using an old outhouse outside. We milked a cow, made butter, and had a beautiful garden. We lived cheap and ate well. The boys were happy and Dad liked his work. I had become involved in V.F.W. work so took the boys often into Seattle. Sometimes Dad and I drove into the meetings and came back the same evening. I worked a little there, at a mill and at the cannery. You older ones were married and had each given us a grandchild. Bob was in the service and Marge was moving around.
In 1943 my illness started showing up again. I probably was going through menopause but I was so anemic that I had to go to the doctor. Pills helped a little but it came to the point of surgery. I reluctantly consented and I was sent to the Virginia Mason Hospital. I had to have transfusions so Dad gave me some blood so I really am part Atkins now. I really didn't think I was frightened as they wheeled me into surgery. Dad could only go as far as the door with me. I just remember looking (at) the clock and then I woke up and Dad was sitting by me. I said, "Oh, I thought I died." Dad answered, "I didn't, for I knew that man upstairs wouldn't take you away from me." That's how I know that Dad believed in God.
I got well quick, really better than I had for a long time. The road being washed out between Snohomish and us, we rented a big house in Snohomish. It was a modern house and lots of room. I became active in V.F.W. and made quite a few trips into Seattle and managed to see my grandsons, too.
Bill wanted to go in the Coast Guard so we consented and he quit school and was soon on his way.
We decided to move back to our home. Mail carriers were badly needed and Dad could make extra money. Our home in Seattle was badly in need of some renovating. Dad was carrying his route and at night would drive a pickup trick. We decided to use the extra money and do some remodeling. Dad and I worked real hard but as you all know, we did make quite an improvement. I did a lot of volunteer war work, working at the U.S.O. serving the boys and at the Depots, as they came through gave me quite a concern realizing what war really was.
What a joy it was when we heard it was over. People were overjoyed. I could remember that night when the first war was over. Now we knew that some of our boys would be home, hopefully mine. Esther has told you about the reaction I had when she called and said Bob was in New York. How thankful I was that my boys had been spared. It really made us feel that we wanted to help get things back to normal.
More volunteer work. Bill came home, finished his schooling and was in the Army during peacetime. Ty had graduated and was gone. Dad and I were alone in a big house. Grandpa was gone so I could use my time for other things. Dad and I decided to sell and get a small place. More grandchildren had arrived and things were going well. Again, I became sick and needed another operation. It took me a little longer to get well as that was what age does to a person.
Dad and I were happy in our little place and began to think about him retiring. Dad had always wanted to move away from the rainy country so I had consented to go with him wherever he wished to spend his retirement years. You, Marie, and your family, had moved to California. After being retired two years and making several trips to California, in 1959 that was our choice.
We had many new experiences after moving to a new state, as you all know that we ended up in Valley Breeze Mobil Park. I could write a book on our life in a trailer but much of it you children know, how we settled here, of the many new friends we made and of friends we lost and about all the trips we took. How happy we were when we started off but always glad to get back.
Dad and I have always been happy. I can't say we never disagreed but we were happy. We were proud of our children, proud of our grandchildren. We were getting old and we knew that someday we would be separated. Who would go first was for God to decide and we would accept whatever God decided. I was left, but I live with my memories and in the love of my children and grandchildren. As long as there is love that is all that matters.
I love you all--
Note: Tyler Jefferson Atkins passed away October 29th, 1973. Edna Olivia (Johnson) Atkins passed away in April of 1983. She is buried next to her husband Tyler in Evergreen/Washelli Cemetery, Seattle, WA.
Chapter 6, Part 2
Finding Work While Building a Family
Freda was at Lyford's and we sent her a telegram to meet me. I had a berth and I remember the black porter. I had got up to fix Bobby's bottle. He was on malted milk and all I needed was warm water. When I got back the porter had his head in the berth amusing a crying baby. The next evening I arrived in Seattle and Freda met me and had orders to bring me right out to Lyford's. Mrs. Lyford put me to bed and took complete charge of the baby. What a glorious rest I got. The next day we went home to the folks. I got home on my Dad's birthday, November 18th. The folks were so nice, never so much as said, "I told you, you shouldn't go," which was probably right. I was so sick I was in bed most of the time. Mother was sure I would lose the baby. We called Dr. Fishback. He said he didn't know anything about malaria but would study up on it.
Thanksgiving was near and all the family was home for Thanksgiving dinner. I was so blue at being alone and upstairs in bed. I couldn't eat a thing. The family all left early and I heard someone coming up the steps. Thinking it was Mother to try to get me to eat again I turned my face to the wall when Dad put his arms around me. He had walked from the stage corner, come in and cautioned to the folks to be quiet and he came up and surprised me. I think we both cried a little then. We didn't get well for a long time but Dr. Fishback got us back on our feet and it wasn't long before Dad went back to Three Lakes at the mill.
The bosses all knew him and gave him a job before anyone else, as you know he was a good worker. On Saturday night he would walk home to see me. He found a way he could follow the railroad track and he said he would jog on the ties so you see jogging isn't so new after all, and it was good for him. We had a good Christmas at home with all the family. I know they gave me a lot of baby clothes and clothes for Bobbie. I was so skinny I wore all my clothes during my whole pregnancy. Just had a little potbelly on me. I was to stay at home until the baby came. It was a cold January with a lot of snow. And Dad would just be frozen after his Saturday night jogging.
On Friday night, we had some neighbors who liked to come and play a card game called "Flinch" so we played that night and I told them I was going to have the baby the next day. Sure enough I got up in the morning and called the doctor myself and at noon, January 17, 1922, Marie made her appearance.
It was an easy birth but she weighed just a little more than seven pounds. A tiny thing but fat as a little butterball.
Chapter 9, Part 2
Back to Washington
One of the neighbors had a relative at Rainier Beach and she recommended us to her so we could rent it. That was Mrs. Dick. It really was a nice house. We got it for $15.00 a month rent, which was cheap but she wanted her rent right on time. Again, Bob and Allabelle were out of work and had come to Seattle to live with us. I think Mrs. Dick resented them for she started being awfully nasty towards me. Dad was usually gone. He reported really early and sometimes it would be late when he got home. He was working a little more then but we could get no credit anymore and no help because Dad was supposedly to have a job. Bob had no job so he and Allabelle could get relief even though they hadn't been in the state long. Bob got us a ton of coal and they could get staple groceries so somehow we got by. I guess we owed a little money. We had bought the Maytag washer when we lived over by Esther's. How I loved that washer. We had missed quite a few payments so one day a man came and said he was sent out to get a payment or repossess the washer. I had the washer full of clothes so I told him he couldn't take it. He said if I could just pay $1.00 it would show that we were trying. Between Allabelle and I and maybe you kids helped, but we gave him a dollar and he was on his way.
We enjoyed living up there on the hill. There were woods all around us, and we picked berries and we also coasted down the hills in the wintertime. We all stayed pretty well, but Billy had quite a speech impediment. The teacher called me in and told me we should have his tonsils and adenoids out. I told her we just didn't have the money. She arranged with the Red Cross and made an appointment for us. I guess either Bob or Dad took us down in the morning. I found myself in a room with several mothers and the kids in bed. They let us two in with the child until they gave him the anesthetic, then tell us to get out and they would bring the child to us and we were suppose to care for him. We mothers were all rather nervous as they would bring back first one child and then another and put them to bed. We were to sit by them and watch for any danger. I remember when Billie came to he started yelling, "I'm dying, I'm dying!" Of course, I knew he wasn't dying so just quieted him down. Dad came after us about five and when we got home Billie just got right out of the car and walked in so I knew he was all right, though it didn't help his speech impediment.
Things became rather unpleasant with Mrs. Dick always picking on me even though we were paying the rent. Dad found out that Morris's house was vacant on Hamlet Avenue so he arranged to rent it. It was a beautiful big house but needed a lot of cleaning and some of it was not finished. Mr. Morris was a contractor and we heard he never finished a house, just built enough so he could borrow money on it and then start another. It had a beautiful big living room just like a ballroom. We had many dances and parties there. Les and Irene Davis had moved close by and we had good and friendly neighbors so almost every Saturday night we would have a party. Some businessman came by and told us that Mr. Morris had no right to collect rent on the place so not to pay him.
We lived there several months without having to pay rent so it did help us a lot but we did a lot of work on the place. Here we had the Model T. You children well remember the trouble we had with it.
I really don't know why Dad started looking for a place to buy but the depression was slowly coming to an end. President Roosevelt was in. Liquor was back. Dad was soon to be off the sub list and become a regular carrier. I guess at last he could see a light shining there. He said one Sunday we would take a ride to the North end of the city. He had evidently seen this place for sale and wanted to see what you could get for $1,000.00. The prices were soon to go high now that the depression was over. As you all can remember, the house wasn't as nice as the last two we had lived in but having also lived in some poor shacks, I could see possibilities in this old house and the thought of us buying made quite an impression on me. Dad made a deal and we were to move in. I know it was quite a let down for you kids. Dad was a regular carrier now and was appointed to Interbay.
