Oscar Wherry's Final Writing
Grandmother lived at our house from the time she was 83 until she died. Helen and I were pretty small, and we loved to tease her. I would pretend I was slapping Helen, and she would get up out of her chair and take after me. This was a lark for us.
She would sit and look at a fashion book by the hour. Then she would say, "I see by the fashions they are wearing such and such styles." Once she sewed a a number of ribbon bows on her plain, black silk "Sunday" dress, but the family wouldn't let her go to church with them on. She was about fifty years ahead of of her generation as far as styles were concerned.
However, the custom of her generation was on very proper apparel. None of her children could remember when she did not wear a white cap, so perhaps she had to don it when she married. I remember seeing pictures of Martha Washington with a cap on. After Grandfather died, the caps were black. They were fashioned like a baby's bonnet and covered with black net and lace, fastened onto the foundation. A milliner in Indiana made them. They were tied under the chin. Grandmother never appeared without her cap.
The Heinselmans lived near our home, and they placed their "rest room", (what in those days was called a privy), on the edge of a hill. One day Lizzie went in to meditate for a while, and it happened to be a very windy day. All at once, the privy with Lizzy in it, rolled to the foot of the hill, which was about 150 feet away. The only discomfort she had was that her meditations were interrupted and she had a sprained thumb. I don't recall whether they rebuilt in on the hill or at the bottom, but that would be a little far in case of emergencies.
When my father bought out Mr. Allhouse to start to huckster to Pittsburgh, he got wagons, a sled and a team of horses named Harry and George. They were inseparable. If you took one out of the barn without the other, they fussed and pawed until the other was returned. One night they took George and another horse and went to West Lebanon to some meeting and left Harry. When the came home, the stable was full of steam, and they found old Harry crumpled up in the stall with his neck broken. He had hung himself and died of a broken neck and a broken heart. It was a good example of Damon and Pythias.
In closing, I would like to say that I think we were raised in a wonderful age. We didn't have the luxuries of life, but we had a good childhood and never went hungry. By the standards of today, we would have been classed as a low-bracket family, but I am not sure that the standards we class someone in today are solid standards.
We judged a person in those days for what he was, not how much money he represented. I think before it is all over, we will have to get back to judging a man for what he is and what he stands for The poet has said:
The boast of heraldy, the pomp of power, And all that beauty, all that wealth ere gave, Awaits alike the inevitable hour, The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
SO ENDS AN ERA, by Oscar M. Wherry