Category Archives: 1920s, 30s and 40s

Girls Will Be Girls No Matter the Era

I love the simple beauty of this photo from 1934. Just another typical afternoon of girls playing with dolls and living in the moment. It looks warm and friendly and adorable. I have to wonder, though, how the little one (Betty) stood for this picture with no doll and no tears. I hope she had her turn after the camera was put away, and knowing mom (the oldest), she did.

Yet I can’t look at this picture without experiencing sadness with the joy. The joy comes from peeking into the past and seeing mom enjoying an afternoon with her young cousins. The sadness comes from the harsh realities of prairie living that would soon touch the lives of the girls pictured. Farm living was hard work and dangerous. Living on the prairie kept children grounded in the reality of life and death.

This prairie backdrop is the foundation of faith and survival for my family. Life is precious. We don’t know the length of our journey on earth so we learn to make the most of each day. No excuses.

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Whoa Car!

Great grandpa was someone you minded. In other words he ruled the family roost. When he brought home the family’s first car everyone was excited. As he drove into the yard, he ordered the barn doors opened so he could park inside. My great uncles opened the doors and he drove into the barn. Instead of hitting the brakes, he began to yell, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” Unfortunately, what works with horses does not work with cars. He kept shouting “Whoa!” as the car traveled down the length of the barn.

The children (my grandma, great aunts and great uncles) did not laugh. They did not shout. They did not know what to do. When they realized the car was not going to stop, my great uncles ran to the other end of the barn and threw the back doors open. Great grandpa drove by them and right out of the barn still shouting “Whoa!” and pulling back on the steering wheel as if it were reins.

As great grandpa headed towards a field he finally remembered to depress the brake and the car lurched to a halt. The children stood quietly watching and waiting as their father muttered to himself, turned the car around and approached the front door again. This time he drove in and stopped the car without incident. That was that.

Years later, mom would giggle as she told this story and sometimes when we entered the garage she would say, “Whoa car!”