school. They said they "couldn't turn that bus around on a dime! “That’s when Charles got the gravel and we assured the school there was plenty enough room to turn that bus around. They picked Jenny up at the front door after that.
We had a well but the lines were not connected to the house so for the next few months we had to fill the cistern up with water we paid a gas station in Wathena, Ks to haul. It cost 9.00 for 1000 gallons that would last us a week. They kept upping the price and ended up charging us 15.00 for 1000 gallons. The driver, Eugene, was an old man who had heart problems and he said they were trying to get out of the "hauling water business".I told him they couldn't wean us from it, we needed water. He said it was too hard on the one ton truck with duel axles. Charles and I went to Payless Cashways in Elwood Ks and bought big black drainage pipe and pvc pipe to run from the well to the cistern. We had the water dept of St Joseph to test the water and they said we would have to put one gallon of bleach in the water every time we added water from the well to the cistern. We just had to remember to remove it afterward to keep the bus or anyone from running over it. This worked pretty well. It took a lot of water when I had to do laundry. I had a washer and a dryer now and the laundry room was in the bathroom. In Bendena I had a washing machine but no dryer. We lived there in the winter time and I had to hang the clothes out on the line. They would freeze dry and as soon as I brought them inside, they would thaw out and be just as wet as they were when I hung them out. I’d wring them as best I could but you could never get the water out enough. I started hanging them in the furnace room until we ran out of propane.
I was four months pregnant when I rode Terre, four miles away, to Troy to get her shots for the year.Sleeping sickness in horses was going around and they had developed a vaccine that we gave her at least once a year in the spring before mosquitoes became too bad. We’d worm her and got distemper shots too. Terre was always pretty good going away from the house but going home she knew where she was going and was headstrong going back. This is a common problem with horses. I was supposed to make her walk back home, but I was tired and she was so strong. I let her run on Mosquito Creek road, the back way and the closest way home. I had my purse wrapped around the saddle horn. Terre was going about as fast as a horse could go, about forty miles an hour. I had to "saw" the bit in her mouth to start slowing her down about a half mile before we got to the turn we needed to make. Charles was out riding a motorcycle he'd bought and just happened to be on the dirt road off Mosquito Creek road where I needed to turn. Jenny was on the back with her helmet on. I told Jenny to get down and trade me places. I rode the motor cycle and Jenny rode Terre slowly and at a walk all the way back home. No matter how high strung she was feeling at the time if you put a child on her back she would always go slow and easy. Jenny just sat there and sung a little song. We could see her head bobbing up and down, still with her helmet on and singing. I was worn out! We went back and picked up my purse, everything still in tack. I let her run because it was really hot that day and the wind felt so good.
When we got home it wasn't long before we saw girl, horse, and helmet coming up the driveway, still singing. She met us outside close to the house and we took the tack off the horse and rubbed her down. Jenny refused to ride Thunder anymore so we put him in the paper and sold him to another family with another little girl. I think they wanted a pet more than they wanted a pony to ride.
I was inundated with bills as usual. Charles was working for 9.00 an hour now at the A&P store. That was pretty good money for 1979, 1980 around the area. We were still over our head in bills. In the fall of 1979 there was a land auction and the house was sold to Mr. Meng who paid 101,000 dollars. All the farmers told him he paid way too much money and would have to farm the "heck" out of it to get his money back or make any profit off the land. We liked the property. Charles had painted the house and we bought boards and made shutters for around the windows and the big picture window in the front room. Those shutters with diamond shapes cut out in the middle really dressed the place up considering what it looked like when we first saw the place.
Charles and I would go out into the pasture when Jenny was in school after he got up from working all night and saddle up the horses and ride and pretend we were cowboys and Indians. We had to grow up so fast we never had a chance to play as friends. We had cowboy hats and he had bought a pistol and a holster he had strapped to his hip. We sure had a lot of fun with those horses. If one of us would ride without the other, the horse left behind would whistle and
neigh until we got back.
