Iowa History Project


Her Life in her Own Words By Gladys Van Horn
Transcribed by Elaine Swan

     I was born Feb.6,1898 on a Sunday in a house not far from the Des Moines River. My brother John Wesley was 2 years older and loved to wander down to the river so they moved to a house on the East side of the Capitol. As a child we children played on the Capitol Steps and the lawn around it. When I was 4 years old Bell Day  came to live with us, she was my fathers first cousin. Mother worked with my father in his jewelry store so Bell became a second mother to us children. There were 5  little ones. Bell was the dearest lady.
     Wesley the oldest, then myself, then Lucille, then Harry Eldon and Mildred Nevada the youngest. To me Mildred was my doll.I loved to care for her. Her hair was blond it set her beautiful face off with her velvet brown eyes and fair skin. Her hair was color of gold it shone on  her little dimpled hands and cheeks. How I loved and adored her.
     My sister Dorothy Lucille was 3 years younger than I. She was small  and had croup alot. She was very loved and we all loved to cater to her due to her smallness. She had brown hair brown eyes and was very cute. She loved to play piano. She went to Drake University in music department.
     My brother John Wesley was a dear brother he was 2 years older than me. He went over on the first ship to Europe to fight in WW1.He  became assistant to the doctors in the field hospitals. He was a brave young man He worked along with doctors until war ended. He came back but his life was not good. He came home after a long hospital stay in vets hospital. He married had one son who went in Air Force in WW2. He was shot down and killed. His name was Francis Wesley.
     My son Arthur Donald was  killed in second world war on destroyer USS Jarvis. He is buried at sea with ship.
     My younger brother Harry Eldon was a mechanic for the government and worked on government planes. He lived with mother until his passing. He died shortly after.
     As a young girl I was blond with blue eyes now in my senior years my hair is brown mixed with white.

     The house on the East side was on 16th Grand Ave. I remember it well. When I was 2 or 3 years old I wandered off somehow I was found and returned home and put to bed and was happy. I had a good time wandering thru fields of lovely wild roses, buttercups, chasing butterflys with never a worry. Next morning I was dressed fed my doll was put on the porch with a few toys then the surprise my father came out with a long rope. He tied it around me saying you can play now when you have it on. You will wear it three days and promise never to leave the yard again. I was too ashamed to cry or let anyone see me. I tried to hide the rope so laid face down in the grass. Third day  I grew up and never left the yard again. They knew I could be trusted.
     I can remember my mother so sick throat swelled shut with fever along with my baby brother both were given up by doctors telling my father they would die. Both had scarlett fever. I was crying as I didnt want my mother to die. My father said they will not die. Im getting a doctor [magnetic they called him] They said it wont help. He came in rolled up his sleeves rubbed his hands together fire sparks flew out he placed his hands on mothers head and neck and also on my baby brothers  He gave them some medicine. Two days later both were swallowing and fever was gone. He stayed with us until both were well. How I wish I could see this man and thank him. He had to be a man of God. He prayed each time.
Accident on teachers desk.
     While living in the house at 16th Grand Ave I started school when 4 years old. It was Lucas School. I could read and wanted to go anyway. My mother got up late first day of school and never gave me time to use  bathroom. I was 2 years younger than all the other first graders. They towered over me. I had long curls and must have been cute as they carried me to one room with older kids and stood me up on teachers desk so the children could draw me. After awhile I needed to go to bathroom. I was too ashamed to ask as teacher kept calling me precious a little darling. Some water started to trinkle down  I ran into the hall. The teacher caught me and kissed me and put dry undies on me. She lectured the kids so no one ever laughed at me. She showed me where toilets were. A couple of kids drew my picture with trinkles coming down my mother kept them for awhile. Those days no one realized a 3 or 4 years old was too young to learn so much in one day.
After Mildred was born Grandma was there always when a new baby came. She called me in to see my baby sister. How happy I was as I wanted a sister so bad not a brother. Grandma helped me put some sugar lumps in the window for the stork to see so he would bring a little sister. I ran so fast to see her. I took one good look then said oh no  its the wrong baby. Please send her back. Its a negro baby. Someone else got our baby girl. But grandma said its your own baby sister. I ran next door to Mrs Mundens house and cried and cried. I said Mrs Munden I got a negro sister. She ran over to see herself  and came back and said she is a beautiful baby a little pinkink red like most new babies. In a couple of weeks she will be white and she was as she was blond and fair.
     From there we moved to 2700 Capitol Ave not far from the state fair grounds. We could also see the Gold dome of the capitol from the street in front. It was here Belle Day came to live with us.I  tell you she became a second mother to us. She cared for us when mother would go with father to the jewely store each day. Mother needed  to get away from us children. My mother and father were so much in love. Father always took her shopping for clothes. He dressed her like a Queen. She wore silk and taffeta dresses. Also beautiful hats of velvet with large white plumes. She was beautiful. I used to reach out to touch her skirts as they passed they would russle and she smelled like a flower so sweet. Father had her always so beautiful with beautiful jewelry and I was so proud of both of my parents. We children had  parents who loved us and each other. We never worried as we felt so secure. We had everything as well as Bell whom we loved and she became part of our family

