Pearl Sklapsky-Holben Memoir – written April 22.1989

The next memory I have of childhood is of walking, and of getting ready to go somewhere. Mother was looking for my shoe laces and telling everyone to help find them. I remember looking for them myself, but being so small among many others, there being ten people at home then, the house seemed pretty dark to me. I was about knee high to a grasshopper, and all I could see was legs. The window seemed very high to me, and not much light was getting into the house. One never thinks of the little people walking amongst grown-ups; just what they think when all they see in a crowd of people are legs. I don’t recall going someplace after the shoe lace episode, however.

I also can remember visiting a neighbour’s place near the school house. The school was called McCarthy as they were the nearest people to the school, and it was built on a corner of their farm. At the time of the visit I remember their youngest daughter, Irene. She played with me in the upstairs hall with an open stairway and railing around the steps. I was to throw this big ball (it seemed big to me) down over the railing, and she would go down and bring it back to me to throw down again.

Another occasion I recall was visiting neighbours called the Federspiels. I remember going there in a sleigh pulled by two horses. They had three small girls nearer to my age, and two older girls. I remember my Dad crossing one leg over the other, and me sitting on his leg. From there we went to another family’s home and saw more neighbours. We all went in the Federspiel’s sleigh, as they were about a mile and a half farther from our house. These folks, the Masons, had two girls, one near my age and the other, older.

The first Christmas concert I attended, to my memory, is one I’ll never forget. The teacher was a Miss Marian Calkins, and I guess it was her first concert too. She came from a town called Eston, and a sleigh full of her friends came from Eston to watch it, mostly cousins and a brother. The concert itself doesn’t stick in my mind, but the ride home does. My sister Thelma had insisted I should go and I was bundled up until I couldn’t even stand as the winters were cold, and frosty and we lived two and a half miles from the school. The roads were trails across country. In the process of going home, the sleigh was full, and we tipped over in the snow banks. I can still hear them all talking at once and scrambling out of the sleigh box, getting things straightened up and then they began to ask each other. Where’s Pearl? Has anyone seen Pearl?” “What has become of Pearl?” and all the time they were looking for me, they were walking all over me since I was still wrapped up under the blankets in the snow. I was trampled down in the snow and straw that had been in the bottom of the sleigh. Being all bundled up in coats and blankets I couldn’t move or call out until they got themselves collected enough to make room to see what they were standing on — it being me. I remember that Miss Calkins’s brother Harley got his jaw broken in the melee.

One Christmas concert I remember Bainard gave the following recitation:

When I was a little boy
About so high.
Mama took a stick and made me cry.
Now I’m a big boy
And Mama can’t do it.
But Daddy takes a stick and hops right to it.

I also recall the time Bainard was attempting to make a Jack’O Lantern out of a pumpkin. The knife slipped and I was too close, always being there to see what was going on; Bainard and I being close in age and buddies. Anyway, the knife hit my eye and I was very lucky I guess not to have lost the sight in it.

I remember cutting the pad nearly off my right thumb once. And when I was all bandaged up, and asked what else could be done to make it better, I asked for a slice of freshly baked bread. I also remember we saved every bit of string that came into the house, as well as papers and bags. I remember Bainard having to bring in kindling each morning to make the fire for the day. And I remember the terrible sounding wild animals that the older boys used, to keep us little ones in line.

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