Before HT & AJ came Estella Erma Davis

Friday, January 1, 2010

Gramma Mom
Estella Erma Davis Anderson Ritter
Born September 16, 1895 Died June 6, 1998

{Gramma Mom died on the 80th anniversary of her marriage to Bennett Anderson. She was living at Messenger House on Bainbridge Island, WA and she woke up, went to the mirror, put on lipstick and died. A girl can't go to her man without lipstick. And that's the truth.}

Thursday January 9, 1975

My Grandchildren, have asked me to write the happenings of my life, since I am 79 years old, this is a good time to start.

I was borned up the Skookumchuck Valley. 21 miles from Olympia the Capitol of Washington. September 16, 1895 was the date of my birth, I was the third child, a sister LeNora 7 years older, a brother Earl 4 years older, I was very small, My Aunt Edith named me Estella Erma. I only weighed 20 lbs when I was 3 years old, my folks, the Davises, lived on a large farm. My Dad made a New House, my mother was very proud of it. I was borned in the New House. I was my dads pet. I was always with him, when I was 3 years 7 months my brother Elgie was borned, he weighed 10 lb at birth, he soon caught up with me, mother said we were like twins.

We lived close to the Stony Point school, I went there on year. For neighbors there was the Ray’s {I think she meant the Whalin's, but was, at the moment of writing this, thinking of Uncle Ray Whalin, who was one of Mimi & Papa's best friends} across the road, the Ritters across the river.

More about the Ritter’s later…

I was always a very high strung child. My first day to school I stuck my tongue out at the teacher, she shook me good. My sister Nora and brother Earl dident like the teacher shaking me, so they both said they had the headache, and would like to take me home. When I was 7 years old, my Grandpa Ticknor died, I never liked him, as he always spanked me, when he could catch me. The reason for the spankings, I would kick him when he wasent looking. My Dad sold our home, bought the Ticknor home, we moved in with Grandma, as she was alone, but it never was that way for long.

When I was 9 years old my dad died, It was a sad time for all of us. Dad had been to Olympia that day to see about putting sister Nora in a sister’s school, she wanted to get married, they thought 16 was too young. Dad bought a new pair of shoes, he was putting them on, I was on his lap, as usual, he put the second shoe on, went back in the rocking chair said “Oh the chair came apart at the top” so I went back with him, he was gone that quick. Grandma poured his medecine in his mouth, but no good. I shall never forget that night if I live to be 100 years old {Lara’s note: she lived to be 3 months shy of her 103rd birthday- and the story I always heard was that Nora and her father were arguing because Nora was insisting that she was getting married, she probably stomped out to the porch and slammed the door on her way out-mom, does THIS SOUND FAMILIAR??) and her Father was putting on his shoes so he could go yell at her some more. And GMom, being the middle child and therefore the peacemaker, was sitting on her dad's lap trying to soothe and settle him down.}
My sister went out on the porch, she screamed and hollered so loud, later years Mother said she never got along with Dad. Mother was with child, so it was doubly hard on her. Earl was only 13 years old, so he had to be the man. Nora stayed home one year, then got married.
In July, Mother gave birth to a baby boy. Grandma Ticknor was a midwife, so took care of Mother, she named the baby John Wesley after his Dad. {Everybody called him “Bean” from the time he was 2 or three- From what I can remember, Grammy Davis was planting beans at the farm, she would poke a hole in the soil, stick a bean in there, cover it up and move on in the row. Uncle Bean followed right behind her and dug up every bean she planted. From that day on for 90+ years he was called nothing but Bean by everyone}

Mother worked hard on the farm, I took care of the baby. Loved him so very much. I missed my dad so much. Sister lived close by, she had her baby boy after a year.

We all went to the Ticknor School walked 2 miles. Before the Ticknor School, we went to the little red school house, 2 1/2 miles we walked. We always had deep snow. When Dad was living, we went for sleigh rides, also hay rides. My best girlfriend was Ruth Whalen. We walked to school together as they lived close by. We went to the Ticknor school, through the 8th grade. I shall never forget graduation night. We all got diplomas, only mine was a fake, as I dident pass in arithmetic. Of course I had a boy friend that was very understanding. Floyd Chester {I’m not sure if it’s CH-ester, all I can really read is the –ester}, my first real sweetheart.

We always had house parties, so then I began to have lots of boy friends. I was a little snip-flip, I thought Floyd Chester was the only one, then Lewis Yantis, Frank Yantis, Walter and Lee Yantis wanted me for their girl, but I thought them dull.

