I was born in 1927 in a two room house south of Akron, CO. It was a Sunday morning. My grandmother and Dr. Adams were there. My full maiden name is Erma Louise Graves, but I go by Louise. I was named after my aunt Erma.
Two years later my brother Harold was born. Another brother, Donald, was born when I was ten, and a sister Velma, when I was sixteen.
I started first grade when I was seven. From Akron, Columbine School was eighteen miles south, two miles east, and one mile back south. Marguerite Jenkins was our 6th-grade teacher. She was single, because when women were allowed to teach, they couldn’t be married. Her twin sister taught at Golden Rod, the other school in our district.
During my first year of school, I had Scarlet Fever and was quarantined for two weeks. It was my first visit to a doctor. While I was sick, my friend Maxine and her mother made me a scrapbook. My brother gave me mumps, chickenpox, flu, and several varieties of measles. He always got them first.
Girls wore only dresses. I was in the 6th grade before I ever wore slacks.
Compared to now, life was simple. We milked cows, gathered eggs, rode a horse to herd cattle to an open-range and stayed with them all day before bringing them home. To play house, we drew a house in the dirt. We played tag, Ante-over, May I, and Fox and Geese. We had the nicest snow circle at the school for Fox and Geese and someone drove over it with a car.
Government outhouses were always an adventure. Once a boy grabbed my red and white stocking cap and threw it into the outhouse, and it fell into the hole. My teacher dug it out, and my mother washed it, but I would never wear it again.
I went to Akron for high school, and when I was a senior I lived with my Aunt Erma, who was suffering with MS and Uncle Jim. I wasn’t a very good cook, and once I overcooked the potatoes, and my uncle said, “Oh, that is just the way I like them!”
Ruth Spicknall taught Literature and English, and she didn’t like students chewing gum. She wouldn’t say anything; she would just bring the wastebasket and hold it under your chin. Twenty years later, I cleaned house for her, and she asked me to help her paint a table. I was painting underneath, and she was working on the top and chewing gum. Pop, pop, pop. I wanted to get the wastebasket. Probably, the pops are why she didn’t want us to chew gum.
To be continued
Dr J’s Comments
I have casually known Louise for several years. She used to walk by the Old Library Inn, and stop and visit. She had ties with my family as she went to school with my Aunt Hazel (Compton-Dannar). Louise tells jokes, and we had a great time as she told me her story. At nearly 89, she has an amazing memory for people, places, and details. I didn’t write her story with the same humor and perfect pauses as when she spoke, but I hope I caught the essence of her precocious personality.