     Here in the early 1900's there were mostly dirt roads in front with no paving. We little girls would have a  long big rope, two would take an end and turn it others would jump in soon they went higher and higher and higher. I liked this. I was only  6 or 7 years old then. Id jump higher and higher no one could jump me or out run me. Not many toys around those days so we practiced running up the dirt road. Everybody wanted to run to win as holidays there was always a foot race and money to win. It was up this road one of us would see the gypsies coming, Always a two wheel covered cart hauled by an old horse. Gypsies wore bright red full long skirts heads tied with red bandanas handkercheifs The brass bracelets they wore clang as they grew closer. Terrible stories were told about them as they stole everything even children. We would grab everything we could and run for the house, lock the barn and house doors and windows. We just woundnt go to the door, It really was exciting  but not pleasant to anyone when they were around. With Bell with us we knew we were safe. When they would look or knock on the window. Bell would shake the rolling pin at them. They would leave fast. Bell loved to attend the pie socials at the church each month. She always took me on her days off and we both loved cherry or blackberry pie. So we both ate plenty of pie. We never missed a pie social. Those days there were no restaurants, hamburger places like today. People had fun at the church socials. Strawberry cake or in winter fresh oyster stew with little crackers. There were no bakeries or laundrimats and few cars, just horses and buggies.
     We had Bess our horse so sweet and faithful a good horse to drive  she never would run away. We had a two seated buggy with a fringe all  around the top. Every Sunday afternoon father and mother took us all for a ride down to the river where all the families tied their horses up to listen to a band play. We played on the grass and  ate popcorn. And then we drove home  not far to go home where we had a light supper. Things were so peaceful. But as I look back and realize how hard people slaved those days people grew old fast and looked old too. Its better today electric stoves cars to ride in. Only one fault too many people caused it too many babies,i t cruel to be crowded out of childhood in a too overcrowded world.

Fight With Jennie Shipley
     When I was 11 or 12 years old we moved from Des Moines to Rippey, Iowa where my my Aunt Mollie lived there. She was not well so mother begged father to move to Rippey and my dad bought the only grocery store in town and added a jewelry and optical store by it.I did not want to leave Des Moines and my friends but we did what we were told to do. Bell Day returned to her home  We were shampooed, bathed, dressed with new clothes before leaving. My hair was brushed into long curls down my shoulders It had a light blue ribbon tied on my curls. I wore white long stockings a white trimmed dress with a blue  sash. I wore a new pair of  the cutest baby doll patent slippers. I remember this well as I was so proud of my new clothes. Any way we got off the train at Rippey to walk to the store where father was. I guess every girl in town was at the depot to meet the train. As we started to walk up the sidewalk the girls got behind me calling me city kid, pulling my hair, kicking dirt on me  Mother said ignore them You dont fight girls just keep walking I got too much that last kick did it. I turned  toward the overgrown girl and I said, meet me in the alley back of the store as soon as we can change we will talk it out. I changed tied my hair up with a towel and while mother was enjoying seeing father and Aunt Molly I went to talk it over As I got  outside Jenny Shipley the big girl who was the doctors daughter and my age but bigger by far She gave me a kick and seemed to want to show off in front of the other girls I some how let her have it good. I pulled her hair so hard and she went down as I punched her in the nose she begged me to quit it Some one must have seen us and took us both by the arms and asked us to be friends. Somehow Jenny must of  liked me as we were like sisters. Everywhere Jenny was I was so this is one friend I can never forget.  While living here a short time my mother and her sister Mollie spent every day together They were so close and I know how my father missed Des Moines but he never complained. Rippey is a small town a flat prarie town. That winter was a bad one one blizzard after another. On waking up that morning the house felt warmer than usual Our bldg was buried in in snow to the roof. We had to dig a tunnel to the shed to get coal and  wood in. We were warned of snow coming so Mollies famlies moved in with us along with many church friends, we had lots of food as we had the only grocery store downstairs at night father would make good hot fresh oyster soup for all of us. We were lucky as so many suffered thro  this winter here.

