Texan recalls childhood memories of summer parties during the depression era, involving square dances, running games, and swimming.
In spite of what would seem a meager existence to present teenagers, we had a lot of fun. The things I recall best included the summer parties where we played games like "Farmer In The Dell," "Lucy Lost Her Slipper," "The Miller Boy," and "Three Deep." Some were simply running games, but others were much like square dancing without music. Occasionally we had cookies and lemonade if the host family could afford them; otherwise we partied without any refreshments. The other kind of summer fun centered around a large corner hole in the creek which flowed through our farm. As many as 75 kids have swum or played in it during the day. That we could swim there was a singular blessing we Naces had. The editor of a local paper during these drouth years once wrote, "Fred Nace should get on his knees daily in thanksgiving for the springs on his farm." It was the truth. Not only did he have a fine one in the pasture for the livestock, but he also had the one that more or less kept the water in our swimming hole clean when the water above and below it was green with scum. But oh it was cold! We Naces got somewhat inured to its chilling, but when kids came out from town to swim they'd soon be blue-lipped and shaking.
I'm happy to relate that even grown-ups didn't lose their sense of humor during those terrible days. A favorite pastime was telling about or searching for a giant snake whose trail had been seen in the deep dust in various areas. Opinions ran wild as to its size. I really don't know now if the stories were all "tongue-in-cheek," or if some actually believed such a snake really existed, but the truth finally came out. Some of the men had been dragging a long stacker rope through the dust!
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.
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