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Nancy Leonore Doggett


Posted By: Nancy Doggett Tate (email)
Date: 6/8/2008 at 17:05:05

The first house I remember was the "little yellow house" on South Kellogg. I think the address was 211. There is an apartment building there now.

Aunt Fannie, Uncle Joe and Aunt Mae lived across the alley. Aunt Dora Hussong, and her daughters, Ruth, Inez and her brothers, my uncles Lou, Harve and Ed lived 2 houses south. It was a family neighborhood. Our family!

I should say here, that Mama and Daddy were related, by marriage, before they got married. Mama is a McCoy and Daddy a Doggett. Aunt Fannie was a McCoy and Uncle Joe, a Doggett. So that made Aunt Fannie and Uncle Joe related, to me, on both sides. That also makes their daughter, Margaret, my double cousin....once removed. *G*

Our church, the United Brethren, was half a block to the north, on the corner. (It was sold, sometime in the 1960s, to the Nazarene Church) The church was a big part of my childhood. There was Sunday School, Church, Sunday and Wednesday evening services. There were, also, potluck dinners to enjoy. Thinking back, I don't know why I didn't join the choir. They practiced on Thursday evenings. Maybe because I was too young.

My world was Daddy, Mama, brothers, Jimmy and Tommy....Aunt Fannie, Uncle Joe, Aunt Mae McCoy, Margaret, and Aunt Ruby. It also included the weeping willow in the back yard, where I would play with my dolls. I also spent a good deal of time on the screened-in front porch.

Mom was a nurse. I didn't think about it, at the time, but I would rather have had her stay at home. She worked nights, when Daddy was home. When she got home, in the morning, she would get us off to school, then sleep. She would be awake when we got home from school. Still, it would have been nice to have her home. Like I said, I didn't think about it, it was "the way it was."

I have been told that Daddy didn't have work for quite a long time. I don't remember that, but I do remember we didn't have a lot of money. Mom and Daddy never let us kids know just how bad it was.

One time, Daddy went to Rushing's Grocery and brought home bushels of peaches that were spoiled or too ripe, to sell. Mom just about died when she saw them. But Daddy cut out the spoiled parts and they canned the rest. Mom said those were the sweetest peaches she had ever eaten.

Canning consisted of peaches, tomatoes, and beans. Also there was the making grape juice, grape and strawberry jam and bread and butter pickles. I don't know what Mom would have done without Aunt Fanny and Aunt Mae's help.
I remember nursery school. Now it is called daycare. The only thing I really remember was nap time. Jimmy and I had cots on the third floor. There was a window beside the cots, so I rarely slept, that I remember. I looked out the window. I don't remember being unhappy there, but I also don't remember being especially happy. It was just "the way it was". The location was Lincoln Way and Kellogg. The house was on the south west side, second house west from the corner. It is gone now.

We had a screened back porch that was pretty large. That was where Mom did her canning. I mostly remember the tomatoes. Aunt Fannie and Aunt Mae would always come to help. I don't remember a garden, so Aunt Fannie probably gave us tomatoes from their garden. I do remember the floor, of the porch, being slippery with tomato juice.

I also remember Aunt Mae coming to the back door....”Yoo Hoo...anybody home?”

Occasionally Jimmy and I would walk to Logsdon's Dairy. It was 1/2 block away (to the south) We would go and buy a quart of milk. In glass bottles. Once in a while we were allowed to by 5¢ ice cream cups. I never went alone. After all, Jimmy was the big brother....he was 18 months older than I.

I also remember the sign in the window of the front porch, for the ice man. It would tell how many pounds of ice we needed. When he would come, he could see it from his truck and would bring the right amount to the door.

Tommy was born, at home, on South Kellogg. I don't remember anything about his birth but I must have been aware of his condition. Mom and Dad were very good about not giving Jimmy and me anything to worry over. He was born with a defective heart. He was called a blue baby, because of the blue color of his lips and finger tips.

When I was 4, Mom and Dad bought 1303 Kellogg. Compared to the little yellow house, it was huge. There was a living room, dining room, kitchen and coat closet on the first floor. Three bedrooms and one bath on the second. Each bedroom had a big walk in closet. I remember being mad because I was not allowed to help move. After all, I was 4 years old.

Shortly after they bought the house, Mom thought she had set fire to it. She was checking out a small storage room, off her bedroom. She was using a wood match for light and she dropped it. It fell down inside the walls. She called the fire department. I was upset because I was at nursery school. I thought she should have come and gotten me, so I could see the fire trucks.

Thinking back, I don't know why I was at nursery school, that day. Mom obviously was at home. Maybe It was moving day.
Mom says I was not old enough to remember my great tricycle ride. She said I remember because the story was told so many times. But she could not have known what I was thinking, and I do remember that.

