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Just Outside My Door 05/16/13

May 22, 2013
By ELAINE G. COLE - COLUMNIST ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

I hope all you moms out there had a lovely, blest Mother's Day last Sunday. If for some reason some of you didn't hear from or see your children or another special loved one, I wish you belated Mother's Day wishes. I'm thankful our kids and grandkids all expressed their love and care for me on that day. However, I often think it's the parents who should thank their children and grandchildren for the blessings they bring into their lives, not necessarily on a special day, but often.

Speaking of moms, I'm reminded of a letter that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote to her 76-year-old mother in 1921. Laura had just received a letter from her daughter in far away Europe, and it had reminded her of her childhood relationship with her mom. She recalled how her mom counseled for the safe haven of her protection and the relief from responsibility which trusting in her judgment always gave her. But when she read the letter from her daughter, who will always be a little girl to her, regardless of how old she grew, then she understood and appreciated her mother's position and her feelings toward herself. I know that though young children often express they won't follow their parent's way of raising kids, one discovers usually they incorporate many of the same methods their parent's did.

I have often thought about the lives of mothers in yesteryear. If I compare my life as a mom I realize it was much easier than what it was for those in previous generations. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been raising a family in pioneer days or in the years of the great depression. Although I never lived in those days, I have read many books about those eras. I have also heard about them by listening to my parents, grandparents, great-grandmother and other elderly people.

My maternal great-grandparents were from Germany having come across the ocean with their parents when they were very young. I am privileged to have their framed marriage certificate hanging on my hall wall along with other ancestral pictures. My maternal great-grandma's madden name, as written on the certificate, was Mifs. Dora K. Wehorust and great-grandfather's was Mr. John F. Bonhoff. They were wed in the M. E. parsonage in 1876 in Little Valley, N.Y. My mom told me grandpa traveled to America with his parents first class, but grandma's parents, who had less money, traveled via of a steerage boat. The only toy she could take with her was a miniature wooden cooking crock. I now have that tiny toy. Grandma recalls one night on the boat when she was sleeping, her mother pulled her over in because she lay under a cow.

Arriving in America, a number of the immigrants settled in Little Valley. It was there where my great-grandma and grandpa grew up in their respective homes. When she was older, one

fall she traveled with other young folk to Brocton, N.Y., where they spent the week picking grapes, and on Friday evening they went to a barn dance, and that's where she met my Grandpa Wright. The youth went home for the weekend and traveled back on Monday. After the grape season was over the youth returned to their homes.

I can't image what it was like when my grandparents courted for he had to travel by horse and buggy to Little Valley to see her. Obviously they did not see each other very often, but they no doubt communicated by mail. After my great-grandfather died there was an auction after which my grandpa and her grandmother took her to live with them in Dewittville, N.Y. It was there where I first saw her. I remember she was short, had her hair in a big bun on top of her head, wore long sleeved dreary dresses and funny black shoes. She must have had several under garments because her dress stuck out making her look fat. When we went to Grandma Wrights' house she was often sitting on a chair in the kitchen pealing potatoes or something else for grandma. They would always converse in German so I never knew what they said. I'm sure she would be greatly astonished if she had lived in today's world for no doubt her life as a farmer's wife and mother was much more difficult than wives have today. They did not have any of the amenities we now have which makes life much easier for families. The way we dress is vastly different than the way my grandparents dressed. Also the amount one got for their labor was poles apart from wages made today. Although families were very busy it was not like the busy, often hectic lives folk have today.

I'm thankful for the all the new inventions available in today's world making life easier for many. Nevertheless I enjoy country life for its moments of solitude, neighborly contact and the beauty I see daily just outside my door. That's not to say one can't get all of that in a city, but I praise God others live there and I don't.



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