Thursday, March 4, 2010
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Flat Lala, Grandpa and I are back from our trip to Indiana to see the family there. We left on Saturday (St. Patrick's Day) and got home on Monday. It is nearly as far from Waverly to Batesville, Indiana where PJ and Renee live as it is from Waverly to Grand Prairie where you live. Ashley, Kayleigh, Emily, Matt and Mark live part way in between in the city of Terre Haute, Indiana. Uncle Pat, who drives a semi to Laredo, Texas every week, says to tell you it is 978 miles from Batesville to Grand Prairie.
Flat Lala had a great time playing with the cousins. She knitted with Kayleigh, watched TV with Ashley, and played with Emily. Matt was reading when Flat Lala visited him, so he showed her his favorite stories. She watched Mark and the neighbor playing light sabres outside. He later came in and played with her, too. When we got to Batesville, Renee made Flat Lala a new skirt. Later everyone played Uno with their Grandma Janelle. Ashley made sure Flat Lala got to play, too.
PJ (Pat III) noticed that Flat Lala's neck was getting weak. He volunteered to eat a popcycle so she could have the stick to strengthen her neck. It's taped to the back of Flat Lala's head and she says that feels much better now. PJ understands about splints because he broke his toe and has to have it taped to the two toes next to it as a splint. He'll be walking in a surgical boot for six weeks while that toe heals.
We had too many adventures to tell them all in one letter. I'll write you more tomorrow. I did want to tell you about this picture. Flat Lala has lots of clothes now! You can see she is laying on her new red and white knitted blanket. She has a yellow flowered skirt from Renee with bright orange flower buttons at the waist. Flat Lala decided the skirt I made her was really a poncho. She needed it this weekend because it snowed on us as we drove through Missouri to get to Indiana. She also wore her new purple hat to keep the snow off. Fortunately, the snow ended before we crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois.We went from Kansas across two states to get to Indiana this weekend. We covered Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Terra Haute is near the Illinois border of Indiana and Batesville is on the other side, nearly to Ohio, so we covered a lot of ground.
I'll tell you more tomorrow!
Part of your assignment with Flat Lala was to learn about the area where you sent her. You know Waverly. It's a small town. It's only seven blocks square with a population of less than 700 people. But did you ever think about how it got here? Why it is where it is? Who were the people who settled here?
Waverly is a farming community in eastern
Waverly was a prosperous town in the late 1880s. It had the railroad, restaurants, a bank, two hotels, and other businesses. One of the first barbed wire factories in
The townspeople of Waverly liked the good
Great-Great Grandpa John told me his parents used to fill their buckboard with hay and put all seven of the kids in the back, then drive all morning to go the 10 miles to Waverly for Ohio Days. They would take the harness off the horses when they got to the city park, tie the horses to the back of the wagon and let them munch on the hay while the family went to the picnic. There were talent shows where kids would recite poetry and some of the ladies would sing. There would be foot races, and sack races and all sorts of things for young kids to do and candy and other rare treats to be bought if you had a penny. The ladies would make "box lunches" (sort of like a picnic basket) that would be raffled off for a worthy cause. The men that bought the lunches got to eat lunch with the women who made them, so the young men were eager to bid on the lunches made by the prettiest young women. The last event would always be the balloon ascension. A traveling entertainer with a hot air balloon would give a speech, then release the sandbags and his big, colorful balloon would rise up into the air. That was the signal to gather the brothers and their only sister, crawl back into the buckboard -- without the hay now, because the horses had eaten it all -- and ride back to the farm. If you remember the time you lived in Waverly, you know that we still celebrate Ohio Days. That's when the traveling carnival came to town and you got to ride the merry-go-round and eat cotton candy.
Your great-great-great grandparents moved to the Waverly area about the time the town was settled. They didn't live in Waverly. One set of grandparents -- the Hulls and Herrons lived in a town north of Waverly that is called Quenemo. Another set of grandparents -- Morris and Bethell -- lived in the town east of Waverly, called
That kind of harvesting is still done today, only on a bigger scale. When Uncle Joe Evans was living with Great-Grandpa Joe Bill Hull in 2002 he drove a semi for the harvesters. They had huge combines that would cut the grain and shoot it into the back of the truck. The harvesters would have three, four, five or more of those big combines working across the field cutting the stalks of wheat and jumbling them through the machine so the seeds of wheat were separated from the stems and leaves. There would be an open-bed semi following each of the combines.
Uncle Joe drove one of those trucks. When his combine had enough grain in it to dump, Uncle Joe would pull his truck forward and the long chute would drop down and the grain would run into the bed of his truck like water into a bathtub. Once his truck was full, Uncle Joe would drive into town to the grain elevator and unload. Eventually that wheat would be ground into flour and turned into bread, cake, pies, pizza dough -- all the good things we like to eat. Remember that sign that says
Great-Great-Great Grandpa Billy Morris was different. He wasn't a farmer; he was a coal miner. He was born in
In the 1930s
Times change and some things change and some things stay the same. There aren't as many people farming today as there were when Waverly was settled. Most of the kids I went to school with have left this area to get jobs in the cites. It's been like that ever since my parents were kids. Some kids graduate from high school and move away to larger towns in
Well, LalaBug, I hope I've given you a bit of an idea about how Waverly came to be, what it does and why it stays small. Waverly will never be big like Grand Prairie or Dallas because it doesn't have big factories or businesses to give people jobs, but it still serves the farmers of our area. The grain elevator is one of the busiest places in town during the summer. We've lost our hotels. The barbed wire factory has been gone so long few people remember it, but this is still a good place to call home. Your Grandpa Pat and I are happy to have returned here. We're going to enjoy our own little bit of farming as we plant our garden and watch it grow.
Yesterday Flat Lala stayed home with Grandpa. We didn't get any pictures, but she helped him install a closet at Angie's house. Grandpa had cut all the boards before time in our garage, but the biggest board was too big to go up the stairs. It was six feet wide and wouldn't go around the corner. (Sort of like getting Mama's mattress upstairs in
Grandpa sent Flat Lala to the top of the stairs to pull and he pushed from the bottom. Ugh. It didn't work. It got stuck.
They scratched their heads some more.
"Its a shame it isn't flat like me, " Flat Lala told Grandpa. "Then you could fold it in the middle and take it up the stairs."
"That's it, Lala!" Grandpa cried. "I can't fold it, but I can cut it!" Grandpa cut the six foot board into two 3 foot wide boards. It was so easy to carry up the stairs then that Flat Lala didn't have to pull at all. She got to ride on the end while Grandpa carried the boards up the stairs.
Miss Angie is really happy with her new closet. She says she's going to paint it pink. Flat Lala thought that was an excellent idea. Now if Miss Angie were just flat, she could get lots more clothes in her closet. :)
Flat Lala was busy tonight! She helped Grandpa and I plant garden. We were putting the potatoes in the dirt when she hollered, "Grandma! You're doing it wrong. The cut side goes down so the green parts can grow up to the sun." We had to go back and fix the potatoes we had planted.
She and Grandpa were much more careful when they planted the onions. Everything went in properly the first time.
Later this week we will be going to the nursery in LeRoy to buy tomato plants and other seeds. Some seeds like cool soil for growing; others want it warmer. We can't plant the tomatoes outside until the ground is warmer, so we'll keep them in the house by a window until the ground is ready. In the meantime, they will look like a small forest of tall stalks and green leaves on the table. Won't that be funny?Love, Grandma