     When spring finally came the word of small pox epidemic. Wesley came down sick first then everyone else caught it. Dr.Shipley left town with his family scared to death. Here we were with no doctor, everyone was so sick, big sores, all over them. They were as red as fire. Father had the smallpox the year before. So he got ahold  of Dr.Lovejoy someway and he came and quarantined the store as well as our own place. I never will forget how he looked coming in the back door wearing a long black rubber raincoat rubber boots and cap all black mask and gloves He looked at them left medicine and told father what to do I helped the girls with medicine and helped sponge their bodies  of fever as best I could  as I was only 9 years old. After 2 months they got well but so weak. I never got it the doctor was determined for me to get it as he did not want to take off the quarantine sign down and I turned loose and came down  with it. Each day he looked my body over for a pimple. I got so tired of being locked in so one day I crawled out the window onto the front porch looking down and I shook the throw rugs and it was great fun to see the people run for their life for fear a germ would fall on them. Next day here comes Dr.Lovejoy he filed the bathtub with hot water and put black medicine in it it stunk like a skunk. He made me strip off my mother watching and laid me down in it. I really got my babtism from the devil and my body turned red. Then he put a large black rock around my neck to wear It was  called an assphhidia bag to keep me free of germs. Then the sign came down. I was free at last For awhile  no one wanted to play with me but soon I was one of the kids in town. But after all this we decided prairie towns were not for us. We came back to the city of Des Moines our real home and love. I graduated from West High School in 1915. I went to work in the telephone office. I went to school to learn the switchboard and I learned every factor of the switchboard as well as reading them. First  I learned the A board next the B board between connecting cords between other telephone offices in Des Moines. Then I learned the Hospital Boards between  line men and out of order phone change and out boards to Long Distance Boards it was exciting and I loved it.I became a supervisor and a chief operator when I was 17 years old.T he wages I earned were tremendous I came home on payday and paid my board to mother along with several big bills to do as she wanted to do so with it.I  loved to look nice and I  worked in lovely  suits wore beautiful clothes and white kid gloves. I sang in our church choir and I enjoyed living at home with my family and did not ever want to leave Somehow life changes it does not have to if one does not listen to other people. While attending the Methodist Church one Sunday morning the minister announced we had a visitor a Mr. Axel Blackrud who was a contractor from Seattle,Washington. He came here  to put up the Ford Bldg. He was a handsome man 30 years of age 5 feet 11 inches tall dressed  immaculately a neat suit a gorgeous smile as my father shook his hand he asked my father who the young lady was with him so we were introduced they invited him to dinner and he was  delighted. They all liked him so much. As for me I was not impressed as I could see he was trying so hard to get acquainted with me. Anyway I ignored him and he kept coming to see mother and dad. Finally he began sending large boxes of red long stemed roses along with large boxes of candy. I did like him but did not want to be pushed into a marriage as I was content to be me as I was. Axel was a brillant man went through college and could draw a blueprint so easy. He put a office bldg up hired foremen and carpenters. Up went a big Ford Plant.It took several months to complete due to weather condtions. I was proud to be seen with Axel.He was such a good man of character and was a good father to his little ones as well as a husband who loved me so. God called him home in 1922 thru an operation at General Hospital in Seattle. Donald was 3 and a half years old and Doris was 2 Jan 10th. He died Jan 20th.

The Blizzard and snow plow that saved me..
     I must write about Bell Day, she came to live with us when I was  5 years old. She cared for us five children, bathed us and made us  home made cookies and bread and beautiful cakes and meals each day she prepared for our family. I knew I loved her alot no body told me she was my father's first cousin, [daughter of Austin Day and Martha Van Horn] until years later when I asked about her. Winter nights I crawled up to her in bed, she kept me covered and I took it for granted she would always be there. One day I came home from school and there was no Bell Day I cried and cried for her. but in her place was my Aunt May mothers youngest sister. Mother took her in to help but they soon realized there was no one like Belle..Aunt May was only 18 and could do nothing and couldnt handle the work. Bell loved housework and enjoyed our home. Whenever the Christian church gave a social she would dress me pretty and we would catch a city bus and what good times we had. Pies socials were my favorites. Winters were terrible in Iowa one never knew when a blizzard would   strike us. Well I remember one day my older brother was sick so she wrapped me up well, tied a scarf around my face and handed me my lunch pail and I went to school. I had to walk thru fields 5 miles if  I took a short cut it  was 2 and a half miles thru the fields. School was until 4 p.m. During school it started to snow.  It seemed to get worse so school was let out. I was about 6 years old. I walked and walked my feet felt so heavy I started to cry my tears froze into my face finally I felt sleepy and just sat down on the deep snow  to rest a snow plow was headed towards me snow was so deep now somehow the man saw me and carried me to the snow plow and brought me to the first house we came to and told the lady to keep me until the blizzard was over and somehow he got the word to Belle I was safe and in this ladies house the lady unwrapped me rubbed my feet and hands wrapped me in warm blanketts and fed me warm soup my face was almost frozen I was so lucky Belle wrapped me warm with a wool scarf over my face. Living in Iowa with the blizzards and tornados is very dangerous country. I dont need a picture of Belle Day as I can vision her in my mind I still miss her She was like an angel on earth.