You, Bob and Marie, were in high school. Ty started school or maybe kindergarten in Fall. When I took Ty with Bill to school in the morning I recognized the principal who had been out in the Valley. I started to tell that Bill had a speech impediment. She said very sternly, "Don't bother me now, come and see me later." I decided I would do that. She decided that Bill be excused one day a week and go to speech class at Monroe Junior High. I think Kathleen was in Junior High then. Both you girls I know, probably felt as I did, when your last child starts off to school. My days were so empty. How I did want a baby then. When I was near a baby I just wanted to hold and love them. It was Dad that was worrying then that I might become pregnant but it was not to be.
We fixed and cleaned the old house. Put a new roof on it, painted the outside and papered the inside. I was busy with the P.T.A. and with much homework. Grandpa Johnson had moved in the little house in back. I helped him fix it up and he was so happy. Hilda was working out so he ate his meals with us and I helped keep house. He planted lots of flowers and kept our lawn nice.
In 1936, the government paid off the serviceman's bonus. I don't remember how much your Dad got but we paid off all our bills. We bought a new 1936 Ford and we took that trip that you older ones will remember. We bought an electric stove and refrigerator. By the time we bought the coal stoker for the furnace, I'm afraid we were in debt again, but your Dad was a regular mailman with a regular salary and paid vacations. Weren't the vacations wonderful? I could write a book on our vacations alone, sleeping in a tent, cooking outside and being with friends we love. It was indeed a wonderful time of our lives. Then you started having boyfriends and girlfriends. I remember the wedding we had for Marie and Jack, January 31, 1941. If the old house could talk, it would probably say, "Many laughs and many tears."
Chapter 2, Part 1
The Move to Washington State
My parents had somehow got interested in a Swedish religious sect and joined a group who were going to Washington to form a colony. The leader was a very religious man who gathered all these people together and induced them to go to Washington where he had bought land, which was to be divided between each family. There was one whole train car full. Some came from Duluth, some from St. Paul as well as Minneapolis. Two families came directly from Sweden. Others came later from Chicago and places in the east. I remember the night we left. The berths were all made up and we thought they were going to stay that way. I remember Mother as she told her relations "good by." How she cried. For us kids it was great fun especially getting acquainted with our new Swedish friends who could speak no English. I remember we had a black porter who was always happy and teasing us kids. After many days of traveling we arrived in Granite Falls, Washington on April 9, 1910. It was a nice day and as we came nearer our destination, Mother fixed our curls and put clean clothes on us. We were met by a group of men who had gone on ahead, my brother Ernie being one of them. There was a one-horse buggy which they put Mother with Bert and another lady with her baby. The driver was our leader. Then there was the two-seated surrey with the fringe on top. There were five women with their little ones in it. Then came what they called the Boxwagon. They had put boards across it for seats. Dad was with the rest of us kids and somehow they got us all down to this big ranch on the Stillaquamish River. There was one two-story house. One little new house had been built. There was a bunkhouse for the men. And a big revival tent had been put up with a kitchen as a dining place. By evening it was raining and cold. I really don't know where the men all slept but they made beds on the floor for the women and children. It rained and it rained so there was much unhappiness.
Our furniture had been shipped by freight and when word came that it had arrived all wagons were sent into town with orders to bring beds and mattresses first. In the meantime one carpenter with the help of all the men had built a few more little houses. Each house was to be shared by two families and we were to eat at the cookhouse. Different women were appointed to do the cooking and kitchen work. The men were all to assist in clearing land, planting crops and in return when the land was all cleared each man was to get forty acres for his home.
This religious leader, whose name was Albert Dahlstrom, was the boss. He had had a wife and two daughters in Seattle. She, knowing him better than anyone, had divorced him and he was married to another woman and they had three little girls. Tragedy struck as it so often does in the early years, and infantile paralysis struck. This man's girl was the first to die with it. He somehow managed to get permission to have our own cemetery on a hill nearby. The day of the funeral was a sad day. He conducted the service on his own little girl. Six girls my age were pallbearers with a man at each one to help. We carried her to her grave. It was an experience I'll never forget. Later, another little girl that had come from Sweden died. No one else died of that disease but many more died, some of pneumonia, tuberculosis and one house burned down burning two little boys. All these were buried in the little cemetery which has long been forgotten. Our family was lucky and all survived. It then became known that this leader had wives everywhere. He didn't believe in the marriage vows. People became bitter and demanded their land and one by one families managed to build houses and move away. Some returned to their former homes from where they had come from. The people were allowed to tear down the little houses and divide the lumber. A big house was built for his wife and children but his wife had by this time decided to divorce him and take him to court. They tricked him and got him on the white slave act and he was convicted to McNeil Island for five years and $5,000 bail. A few of his old faithful, including my dad, managed to go his bail and he skipped bail and went to Sweden.
My dad was one that still believed in him and he told it in the story of his life, which was lost how he spent one whole night wrestling with his mind as to what he was to do. He decided he would rent the ranch with all equipment and let Mrs. Dahlstrom live in the new house. We lived in the old house. Somehow he managed to get a lease for five years and a bill of sale for all the stock and equipment. This must have been done before this man went to Sweden but not one of our family have any knowledge how it came about.
Chapter 9, Part 1
Back to Washington
We had made several trips to Seattle. Remember the old "Cleveland" touring car Dad had bought? Esther and Johnny had moved to Rainier Valley. On one of our visits, it was decided I would stay with Esther. Johnny and Dad drove back to Clatskanie to pack our things, to sell our little shack and ship our furniture. I can't remember but I must have gone along sometime. I can't quite imagine Dad going back and taking care of it all, for I seem to remember us leaving, sitting on a "flat" car, telling everyone good bye. We left many good friends, some corresponded with and some we never saw again, but we had many happy memories of our living in Clatskanie and of the friends we had made.
We rented a house right close to Hobart's Groceries. They were such lovely people and gave everyone credit. We moved away leaving a bill but when Dad was paid the serviceman's bonus, we paid it all up. There, you, Bobbie and Marie, started school at Dunlap. Dad went to work in a sawmill out in West Seattle. This was all in 1928.
Sometime around that time Dad took the civil service examination and passed it. In the meantime we had been offered "for sale" a house on 55th South, not far from Esther's and next door to the Butlers and Havertys. It was a nice little house and we were getting it for small payments. I got interested in and joined the P.T.A. and Preschool. I met and made friends with many nice ladies, also many teachers and the principals. Esther became pregnant at this time.
The depression had hit us and much trouble was with us. Esther being home all the time with "Lon," I left Kathleen and Billy with her and I got a job doing housework by the day. I would get Bobby off to school, have supper planned and started, taking the little ones over to Esther's and take the street car to Capitol Hill to my job. It was hard but at the end of the week I would get $15.00 to $20.00, which did help some. I finished out the year of 1929 that way. Dad had been called to Postal work late in 1928 but work was scarce and he spent most of his time waiting at the post office to help carriers whenever it was needed.
Jackie was born in February 1930, so I quit my job and helped Esther out. Kathleen was in school by that time. Not much later I found myself pregnant so Ty was born just nine months later. Mrs. Nash, who was with both Esther and I, said I loved Jackie so much I became pregnant myself.
We enjoyed living in that neighborhood. The park was close by. The men played "horseshoes."
Through Esther and Johnnie, we had met many of their friends from the waterfront. We became one of the crowd. None of us had much money but we would pool it and get enough for some "home brew" and every weekend would be a party. We had much fun dancing; playing Royal Rummy for tax tokens and all became very good friends.
My Dad had been on a trip to Sweden and he came back in 1928 and brought Hilda with him. She was the daughter of his oldest brother. She was our cousin and we had quite an interesting time getting acquainted with her. Dad rented a ranch out by Monroe and again settled down to ranching with Hilda to help. You remember the many holidays and picnics we spent at the ranch. When my time came near to have my baby, I asked Hilda to take care of Billy and Esther was to help me and you children were a big help. Dad's cousin "Velma" and her baby were with us, too. I hadn't been too well while I was carrying the baby but all went well. We had old Dr. Southward, who lived down on Rose Street. He also had an office downtown. It wasn't too difficult during my confinement but I was supposed to be able to get up after a week. The doctor came on Sunday morning and to everyone's surprise I was running a temperature. The doctor said I needed an operation but it was out of the question. With no money, we were lucky to have our food and a house to live in. I spent most of my time in bed with ice packs. The community nurse would come in and bathe me and watch my temperature.
The depression had hit the railroad and your Uncle Bob was laid up. He had a pass on the railroad so they decided to come up and see us. I think they arrived on Marie's birthday, January 14th. I had been sick since November 30th (Ty's birthday, 1930), but thought I could be up for this great event. We had never bet Allabelle. With all your help, I managed to stay up through supper but then had to be put back to bed. In my condition I did not have enough milk for the baby and it was difficult to get other milk. When Ty was a month old he weighed less than when he was born. I can hardly see how any of us survived but with credit at the grocery and garden stuff from the Jap Gardens, we did eat. Many things were given to us. Slowly I got better and things fell into place again. Your Dad didn't bring home much money but we survived and were happy. We started partying with our friends again. We would all pile in one car and off we would go, to Ballard, out to Snohomish and numerous places. You, Bobbie and Marie, were babysitting. You both loved the baby so much.