No longer living across the alley from Aunt Fannie, I missed Margaret. I decided to go for a visit. I had been told never to cross the street, (13th street) and I thought about that as I was sitting at the corner. But, I really wanted to see Margaret. I did not know, or did not realize, that she had gone to Nashville. I sat there for a few minutes then took off, south. I also don't think I realized just how far 16 blocks was and how dangerous that trip was, for a 4 year old. There was 13th, which went to the college. Main Street, 8 sets of railroad tracks, and Lincoln way.

I don't remember too much of the trip except crossing the railroad tracks. I barely remember getting across Lincoln Way. You must remember that back then, Lincoln Way was US highway 30 and quite busy with no traffic lights to help one get across. Somehow I made it.

The next I remember was turning in at the sidewalk at Aunt Fannie's. I got there the same time Mom did.

She says she was pretty worried and mad at me. I don't remember that, but I do remember that Margaret was not there.

When I got home, Daddy put my tricycle up in the top of the garage. He hung it so I could see it, but could not get it. That was my punishment. I don't remember how long it hung there, but eventually I did get it back. I never took it across the street again.

Mom's side of the story was: She discovered I was gone and went looking for me. She was almost down to 9th Street when she asked a lady, sitting on her porch, if she had seen a little girl on a red tricycle. The lady said "Yes"

Then the lady said, “Let my husband drive you to look for her. (we did not own a car) Mom got in the car and said to the man, "Could you take me home first. I left my little boy there, and I can't remember if I closed the basement door. He could fall down the stairs."

They went home and got Tommy and started out again. When they came to Main Street, they stopped and asked the paperboy, who was standing on the corner, if he had seen a little girl on a red tricycle. He said, "Yes, she said she was going to a show"

Mom knew that I had no idea what a show was, so she figured I had said Uncle Joe. That was how she found me.
I don't remember cutting holes in Mom's lace tablecloth, but she says I did. I do remember playing under the big round table, in the dining room. That was where I played paper dolls. I usually didn't play with them, as such. I would make new clothes for them. My paper dolls always had a rather large wardrobe. Mostly long gowns!

Some times I would cover the table with blankets and have a fort.

Then there were the times we would take the living room chairs and put them with the front on the floor. We could then get under them and have a store. I would bring all the canned food into the store and sell to Jimmy, Tommy and, new brother, David. Sometimes David was the grocer and I was the customer. PS, we always put the cans back, when we were done.

When Tommy was 6, Mom heard about a surgery that had been developed to correct his heart condition. The surgery was being done at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Grandma Doggett gave Mom and Daddy the money to go. Tommy’s Dr said “Don’t let them experiment on our Tommy.”

Mom made an appointment for June. In May, Tommy was exposed to measles. Mom wrote the hospital informing them. The day before they were to leave she got a letter saying his appointment had been cancelled “due to having measles”. She saw the misunderstanding and knew she did not have time to correct it, so she threw the letter in the furnace. She thought, what if it had come a day later. They would have already left.

When they got to Baltimore and “discovered” the appointment had been cancelled and rescheduled for September, Daddy begged them. “Please can’t the Dr just look at him, We have come 1500 miles.” Dr Blalock did look at him and said, “We will operate now. He will not be alive in September.” He was operated on two days later.

He survived the operation, although he did get a case of flu while he was still in the hospital and was pretty sick. He came home 6 weeks later. For the first time in his life he was able to walk across the room without sitting down. He found a tricycle waiting for him when he arrived.

In the fall, Daddy had no problem getting me to help rake the yard. I would rake the leaves into the outline of a house, then I would play house. David was always the Dad and Tom usually was the baby. Jimmy was too big to be playing girl games.

The Elm trees that lined our property, (in the parking) were the last to lose their leaves, so we would go across the street to Mrs. Angle's house and gather up her Maple leaves. Also, they were much softer than our Elm leaves and I liked them much better. We would make a big pile, of leaves, then jump in it. In the end, when leaf playing was done for the season, Daddy would make a big bonfire and we would roast hot dogs and marshmallows.

For summer fun, there was always softball. But ask Jim, just how soft a softball is. He was the pitcher and I hit a ball and he caught it in the face. Ouch!!! It was softball, across the street at the Taylor's where I broke my arm, the first time. I was running bases and stepped in a hole. Down I went and the arm was broken. That was the summer before 5th grade.

Softball was, also, where I messed up my left knee. I was at bat, swung hard and my left leg, from the knee down stayed where it was, while from the knee up twisted. I tore the cartilage. Eventually, I had surgery (at age 17).

Soon after we moved to 1303, Daddy got some pipe and built me a swing in the back yard. I not only spent much of the summer in that swing and in the sandbox, but also climbing the swing pole, to the top, then hand over hand to the other side and then sliding down the other side.

