I never had the opportunity to meet Aunt Alice but I certainly do remember as a young girl visiting Uncle Ben and Aunt Genevieve who was Uncle Ben's third wife. (Uncle Ben's first wife also died quite young. ) Anyway Aunt Genevieve was a widow with children and Uncle Ben was a widower with children so they married and blended their young families.
Uncle Ben and Aunt Genevieve owned a farm in Shelby County that was at the end of Schmitmeyer-Baker Road. Whenever my Dad took me to visit Uncle Ben and Aunt Genevieve he said we were going to the Laromie Reservoir and that we would probably have some fish for dinner there. In those days people didn't call to say they were coming for a visit after church on Sunday. You just showed up and the people were expected to provide you with dinner. Well, for one thing a lot of folks still didn't have phone service yet and if they did, it was one of those wood boxes with a hand crank that was attached to the wall. Party line too!) Can you imagine doing that today. No way! And if you did show up at someone's house unannounced, you know what would happen. There would be a quick call made to the local pizza joint for carry out pizza.
So I remember Uncle Ben's farm that was just several hundred feet away from the Loramie Reservoir. In her memoir Edna Wise says that the reservoir was actually right behind their barn. I also do remember Uncle Ben as being a very nice and kindhearted gentleman. I know he was one of my Dad's favorite brother-in-laws. But honestly what I remember most about Aunt Genevieve is that she was built like Dolly Parton in the upper torso. In fact, she looked like Dolly Parton on steroids if you can envision that! Aunt Genevieve was a fine cook. She could take those fish that Uncle Ben caught and cleaned that very afternoon and fry them up so that they were scrumptious. Of course she had plenty of baked potatoes and garden vegetables to go with the meal.
You will not find Edna Wise's two books on Amazon.com since they are self-published and printed. You need to know someone who lives in Ohio who knows someone who knows Edna who can get you a copy of a book for eight dollars! My contact for the two books was my only sister, Mary Ellen who lives in Tipp City, Ohio but who has high school friends near Fort Laromie and Minster who helped her get her copies and my copies. Thank you Mary for sending these to me!
Here are the titles of the two memoirs:
Memories of a Farmer's Daughter During The Depression, by Edna Wise
What I Forgot the First Time, Sequel to Memories of a Farmer's Daughter During the Depression, by Edna Wise.
Soon as I heard these book titles I knew I had to get copies and read them. It seems like what goes around comes around again like the Great Depression. I enjoyed reading these books very much. They are written in the folksy style that Old Man Lincoln sometimes uses in his blogposts. And what intrigued me was the similarities of experiences Edna and I had growing up on an Ohio farm even though we were close to 17/18 years apart in age. Here are some of the topics Edna Wise writes about in her two books that I could really really relate to: