Family “Happenings”

Our family life in Alfred Station was happily full of activity. Anne, our first born, was growing and delighting us daily. I remember the first sentence I heard her use. She looked up at the night sky, pointed her tiny finger and said, “See the moon”. In Anne’s imagination she had a pet bear that lived in the one-eye furnace in our living room. When she wanted to play with the bear she would stamp her feet and he would come up. When he got too rough, or she got tired of playing, she would send him back down into the furnace. Going to the “Ost Postist” delighted Anne. She both amused and embarrassed us one evening when Alvah and Elma Strong were dinner guests. When Alvah smoked a cigarette after dinner and twisted it out on his plate, Anne looked up at him and said, “Mow wasn’t that a nasty thing to do!”. We all laughed. Children’s books and recordings were an endless joy to her.

Xenia Lee, Ashby and Ruth’s oldest daughter, lived with us during her eighth grade year in school. Madeline appreciated her help with Anne and Dan. In school Xenia Lee was an excellent student and she and Jean Palmer became best of friends. We missed her when she returned home but I imagine she was happy to be back with her family in West Virginia.

Family picnics were great fun for us. We found an isolated spot in Irving Palmiter’s woods where we made a fire ring for cooking and hung a swing for the children. Fred and Doris Palmer were friends with whom we shared wonderful times. Madeline and I have happy memories of crisp winter nights when we walked to the home of Milo and Hattie Palmer, Fred’s parents, for evenings playing Rook with them. May Whitford was certainly one of our closest, dearest friends–a rare and unforgettable spirit whose loyalty to us was unsurpassed. Many were the hours I spent at the Post Office in stimulating conversations with Post Mistress Ivanna Lewis. I think of her now as having been my chief confidant.

Ev and Clora Harris were special friends to us. We enjoyed being in each others homes for visits and we often consulted one another when there were problems or situations involving our pastorates in Alfred and Alfred Station. I remember a time, too, when shotgun shells could not be purchased. Ev and I found half-a-dozen or so shells and had a successful rabbit hunt that provided meat we were pleased to have in war time. How rewarding to have such friends.

Winnie Cook lived across the street from us with her mother, Calla, and younger brother, Calvin. We were intimately involved with the Cooks and Winnie’s courtship with Clinton Burdick was intensely interesting to Madeline and me. In fact, their courtship was often carried on in our home with our blessing. It was a disappointment to us and them that their marriage came after our departure from the Second Alfred Church. We have stayed in touch with the Clinton Burdicks through the years until now.

A family outing we enjoyed each fall was driving to the Keuka Lake area to pick grapes. There were seemingly endless acres of grape vineyards on the hillsides bordering Keuka Lake. We could pick baskets full of ripe grapes and process them at home into juice or grape jelly. We haven’t forgotten when Anne accidentally sat back into a large pan of new grape juice.

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