Two long, two short Clarence Wight's recollections of his grandfather John Teddy Roosevelt stops in Gibbon
Nebraska Everett Maroon's book Edgevill Boat Ride Glen Wight obituary Viking Hand Mother in Cogswell Evelyn's record of Gaylord Wight's memories 2 Evelyn's record of Gaylord Wight's memories part 3 Evelyn's record of Gaylord Wight's memories part 4 Evelyn's record of Gaylord Wight's memories part 5 new
Two long, two short
– a poem by Mildred Houghtaling
(I remember being told this story many times as a child – sometimes by Aunt Mildred)
As I lie here beside dear Shawn
I hear a train whistle; it's nearly dawn.
Two long, two short, so loud, so clear;
Two long, two short, it seems so near.
There seems to be more trains in town
Ever since the flood with bridges down.
Two long, two short, they seem to call;
It's just a train whistle... that's all.
Years ago, when I played with my brother,
We never had to look for Mother,
Just listened. We could hear her sing.
Fond memories... what joy they bring.
When I turned two and Wayne was three
We settled in a new country.
We left behind our phone's old ring;
Two long, two short we couldn't bring.
In Canada we were not alone,
Aunts and Uncles and a new phone.
We've long forgotten that new ring;
It didn't mean a blessed thing.
Our aunts would ring and ring and ring
And Mother would blissfully work and sing.
Our uncles would try their masculine skill;
All efforts proved to be void and nil.
Dear Aunt Lottie, in desperation, hit
On a new idea they didn't get.
Two long, two short, she rang just once
And Mother answered (she was no dunce).
Our ring was officially changed next day;
Two long, two short, was there to stay.
And when Marjorie moved to Lang,
Two long, two short, when her phone rang.
My Mother. I know she is gone
But I feel her presence and hear her song.
Two long, two short. The train seems near
And the past is near, and dear, and clear.
Clarence Wight's recollections of his grandfather John
The first ancestral Wight of whom we have record was Thomas who came
over from England and with his wife Lydia and settled at Dedham
Massachusetts some time prior to 1640. There he became a prominent,
well-to-do citizen and our line of his descendants continued to live
there, generation after generation, until the final decade of the 18th
century, the 1790s, when it was represented by William W. Wight of the
7th generation of Massachusetts Wights. His father, of the 6th
generation, was one of the minute men at the time of Paul Revere's
famous ride. I don't know whether he was in the battle of Lexington.
The first wife of Wm. W. Wight died leaving him with two motherless
young daughters. He then married Polly Griswold and emigrated to
Canada. His daughters grew up there and probably we have distant
cousins among their descendants but no means of finding or identifying
them as such. During the War of 1812 Wm. W. Wight was a member of the
Quebec Home Guard. It is not likely that the Home Guard came into
contact with any battle action. It was while living in Canada that
Willard and John of the 8th generation were added to the family circle,
the latter during the summer of 1809. When John was about eigth years
the family moved to Perry, Erie County, Ohio. Part of the journey
was by boat. A man who had been hired to help with the rowing became
ill and died on their hands. Having no means of communication with
doctor, clergy or mortician, they landed, dug a grave and buried him.
That was probably Grandfather's first contact with fatality, an
Grandfather was past ten years old when he got his first pair of shoes.
His father dragged up a sawlog about four inches in diameter and told
him, “When you saw that log up into stove lengths you can be measured
for a pair of shoes.” He probably kept warm sawing but his bare feet on
frosty ground wouldn't likely be too warm.
When a young man he worked as a member of the crew of a lake steamer.
Wood was the fuel used, bought by the cord measure. At one wood yard
there was a pile containing a huge chunk almost too heavy for one man
to lift and probably too large to go in the furnace door. His chunk was
passed up by the crews time after time and of course measured up and
sold again and again. One member of the crew was something of a
laughing stock on account of not being “too bright”. He managed to lift
the huge chunk and tug it aboard to the amusement of the crew.
Addressing the skipper he said, “There capain if you can't burn that,
better throw it overboard.”
Grandfather chose for himself an excellent wife in the person of Sarah
Ann Ballard who became his congenial and faithful helpmate for about
forty years. In due course they had three sons. My father, William
Kimball Wight was born Feb. 25, 1833, Lucien about two or three years
later and Reuben during the 1840s. Grandmother was a faithful member of
the Methodist Church and while Grandfather was not a church member he
was well qualified by character to have been an acceptable one. He was
devoted to his wife and shared with her in financial support of the
church and in church attendance. One of the theories of the Methodist
Church at that time was that dancing was sinful or at least of evil
tendency. When one of the boys had a notion of going to a dance he
realized that would be no point in asking his mother's permission so
asked his father. It was characteristic of Grandfather to encourage the
lad to make his own correct decision. He pointed out the sort of people
that attended dances which at that time were restricted to a crowd of
spiritually neglected delinquents. Asked if he really wanted to go in
that kind of company the boy of course said no.
Grandfather followed the trade then called carpenter and joiner and
became a skilled cabinet maker, builder and building mover. He was once
employed to make the window and door casing for a church. He never
received pay for that job and while he had not intended to make so
substantial a contribution, he necessarily had to let it go as such.
At that time the winter weather of northern Ohio was too cold for
comfortable work. Grandfather found employment by going south by
river boat to Natchez Mississippi where the city was being built. The
river boats were infested by professional gamblers who were always on
the lookout for easy marks. In order to get rid of one of them
Grandfather finally agreed to play a game for a dollar. Very likely the
game was “old sledge”, the southern name for seven-up. Of course
Grandfather won the first game and collected. “How about another game?”
“All right on the same terms.” that game the gambler won and made
claim. Grandfather declined payment on the grounds that he had been
playing “for a dollar” as payment for playing and not as stakes so each
claimed the other owed him a dollar and the gambler didn't annoy him
afterward. Sometimes poker games with sky limit involved very high
stakes. On one occasion a player lacked the money he needed to make or
call a certain bet. Not being allowed to take his cards away from the
game he called the ship's carpenter and had the cards nailed face down
on the table. He then went to the purser and got the funds he needed.
The jackpot was a fortune of many thousands.
In those days tomatoes were called love apples and were popularly
regarded as being unfit food, even poisonous. At Natchez, a lecturer
trying to correct this misapprehension, made the offer of all the
tomatoes anyone could eat for a picayune. “Picayune” is a Spanish
expression then in use in the South. It meant a small coin, perhaps a
five cent piece. One volunteer, probably a collaborator, accepted the
offer and began eating. After he had downed several the lecturer said,
“If you'll stop eating now you may have back your picayune. The
demonstration showed that tomatoes are both edible and palatable.
