CGP Community Stories

Barbara Weaver, November 21, 2011

Title

Barbara Weaver, November 21, 2011

Subject

Dairy farming
Fourth of July celebrations
World War II

Description

Barbara Louise Gray was born in East Springfield, New York in 1923 and grew up on a small dairy farm next to what is now Route 20. After marrying Herb Weaver, she raised three children and spent many years working outside of her home. She remains very involved in her community by volunteering for numerous local organizations and her church.
Mrs. Weaver has great knowledge of the history of East Springfield and was able to use this interview to add important anecdotes to her grandmother’s book, The History of Springfield. Some of the most interesting material is from her experiences working outside of the home during the mid-twentieth century. Other topics in this interview are education during the 1920s and 1930s, rural foodways, and early-twentieth-century dairy farming. Her family is actively recording its past with written sources and photographs which can aid future researchers.
I have chosen to fix some grammatical errors. I have also inserted missing words in brackets, removed repetitive oral acknowledgements, e.g., “uh-huh” and false starts, and added punctuation where needed. I have tried to say as true to the audio as possible.

Creator

Christina Parise

Publisher

Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York-College at Oneonta

Date

2011-11-21

Rights

New York State Historical Association Library, Cooperstown, NY

Format

audio/mpeg
27.5mB
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27.5mB
audio/meg
14.2mB
image/jpeg
120KB
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Language

en-US

Type

Sound
Image

Identifier

11-074

Coverage

East Springfield, NY
1923-2011

Online Submission

No

Interviewer

Christina Parise

Interviewee

Barbara Weaver

Location

5490 US Highway 20
East Springfield, NY 13333

Transcription

Cooperstown Graduate Program
Oral History Project Fall 2011

BW: Barbara Weaver
CP: Christina Parise

[START OF TRACK 1, 0:00]

CP:
This is the November 21, 2011 interview of Barbara Weaver by Christina Parise for the Cooperstown Graduate Program’s Research and Fieldwork course recorded at Mrs. Weaver’s home. Now, the first question I have for you is what is your full name?
BW:
Barbara Louise Gray Weaver.
CP:
Gray is your maiden name?
BW:
Gray is my maiden name.
CP:
When and where were you born?
BW:
Well, I was born in East Springfield in a little cottage on the hill in 12-12-23.
CP:
12-12-23. Oh, in the winter.
BW:
In the winter.

CP:
You said you grew up on a farm.
BW:
The cottage was on the home farm.
CP:
What kind of animals did you have?
BW:
Oh, it was a dairy farm, which was mostly cows and two or three horses, and chickens, all the things a small farm had.
CP:
Tell me about your parents.
BW:
My parents, my whole family has gone to school at Springfield school and they both graduated from the high school. My mother went to Oneonta Normal and came back and taught in the Springfield school for two or three years and then married. She married Glen Gray, and did I tell you her name was Edna Borst before they were married?
CP:
What was it?
BW:
Borst, Edna Borst.
They lived in the little cottage and my father worked with his father on the farm, she brought me up and spent most of her life doing things for people in the village and organizations.
CP:
Wow. How many siblings did you have?
BW:
I had no siblings.
CP:
No siblings?
BW:
No, there was a boy that was born a few years after I was but, he didn’t survive, so I was an only child growing up.
CP:
Was it common when you were growing up to have only one child?
BW:
Yes, most of the farm families around here had big families, you know four, five, six, ten children [inaudible].
CP:
Wow.
BW:
I was a loner, but [coughing] I had many friends around in the area, down in the village just below and we had great times together. On a winter’s afternoon there would probably be fourteen or fifteen kids skiing or riding downhill or on the hill there. So there was always lots of kids around to play with.
CP:
Who was your best friend?
BW:
My best friend, well, when I was small everybody was my good friend. [laughter] When I got into high school, I had one girl who was very close. We did a lot of things together over the years. She became a nurse, and then I didn’t see her in later years. She has now passed away. She was my best friend. Then, let’s see, my best friend in later years was Merrill Youngs who I wasn’t very friendly with in high school but we became friends and did a lot of organizations, dinners, and raised a lot of money for different community affairs. She had cooked at school, and we got along very well together. And we’re still very good friends.
CP:
Wow, so, she is from Springfield as well?
BW:
Yes, she was a farm girl here. I was very jealous of her when I was young because she had a horse [laughter]. You want me to tell that story?
CP:
Go ahead.
BW:
She had a horse. She and her brother owned a saddle horse. I didn’t have anything but the old plugs on the farm to ride, but when the Picketts had a summer camp for boys, (which is now where the Glimmerglass State Park is). In the winter time Mr. Pickett would let anyone of the farm people, their children, have a horse to take care of. So I was the only girl in town that had one of their horses, and I felt real good about that because she was just as good as my friend’s horse. [laughter] So that is my horse story [laughter].
CP:
Wow, that’s cool. How far away is the high school, the school that you when to?
BW:
Oh, it wasn’t half a mile.
CP:
So you walked?
BW:
Just down the hill. I walked to school every day. Even after the busses came there was a bus that would pick me up, but by the time I walked from the cottage which was just below the hill up to the top for the bus to stop for me I could be to school and be a lot warmer [laughter].
CP:
Was the elementary, middle, high school all in the same building?
BW:
It was all twelve grades at one school. Until later years, then the school in Springfield Center became the grade school and we had the high school here. I graduated from East Springfield School. But my children went to grade school years later in Springfield Center.
CP:
What was the school year like? Today, we start in August and go until May or June.
BW:
[coughing] We would start in September and go through until June, but our hours were, I think, shorter. We didn’t have to be in school until I think 9:00 and we got out at 3:30, I think. We finally had bus routes and took in quite an area. The area down in Springfield and way on beyond that, down Montgomery County, we still pick up children there and we did in those days. So it was quite a big area that the school covered.
CP:
How were your chores at home different during the school year than in the summer?
BW:
Well, really, I didn’t have to do too much. I was an only child. [laughter] Oh, I might have done little things, things that my mother taught me to do. I liked to be out in the barn with my father, but I was really didn’t have anything I basically had to do daily. I don’t remember that [laughter].
CP:
Tell me about your grandmother, the one who wrote The History of Springfield.
BW:
My grandmother, Kate Gray, [coughing] she was quite a lady. She was very right about everything and a very good housekeeper and I really don’t know what her education was. I do know that she went to the old what is now the Grange Hall in Springfield. She went to that when it was some type of school. I can’t think of the name of it. Wasn’t an academy, but something like that, and every year they had a reunion and it was called the Hollister Reunion for a Mr. Hollister who had taught there for a good many years. She was, I would say, a well-educated woman for her time and she did a lot of history work and she wrote The History of Springfield. The only thing that I have always felt bad about was that she wrote about all the important houses in Springfield, but she never mentioned the farm house that they lived in. The story of that is she did mention it twice in the history she wrote. There was a Doctor Little that had an office down by what is Route 20 now, he was a doctor who had a little office there and it was thought, and I’m sure it was a true thing, that up just from that there is an old barn which had been a house, and that was the house that he lived in, Doctor Little’s house. I used to go up in the hay mow with my father at night or whenever he was getting hay down for the cows and when he finished throwing the hay down we’d lie down in the mow. I would lie there and I could see old pieces of paper that had been on the walls hanging in strips. I would try to count how many I could find. So I know that it had been a house and the way it’s laid out with the windows and doors and everything so I think that it was true that it was Doctor Little’s home and he is buried over in Cherry Valley Cemetery. The house that goes with the farm now was built by a senator and I think he must have bought the land from the early Springer family. There was a lot of the land around here owned by a man by the name of Springer. It’s a beautiful house to this day. I know that it was his because there is a big front porch across there are two, each side, are windows but half of them opened as a door to come onto the porch, on each one of those windows is inscribed A-N-D-E-R-S which was his name, Anders, and supposedly that was done with his diamond ring. So that is proof that he must have built that building. It’s a beautiful old house and I think it’s too bad that nothing was put in the book about that, but she didn’t write anything about her. She wrote about the town and the area.