Pig Story
     When I was a small child my  grandparents took me to visit a large farm in Linden,Iowa to visit my Aunt Bertha and Uncle Ivyl Harris.I had never been to a farm before I was a city girl living in Des Moines,Iowa  I watched my uncle milk  the cows and he asked me if I liked milk I said oh yes he then squirted  milk in my open mouth. He really enjoyed this as he liked children. I looked around and saw a fence around some pigs and what caught my eyes  was some small baby pigs nursing their mother pig. I screamed out with joy please let me have one little pig to my joy they reached in and handed me one the softest warmest little baby pig with a little pink stomach. I held it close to me.I kissed it and said you are my baby pig and are going home with me. hen Aunt Bertha said she is all yours but she must stay here to nurse her mother. But you can come back next summer and she will be here for you.I counted the months as they passed and  the next summer we again  went to to visit in Linden,Iowa at grandmas and the farm. I ran out to see my baby pig. Aunt Bertha said here they are growed up and my baby pig weighed several hundred pounds. I will never forget my little pig and my disappointment as I thought they were playing tricks on me my baby pig had to be somewhere I looked and Looked and looked I finally gave up and cried and cried and I never liked my Aunt and Uncle anymore.

Barnum and Bailey Circus
      In the summer of 1906 I was 8 years old . My aunt Maud was then a young housewife living in a partically built home  they were building with out side plumbing. Those early years houses were far apart. Aunt Maud had no neighbors close. She had fields all around her in East Des Moines. Every summer the circus came to Des Moines  and put up a big tent on the fairgrounds. They used the water pumps watering the animals the clotheslines to hang up their laundry so Aunt Maud  knew these circus pretty well in return we were given free passes to everything even invited to enjoy meals with them. My brother Wesley always got a job of watering the elephants which he loved to do. To me the most exciting thing  was the big parade through the city streets with hundreds of people staring at the beautifully dressed animals  with velvet covers of red and gold trimmed. There was always a brass band with  red velvet jackets on the men. I loved everything about the circus people and their life when I was 8 years old. I watched everything  they were doing as they began lining up to march I looked up on the seat  on top of the elephant when the circus people asked my Aunt  if I could  sit on the seat on top of the elephant. My aunt gave permission so up I was lifted and I felt like a little princess looking down. at the crowds on each side staring up at us when I heard  a scream from my mother. Look its Gladys she was so humilated as to her were like show people and I must have shocked her. When I did get home the next dayI was scolded But Im still happy to this day I did it and I know mother and our family enjoyed free tickets.

False Rumors of End of The World
     I can remember well the summer of 1910 some rumor got around the end of the world would be in 24 hours so if you own jewels and money you could not enter heaven you would go to hell. Churches and people went crazy on their  knees asking for forgiveness., money was burned along with valuables Neighbors and relatives, got together sat up to see the sky. Children cried as  it frightened them. My father told us it was crazy no one knew when the end would come. He told so many to keep their possessions not to believe this. Somehow I believed my father he was a good man and a Methodist. Anyway I sat with mother and cousins on the porch until morning came at  last nothing happened they way they said it would they said it would still happen Saturday. They waited and prayed. After a couple of days they realized it was a false rumor. Their money was gone they had nothing. Father never said I told you so. He was kind and we still have possessions.

Tent Revival Meetings Pentecostal
     Those early days was revival days. Every summer large tents were put up in the parks crowds came camped  on the grass and the preachers would shout and people cried as it frightened the children. But it was exciting and something to do as the music was very nice to listen to and one day Billy Sunday came to Iowa. A black long tabernacle was put up. Every church of all faiths sent their choirs to sing. I was in a Methodist choir. Billy Sunday stood up on a platform he preached hell and damination. I can still hear him and those words. He pounded  his fists  on the pulpit doors of the building and drunks would run in crying save me,save me. The floors were full of sinners one man came in with a policeman trying to grab Billy Sunday Billy Sunday let out a yell leave that man alone he wants to be saved how about you are you ready for heaven if you are a sinner get on your knees. The policeman fell to the floor. I got so nervous I could not do my schoolwork. So I stayed home Pentecostals were everywhere those days.

