A Quaker Summer

Reminiscences of  Gini Waters



Gini Waters 

 

Copyright 2023  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo furnished by Karen Treanor.
Photo of Barbara, Virginia (Gini),and Florence Bullock--furnished by Karen Treanor. 

I was clearing out old computer files and ran across the attached short, short story which I thought might interest you.  I found the picture, which dates from the same era and location in a box of Mother’s things.  The writer—my mother-- died in 2008, aged 92.  (She’s the fishergirl in the middle of the photo.)  She was a very good writer but one could rarely overcome her innate diffidence.  I have a small book of her poetry and three or four short essays, and fortunately I saved most of her letters, which are a book in themselves

There was a North Weare New Hampshire family with whom we spent many happy summers from the late Twenties through the Thirties. The pre-revolution era house had many nooks and crannies we played in and hid in after swiping goodies from the pantry or cool cellar! Aunt Dot was a fabulous cook and we had hens and a goat as well as a horse to chase around ---Nellie was a very old equine and was only there one year. She spent a lot of time sprawled on her side on a cool spot of grass, and we used to lean against her, which she never seemed to mind.

Uncle Arthur's mother was a Quaker preacher who died before we started going there, but she was ever-present in the way things were run. Her ironing board was a 30 inch single plank of maple put across two kitchen chairs and kept up in the ell off the kitchen almost continually. There was a washing machine that was turned by a crank to agitate the clothes and we took turns doing it (under protest, to be sure)at least twice a week. Once, the cat "fell" into the washer. There was only a little water in it, but nobody bought the tale and Paul and I were blamed . I didn't have a thing to do with it, but a stern "thee are naughty children!" and a trip to the woodshed to chop and bring in wood for the huge black kitchen stove ensued.

The old dog named Lobo used to creep under the big dining room table and after the silent Quaker grace was over, he'd let out a sonorous groan ?amen? as we picked up our utensils. He never came up for treats till we started clearing the table, then he was first to the kitchen, standing by his own dish looking expectantly.

We used to swim in the "Rezzie" formed when the river was dammed for power for the toy factory and a mill a few miles down the road. It was there that Paul and I made a sail canoe using a sheet and my Dad's bamboo fishing rod--he was NOT amused! I chopped a bushel of kindling for that trick-- so now you know how I learned to handle both axe and hatchet quite professionally at an early age.

I also discovered that cows are not for riding when I dropped from the milkman's apple tree onto the back of his prized Holstein! She was not pleased! I limped home safe but sorry---she had a backbone like fence rail! More chopping of kindling and "thee are a very naughty girl!" from Aunt Dot. The cow gave sour milk for 2 days, or so I was told.

We had dances at the Grange hall on week-ends and Dot played the fiddle, along with a pianist and banjo player-- it was loads of fun---even the little kids went, but usually fell asleep before the evening was over.



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