CP:
Where is this house?
BW:
Well, it’s just as you go down the hill going east on Route 20 just before you drop down into the village, the last hill. It’s a big white house on the left hand side. It looks the same today as it did years and years ago. Inside had two marble fireplaces, one in the living room and one in the bedroom upstairs and a beautiful hall with a stairway that came straight down it didn’t curve around like a lot of them do in the old ones but it was a straight down. My mother and I papered that hallway one year and the longest sheet of paper that we put on was 18 feet from the ceiling down to the stairs so the ceilings are very high. The chandeliers in the dining room, and the living room on the east side, are both very large and they’re like leaves, gold leaves hooked together in strings that come down to where the lights are. They’re not made out of gold, but they’re beautiful chandeliers and they’re still there. So it is a lovely old house, and my son, my youngest son is living there. He now has the farm. His wife is raising horses there.
CP:
Wow, that’s really nice.
BW:
That’s more or less the story of the farm that I came from. When I was about eleven or twelve years old, we moved from the cottage up to the big house, so my later years in high school I spent there and enjoyed it. It had a beautiful big attic, I used to play there. I thought I was going to be a music person. I would direct concerts there. Oh, I would play there and have a wonderful time [laughter].
CP:
How far away was the cottage?
BW:
Oh, it’s just the other side of the green barn that is there. You walk through the barnyard from the big house to the cottage. At that time there was a horse barn and a straw barn and in later years the horse barn became a dairy barn and the dairy was moved from the basement of the old green barn, but my son had a fire. One of the hired men was working with the tractor and it set the hay on fire and burned that barn. So after that he rented another farm but he managed to do just crops and things like that and raise horses.
CP:
Do you have any other stories that you wish your grandmother would have put in the book?
BW:
In the book? Let’s see, when I was quite young I used to play up there and there was that big front porch and I had a friend, I was probably not more than six years old, but I had a friend and his name was Meecum, and I played with Meecum out on the porch and Meecum did everything that I did, and then all of a sudden Meecum just wasn’t there and they said “where’s Meecum?” “Oh, I don’t know, he’s left.” And that was the end of the Meecum story and I never mentioned him again [laughter] but he was my playmate. I supposed because I didn’t have other children to play with. I just picked him as one. Where I got the name from, I’ll never know.
CP:
I think a lot of children have that [laughter].
BW:
It was great living there. When I was very small I used to like to go in and play my grandmother’s piano. I always thought I was going to be a musician. Well, that didn’t work out [laughter]. She would not let me hit my feet on the front, my feet wouldn’t reach the pedals and I was not to hit the [inaudible] piano. And when you went from one room to the next room, you stepped over the threshold, the piece of wood that’s between the doors, you didn’t step on that. You never slid down the bannister in the hall which was a great thing for a kid to like to do, looking at it, because some woman had come down and she had garters on and she scratched the finish off the [bannister][laughter] so there were certain rules in grandma’s house that you had to be very careful about [laughter]. But I spent hours up there.
CP:
What other instruments did you play?
BW:
I just played the piano, and I thought I could sing, which I never could, but, not as bad as some people, but not very good [laughter].
CP:
Where did you learn to play the piano?
BW:
I took lessons. My first lessons were given to me by a lady from Cherry Valley, and I can’t recall her name, but I didn’t have a piano, but she gave me a cardboard piece that looked like a piano that I could practice the notes on. But then my grandmother had a piano, so I could go up there and practice. Then in short time after that my mother bought a piano for me to have to practice on. Which I did, and I played for the high school chorus and I was in several plays that they put on. I was going to be a great actress too [laughter]. A lot of things I was going to do, still are. But growing up was a nice age, and a good group of children to be associated with.
CP:
Sounds like fun.
BW:
We had good times skating and skiing, and there was always something going on.
CP:
I know that Springfield has a big Fourth of July Celebration, and how was it celebrated?
BW:
How was it celebrated?
CP:
Now and in the past.
BW:
Well, for years, I can’t tell you how many years, but they have always had a parade and there will be fire trucks and there will be organizations and school bands and just a big parade for a small town. I think that the year before last they had [coughing] three thousand people lining the street in Springfield Center from what was the old school but now is the community center, way down to the lower end of the town. And this last year somebody said they thought there was four thousand there. They were just packed along the street. So many cars parked in fields around and it’s a big parade for a small town. I’ve marched in the parade, I’ve ridden on the floats in the parade and for years my friend and I did the pie booth for the church and sold a lot of pies [laughter], cut a lot of pies [laughter]. But it’s a big affair every year. I don’t know where all the people come from, but they just all of a sudden there they are [laughter].
CP:
What church did you do the pie booth for?
BW:
For the Presbyterian Church in East Springfield which is just up the road a little ways on top of the big hill.
CP:
What kind of pies do you make?
BW:
Oh everybody, all the church people, donate pies and they have all kinds you could bring any kind that you want, except now there is new rules that they won’t let you bring soft pies like cream pies and things like that unless you have refrigeration which you don’t have. Although they did get some refrigerators this year for some of the things but you’re not supposed to bring a soft pie, but they sell a lot of pies. Every year it’s a big money maker for them. They also sell hot dogs and hamburgers and soda, but pies are their big deal.