I remember one time in the summer we went to Verlot to camp. Bobbie was out at the ranch with Grandpa but we picked him up to go with us. He had the baby in his arms all the time. It truly is wonderful with a fifth child can be loved so much by all.
The deal on our house fell through. The man that sold it to us came and told us, after looking up the records; he really had no right to sell it to us. Do you remember the house we moved to over by the school? The house was big with bedrooms all upstairs. Sickness struck us all there. The worst was scarlet fever. It was really scarletina, a light case of scarlet fever. I had Dr. Southward come and look at us but he didn't seem to be alarmed. I don't remember which one of you started to peel skin when you were better but I sent a note to school with you explaining it to the principal. She sent you right back home and reported it so the Health Officer came and quarantined us. Bobby was the last one to have it and he was pretty sick so they took him out to Firlands and fumigated our house. I spent many hours, day and night, worrying about you all. Fortunately things all worked out. The neighbors around there told us that other people in the house had been sick, too, and they thought there was an old cesspool out back that was full of germs. Sound silly, but we decided to move.
Do you remember "Jim Cooke?" He was a friend of Johnnie's. He had a nice house at Rainier Valley that he was trying to sell but he said we could rent it. It was pretty dirty but he came over and helped us clean. Washed all the walls and ceilings and we thought we again had a nice place to live. He didn't take it off the market and don't you know, six weeks after we moved in, it was sold. He let us live there, rent free while the deal went through.
Chapter 3, Part 2
Into the Working World
The following summer of 1916, we had a lot of visitors from Seattle and many picnics. One lady friend of my parents was a practical nurse. She was working for a well-to-do family in Seattle who had year-old twins and were expecting another baby. She talked Mother into letting me go to Seattle and help out with this family. As I was only 15, she said she would tell them I was 16. The day was set and I was packed away with my suitcase and put on the interurban in Everett and she was supposed to meet me. I had the address, but when I arrived in Seattle there was no one there to meet me. The depot was on 5th Avenue, across from the Coliseum Theater. Being somewhat frightened I was still all agog with the city and decided I would take a little walk but not get further away than I could see the depot. I had planned I would go back to Everett on the interurban when I knew my way around. I walked up to the corner and stood looking around when who should walk by but one of the Swedish boys from home. I was surely glad to see him. I told him what had happened and showed him the address and he didn't know where it was neither but he said his uncle had a city map and we would go up there and find out here it was, which we did. It was in the Mt. Baker district. My friend went with me and we took the streetcar and that's how I came to work for the Lyford family.
They had the day mixed up and I wasn't to arrive until the next day but there I was given a nice room and promptly put to work helping with most everything as they had just moved down from Canada and were not quite settled. I was to spend many happy days and years at the Lyford's. I was never treated like a servant but more as a friend and part of the family. I stayed there the rest of that year and until the next Christmas when I told Mrs. Lyford I was going home and not coming back. She knew what my problem was and told me so. I had two bosses, my parents' friend and Mrs. Lyford, and she told me she would do something about it but I went home for a while and loved being at home. Several of my friends took my place at Lyford's including Ann and her mother. My friend, Helen Nelson, and even Freda, were there for a while. No one seemed to get along with my parents' friend. She finally got married and left.
Ann had left and was working as a waitress at the fraternity house at the University of Washington. I was offered the job at Lyford's alone with Mrs. Lyford's help as the children were getting out of the baby stage.
I was very happy there and Ann and I had some wonderful times and many boyfriends. We started roller-skating on Thursday nights and on Saturday nights we always went to the jitney dance. One dance was the Hippodrome at 5th and Union. The Dreamland was at 6th and Union and the skating arena was on 5th Avenue between Union and University. On Sunday we would take the streetcar to Leslie Park on Lake Washington and dance all afternoon and evening. We sure had some wonderful times and certainly a lot of boyfriends. World War I was going on and there were a lot of service men.
One incident I remember at the dance - Ann had given her purse to a sailor to hold for her and we never saw the sailor again. I had to give her money to get home on. He had, however, told her h is name and he was stationed out on Lake Union. I told her we just had to get that purse back so her not having the nerve left it up to me. I called the base and acting as it was my purse I told him my problem. They took all the information and I was to call back. When I called back they told me they had the sailor and the purse but I was to come out and identify it. Of course I had to get Ann to go with me as I did not know if I could identify the purse. She tried to tell me everything she had in it but we were two frightened girls going to that Navy base. Sailors were all over the place. When we got to the place they had directed us to, they showed us the purse. I said it was mine and told pretty accurately what was in it. She said she had some calling cards in it but when they asked me to name a name on the calling card, I thought it was all over, but do you know I took a wild stab and said "Smith." And, sure enough, she had a card from some guy named "Smith" so we got the purse. Even though she was older than me, I sure told her off for doing such a thing.
Chapter 4, Part 1
Romance & Marriage
Well, we danced and skated whenever we had time off. One day Ann called me and told me to meet her down town that night. She said she had had a fight with the cook and was going to quit her job. I met her and we took, a walk down 3rd Avenue and she was telling me all about it when she said quite loudly, "I told her I was just as good as she was and I wasn't going to take that from her." We had not noticed that there were a couple of Marines behind us until one of them said, "Good for you, that's the way to talk." Then we each had a Marine beside us, though the big, good-looking one was on her side. A little homely fellow was on my side. That is the way I met your father, kids. He was the big, good looking one. After much laughing and talking they took us to a show. Your father took Ann home and the little fellow took me home. He was a nice little guy. His parents had a fruit ranch in Eastern Washington. I said good night to him, never expecting to see him again. In a couple of weeks Ann calls me and tells me she had a letter from this Marine and they wanted to meet us on the weekend. Bold as she was she had given him her address. We had many pleasant weekends with them. They would stay in a hotel down town and on Sundays our favorite fun was to take a ferry ride. They had a ferry running to Tacoma, which we took many times and ferried to different islands. Of course we didn't want to give up our dancing so we still continued to have dates and as far as I was concerned, I forgot about my little friend.
One evening Ann was visiting me at Lyford's when she was called to the phone. It was her Marine wanting her to come down to the depot and tell him goodbye as he was being shipped overseas. She gave all kinds of excuses and didn't want to go so I grabbed the phone and said, "If she won't come, I'll come." Of course, she wouldn't do that so we both went. There were trainloads of Marines. We asked the boys at each car if he was there. After going a long ways down the track the Marines finally boosted him out the window. There wasn't much time left so he kissed her goodbye and then he kissed me. The train took off and feeling somewhat sorry for all those boys, we went home. Ann received several letters from your father but she was having too good a time and never bothered to write. I was taking the war more seriously so I told her, if you don't write to that guy, I'm going to write to him, so we both wrote him a letter. He told me later that the letter finally caught up with him when he was boarding the ship to come home.
After a while Ann wanted me to quit at Lyford's and try getting some other kind of work. We worked at the telephone company for a month but decided we didn't like that. Then we got a job as an usher at the Coliseum Theater. We got a room in the hotel where her brother was staying. We were each getting $10.50 a week and we were paying $10.50 a week for the room. That took half of our money and only left half to eat on and other incidentals. We went hungry many times but liked the work and always got to see the shows and sometimes a celebrity would be on the stage. It was here Ann got mixed up with a sailor and us being on different working shifts, she told me she had married him. He was a nice guy but it wasn't long until she got tired of him.
We were still working at the theater when the Armistice was signed November 11, 1918. It was flashed on the screen and everyone went wild. Most everyone left the show. We were on the last shift and when we came out the whole city had gone wild. It was a night never to be forgotten. The next day was our day off. We decided to go out to Woodland Park and as we were walking, the Lyford's drove by. Mrs. Lyford asked us both to come back there to work for her, which we later did. Ann's sailor husband had been discharged and gone back to his home in Kansas. He kept writing to her, wanting her to come to Kansas, which she decided to do. She hated Kansas and finally decided to leave him. I stayed at the Lyford's, and by this time the little ones were no longer babies and were soon to be in school. Mrs. Lyford paid me $50.00 a month, a lovely room and I was my own boss. She took care of the children. She called herself my second mother and truly she was more than that. I have nothing but pleasant memories of her and her family.
Chapter 4, Part 2
Romance & Marriage
One day she called me to the phone and said someone was asking for Ann and would I please answer it. When I answered the phone a man said, "This is a little bird named Tyler Atkins, to you remember me?" All I could say was "Ann is married." He asked me if I was married and I said, "No," so he wanted me to meet him down town. I said I would only to find out Mrs. Lyford was planning on me babysitting that night, but when she heard who it was she said they would wait and for me to go down and meet him and bring him out there to visit, which I did and thus, our romance started. This was in June 1919.
Your Dad never was one to dance but we had many good times that summer and in the fall he asked me to marry him. I knew nothing about his background and of course he knew nothing of mine, but he seemed like a pretty nice guy so I agreed. Mrs. Lyford was very happy for me and liked your Dad, too. She thought I was more suited for him than Ann. Mr. Lyford was a very quiet person but I guess he was glad for me, too, for he told Mrs. Lyford to do something nice for me. She took me down town and bought me a whole new outfit from hat to shoes. And gave me a nice little sum to carry in my purse.
Not I am going to tell you something we have never talked about, my wedding day. I was up early and dressed in all my finery and I waited and waited and your Dad never showed up. Both Mrs. Lyford and I were real hurt and could not understand it. We inquired everywhere we could. The next day I got a telegram that his brother was taken real sick and would I please forgive him. I packed my things and went home to the folks. It was very embarrassing but Mother seemed to understand though I'm sure my father was very disturbed. I had only been home a day when Mrs. Lyford called me and said a telegram had come and he was coming back so she told me to come back to her house, which I did. He arrived and all he could say was, "Will you ever forgive me?" Well, we were married on Saturday just a week later than we had planned. I had phone the folks that we would come home on Sunday so intended to take the interurban streetcar to Everett that night. It was a cold December day in Seattle. As you know, we were married at noon. We had lunch at Boldt's Restaurant on 3rd Avenue. I can remember Dad calling me Mrs. Atkins all afternoon. When we went to the depot to get our tickets they told us there would be no car going out that night as everything was froze up. We went and got a room at the Plaza Hotel. This was where Bartell's down town is now. I was pretty near frozen after waiting around to see if we could get off that night. It was so nice and warm in the room it sure did feel good. Dad wanted to go out and have supper but I told him I wasn't leaving that nice warm room, so he went downstairs and had a bite by himself.
Our honeymoon night was very strange. There was a fire nearby and all night the fire engine kept racing all around the hotel. We thought sure the hotel was on fire.
The next morning we left and went home to my folks. Mother, of course, loved your Dad at once. My Father was a little distant. We stayed there a week. Your Dad helped with all the chores. He kept my mother's wood box full and made plenty of kindling wood. My father put him to work sawing up a big log at the edge of our field. One of the neighbors came and asked who in the world was sawing wood, as he had never seen a man pull a saw like that. My father very proudly said, "That's my son-in-law," so I knew then he had accepted your Dad.
Chapter 3, Part 1
Into the Working World
After almost four years on the big ranch Dad decided to give up the lease and move up on our own land. He had had the barns built and he house was built enough to live in. I was thirteen years old and had finished grade school so was soon expected to go out into the world and make my own way. On my 14th birthday (May 30, 1915) I got a suitcase as a birthday present from John Johnson. He took me into Everett to some friends of the folks who were to help me get a job. We answered an ad in the paper and I went to work for this lady. She did absolutely nothing and I didn't have much to do. I was to get $2.50 a week. After telling my friends about it, they decided I better quit. Now I realize she was just a kept woman. I then went to work for a druggist's wife in Everett. I washed, ironed, scrubbed and took care of the baby for $3.00 a week and she bawled me out for any little thing. Mother came into see me with the horse and buggy and when I saw her I burst into tears. She went home very much upset.
By this time Ernie and Martha were married and Martha was expecting Thurston. I told the lady I wanted to quit and go and help my sister-in-law. What fun we had together, just two young kids fooling the day away but was sure to have our work done when Ernie came home. I stayed with them until Thurston was born and Martha was well, then I went home for a while.
After that I went back to my friends in Everett to look for more work. I got a job at Dr. Moefler. He was a nose and throat specialist. They were very nice to me and I didn't feel like they were overworking me though I was only getting $3.50 a week. I had a nice room and the two kids were good kids. While working there, I had my first city boy friend. I had learned a few things about clothes and a few nice things, like Esther said white stockings and black patent leather slippers. My parents' friends had a very nice sister my age and we became very friendly. She had a brother that was there each Sunday when I visited them. He finally got up courage to ask me to go to a show, which I did. The next Sunday he asked me if I would ride on his motorcycle out to Silver Lake. Me being at the daring age and thinking myself quit grown up said yes. We had dirt and gravel roads in those days and about half way out there we slid in the gravel and turned over. Neither being hurt we righted the motorcycle and went on our way. Later we decided to rent a rowboat and go out on the lake. It sprung a leak and we bailed ourselves to shore. Left the boat and walked back to the motorcycle and back to Everett. I don't remember going out with him any more but later in life when we would go to dances I would see him occasionally.
I really don't remember why I changed jobs but next placed I worked was for Mrs. Glen Hulbert. He was affiliated with Hulbert's Sawmill in Everett. They were newly married and had a very nice home. They were very good to me and I was happy there. I guess you would say they were in High Society. They had many fancy dinner parties and when they were invited out to dinner parties they would take me along to help in the kitchen. It was all very elegant, the women in low even gowns and the men in their evening clothes. It was something I had only read about in books. They had a lot of books and they encouraged me to read so I spent all my spare time reading. Then she told me she was going to have a baby and wanted me to stay but at that time Martha was expecting Margaret so again I quit and went to stay with Ernie and Martha. I was with them for some time after the little girl was born and then decided to go home and be with my parents for a while. Mother wanted to try and go out and earn some money so I was at home to take her place. It was then I realized how much work there was to do on the ranch but dad was very good to me. I had a little more freedom than I had as a child so I did get to go to a few dances and parties. I ended up by having Ann's brother for my boy friend and we had many good times, a big bunch piling into someone's Model T and away we would go.
By Edna Olivia (Johnson) Atkins
Chapter 1, Part 2
There was one place we lived that I'm inclined to believe it was where Esther was born, when a big black cloud appeared and the Mothers gathered us all together and we went down in the cellar. It wasn't until night when the cyclone struck and we spent the night in the cellar. In the morning a big tree had fell across our front porch. Mother took us for a walk the next day to see all the damage it had done. I can remember the roof off of one house, and a whole wall off of another so we could see the furniture and the piano all upended. It was a frightening experience.
It was here I had a dear friend named Elsie Anderson. Her father was a policeman who was later killed trying to arrest someone.
Now I think it is about the time we moved to the little house where Bert was born. It was a nice little house. Dad was a fanatic about planting flowers and we had a beautiful big yard to play in. The people who lived in a big house in front of us rented it to us. One of the pictures I have in the album of the family was taken there.
I don't seem to remember much about Dick, only that he sold newspapers on the corner and Dad made him a shoe stand with which he always was out early shining men's shoes on Sunday morning. I remember he was sick a lot and one time it was really serious. Dick got sick one Sunday morning. Mother was bathing us all. She looked in Dick's throat. She told Dad to get on his bike and go get the doctor who came immediately. He lined us all up and looked in our throats and said Dick had diphtheria. They wrapped him in a blanket and the doctor took him to the hospital for contagious disease. They called them "Pest Houses" in those days. No one could go see him. He was suppose to have black diphtheria. When he got better, Mother took us for a walk and we waved to him at the window. When I started running a temperature Mother sent for the doctor and he said I had a light case. Mother wouldn't let him take me to the hospital so he gave me a shot of serum and quarantined us. When I got better, Mother put a mattress out in the yard so I could get a little sunshine. As I was laying out there the neighbors little girl came over to play. Mother took her home and asked her Mother not to let her come over but her Mother said to let her stay, as she had been so lonesome. Sorry to say that she got sick and died. We all felt so bad.
That summer on August 6, 1908, Bert was born. My cousin Anna was staying with Mother to help her. She packed us a lunch and told us to go to the park and have a picnic. When we got home we had a new baby brother.
Sometime later we moved to a larger place. It was a four flat building and we lived in the lower right flat. Here we had a bathroom and gas lights. It was here that Dick and I had the mumps. The folks were planning on visiting some friends in the country and decided we were old enough to stay at home alone. I was eight and Dick was a little over ten. Mother left food ready for us and we were fine until it started to get dark. We were afraid to light the gaslights. We just sat and stared through the window. The folks were late for some reason and I remember when they finally came, Dick and I both started to cry.
We had many nice times there. I had my eighth birthday there. I remember I got a new dress and new slippers. I was on the sidewalk showing them to my friends when Mother called and said it was time to go. Dad must have made some extra money for he bought a lot out near Minnehaha Park. He went out every weekend and planted garden. Dick and I got so carsick on the streetcar; Dad would take Dick out there on the handlebars and then come back and get me. Mother took the streetcar with the little ones and a picnic lunch. On the way we passed a veterans' home and cemetery so every Memorial Day we would bring flowers to the cemetery. It was quite interesting but I probably didn't even know what a veteran was. We always called them old soldiers. Minnehaha Park and Falls was a beautiful place and we had so many good times there. There was a statue of Hiawatha and later in school when I learned the poem about Hiawatha it brought back many memories. All this tells of my life until the Spring of 1910.
