One of the first homes Verda May remembers was a long, one room, log house. It was chinked between the logs with pieces of wood and then mud to keep out the cold. The walls on the inside were covered with muslin and it was cleaned regularly by white-washing with a mixture of lime and water which was brushed onto the muslin. The roof was covered with logs, then straw and packed with dirt. Little wild flowers, grass and weeds used to grow up on the roof. Very often when it rained, it took many buckets and pans to catch dirty “drips.”
They used kerosene lamps and lanterns and the five gallon kerosene can was a necessity when going into town for supplies. They didn’t have mattresses such as we have today, either. They had “ticks” filled with straw and laid on a frame-work with slats of wood on the bottom. How the children loved to snuggle down into the covers with the smell of fresh straw permeating the night air.
The first “carpet” Grace and Hugh Thompson had was a large piece of burlap. Grace put a layer of straw on the floor, laid the burlap over it, and then tacked it down all around to hold the straw. The straw acted as a pad and this made pretty good “carpet” for the bedroom floor. The bare floors were scrubbed regularly until they were almost white from the use of homemade lye soap and hot water.
One of the first stoves they had was a box-type of malleable iron. It was heavily nicked across the oven, on the warming oven, on the little door at the end of the firebox, and on the ash pan. This all had to be kept clean and shining. The wood box was always by the stove and was close to the corner. It was not only a place to store wood but also a “place of correction.” Instead of the proverbial woodshed, all these parents had to do to punish David William, was to make him stand in the wood box. This hurt him worse than spanking.
It always hurt Hugh Francis, the oldest child, to be sent to bed without his supper. The children don’t recall ever being punished by spanking. Hugh Thompson and Grace did very little of that kind of punishment. The children could sense when they had hurt or upset their parents by disobedience, as very little was said, but that hurt the children more than if they had been given a physical type of punishment.
When Grace’s father divided his homestead among his children about 1911 or 1912, Grace’s share lay on the north next to the canal. About 1913, Hugh Thompson decided to homestead a dry farm which was located about fifteen miles from where they were living and they managed both of these places for quite a while.
This dry farm was located about ten miles southeast of Ririe, Idaho. It lay on the south side of a large canyon. They had to drive down a long dug way into Willow Creek Canyon. Then followed the canyon on the south to the forks where two more canyons converged. These canyons were called Meadow Creek and Deep Creek. Proceeding south up Meadow Creek for about half a mile, they came to where they later built their home. To get out on the flat where they had their farm and built their first home, they had to go up another dug way on the west side of the canyon. There were acres and acres of grain planted on this flat land which stretched for miles.
To be continued…