When I was a little girl at home, I was unsatisfied. I had lots of troubles and disappointments, brooded over them and could never see the bright side of life. An old lady who had lost all her relatives came to live with my folks. She had her share of troubles, the poor old soul. We adopted her and called her Auntie.

She took a liking to me, although I do not see why she should as I often thought I was the most miserable child in the world. I was sensitive and easily hurt and many times I would go off by myself and cry myself to sleep. Old Auntie would come and sit down by me and read to me from her Bible. Then she would listen to my troubles and tell me they were very small to what other people were suffering in this world and she always would end up by saying: “Troubles and cares will do you good, my dear. Ask God to help you see the good.”

One day Auntie told me about New Year’s Day. I did not know that it was the day to “turn over a new leaf” and try to be a better girl. I was nine years old at the time and have been trying to change ever since.

I did not marry a rich man but I married a good man. We started out on a homestead in Montana. We were out on our homestead five years and were dried out every year but we proved up and it is ours now. My husband had to work out away from home and leave me to hold down the claim. We had two children then and I would take the two and the rifle and hunt rabbits and sage hens for food. When I would see anything to shoot, I would put the baby down on the ground and tell the other child to stand by him and then I would shoot my game.

One day, my tooth began to ache and I walked the floor for three days and nights and could not find any relief. Then baby got sick and I carried him on one arm and held the hot water bottle to my face with the free hand. I walked the floor this way until I was so tired I could not feel. Finally my jaws swelled shut and I could not eat. Then I took the two children and put them in the baby cart and hauled them three miles over sage brush and rocks to my neighbors’ house. They took me to the doctor, twelve miles away, and I had my tooth pulled. All the time I was suffering so, I could just seem to hear old Auntie say, “troubles and cares will do you good, my dear.”

The did do me good. I see life in a different light now. We came to Wisconsin and here is our great purpose for 1923: to get a farm and make good. And I want to help everyone I can to see the bright and better way, and to remember this: one can never have such great troubles that others have not had worse. So I shall forget me and think of others.

 

6 thoughts on “So I Shall Forget Me; 1923

  1. Thank you, I needed this to snap me out of a funk I was going through. The woman’s tale of living on a lone homestead while the husband was working away reminds me of when I lived in the mountains of Southeastern Oklahoma while the Redneck worked out of state. I had no vehicle, so when we needed to go to town (15 miles away in any direction), my son and I would get up before daylight, do chores, put on our back packs, and begin the long walk down the mountain. Many times we walked 6 or more miles before we would get a ride. When we finished in town, we would begin the walk back up the mountain, hoping for a ride up, which we usually got within a few miles. I had no problem with it, because it gave us exercise, plus some of my best poems and essays were composed during those long walks. We still walk to town, but now it’s only 3 miles away! I find it sad that modern women complain about so much, when we are blessed beyond our great grandmother’s imagination.

    1. Evelyn, you are the first modern person that I have come across who actually went on a long walk. Thank you for your amazing (at least by today’s standards) account! You have been an inspiration to me. Perhaps you have heard of The Friendly Road by David Grayson (1913)? I think it is a book that you would enjoy.

      1. I’m always surprised when people are shocked at how much we walk. One woman stopped to give us a ride when it was extremely hot, and asked me if I was able to drive. “Yes,” I replied. “I simply choose not to” I will see if I can find the book, thanks for the recommendation.

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