Chapter 5, Part 2
Starting a Family – then Tragedy
We bought everything at the one store so, of course, when I went up and bought outing flannel, everyone knew what it was for. I crocheted and tatted so I tell you Bobbie had the most beautiful nighties ever. I continued to be sick so long and so much that Dad was worried about me and I will admit that I got lonely and scared sometimes. Dad had talked to Ernie about a job at Lake Stevens and in the summer we got a letter from Ernie. Dad says it was probably the only letter Ernie ever wrote. He had a job for Dad. We wrote right away to get us a house, which they did, up on the hill from their place. It again was only a kitchen and bedroom but it was new. Someone had started to build it. I don't remember how we moved or how we got there but Dad probably knew someone who had a truck. What fun it was to be near Ernie and Martha. She was like a big sister to me. She took me to see her doctor and told me so many things I should have known. The doctor said I was to lie down and rest every day, which I did.
I guess I was always a little deaf and was sleeping on my good ear as I heard nothing unusual. Dad was a little late so I went out on the porch. The neighbor lady called and said something to me but I didn't hear her. I had no sooner got inside until Martha came running and wanted to know if I was all right. The mill had burned down and I guess all the women had been down there but me so they all started worrying about me.
Well, Dad and Ernie went to work at any mill they could get work at and that they could get a ride to. About this time a four-room house with a bath was vacant right downtown so Dad arranged to rent it at $5.00 a month. It was a nice little house with two bedrooms, living room and kitchen. I was in my glory. We went into Everett and bought another bed and dresser to match so I had a nice bedroom to be confined in. My time was drawing near but I felt fine. I had made the most beautiful crocheted top nighties to wear. Dr. Adden told Ernie that he wished his sister would hurry up and have her baby as he wanted to go on a trip. The next thing we heard he had left and left his patients with Dr. Fishback of Granite Falls. Martha called Dr. Fishback for me and he knew all about me.
My mother had worked with Dr. Fishback many times as she had helped deliver many babies. We arranged with the doctor that when we called him that he would go pick up Mother when we came. The day finally came that I wakened Dad at 5:30. He called the mill that he wouldn't be to work and called the doctor who came before long. After he examined me he said it would probably be all day and he had patients in the Everett Hospital so he went to see them but was back before too long. He stayed all day and it was a long day. The last four hours was like torture but Dad sat right beside me all the time. In just twelve hours Bob made his appearance. The doctor and Mother were stunned by his size. He sent Dad over to the store to get some scales and he weighed 10-1/2 pounds. We were the talk of the town. School kids that went by rapped on the door and asked if they could see the baby. After a few days Mother had to go home so she sent Freda to help me. She asked the neighbor lady to come in and bathe the baby. The first day the neighbor was late in coming and the baby was making a fuss being used to an early bath so I told Freda to get everything ready and I got up and bathed him. I was supposed to stay in bed ten days and when the doctor came and said I could sit up I didn't tell him I was getting up and bathing the baby. I loved doing it and he was so easy to handle being so big. We had no bassinet so he slept by us. We spent many hours at night just laying there looking at him. We were so proud.
Chapter 5, Part 1
Starting a Family – then Tragedy
During all this time your Dad hadn't been working and I was too dumb to wonder where the money was coming from. On Monday morning he said he was going out to get a job. I hated to see him go but realized he had to work and so off he went. I went upstairs to cleanup our room when a letter lay on the dresser, ready to mail. He had written to his sister. I picked it up to mail it when I noticed it wasn't sealed. I started to seal it when curiosity about his family got the best of me and I read it. It was all about how happy he was and such nice things about my folks when the last sentence stared me in the face: "She believed the whole story." What a terrible week I spent and I just realized I was pregnant.
He came home on Saturday night and had a good job at the mill in Three Lakes. He seemed so happy and my heart was heavy. When we got to bed that night I just had to ask him about it. Of course I was crying. Then he told me the whole story. He had quit his job at Bremerton and after thinking it over he was afraid he didn't have enough money to get married so he took what little money he had and bought a ticket and went down to his folks. He begged and pleaded with them. I don't know who gave him the money but I expect his brother, Bob, gave him the most. I don't think Fannie or any of his folks ever knew that I knew the truth and none of my folks ever knew. Esther doesn't know. Dick always thought I was pregnant and he was running away from that but that isn't so. It was nine months and three days when Bob was born, September 15, 1920.
Your Dad came home from the war a very nervous person, which took him years to overcome, which you will see as I go on with my story. I hope you can read this part as my tears have been flowing for him and for me but many happy years follow. He went to work and rented a little shack, bought an old bed, two pillows and sheets, pillowcases and two quilts, an old table and chairs and a stove. The rent was $5.00 and lights were free. They came from the mill and we also got cheap wood from the mill. He wrote me he was ready for me to come. One of the neighbors took Mother and I with all my things. Mother didn't think much of it but to me it was my first home and how excited I was. It was only a bedroom and kitchen, however a bachelor neighbor had a cabin with a little larger room so he traded with us, and what fun we had moving. It was a larger kitchen and I proceeded to show off my cooking, a lemon pie first and always invited the bachelor to share our goodies.
One day I decided to make doughnuts and with my tasting, just couldn't stand the looks of them. Dad and the bachelor loved them and decided I should eat one. How we tussled and fought but I guess I ate the doughnut. It was great fun. Dad made $5.85 an hour (this can't be what she meant but it's what she wrote - Karen) which was good pay at that time and the first payday we bought two rocking chairs and banked some money. Now I proceeded to have my sick spells. I knew I was pregnant but didn't know anything about morning sickness or the retching spells I would have. I wrote my mother about it and she wrote back I was probably pregnant so not to worry about it. I had never told her.
Chapter 6, Part 1
Finding Work While Building a Family
Dad was always good at keeping in touch with his family and we got a letter from his brother. He had a new car and he was coming and bringing his sister and two kids. I was excited at meeting his family and somewhat worried about the impression I would make. Bob was such a nice guy and it was fun meeting Fannie but she seemed so young to have two kids. Wallace was two years old and Stella wasn't much older than Bobbie but she was climbing all over and our Bob was too fat and heavy to even move. Stella had a heart condition and was quite a worry to us all after her long trip. We had picnics and went so many places and enjoyed them so much. It was August 1921 when Bob talked Dad into going back with them and thought he could get a job with the railroad as Bob then was a fireman and later became an engineer. The thought of going to California awed me and I sure wanted to go. The folks didn't much like for us to go but never objected.
Before starting out we thought we better take Stella to the doctor. He advised us to send Fannie and the children back on the train, as it would be a quicker trip than driving. We stored all our things that we didn't take in the folk's barn and Bob, Dad and me and the baby started out. We stayed the first night in Seattle at Lyford's and would you believe we made Kelso that night? We stayed in what we called an auto camp. We put the baby in the car and the three of us slept on the ground under the stars. What a new experience for me. I can remember lying there a long time looking at the stars and the moon before sleep overtook me. When we got to Vancouver we had to buy a new tire and we stayed in a hotel that night somewhere. The next day when we started out we had to detour in so many places. One rough spot we hit we broke both springs in the front end. It was getting late but Bob hitchhiked into Cottage Grove and they gave him a 2 x 4 and told him where to put it and drive in slowly the next morning. When he got back we three slept by the side of the road that night. There was a hay field across the fence, Dad wanted to go over the fence and sleep in a haystack but I wouldn't do it. I said that fence was put there to keep us out but it was probably put there to keep the cattle in.
The next day I spent most of the time sitting around the service station. What a long and tiresome day. We had food with us but we probably ate in a restaurant, too. I can't remember where we stayed the next few days but it was a long time before we got to Fannie's. We had to buy a couple of more new tires. The car was a new "skeleton." I think they only made two of them and Bob was sucker enough to buy one. It was quite an experience, meeting Dad's folk. His grandmother lived with his Dad. The bed they gave us had no springs, just boards and a straw mattress. On, my aching back, and we had to be up at 5:30 in the morning or we would hear about it. Dad had no luck getting work on the railroad. We had stopped in Dunsmuir to see, so he started out looking for farm work. He got a job on the Edwards Ranch. Mr. Edwards was a nice man and he gave us a little house to live in and a cow to milk so we lived pretty good. I fixed the little house up really nice.
Then we got sick. Seems like malaria was sweeping the Sacramento Valley and there was so much of it. I was a pretty sick girl. Dad took me to a doctor in Red Bluff and he said he better get me out of there or I would never live through the pregnancy. Dad called Bob and he came down and helped us pack and we started north. We stopped everywhere above Dunsmuir looking for work. Didn't have much luck and Bob thought we should try Ashland, Oregon. We stayed in a hotel that night. It rained. I hadn't seen a drop of rain since I left Washington from August to November. I wanted to go out and stand in it but opened the window and stuck my head out. The next day we started back over the mountains where the mills were. Dad got a job at Weed in the mill. Bob got us an apartment and bought us some groceries and said he would be back on the weekend. I was in bed running a high fever then would have chills. Bobbie had a fever. Dad tried to work but finally gave up and went to bed. The neighbors called the doctor and we were all three in bad shape but he gave us some medicine. We were sure glad to see Bob on the weekend. We talked it over and they decided to send me home on the train. I was feeling a little better after the medicine.