While living in Ohio Grandfather once had a severe bout with typhoid
fever. After he had passed the crisis of the attack the doctor advised
him to take whiskey or brandy to build up his strength. Being a
teetotaler by practice and strictly temperate by principle, he said he
didn't want any whiskey or brandy. The doctor explained that it was his
practice to prescribe it at that stage of typhoid. Grandfather replied,
“If that's you practice you may as well make out your bill. I think
there's enough money around the house to pay it and if I'm to die I'll
die sober.” His principles in regard to slavery were equally strong.
Once on a boat trip a pro-slavery southerner exclaimed, “You talk like
a damned abolitionist.” At that Grandfather became emphatic. He said,
“If I thought there was one hair in my head in favor of slavery I'd go
home and have my wife tear it out by the roots and burn it up. That's
what I think of slavery.” When the Civil War came on he said that if
his boys didn't enlist he would. He was past draft age but probably
would have been accepted. However both Father and Uncle Lucien
enlisted. Reuben was too young. By that time the family had moved to
Kewanee Ill. Later they moved to Cambridge Illinois.
Grandfather's parents lived with him. His father, a retired black-smith
died in 1862. His mother and his wife were both dead by the early
1870s. He chose for his second wife a widow who was the sister of his
first wife and whom our family members knew as Aunt Emmeline. She died
in 1887. By that time our family had moved to Nebraska. Father went to
Cambridge Illinois to her funeral. When he came back Grandfather came
with him and lived with us thereafter. He proved himself useful in
fixing up the house, repairing farm implements etc. He had his tools in
a shop near the house. Some of his furniture, including his bookcase
and Seth Thomas clock, he had in his own room.
Once when Mrs. Bessor, a former Cambridge resident then living in
Kearney Nebr, was at our house to a meal, she asked whom he planned to
vote for in the presidential election coming in that fall. He said,
“for the same kind of a man I voted for 48 years ago.” Of course he
meant Benjamin Harrison, grandson of the Whig candidate in1840,
“Tippecanoe” Wm. Henry Harrison.
One Sunday morning he brought out his tools to continue work on a house
repair job. Mother asked, “Why Father are you going to work on Sunday?”
He replied, “Of course not. I didn't know this was Sunday”. As might be
expected he sometimes felt a bit melancholy. Once I heard him say to
Father, “When a man has no object in view he's pretty nearly a cipher.”
Father replied that the object in life for anyone is to do that good
they can. Grandfather said that he agreed as to a general object but he
keenly felt the lack of a particular objective. One Sunday after having
attended church and heard a preacher claim that conversion is only a
stage of development from which one should go on to perfection through
sanctification, he didn't go for that. He comment was, “I've had two of
the best women that God ever made but neither of them was perfect.”
About New Year's Day of 1889 he had a cold. One evening Father spent
some time in his room. They discussed current events and matters of
home interest. Grandfather's mind was clear and his interest normally
acute. Next morning, Jan. 3 1889, he had died in his sleep. Father
accompanied his body to Cambridge Illinois for funeral and burial
Grandfather's formal education was very limited but by reading and self
education he was an intelligent, well-posted man. For many years he was
a subscriber to the Scientific American. He was known to have held and
expressed the view that Christianity and the Bible influence were basic
factors of civilization. His personal view of such mythological visions
as a localized celestial heaven was expressed in a comment I once heard
him make: “They sing about 'over there, over there' but 'Where' neither
they now anyone else can tell.” He probably would have endorsed the
sentiment, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
by Clarence Edward Wight (10th generation)
Teddy Roosevelt stops in Gibbon
I have very few acquaintances in Gibbon
but a lot of memories, one of which recalls the time President
Theodore Roosevelt made an unscheduled stop beside Mr. Buck's lumber
yard. Nelson Ashburn was deputy postmaster at the time. I happened to
hear him say to several of us that an idle railway engine just
passing was a pilot engine ten minutes ahead of the president's
special train. Quite a number of us went over by the track hoping to
get a glimpse of the president's train and possibly of some of the
important passengers. To our surprise and probably to that of the
train's passengers, the engine crew availed themselves of the Gibbon
water tank to replenish their tank. We all assembled at the rear of
the train. The president and some members of his party came out on
the rear platform and he shook hands with each of us. I still
remember some of the things he said. Old Mr. Fisher was wearing a
G.A.R. Hat. The president asked him what regiment he had served in.
He said, “The 13th Massachusetts”. The president replied, “The
13th Massachusetts indeed” Just as though that was the outfit that
won the war. The president said his vacation was the first he had had
since being president and that it looked as though it might be the
last. However he afterward went on others, at least one hunting trip
to the southwest. My oldtime army comrade Wessel told me about seeing
him in Oklahoma. - CE Wight
(Theodore Roosevelt was president
1901-1909 and was a war hero in the Spanish-American War)
Everett Maroon's book
Marjorie Johnson (once Marjorie Ruth Houghtaling, aunt Mildred's
daughter) is my cousin. She has a son Everett Maroon and he has just
written a book. I include here the first chapter and also a news
clipping on his work.
Excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Unintentional Time Traveler
I first jumped back in time on September 21, 1980, just a few weeks
into high school, but nothing about how that day started was odd in any
way. It’s not like the sun popped out of the sky and said, “Hey Jack,
how about if you take a trip to a completely different era where
nothing makes any sense to you?”
No, it was a regular day where I woke up from my incredibly annoying
alarm clock, which of course alerted King, our Golden Retriever, that
he should burst through my bedroom door and lick me all over the face
until I was awake enough to push him off of me. He followed me down the
hall like usual, standing behind me even when I whizzed into the
toilet, lest I don’t know, he miss out on any of my fun. He and I
didn’t even notice anymore that the sink was wrapped in rolled up
towels, held in place by constantly unraveling, goopy duct tape. It had
been that way since my parents had started letting me use the bathroom
I have epilepsy, see, which means that on an irregular basis I lose
consciousness as the neurons in my brain decide to go on a bender and
start firing like a bunch of kindergarteners who missed their Ritalin
dose that day. As one can imagine, this gets in the way of
conversations, walking, brushing one’s teeth, or anything else worth
doing. But like the padding over the hard surfaces around the house,
I’ve gotten used to having seizures, even if I’m not happy about them.
Sometimes—maybe half the time—the “episodes” gave me a tiny bit of
warning, mostly by screwing with my sense of balance. The ground around
me would abruptly shift diagonally, like a ship listing hard to one
side. Or my own private earthquake. I mastered the art of quickly
sitting down, before I would fall over into humiliating twitchiness.
Before the darkness could collapse over me.
In the kitchen that day, my mother sat quietly at the round table my
father and I had built the summer before. There was a glob of varnish
on one side that I liked to feel when I ate my breakfast, because it
was smooth and irregular, and the wood underneath was more yellow. As
usual, Dad had folded the paper to the comics section and left it next
to my cereal bowl. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I didn’t read
those comics anymore. I’d moved on to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.