As I started to get bigger my riding days were over. Terre and Red were getting harder to catch. In the Fall Mr. Meng would combine his corn or milo whatever he had planted in the spring on about four acres on the north side of the pasture, then we would leave the gate open and Terre and Red would have all the corn or milo grain plus the stocks to feed on all winter, plus the pasture. They always stayed fat all winter. Coming for them with a bucket of feed didn’t interest them that much anymore. Charles seemed to lose interest in helping me with them anymore.
October 24th was my Doctor’s appointment. Dr. Dumont had said, “You sure are ripe!” Do you want to go to the hospital? I can give you something to induce the labor. You could have this baby by 6 o’clock tonight!” I was tired of being pregnant. I was as big as a house and I was anxious to meet this child that had been kicking my sides and below my ribs so I could hardly breathe. There were no sonograms to determine the sex of the child and I had clothes for both boy and girl. The extra bedroom south of our bedroom was where the new baby would sleep. There was a closet filled with baby dresses, all frilly and cute, boy’s clothes too. We pictured a little boy dressed in a cowboy hat and blue jeans, boots and toy guns at the hips and a little holster, just like his daddy had. We wanted a boy this time because we had a girl. Two seemed like the perfect number, one of each. I know Charles wanted a boy, I did too for him but I think deep down I would have liked to have had a little girl to dress up in those frilly outfits I had in the closet. We thought for sure it would be a girl because we wanted a boy so bad this time.
We were going to go to K-Mart after the Doctor’s appointment but when Dr. Dumont told us to go to the hospital now, at 5 o’clock to have the baby by 6 pm. Charles asked me if we could go to K-Mart anyway. I don’t remember what we needed that was so important but Charles was always building things and always needed screws and bolts, hinges or something for the car.
We went to the hospital afterward and I was induced. This time it was much easier. The nurses were so much nicer this time They had me hooked up to a fetal monitor this time and listening to the baby’s heart beat kept my mind off the pain. I could always tell when a contraction was about to start by listening to the heartbeat slow down before I even felt any pain. I’d say, “I’m getting ready to have another one!” After about 3 hours, with Charles in the delivery room, the baby popped out and Charles said, “It’s a boy!” He then almost passed out. I thought I was hungry because I wasn’t allowed to eat anything before delivery. I started the shaking that accompanies delivery. I couldn’t get warm. They gave me plenty of blankets and ordered me a cheeseburger but could hardly eat it when it came. The birthing took longer than they thought because Chuck, like Jenny, was upside down. Instead of being born around 6 o’clock he came at 8:20 pm. He was 21 inches long and weighed a little more than Jenny did at just under 7 lbs. Jenny was 18 inches long and weighed 6.9 oz.
When I was able to come home after a day in the hospital, (unlike Jenny I had to stay in the hospital for three days) I looked at the little dresses and frilly things and I felt like my little girl was gone. We named him Charles Alan after his dad. The middle name was different but we didn’t want him to be a junior.
I’d lay him on the bed and just sit and look at him. When he was a month or two old I’d sit him in his little plastic carrier and sit him in the big picture window so he could see his big sister Jenny get off the school bus. He’s smile and laugh when he’d see her walk up the walk to the house. I’d sit him on her lap and she’d play with him for awhile.
We had a big apple tree in the front yard and I’d send Jenny or Charles out to pick apples and I’d make a homemade apple pie or brown betty. Charles had gotten an A&P cook book from the store and I made all kinds of things out of that cookbook. Homemade pie crusts and all!
In November and the first part of December I wanted to ride again. It was hard for Charles to get interested in the horses anymore. I needed help catching and saddling Terre. She was a big horse and I needed to be sure the saddle was tight. After Christmas we saddled them both and rode all over the pasture. We had such a good time. On December 31st I sold both horses to a man who bought and sold horses and lived in Wathena, while Charles slept.
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