Fourth Of July Race
     When I was 11 years old in Sheldon,Iowa a lovely Dutch town  a very small city. We were there a short time it was in northern Iowa close to Minnesota and very cold. That Sunday before the 4th f July arrived  the young children were told a celebration would be held in the big park in town and a foot race would be held for 12 to 14 years and a prize  of a dollar  to the winner. That really excited me each day I practiced running up the dirt roads. I was determined to win that race.I  so wanted that dollar for rides on the merry go round and ice cream cones. Our family was going we planned a picnic  dinner  in the park. We talked and talked about it. My Aunt and Uncle came to visit also Grandma and Grandpa Hardenbrook. I was so very very happy I got up early that morning when low and behold there was a lady and her daughter at the door asking mother to take me with her and who  had a daughter about my age and they wanted me to attend a picnic at their church.I t was 5 miles to their country church. Mother hated to refuse her so here I go my heart was broken but I watched how the road went as the horse and buggy rode along. We got there and played a little and as soon as I could I saw my chance I ran like a deer for the corn field it hid me from the road I ran all the way back and got to the park just as the race started my feet were hurting, my hair was messed up.I kicked my shoes off knelt down and when they yelled go I flew fast my feet hardly hit the ground I did it I yelled out I won! I won! I cried out with joy as the silver dollar  was put in my grubby little hand. Then here was my mother she began scolding me for disobeying her then my father spoke up he said  she obeyed you she did go to country church and she obeyed me as I gave her permission to be here at park to be in the race so he told me to go to our house clean up rest a little, and back to the park to spend my silver dollar. Those days a dollar was worth alot.

Happy  Days My childhood at East Des Moines at 2700  Capitol
     Father bought this old comfortable house for the special reason with five small children there was a acre  of yard shade trees,5 bedrooms and room for a horse and a two seated buggy. There was a wonderful porch extending clear around the front of the house. There was a old wagon in back and a barn for our horse Bess. Bell Day came to live with us in this house so you see it held many happy memories. Those days there was no television, radio, and phones were very few, somehow  we never missed them. Just being close famlies  and games to play life was pure happiness .I still remember the rains in Iowa first the lightening then the thunder overhead everyone ran for shelter for Iowa when it rained it came down in buckets like a flood. If you never saw a rainbow you should visit one in Iowa It curves around in the sky in the most beautiful vivid colors of orange,red and purple it was so exciting  to see this beautiful rainbow. We children  ran in the back yard where the ditch was filled with water. We had made a raft  so into the water  we drug it everyone got aboard and we played a game of being   on a big ship on the ocean what fun we ha d.Then we could wade barefoot and Bell would dry our clothes and mother never knew we were barefooted or dirty as we were clean when mother came. home. Some days we all climbed up into the big hay wagon and played like we were in a covered wagon going to grandmas homestead in Iowa We little girls had our dolls for babies and the boys would play Indians it was real exciting when the boys got rough Belle  would come out and send the boys home and Wesley to his room. In front of the house was a dirt road those days most roads were dirt. This was perfect for running races or jumping rope. George   lived across the road an only child and his mother seemed to idealize him. He was so clean, he didnt know how to get dirty. He never was allowed to play with boys. They might hurt him his mother always said. Each morning he was there to play jacks on my porch or play dolls. I really wanted no part of him. I  loved rope jumping so he would watch we little girls running races and jumping rope. Also at the end of the block was a coal miners family. There was a little  brown haired girl 8 years old always watching  we children play this one beautiful day she asked her mother  to please wheel her close to us so she could visit us  a and jumping and see us jump rope. While we were laughing  and jumping with a long rope all of a sudden  this little girl someway  got out of the chairs tried to jump rope then fell to the ground. and in no time at all she died. We children cried and we all thought somehow we were to blame. You see little May Gorman  had a serious heart condition. Somehow we never wanted to jump rope again, Those days when someone died they kept them at home until they were buried. There were no funeral parlors. What was so tragic we were asked to be dressed in white. Six of us little girls and sit around the little white casket on chairs during the funeral. Each of us little girls had shed so many tears now as we looked at  each other some were crying and some were  smiling. We were all   scared  and so nervous  When it was over it took a long long  time for any of us children to sleep or to be happy again. Father immediately said we had better move from this place so we did  go to Rippey, Iowa, I believe no child should attend funeral. Things never  stay the same which is sad going back to Iowa and seeing the places I lived here was the same house porch still on it but it looked broken down in need of repairs. On both sides of the street there  was one house  against the other no yards to play in yes the street was paved the shade trees were gone and it was like a strange place. We are becoming over crowded  with people. I wonder  if we should stop  people coming here to be citizens. Then our true Americans could be happy. and have jobs again. Indians could be treated better and our own people would have a chance of a better life and security.