“What do you have after school today,” asked Mom, still staring out the
window toward the poplar trees behind our house. They’d turned bright
yellow, but hadn’t started littering the lawn yet. It would be my job
to rake the leaves when they had fallen. Joy.
“Nothing. I mean, hanging out with Sanjay, but nothing else. Why?”
Jay lived across the street from me. He never teased me about my
seizures, but we’d known each other since preschool. He was kind of an
outcast, too, just because he was Indian. We had some stupid kids in
our school district.
“There’s a new study at the hospital for children with epilepsy. I enrolled you in it.”
“A what?” I didn’t feel like any extra studying, so I hoped this wasn’t what she meant.
She turned to me.
“They’re experimenting with a new process to see if they can cure some cases of epilepsy.”
“A process” didn’t clear it up for me.
“Is it a new drug?” I was on my sixth different pill. Pill Number One
gave me delusions that I was a doctor, even though I was still a
toddler at the time. Mom had found me behind the living room sofa,
cutting at myself with a razor blade, announcing I was doing “surgery.”
Pill Number Three made my extremities feel mushy and heavy all the
time. I tripped a lot back then. I was not a fan of Pill Number Three.
“No, it’s like they have a new way of looking at your brain waves, and changing them. Dr. Barett told me about it.”
Dr. Barett, my neurologist, was fresh out of some big name medical
program, top of his class, said the nurses. He was nice but he seemed
to like nerve cells more than people. I wasn’t surprised that this
juicy new experiment to fix brain waves was his suggestion. I nodded,
since Jay and I could hang out any time we wanted, and forgot about it
until I came home from school, when Mom hustled me out the door,
jingling her car keys in irritation, like they were a bell instead of a
device used to ignite our Ford’s engine.
The first part of the study session was familiar to me, because every
month since I could remember I’d sat in a similar oversized vinyl chair
and let some nurse apply blobs of cold putty all over my head. The
nurses smelled like soap and antiseptic. They took a long time to
attach the long, thin wires all over my head, and unlike the nurses I
had for my monthly checkup, these two women didn’t make any small talk
with me while they worked. I wasn’t sure if I liked the quiet or not.
Finally I was ready for all of the electricity in my brain to be
scratched out by a machine that looked like one of those boxes that
measured ground tremors. Then for half an hour I sat as still as a
scared rat while they watched the patterns of my broken neurons.
The second part of the study was different, longer, and involved the
head of the study, a man with thick sideburns and gorilla hands,
sending electrical signals to me to see if he could change how my brain
responded. Once again I had to stay absolutely still the entire time,
because I could ruin the test if I moved so much as a pinky toe. I
tried to come up with all of the ways that staying perfectly still
could benefit me, but after two minutes had only listed Buckingham
Palace Guard and mime pretending to be dead.
I sat frozen for something like ten minutes, which was a sure-fire way
to drive me crazy. Nothing like telling a guy to stay to make him need
to move as much as possible. My left elbow started itching, and my
right foot was in full pins-and-needles mode. The glob of putty above
my left eye ever so slowly oozed down my forehead, or at least it felt
that way. I tried to see the clock on the wall ahead of me, but with my
glasses safely tucked away on the counter behind me, I couldn’t make
out the position of the hands. It was just as well; knowing the time
would probably have made me obsess about how much longer I’d be stuck
in the chair. It was snot green to boot.
A metal click and then dull hum came over the PA, but I stayed still.
“How are you doing, hon,” asked Cindy, the lab technician. She had
bright red hair not to be found in nature, and said everything through
a smile. I liked her immediately.
My father had always said “Smile and they never know what you’re
thinking.” So I worried I shouldn’t trust her, for all of her grinning.
But since she’d asked me something, I answered her.
I hadn’t even spoken yet when the seismograph thing set up next to me
went wild, scratching out thick, dark lines on the paper. Alerting the
world: It’s alive!
“I’m okay. Itchy, and I think my right foot’s asleep.”
“Go ahead and scratch if it’s not your head, and shake your foot a little.”
I dug at my elbow through my shirt, which didn’t eliminate the itch
well enough, but it would have to do. I couldn’t dig under my sleeve
without upsetting the wires that trailed from all over my head. I
pounded my foot on the floor, trying to startle it enough to wake up.
Without thinking, I reached up to stop the glop on my head from getting
in my eyes. I knew better than to touch anything other than the tip of
my nose, but once I’d started moving itches popped up everywhere,
screaming for attention, and I forgot myself.
“Oh, hang on there, bucko,” said the doctor, who’d come into the room
from behind me. He put my hand down on the armrest. His touch was heavy
and cold; his hand a hairy giant on top of mine.
“Don’t mess with the wires.”
I took a breath and relaxed, having heard this a million times before.
He walked over to the machine, running his hand over his mutton chops.
A long strand of connected paper had piled up in the basket next to the
small monitor, and he bent low to snag the printout in the middle until
he had a ribbon of it to examine. Cindy came out from the next room.
“There’s the abnormality,” I heard him say to her, pointing at the
paper in a few places. “Let’s run one more test since he’s still hooked
up, only this time I want to make a change to the stimulus.” They
walked away, talking, and I was free to sneak in a scratch at whatever
needed attention. At the moment, nothing bothered me. My body never
cooperated. It didn’t demand much when I was allowed to deal with it.
The doctor was back at my side, talking loudly to me as if I had
hearing problems, not a seizure disorder. He was a lot older than my
regular doctor, with gray streaks clumping together at his temples.
Cindy had said his work was the Rosetta Stone of neurology research,
whatever that meant. I liked him enough. Nothing about rocks seemed
cutting edge to me.
“Okay, Jack, we’re going to do just one more test. It’ll only take a few minutes.”
I nodded, sighed, and waited. A buzz zipped along my spine, which caused me to jerk a bit, and the machine roared.
I lost all sense of the room, the wires, the cold putty. In a flash of
painful light I was on a hillside, in mid-step, running up a dirt
trail, holding something in my hand. I wanted to know the shape of it,
but couldn’t figure it out. I had the impression that I held it a lot.
Something felt wrong with how I was running, too, as if the effort it
normally took to lift my feet had been recalibrated.
“Do you notice anything,” asked the doctor through the microphone in
the other room. I blinked, saw the pale green walls around me and the
fuzzy metal clock on the far wall. I was back. But of course I hadn’t
“I saw something,” I said. With each passing second, I felt less sure about where I’d been.
“Can you describe it,” he asked, panting a little at the end of his question. It creeped me out.