CP:
Okay, was there a parade when you were a child for the Fourth of July?
BW:
I remember being on a parade for the DAR [Daughters of the American Revolution] when I wasn’t too old. I don’t know how old I was, but probably in grade school or around that. I’ve marched in the parade, I went as a clown one year with another friend of mine [laughter] we marched, had a great time.
CP:
Sounds like fun.
BW:
It was, and I remember going to a parade when my first son was born and he was just a baby and I had to sit in the car and watch the parade go by, ‘cause he was too little.
CP:
Tell me about your husband.
BW:
My husband, okay. He was ahead of me in high school as a matter of fact he went to Springfield Center and graduated from there and I was in Springfield. He went into the service during World War II and the whole group that graduated that year or were in that age range could not find work. Nobody was hiring them. So there were three or four of them that enlisted in the service. He went in the service and he ended up in Hawaii and he was there when the war broke out. He was at Hickam field, and Pearl Harbor. Then he traveled all over in that area to different places and he was a tail gunner in a B12 Plane. He was just about ready to come home when the war broke out. He had put his time in; he was going to come back so he didn’t get back right away. Later he came back but had been in an airplane crash and had hurt his back but he got over that. He went back for a second time and he was over there then. While he was there I was going with the high school boys, I was dancing, I was having a good time [laughter] those were rough days. One thing I do remember very clearly in my mind is when the Germans used to have that goosestep when they marched and they lifted their feet. I remember when I was in high school all these boys would go down the hall and they would be doing this goosestep, I think that what they called it, lifting their feet up like the Italians did, they thought that was a funny thing, but you know a lot of them ended up in the war and it was such a sad thing to think back at how happy they were then, later. Find out that it wasn’t a funny thing at all. But, Herb was lucky, we had a wonderful life together. He did a lot of things. His mother had died when he was real young, and he had moved around with his father and been moved here and there and lived in different places. I kind of had the feeling all my life that the people thought that he was not going to really amount to anything, but he graduated from high school and he went into the service which I think did him a world of good, but then when he got out we were married before he went back the second time. I came home and got a job down along the Hudson taking care of two children. Then he came back and we lived in half of the big house on the farm and he worked for his brother in Richfield, but he decided he had worked in a Texaco station over where Route 80 goes off of Route 20 and he liked that business, we decided that maybe we should get some land and build a station and go in business. And so we did. We bought the corner down at East Springfield the west corner on the south side and we got the money from the bank to put a building up there, which we did. Two story building. We got the Texaco people to come and we pumped gas for ten years [laughter] about ten years. We lived upstairs and the kids were all born and lived up there, went to school from there, and he drove school bus for years and he also was justice of the peace for a good number of years and then we built a new
[START OF TRACK 2, 0:00]
building out back for a garage for the school buses. Then we bought a house up the road a little ways and we lived up there. We still ran the gas station, and I went back and forth with his meals. Went down in the morning and cleaned the place. Then after that, he decided he had done that long enough, so we leased the station out and he got a job at Glimmerglass State Park when it first opened. We were the first people to go there and take care of the property. [We] lived in the stone house, which the state fixed very nicely for us. We were the caretakers. I’ve forgotten just how this goes but anyway, he was called a superintendent at the time, but the state came out with laws that you had to take tests to be in these different positions. He failed his test the first time he took it. So, there was a new man that they hired to come in as superintendent [coughing] but he took the job over the maintenance division [coughing] excuse me, I’m talking too much. We were there for ten years and then he passed the test and he went all over to different parks and had interviews, but we ended up going to Keuka Park, Keuka Lake, which is in the western part of the state. That was a park just the same size as this one had been down here. It had more camping than anything else and we were out there ten years until he had a heart attack and passed away. So, that was the story of my life with him. We had a very wonderful marriage for the years that we were together.
CP:
That’s exciting.
BW:
Oh yes, it was, it was a lot fun. I loved the parks and I still do [laughter]. So, then I came back to Springfield [clears throat] and I rented a trailer, I was in a trailer in the next farm above the family farm down there on the hill. Finally, my son bought the house above of where I am now and I bought a piece of land off of him and put a double wide in and I’ve been here the rest of my life [laughter] and mostly the rest of my time I did work for the county for a while, three years, and I had worked as an attendant in the court when court was in session for ten years before that and then mostly I have put meals on for organizations. Never got paid for the things we did, but just did things. I drove for Meals on Wheels for a number of years, belonged to all the organizations in town, historical associations, I never joined the DAR, I was a great Grange member, just did things for people that I enjoyed doing [laughter].
CP:
Do you have any stories about working at the gas station? Any crazy things? Fun things?
BW:
