Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday's Feature- Doris Tolsdorf

I had been hanging around my mother-in-law since I was fifteen. She wasn't my mother-in-law yet just my boyfriend's mom. She went out of her way to be welcoming to me. When I was younger, I was a very picky eater. At Easter when she fixed the traditional ham dinner, she would fry me a hamburger. Now really, that was above and beyond. When I was in high school and my snow covered black dyed shoes, bled onto her new carpet, she didn't show any concern. It did come out, but I felt horrible.

Her funeral was attended by children and grandchildren from Iowa, California, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Florida, Colorado, Arizona and Massachusetts. The church was full. She lived for 97 years within 10 miles of where she was born. Her memory was sharp and she was considered the unofficial town historian. One grandson shared his memories of Grandma which all the grandkids had experienced. The shared memories among those cousins-the grandchildren of Doris- are a treasure they will always cherish.

Earlier this year, one of Doris' sons-in-law, suggested she do some autobiographical writing. As we have been going through her remaining belongings, we came across a couple of notebooks. She didn't write much, but what wonderful insight those early memories give us about her life.


February 16, 2015

The first day I remember was a sunny day in September when Mrs. Bryant and Huldah Ott came driving a horse and big buggy up our lane.  Of course at the time I didn't realize they were coming to help my mom give birth to my brother, Edward.

I was from May to September past three years old. 

Also on this day, I had an infection called "ringworm" on my elbow & Huldah said the best way to cure it was to paint it with iodine! It really stung so I went down to the horse tank & stuck my elbow in the water.  It was cool & made it feel better. Don't know what the adults thought about that- they were busy elsewhere!!

It was probably the next summer I remember a day Mom's cousin from Des Moines came to visit & she had a daughter, Vivian.  We had the baby outside in a big wooden buggy & we had to keep the hood up because if he knew Vivian was pushing the buggy he would fuss. So I had to look as if I were pushing it.

Don't know if some of these memories are in sequence but I was pretty young.  I loved to "help" Dad take care of the horses. In the evening Dad would sit in a rocking chair. I'd crawl up on his lap & we'd sing. "K K Katie", "The Old Mill Stream", "My Old Kentucky Home" etc.

We practically went to one or the other Grandparents on Sunday.  Grandpa & Grandma Augustus lived in Scranton by the time I remember them & Grandpa and Grandma Reeder lived on a farm south of Jefferson.  Sometimes in summer we would drive over to Spring Lake and go swimming.  We spent several 4th of July there but I also remember one or two in Scranton with parades, band, speaker & dances.

Then I remember my 1st day of school.

Well, readers, you will have to find out about that first day of school in another post.


  1. Margie, what a wonderful treasure you've found in those notebooks! A sweet remembrance of your mother in law.