Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Skelly Station

In my hometown, across the Lincoln Highway from my grandmother's café ( See West End Cafe post) was the Skelly Station. I remember the ice house that was on the south side of the station. I remember seeing the ice tongs pick up the huge blocks of ice. I don't know if the ice was for us but probably.  I suppose we had an ice box before we had a refrigerator. I remember the water bucket and ladle in our kitchen so I guess we had no running water. I remember getting indoor plumbing. That was a big event!

But back to the Skelly Station. Grandma's café sat on the southwest corner of the intersection. The Mobile Station was across the street to the north and the Skelly station to the east. This intersection had lots of activity because it was a great stopping place for truckers and long distant drivers as well as the locals.  Nina's West End Cafe drew a usual crowd and was known near and far.  I once heard truckers like to stop there because her food was very good.

However, I never got to meet anyone famous who was crossing the country. That honor went to my classmate whose father ran the Skelly Station across the highway. One day for "telling time" she told this story.

Hop-a-long Cassidy stopped in at the gas station. Her dad got to see him and talk to him. Wow! In those days, there wasn't anyone more famous in our 10 year old worlds. Well, maybe Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, but it just depended on who you liked best. For me, it was Hop-a-long Cassidy. And he was in our town! And my friend's dad talked to him. Life was good, but I was just a little jealous.

Recently I learned that one of the items in the station that most amazed travelers from the coasts was the telephone that hung on the wall. It was just like the one used on the T.V. show Lassie. When most of the country had gone to dial, we still used the old fashioned system. In fact, I often think we might have been about the last place in the state not to mention the country that hadn't gone modern.

To make a call, you turned the crank to reach the local telephone operator. Ours was Mable and sometimes Martha, but most people remember Mable. Her husband owned the phone company. There were rules. For example, you never called anyone after 10:00 p.m. I don't know if or where these rules were written, but still everyone obeyed them. No one wanted to make Mable mad. She could be a big help too. Sometimes when someone in the family was trying to reach a particular number and Mable knew where the people were, she would transfer this information.

I still remember my phone number from the sixty. It was 8 on 6. Then, we moved and the number was 121 on 1.  Our phone would ring a long, two shorts, and a long. I don't remember the ring from our first phone.  My best friend lived in town so her number was 149, not a party line.  Lucky. She could call out anytime. On a party line one had to make sure no one else was on the line.  When I was in high school, there were a number of kids on Line One. We would set a time and everyone would pick up the receiver on their own phone at the same time. We could have a conference call. We were ahead of the times, for sure.

Memories are fun. It seems like one leads to another.

Monday, September 26, 2016

1970 - Mondays With Mary

     Forty-six years ago on September 19, 1970, our first child turned one. Here is the entry in Mary's journal for that day.

Saturday, September 19

foggy this morning left
for Vermillion at 4:15 a.m.
home at 7:15 p.m.
beautiful day

Yes, indeed, my husband and I remember that day well. After a week of teaching for me and a week of work and college classes for him, we had looked forward to a little Saturday morning sleep in. Well, until the baby woke up at least. However, no one had yet awoken when these excited grandparents knocked on our door at some ridiculous time in the morning.

As I look through the calendar notes during the week before, I see that they were quite busy as well.

Sunday, September 13

damp & rainy all day-helped
Gene with waterer-over there for
dinner-went to Etta's got dehorning
chute-went to Carl & Thelma's
after supper for combine slats

Monday, September 14

raining all day to-day
Jeff in morning for gas tickets
Teeters fixed chain saw-canned
tomato juice in afternoon.
got hog feed today  Paups up in the p.m.
2 1/10 rain

Tuesday, September 15

cleared off- Vern worked on
picker - put cows back in big pasture.
I went to Carroll for club.  Paups here
in afternoon & evening- went fishing got 3

Wednesday, September 16

2 more fish on T lines - I cleaned
 dining room- kept Dave & Mitch
Vern worked on hog house-cloudy & damp
all day- Genes here for supper
drizzling at nite- 3/10 rain

Thursday, September 17

cloudy this morning
cleared -sun shining by evening
sewed on dining room drapes
& Kelley pajamas - Vern roofed hog house
Dave down in afternoon- over to Genes in evening.

Friday, September 18

foggy this morning
put waterpump on car
I went to Whittaker sale in p.m.
sewed and finished drapes- nice

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

West End Cafe

Anyone who has ever lived in our hometown in the 1950's knew the West End Cafe.  I don't know when it was established or when it closed. I don't even know how to go about finding out. All I know is that my grandmother, Nina Grisso, ran the West End Cafe when the Lincoln Highway still ran through town and right by her cafe. It was, and still is, US Highway 30. However, now it bypasses town and we refer to the highway as New Thirty. However, it has been there about 60 years. But, if the French can have a New Bridge (Pont Neuf) from the middle ages, we can have our New Thirty. As usual, I digress.

While cleaning out boxes this summer I came across this.

It is a little note pad with a calendar.  Please notice the phone number. We did not have dial in those days. Instead we had a central telephone operator who ran a switch board.

The spot where the West End Cafe sat (which I considered very famous) is now occupied by a Casey's convenience store.

 Time moves on.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Phipps Bits

I would like to introduce a new blog that readers interested in family stories might wish to follow.  The site is This new site is authored by my aunt who is a published writer.

I find her title, Phipps Bits very clever. Her maternal grandparent's name is Phipps. She is also a genealogist so some readers might connect with her familial names: Phipps, Wright, Borden, DeHart, Olmsted, Siglin.

And with a maiden name like Anderson, we can expect many great stories in
Anderson Anecdotes.

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Aunt Cheryl. I am looking forward to your posts.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Here is another mistake. I just hate it when that happens.  The second cousin once removed blog address is not correct. I am working on it.

The Infamous Box

I have a second cousin once removed whom I have never met. Well, I undoubtedly have many second cousins once removed whom I have never met, but this one shares my interest in genealogy and has a blog of her own. I just recently met her parents. Her father is my second cousin whom I have become acquainted with on Facebook. We think we might have met once at a picnic where I knew no one and marveled that all these people shared my great-grandparents, Charles and Jennie Wright. 

Brianna wrote on her blog of May 22, 2015 at that she had received a box from her father's cousin full of genealogy material. She was ecstatic, and I was just a little envious.  However, the box is now at my house.  I must say I think I have some very generous second cousins whom I have only recently had the pleasure to spend a little time talking with, remembering and sharing family stories.

As I have had the opportunity to read through the contents of this box, I have discovered that I have most of the information. For example, I knew the story of Royal Wright.

  This was my great-great grandfather. 

 I did find an amazing piece of new information, well new to me. Royal was the son of Elihu and Margarett Wright, my 3rd great grandparents. They had six children. Ebenezer B. appears to be Elihu's first son by his first wife, Hipsibuth (although I am not totally sure this is correct). The mother of Ebenezer must have died when the family still lived in New York. He was 17 years older than Royal and appears to have married in 1833. He would have been 23 years old. The family moved to Illinois in 1836. Their other children were (my great-great grandfather) Royal age 9, Roswell age 7, Asahel age 2. It is said that James was born in a covered wagon in 1836 and was possibly the  first white child born in Sycamore township. (I might have to do a little research on first born children in the west. You may remember that there was a Grisso child said to be the first white child born in Oklahoma).  Their last child, Burt, was born in Illinois in 1856.

The interesting document I noticed was the marriage certificate of
 Ebenezer B. (older 1/2 brother to my great-great grandfather Royal) 

Read it again. Did you catch the ages of the bridge and groom?
And who could think genealogy is boring?
Such fun discoveries.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Handsome Guy

Indeed, this is a good looking man. I am guessing he is a relative, but who?  I found his picture in a formal folder in a box with other Grisso information.  So, I think he is from  the family of  my mother's father, Bert Grisso. Could he be one of my Grandpa Bert's uncles? He had many uncles.

Here we have another mystery to solve. We did find out who Carrie Plath was. We did find out that Nelle Fredrickson lived to adulthood. Something about this mystery makes me wonder if we will ever know.