Chapter 2, Part 2
The Move to Washington State
In the meantime, come September 1910 we all had to start school. They were building a new school but did not get it finished so we had to walk three miles to a little one-room schoolhouse where two had to share a seat and desk. Our first teacher was Mrs. Howard. She was strict and managed to keep order with a very unruly bunch. Before the terms were over, the new schoolhouse was finished. What a big place it was. Two rooms but we only needed one for school. The other was used for programs, meetings and parties. What wonderful parties and programs we had, especially at Christmas with a tree and Santa Claus. Halloween parties were next best. Our next teacher was Mrs. Gardner. What a time she had with the boys. Boys can be cruel and at times she even resorted to tears but she was a good teacher.
Our next teacher was a man - Mr. Thorndyke. We all loved him. He and his wife lived in the other schoolroom and what parties they put on for us. Even the boys loved him for he would come out and play ball and games with us.
Then our only "Miss" was our next teacher, Miss Nord. But she was dismissed by the school board for whipping a couple of boys but they no doubt needed it.
Then came Mrs. Van Lieu. I was in the eighth grade by then. Two boys and myself made up the class. Dick had quit school when he was 15. We had to go into Granite Falls to take our final exams and of course I was the only one who graduated. My diploma came by mail.
We had many happy times down on the big ranch. We had a lot of work to do but we could go swimming in the river whenever we finished our work. We enjoyed the cows and the newborn calves, the horses and mares with their little colts, the chickens, turkeys and ducks. We had one little banty rooster and hen. They were our pets. We always had dogs and cats but they were taken care of at the barn. We had many big picnics down at the river. It had the nicest sandy beach and bottom just like the ocean. One of the great days was when we had the threshing crew. How interesting. And Mother had to feed the men and me being the oldest was to help. A little frightening but now when I look back what fun it all was.
We had lots of garden to weed. We never had to feed or milk cows but Mother took care of the milk. And we had to weed the long rows of vegetables. One day when we were on our knees in the garden we looked up and saw Ernie with his girl friend coming. We all ran and hid. After getting cleaned up we came out to meet our Martha. We had quit a time to get acquainted but we loved her. She liked to sleep in the morning and Mother got us up early to go and pick blackberries. Oh, those luscious berries. And to our great surprise Ernie carried Martha's bucket and helped her over the logs. We began to see what the duties of a gentleman were after being around those crude schoolboys. But we had a lot of fun with the boys and girls around the neighborhood. One night we persuaded the folks to let us walk into Granite Falls to see a show. We were supposed to bring back a gallon of kerosene. Coming home was a different story.
It getting chilly, we decided to stop and use a little kerosene to start a fire and get warm. We were very careful with the fire but it is surprising how often we got cold so had to stop and use a little more kerosene. The youngest boy had the greatest imagination. He had us girls scared to death telling he could hear bears and cougars all the way. It was late when we got home and I'm afraid the kerosene can was half empty. It was customary for the farmers to go visiting on Sunday nights. Us kids always anted to know if we could have a bon fire to roast potatoes. We never knew what marshmallows or hot dogs were. New Year's Eve was always a big night at a different place every year. This particular night was at a farmer who lived on the hill above us. Their children were all young but we all came with our homemade sleds. What fun coasting and snow fights and then inside to all the good things to eat.
Chapter 8, Part 1
Life in an Oregon Logging Camp
I sent a telegram to Dad. Mother said not to tell him I was coming alone but I put on the telegram that I was alone, knowing that Dad wouldn't fail to meet us. Grandpa was afraid they would charge for Bobby so he gave me $20.00. Sure enough, when the conductor came around he asked me how old the boy was. I couldn't lie so I said he would be six in September. He said he would have to have half fare but it would be cheaper to buy it in Redding then pay each conductor. The train stopped in Redding and when I stepped off the train leaving you little ones it was about ten cars from the station. I ran all the way and when I got inside there was a long lineup. The stationmaster, seeing how upset I was said, "You have plenty of time, lady." I ran all the way back and then wasn't sure which car it was until the conductor came to the door and recognized me. How glad you were to see me and I cried for joy.
There were two nice old ladies on the train who amused you, Bobby and Marie. You each carried a pillow and they said they were going to get a berth so they put you to bed on their seats and covered you with your coats. I had two seats facing. I put Kathleen to bed on one and all three of you were asleep. The baby lay on my seat. We were held up by a slide two hours during the night and I was so tired. Oh, if I could only lie down. I lay down on the seat, laid the baby across my breast and covered us both up with a cape I was wearing and went sound asleep. I don't know how much later when someone tapped me on the shoulder. When I looked up it was the porter asking, "Are you all right, lady?" So I guess he was watching out for me.
Morning finally came and we pulled into the depot in Portland. How happy we were to see our tired Daddy. He had borrowed an old car and had had nothing but trouble with flat tires and lights going out and raining all the way. He finally left the car and hitchhiked in, then had to wait two hours for our train, but it game him a chance to dry out as he was soaked to the skin. We had some breakfast and then took the train to where the car was. He fixed a tire and we started out for Clatskanie. The rain had stopped by now and merrily we drove along.
Dad had told me we couldn't go up to the camp until the next day so we could go up when the Loki (logging train) went up after bringing down the logs, as we had to walk quite a long ways and over two high trestles. I was determined to get to my new home this same day. I had talked him into it, saying I would carry the baby and he could carry Kathleen as you were just a little over two years. However, I realized we did have to eat first, so we stopped at a restaurant in Clatskanie. I was beaming with happiness, at last being with your Dad again and I will say that you all had been very good.
After our meal, out we went expecting to be on our way when the little old Ford was spotted with just, "you guessed it," another flat tire. I was disappointed but relented and let Dad get us a room above the restaurant. All I remember was that we had two big double beds. I was disappointed but happy we were all together again. The next morning, we drove to what we called the "Y". That's where all the families left their cars. Around the corner was the railroad and along comes the locomobile pulling a long line of cars. We loaded our things and all of us on one of the cars and away we went to our new home. As we were going up the steep grade and over the high trestles I realized that God had interfered and gave us that flat tire that night for we would never have made it on foot.
Dad felt bad to have us move into the little shack, but it was heaven to me. We had three rooms and a large closet and storeroom and best of all it was ours. Dad had paid $65.00 for it. We didn't' own the ground it sat on but the shack was ours. As Dad got to working and each payday we were able to replace old furniture and curtains and linoleum on the floor. Everyone in camp was such nice people and they made their own fun with lots of parties and dances. I was friendly with all of them but I could not bring myself to go to any of the parties. We didn't have a radio so when there was some important event coming up such as "prize fights" and the "Lindbergh flight," (May 1927) Dad would go down to one of the neighbors who had a radio. I didn't mind. Dad always wanted to go so I told him to go. He went a few times and then he asked me to ask some of them to our place. I asked a few I had met including the one that had loaned Dad the old Ford. That was a mistake. They were quite religious so the party was somewhat of a flop and broke up early. One couple, who had a little boy, stayed a while. He played the violin and said there was another party in camp and he was to go and play for them. He persuaded Dad to go with him. She and I waited until she got tired and went home. I waited up for them. When they came home, he was all for going back. I got my nerve up and said I was going with them. As we came into the party, a big Swede grabbed me and said "I'm going to have a dance with Mrs. Atkins." They all knew Dad. They called him "Sunshine." Wherever he went people loved your Dad. You can understand why they called him "Sunshine." He was happy and I guess he showed it. To get back to the party, which lasted all night, I had a wonderful time, though I had Dad running back and forth checking on you kids. Thus began three years of happy times in our lives. Everybody was like one big family. Any little event was cause for a party. Whenever anyone had company, a big party was held. If the crowd got too big for our little shacks we would go to the cookhouse to dance. We always had someone who could play the violin and the accordion.
Chapter 8, Part 2
Life in an Oregon Logging Camp
In the wintertime we were snowed in. We had to put in a lot of supplies. The meat we had was always venison. When it was out of season we still had to have meat. I remember the men would go early in the morning. The logging was shut down for at least four months. One time Dad went early in the morning with two others. We hadn't been up very long when they brought in a big deer that covered the whole table, said I had to get it put away by noon. They skinned it, always buried the hide. We wrapped and packed some of it in the snow outside. I canned many quarts and then we hid all the jars in the woods close by. I doubt if a game warden would have come by in the winter, but we didn't take any chances.
When summer of 1927 came we went on many picnics. They formed a baseball team and we would load our lunch and kids on a couple of flat cars and it being all down hill, the men would brake them and we would get down to the cars and take off for the school house where they would play ball. Coming home was a chore, for the men would push us women and kids up the hill. What fun we had as there was always "home brew" and plenty to eat.
