Reminiscences and Reflections : An Oral History of Dramatic Contrast between Hoosiers and the War Department in southern Indiana, by Jpg Heritage Partnership
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- ISBN: 9781425101756 | 1425101755
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 9/10/2010
Hanover College History Professor Ruth Turner started a class project to interview farmers and Federal employees when the government closed Jefferson Proving Ground. Over one hundred oral histories were recorded and transcribed by Mike Moore, Ron harsin, and edited by Ken Knouf and Louis Munier.
Norma Lou IrwinHer StoryOn February 6, 1924, my parents, Willard Adam and Verda Surber went to Versailles, Indiana and were united in marriage. My father lived with his parents, Matthew and Mary Adam, who lived on the Jefferson County line south of Marble Corner. My mother lived with her parents, Ephriam and Mary Surber, who lived one mile east and approximately one half mile north of St. Magdalene Catholic Church with the house situated on Little Graham Creek. Located on the creek was a large round rock with a spring located under a side of the rock. This was the source of their drinking water, delicious cool water. They had a cistern for their other source of water.When my parents married, they moved to a large white house located across the creek from my grandparents. The house sat atop a large hill overlooking the creek and was known as "the Turkey Thompson" place. Later my Daddy's brother, Leslie, and his family occupied this house, as well as the Robert Knox family from Kentucky and later the Basil Harmon family from Kentucky. The Knox and Harmon families were good friends and neighbors of my parents. While my parents lived in this house, my parents were blessed with a baby daughter, Mary June, arriving on June 6, 1926 (This same day Everett and Florence Richardson of the Bethel neighborhood were blessed with a son, Darrel.)In a short time my parents bought a little farm just a short distance north and east, and on June 13, 1929, my parents were blessed with another daughter- me, Norma Lou. Our barn was located close to the creek and during the spring rains, water came very close to the barn. Our house was on a high hill west of the barn and located on the main road. This farm had been known as "The Robinson" place.My earliest recollections of my life begin when I was three or four years old My family consisted of a loving and hard working father and mother and a sister three years older than me We lived on a little 50-acre farm with a large garden, chicken house, bam and a 5-room house located on a small hill My daddy had a team of mules, named Polly and Skeiter I remember their names well. Polly was smaller than Skeiter, who was taller and bigger. One day while playing in our side yard, the team broke into the yard, running very fast. As they ran between the two cedar trees where I was playing, my mother came out on the front porch to check on me. I was hugging the trunk of one of the trees as they came pounding through All I could see were pounding hooves coming my way. I'm sure when they were gone, I ran to Mama as fast as my little legs could carry me. We had a little brown, black, and white dog named Teddy, whom I loved and with whom I played, wrapping a little piece of thread around his neck and wrapping it around a chair leg. I am told he would stand for hours if I did not untie him.One day, Teddy was missing and Daddy went across the road to an open field and walked until he found my dog's collar. I was without a dog until one day my Mother and I walked to a Bethel Ladies Aid meeting at Herbert and Alice Man's home; I was probably about five years old. When we were ready to start for home, Alice showed me their new little puppies and told me I could have one. I was delighted and so off we started walking towards home. It was a long walk and I would carry the puppy for a while, then put her down and rest before resuming our walk. When I arrived at home, after walking probably 4 or 5 miles, I ran to show Daddy my new puppy. Daddy didn't seem too happy about this little white puppy! I wanted Daddy to be so pleased and I said, "Daddy, what can I call my puppy?" and he said, "Well, call her Juppy". So I was delighted and had my little rat terrier for many years until she passed away at the age of fourteen.We had a horse named Freidie, and a buggy. My mother could drive the horse and buggy. We had a Model T Ford with side curtains. My mother never learned to drive the Model T; however she would take my sister to meet the school bus at Bethel School in the buggy where a big yellow school bus would transport the children to New Marion with a grade school and high school.We lived on our little farm until I was six years old. My folks had many friends come visit us. Clyde and Goldie Curran and their son, who was between me and my sister in age, came one Sunday. After our noon meal which, I'm sure, consisted of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy, green beans, and sliced tomatoes, and pie. After eating and while playing on the outside cellar steps, the boy killed a black snake and chopped it with a hoe. I was always frightened of snakes because another time my sister and I were playing in the creek, Little Graham, which had large ledges; and was just east of our barn.We had been playing with the Mathews children, a boy, Marshall, one year younger than me and his sister, a year or two younger than my sister and, after playing in the creek, we were running back home, with me on the inside track of a ledge and my sister on the outside when a large water moccasin came out of the ledge and struck me on my little toe. The pain was not severe but we were scared and ran to the house crying for mother. In a panic and not knowing what to do, she killed a young chicken and placed it on my toe. Daddy hurried to the neighbor to get him to help him break the ledge and to retrieve the snake. The snake was a huge non-poisonous water moccasin, which the neighbor, Charlie Wiley, killed. My daddy was about as frightened of snakes as I have always been and many times I've heard him tell of the big snake that was as big as his arm!My mother had a canary which was in a cage on a hanging stand in the kitchen window. When the canary died, my sister and I put it in a match box and had a funeral for it and buried it beside the garden. When I went to bed at night, my Daddy always carried me upstairs to bed, but he always wound the clock, and ate some raisins before he went to bed. Daddy would rock me to sleep in a big rocker and sing little songs which he made up as he sang. These many years later, I now have the big rocker in my sun room. Because I was small and frail and would not eat very good, my mother would fix me a warm glass of milk right after she had milked the cows She would put sugar and vanilla in it to try to get me to drink it. I'm not fond of milk yet today.After the summer I was six, Mr. Alexander Thomson came calling and made Daddy an offer on his farm. As times were hard, he sold the farm. I was sad to leave because my mother and sister and I often walked down to my maternal grandparents to visit them. My grandfather was elderly and sat in a big arm chair by the dining room window on the east side of the house. How long he had been this way, I'm not sure.