Fun things, well yes, well I should have written some of those down [laughter]. Oh, dear me. We lived upstairs in the station and every time a car came in to get gas they drove over a bell that rang so that we would know somebody was out there and of course sometimes my husband would be working on a car in the garage and I would run down and pump the gas. So one day the bell rang and I looked out my kitchen window and Herb wasn’t there, so I took off hella-de-larip down the stairs and I got halfway down and I went over the edge because there was no railing and I went in a heap down on the floor behind the showcase [laughter]. Well, I pulled myself up thinking, “Am I hurt? Am I hurt? Did I break anything?”, and I look out and my husband is out there pumping the gas. I was mad [laughter] I wasn’t hurt, but I’ll tell you, it was only about four days later there was a railing on those stairs. Then one night there was a commotion out on the four corners, and our bedroom was on that corner upstairs, and we look out and here’s a car and here’s some guy who is drunker than a loon lying on the south road, and his wife, well I don’t know if it was his wife or not, was trying to get him back in the car [laughter]. We’re up in the window laughing our heads off. Another time my kids had a big wash tub, a big square one, out back with water in it that they liked to play in and we heard a commotion in the night and we looked out the window and here’s two guys out there, I don’t know what they were doing, probably trying to pump gas out of what was left in the rubber hose that the gas went through into your tank. They squeezed out as much as they could to get whatever gas they could to get a little farther. Well anyway, one of them ran around behind the station and he fell in that tub of water. We’re upstairs laughing our heads off [laughter].
CP:
He deserved that.
BW:
He deserved that. We had some real experiences with the people that came along. I made a big mistake one day. I was real busy and I was alone there and there were two cars and three cars and people waiting and I put the wrong cap on the wrong car and they took off. I went to put the other one on and it didn’t fit. It was one that was locked on with a key or something. I felt terrible about that, but I finally got them all out of the driveway [laughter]. I don’t know if I can think of any other stories. I could be a millionaire if I had had maybe fifteen cents for a cup of coffee for all the coffee that I made over the years when everybody came to the station. Never thought of having a pot downstairs, no. Everybody came upstairs, all the salesmen, all the teachers would come up and have coffee, and something else if I had it made. I often think, oh I could have made so much money if I had my brains there [laughter].
CP:
Like gas stations today [laughter].
BW:
Yes, you don’t get anything for nothing anymore [laughter], but those were the good old days. We had a lot of friends, made a lot of friends. I had a lot of fun. Had spaghetti parties and all the teachers would come and we would make hot spaghetti and have maybe eight or ten of them there and we’d have a party.
CP:
Wow, now you said your husband worked on cars, did he learn that from working at other gas stations?
BW:
Yes, he had worked at the one over on the other corner when he was in high school. He didn’t do real big maintenance work, but it was mostly changing oil and checking cars over. There was one lady in town, she was a little, short, chubby thing and she had this car and to reach the gas and the clutch and the brake she had extensions on each one of them so that she could drive and every fall and every spring it was Herb’s job to bring that car down and to get it all ready to go or to put it away in the fall. Of course he would have quite a time getting in there and driving it [laughter]. She drove right along, I’m telling you. She was cute. She had a sister and they were both built the same way, they were great, wonderful women, DAR people and all into everything, came from a well classed family but they were a pair [laughter].
CP:
Did you enjoy working outside of the home?
BW:
I’ve always enjoyed everything I ever did. I really can’t think of anything that I did that I didn’t really didn’t get some good out of it. I enjoyed most everything I did. I would get tired sometimes but everybody does if they put their heart into it guess [laughter]. It was very interesting to work at the court house when the court was in session. You had to be sure that everybody was taken care of and in the right place. In those days we had to carry the drinking water from over at the prison next door and somebody would come over with a basket and glasses and had to put water in front for the judge and the people who were up at the front working and so on. And then we had to close everything up at night when everything was over. Usually, we would be done in the afternoon but occasionally, we would have something going on and we would have to take the people out to eat and make sure that they didn’t talk to anybody or keep them all straight and whatnot. One night the help all left, two men were working that day and they just left and I was left all alone and I had to close the windows and that’s a story in itself, take the basket over the in dark. I always did everything the way it should be done. I didn’t leave anything that should be done. Well one day the window had been open, it was real hot, and if you know where the courthouse is, it has stained glass windows and it had ropes that you’d pull to shut these big windows with and I pulled the ropes and one of the glass things fell out of it and went down on the sidewalk. I’m thinking, “Oh, I hope nobody was down there!” Luckily, I never told anybody [laughter]. I didn’t break the window, it just fell out when I pulled those ropes so tight [laughter]. Now the story is out [laughter]. Maybe they’ll come and put me in jail [laughter].
CP:
Probably not.
BW:
It’s a little too late for that.
CP:
There’s a statute of limitations.
BW:
Yes, right [laughter].
CP:
Did other women work outside of the home in Springfield?
BW:
In Springfield? Well, there were some farm women that did go out and work, but of course the thing that the farm women had to do in those days was to get food on the table because they would have maybe six, eight men working and they would come in for dinner at noontime. Then, when they used to put the hay in, they’d bring the horses with a wagon and put them in the barn with a load of hay and then they would set the hay with a big fork, one man on top, and then you’d have another horse and rope hooked on that would go from the barn out until it brought that hay up and over into the barn and then it would release and you’d bring your horse back in. My mother always had to do that, she would take old Fox, the white horse we had, out to the end and bring it back. Then she would have to have the meal on the table for the four or five men that might be working. In the meantime, sometimes she would go out with a rake and rake hay while they were loading and then she’d come back with her horse and hook that on and put the hay up in the mow and dropped it down. That was hard work in those days. Things were done so differently than they are today.
CP:
The food that your mother, or other women would cook, was it supplied by the farm?
BW:
Oh yes, everything was, you had your own milk, you had your own cream, and my mother always had to have cream in her coffee [laughter] and of course the milk that you sent out they liked to have the cream left on it because it was better milk with cream on it. But she was going to have hers first. She came first before anybody else got it. You’d have your garden and you’d raise most of the food for yourself and then you’d have chickens and you’d take every Saturday night, or Saturdays, I don’t know why it had to be Saturday, my father would take a crate of eggs to Cherry Valley and swap those off for groceries that he wanted to buy and that was kind of a routine of things if you had chickens. You sold your eggs that way. Of course the milk, I remember down in the village on the end of the store there was a big platform and my father had a four wheel wagon and his old horse, white horse, Fox, and he’d hitch that up every morning and put milk cans of milk that had been cooled in ice in a concrete vat at night and take the horse down, unload that onto that platform and then someone would come along with a truck and pick it up and take it to Cherry Valley to the milk plant. Many times I rode down there with a load of milk. Most of the farms had an apple orchard and they raised apples, almost every one of them, and grapes, grapevines, there are a few grape vineries around here now, but when I was out in Keuka that was all grape area there. That was fun, I like grape pie. Ever had grape pie?
CP:
No.
BW:
Oh, it’s good [laughter].
CP:
No, I’ve never, how do you? I’ve had raisin pie.
BW:
Concord grapes, what you do is you take it in your finger and squeeze it and that squeezes the green pulp and leaves the skin. Put your skin one place and you put the seeds and other in another. Then if you have a food mill you can put that and get nothing but the seeds in there and you dump the pulp and the skins together and then put your sugar in. I’ve got a recipe for what you put into it out there. It’s good.
CP:
Wow.
BW:
In that area they sell pies along the road and everything. It’s a grape area. Everything is grape in the fall, which is becoming more popular in this area. If I had a grape vineyard I could make some pies and sell them [laughter].
CP:
Sounds good.
BW:
Yes, it is.
CP:
Where did you get your meat from that your family ate?
BW:
We butchered. You’d always have a cow to butcher in the late fall, pigs, pig house, raise pigs, you had your own chickens. Most of your meat just came right off of the farms. Eating was simple but hard work. You would have maybe rhubarb, everybody had rhubarb, and their apples and pears and then there used to be a lot of butternut trees around. They’re kind of disappearing in late years. But you’d pick up nuts in the fall and dry those out and crack them in the wintertime and have nut meats. It was a simple way of living.
CP:
Did your father butcher the animals? Or did you send them?
BW:
Sometimes they did. I remember being at my grandmother’s, my other grandmother who lived on a farm, and I remember hearing them butcher pigs at the farm above there, and I could heal them squeal, they were killing them, and I could hear them squeal and I could always remember that [nervous laughter]. Sometimes in later years they would take them to a regular place like over beyond Richfield. There was a place you could take them and they would butcher them and package them up for you, do them the way you told them to cut them and so on and so forth. Sometimes you did it right on your own farm.
CP:
How about game animals? Deer and other small animals?
BW:
Oh, I had six deer out here eating my apples this morning, speaking of animals [laughter]. I did! I had one the other day and today I had six out there.
CP:
Oh my goodness.
BW:
They took off and ran away [laughter].
Yes, wild animals, of course the hunters and people that like to hunt always went duck hunting, turkey hunting. Course there weren’t turkeys here when I was young. There were some over to the east, over around Worcester, over in that area but it wasn’t until later years, I think they stocked them maybe, then they became quite popular. My boys used to raise pheasants, and I’ve forgotten how many they’d have, fifty maybe. When they got big enough they would turn them loose and they would get paid, that was through 4H, and they would get paid so much for the ones they let go. With their money, they had to put half of it into their school clothes, whatever school clothes they needed, and the other part they had to put in the bank. It was a good 4H project for kids to do. I can’t think of anything else.
CP:
Did your husband hunt?
BW:
Yes, he liked to hunt. He had always been brought up to hunt. He hunted all over the hills around here. Oh I can tell you another story. This is on another subject, you got more things you want to ask?
CP:
This is about you. You tell me what you want to tell me.
BW:
Here, back about four or five years ago, I was up to the church and the ladies were going through the books up there looking for something. Finally, one of them came over, I heard one of them say, “Go ask Barbara, maybe she’ll know,” so this gal came over and she said, “you don’t happen to know where Eliakim Sheldon was buried, do you?” I said, “sure, I know where it is.” She said “you do?” I said “yes, he’s buried up on Pine Cobble.” Now Pine Cobble is that mountain right out there that you’re looking at.
CP:
Yes.
BW:
So they said, “well, we’ve been looking in the church books because we thought he was connected with the church.” They said, “how do you happen to know?” and I said, “because when I was about five years old I went with my grandmother and I went up to Eliakim Sheldon’s grave and put a flag onto it,” because the DAR put flags on all the veterans’ [graves]. Why I remember that all those years and that name, I don’t know, but I did. Well this man from up in Rome, New York had been here and he had left a note on the door and that’s why they were looking for it and he’d been here before with his relation. So, the secretary was going to call him and tell him or let him know. Well, when I went up a few days after that, the paper still laid there, so I thought well shucks, I’ll take that home and write to him. Then I said “no, I’ll call him up,” his telephone number was on it so I’ll call him and I told him, “yes, I knew right where it was,” and he came down with his wife and I got permission from the people that owned the land, two boys, to be able to go up and see this marker and so on and so through that, the marker was very hard to read but they contacted the government, whatever part they have to, and if you have proof of the genealogy, they will give you a new marker at no cost. So, with help, I got the papers from somebody in Cooperstown and they made them out and re-mailed to me, it had to be sent to the nearest funeral parlor and so I put the Cherry Valley funeral parlor down and I got in touch with them and they said it would be six to eight weeks before we would receive the marker, but the government sent the new marker and the man in Cherry Valley at the funeral parlor delivered it down to the house and boys down there said, “don’t worry about it, we’ll put the marker up there for you,” because their mother and father were buried up there. So I was so pleased to think that nobody could find that [laughter], but it was so easy for me to know right where it was. So that’s something that was really accomplished for the town. I don’t know how many people around here now I you say, “do you know where Pine Cobble is?” “No, never heard of it.” Of course that was always known to the local people that lived here their whole lives, and I was real happy that worked out.