I told him, feeling foolish, about the hill and the dirt path. A weird
image came to me just then, that I had been wearing strange shoes.
Leather moccasins, maybe. But I lived in these red Converse high tops.
Why would I think of moccasins? Where did I even learn about moccasins?
He wrote down what I said, turning off his microphone partway through.
I could see him through the observation glass, talking with Cindy. This
would be a good time to know how to read lips, I thought. He stepped
back into the room after a couple of minutes and told me I’d done a
good job, clapping a hand on my shoulder. His palm took up all of the
real estate I had there, but I sat there rigid. I wasn’t sure why I
felt the need to be tough.
Cindy unhooked me from the machine; I was grateful to end transmitting
all my brain waves to everyone in the room, even if people couldn’t
exactly read my mind from the printout. She pulled over a tray on
wheels, and dabbed a hand cloth into a steel bowl of warm water. She
wiped most of the putty off of my scalp and temples in silence, no
smiling anymore. I looked at a picture of Olympic swimmers on the wall
in front of me. What the hell was this poster about, and why was it
here, of all places? Were we supposed to aspire to athletic greatness
even if we could have a seizure in the water?
The doctor walked over to my mother who was hunched over an issue of
People in the waiting room. She looked up at him and waited for him to
“Jack was great today,” he said, “and I’d like to see him next week if
you can bring him in. I think we can isolate the source of his
“Oh, really,” she asked, looking at me. “He’s such a good kid. It’s
just terrible that he has to deal with these episodes. I’d hoped he’d
outgrow them by high school.”
“Mom,” I said, in an attempt to get her to stop talking.
“It’s okay, Jack,” the doctor said, now grinning. It was clear he
didn’t make facial expressions all that often. “I’m really glad we got
you in this study.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I shrugged. But I was troubled.
Program's point still ever sharp
Heart to Heart's syringe needle exchange has been operating since 1997.
Everett Maroon, executive director of Blue Mountain Heart to Heart.
WALLA WALLA — Everett Maroon understands it’s a sticking point for
people when they hear about Walla Walla’s needle exchange program.
“It’s probably the most controversial program we do at Heart to Heart.”
Maroon is executive director of Blue Mountain Heart to Heart, which
does community outreach and education about AIDS, HIV and hepatitis C,
and provides care for people in Walla Walla County living with the
diseases. Heart to Heart’s syringe needle exchange has been operating
here since 1997, trading one used needle for one clean needle to a
client base of people using injectable drugs. That helps prevent the
spread of disease through sharing syringes or other injection equipment.
“And protecting those folks means protecting the community,” Maroon
said, especially given the “skyrocketing” of heroin use in Washington.
When the needle exchange program was launched it was estimated it would
handle about 3,500 needle trades a year. “In 2013, we did 113,905,”
The needle exchange, in particular, can frustrate people who don’t
realize the overall significance of providing clean needles to drug
users, he said. “There’s a line of thinking that this enables drug
users to continue their dependency and ‘Why should taxpayers foot that
The answer is in the numbers. Because the state has promoted and funded
needle exchanges, only 8 percent or so of injectable drug users get HIV
through needle use, according to Maroon. “The national average across
all the states is about 25 percent,” he said. “That means we’ve done a
really good job.” As well, two decades of data show that needle
exchange programs don’t increase drug use. And eliminating such options
don’t discourage it, either, he noted. “There’s no evidence people
don’t use if they can’t find a clean syringe,” Maroon said.
With its robust needle exchange program, Washington has the
fifth-lowest HIV rate in the country, according to Washington Syringe
Service Programs, a network of 20 exchange programs run by health
departments and community-based organizations. Infection with HIV — a
precursor to AIDS — occurs through transfer of blood, semen, vaginal
fluid or breast milk. Eliminating syringe trade programs would mean
drug users would have fewer avenues to find sterile syringes, Maroon
“Then they are sharing again,” he explained. “And if that happens, we
really increase the risk that HIV can get a foothold in that community.
And people are going to get sick.” In turn, that will use more
health-care dollars for illness rather than prevention, Maroon said,
quoting data from the state syringe service. “For every dollar spent on
syringe exchange, $3 to $7 are saved on future HIV care.”
Nationally, syringe exchange programs save millions of dollars in
medical costs without increasing drug use or crime, the state syringe
service stated in a recent news release. “Viral hepatitis is estimated
to be very high among injectors; 30 percent infection rates in young
injectors, to 70-90 percent infection rates in injectors over (age)
30,” it stated.
Prevention has worked well in the Walla Walla Valley. Statistically,
Walla Walla County should have another five or so HIV sufferers, but
Blue Mountain Heart to Heart strives to keep clients in treatment and
taking anti-viral medications. That minimized the effects of the
illness on the community as a whole, Maroon said.
The agency has been receiving about $20,000 a year from Washington
state for the needle exchange work, although that money is uncertain
from year to year. “The rumor has been, unofficially, that syringe
exchange funding will be cut for all portions of the state except King
County,” Maroon said. “But it hasn’t happened yet.”
Heart to Heart was recently awarded a $28,000 grant from AIDS United to
be spread over two years. Maroon said he and staff are able to keep
costs in line with grant totals by watching how every dollar is spent.
With the additional funding, plans are being made for outreach and
education efforts. Maroon will meet with partner organizations and
elected officials in Olympia to gather support and potential funding to
keep the syringe exchange functioning as heroin use increases and
unsafe sex continues to be a health threat, he said.
“No one walks into my office saying they always have safe sex. They
come in and report they discovered their partner has been unfaithful,
they report their partner has been using injectable drugs, or they
haven’t been practicing safe sex and now they’re worried.”
Edgeville Boat Ride
I put this in one of the early First
This is an English assignment written
by Clarence E Wight when a student at the University of Nebraska. It
is dated Jan. 27 1898 and received a grade of A+, “This is a
first-class story and well told”.
Edgeville Boat Ride
In the western part of Nebraska is a
narrow river. Its steep banks are thickly covered with trees, which,
though hiding its muddy waters make its winding course across the
prairie plainly visible miles away. There is a mill-pond on this
stream at Edgeville which was formerly a favorite boating resort of
the young people of that place.
