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A few weeks ago, I began a new series here on Little House Living, my own personal prairie story! My great-grandma and grandma’s stories to be more exact. This week I’m back with the next part of the story, Anna’s School years and a paragraph where she talks about good old-fashioned wash days.
A South Dakota Prairie Story
Anna’s School Years
If you missed last week with the introduction and the first part of the story (where Anna, my great-grandma, talks a bit about her mother), you can catch up here on Part 1 of the South Dakota Prairie Story.
And if you missed last week, catch up on Part 2 Anna’s Younger Years here.
Back to the story….
After the railroad came through, the town was built. One wonders where all the money came from to build a town! We had everything – doctors, lawyers, a hotel, livery barn, saloons, school, churches, drug stores, grocery store, and butcher shops where we could buy 3 rings of good homemade baloney for 25 cents. There was a large movie house where dances were held and vaudeville shows played in person. We even had a hometown band made up of local business people. Much of the material to build the town was brought by horse. Some was even brought in by rail.
We used to play with the Native children. One time one called me his sweetheart. I hit him on the head with an iron pipe and knocked him cold. I was about 8 years old at the time. I then started going to school. My first teacher later became my brother in law when he married my older sister. We always missed a lot of school as the school was too far for us to get there.
We lived south of town for some years and then my Dad became financially able to buy a farm southwest of town about 7 miles. School was close to our place so we all got an 8th-grade education. I liked school and when we had snow we could play “fox and geese”. The country was getting settled and we kids enjoyed barn dances, house parties, and had wonderful times.
When I got out of the 8th grade, I would have liked to gone on to make something of myself but I felt like I was needed at home. I loved all of my family and siblings, we had many good times together. All of us girls wore skirts down to our ankles and had long hair but it was pinned up – never hung around the eyes like it is today. I did most of my own sewing, we had no patterns but Mother would help me if I needed it.
I will tell you how we washed clothes. Those days we had to put a boiler on the stove to heat the water. We ran a washing machine by hand. We pilled and pushed a stick that made an agitator turn back and forth. We wringer had a handle that you turned while the wet clothes went through. Some of the dirty clothes had to be rubbed on a washboard. It was usually an all day job and drying clothes sometimes took 3 days depending on how heavy the clothing was. We always had a wash house to do the washing in and sometimes we canned fruits and vegetables in there. We made our own soap and sometimes used lye in the water to soften it. I always dreaded a table full of dirty dishes and many times had to do them while Mother washed clothes all day, bless her soul.
Coming soon…. Anna Talks About Tornados