Recording Grandmother Edith's Life

My dear Grandmother Edith will be turning 79 this year, and I want to try to record the events of her life before she turns 80 years old. Since we are separated by several thousand miles, I decided to email questions to her and let her write down her answers at her leisure. I am so proud of my grandmother ability to use the computer and email. She learned when was in her 70's! Here are the questions I sent her and her answers so far.

1. What is your full name? Why did your parents select this name for you? Did you have a nickname?

My full name is Edith Lorraine Humphrey Nedrow. I was named after Edith Sager, who was an acquaintance of my folks, living close by. She was sister of Mary Ann Sager, who married my Uncle Walter Humphrey. It hink my dad had a hand in naming me this. I don't know why Lorraine was chosen. Incidentally, Stephanie's [oldest granddaughter] middle name is Lorraine, after me, and so is Leah's [granddaughter], after Judy, whose middle name is Lorraine, also. My dad loved to give nicknames. Mine was Toody or Tood. His pet nickname for me, which only he used, was Stockin's. That made it special. I marvel that no one called me Edie, maybe it was because I was so reserved.

2. When and where were you born?

I was born at home on October 4, and delivered by a midwife, whose name I no longer remember. The location was in Perkins County, in theTownship of Strool, South Dakota. My father is listed as a farmer and my mother as farmer's wife. Her maiden name was Sarah Ella Peck and my father was Mark Perry Humphrey. She was 23, and my father was 39. The Physician's name on the birth certificate is Dr J Johns.

3. How did your family come to live there?

My father farmed his parent's homestead there.

4. Were there other family members in the area? Who?

The Peck family were close neighbors. Dad's brother, Uncle Fred lived not far away, and since my mother was the oldest of 8, I had oodles of aunts and uncles.

5. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?

The house was wooden with an upstairs area where we all slept. We had lots of north winds, and in the winter, it was not unusual to wake up with fine snow on the top cover, blown in through the shingles. We had no bathroom--just an outdoor toilet. In winter, we used the "slop-jar". There was a sink in the kitchen, but no running water. We all drank from a bucket with a dipper. There was a well and also a windmill. They are still there, as is the house, which was modernized and enlarged, when mycousin Faye and husband, Bob Week, came to live there. Faye is my Uncle Fred Humphrey's daughter, a Christian on whom my Grandma Humphrey doted,herself being a Christian, and no doubt she discipled Faye, whose parents were not Christian. Grandma Humphrey's husband, John Henry Humphrey, could not read or write, so Grandma Humphrey taught him to read from the Bible. Later in life, he became a Christian minister, whose ordainment papers were signed with an X. As Brer Rabbit would say, "He could read readin', but he couldn't read writin'". There was a small room off the front room which served as my Grandma Humphrey's bedroom, when she came to live with us. I really do not remember life without her.

6. Were there any special items in the house that you remember?

My dad had one of the first radios in the country, and I remember him listening to the news and the election returns, and never minding the static! He was definitely a Roosevelt man, and I think he leaned toward socialism. The radio must have been powered by batteries, as there was no electricity, no telephones, and television had not yet been invented. We had kerosene lamps and a kerosene stove for summer use. Mother cooked on a cast iron range, which brand name was Majestic. We had a heating stove, wood or coal, to heat the front room.

1 comment:

  1. Gee Hannah, great job. I had not seen this. Also, I need all the stats on your family... When your mom passed away, your birthday, Ester's, Bob's, SuSan's and Noah's birthdays Yours and Esters marriage dates. Putting into the Fred and Annie Peck family history.

    Uncle Mark