Childhood Memories

by Walter Virgil Lolley

My parents, Asa Heratio and Ida Josephine Lolley (my mother's maiden name was Lenheart) and five children went from Topeka, Kansas about the turn of the century and landed in Weiser, Idaho. They came by train with all their belongings and bought a 176 acre farm with a cabin on Manns Creek. I was born there August 2, 1908.

The cabin was 16 by 24 feet - just one big room with a curtain across the middle and a small kitchen off to one side. It had a tin roof made out of flattened out, five gallon kerosene cans. It sure made a noise when it rained.

There was a floored attic and most of the bigger kids slept up there. There was a ladder that went up the back wall through a hole about three feet square. The beds were lined up along the outside wall and we had to go down the middle as the peak of the roof was only about six feet high. The bed springs sat on blocks and we had straw ticks to sleep on.

We had one door and three windows and a kerosene lantern. So you see, it wasn't very light, especially at night as the logs were not painted inside or out, and there was a lime mortar chinking between the logs.

We had a gramophone and the first music I ever heard was "Casey Jones" and "Turkey in the Straw."

We had a well with a bucket on a rope that we let down with a pulley. We kept our milk and butter cool down in there too. We also had a spring about 150 feet from the cabin. It was about six feet deep and three foot across and ran a stream about the size of a pencil into a watering trough where all the stock would drink.

We had a big orchard with all kinds of fruit. Each of us kids claimed a tree. Mine was an apricot tree. Our cellar was a walk-in on the side of the gulch that ran by our house.

I have seen the gulch (which was 20 feet wide and ten feet deep) run full of water when we had gully washers in June. The water would run off of all the hills above our cabin and it would last a couple of hours. It doesn't do that anymore. We used to get plenty of rain in the spring and early summer to raise good crops, but that all stopped about 1918. It used to snow a lot too - two or three feet deep. Now they are lucky to get a foot.

The high line ditch ran around the foothills and just above the cabin. Salmon, trout, and eels would come out the headgate that let the water run on our fields. Dad built a box that had a chicken wire bottom and sometimes we would get one or two salmon a day and lots of eels. I would cut them up with a hatchet, and the chickens would eat them.

Dad had a single shot 10 gauge shotgun and a 22 special rifle. He would shoot cottontail and snowshoe rabbits in the fall and winter and there were plenty of sagehen and grouse to eat in the fall.

In late summer my dad would take a load of wheat to town and bring back a load of coal. He would take one of us kids along. It would take us all day and was quite a thrill. We would go to the elevator and unload the sacks of wheat, go by the watering trough and water the horses, then go to the livery stable and tie the horses to the wagon and give them some hay. Then Dad and I would go to a restaurant and eat. He always ordered salmon. Then we would go to the coal cars and load the wagon. Dad would always go to the butcher shop and get a hunk of baloney and crackers.

We had a dog named Togo that would see me coming home from school and would come to meet me. One day he didn't show up and I asked my mother, "Where is Togo?" She said, "Floxie (our young horse) kicked him in the head and killed him," which made me very sad. We got a pup from our neighbor, but he wasn't worth a pinch of salt.

Dad and Uncle Edd built a new house in 1916. When we moved in, Dad bought a new cook stove - a Monarch Range with a reservoir on the side of it. He also bought Harley and I a red wagon which made us very happy.

We only lived in the new house a couple of years when my dad bought ten acres with a house on it down next to the main road. He moved the new house down and put the two together which made a T shape.

When I was about eight, Dad and Mom packed us all in the hack (that was a two-seated buggy), and we went to Weiser to see the Liberty Bell. It was on a flat car. They used it to get people to buy Liberty Bonds to raise money for World War I.

That's when I saw the first car. We were right at the Devil's Elbow, right by a cliff. It scared old Topsy and Tony and they turned square around in the road. The car stopped until we got by.

Dad bought a Model T Ford two-seater when I was nine years old.

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