April A to Z Challenge: Learning

Welcome to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year my contribution is the story of my great grandmother Alzina. She lived in the style of “Little House on the Prairie”and kept a record of her life through letters to family and her own journals. I find her story fascinating and intriguing. Each post will start (sometimes strangely) with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, just because they have to. My hope is that we can “catch” some of her courage to help us face challenges in our present times.

Alzina and her siblings took every opportunity to learn, both at church and at community events. They went to events to hear speakers who traveled from town to town and gained reputation while inspiring their young listeners to “make something of themselves”. The young men often responded but as Alzie complained in a letter to her aunt and uncle, the young women were not often interested in education. Alzie laid the blame on the parents, but had this to say of her own father and mother who encouraged her to go past the higher grades to study to be a teacher.

“I don’t know why I have so many advantages given me. A good home, wise father and mother, kind uncles and aunts and so many others . I only hope that I may be able to give a good account of improvement to them. “

To give her “good account” she began early to give singing and music lessons to any who would learn. She taught in Sunday school as well. As small schools sprang up anywhere there were enough children to warrant them, Alzie set herself to acquiring the credentials needed to teach. In those days, teachers had to have continuing education and certification in order to secure work. It was usually one teacher per school. There was no tenure or promise of continued employment and openings for work at the schools changed from term to term. Often preferential treatment was given to relatives or friends of the school board members.

Alzie wrote to her Aunt and Uncle:

June 1888

“I told you I would write to you, but I haven’t kept my word very well. I have been very busy, though, and although that is the universal excuse, I really have had my hands full. Tomorrow is the last day of the three months school. I began at the first in all of my books, and tomorrow I take the last lesson in all but Arithmetic. I had to take 7 pages per day in some and Physiology and Civil Government were new studies to me.

I went to the county examination in April and got a 3rd grade certificate. (Certificates were “graded” according to proficiency, not the grade to be taught.) Phebe and I will both go to Normal. I am going to be just “cheeky” enough to apply for a 1st grade certificate (the highest level), even though I have never taught a term of school. I think that I can do it, if I put a good deal of time on Philosophy and Algebra. But they don’t require those who applied for 1st grade certificate last spring to be examined in Algebra, or any of the higher studies.

Phebe will go to Baldwin this fall and I want her to go until she graduates. I want to go to Emporia as soon as I can. I have applied for a school and have been promised a preference to others, but being a new school district, they don’t know much and can’t tell much about it until after the school meeting.”

Early March, 1889

“Miss Pomeroy, I can’t find my mittens. Can you help me?” Little Mary tugged on Alzie’s skirt and pleaded with her to come out to the cloak room where the children were milling about after being dismissed. It had been the last day of the term and many of the parents had come at the end to hear the children spell.

As soon as Alzina left the room, the men who had been lingering about the door carried some large boards into the room and set up a makeshift table over the desks in the front. The women fetched their baskets from the wagons outside and began to spread “the good things of this life” out for a small feast.

The surprise was ready when Alzie came back into the room and was escorted to a seat of honor by one of the fathers. It was an hour complete with speeches and compliments from the parents who were well pleased with Alzie’s work. It was a great encouragement for a young teacher starting a long career.

Miss Pomeroy and some of her first students. Pictures were rare – this one has survived a hard existence.

April A to Z Challenge: Keeping Company

Welcome to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year my contribution is the story of my great grandmother Alzina. She lived in the style of “Little House on the Prairie”and kept a record of her life through letters to family and her own journals. I find her story fascinating and intriguing. Each post will start (sometimes strangely) with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, just because they have to. My hope is that we can “catch” some of her courage to help us face challenges in our present times.

Probably 1888

In Alzina’s words “mother wouldn’t allow any teasing about beaus, either. She said that she believed her two older sisters might have married happily if they hadn’t been discouraged by teasing.” Her sisters went to work in Vermont factories, and contracted tuberculosis and died.

So Alzina’s experience was markedly different. As a young girl, she had been given a gift of some cows from her grandmother (a gift we all dream of getting, right?) She asked permission to sell the cows and buy an organ on which she and her sister could take music lessons. Permission was granted, and having learned to play, their home became a gathering spot for the young people of their church and community, nearly every Sunday afternoon, for years. In this way, “dating” commenced for the Pomeroy girls.