The Pink Dress
     When I was 4 years old we lived next door to a Jewish family a young lady  and a mother to a 2 year old girl. I would sometimes wander over to play with the little girl with dark curly hair and I loved this family they always welcomed me  with a hug and a kiss. Well one day the lady asked me if I had a wish for something what would it be. I knew exactly what I wanted so much, a pink dress and a pink  ribbon for my hair. In a few days out she comes with a beautiful  pink dress just my size and a pink dress dress  for her little girl. It was such a pretty pink all gathered  and lace trimmed. When she put it on me I felt like a princess I just kept  touching  it  and looking  at the beautiful  pink you see Id never had pink  before even my dolls came dressed in blue. Lucille wore pink and her dolls were always pink how beautiful  I felt in my pink dress. I will never forget  this lady who made and gave me this pink dress.

My favorite velvet hat
     Now it was time  to wear winter coats  and hats so my father took Lucille and I shopping. for  winter coats  as he knew what looked best on us and he enjoyed shopping. For  each of us he got plaid wool coats with velvet trim Lucilles  had red velvet trim as she had brown eyes, dark hair for me he bought a  brown and  tan  wool plaid coat with brown plaid trim. I was blond  and  brown was a color for blonds. He looked over the table at velvet dresses, hats, and saw  a brown  and tan  velvet with a trim all around it. It just fit me I looked in  the store mirror and I dearly loved it I said oh papa can I keep it for my very own? Of course its all yours. Well we were fitted with new shoes . We both wanted brown ones for dress and for church. We came home to mother  to show her our new clothes. As mother hung up the new clothes Lucille threw her new hat the one she begged father to get her and went into a tantrum and wanted my new velvet hat I said no father said  no. Well that ended that but when Saturday  came and our new hats came out of the closet Lucille grabbed my pretty brown velvet hat put it on and off to church we went. No use for father to intervene. Mother would side in with Lucille. Lucille would go into a tantrum until she got what she wanted. So that was the end of my  new pretty hat. One thing I will say is its better  to be  the younger daughter  as no matter if you are still a small  child  and the older one you are expected to grow up fast, take the  spankings of the younger one. One should never show partiality between their children or give in to their tantrums.

Stork and New Baby
     One day  grandma came to visit. and she asked me about my new rag doll she made for me that Christmas. I told her I liked the doll. She then said  would you like a real live doll, a baby brother or sister. I was real excited then. I was three years old she said I will put a little sugar in the window sill so the stork will see it. If he loves sugar he will bring a  little brother or sister. I said hurry Grandma  I want a baby sister  well in a couple of days I woke up one morning I could hear a baby crying I was told I could see my little sister Lucille. She loved  to cry she was so little. I was so happy to have a sister. Somehow when a baby came Grandma was there. to put a spoonful of sugar in the  window. It always worked.
 as a brother  and a little sister after that. We all lived but one day when I was 14 years old  a little surprise baby came he died a couple of hours later. Mothers had tumors and had to be operated on. Mother was a beautiful lady and grandma was always at our house  to nurse and care  for any of us.

