At 12 o'clock sharp Miss Vennie rang the lunch bell at our one-room schoolhouse, and the kids all grabbed their dinner pails and rushed outside, chattering all the while. I followed three older girls as they stopped under a big chestnut tree and began spreading out their lunches. My syrup bucket contained a biscuit and pork sausage sandwich, some fried potatoes, a boiled egg and an apple.
Before I had eaten half of my sandwich, here came an old sow and several hungry pigs, rooting their way toward us. One pig got my lunch pail hung over his nose and off he ran through the bushes towards the clay-banked creek where the cows were grazing, with me in hot pursuit! He wasn't about to get my lunch without a struggle!
Back at the chestnut tree the girls were laughing their heads off at the spectacle I was making. They, too, lost almost their entire lunch to the hungry sow and her family, but they seemed to find the whole thing more amusing than tragic. I managed to retrieve my apple, however, and they saved a few nuts.
Finally we trudged back to the schoolhouse and told our story to Miss Venn ie, who insisted on dividing her ample lunch with us. We ended up with fried chicken, sliced tomatoes, and oatmeal cookies.
(Editor's Note: Mercedes Heyn wrote this letter to Capper's in 1979, but passed away in 1986. This story is reprinted with the permission of Fred Heyn.)
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.