The following is written by my Great Grandmother Irene Redfearn. You can find all the posts I will make about her here. She was an amazing woman and the below is what she wrote at the request of her family. I will post the entire letter in intervals as it is quite long. This is the last of the first set of letters I have put onto the computer, the rest will follow as I get them typed!
The twins were born on the 80 acres. They were three months premature. They weighed 3 lbs. apiece. The doctor didn’t expect them to live. They were born on the farm, no water in the house, a cook stove in the kitchen and a wood and coal heater in the living room. The twins never cried till 2 months old and never opened their eyes till 2 months old. I milked a few drops of milk into their mouths and heated the water bottles every 3 hours and kept the wood and coal in the stove every four hours. But they survived the 1st of December. They didn’t have no toenails of fingernails and had to be washed in olive oil only. Their skin wasn’t or couldn’t be washed with soap. I could put both of them into a man’s shoe box. I never went anywhere till 6 months. In June I took them to his folk’s home for the first time.
We moved 21 times in 14 years. Harry just couldn’t settle down long.
We lived through the depression days 1929, couldn’t buy a job. All empty houses on the farms everywhere.
In 1936 we moved to Beaman, IA and we got $45.00 a month, but he had 20 cows to milk, lots of cattle and steers to feed and farm work. The twins went to the Beaman School and then we moved to Dean Spurling farm by Whitten, IA at 1935. Zonya (ed note: my grandma) was born June 12, 1935 and Kathy was born October 2, 1937 and then we moved to Cedar Falls.
We worked for the Heckroth farm, the twins went to Cedar Falls school, then Hudson school. Zonya and Kathy entered Hudson school, all 4 of my daughters graduated at Hudson school. We moved here in 1947 in this house. Harry worked for farmers and I washed and ironed and cleaned house and worked at a restaurant in Hudson. Here we had our 25th anniversary at Hudson and our 50th also.
We didn’t celebrate, just a few friends and family. I am still living in my old shanty at age 90 years
old in 1995.
I lost my daughter Katherene November 17, 1993.
I lost my husband Harry April 12, 1974.
I lost one great grandson September 2, 1995.
This year, September 1995, I had my house converted to city gas. So I got rid of my bottle gas and fuel oil heat. We never had electricity till we moved to Maude and Tom Lynches at Beaman and a few houses at Cedar Falls.
When Zonya was born she had three months of colic. She sure cried a lot. The twins, Ruth and Ruby, sat on the stair steps, afraid she was going to die, and cried. Ruby and Ruth graduated in Whitten School in 8th grade at 12 years old. We moved to Hudson June 1947 into this house. We had just moved to this house and that night it rained so hard the creek flooded and washed out the bridge. The people in the house by the creek we had just left was flooded. The house flooded into the downstairs windows and all their furniture was soaked and they had to get them out with a boat. The water was up to the top of the first floor. We sure were glad we got out there that day.
In 1950 I bought the D.X gas station in Hudson, just the inside stuff and rented the station. (Grandma notes: When Irene’s mom and dad died they got $1,000, which they used to buy the gas station.) We ran it for five years and Harry couldn’t make a go of it. I worked there all the time. Harry only went to the 5th grade country school so I did all the bookwork.
So he went to work for farmers and took care of the dump for five years until he got his social security check. (Grandma notes: Harry also worked for the jail and walked through the town at midnight to check the town for any problems. When he was drunk, Irene would put on Harry’s uniform, a hood and big boots and walk around the town for him so he wouldn’t lose his job.)
Then he retired. I found out the spells he always had were Epileptic seizures, no wonder he couldn’t keep a job. It’s got something to do with your mind. He usually had those seizures at night; fell out of bed 7 times. Harry fell at the dump twice. He tried to help a carpenter but he couldn’t climb on top of houses or ladders. His folks though he had nightmares, but Doctor Werdine said he had a bad case of epilepsy.