“Our birthday is coming up soon Alzina. Would you let me plan an outing? I have something that I want to show you.”

Willard was planning what that evening would look like as he drove his new buggy to Alzie’s boarding house and helped her down. He had become so fond of her during their time of “keeping company”. They were becoming quite an item, he thought.

“Yes, that is our mutual celebration day. We might as well share some time with each other, although you are the “old man” by three years.” Alzie teased him. Ever since they had discovered their February 6th birthdays, it had seemed to be a bond of a sort. She thought well of Willard, and he did have a fine buggy. It had also been nice to have an escort to school and social affairs in the community.

As it turned out, Willard showed Alzie a ring on their birthday and asked her to marry him. It was a bit unexpected. Alzie promised to consider it, and she did over the next few months. And then she said “no”. That was not good news to Willard, to say the least. Their courtship was over.

One day some time later after the school term had ended, Alzie returned home. She found her mother in tears over something in the morning mail.

“Mother, what’s wrong? You hardly ever come to tears over letters! Did Father’s carload of hay come to disaster? Was it that bad?”

“Oh no, no loss of hay returns would concern me so much as the letter you got today. Look who it is from.” Mother, with a sad face, handed her the envelope with familiar signature on the back.

Alzie looked curiously at the envelope and went over to hug her mother. She didn’t even need to read the letter to know why Mother was troubled.

“Mother, please don’t be grieved over this. You know I refused Willard because I didn’t care for him enough to marry him, and that sentiment has not changed at all. I would never want you to worry about that. I know it was difficult for us all and having decided, I am quite content and glad. Willard was not the Christian man I had in mind, but I do have hope that he will someday be just that – for someone else who loves him better than I.”

And that is exactly what did happen. Some time later when Alzie was engaged to someone else, Willard came to call on her and asked her if she was truly happy. She was, and after hearing that, Willard was glad. About a month later he did marry a girl who loved him, and Alzie was glad for both of them. Once again, her prayers for others had been heard and answered.

April A to Z Challenge: Just How It Is

Welcome to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year my contribution is the story of my great grandmother Alzina. She lived in the style of “Little House on the Prairie”and kept a record of her life through letters to family and her own journals. I find her story fascinating and intriguing. Each post will start (sometimes strangely) with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, just because they have to. My hope is that we can “catch” some of her courage to help us face challenges in our present times.

Just a short letter, just how it is – but what a picture of life in a hurry, from early Kansas history. And do not miss the remedy for dingy complexions at the end!

To Alzina from her mother Philena Pomeroy. Alzina is attending Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas and staying with her Uncle Pliny and Aunt Allie. It is a Tuesday morning…

“Dear Daughter,

I will send a word, for you are looking for a letter, I expect, but I am in such a hurry. I am letting everything go that I can, and trying to enjoy Uncle Wilbur’s visit. Went down to Uncle Ephraim’s Saturday after school. Yesterday, down to Mr. Child’s and spent the evening. Next Thursday Uncle Ephraim’s folks and Brother Stillwell’s are going to be here. This afternoon we have to butcher pork and beef and I have a pair of pants to make before Friday for Pa to wear. Not much leisure, have I?

I felt very sorry for Aunt Alice in her letter, having to be awake so much nights and work so hard days. I know just how it is, it seems as though I never could go through it again, up and down all night, but must be on hand early in the morning. Even what I have to do now (even though I don’t have to be up and down much) I think to be all I can do.

You must try to get up and start things for her . But, oh, how we did laugh at the idea of you laying abed till seven o’clock! I should have thought your nose would have been stopped up and turned up, too, and wonder your eyes didn’t run, too! How are people going to know that your father has had the name of being the earliest riser in Anderson county, if you do that way? No, Miss Sleepyhead, at the time you were tearing away at those braids, your younger sister, who has been washing since daylight, was serenely finishing her white clothes and calmly preparing for school. So you see, Indian Creek is ahead of Baldwin, yet. We have scarcely missed a day since school began of getting up at four. You see, whenever Phebe was a little slow or backward, I would make fun of her and say “Alzie is at Baldwin” and spur her on to do better, but now she only laughs and says, “yes, and lays abed till 7”. So, you see, I haven’t anything to say.