We had a couple of nice outings. Some of the women volunteered to take care of you kids and Dad and I and another couple went into Portland one weekend. We stayed in a hotel and we surely did have fun.
We had many frightening experiences, too. When we would hear the Loki whistle at the wrong time of the day, we knew some man had been hurt. It happened many times, but fortunately not to us.
Fire was another worry. Our little shack caught fire twice. In the early morning I always went back to bed as long as you kids would sleep. This cold morning, Dad piled the stove full of wood. For some reason I didn't feel like going back to bed but sat by the stove warming myself and baby Bill. I looked up and the roof was burning around the stovepipe. We had no ceiling. My heart stopped, but I quickly waked you, Marie, and Bobby, who were sleeping in the living room, grabbed the baby and Kathleen from the bedroom and put you all together. In a minute I flew across the tracks to the cookhouse and screamed, "My house is on fire!" I had hardly got back before men came from all sides with buckets of water, wet gunny sacks, sand and anything they could think of. They had the fire out in no time and the stove, being full of fire and wood, they picked up the whole stove and took it outside. That night they helped Dad put a tin plate all around the stovepipe.
Another time we had a fire was when camp was shut down. Dad always managed to work at something so he was gone. When camp was shut down the "Time Keeper" lived in a "caboose" on the tracks in front of our house. Wood made many ashes. I decided it was time to empty the ashes so I pulled out the ash pan and saw that the floor was burning in under the stove. I ran out and got the time-keeper and he put it out. When Dad got home he decided we should have a new stove. When the weather got better we ordered a kerosene stove from Sears Roebuck. It was beautiful. I was the envy of all the women. My little shack had blossomed into a beautiful little home. Dad had found a little sink and he piped the water into the kitchen. I covered all the shelves and cupboards with oilcloth, even covered a wooden box inside and outside for a breadbox. However, we only had cold water so we had to heat water and on the kerosene stove it was somewhat difficult to heat water for baths. When it got cold that winter we closed the kitchen door. Let the water run a little and we always got up to a big icicle in the sink. We were so happy, though, and had such good times and such good friends. But, we had to starting thinking about making another move. You, Bobby, had already spent one half year in Seattle going to school and the rest of the school year riding the Loki early in the morning and late in the day. It was time to think of getting the rest of you nearer to the schools.
First Car and Fourth Baby
About this time we got our first new car, a Model T. I really don't know how, but I suppose it didn't cost much, but it was wonderful to have a car and go to see the folks on weekends. We would come home on Sunday night and Marie and Bobby would be so cross. We would set you in the high chair, Kathleen, and you would play while we put the older ones to bed. Again, I thought my life was complete when suspicion of pregnancy haunted me. I was frightened and sick with worry, so Dad had Dr. Jay come to see us. Being a friend as well as a doctor, he gave me something to start bleeding and then came with his own car and took me to the hospital and gave me a currettment (sic). Probably against his medical profession, but he thoroughly believed I should not have another baby. He is probably dead now, but God Bless him for what he did for me.
A short time before all this happened Esther came to visit us with her friend John Weber. He said he was getting a new Buick and they would come back. I was sick in bed when they came and could only look at the new car through the window. He was surprised that we had another baby. He never suspected I was pregnant. As you know, Esther married him and they moved near a logging camp in Selleck. They came quite often and got Dad interested in logging so it wasn't long before we gave up our home in Everett and they and us moved out to Granite Falls near the folks. We lived together for quite a while and worked in logging camps around Arlington and Granite Falls.
Johnny and Esther finally moved home with the folks. After [that] we had lived together in two old houses but Esther and I managed to fix them up pretty nice. But, here again I found myself pregnant. We were both frightened and made a trip into Everett to see Dr. Jay, but he had gone back to the south wherever he was from. We went to a doctor in Granite Falls, and they sent us to a doctor in Arlington. They put me through all kinds of tests and both agreed I should not have any more babies, but could not do anything about it. I never told my mother, as about this time she was taken sick and one night, three days later she died in the Everett Hospital (Mar 31, 1926). I was heart broken. Knowing I was pregnant and not having her to help me.
About this time Bob kept writing to Dad that he was sure he could get on the railroad, as they needed men. Esther and Johnny and Bert were with my father so I consented to go. We sold most everything, shipped our household goods, including my sewing machine, and we went on the train down to California. Bob and his wife then was "Myra" lived in Hornbrook. They met us in Grants Pass, Oregon and drove over the mountain. For some reason Myra took a dislike to your Dad. She was very good to me and you children. This was in May, and the baby was to be born in July. Dad would have got a job as they did need men but they had laid off a bunch of men in San Diego and they got all the jobs first. Myra was so snotty to Dad that he was real upset. He worked one day on the section crew and he was the only white man there, so I told him he didn't have to do that. He asked Bob to take us down to Grandpa Atkins. At this time step-grandma Atkins had left Grandpa and gone back to Missouri. Great Grandma was with him. She was interesting to listen to and Grandpa loved you kids and you kids loved him. I had a whole month to go before the baby came. We went to Dr. Owens; I think he was Fannie's doctor. He, too, had me scared. He gave me heart medicine and I was sure I was going to die. I made Dad promise to take care of you kids and to give the baby clothes to Esther as she was pregnant, too, and I thought if I died, the baby would die, too.
I had to get by myself so Dad got a job in the cotton fields south of Red Bluff and rented a furnished house for a month. He was almost overcome with the heat out in the fields and had to come home. He was probably worried about me, too, but we never told Fannie or Ray about our fear.
Dr. Owens made arrangements in the Mercy Hospital for me. It was a Catholic hospital and I believe a charitable hospital. Sometime before Ray had used the clippers and had clipped all the boys' hair as it was so hot. He wanted to clip Dad's hair, too, but I said no, not until I had been in the hospital. On the 4th of July 1926, we were all lying around on the lawn at Fannie and Ray's, trying to keep cool, when I told them I thought I better go to the hospital. In the meantime, unbeknownst to me, Ray had clipped all Dad's pretty hair off. How disappointed I was.
We arrived at the hospital in early evening and it wasn't long before I was in the delivery room. A little Sister was sent in to help. It was probably her first maternity case as she went to pieces and just stood there, wringing her hands. The doctor put her out and told them to put a gown on Dad and let him help. Did he ever look funny in that gown and bald head. I couldn't quite make it by midnight, so you were born on the 5th of July 1926, Bill. You were a nine-pound baby. The doctor kept watching me and giving me medication. I was there quite a long time and the nurses and Sisters were so good to me and to you kids when Dad brought you to see me.
I remember one time he had put Kathleen's dress on backwards but he done the best he could. He hitchhiked up to Cottonwood and borrowed Granddad's old Model T and moved you all up there. Step-grandma Atkins came to the hospital to see me. I had never met her but she said to come home and she would take care of me so she really was a good woman. When it came time to leave the hospital Dad came in the evening with the Model T. We had no money. Sometime before the government had given a bonus to all the veterans but it would be several years before it would mature and be collected. He brought the bonus papers with him to leave as security. When he went to the office the Sisters were all at prayer and they could not accept that but to take me home. He went back to the Sisters and they said they could not accept anything as valuable as that but to pay whenever we could. I honestly don't know how we paid that bill but if I had money to give away as a donation I would give it to that hospital for I'll always feel we owe them a debt of gratitude.
Grandma Atkins did all the washing and hard work and helped me a lot. Dad had worked and had $20.00. He gave me $10.00 and took $10.00 and started hitchhiking north. How I hated to see him go. And how I worried. He had good luck and met up with a truck driver who took him to Portland, Oregon. He went to an employment office and took a job at Benson's Timber Company in Clatskanie in the logging camp. He wrote he would get a place for us there and send for us as soon as he got paid. He made friends easy and a single man lent him the money and was I happy when I received a letter with money in for a ticket to Portland. I had asked Fannie to put in for a pass so she could come with me and help me with you children but when we got in touch with her she hadn't even put in for a pass, not thinking I would go so soon. "I'm going alone," I told Grandma Atkins. She packed us a lunch and we had Billy on "Eaglebrand" so all I needed for him was water. We went into Cottonwood to get on the train.
By Edna Olivia (Johnson) Atkins
Chapter 1, Part 1
I was born on May 30, 1901, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the first little girl, after my parents had had two sons. Mother used to tell me how she was alone as Dad was out marching the Memorial Parade. She had to send Ernie, who was then eight years old, after the midwife. I guess everything went well so when Dad came home, he had another little mouth to feed, but being the first girl, I'm sure I was a welcome addition to the family.
My first recollection was of hearing Mother scream one night and then a baby crying. I was only a little over two when Freda was born so I'm inclined to believe that it was Esther's birth that I remember as I was almost five years old then and I seem to remember that we had bedrooms upstairs and later Mother rented rooms to a couple of young men whom I loved very much. I still have the little blue stein and some of the little dishes I got the Christmas following. One of the roomers must have played Santa Claus for I remember how frightened I was, so I hid behind Dad, but a few hours later Dad took me by the hand and we went to church at midnight. I do not know what church the folks belonged to but I remember I got to go to church at midnight, at Christmas Eve many times. I also know it was very cold and there was snow everywhere and I had a brown fur coat. It probably was not real fur as I remember in a later year, Dad and I went by a store and we saw a blue fur coat, which he bought for me.
