MEMORIES OF MY OLDEST BROTHER, ONAS, PART 2
by Verna Mull
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When we moved to Iowa, Onas rode in the train car, and milked the cows, and took care of them on the trip. After that, it seemed we didn’t see him for many years.
One year, he and Mary hitchhiked to Iowa. They spent some time with us, and then hitchhiked back to Washington. Hitchhiking was much more acceptable in those days. Getting caught in a rain storm was the greatest hazard, and this, they did!
I was a tomboy, and had some of the grubbiest elbows and knees around, due to the fact that little girls always wore dresses! On this visit, Mary decided to clean up my knees and elbows, and scrubbed so hard that I felt like the skin would drop off. I cried and cried when she finished, and I packed clothes in a sack and started to run away from home. Onas chased me down, and talked me into coming back home.
We would have never had a radio, had it not been for Onas and Mary. One Christmas, we got a small box from them and it was really quite heavy. What excitement when we opened it and found a Philco battery radio inside! We had no electricity, telephone, refrigerator, or any of the other things people take for granted today. That radio became one of the most treasured things that my parents had. Daddy always listened to the news, and Mama listened to “Young Widow Brown” who drove a yellow Cadillac convertible! This was one of the first “soaps” that I had ever heard of. In those days, the “soaps” did not contain what they do today. There was nothing but “homey” type content in those stories.
Gaylord and I got to choose a couple programs to listen to, providing our homework was done. We listened to the “Great Gildersleave,” “Inner Sanctum,”, “Bob Hope”, and the” Hit Parade.” I don’t remember what else. We couldn’t listen a lot, because the battery pack was very expensive. I can remember thinking that Onas must be wealthy to send us such a wonderful thing!
I’m not sure if it was when Allen Mark was born, or if it was Richard, but, when I was 13, Mother went to Washington for a long time to help Mary with the baby. I had to cook the meals, wash clothes, etc. while she was gone. With my Dad’s help, I canned peaches and made sauerkraut. I was sure glad to see Mama come home! By then, Gaylord was very upset with me because I had washed my red skirt with his tan shirt and the shirt turned pink. I told him to just wear it; maybe he would start a fad. Well, today, the fad has finally caught on!
When Allen Mark was about 2 years old, Onas and Mary visited again. They went somewhere for a couple of hours and left Allen with me. (Of course, my mother was there too, but I tried to take the responsibility.) Mary instructed me that Allen was in the process of being potty trained, and I must put him on the potty every 20 minutes. I was to tell him to “concentrate” when he was on the potty. Well, somehow I managed to keep him dry until Mary came home. I remember very little of any association with Onas at that time.
Another time when they came “ home”, it was in the winter, and Onas, Gaylord, and I all went ice skating on the river. Myrna was married and had been away from home for some time. That was the first that I didn’t feel like Onas was a perfect stranger. He was a lot of fun that night. He would drop down on the ice and yell;”Help-Help-I fell in!” Of course he was just teasing us, but finally he hollered, and it was true! He had broken through the ice next to the bank, and had gotten his skates, feet, and pants wet. Fortunately, there was a Boy Scout cabin close by. We lit a fire in the fireplace to try to dry Onas’ pants and socks. A snake came crawling out of the fireplace, and I was terrified, but Gaylord and Onas killed it, and we sat and played “authors” or something, while his clothes dried. I don’t know how we happened to have the “authors” cards along. (To be continued}
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Keep them coming Verna, love reading them. Hope you are making a journal of all these.