Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh what fun...

When I was transcribing this, I was very taken by my grandfather's use of the word "needed" instead of "wanted"  in the section about fishing.  I think that reflects a different relationship with the environment and a refreshing lack of entitlement than often seen today.

Holidays and Entertainment-Frances Murray, with additions from Riley Murray as told to Frances Murray

Holidays in Cameron
Thanksgiving wasn’t celebrated very much, mostly a little extra for our dinner.  No turkey.  We raised or own chicken and that’s what we had.  Birthdays was just a day when you were one year older.  We always had a Christmas tree.  Strung our own popcorn, made our own popcorn balls and other homemade trimmings.  Our gifts were mostly all wearables and dinner a lot like Thanksgiving dinner.  With a family of 13, She didn’t have time to do any fancy cooking.

Our Sundays’ time of getting up was same as usual.  First we got dressed in our best clothes.  Off to Sunday school and church.  We weren’t allowed to play on Sundays.   We went for long walks, no cars to ride, no stores were open on Sunday.  You did your shopping on Saturdays.  Long hike over the pipeline into Hunts Run, into Cameron, and back home.  Halloween was the time we took wheels off wagons, putting the fronts to the back and vice versa, upsetting the little houses built in the backyards.  4th of July was spent shooting firecrackers, setting off dynamite—just making as much noise as possible.  Watch parades, they always had 4th of July parades and dances.

It was the only one to ever play in Keystone Park.  They had a terrible time getting to the Park.  Broad Street bridge would not hold the heavy wagons, so the elephants had to haul them across the creek.  It rained that night and it took all the next day before the circus could get started on their way.  During the First World War, a large circus was booked to Emporium, but when they got here, they couldn’t find a place big enough to set up tents.  All they did was water the animals and move on.  One circus was held on 4th street now, now Howard’s Circle. (RM)

Fishing licenses came in about 1919 and I bought one for $1.10.  Before that you needed no license, you caught as many fish as you needed, and you fished anytime but Sundays.  I never did much hunting so I don’t remember when licenses had to be bought. (RM)

Lots of hunters came to Cameron to hunt, especially grouse, which was plentiful, very seldom saw a deer though there was lots of bear.  One of the yearly hunters was a big time baseball pitcher, an Indian by the name of Chief Bender.  He always brought along his hunting dogs and stayed at McFaddens Hotel.  George Stewart acted as his guide.  Hunting and fishing was the pastime to the men in Cameron.  Not on Sundays.  Summertime was berry-picking time in the hills of Cameron, such as huckleberry which we sold for 10 cents a quart, black and red raspberries, plenty of blackberries.  The red raspberries sold for 25 cents a quart.  And up in Mooley Hollow, lots of wild gooseberries, but the state had them all dug up because they were said to spread a blight.

The old time Cameron County fair was the big fall attraction.  The exhibits were things you see at today’s fairs in smaller counties.  The farmers tried to outdo each other on their entries, so did the women.  In 1913 my father won a prize for his entry of the biggest head of cabbage and tallest sunflower—also on the cantaloupes. 

The bandstand and dance parlor was always an attractive spot.  We used to come to Emporium on the 6:30 evening train with a big group.  The railroad would stop the 11:30 night train to let us off at Cameron, but we had to have at least a group of ten or more.  Hayrides were seldom used in Cameron as the people who had the horses and wagons were too busy doing their farm work, but wintertime was sleigh riding.  The big box sleds, filled with straw, plenty of blankets and we were bound either to Emporium or Sterling Run, perhaps to a church affair or a dance, sometimes to Emporium to the home of Mrs. Isabel Ensign for an oyster supper.  These trips took many hours of travel each way as there was no roads as we know them today.  No snow plows either and snowfalls were much heavier than of today.

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