The mumps
     One morning I woke up  I tried to talk but my jaws  were so swelled  out and I could not speak I caught the mumps and both my cheeks were swelled out. I looked like a balloon .We has 5 children all came down  with the mumps at once. Poor mother she had some flannel diapers so she warmed one for each of us. and tied them around our heads the heat helped the pain. It so happened  Uncle Ivyl and Aunt Bertha  were visiting  us  and my uncle loved to  tease us sometime  he went too far . We came down for breakfast  we were hungry  but no one could open their mouths to eat  so we drank out of straws. Uncle Ivyl thought it was funny  as he pulled out a silver dollar  shined it up and said  anyone that will eat  one of the sour  pickles  could have the dollar. They all tried  as he held up the pickle  to them. The vinegar  only hurt  with pain. I still didnt like him  because of  my baby pig. I didnt care if it hurt me .I cut up the pickle  pushed it into my mouth  tears came  down my  cheeks  but I was determined  to get  the dollar  to show him. I had enough  and I did eat it all it took time  but I grabbed the dollar and Bell came upstairs with warm water and a straw to wash the vinegar out. Well what happened was 10 days later Uncle Ivyl came down with the mumps
Easter Sunday
     Those days Easter was the beginning of nice weather ahead summer was  on the way. Families went to church some came that day especially to dress up. Father loved nice clothes he and mother came home with white dresses for us three girls they were laced trimmed and satin ribbons around the waist. And we had lovely new  lace petticoats., white stockings,   and slippers/ We each had new  hats of straw with chiffon all around them. and pretty flower trimmed. My brothers wore new suits  and hats  and shiny new  oxfords. I wish you could have seen my mother all dressed in white and white shoes. Father wore a cream colored suit with two tone oxfords with his gold watch chain holding his watch across the front. He had just bought a brand new automobile shiny black with red wheels to ride to our church. We attended church set in our usual seat where the parishoners set with their families. It was such a beautiful day, warm, sunny and father said lets go for a ride before going home. We started out, after awhile it began to thunder and lightening flashed across the sky. Father jumped out and tried to put up the top and the leather side curtains on. But it came down in torrents we were so wet. We had just started home and we  were soaked to the skin. Our hats were limp and ruined  the starched dress just hung like a mop. Our curls were gone water dripping off all of us. Poor father opened  the kitchen door told us to  strip off, and we girls cried and cried to lose  our pretty hats. We threw all our hats away. The clothes we could wash. Instead of getting angry my father said lets have our Easter dinner. He told us girls we would all have new hats. After that he kept the top up on our car  for a new Essex with a hard top and windows that opened and closed.
Train Trip
     The years I spent in Iowa was the happiest time I loved my home my parents and the visits  to my grandmas and to Perry Iowa to see my Aunt Mollie. This was the summer of 1917 and I did not  want to leave Des Moines and go west to Seattle,Washington. I wanted only  to stay in Iowa. My new husband  a contractor from Seattle would talk  to my parents and I telling  us how the climate  was never cold like Iowa. He said the grass was green all year he said roses were in bloom even in winter. While in Iowa  the blizzards came  each winter tornados in summer, with thunder and lightening. Out in Seattle  when it rained there was no thunder even then I would be happier in Iowa. Axel had finished the building of the Ford Building in Des Moines. We were leaving for Seattle. We left by train the Chicago Milwaukee train direct to Seattle. For some  it would have been a thrill to me at 19 I was scared and as I looked back  at my fathers and mothers faces and my little sister Mildred how could I get on this train and go  clear across the world. my tears I held back the conductors said all aboard and I was lifted up over the steps of the pain and it began to move. We were ushered  into a car with the beds all made up. I crawled into the lower bunk. The train started  and was going faster. I had never been  farther than 30 miles  across  the state of Iowa prairie. I had rode in buggies across Iowa. Next  morning  early  the porter began  clearing the beds in making seats for passengers to sit on the trip. Seats sat straight up, red velvet covered coaches were very narrow. The porter started a fire in a coal range in our car. And we took turns making our breakfast. As bacon began frying, coffee boiling it smelled so good. We had brought cereal, bacon, and we could purchase milk and eggs from the porter. The engine had a large smokestack. The only way  it would run was to shovel coal constantly  the black smoke poured into the  coaches through the whole trip. To make the 2000 mile trip would take 10 days the  train creeped along. we had left the 20th of Dec  got thru the Dakotas finally  here was Montana and the Rocky Mountains. It was snowing constantly as we began to descend  up the mountains the train would back down  ice was on the tracks we got somewhere in the mountains and snow slides came down one time we were partially  buried  in snow  large boulders rolled onto  our tracks the men were  ordered  to shovel  the deep snow  down the mountain  one boulder I remember  was so happy  every man  shoved and pushed  for hours it seemed to free the tracks. We  had to go through the Rockies  before the  next big blizzard. Our coaches  grew so cold. We all rolled up in blankets. And we all prayed we would get through the mountains safely. We did make it there finely and entered into Spokane. Wa. Now I knew  it would  be green  grass   and beautiful roses  no more snow.What I did not know  was the Cascades  ahead. Leaving  Spokane  we had to go across a high rail way bridge  in the air  with only  iron bars holding it up. No sides  on the track  I  felt sick fear everywhere people were crying  for fear  ice was on track. We moved so slow but we made it across. Oh how I wished  I were back in Iowa. Snow slides were constant in the pass. Men on the train worked constantly on the tracks. I began to wonder  why my husband could talk of roses and green grass. After awhile we got through the Cascades  only to enter a long tunnel as we passed through the black smoke  as it poured into the coaches. It chocked all of us. Our eyes burned and our lungs were heavy. We coughed clear to Seattle. As we looked at each other we were stunned our faces were pitch black. Before we left the train we used soap. But the black soot would not come off. In the depot we all bought soot removal I scrubbed as hard as I could. It took over a week to wash it all  off. My new winter coat and clothes were ruined. I then saw green grass and roses in bloom It was raining  but no thunder and lightening. I loved most the  cold    clear water to drink. Iowa had warm water in faucetts. Fresh salmon and oysters how good they tasted, Now we have electric engines, snowsleds, and dining cars. How much Elaine and I enjoyed  these trips  on vacation  time together on the Empire Builder Train. It left Everett across Idaho, Montana, Dakota, and to Minnesota. There we changed to ride  a bus to Iowa.

