Thursday, December 5, 2019

More Bellfountain Recollections

The post of November 21, 2019 contained some of Dorothy Mack's recollections of life in Bellfountain between 1905 and 1921. Here are some more of her observations.

In the community of Bellfountain there was no swimming hole, no ponds for ice skating or sidewalks for roller skating.  I can’t remember anybody having bicycles on those country roads.  When it snowed we had a big bonfire on the hill near Grandma’s place, and had great fun on our sleds—all the young people gathered and always my Father was there.  Once when I’d been sick with a sore throat and had missed the fun of coasting he took me out in a sleigh, with bells, and our horse Ginger.  I was bundled up in our plush buggy robe...
Sleigh from the BCHS collection which was used until 1919
I remember camping out with the family, granparetns [sic], and an aunt and uncle and cousin at Chautauqua when I was four or five. Fancy moving the family wood cook stove by wagon and team and tenting for two weeks—three couples and three small children!  But this was our culture and it was long anticipated and as long remembered.

Chautauqua was not only our culture but our entertainment in the early 1900’s....There were plays, lectures, and musical evenings by soloists or quartettes.  In the morning the children met for games and to learn their parts for a play to be given at the end of the season. Afternoon programs were usually geared to the women’s interests.

We had some culture at school, too.  My Father held what were called Music Memory contests.  There was a school phonograph and classical records were played for us each day, during music period.  We listened and learned to identify the music, its composer and the dates of his life.  I’m sure this was the only music many of those country children every heard, for it was before the days of radio.

Bellfountain School, 1910
Grandpa bought one of the first cars in the neighborhood – a big Overland with running boards and carbide lights and a bulbous horn.  He had a lot of advice about what kind of a car to buy and I put in my two cents’ worth—I wanted it to have a ‘pink lid.’ A year or so later when I was about five my parents bought a Tin Lizzie but to us there was nothing tinny about it.  We drove on Memorial Day to Stayton where my Mack grandparents lived—over a hundred miles round trip.  I remember Mother in her long ‘duster’ coat, hat and veil, with pillows tucked around her—no paved roads in those days, and not very good springs in our car seats, either.  We children sat in the back seat, excited when it sometimes rained and we had to put the side curtains on—they had pointed panes of ising glass which fascinated me. When Katherine was with us, on trips to Corvallis, we sang “There’s one hole in the bottom of the sea – this gem is repeated three times to complete one verse – for subsequent verses you add a hole – we used to get it up to a hundred, I’m told.  What really tried my Mother was that Katherine took a deep breath after each ‘bottom’!  We also made trips up the Columbia Gorge on the scenic route, only part of which is now open to motorists. 

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon

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