There were all kinds of games. I think we played soldier more than anything else. Jimmy, David and sometimes Tommy would play with me. We had guns made from sticks. Bruce and Marcia Textrum, from next door and Bubby Shultz would join in. Chuck Rutter was always a part of our crowd too. The center of a huge lilac bush was our headquarters. When it was not being used for headquarters, it was my playhouse. I would gather all my dolls and play house.

I always liked summer because we were allowed to stay outside till just after dark. When young, we would play hide and seek. Then as I got older, we would take a blanket in the yard and look at the stars.

On Thursday evenings, 7 o'clock, Mom would put Tommy and David in the wagon and Jimmy and I would walk, with her, to the Bandshell. It was Band Concert night. There was wonderful music and popcorn from the popcorn stand on the corner. We had a blanket, sat on the ground, ate our popcorn and listened to the music. Uncle Harve played the tuba and Uncle Lou was on the drums. Almost every Thursday, they ended with "Stormy Weather". The lights in the Bandshell changed colors, flashing white for lightening. It was quite a show. Funny, I don't remember being bothered by mosquitoes. But then, you have a tendency to forget the bad. What wonderful evenings those were. Since Daddy worked on the road, in the summer, he was not able to join us.

Sometimes, we would take a blanket and throw it over one of the clothes lines, and we would have a tent. Many nights my brothers and I, slept there, in the back yard.

Early on, I figured out that God made winter especially for kids. There were forts to build, snowball fights to be fought. When I was a kid, the winters were colder and we had more snow than I have seen in many years. We usually had a white Christmas and sometimes a white Thanksgiving. The snow lasted till late February. It was our wonderland.

Jimmy and I shoveled the walk, then we went down the basement and got cinders from the furnace to spread on the sidewalk. We had never heard of putting salt on ice.

Winter was also the time for games. Parcheesi, Canasta, Monopoly. Oh, those endless Monopoly games.... What a way to spend the winter evenings. Homework? There was no homework until you reached 7th grade. Sometimes we popped the corn we had picked up off the ground at Uncle Charles Alfred's farm. Sometimes, not very often, Mom would make fudge. Whenever we had the fudge, we were only allowed 1 or 2 pieces, and we had to drink a whole glass of water afterward.

Mom would sit down at the old upright piano and play for us. She was very good. We would go get pan lids, from the kitchen, and when she played "The Funny Song", we would march around the living and dining rooms, banging the pan lids together. As a kid, I did not know the name of the song. I guess it is called,
"Frank Barker". Or
Starving to Death on My Government Claim (G County Bachelor)

My name is Frank Barker’s, a bachelor I am
I'm keeping old batch on an government plan,
You'll find me out west in the County of Fame
Starving to death on my government claim.

My house it is built of the natural soil
The sides are erected according to Hoyle,
The roof it is flat and level and plane
And I always get wet when it happens to rain.

So come to G County, there’s room for you all
Where the winds never cease and the rains never fall
Where the sun never sets but will always remain
Till it burns us all up on our government claim.

The dishes are scattered all over the bed
The’re covered with sorghum and government bread;
But have a good time and live at my ease
On common-sap sorghum, old bacon and grease.

Repeat Chorus

How happy I feel when I crawl into bed
The rattlesnake rattles a tune at my head;
The dear little centipede, void of all fears
Crawls over my neck and right into my ears.

Repeat Chorus

The gay little bedbug, so cheerful and bright
Keeps me a-scratching two thirds of the night,
The gay little flea with sharp tacks in his toes
Plays "why don't you catch em?" all over my nose.

Repeat Chorus

(Note: there are many versions of this song, but this is the one we sang)

From Kindergarten till 5th grade, I walked to school. It was 12 blocks, so I guess that equals a mile. I was at Roosevelt School through 6th grade. Starting 5th grade, I had a bicycle, that I rode Tommy on the back. The first day of school, Mom walked with me. Then it was up to Jimmy to see that I found my way. It was not long till Jimmy got tired of a little sister tagging along, but by then, I knew the way. Thank goodness, we never had to be afraid to walk alone in Ames.

However, there was one incident. I must have been in 5th or 6th grade. I had gone to Camp Fire Girls after school. Kay Weston, Sandy McLarnan and I were walking home and a man, who was coming toward us opened his coat and his zipper was open. We passed him without incident and then giggled. We each vowed we would not tell, and, of course, each of us did. We were to young, or shocked or stupid to notice what he looked like. After all, we were not going to tell. The police never did catch him, as far as we knew.

When I was in 1st grade, Jimmy and I started piano lessons. The teacher lived on 6th Street and a little west of the school. Of course we walked there. Mom never knew, but we walked on the railroad tracks from the school to her house and back.

There were some really interesting things on the way to and back from school. One was the haunted house. It was in the middle of the block on Kellogg between 9th and 10th street. I was not afraid to walk passed it, but I would never go to close. Then there was the popcorn barn. It was at the corner of Burnett and 10th. Occasionally there would be ears of popcorn that were on the ground, outside the barn. Of course, they found a new home with us.