Now I would suggest as a remedy, that you regain your reputation, that you beg permission to sleep downstairs when Uncle Pliny is gone, that you set the alarm, if you have one, or get Aunt Allie to awake you at some certain hour, and that you get up and make a fire, and then dress and get thoroughly warm, then put on the potatoes and the tea kettle, (you needn’t put it onto the lounge just because your father did), then go and milk, thus giving Aunt Allie a little longer rest.

But there, I didn’t set down expecting to write a sensible letter. Pa prohibits you from writing nonsense, but he has laid no such restrictions on me . But burn this up before he comes, for he may demur at having to pay postage on such trash. I am glad you are having so good times. Laugh every time you have a good chance, be bright and jolly. Study hard, work faithfully.

I was glad you cleaned the stable for Aunt. I was afraid you didn’t think to offer to do it and Aunt maybe, hated to ask you to. Can’t you find time every day (after the dishes are washed) to do it? It don’t seem as though Aunt A. ought to have to. You try and get lessons and work in such shape that Aunt A. will have time to visit as well as you.

It may be a long time before we see Uncle again. Uncle and Pa planned to go on Friday and return Monday, both of them. I suppose you got those stockings. You wrote in such a hurry that you didn’t mention them. Can you wear them with your shoes without hurting your feet?

In haste, Mother.

P.S. Mrs. Childs gave me a recipe for dingy complexions. It is after washing your face. Take a little meal and rub your face, then wipe it off with a crash towel. If Mrs. Childs and Green can profit by it, you and I may. Of course, it won’t cure at once. “

April A to Z Challenge: In the Mirror

Welcome to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year my contribution is the story of my great grandmother Alzina. She lived in the style of “Little House on the Prairie”and kept a record of her life through letters to family and her own journals. I find her story fascinating and intriguing. Each post will start (sometimes strangely) with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, just because they have to. My hope is that we can “catch” some of her courage to help us face challenges in our present times.

In the mirror, her all too familiar reflection stared back at her. Frowning, Alzie tried to imagine how she might look. Her long dark hair was wound up in a bun to keep it in place and she had just taken off the bonnet that she wore outside.

“Mother, what do you think about bangs?”

She and her mother were very close and she knew she could ask her anything and get a kind, wise and respectful answer.

“What’s wrong dear? Are you getting teased at school for your appearance?”

“Not exactly, and I don’t want to be teased either, which is why I’m asking. You know that some of the girls are having their hair fixed with bangs now. And they talk sometimes about wearing earrings too.” She didn’t bother telling about the dancing that she had watched in the school hallway. That had also been interesting but she was pretty sure she knew what her mother would say about that.

“And what do you think about that, Alzie?”

“I wonder if I would like it because it does seem pretty to me. But I want to know your opinion Mother.”

“I know. And I shall give it to you. I am not in favor of those measures to beautify my girl, who is already made beautiful the way God has fashioned her. You know that I believe you and Phebe and Sadie are growing up to be strong capable young women. I am in favor of you learning to support yourselves in some way but I believe that being a wife and mother may likely be your highest calling. The preparation of your character for these roles is much more important than the outward appearance. Fashion and keeping up with trends can become much too important at an early age and I would rather you choose other interests. There, you have it. But whether you approve or disapprove yourself, when you talk with others, do it kindly without offending. Can you do that?”

And so she did learn to stand for her own ideas. And simple observation helped her see who were the safest companions. She really cared more for the approval of Christian parents and friends, and sided with them without arguing about details. And as it turned out, there was no lack of social life. Father was always willing to take Phebe and Alzie to evenings of charades, social games, literary societies and night schools. Since they didn’t have brothers old enough to accompany them, their mother would also go, and then Father would return about 10 p.m. to fetch them home.

In those days being a wife and a mother was a very high calling, and entailed very hard and necessary work. There were not many opportunities available to women that were more attractive either. And whereas bangs and earrings no longer have a stigma today, they were bold and experimentally “fashionable” at the time. And as we all learn sooner or later, one thing can lead to another when dealing with experiments.

April A to Z Challenge: Home, Sweet Home

Welcome to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year my contribution is the story of my great grandmother Alzina. She lived in the style of “Little House on the Prairie”and kept a record of her life through letters to family and her own journals. I find her story fascinating and intriguing. Each post will start (sometimes strangely) with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, just because they have to. My hope is that we can “catch” some of her courage to help us face challenges in our present times.