CP:
Well that’s good. Who was Eliakim Sheldon?
BW:
Eliakim Sheldon, he was one of the first people to settle in this area. His daughter was the first school teacher to the little continental school house that used to be down at the end of this road. Many farm people my age went to that school house. But nobody in the town seemed to know, didn’t know anybody was buried up there. You’d think that people would have thought, but they didn’t. But just because I had been there when I was little I remembered that [laughter]. I was real pleased how that worked out; it was only a few years ago. Eliakim Sheldon’s wife, was a Whipple, and this was a Whipple who was looking for their relation. They knew they were buried someplace around here and so I got to know them and they came and we went up a couple of times to see the marker and so on. And it worked out real nice and there are a lot of Whipples. As a matter of fact, one day I thought, oh my gosh, my son is married to a Whipple and she was probably related. Everybody going back all those years are related to somebody else. I was going through a notebook that my grandmother had of our family and [it had] names of people who had been around here for years and years, must have gone way back. Cause they married
[START OF TRACK 3 0:00]
all the families around. The Sheldons that were down here moved west and they went with a covered wagon when they moved out. Every year they have a big reunion out in the southwest corner, there is a lake there, can’t think of the name of it, and every year I have been invited to go and they sent a letter out thanking me for what I did.
CP:
Wow.
BW:
That was just really the way it worked out, just fine.
CP:
Tell me about your children, you’ve mentioned them.
BW:
I have a daughter, she worked for the county. She went to Morrisville for school, and she worked for the county, she retired; well, she left Cooperstown to, dear me, [inaudible] what county it is? She worked out there, Madison, was it Madison? She retired, she’s retired now. She married a boy that went to Cobleskill and he worked for the college in Morrisville. He’s retired now. Then my son, my oldest boy, went to Cobleskill and he graduated from there and he went to Brockport, and he graduated from Brockport. He didn’t want to teach, he worked for a company for a while and now he is on his own mowing lawns and doing lawn work. That’s what he likes. He retired from school, he worked nights as a janitor. Then my youngest son, he is on the farm. He went to Cobleskill and then he went to Oneonta and graduated from there and then he took the farm over from my father when he wasn’t able to do it anymore. He now works for, below Cooperstown, not Seed and Weed, but something like that [laughter], something in that outfit. Anyway, he works there so many hours a week and still raises crops and things to sell, hay to feed the horses, so that’s my children. My grandchildren, I have three, Kerry, Kate, and Marcus, and then my granddaughter has triplets and she has moved to Skaneateles and right now she has a job with the Syracuse Opera Company. She had worked for the opera company over here, but she is interested in another job with Syracuse University. I don’t know if she’ll get it or not. Did I give you all of them? Yes I did [laughter] three of them.
CP:
What are their names?
BW:
Robert, Richard, and Karen. They’re the oldest, then there’s the grandkids. So, life’s been exciting.
CP:
Very. How are you involved in recording your family’s history?
BW:
Well, my daughter is working on some of that now, and I’ve got a lot of things. My oldest son has a lot of the papers and things that my mother had. It’s so much easier today with the computer to find things. It’s just amazing. My daughter found a picture on, what do you call? Facebook.
CP:
Facebook?
BW:
Yes, [laughter] of my father when he was real young and she said, “oh I found something I got to show you,” and I said, “oh, I got one that looks just like that.” [laughter] But that’s how easy it is to find a lot of things today.
CP:
On Facebook [laughter].
BW:
I’ve got loads of pictures in there and I’ve finally got the family pictures in envelopes and marked the envelopes. My mother, luckily, had marked all the names of the people on the back so that will be helpful if one of us, or whoever, gets to put things together. Another thing I had happen was, I told this park policeman that works down at the park, well he has all the parks around and he, I’ve forgotten how I got in touch with or how he got in touch with me but anyway we became kind of good friends and I was telling him that I would like to take pictures of every house in the town here and then go back in the 1930s, most everything is caught up until the 1930s. Then to get a list of who has bought them and sold them and things like that. Which I would like to do and I had another girl say,”Oh, I’ll help you do it,” but I never get around to get at it but I thought that would be fun to have another section as to how every house has changed up to the present time. I don’t know if I’ll ever get that worked out or not. Probably not [laughter].
CP:
That sounds exciting.
BW:
Yes, it would be kind of fun to do. There are people that know more about things in the town than I do, but we’re all getting to the age where you don’t know if they are really quite as it were [laughter] or have proof it.
CP:
Is there anything else you wanted to tell me?
BW:
No, I’ve done pretty well. I’ve thought of a lot of things.
CP:
Any stories?
BW:
You need more stories? Oh dear me, let me see. [Inaudible. Mrs. Weaver stands up and walks to a different table, looks through a pile of papers]
CP:
There’s a picture of a Christmas tree. [photograph fell on the floor]
[laughter, shuffling papers]