When I was 15 years old my brother Earl took me to dances in Bucoda. I loved to dance, and never missed a dance. My girl friend Ruth lived in Bucoda, so I visited her. Mother sold the Ticknor Farm to Charlie Whalin, and bought the Frank Whalin Farm, she had roomers and boarders. That was 4 years later, John Wesley was 3 1/2 years old. When he was 5 years old Mother married,. It was a sad time for all of us as he was a man with a bad temper. I was 14 years old, so I worked for my Uncle Joe Ticknor- cooked and washed clothes on the board for 6 boys, took care of Louise and baby. My pay was 50 cts a week and board. I was always anxious for Saturday Night, as that was my day off, also pay day. I would go to Bucoda with Mother, to spend my money on material for a dress, as Mother sewed my dresses. Brother Earl would take me to the dance as long as I pressed his suit, which I did. Once I got the iron too hot. It dident sizzle, I wiped the iron on my apron, it stuck to my dress, burned my leg real bad. I wouldent tell any body as I wanted to go to the dance, so I put a rag around my leg, danced all night. In a couple of days it got infection very bad. I told Grandma Ticknor, she put poultices on it made of powdered white chalk, and butter no salt in the butter. So with the pitch salve, it got O.K.

Grandma Ticknor was a midwife, she delivered lots of babies. Including all of us children. After my dad died I was grandma’s girl. I clung to her. My Mother was a wonderful person, she worked very hard on the farm. I was one of these kids that needed a lot of loving.{Yikes, sounds like ME} Yes, and a spoiled one too. {Of course, does NOT sound like me!}

Grandma had her own horse and buggie, so I took lots of trips with her. We would go see m Aunt Edith Pinger, she lived in Little Rock, on a farm on our way we would stop to the Ford Farm where the Ford’s settled when Grandma was 4 years old. Her folks was the Ford’s . Some times we would stay over night, Aunt Aggie was a good cook, we always had wild strawberries and thick cream. Aunt Edith was Mother’s sister, she had 6 children, 4 are living now, auntie also, she is 98. She named me, I always was very fond of Auntie Edy. Grandma had 6 girls + 4 boys.

I remember one Christmas when I was 12 years old. My Aunt Nancy came from Pasco Wash to spend Christmas with us. She was married to a rich man. We had a big tree, we all helped trim in cotton balls, candles all colors, strung cranberries and popcorn. I shall always remember that Christmas. I should of been a happy girl, but I was very disappointed. My 3 cousins Lizzie, Vesta and Verna all got dolls. I got a ring. The dolls were hung on the tree, ever one that was taken down I prayed it would be mine. No one knew how I felt only grandma, she came to me and said you wanted a doll too. I said yes. She said in January when I get my pension I will get you a doll and she did. I still have it, 69 years old. The doll was beautiful, I loved it. Grandma got it for $2.50cts as its neck was broken, that made me love it more. I loved babies and I would pray my doll would turn to a baby. When I was 14 years old I had my own pony. I loved to ride.

Grandma rode the pony over the mountains from Yakima, she bought him from the Indians, there was only a trail over the mt’s then. My cousin Vesta and I rode our horses a lot, we would go to Tenino to get the mail. We ran lots of races. Vesta was never happy when I won the race. On the 4th of July I entered my pony in the race in Tenino. Vesta also entered her pony. My cousin Harrey Ticknor rode my pony and always won. $2.50cts; he was always glad he won so he gave me the winnings . The Whalins never liked to be beat at anything. But they got beat by the Davises lots of times.

My dad had a very pretty team of sorrel horses. One day coming home from town, Charlie Whalin came along side of dad and said I’ll race you. Dad won, yes you guessed it he wasent very popular. The Whalins farming wasent like my Dad’s, Uncle Charlie worked in the woods a lot.

My dad always had a good garden. I remember the dark day . Dad was in the garden picking corn, he had to call for Earl to bring him a lantern to see to get to the house. That was 1904 the sky was all red, the kids thought it was fun to play our. I had the tooth ache, so sit by the fire. Grandma Ticknor took it more serious. She had us kids kneel by her, by the fireplace while she read the bible. It stayed dark all day So they called it The Dark Day.

{This is all there is to this writing, but there are more, separate writings that Gramma Mom left for us. I will put those down here later. I have put a link above to reference "The Dark Day", hope it works. Mom is working on getting the name of Gramma Mom's pony, for the life of us both, we can't remember it even though we've been hearing about that pony since we could each sit on her knee. I've tried to leave the spelling just like GMom wrote it-remember, she didn't even graduate 8th grade, but the damn corrector keeps "fixing"it. I'd appreciate any comments and memories any of the family wants to write. I personally remember Gramma Mom telling me numerous times that there never was enough night in dance nights for her to dance with all of the young men who wanted to dance with her- Her dance card was always full from the moment she got there. It was probably full from the week before and the requests just piled up. She was sassy and feisty and I don't think she got married until she was like 24, which was practically spinster age back then. There is a wonderful letter that describes her FIRST fiancee, but I'll put that up tomorrow or so.....}


larajanepark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lex said...

lara! i MUST get a copy of this letter and the other ones PLEASE! i LOVE it! you should have seen us all gathered around the computer :) please please please send me copies!

larajanepark said...

I should say that I think it was Grandma Ticknor's Mother that had the red hair that Simon inherited. She too was a midwife and I think she married an Indian. I'm going to have to check with Carolee on that. But it was scandalous and I love a good scandal. Besides, imagine the handsome Indian she got to sleep with...

larajanepark said...

Dany Boy! Gramma Mom's horse was named Danny Boy.

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