Home was the hub of the world for the Pomeroy family, and anyplace was home if people could gather round a table and share treasured family customs and a good meal. Alzina grew used to having guests come for dinner, for her parents were always inviting the minister or friends to join the family, often providing lodging as well. They didn’t have much, but what they had was joyfully shared.

Alzie struggled to get dressed, her sore finger throbbing so she could hardly use it. She and Phebe were the “older kids” now, old enough to help with work. Earlier in the week she must have gotten into something out in the hay field where the two of them had been helping Father. The thorn or splinter caused her finger to swell and become infected. Mother called it a felon. And now, since Father had lanced it, the pressure was not as bad but there was very little use for her hand that did not cause pain. She wouldn’t have to go to the field today, but maybe she could help some in the house.

She picked up the water bucket with her good hand and went to the well for the morning’s water. That was another problem. The well water had been quite bad and they had been filling the well with water from the creek. But the creek was also low and oh, how they needed some rain! Grandma Fisk had been saying the bad water was making her stomach ache for days now and they almost went for the doctor last night, she was so bad.

Alzie found she could set the table without too much trouble and needed only the one hand to position each plate, upside down at each family member’s usual place. No food would be put on them until after morning worship and the table blessing. Mother was already turning from the stove, where something delicious was covered in the fry pan, and getting Sadie from the crib. Phebe and Timothy were already over by Father’s rocking chair ready for Bible reading. Alzie finished putting cups at each place and joined the rest.

Father started worship with their favorite Psalm, 107. Sadie loved to hear his clear, strong voice reading the verses about how the Lord satisfies the hungry soul with goodness. It was true, they hardly ever were hungry without there being some food to fix the problem. Father stopped and looked expectantly at Alzie, Phebe and Timothy and they answered his look with their memory verse, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” They were the “children of men” and it was good to know there might be some wonderful works coming their way. Four times during the psalm they were called on to say their part, so it had been easy to memorize.

The Psalm being finished, they came to their places at the table and Father asked the blessing. And so this day began, as all days began, for Father was never so busy that he would forsake leading the family in worship and prayer.

Father also loved to sing, and Alzie loved it when he did, as did most everyone who heard him. He sang in church but it was his singing at home that cheered her up and made her want to sing with him.

As they were finishing breakfast, a gust of wind blew the kitchen door shut with a bang. Everyone jumped, and Father put his nose up in the air, sniffing. “I do believe I smell rain. Could it be?” Everyone left the table and rushed to look outside. It was true. The first drops of rain were pelting down amid the swirling dust devils.

Alzie knew what was coming next. “Sing, Daddy, sing!” The words came like a command from all three excited children. And because he was happy, and was not one to disappoint children, Father did just that. He stood in the doorway and sang at the top of his voice “Rain, oh rain, dear Lord send it down”. Alzie figured they weren’t the only ones listening to Father’s song. God heard too and he must have liked it because it surely did rain.

April A to Z Challenge: Glancing out the Window

Welcome to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year my contribution is the story of my great grandmother Alzina. She lived in the style of “Little House on the Prairie”and kept a record of her life through letters to family and her own journals. I find her story fascinating and intriguing. Each post will start (sometimes strangely) with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, just because they have to. My hope is that we can “catch” some of her courage to help us face challenges in our present times.

The Mad Dog Story, Part 4`

By Sarah (Sadie) Pomeroy Postlewait

There were no rabies vaccines in those days so when a rabid animal showed up in the area, the after shocks went on for a long time affecting farm animals and pets – and scaring children.

Around 1889

Glancing out the window of the schoolhouse, one day the next spring, I saw our neighbor’s dog out by the hedge fence. The teacher had already dismissed the two lower grades and let them start walking for home. Just then I remembered hearing my parents talking at the supper table the evening before. They said Merdicks had tied their dog up because it was acting strangely. They thought a lot of that dog.

When I saw Merdick’s dog out there I wondered if he was all right and had been turned loose, or had he broken loose and was he a dangerous dog! The dog went up the road and I was almost frantic for I knew my little brother Wilbur, had not had time to get home. I held up my hand to attract the teacher’s attention but for some reason she paid no attention to my hand. I felt almost desperate for I could think of only the worst. My feelings were a bit calmed as I saw a man in a wagon driving past the school house, going in that same direction. I hoped he would overtake the children if there was really any danger.

