On Death

Pardon me while I get maudlin…

Yesterday, I read this in the 1930 diary I have: Had 16 little piglets today, but the old mother laid on 4 and killed them.

This made me sad. Especially if you’ve seen the cute piglet pictures I posted here. But it also got me thinking about how common death is, especially on a farm. And especially in the 1930s.

Well, it’s not a giant leap from cute piggies dying to human mortality… Continue reading

http://www.chelmsfordgov.com/CHCwebsite/CFD_html/FireDepartment1920-1929.htm

Fire!

Feb 15, 1930

Nice day. Got colder in PM and eve and snowed some. Twenty below about 8AM but warmed up a lot during the day. Rex Ward’s house burned about 10AM and Mon and the boys went up there. They saved the things that were downstairs but lost what was upstairs and down cellar. The folks got back here about 11 and then we went up home for dinner and spent the PM. Snowed quite a little in the night.

from The Diaries of Lottie Price, 1914-1986

Until today, I had never considered that Rose might worry about fire. So I started looking for information on fire trucks and firefighting in the 1920s.

Let’s just say that Rose’s best hope is to not have a fire. (Well, that would be true of all of us, wouldn’t it? 🙂 )

I can see the scene…

Continue reading

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Boy Loses Thumb

I ran across this article in a rural newspaper published on this day in 1930: Harry Hansen … had the misfortune to lose the thumb of his right hand Wednesday afternoon when his hand was caught in a corn sheller. Mr. Hansen was helping with corn shelling … when the accident occurred.

The article really disturbed me because Harold is doing this exact same thing—shelling corn—over the winter months. I had no idea Continue reading

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December Fate

I started Christmas shopping.

It was a dismal affair. Mainly because my inner Grinch decided to come along with me. In fact, I had quite an entourage roaming the mall with me, once you figure in the fictional characters that are always lurking at the back of my consciousness.

As usual, I began wondering what Rose would be doing. But instead of her being knee-deep in gift-giving ideas, I found her in a much messier bog.

Believe it or not, Christmas is hardly an afterthought for Rose this time of year. There’s no tree yet. No decorated house. If she’s making presents, she has started them, but gifts are a task to be addressed when the other chores are finished.

No. Early December has Rose knee-deep in the gory, cold, slushy mess of hog butchering. And I think she’s a bit traumatized by it all. Continue reading

First Meetings (part 3)

If you’ve just joined us, Rose and I have been talking about how she and Harold first met, an exercise suggested by the editor to whom I pitched my story idea at the recent writers’ conference I attended. It’s turned out to be a rather long, drawn-out story. You can catch up with Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

ROSE: I’m afraid this is taking much longer than you had expected. Shall I go on?

TM: {nods} Please. You had just fainted when you saw the mess on your hands. Continue reading