My mother’s 100th birthday will be this November (Martha Evelyn Mount, born November 28, 1916, in Morrow, Ohio and passed away on July 31, 1991). When she was 72 in 1989, she made a taped recording of family stories for both sides of the family. In her honor, and still incredulous that she sat and dictated all of this into a tape recorder by herself, I’m going to post what she wrote along with pictures whenever possible. She had a rather rambling, random method and said whatever came to her mind at that moment, punctuated by hearty laughing. I’ll post the stories in the order she told them and will only edit the posts to keep out anything that might be offensive or embarrassing to other members of the family.
8/89 – Family Stories Tape by Martha Applegate
Transcribed 5/19/01 by Lillian – notes in parenthesis by Lillian
My earliest memories are of Mother telling stories of her wonderful childhood in Morrow, Ohio. Times were hard: her mother was widowed with three children and worked in a munitions factory in Kings Mill, Ohio (near where King’s Island amusement park is now). She remarried and her husband left her when he found out she was pregnant. She continued to work, leaving the housekeeping to little daughter Alice Mae and the general care of her toddler Mabel to my mother. Mother always said they grew up like Topsy (the little girl in Uncle Tom’s Cabin) but at least she and Mabel had a lot of fun growing up Topsy-like in the little town of Morrow, Ohio.
for the train that goes to Morrow is already on its way.”
Railroad St., Morrow, Ohio – 1910
After my father died, Mom had a hard time raising all of us. She remarried again (Fred Bailey) and when I was five, Mabel was born and, oh, I dearly loved her. We played together and we had such good times together always.
We used to go swimming every day in the little creek and we’d always go in, in an old dress. We’d go down and there’d be a mud slide and we could slide right down into the water in the mud, but we’d always ask Alice Mae (Mother’s older sister) first. Some days we liked to maybe go up and get some clay. To get the clay we had to go through the grave yard and up the railroad track and around the bend and then come down over the hill where the water trickled and it would make clay. We would take that home and you could just mold anything out of it, make little dishes and everything and play. Some days we’d say we’d go to Flat Rock and I’d always put Mabel in my wagon wherever we went and I’d pull Mabel along – I was about 10 and Mabel was about 5.
Then some days we would go up to Irma’s, up the railroad track – Mom took care of her when she was having a baby and we knew her. Every time we went she would go and she would kill a chicken and she’d have chicken and gravy – oh, and that tasted so good – that fried chicken. And she’d take us down to the spring house, the milk house, where they set the pails of milk right down in the spring and it would be ice cold – oh, that milk tasted so good! And she’d do it any time we’d come.
Then one day we were there we were told not to go into the orchard but we did anyway – we went into the orchard and climbed up a tree and we looked down and saw why we weren’t supposed to go in the orchard – there was a great big bull standing right under us. We had to wait there until her husband could come and get us down.
Irma always liked for us to come because to go to town, to go to Morrow, she had to drive a horse and buggy and she was ashamed of it – nobody drove a horse and buggy in those days – that was 1925 – everybody had a car by that time. So, she’d tie our wagon on the back and down we’d go over the hill and I’d get to drive the horse through the gate. Oh, I thought that was wonderful – to drive that old horse down there.
Mabel and I one time we were playing in the graveyard – up there playing with our wagon and we thought we were allowed to go anywhere because my father was buried there and we’d slip in and we’d play cowboy and we’d ride that cannon like a horse and we rolled all the cannon balls down the hill – none of them are left, they’re all gone. One day the caretaker told us that we weren’t allowed to ride our wagon down the hill and we were very insulted because my father was buried there and we could do anything. I see they’ve got a sign up there that says NO WAGONS OR BICYCLES. I think they put that there for us, but that was a long time ago.
Next, time Mother continues her stories about friends and family in her favorite place, Morrow, Ohio.