One day in summer several years ago,
Charlie Andrews and Casper Wheeler, neighbors of mine in that town
asked me to help them get a boating party. “Miss Chapin from Denver
is visiting at our house”, Charlie said, “and she's all right,
too. I'd like to get up something for her before she goes home. I
think a ride in the Neptune would be the thing.” That evening,
Ellen Phillipps and Elsie Walker were invited and the next day at
three o'clock we assembled at the mill pond. The boat had, however,
by some careless accident been allowed to drift over the dam. It had
been discovered before going very far and someone had run it in
behind a log that stuck back from the bank and secured it by throwing
another log across behind it. In this ignominious position we found
Charlie thought we could drag it out of
the water and carry it back to the pond. Caspar was for giving up the
boat ride. We tried pulling the boat out of the water, when one of
the boys got his feet wet and the other sat down it the river we
decided to go for a horse and a rope. The girls interrupted this pan
by suggesting that we take a boat ride below the dam. “The water is
deep enough”. They argued, “and much cleaner and clearer than the
pond.” Before anyone had time to oppose the plan or even to think,
the girls were clambering aboard and of course the boys went too. We
lifted the pole from behind the Neptune, backed the boat out and
started it down stream. I took the larger oar and steered the boat,
Caspar rowed, and Charlie pointed out the scenery to Miss Chapin.
In this way time passed rapidly and
before we were aware it was nearly sunset. Ellen suggested that we
start back but Miss Chapin implored. “Oh, don't lets go home yet,”
and as no one wished to oppose her wishes we floated on. I had no
idea how far we were from home till I saw almost opposite us the
water tank to Frontiersville. “It won't do to go any further,” I
said, “we're six miles from Edgevill in the straight line and the
river is much further and up-stream.”
We quickly turned around but found as
everyone does who tries it, that floating down-stream and rowing
up-stream are somewhat different. After rowing what seemed like ten
miles but what was probably about one, our oars began to strike
bottom. This made easier rowing for a little while but before long
our keel began grating in the mud, and then the frightful truth
dawned upon us. The mill hands had closed the flume and the supply
from above being cut off the river continued to grow shallower as the
water flowed away till it was no longer navigable.
“What shall we do!”” anxiously
inquired Miss Chapin. “Let's take a rest first thing. I'm about
dead”, Caspar moaned.
But the water continued to grow
shallower till when we attempted to get the boat to land we found it
was completely stuck. We waded around the boat trying to move it but
it was of no use. There was only one thing to do, carry the girls
ashore and that is one of the things that's easier said than done. If
anyone imagines for an instant that it's a pleasure to pick up a one
hundred and twenty-five pound girl and carry her one hundred and
twenty-five feet through mud above his ankles and water above his
knees, I should like him to try it. Charlie wanted to divide the
distance and each of us carry the girls one third of the way but I
would not do that but picked up Ellen and started for the bank. All
when well for the first few feet, but before the shore was reached I
began to think that if Ellen was worth her weight in gold she was
most painfully precious. Caspar's girl was not so heavy and he made
the shore without much difficulty though not without great labor. It
was now Charlie's turn to land Miss Chapin. Caspar offered to wager
ice-cream for the whole company that Charlie would reach the shore
all right. I promptly accepted his terms and the bet was made. The
girls thought it shocking to bet on such a thing and Elsie especially
went so far as to say that she would not eat any of the cream whoever
had to buy it.
But we were soon to know who had to buy
it for here came Charlie with Miss Chapin. When less than half way to
the bank he had to set her down in the river while I lay on the bank
and simply howled. To do the poor boy justice, I will day that I
believe he would have reached the shore safely enough if Miss Chapin
had not kept screaming all the time. Her lack of confidence was
contagious; it rattled him.
She did not wait for Charlie but ran
for the shore, falling down twice on the way. Her skirts floated out
in a horizontal position which made her look like a water-lily.
Caspar told her. I believe he actually meant it for a compliment but
Miss Chapin made a horrible grimace in reply and told him to “mind
his business”. When she reached the shore the girls had to help her
land as she refused the proffered assistance of both Caspar and
myself. We, however, had the pleasure of helping Charlie onto the
bank and a more discouraged looking youth it has never been my lot to
see. The richest sight of all, however, was Miss Chapin. I remarked
that she looked like a drowned hen and that made her more angry than
Caspar's intended complement.
The only house in sight was the
section-house at Frontiersville two miles away and thither we turned
our footsteps. It was dark before we reached there. The foreman's
wife was a good natured Irish lady who promptly invited us in. While
our wet clothes were drying she dressed Miss Chapin out in an old red
and white plaid calico and the effect was simply irresistible. Caspar
and I had to burst out laughing about every three minutes and she
would look daggers at us.
The section foreman informed us that no
train would stop at Frontiersville till noon the next day. “But if
it would be any accommodation to you”, he added, “I'll take you
home in the handcar for a dollar and a half.” We quickly paid him
the money and he got the handcart ready. With two of the girls seated
in front, their feet dangling, and the other sitting on the water-keg
we toiled up the grade to Edgeville.
Ellen's folks were very anxious about
her. As for my own relatives, the greatest disappointment among them
was entertained by my brother because I did not get home in time to
milk the cows.
The following evening, Charlie, Caspar
and I met in the barber-shop and talked over the last day's
adventure. Charlie says Miss Chapin expressed great disapprobation of
Caspar's and my rude conduct. She soon returned to Denver and I have
not seen her since. As for the Neptune, it probably floated down
stream when the flume was opened. At any rate it has never been seen
in Edgeville since.
When I was about 7, I stayed with
Gramma and Grampa Wight in Yellowgrass and took my grade 2 there. It
was at this time that Grampa read me the story about the boat ride.
His days in Yellowgrass were filled
- playing chess and checkers with a
neighbour. (The neighbour wanted checker games and Grampa wanted
chess games so they took turns.) He also played chess by mail with
Calvin and Wayne, taught me to play and did the chess puzzle in the
paper. He didn't make a good chess layer out of me, but I have
always had great pleasure in watching others play.
- Gardening. It was a wonderful
garden and he spent hours in it. The previous owner had been a great
gardener and there were many plants that you don't see often on the
prairie. He had a little tree that he was training and pruning to be
as weird a shape as possible.
- Cooking. He made a great porridge
with lots of different stuff in it. He always saved some to start
the next batch and added something each day (flax one day, wheat the
next, and then oats). He believed that soup and stew should be done
this way, but Gramma didn't. He made salads from the garden and
always told me that it would be good because he'd put a little
dandelion and earthworm in it. The big deal was popcorn. Grampa
conducted experiments and kept the results in a notebook. How much
oil, how much heat, when the shaking started, how hard he shook was
recorded along with a complete count of the 'old maids'.
- Playing gin rummy with me. We
played for money, a penny a point. There was another notebook with
the running total of what I owed him. If the total was ever in my
favour, he paid me, put a line across the page and started a new
reckoning. I had to learn how to handle the cards so that I could
not be accused of cheating, sleeves up and never blocking sight of
the cards with my hands. If I did it wrong Grampa would say, “I've
seen a man shot for less than that.” We always played cards
sitting in the middle of their bed.
