This account was excerpted and edited from an article
published in Dreamsville,
Lufkin, Texas. Ione, daughter of Linden and Viva Heim and granddaughter of Jonas and Ida Heim, lives at Grant, Nebraska, and uses her first name,
grew up on a small farm near Dawson, Nebraska, with
Mama, Daddy, and
two sisters, Evelyn and Marjorie. We lived on a hill west
of town near the consolidated school, which I attended
years. Kindergarten was an all-day affair that
included a long
nap. Our school was very modern and on the six-six
plan: six grades
upstairs and six down.
By the time I was in the seventh grade we had hot lunches cooked
in the home economics room. Each lunch cost seven
meant we three girls could eat all week for $1.05!
In high school, the seniors sat in the row closest to the west window
in the assembly hall, and when I was a senior, I could
look out and
see our big yellow house that Grandpa (Jonas) built, gleaming
in the sun. It had three porches. The back porch
pump and a well box. Holes bored in the sides held
We tied the ropes to the bales of syrup buckets filled
and then lowered into the cooling depths of the well.
Some of the cream was skimmed off the milk to use on cereal,
canned blue plums, strawberry shortcake or whipped topping
on chocolate cake. We stirred the remainder of cream
into the milk to drink. When I went off to the university
I had to get used to homogenized milk.
The side porch wrapped around the southwest corner of the house.
I remember watching out the kitchen window while a railroad
bum [hobo] sat on that side porch and devoured a huge plate
of roasting ears with homemade bread and butter.
I used the cement steps of the porch to crack
walnuts from our grove on the Nemaha River. I
painstakingly picked out many a pint of nuts to give
my teachers at Christmas.
The big front porch made an “L” around the
southeast corner of the house and opened into the
front hall and an open
stairwell. A landing partway up the stairs had
windows. A balcony at the top provided a stage for
many of our homegrown plays.
The upstairs bedrooms were never heated. We slept in feather beds
and did not tarry in our rush to the warmth of the
downstairs where we dressed. One door in the front
hall opened into the front room, which was unheated in
winter except when
company was coming or Mama entertained her Tuesday Evening
The carpet was rolled up twice yearly, hauled to the clothes line,
and beaten vigorously amidst clouds of dust. The
curtains had to
be carefully laundered and dried on a stretcher for
their straight, crisp look.
In the dining room, a round oak table with its many chairs served
as a study center and also for lively card games of
and Spoon. The latter included the use of one less
spoon than players and there was always a scramble to
avoid being the one
left without a spoon!
When the threshing machine arrived during harvest, extra leaves
were added to the table to accommodate as many as
and boys. I remember peeling mountains of potatoes and
enjoying the only time we had ice tea, made in
a huge stone jar with
a block of ice from the ice house in town and lots of
The dining room also contained a couch for napping as well as a
radio. This is where we listened to “Amos and
Andy,” “Fibber McGee
and Molly,” “Little Theatre Off Times Square,”
and “Jack Armstrong,
All-American Boy.” The programs helped take one’s mind
off doing the ironing on a flat board set up on the
backs of two chairs. We ironed with the old
sadirons [heavy flat irons] heated
on the stove. One year, when times were especially
hard, Daddy said that we would have to
disconnect the electricity and the
telephone since there wasn’t any money to pay the
a year of ironing with sadirons and washing smoked up lamp chimneys, we were able to be reconnected. We celebrated that
first night by turning on every light in the house.