As soon as school was out, I hurriedly gathered up my books and dinner pail and started for home. I had told some of the others about the dog. When we got into the road we could see that the man in the wagon was driving very slowly and was crowding over near the fence. Then before he had gone very far, the man drove on, going very fast.

As we neared our home we saw my mother and Mrs. Merdick motioning us to come quickly. We all came running. They told us the dog had been having a fit and broken loose so Mrs. Merdick had followed at a distance to give warning to anyone she might meet. The man in the wagon told them he had seen the dog at the edge of the road in a real fit and had to drive near the fence to get around it. He said the dog jumped up and went through the fence on the other side of the road.

I asked about Wilbur and Mother said he got home ahead of that wagon. They had sent the children into the house. I went in with tears of joy. I clasped Wilbur in my arms and told him how frightened I had been. He said, “I guess Jesus was just taking care of me.”

Of course kind neighbors were ready to assist in taking care of the mad dog since the Merdick men folks were away from home.

And where was Alzina when all this was happening? Wilbur in this story was born in 1884 so by the time he was old enough to be in school, probably age 5 or 6, Alzie would have been 18 or 19 and was most likely at her teaching job in a neighboring school. We’ll be getting back to her in the next post.

April A to Z Challenge: Father’s Fear

Welcome to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year my contribution is the story of my great grandmother Alzina. She lived in the style of “Little House on the Prairie”and kept a record of her life through letters to family and her own journals. I find her story fascinating and intriguing. Each post will start (sometimes strangely) with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, just because they have to. My hope is that we can “catch” some of her courage to help us face challenges in our present times.

The Mad Dog Story, Part 3

By Sarah (Sadie) Pomeroy Postlewait, sister of Alzina

(A plague of rabies, brought about by a mad dog, continues to affect the pioneer families months after the dog’s death.)

Father noticed, one day the following summer, that old Steve the bull was doing an unusual amount of bellowing, so he made him a little more secure by adding a chain to the rope which already was fastened to a ring in his nose. As the evening shades settled down, Father’s fears seemed more assured. It was prayer meeting night. He made sure he had Steve secure by adding two more chains to his horns and fastening them to a large beam in the barn. Then Father and Mother went to church. They told Phebe, my older sister, their fears, but did not let grandmother or me know about it, for we were so nervous.

Phebe got us all to bed, then she sat by the window upstairs to watch. She could hear Steve becoming more and more fierce, pawing the ground, bellowing and striking the chains with his horns until she could see sparks fly. Finally, to her horror, she saw that he was loose. She thought about her parents.

At last they arrived, driving in carefully. The heard the clanking of the chains on the east side of the barn. Father mistrusted that Steve was loose and they were in danger. Leaving his team stand, he took Mother to the house and ran back to his team. Quickly he unharnessed the horses, and hurried them off to the pasture a quarter mile west. Then he ran to the neighbors house to ask for a gun and someone to help him. They gave him a lantern and two men came with him, but when they got sight of old Steve dashing toward them, with only one weak fence between them, they ran across the road and jumped into the field, leaving Father with gun and lantern.

One thing was in his favor. When Steve would make a dash, he would seem to feel something biting his hind leg, and would turn and begin kicking furiously. Fear seemed to give force to FAther’s movements, and in a short time he fired the shot that did the work. His neighbors came back to commend him for his bravery. (And yet there is more, concluded in Part 4, next post.)

April A to Z Challenge: Eager Children with Weapons

Welcome to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year my contribution is the story of my great grandmother Alzina. She lived in the style of “Little House on the Prairie”and kept a record of her life through letters to family and her own journals. I find her story fascinating and intriguing. Each post will start (sometimes strangely) with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, just because they have to. My hope is that we can “catch” some of her courage to help us face challenges in our present times.

Eager children armed with weapons confront a mad dog… What could possibly go wrong?

The Mad Dog Story, Part 2

By Sarah (Sadie) Pomeroy Postlewait

(Previously, the boys playing ball notice an animal under the schoolhouse and think it is a rabbit. They investigate.)

