Elsie Gale's Birth and Childhood
Personal History written February 20-21, 1978
When I was born my oldest brother Marlin was in training in the Army and my second brother Hugh had already sailed. So when I was born he received the new of his new baby sister Elsie. Shortly after that he was killed on the battlefield in France. We never saw each other, but I feel that I know him from my parents and brothers and sisters telling me about him. I hope to meet him someday on the other side. My brother Marlin was tall and someone took a picture of him standing and with one arm extending out, I a small babe, sat on his hand. I love that picture.
Another occasion I was with my father watching him unhook the horses.
He put a feed bag over their head so they could enjoy their supper. I looked at them for awhile and said, "Papa what's the matter with the hoses, do they have sore noses?" He always took time to explain things to me no matter what the question was. In the evenings our supper, as we called it, was light. Mostly bread, milk and rice pudding or whatever we wanted. Our breakfast and dinner were very heavy, as the men needed them to work in the fields. I remember many times when my mother didn't feel so well in the mornings and papa would say, "Mother Dear, I'll cook the breakfast, you rest a little longer". Then I would hear him whistle and sing as he rattled the pots and pans and poked the wood stove hotter. There would be hot biscuits, steak and gravy, mush and always mother's bottled fruit or stewed dried fruit. How well I remember the large black bread pans of bread she baked. All in rolls, side by side. Always there was beans, good stews and puddings.
We always had some kind of a dog, Heinz 57 variety types. My mother never allowed them to come into the house. They were supposed to stay outside and guard the place. After my sister and I were born in New Mexico, my parents decided to go to Ashurst, Arizona.
There my youngest sweet brother Victor, was born. He was Mother's last and largest baby. He weighed 11 pounds, was the 11th child and born on November 11, 1921. He was so fat and cute. I dearly loved him. We had such good times together. He, Melva and I always playing together. We didn't have fancy toys but could find fun with our animals, paper dolls or dressing Victor up like a girl, or playing house. He was willing to do anything we asked. Guess he was out numbered by his sisters. He had a sweet personality and we loved our little brother. I remember a little white pig a neighbor gave us. He was the runt of the litter and had a hair lip. No one wanted him but us and we thought he was so cute and pink. So we named him Jim Creed after the man that gave him to us. We would wrap him up in our doll blankets and feed him with a bottle and nipple. He'd snort and squeal but we loved him. One day he died and what a sad funeral we had for him as all of our other pets got the best when they passed on.
We usually lived out near irrigation ditches or fresh water pumps and Dad would load us all in the car and we would go for a refreshing plunge before retiring for the night. We usually went to the Arizona Canals, and this particular place had a pump that threw the water out in big swirls before shooting out into the canal system. We thought it great fun to let the water carry us around and around and then be swiftly carried out. At this time I didn't leave the swirls and was caught there in the circle of water. My dad saw a mass of white hair floating on top of the water and knew I was in trouble. He immediately pulled me up with his big hands full of my long blonde hair and saved me from a near drowning. To this day I panic if I get in water up around my chin.
We moved allot, where ever my father could find choice acreage to farm. We always had good orchards, gardens, cows, pigs, chickens, etc. We had plenty to eat of things we raised ourselves. I can still remember the watermelon field and the peanuts we enjoyed. It was always our rule to have prayer mornings and evenings kneeling along long benches on each side of a long table covered with an oilcloth for easy cleaning. We took turns saying the prayer. How well I remember my parents turn and how long their prayers seemed.
I remember going to 1st Grade in Casa Grande. It was a one room country school, with all the grades there to eighth (maybe not that far). Melva and I were the only two girls in the room, all the rest were boys. Two of those boys were my brothers Jim and Rolly. The teacher favored us and invited us to her place for cookies after school. The boys were really mischievous and gave her allot of static. She would beat her ruler on the front desk, right where Rolly sat. We were way out in the middle of the desert and at recess the boys would hide when she rang the old fashioned bell. Then she would have to go find them. One day, at recess, they set the desert on fire and boy did they ever get it when she finally got them back in the room.
Then we moved to Goodyear (a country town) west of Phoenix, Arizona. I attended grade school there. Arithmetic was always hard for me, especially my times tables. I tried hard to learn them and my brothers helped me but one day the teacher asked me to say them and I stumbled through them, not very good, but I did try. She was getting pretty disgusted with me, and told me I would have to stay after school so she had me go through them again and I didn't do any better so she went outside and broke a little switch off of the tree. On her return, she said, "I am going to make you remember your tables, so she commenced to switch my bare legs real hard. I went home crying and told my mother and showed her my red stripped legs. I have never seen my mother mad, but she was really upset over this. She sat down and wrote the Superintendent a letter asking if a child should be spanked for an unknown lesson. The answer was NO, they shouldn't be, so she was fired, but was placed in Chandler High School which was probably a better position. I have hated her to this day and could beat heck out of her now if we met. I also put up a mental block to learning Arithmetic and have trouble still with figures.
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