BW:
Oh I guess I don’t have anything else. I can’t think of any more stories. I probably could if we were just… [laughter].
CP:
That’s fine, one more, we had talked about food earlier and you told me about the grape pie. What was your favorite thing to eat when you were growing up that your mother made?
BW:
The favorite thing to eat? I don’t know. I always ate almost anything. Anything that was put on the table, I would eat. I wasn’t fussy about things. I used to like to go to my grandmother’s and eat some of her things. [They] just tasted different to me. I spent a lot of time up at the big house playing because it was such a big place to have fun and play by myself which I had to do all my life. I’ve always liked almost everything, and I liked to cook. I wasn’t that exceptional of a cook. My friend that I worked with was, we did so many meals, she had worked in the cafeteria so she knew about how much you had to cook for someone but she would take care of that and I would help prepare the things and then I was the one that always got the table ready and got everything on there. We did a lot of buffet type things. I always enjoyed doing that. Of course right now, I think this is the last thing that I’m going to do. I would always say to my friend, “you know, I’ve got an idea,” and she would say, “oh, not another one!” and throw her arm up in the air [laughter] and then we’d do something. Well, they used to have a ladies group up at the church and that has all faded out because nobody seemed to want to do it anymore, the association, so I said to this other friend I have, I said, “I’ve got an idea” [laughter] I said, “what would think if we did a bazaar up at church to raise some money?” She said, “Oh, I think that’s a good idea,” so I said, “okay, you want to help me? We’ll do it.” So we’ve been working on that and the money that we make from it will go to the Parkinson’s disease in Utica, the Presbyterian Church. I always thought it was a community where retired ministers went to live after they retired but it must be a lot more than that. Now, because they’re adding on a Parkinson’s place where they’ll have things to take care of Parkinson’s people and they’re raising money for that. So we’re having this bazaar for that benefit. I’ve got a lot of stuff that people have donated; we’re going to have a bake sale. I hope it turns out; I hope the weather is good [laughter]. Once I get that off my mind maybe I’ll get back to my genealogy [laughter]
CP:
And that’s when, December tenth?
BW:
Yes, it’s December tenth.
And everybody at church is being real good about doing things and making things. We’ve got a whole bench full of stuff up there to sell and in a couple weeks we’ll be setting that all up. I hope that it works out nicely. [We’re] raffling off a quilt, that will bring us in all free money. So, whatever we make will go for Parkinson’s. If we hadn’t already decided on that, we probably would have helped with the flood relief but some of our women have gone down and they have cleaned and helped do a lot of things and they have taken a lot of clothes down. So, let’s hope that those poor people get straightened around. That’s what people should do in the world [laughter].
CP:
You had mentioned this before, where did the quilt come from?
BW:
Oh you’re going to make me say that [laughter].
CP:
This time we have the recorder [laughter].
BW:
It was up in a closet, and I had forgotten it was there, but I pulled it out and I thought, “Oh, you know, we could raffle that off,” so that’s the one we’re doing. It’s about twin size, it’s not a real big one. Everybody says, “Oh, it’s pretty,” and I’m not sure if it is [laughter], but anyway that will be something that we’ll do that will help somebody with Parkinson’s disease. We have a woman here in town who has it, and she doesn’t go to our church, but she’s real nice lady and then there is Jim Atwell in Fly Creek, he’s a good friend of mine. I’ve always liked him; I’ve always liked his tales that he tells. I have his book, of course I may have loaned it out, I don’t know if I’ve got it now, and he’s got one in there that’s my favorite [laughter].
CP:
Well, thank you very much.
BW:
Well…
CP:
I learned a lot.
BW:
I don’t know if it was anything interesting [laughter].
CP:
Thank you.

Duration

30:00
30:00
15:25

Bit Rate/Frequency

128 kbps

Files

Citation

Christina Parise, “Barbara Weaver, November 21, 2011,” CGP Community Stories, accessed August 20, 2019, http://cgpcommunitystories.org/items/show/101.