All the boys came running, one bringing a board with which to hit it. They put the board in the hole and lo, a dog came near and began biting at it! Immediately the boy dropped the board and yelled, “Mad dog!” And we all tumbled into the schoolhouse in a hurry.

The teacher used great wisdom and locked the door. The older ones raised a window and saw the dog lying in a fit by the side of the house. The teacher sent two big boys, who were young men, across a field to get a gun. After a while the dog got up and went around the house to the coal shed and there he had another fit. We smaller scholars were glad the dog had moved where we could watch it too. It was all so exciting that we could hardly realize the danger we had been in. When the big boys came back, the dog was curled up and they lost no time shooting him twice. The boys came in and the teacher locked the door again.

After a while someone looked out and announced the dog was not dead. The teacher let the big boys out again. This time they ventured a little nearer by walking along the hitch rack. Just as they aimed the gun, the dog sprang into the air but their shot brought him to the ground. This time they rand and got the ball bat and knocked him in the head until they were sure he would never come to life again.

There was no more school that day for us. Each of us went home to tell our parents the thrilling story. However, awful things had only begun to happen. My father killed poor Carlo, and every dog in the neighborhood was tied up or killed within the next few days.

A number of cows and hogs, and perhaps some horses showed the presence of hydrophobia in the days that followed. Occasionally a new mad dog was heard of, but a suspicious looking dog could not exist very long in that part of the country after that.

Some time after this Cherry, one of our best milk cows, went mad. They went out to milk one morning and found her running here and there bellowing constantly. Father and the hired man and older children managed to run her into a small yard where they could get a strong rope over her head and tie her closely. When Father and Alzie came near she would bellow so pitifully, but when strangers came she would paw the ground and lunge at the fence. Before night they had to shoot her. Of course Mother emptied out all the milk we had on hand, for we had been milking Cherry right along. Some months later another valuable cow went mad. (Continued in Part 3, next post)

April A to Z Challenge: Dogs and Animals

Welcome to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year my contribution is the story of my great grandmother Alzina. She lived in the style of “Little House on the Prairie”and kept a record of her life through letters to family and her own journals. I find her story fascinating and intriguing. Each post will start (sometimes strangely) with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, just because they have to. My hope is that we can “catch” some of her courage to help us face challenges in our present times.

Dogs. Dogs and animals were a great asset in pioneer days. Most families had a dog around the farm for protection, and as a companion, but these animals were part of the work force, not necessarily pets. They were not fed manufactured food and taken to the groomer. They were not even allowed in the house.

The next few stories are about some of those animals that belonged to the Pomeroy family when my great grandmother Alzina was a child. Her sisters Sadie and Emma were writers and told the stories well so I will not rewrite what doesn’t need to be rewritten.

The Mad Dog Story

By Sarah (Sadie) Pomeroy Postlewait

When I (Sadie) was a child, our neighborhood was visited by a mad dog. By neighborhood I mean exactly that, for it seemed in one night’s time, every farmyard was visited by this creature. Cattle, horses, and hogs as well as dogs were bitten by him, while chickens and geese were greatly disturbed, and a number of them killed by this rabid beast.

I shall never forget that dark, cold night in the dead of winter when we were awakened by some dog fighting our dog Carlo. They were going round and round the house with poor Carlo yelping at a great rate. Carlo had two little pups in a box in the coal shed, which was a lean-to built against the north side of the house. Father went to the door and called, “Carlo, Carlo!” As the dogs came near Father opened the shed door and went back to bed. But soon he heard Carlo barking and whining again so pitifully. He again went to the door. As the light from the lamp shone out, he saw this strange dog run away. It was not Carlo at all.

Again Father began to call Carlo, and going out to the shed, he found both puppies nearly chewed up. One was dead and the other barely alive. He brought the box into the kitchen. The strange dog came near the door but seemed to be dazed by the light. Father kicked the dog aside and it ran away. Soon Carlo came in answer to his call and he turned her into the kitchen also and shut the door, never dreaming that the visiting dog was a mad dog.

The following morning is indelibly stamped on my memory. As we reached the road on our way to school, we saw the Gardner children and they waited for us. Then we saw the Ellsworth children coming behind, and we waited for them. All were very talkative concerning a strange dog that had made great disturbance around the houses and yards the night before.

