Every so often, Neighbors carries a story from “the good old days.”
OK, but were they really all that good?
Beatrice Faust, Valley City, N.D., sends in a poem about them written by her mother-in-law, Dagne Faust.
Dagne was born in 1903 and grew up in rural Valley City. When she married, she and her husband lived on a quarter section of land 10 miles northwest of Valley City. They had nine children; Beatrice’s husband was one of them.
Dagne died in 1999.
“She was definitely the best mother-in-law and grandma for her many grandchildren anyone could have,” Beatrice says.
When Dagne was in her 80s or 90s, she composed this poem:
“Not for Me”
When we were living those “good old days,” they didn’t seem so good.
We read by the light of a kerosene lamp, and heated our house with wood.
We carried water up the hill to wash with, cook and scrub.
And we took our baths behind the stove — in a galvanized laundry tub.
I can smell the old lye soap and feel the sting and hurt
when some of it got in my eyes. But it really got the dirt.
We slept on corn husk mattresses, sometimes 3 in a bed.
If you were late you got the foot. The early ones took the head.
We waded snow and ice and mud to get to the “seat of learning”
with a pot-bellied stove that froze our backs while our fronts were nearly burning.
We drank from a cup by a water pail on a bench where the teacher put it.
And whatever the ailment any kid had, the rest were sure to get it.
In winter you milked in a drafty barn while the wind whistled thru the cracks.
And the swirling snow, while you were inside, filled up your fresh-made tracks.
A little house at the end of a path, half hidden with brush and weeds,
In summer’s heat and winter’s cold served the family’s needs.
Now you may look with envious eyes to those times if you are 20.
But I’ve been thru those “good old times,” and once, my friend, is plenty.
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