- Writing letters. He corresponded
with a lot of people – well, you all know that and how much he
Back to the boat ride. Once Grampa was
trying to explain to me how stories are written. You take real people
and real events and you change them and mix them up until you have a
story. To show me what he meant he got some old papers out of the
closet and read me the story. Then he got very sad and then
philosophical. He was fingering papers in the box. He told me that
there are forks in people's lives. He could have been a writer; he
could have been a lawyer and a supreme court judge in his old age.
But instead he went to war in the Philippines and became a farmer.
Who could say if he was better or worst off. I never expected to see
that story again, but Marcia found it is her mother's things. Grampa
had had his box of precious papers with him to his death.
Lewis Wight Obituary
November 14, 1931 – April 14, 2014
It is with
heavy hearts and great sorrow that we announce the passing of Glen
Lewis Wight. Glen slipped peacefully away on Monday afternoon with
family by his side and love in his heart. Glen and Loretta began
their family and life together in Rosetown, SK, where they lived for
the next 30 years. Glen owned and operated a GM Dealership for
several years and then built a motel where he and his family lived
and worked until 1980. In 1987, Glen and his wife moved back to their
hometown of Regina, where they managed an apartment building until
his retirement in 2006. Glen was an active and lifetime member of the
Kinsmen Club/K40's. He volunteered his time graciously to all
Kinsmen/K40 events and anything for "Saskatchewan Roughriders".
Glen was also the Charter President of the Rosetown "Fu-fu
Club", something that brought great enjoyment to his fellow
"Fu-fu- ers" and family. Glen is survived by his loving
wife, of almost 59 years, Loretta (Dawson) Wight; his sons, Bruce
(Dianne), Garth (Jenni) and daughter, Brenda (Bill); grandchildren,
Jason (Adine), Christal (Hitch), Chad (Laura), Shane, Cory, Ashley
(Kyle), Chris, Milan and Curtis; great-grandchildren, Olivia, Ella,
Tyreese, Axl, Emma, Julia, Damien and Madeline. He was predeceased by
his father, William Harold Wight; mother, Mabel Elizabeth (Forsythe);
sister, Elenore Young; brother, Bill Wight and beloved son, Scott
Alexander Wight. He will be lovingly remembered and greatly missed by
his family and many friends. A Service will be held in Celebration of
Glen's Life at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at Westminster
United Church, 3025 13th Avenue, Regina, SK with Rev. D. Reine
officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations in Glen's memory may be
made to either the Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation or the Canadian
Arthritis Society or a charity of one's choice.
"In the arms
of God, with Peace in his heart and angels on his arms the family
wept as he moved on. Cherished will
be the memories of
Grandfather (Clarence) Wight had curled little fingers in his old
age. The pinkies finally almost touched his palms. Other members of
the Wight family had/have this condition. I was looking at some
emails in the Duggleby site (this is a family on the Barmby side, no
relation to the Wights) and they were discussing a condition that
seems to run in some of the Duggleby branches, called Vikings Hand. I
looked up that condition and there was a photograph of granddad's
hands. This bending of fingers in old age has a proper name,
Dupreytren's disease. It is inherited and is found almost exclusively
in people of North European, especially Scandinavian, stock. This
Scandinavian inheritance is common in both Yorkshire and East Anglia,
even in England in general, and so it would not be surprising if I
had the gene from either side, but I most definitely have a chance of
it from the Wight side. The condition is “autosomal dominant with
variable penetrance”. That means first you only need one copy of
the affected gene to get the condition, it is dominant. Second, each
affected person usually has one parent with the affected gene. The chance of
inheritance is 50% with one affected parent, 100% with two. But if
you have the affected gene you may not show the condition, that has
variable penetrance. For example for me to have inherited it from
granddad, my mother would have to have had the affected gene, whether
or not she showed the condition. It shows up more in men and at older
Here is part of a paper on the condition discussing the Viking
connection to Dupreytren Disease (DD):
In the year 865, “a great heathen army” of Vikings landed on
England’s east coast; an earlier raid on the monastery of
Lindisfarne prompted a cleric of the times to say, “Never before
has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a
pagan race.” By the 10th century, 3 of England’s 4 kingdoms were
dominated by the Vikings, who gradually converted to Christianity and
settled in the conquered territories. The Viking age of exploration,
trading, and colonization lasted nearly 300 years. They raided as far
as Newfoundland to the west, the Mediterranean and its many ports to
the south, and the Caspian Sea—by way of the rivers of Eastern
Europe, such as the Volga and Dneiper—to the east. The areas
bordering the North Sea were significantly colonized, with Scotland,
Ireland, England, France, Holland, and Belgium being principally
involved. Vikings were present in Scotland for nearly 500 years. They
left behind many Scandinavian family and place names that replaced
the original Gaelic. They also left behind DD, which has persisted in
some areas to this day; in Scotland, for example, since the 15th
century the flexed fingers of adult male bagpipers have been known as
“the curse of the MacCrimmons.” In England, the Vikings who
settled in the area of East Anglia became farmers, and to this day
surnames derived from Scandinavian roots are common. My family name
referred to those who settled on the flat lands of East Anglia. Like
the Vikings, Flatt children were born with ash-blond hair, and many
were blue eyed. This held true until ships of the Spanish Armada
wrecked off the English coast in 1598. Survivors swam ashore and
joined the local farmers; as a result, subsequent Flatt children were
blond at birth but had jet-black hair by their teenaged years—as
did I. The Flatts must have had strong genes, since neither my father
nor I have had DD despite our Viking roots.
In his 1963 book, the Australian hand surgeon John Hueston wrote,
“Dupuytren’s contracture is virtually confined to people of
European descent”. Its highest incidence is recorded in Iceland. As
expected, the incidence is also high in Scandinavia: 10.5% in
Norwegian men. In a large 1962 review of published figures, P. F.
Early arrayed the countries of European stock in order of incidence
of DD: Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom,
Germany, and the United States. He also commented that the incidence
in Australia, Canada, England, and Wales was similar since their
populations are of basically English stock, which may itself
represent a diluted strain of Danish (Viking) stock. The incidence in
Sweden is matched in Edinburg. In a study in the French port of
Toulon, 60% of the general population had brown eyes and 40% had blue
eyes, but 80% of inhabitants with DD had blue eyes. The latter
individuals were traced to the families of Breton and Norman sailors
in the city’s history. DD is relatively uncommon in Spain, Greece,
and Italy, except for Greece and Italy’s northern Adriatic Coast,
which was penetrated by a northern genetic invasion during the
Greek and Roman literature contain no record of anything
resembling DD. The Icelandic sagas of the 12th and 13th centuries
describe a number of “miracle cures” recently discussed by Whaley
and Elliot. Four cases are considered in detail, two of which could
well have been DD. Whaley and Elliot found no evidence of DD in early
Anglo-Saxon and Gaelic medical literature.
