Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The Beginning - Stella
July 6, 2010
I've spent my entire life in the Middle Border. Hamlin Garland, who was the original son of the middle border, inspires me to tell you the story of my life from the Middle Border.
I am the spawn of the Pioneer. I can trail my roots back to some very interesting people who wanted a better life. Some of these people experienced nothing but great tragedy. They took a risk to move west and grasped the horns of life with both hands.
Let me start by telling you about my Grandma Stella. Stella was first generation Dutch in America. Her parents thought Ashton, SD would be a fine place to farm, and make a life for themselves. Stella was born at home, no hospital. The third child and only girl. She was the apple of her father's eye, Garrett, and as most teenage girls, lacked understanding of her mother, Cora. She enjoyed the attention of her older brothers, Willie and Rob. Willie was her favorite, sometimes not quite understanding the complexities of Rob who was the middle child.
Garrett worked as a hired hand, and share cropper. Cora raised the family with a strict hand. Garrett was content with his life. He had married his dear, Cora, whom he had known almost his whole life long in Finkum, Netherlands. He had sent for his bride to come to America. Cora arrived in the spring of 1905, and they were married in the Methodist Evangelical church on May 17, 1905. Their friends Adelaide and Fred, stood with them to recognize their union before God and Country.
It may sound quite romantic at this point, but there were struggles. After all this was the frontier they were living in.
Stella grew up learning how to be a proper Pioneer woman. There were few modern conveniences. It was lots of hard work and few rewards. One of the best rewards to Stella was her toy dog. When she was good her mother allowed her to play with this little ceramic dog that was black and white about three inches tall. In Stella's world there was not much time to play. Everyone had work to do.
- to be continued -