Introduction  To Seattle
     I met a Mrs Hayworth who was like a mother to a scared little farm girl I  saw nothing but Scandinavians in Seattle. I hated them as I wanted to be with Americans. Mrs Hayworth took me in as a friend and like a sister. We were both pregnant  but didnt tell each other. We had our babies the same week. She wanted a boy and I wanted a girl. She got the girl and I got the boy. I wouldnt trade my boy for 10 girls after I saw this beautiful baby  who never cried. Her baby cried night and day. She named her Gertrude. Mr Hayworth was a Marine Sergeant. He dressed in Navy Blue, gold stripes, and worked in a recruiters office. After the war  years he became a barber. They were strong Catholics. After awhile we lived in Lynden,Wa where Axel helped built the Chicken noodle factory. It was a Dutch and English town. We were treated royally. We had a upstairs apt with the lady who owned the dept store there. The banker next door was with us all the time. Gifts were given us from everywhere. We were invited out to dinner after dinner. I loved these nice people. It has taken me years to get over my homesickness. I am a Iowan in my heart.

 The Terrible Flu of 1918
     I was living in Seattle Washington in 1918.  I was a mother to my new son Arthur Donald. At this time WW1 was going on in Europe. Young men were being trained in miltary. The shipyards in Seattle were busy building ships along the piers of Seattle. Suddenly without warning a strange sickness hit all of the northwest. I could see a cemetery in the distance from where I lived and every day I heard the trumpets  blowing their last fairwell  to  the young men falling dead. Hundreds of young men died like this. My neighbors a Scandinavian couple owned a nice home and had just adopted a baby boy as they could not have children. We visited back and forth, laughed together because she was so happy to  have this little baby at last.  Next day she and her husband and baby were all dead. The flu killed them. Axel my husband was struck down in bed. I called the Norweigan doctor and he came right out. The doctors face was covered by a mask. He gave each of us medicine and he brought bottles of brandy with him. He boiled some water and poured some brandy in it. He stayed and treated Axel. I took the medicine but refused the brandy. Somehow we got through this. The doctor supplied us with face masks and we were told to stay indoors and out of stores. We were told to let  no  one in our house. We were told everyone was a germ carrier. Whole families died doctors could not carry the load. Brandy was being sold to only doctors. Where the sickness came from is a total mystery. The flu today is milder as the 1918 flu killed.
     My mother at this part of her story doesnt  write about her marriage to Axel and his death. She lived in a large boarding house. They had many young Norweigan fishermen who lived upstairs. They spoke English with thick accents. They were all kind to Axel myself and the two little ones. At Christmas a huge tree was up. The women of Norway Lodge made a huge Smoregesboard. Axel played the accordian   It was a wonderful  Christmas One day when mom was pregnant with Doris a beautiful one woman came to her door with a suitcase in hand. She spoke Norwegian and just a little English. She said her name was Anna Weekan. She was engaged to a Axel Blackrud and he was too send for her. When he  didnt she came on her own. She started to cry when she found out Axel was married. My mom felt sorry for her and asked her to stay. She was a  wonderful friend to my mom. She married a Norweigan fishermen.. Shortly after Axel had a fall down a elevator shaft. He developed a goiter in the throat He told my mom the night before his  surgery he was talking to his deceased mom and dad. Mom took this as a bad omen and begged him not to have the surgery. He  died the next day on the surgery table. It was Jan 1922. Doris was 2 and Donald was 4.Mom was devastated. She was mad at her dad because of  the wedding to Axel so she didnt ask for help from him or notify him of Axels death. She said Axels sister Ragna removed Axels things. She did not speak to mom. Mom got very sick with a infected mastoid and was put in the hospital and had a high fever and was delierous. The two little ones the Norweigans cared for  while she was so sick. Finally  her dads address was found and he came right out. She refused any help from her  dad. The Catholic sisters felt a warmer climate would help her. So they boarded a train to Los Angeles. She loved the warm weather and the beautiful flowers in the convent she was staying. They took her by boat to see San Jaun Capistrano. She watched Silent films being filmed.  She made up with her dad and said he was looking out for her.

     She was the daughter of US Grant Van Horn born 17 July 1863 in Elkhart Iowa. Her mother was Nevada Sophia Hardenbrook born 13 Oct 1876 in Minburn, Dallas Co Iowa She died March 1955 in Des Moines. Her dad died 1 Oct 1942. Her Van Horns came to Iowa in 1854. John Van Horn and Eunice Hudson were her paternal grandparents. Her maternal grandparents were John Huse Hardenbrook a civil war vet  and Philinda Katherine Montgomery. They married in Madison,Ind and came by covered wagons in 1870.They settled in Minburn. In 1907 they moved to Linden, Iowa.


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