Mother in Cogswell
Here is something mother wrote for the
Feb 2003 First Cousin Letter:
I like to remember the summer of 1930
when Mother, Dad, Mildred, Calvin and I drove down to Cogswell to see
Myrtle and Bernard on the farm. It was quite a trip. We had to pitch
a tent and camp out. There were no motels in those days. When they
came home, they left me behind to stay with Myrtle. She was pregnant
and they thought she could use my help.
We sure had fun. Bernard was away
threshing that fall so we looked after the pigs, looked after the
garden, made pickles and we made wine. Myrtle had been against taking
wine and beer to the field but she kind of relented. She made some
wine out of berries. A German lady who lived upstairs taught her how
and we kept our wine up there unbeknown to Bernard.
When it came time for it to be ready it
was supposed to yield one gallon. We got three quarts, one pint and a
cup full. Myrtle gave me the pint to take home. We rounded up some
empty beer bottles and put a little of the wine in each of them. When
Bernard got home late at night from harvesting and saw all the
bottles with wine in them, he hit the ceiling – and we got the
giggles. He wanted to know where the wine came from and Myrtle said
his friends had come over and she didn't know who they were. He
thought we were drunk.
Another night, Bernard took us to town
to see a show and then he bought a watermelon. It weighed 20 pounds.
We brought it home and ate it all.
The Sunday before I was to come home,
we went to Sabina's but Sabina wasn't home. Nobody was home. We spent
the afternoon at her house waiting for her. She had a case of prune
plums she was going to can. We ate them. We hadn't had any dinner at
noon and we were hungry. Myrtle and I had naps. When we woke up, we
couldn't find Bernard. We looked and looked all over outside. He was
sitting on the roof watching us hunt. Finally we heard him laughing.
We left Myrtle there so Sabina could
take her to the hospital when it was time. Bernard drove to Enderland
to catch the train back to Lang. He was so tired because he'd been
threshing long hours, he could hardly stay awake. To keep from
falling asleep at the wheel, he described the scenery to me. It was
pitch black but he described the mountains, lakes and trees as though
we were driving through the Alps.
When we got to Enderland, we stopped at
the station to check on the train and then went for a cup of coffee.
Before we'd finished the coffee we heard the train whistle so we ran
for it and barely got back in time.
When I got back home to Lang, it was
too late to go to school to start the year so I skipped school that
winter. Later, when I moved from Knox School to Crocus Plains, there
was no Grade 7 class so they put me into Grade 8. That put me back
with the class I'd started with. When I went to Weyburn to take Grade
12, Jack Graham sat across the aisle from me. He'd lived next door
when I was six years old. We'd gone to Grade one together.
Evelyn's record of Gaylord Wight's memories 2
Here is another part of Gaylord Wight's
childhood memories from Evelyn Wight's record.
In the spring of 1910, I was going to
#75 School near Gibbon, Nebraska. I was eight years old, Marjorie was
about six and Myrtle five. The school was on the south and east sides
of the road, taking out of the corner of our farm. Our house was
south of there, a little over a quarter of a mile away.
We had a cornfield in the part of the
form and the rows of corn ran east and west, not towards our house.
The school building was situated east and west, with the door on the
west end. There was no entryway; when you stepped in the door, you
were right in the classroom. Behind the school, there was a coal bin,
with an ash pile a little beyond that, the the outdoor toilets were
on either side of the ash pile.
There were lots of nails in the ashes
and, one day at the afternoon recess, some of us boys played with
these nails, throwing them at the girls as they ran up and down the
path to and from their toilet. We didn't hit any of the girls, but it
was entertaining and they enjoyed it too. The traffic increased quite
a lot up and down that path. When the bell rang, I was afraid to go
into the school. The others went in, but by the time I got my mind
made up to go in why, bless me, everybody else had settled down. So I
sat on a box near the coal building to figure out what I should do.
Well, pretty soon the teacher, Miss
Edith Walker, came migrating around the corner with a switch in her
hand and I lit out for the cornfield. She couldn't catch me, so she
gave that up and went back, only to reappear with the two biggest
boys in the school, aged about 16. After they had a little conference
the two boys lit out after me and I took off down the rows of corn
toward the east. I went the full length of the cornfield, half a
mile, and now the boys were farther behind me than they were when
they started. Now when I reflect on it, I just question how
diligently they tried to catch me, because they didn't even gain on
me. There was some shrubbery over in the next farm from the
cornfield, and I hid. The boys didn't find me, although they stayed
around and pretended to hunt and hunt for me. My father's hired man,
named Oggie, drove up from the east with a team of horses and an
empty hayrack. When the boys saw a chance for a ride back to the
school, they lost no time finding me, and we all rode up to the
school. The children had all gone home by this time, but Miss Walker
came out to the hayrack and I ran over to the other side. She went
around, and I ran back to the first side and she could see she
couldn't get me off there. Oggie and the two boys wouldn't help her
get me off, they had brought me far enough, they thought, so she
promised she wouldn't lick me if I would get off, so I got off. She
must have given me a good talking-to and let me go home.
Marjorie and Myrtle were scared stiff
of what might happen to Gaylord but nothing was said at home at all.
Oggie hadn't said anything and neither had the girls. I remember
after supper my mother spent some time picking sand burr out of my
legs and wondering where I had been to get so many thorns. A few days
later she met Miss Walker who said, “Mrs. Wight, I'm awful sorry
for what happening the other day,” which was the first mother knew
anything about it. So when I got home that time, mother asked me
about it and I wasn't afraid to tell her. She was of quite an
understanding nature and sympathetic too.
Evelyn's record of Gaylord Wight's memories part 3
When we lived in the States, we lived
on a quarter section of land where we grew corn and oats as main
crops, and twelve acres of alfalfa for hay. My father and his
brother, Guy, also had some bottom land down by the river where they
grew alfalfa, too. We made three or four cuttings of alfalfa in one
The farming operation was largely of
stock, with quite a herd of cattle and a lot of pigs. We had two
windmills on the farm, one in the pasture and one in the garden near
the house. We had two other wells that were sandpoints, located in
the kitchen and the hog lot. Mother had a large flock of Plymouth
Rock chickens and of course a big garden on the north side of the
house. North of the garden an orchard of plum trees.
We had a pretty good barn, located
southeast from the house, with a cement floor in it. I remember when
the barn was being built three or four years before we came to Canada
when I was about five. When the hay was loaded into the barn with
slings, it was my job to lead the horse out the other end of the barn
so the slings would hoist into the loft. When we stacked alfalfa in
the field, it was cured and raked into windrows. Using buck rakes, or
“bucks”, the men would get a buck full of hay and put it in a
stacker to be elevated to the top of the stack.