I remember one Christmas I got a ring and a bracelet, which I am wearing in one of the pictures. The ring was lost down the toilet. We had a two-holer and me sitting there playing with my ring, I dropped it and it fell down the other hole. I must have been broken-hearted. I also remember the dress I am wearing in the picture but I don't remember the picture being taken.
We must have moved later as I remember living in a one-floor house on a corner. It was here Mother had Ernie take me to a Christmas party to some people who lived upstairs. It was a fun party with lots of children when the Christmas tree burst into flames. It must have been time for Ernie to come for me, as he just walked in and he grabbed a carpet from the floor and smother the fire.
It was from this place that they tried to start me to school. I do not know if it was the first or second semester but they would not let me start. I must have been only five. Ernie took me out on the sidewalk and headed me in the right direction and I ran all the way home. It couldn't have been very far. Later, probably when I was six, I started this same school. It was a new brick school with a basement and the toilets were in the basement. Hearing several children ask if they could go down in the basement, I presumed that they were going to the toilet, so one day I asked permission to go. Being very shy I somehow wandered into the boys' section but I remember a very nice boy took me by the hand and showed me the way to the girls' room. Another time I wasn't so lucky. As I said, I was so shy, as soon as I was dismissed I started running home. There was snow on the ground and a bigger boy who wasn't so nice stuck out his foot and tripped me. I fell right on my face and broke a piece off my two front teeth, which I was to go through life with. I only remember two of my teachers, Miss Wilson and Miss Johnson. I learned fast and when we left Minneapolis in 1910 I was ready for the 4th grade.
We were living in this same place when Dad was working on the South Side High School. They apparently were putting an addition on it as Ernie was going to this school. Dad was a bricklayer's helper and it was my job to bring him his lunch. It must have been his supper for in those days the men worked ten and twelve hours a day, but I loved carrying that lunch bucket. It was a tin square box. The lid was a hollow top, which held coffee. I had to cross the railroad crossing and Mother always cautioned me to wait until the bars were down and the watchman told me I could go.
I also remember a neighbor we had at this place. Their name was "Ness" and they had a girl my age whose name was Agnes. Agnes just loved waffles but she wanted them burned, so it smelled of burned waffles all over the place. We also had an old lady neighbor whom we thought was a witch. We were afraid of her but she always brought us such goodies, candy and fruit. She was probably a lonesome, poor soul.
Chapter 5, Part 3
Starting a Family – then Tragedy
A week later Mr. and Mrs. Lyford came and brought me the bassinet and bathtub, also a crib which she had promised me and they were in the family many years and were used by many babies.
Dad was always scouting around and looking for work where he could make more money. This time he got a job up above Granite Falls cutting railroad ties. He got paid by the piece and made pretty good money. We moved out near the folks and it was a nice little place and Martha loaned me her go-cart so I used to walk down to Mother's every day. We had a neighbor who had a boy that was no good. He was always stealing from everyone.
One night when we had gone down to the folks he had been in our house. When we got home we noticed he had ransacked the cupboards. We had six dollars in the dresser drawer and when we looked it was gone. The mattresses had been turned over and everything disturbed. We straightened things up and were going to bed. Dad went in the closet to get his work clothes and came out and said his only suit was gone. Also gone were his good shoes and a bag, which he had carried it out in. Dad went right to the neighbor's. She was such a sweet lady. She said the boy had been home but was gone then. Not many nights later we were just going to bed when she knocked on the back door and asked Dad to come over. The boy was home. His brother had him tied with a rope. He also had a Model T car so Dad and he took the boy and was going to make him give back the things. He went under the house and got part of the money. Then they drove almost to Lake Stevens and the coat was under one railroad trestle and the pants in another place. I don't know where they found the shoes. While they were discussing what to do with him he took off on the run so Dad figured his brother let him go.
By this time I was pregnant again and not feeling very good. One day the neighbor lady came over sand asked me if I was going down to mother's would I please ask Dad to call the sheriff as her boy was home again. I went down and Dad called the sheriff and we watched until we saw them go by. Imagine how the woman might have suffered to have to turn in her own boy. He was later shot by a farmer as he was stealing chickens. I forgot to tell you he also stole Dad's bicycle, the only way he had to go to work and while he was off someone stole his tools that he used to cut ties with so he was out of a job again. So it was back to the mills.
About this time great tragedy struck our family. Ernie and Martha's little girl had been sick for some time and they didn't seem to know what was wrong. She was such a little doll. She died the 31st of March 1921. The whole family was grief stricken. I can remember Bert crying as though his heart would break. He came running up to my house just screaming. We all loved her so much and it was a terrible loss to Ernie and Martha and Thurston. Now I was glad I was pregnant and I was sure I would have a little girl.
Chapter 6, Part 3
Finding Work While Building a Family
As soon as I was able, Dad rented a house in Three Lakes. They were company houses and quite roomy. I don't remember what we paid but we had the misfortune to get a very dirty one. We noticed we were bitten and had welts all over. Dad discovered it was fleas. I had never seen a flea. The neighbors told us the people who lived there before had goats.
A Snohomish doctor was taking care of the Three Lakes people. He had a nurse stationed at Three Lakes all the time. Dad went and asked her what to do. She said use Lysol water. On the weekend Dad took all the furniture out and washed it with Lysol. We told the bedding and clothes all out. Shook and brushed. Then he washed all the floors, walls and ceiling with Lysol water. Your Dad was really a worker. We didn't see many fleas after that but we were a long time getting rid of the smell.
Bobbie and I seemed to have lost our malaria but Dad came home many times with fever and chills. Finally Dr. Durrant started shooting iron into his veins and he finally seemed to get over it, but through the years that followed, Dad had many sick spells but he always kept working. He would lose one job and get another.
Bad luck hit us again. After about a year the mill burned down at Three Lakes. It was here we had met Kentuck (Tuck). He said Dad went to Everett, which was really a mill town. They got work and batched together but as soon as Dad got a payday, he rented a flat. It had two apartments downstairs and two up. It wasn't a bad place. We had to share the bath but we had a toilet on the back porch. Marie was just a year old. The house was right on the sidewalk and when she would go out there and start up the street Bobbie would scream "Sissy!" so she was known as Sissy for a long time.
Dad was doing pretty well and they were building some new houses not far away, which he became interested in and we could buy for $1,800. Twenty-five dollars down and twenty-five dollars a month so we thought we could make it and at last we had a nice place to live in. It had a nice living room, two bedrooms with bath in between and a kitchen. I don't know whey they quit building before putting in cupboards but Dick came out and helped Dad put up cupboards and we put in a lawn and flowers and were very happy there. It was the nicest house we had lived in yet. I was so proud of it and we were very proud of you two little ones. The place was in lower Everett called the Riverside District. Dad worked at the Canyon Mill, which was left of the bridge between Everett and Snohomish. It wasn't very far so he could come home for lunch. I still had the little go-cart so I'd put the baby in it and take Bobbie along and walk uptown to Everett. I remember one businessman stopped me and told me I was a millionaire twice, apparently meaning you children.
It wasn't long before I found I was pregnant again. I didn't want any more children. I was happy as things were. I was mean and irritable. Poor Dad didn't know what to do. I hated him and life itself. I should have confided in my mother but I refused to see a doctor. When mother found out she arranged a surprise shower on me. I ran in the bedroom and cried and cried. The following Sunday Dick and Gertrude came back in to see me - the only thing I can say that Dick did for me. He belonged to the Eagles lodge and he said he was going to talk to a doctor and have him come and see me. One morning he came to the door and when I saw Dr. Jay, all my fears melted away and I was able to face things. I didn't go to see him. He came to see me and put my mind to rest. He and Dad became great friends as they had both been in the Marine Corps.
The time finally came when I had warnings and Dad stayed home from work and called the doctor. They sat at the table and drank coffee and visited until I had to scream that I needed them. Again it was a short and easy birth. Mother was there with me again. You girls who have been mothers know how it is when you first hold your newborn; all your love pours out and trouble are forgotten, but there was another problem. The doctor kept coming every day and sometimes when I least expected him - so finally I asked him if there was anything wrong. He said I had a slight heart murmur and leakage of a heart valve and I wasn't to do any heavy work.
Poor Dad - he did all the work. He washed at night and I would hang them out in the morning. I was always the first one to have my washing on the line. He also told me I should not get pregnant again but in those days they didn't tell us how not to become pregnant. Now I had two more worries - my heart and how not to get pregnant. I'm afraid those times were very trying for Dad but he was wonderful. You children never knew what a wonderful Dad you had.
You were such a good baby, Kathleen. We called you Kathleen because Dad liked that song so well and was always singing; "I'll take you home, Kathleen."