THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association,
June 1980, Volume 15, Number 6. Submitted with written permission of current Editor Grayden D. Slowins: VOICES FROM THE PAST by Robert W. Gierman, Editor:
It was not until 1952 that tape recorders became easily available and I got my first one. During the next two or three years I persuaded a number of our senior citizens to favor me with a taped message. Now most of them have been replaced by a new generation while their voices on tape still sound as much alive as ever. Following are some of the stories of the old-timers. STELLA AVES:
When I was about six years old I went to Portland and lived with my sister. I went to school in the old white schoolhouse in Portland until I was about eight years old and then I went across the river to the big schoolhouse and attended that school until I was about twelve years old. My teacher in school was Macy Lydy (sister of Jennie Lydy Weippert) and afterward she married Mr. Coleman and they lived near the Coleman Church and schoolhouse.
My first teacher here at Sebewa Center was Chet Sandborn. My next teacher was Jennie Lydy. She was the best teacher I ever had. I learned more from her than from any other I went to. I went to school down here until I was about fourteen years old. I must have quite school then and stayed home and had to work most of the time.
When Pete Britten went to school down here he used to turn my rubbers wrong side out while I was outside playing and when I went to go home at night it would take me about a half hour to turn my rubbers back so I could wear them home.
I remember when Chet Sandborn taught. I used to see him out in the woods (the field north of the schoolhouse was wooded then) and play cards with the boys out there having a lot of fun.
We were out snowballing one noon and we threw one in the boys’ toilet---John Butler was teacher then---and he got around the corner of the schoolhouse just in time to see me throw a big snowball. He sent me home and told me not to come back anymore. The next morning I went back to school and he didn’t say anything to me.
I was born down here where Ross and Gladys Tran now live (Bippley near Sunfield Road). My father was Peter Greiner and my mother was Christina Greiner. My mother was born in Ohio and my father was born over in between France and Germany. My mother bought the farm down east and I was born on that farm where Ross and Gladys now live. This is Stell, I used to be Stell Greiner and now I am Stell Aves. I guess everybody knows that. LEON WILLIAMSON:
This is Leon Williamson. Wilfred has asked me to give a little message and, offhand, I don’t suppose I will do much of a job at it. First of all I can say that I have had a nice time on the trip here (Leon was living in California and we are stopping at Nellie’s overnight, going around the neighborhood to see as many as we can before we have to leave to go back home.)
We have spent some time at McBrides at my sister’s place and tried to find some of the folks here in Sebewa that we now learn are in some other area. Now we are going to visit some of the folks around the Center. We are very glad to leave one or two sentences, anyway, that will record our voice and we hope to find some of you at home. We just called over at Sadie Tran’s and she was away. We are going on to Chicago and then on to California. Whoever hears my voice on this recording I wish to say I wish them the best of everything. I have a fond remembrance of the past when I lived here.
I had a little matter that happened in school a good many years ago when Emerson Ray was the teacher. Some of the boys at that time were much larger than the teacher. They had a pretty good idea that they could handle him, any one of them for that matter. One day they decided that when they came in to school when the recess bell rang, that one of them would catch his foot on the chair that held the pail of drinking water and then they would see what happened. It was their plan to throw Emerson out.
When Will Greiner came in he was the one to hook the chair and the water went all over. Before he realized what had happened, Emerson Ray had him by the nape of the neck, gave him a twist so that he fell on his back in the water long before it had run very far on the floor. Then Emerson stepped behind the stove (in the middle of the room), grabbed the stove poker and said to the big boys, “Come on.”
I have in mind also another humorous thing that happened. My grandmother Staples had a relative who was a college boy. He came with a friend to Sebewa once to visit. They had those velocipedes, the high wheel in front and the little one in the back. They came to Woodbury on the train and found mud about six inches deep on the road to Grandma’s and had to push the velocipedes all the way. In those days our horses had never seen anything like that. The boys went out and rode across the field and scared the horses almost to death. When they got ready to leave a few days later the mud was still just as deep and they had to push their vehicles to Sunfield to take the train from there. They had intended to ride their velocipedes all the way to South Bend, Indiana.
I recall that I was one of the first to have a bicycle around the Center and I used to ride it to church as everybody knows who knows me. I would leave my bicycle outside and soon every boy in the neighborhood knew how to ride it. I think they put as many miles on it as I did, myself. Charlie Creighton and I used to go to ballgames and Charlie would ride on a bicycle behind me as was customary then.
Most everybody around Sebewa Center remembers Edgar Waring and knew that he was a doctor. One of the things he did was to draw teeth. Like most of the young folks I had trouble with my teeth. I went up to Edgar’s one time and he was to draw one of the first of my permanent teeth. He got me in a chair in the kitchen and got hold of the tooth. He dragged me all over the kitchen and I yelled as loud as I could. Finally the tooth came out.
It was not long after that when I had trouble again and I went up to Edgar’s. Mrs. Waring said that he was up in the field so she handed me the forceps without any wrapping around them and I walked in the dust and dirt about a half or about two inches deep. When I got there, Edgar was away and I waited for him. When he got there we went back down to the house. He put his team in the barn and I sat down on the barn door sill. He got ahold of the tooth. He pulled and hauled and the tooth wouldn’t come out and finally the forceps, which were very dull, slipped off.
We had a little conversation and Edgar felt more like pulling the tooth and he got ahold of it again and it came out all right. This time I didn’t yell because I had found out that you can have a tooth drawn without too much harm to you. But Edgar said, when it was over, “Well, I guess that hurt me more than it did you.”
There is one thing I recall when I was five years of age. I was with my grandfather and we had gone to Portland. We were crossing the upper bridge and we saw a man limping along and I was curious as to why, so I asked my grandfather what was the matter of him. Grandfather said that was the man who bounded the bull off the bridge. After thinking about it for a minute I asked him if it hurt the bull. I remember that Grandfather laughed for a long time after that. The reason I am telling this is that I later learned that the man was Tom Little, the father of Chuck Little, who lived near West Sebewa.
I recall when my uncle, Lew, used to make sorghum molasses and it was my job many times to drive the horses on the treadmill. I stood in the center on a platform above the beam that the horses were hitched to and my job was to keep them going. That beam was connected to gears underneath and a drive rod from that went to the mill where the rollers were squeezing out the juice from the stalks. Later the juice was boiled down the same as sap from maple trees. They also made cider there. The horsepower ran the cylinder that ground the apples into pulp. End.
Last update November 16, 2013