At recess the older boys ran out to play town ball, while we children played around in the school yard. Almost everybody had been telling dog stories, and some children declared their papa believed it was a mad dog. This added new thrill to our stories but I was sure it was not so, for my papa did not say so!

The ball game was going fine and the first runner was standing on third base, just ready to make his home run, when he heard a noise under the house, for third base was at the southeast corner of the schoolhouse. One stone was out of the foundation, so he stooped down and looked under. It was too dark to distinguish what was under there, so he called out, “Oh boys, there’s a rabbit under here!” All the boys came running, one bringing a board with which to hit it. They put the board in the hole and… (Continued in the next post!)

Weighing In

It’s Sunday, which means it’s a day off from the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. Instead I want to update anyone who has wondered whether or not I accomplished anything with my December walking/fitness goals.

10,000 STEPS

For a while there, the 10,000 steps a day thing was at the top of my list. It was hard to make it happen. I got tired of it and was glad when the month was over. But, guess what? It became more of a habit than I anticipated.

It was a challenge, and not meant to last forever, but I loved the activity and have kept it up, with a few alterations.

First, I lowered my daily expectation to around 8,000 steps, which I have heard is just as beneficial as the higher number. Who decides? I think I heard it was a somewhat arbitrary number that sounded good to someone in charge of a program.

Second, I don’t reach that number seven days a week. Realistically, there are days when it’s just not going to get done because something else is more important. But if I go two days without walking, I know it’s time to hit the road again. Now that the snow is gone it is so much easier, and so interesting to be outside in the spring!

Ooops, did I say the snow was gone? Well, it was, and then it wasn’t.

FITBIT

In December I frequently found myself looking at fitness trackers and smart watches. Carrying my phone for GPS and counting steps was always an uncertain thing. I was always wanting to walk at the low end of the phone battery life. But I thought I could hold off getting one – maybe someone would get me one for Christmas?

So that’s what I finally did, bought myself a Fitbit Versa 3. I spent about a month wearing it 24/7 and got addicted to all that good information it was giving me. Then I noticed a reddened area on my wrist under the band that looked very unusual to me. Being a nurse, I immediately googled the problem and found scores of reports of allergic skin reaction and possible EMF sensitivity. I was very disappointed and stopped wearing it all the time.

Made myself a little cuff, for when I’m not wearing long sleeves. Zeb can’t figure out the new gadget.

I still use the Fitbit for shorter periods of time, and I always wear fabric between it and my skin. So far, so good – no new skin inflammation. It can still read my pulse and count steps, and give me notifications from my phone. I’m not using it to track my sleep though. I’m being cautious and giving my arm some free time at night. Basically, the Fitbit is now an expensive pedometer.

NOOM

There’s more. I saw a trial offer for Noom on Facebook and decided to go for it. I like learning about different approaches to weight loss and wanted to know just what was so unique about this one. They promised I could lose what I wanted to lose by mid April, and they were right! I did it. I am back down to a weight I can easily live with, and I think I can keep myself there. Here’s why.

I’ve been made so much more aware of why I eat (overeat) and this understanding has made a lot of difference. The psychology around weight loss has taken some pretty big leaps. I was surprised by a lot of it, but it made sense. The daily lessons were short (I chose how long I wanted to spend on them). They involved some snarky humor, which helped it be interesting. And who doesn’t want a couple coaches and a group of fellow Noomers available for encouragement and accountability, right there in your phone, whenever you need them?! Again, a little addicting.

Gonna miss the #NoomNerds

Apparently I wasn’t keeping track of when my trial period ended, and was a little surprised when my next monthly charge came through. I decided not to renew, even though the program was good and effective. Daily weighing and logging of meals raised my awareness of what I was doing to myself which was helpful, but also time consuming. It was like a long range project. I don’t need another project in April. They refunded the charge and cancelled my account with no hassle. I still have use of the free app, and I learned a lot of good stuff.

BOTTOM LINE

I feel pretty good about my general health and have added some new tricks to my “already pretty good lifestyle”. Everything isn’t perfect, and I’m still feeling wear and tear on my aging body, but I’m not dead yet and I’ve lived through 2020 without getting COVID 19! How great is that? Feeling blessed, just sayin’…