One day I was running around there and
stumbled on a pitchfork that was lying on the ground. I yelled and
hollered and my Dad picked me up and ran a quarter of a mile to the
house, with me in his arms, because my foot was bleeding pretty
badly. It healed well but I still have the scar between my toes.
Once each season we had a steam engine
with a sheller come to the farm to shell the corn. This steam engine
was of great interest to me. It was owned by a man named Mr. Comstock
who went from farm to farm shelling corn. One time a threshing
machine outfit came to Pierce's, our neighbor to the south of us, and
I was so interested in the steam engine that I wanted to go see it. I
did go with my father for a little while but when he came home I had
to come home. My mother set up a telescope in the porch to let me
look at that steam engine. I guess I sat there by the hour.
Evelyn's record of Gaylord Wight's memories part 4
Years ago our farm in Nebraska had been
occupied by my grandparents, William Kimball Wight and Mary Sophia
Eastman. They had migrated from Cambridge, Illinois, in about 1883,
where he had been running a creamery. My grandmother died of a stroke
at the age of 58 in 1898, and my grandfather died in 1903. I believe
Mrs. Fullmer, Uncle Lewie's mother-in-law, bought the farm from the
estate and my father bought it from her. Grandpa Krewson helped to
finance it for my father, and was paid back for it later. In 1910,
some people named Gilts, from David City near Lincoln, bought the
land from my father at $100/acre.
I can remember my father and Uncle
Harold looking through the Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck
catalogues purchasing different things they would need in Canada,
mostly shop tools and small implements: things like the forge and the
anvil, the vice, doubletrees and neck yokes, that I remember during
my boyhood in Canada.
Uncle Harold had inherited an organ
from his mother and it was situated for a time in our home in Gibbon.
It was a foot pumping organ, the first instrument I learned to play.
George Lukenbill, a neighbor of ours, was quite a jack-of-all-trades,
and he came to our house at my mother's request to clean the reeds
and fix it up. It was most interesting to me and was my first
initiation into some of the work I later chose to take up as a
profession. (Note: Gaylord was a piano tuner)
Well, Uncle Harold took that organ with
him to Canada. Grandpa and Grandma Krewson, who lived two and a half
miles away, also had an organ and they traded it to us for several
hives of bees that mother had, and we took that organ to Canada for
our home. I took lessons in Canada and practised on that organ.
In the spring of 1911, my father
shipped two carloads of settler's effects to Canada, besides what he
had shipped in 1910, before he took his family up there. On March
21st, Mother and the six children and Aunt Minnie took the train to
When my mother, Aunt Minnie, and the
six children got off the train in Lang, Saskatchewan, on March 23,
1911, my father met the train with Frank and Fred, his prize team. By
bob sleigh, we drove to Uncle Harold's and Aunt Lottie's for the
first night in Canada. Uncle Harold and Aunt Lottie gave us a very
wonderful welcome. They were a very happy couple and it was most
regrettable that Aunt Lottie lived only three years after that.
The next day we took up temporary
residence in Uncle Lucien's vacant house until the seeding on the
farm two miles north of there had progressed to the point where one
of the granaries was emptied. Aunt Minnie had returned to Nebraska
and by and by we moved up to our farm, occupying a granary that
measured 12' x 6'. For storage, two shelves were built, one foot
above the other and about two feet in depth, clear around the entire
perimeter of the granary. Mother did a wonderfully fine job looking
after her family in that very confined space.
The farming operations consisted of
additional breaking of ground with the engine, disking and seeding.
We used a drill pulled by horses. There was a skeleton of a barn
north of the house, built the previous fall, that sufficed until it
was replaced with a good barn in 1920.
Soon another granary was emptied so it
was moved close to the first one, and we lived in those two granaries
all summer while the house was being built. The carpenter was named
Mr. Hodgekiss, and he got 40 cents an hour. The hired hands, and
there were five or six of them, were spared now and then to help do
some of the rough lumber work and shingling, and so by fall we had
the house built.
Evelyn's record of Gaylord Wight's memories part 5The first summer we spent in Canada in
1911, I went to school at Crocus Plains, three and a half miles south
and one half mile west of our farm. I would walk a mile and a quarter
to the south of us to catch a ride with the Kinter girls. I would
stand on the back of their buggy. I was in Grade 3. Our teacher, Mr.
George Glover, lived in a tent attached to the east side of the
school. He was well liked by the students. He played with the boys
and coached them in baseball and was a kindly gentleman. He aspired
to be a minister and indeed he bicycled each Sunday past our place to
Danvers School south of Riceton to preach as a student minister.
(Later he became ordained and preached the rest of his life.)
There was an organ in Crocus Plains
School, and we sang hymns to the Kinter girls playing, “Count Your
Blessing, Name Them One by One”. Mr Glover also taught us the
Lord's Prayer. There was a map of Canada on the wall, showing western
Canada as it was before 1905 outlining the various territories
instead of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Of course it
was out of date, but it was only out of date by six years.
In those days there was no summer
vacation to speak of, but there were two or three months for vacation
in the winter because of the climatic conditions of the country.
During my second year at Crocus Plains
I drove the girls in a buggy pulled by “Fancy”, a light gray
mare. Mr. Thompson was our teacher and the school board had a
teacherage built for him. (Later on, in the First Great War, Mr.
Thompson went overseas and lost his life in battle.)
Our water supply was brought to the
school in a tin barrel which could be set up in a buggy. During
recess or noon, someone would drive to Newson's for water and
sometimes I took Fancy and the buggy and several boys to help.
Towards the end of that year I got a cheque for 60 cents for three
trips at 20 cents a piece. It was signed by Joe Howard, the secretary
of the school board. I wasn't really expecting anything for that but
was happy to get the cheque nevertheless.
The Crocus Plains school building
served as a church for the community, served by the Presbyterian
ministry from Lang. Aunt Lottie was one of the Sunday School
teachers. On May 5, 1913, Knox School was opened a mile and a quarter
away, where we attended school from then on. However, we continued to
go to Crocus Plains for church and Sunday School.
We walked to Know School, except in the
fall and in wintry weather when we would drive a horse and buggy.
Everything was brand new in the school, including an up to date map
of Canada showing the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta as they
had been formed in 1905. Our teacher, Miss Latimer, was just out of
One day when Wayne was almost six, he
came to school with us as a visitor. He was sitting quietly in his
seat looking pretty, I suppose, because Miss Latimer said to him,
“Wayne, if you don't quit looking so pretty, I'm going to kiss
you!” Of course this was told at home and Mother asked him, “Wayne
what did you do then?” He replied, “I just kept on lookin' the
way I was.”
One evening Miss Latimer had a program
in the school in which all the children contributed items of
entertainment. I remember I play the organ.