There was the lady who had a white poodle. She lived on 9th street at Wilson. She invited us to "Shasta Daisy's" birthday party. There was Junior Sampson. He lived 2 doors south of us, on Kellogg. I was terrified of him. I don't remember why I was so scared, but I usually walked on the other side of the street. Then there was the house, on Burnett where a parrot lived. On warm days, the parrot would be on the front porch. We used to go up to the front door and talk to it.

The entire block, bounded by Kellogg, Burnett and 10th to 11th street was very interesting. There were only 3 houses. One on the corner of Kellogg and 10th, one huge one on Burnett, that took up 2/3 of the block. A Judge lived there. (The popcorn barn was at the north end of the block). Then on 10th, close to Kellogg was a house that you could not see from either street, in the summer. There were a lot of trees and weeds. We used to "investigate" that "forest".

My favorite teacher was Mrs Struble, in the 3rd grade. She was the one who introduced us to the Little House books. We used to play Math baseball. You were given a math problem, only addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. If you got the answer you got to proceed to first base. Then the next right answer, got you to second, and so on. Wrong answers were outs. No calculators. I had never even heard of one.

This was where we had to learn multiplication table. Whoaa!! that was hard, except for the "9s". Mom taught me the trick for them.

The beginning number, in the answer, was one number less than the number you multiplied with and the two numbers added together equaled nine. Example 2 X 9 = 18. The 1 in 18 was 1 less than the 2 that you multiplied with. The 1 plus 8 equaled 9. It works every time.

My fourth grade teacher was a favorite, too. Miss Mead introduced me to geography....and how to spell it. "George Elliot's Old Grandmother Rode A Pig Home Yesterday". Everyday, Mom thought I was going to be packing my bags to take off for someplace in Africa. The teacher made the world real. That is no small task for 10 year olds.

Soon after school started, in 5th grade, and soon after by broken arm had healed, I was playing Soccer Baseball on the school play yard and I ran into another girl and broke it again. This was a much worse break and I had to have a cast instead of a splint. Since it was my right arm, the teacher allowed someone else to do any writing for me. Soccer Baseball is played like baseball, except you have a volleyball sized ball and it is rolled to you and you kick it. I loved the game.

Ahh! my first new bike. It was a blue Schwinn. It was beautiful. I had had a used bike but the chain kept coming off. I don't know why Daddy couldn't fix it. He could fix anything, but not that bike.

Tommy was not strong enough to walk to school and we did not have a car, so I had taken him in a stroller. The year, I got the new bike, Daddy put an extra seat on it and Tommy rode there. Dad got permission from the police for that extra seat. You figure ways, when you have no car.

One of my fondest memories, in grade school, was the day before Christmas vacation. After the Christmas parties, in our rooms, all the classes gathered in the halls and sang Christmas carols.

When you came in the front door, of the school, the hallway went straight ahead to the back of the building, but there was also a hallway that intersected. The Christmas tree was in that intersection.

It always reached the ceiling and was decorated with what the different classes had made. There were 2 classes of each grade making 12 classes of 30+ students each, that made the decorations. The tree was well decorated. When it was time for singing, the piano was wheeled out of the music room and one of the teachers played. For a short time, Margaret was the music teacher, so she was the one who played.

When I was in 5th and 6th grades, I spent some time as a crossing guard. That was quite an honor. I looked forward to it, all of 4th grade.

As a child, I never was afraid that the world would end, that the atomic bomb would become part of my life. I remember standing on the front porch listening for planes. We were having a "black out".

I don't really remember WW II but I do remember the last day of the war. Jimmmy and I got on our trikes and rode up and down the sidewalk banging pans lids together. I know I did not understand what had happened, but I knew it was something to be celebrated.

I imagine, being in the middle of this great big country put the war on a different level from those people living on either coast.

You are probably wondering why I have not said anything about my grandparents. Mom's parents were dead before I was born. Daddy's parents were not in the picture, very much. I remember Grandpa being a softie and I am sure we had some good times. He died when I was only 7 so it is a little hard to really remember him. Grandma was a hard person. She was pioneer stock and did not believe in coddling children.

Aunt Fannie and Uncle Joe were more like my grandparents. Aunt Fannie and I would make May baskets. She always put together Halloween costumes for me. I would sit on Uncle Joe's lap and he would "clack" his false teeth. I also remember, in church, his marvelous voice.

It was getting ready for Grandpa's funeral, I learned a valuable lesson that has stayed with me over the years.

Margaret was combing my hair. I asked her if Grandpa was hurting. She said, "No". I asked why everyone was crying. She told me it was because we were going to miss Grandpa, but that he was in heaven and not sick anymore. That simple statement helped me as other people, that I loved, passed on to a better life.


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