Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Something in the House to Eat

I remember the small town grocery stores from my childhood. A fraction of the size of today's stores, they nonetheless seemed to have everything we needed. Shopping also use to take a fraction of the time it takes today and I often find myself grumbling over the complexities of the task. Shouldn't things be simpler now that society is more advanced?

Obviously the big difference is the options today. Today we have an enormous frozen foods section, and shelves lined with the options that are salt free, gluten free, non GMO or organic----and that doesn't include all the variation of herbs, spices and ethnic variations for even the simplest of products. The meat department is equally complex with varieties of meat touting grain fed, free range and cage free and we can't forget the signs for things such as "natural chicken." Such signs always make me want to ask where is the unnatural chicken?

family history, genealogy, ancestry, feeding a family, farms, milch cows

Those days when I feel tired by it all,  it's good to be reminded that as complicated as shopping is today, providing food for a family use to be even more time intensive during my grandparents' era. My Grandma Hazel Ganus shared a little about what it was like for her parents to feed their family. She said that growing up they never had much money to spend on treats, but they always had something in the house to eat. In her life history Grandma recorded:

Dad had milch cows so we had plenty of milk to drink and cook with. We also had our own butter, and sometimes we made cheese. He also had pigs, we would kill for meat and to make our lard for cooking. Also a calf or two or an old cow that couldn't have calves any longer. We always had enough meat to last through the winters or cold months. For summer meat he would cure the meat in salt brine which had to be strong enough to hold a egg on top of it, or smoke it with apple tree limbs, or by rubbing enough salt in it to keep. And sometimes in the winter he would hang it in the grainery and let it freeze. We always had our supply of flour, corn meal or graham flour for a year too. Dad would take enough meat to the mill either in Los Cerritos or Conejos. It seemed to keep very well then. Mother raised chickens, so we had our eggs and fryers and stewers. From the eggs and butter mother would buy what staple things we needed. Sometimes she and dad would drive to LaJara or Alamosa for these things. If they went to Alamosa it would take all day to go. They always took the back road then as it was well traveled. My dad and older brother liked to hunt and fish. I remember Martin coming home from a hunting trip with wild ducks and rabbits hanging from both sides of his saddle. These were always a welcome sight. We all liked baked duck and mother would sometimes keep the jack rabbits, grind the meat and mix it with other meat and make sausage. It was real good

It's a good reminder that now really is simpler, although the options are more complex. While standing and gazing into the stuffed refrigerator and claiming there is nothing to eat, in reality, most of us have to admit, there is always something in the house to eat and thankfully unless we choose to, in today's world we don't have to be the ones to raise it, hunt for it or grow it.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Friday, April 15, 2016

Foto Friday -The Unknown

Photos without names trouble me. Their faces seem to haunt me, to call to me, asking me to give them a name and tell their stories. My hope is that by sharing this un-named photo that someone will recognize the couple, help me identify them and hopefully I can then find and tell their story.

Every so often I come across this picture that was shared with me many years ago. Sadly, it was and still is unmarked. I remember being told at the time that while they were unsure of exactly who these people were but they knew they were a Ganus couple. Unfortunately I am ashamed to admit that while I saved the photo, I neglected to save who shared it with me and what Ganus line they descend from. Yes, I have learned my lesson and it's a painful one. 

I've analyzed this photo many times. Their haunting eyes, the man's white shirt and dress pants with well worn shoes. The woman's silk dress, necklace and pin. The house is built off of the ground, so does this perhaps imply that it was somewhere where there was a chance of flooding? (Can someone enlighten me here?) And is that a dog or a giant cat on the rug? 

Whomever they are, I would love to be able to save their name with their picture and better yet, learn a little about their story. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

One of the Best Boys I have Ever Known

Sadly just two years following the death of her beautiful daughter, Lucille, Ella (Jones) Rainwater said goodbye to yet one more of her children, her 32 year old son, Clarence. 

Clarence Olin Rainwater was the fourth child of Alexander Forrest and Ella (Jones) Rainwater. Born the 11th of November 1895, he was reared in the small postal community Ondee, just southeast of Olin and eight miles from Hamilton, Texas. His father farmed and his mother took care of their large family. Religion was important to his family and played a big role in Clarence's upbringing. 

He was just a young man of seventeen when his father died, leaving a big hole in their family and the community. From then until the time he registered for WWI, Clarence remained at home working and helping to support his mother and his younger sisters. (1) But when the call came to serve his county, he was among the first in Hamilton County to register. (2)

Patriotism was running high in America and men were anxious to do their part in preserving freedom for their country and their families. Much to Clarence's disappointment, he was selected to remain in the US and serve as a training officer rather than being shipped overseas.  It was while serving in that capacity that he contracted the dreaded tuberculosis.

tuberculosis, Rainwater, Clarence Olin Rainwater, Lois C. Gray, World War I, Texas law, Alamogordo
T.B. patients at hospital
In an effort to fight the disease, he first went to the well known tuberculosis sanitorium in Denver, Colorado to receive medical treatment. His treatment there included an abundance of fresh air and sunshine, however he did not improve as he had hoped and soon went to El Paso, Texas to receive treatment there.

For four years Clarence fought the awful disease. While in the hospital, tall, gray eyed, brown haired Clarence fell in love with Lois C. Gray, who was a nurse. With optimism for the future, he proposed to her and despite the grim prognosis for most tuberculosis patients, she accepted.

Clarence and Lois didn't let Texas' law prohibiting individuals with communicable diseases from marrying dissuade them, but hopped across the border into New Mexico where the laws were more lax. There in Alamogordo, Clarence and Lois became man and wife on the 27th of May 1927. A brief mention of the marriage appeared in the Alamogordo News, dated Thursday, June 2, 1927. It read simply:
Miss Lois C. Gray, Denver Colo. and Mr. Clarence O. Rainwater of Witchita Falls, Texas were united in marriage at Alamogordo, May 27th of Judge Stalcup. 
But Clarence would never recover and on the 15th of March, 1928, less than a year after he and Lois married, he succumbed to the disease. He was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in El Paso.Ted Couch, husband to Clarence's first cousin, Louisa Olive Lloyd expressed what many felt that day when he said: 

"He was one of the best boys I have ever known, and in his death his loved ones and friends in his country have suffered a great loss." (3)     

1. WWI Draft Registration, Ancestry
2.  Obituary from The Hamilton Herald-Record, April 13, 1928
3. Ibid 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved