Dorothy Remembers Her Mother Cora D. Hodge
Contributor: MDSIMS Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
DOROTHY REMEMBERS HER MOTHER (Cora Hodge)
MY FIRST RECOLLECTION
She made a navy blue cape with red lining for LaFae and me and sent us around to the neighbors to show them how cute we looked. This was my first lesson in vanity. It is also my first remembrance of LaFae although I do not remember what she looked like.
Mom was small and petite. She stood about about 5’ 2” tall, and had a very small frame. These days you would say she really had a cute shape. She wore high heel pumps to work and play in, would you believe size 4. When the chores were being done, she tied her hair in a dishtowel to keep the dust off. Every afternoon she had a ten-minute nap after the dishes were done, and then she freshened up. She put on a clean dress and redid her hair, put her Rice powder on and a little rough, and then she was ready to go anywhere.
What was my favorite thing that she cooked---EVERYTHING!!! (Except canned vegetable soup which was Don’s favorite, but she pampered me by serving my favorite, tomato soup.) Some of my favorites that I will never stop wanting were her fresh creamed green peas and potatoes, creamed beans and potatoes, corn on the cob, round steak and gravy, white cream pie, and most everything else. Her tables were set to perfection, with a clean, ironed tablecloth for each meal. There were no bottles or cans allowed on the table. Everything was in dishes so the table would be neat.
Did I ever dare to talk back? NO WAY1111
THE PARENT OF A MUSICIAN
I am afraid Don and I burst her bubble for training a great musician. She had great desires, and provided lessons for us, but we just were not willing to pay the price of practicing. Perhaps Bob would have been her only hope, but he was too small at the time.
I was always given a choice of which rooms she wanted me to clean. I would look around and see which rooms were the cleanest and choose those. I scrubbed my first kitchen floor when I was five years old. I am sire she did it over, but boy did she ever brag about me to Dad. Bragging worked wonders for me, because the more they bragged, the more I would do. She taught everything precept by precept. Dad had me an ironing board made to scale, where I would stand beside her and help her iron. I started with hankies, then dishtowels, then pillowcases and tablecloths, and ended with the great things like overalls etc… Cooking was just the same. I started with peeling potatoes, cleaning vegetables, then cooking an salting them, then cakes, pies, frying meat to please Dad, then bread, and then canning and most everything else so I was well prepared when she died. Bragging still worked even then, but you would never believe the happiness I felt to be working with my mother.
MUSIC IN OUR HOME
She played the piano by ear, and Dad played the harmonica. The enjoyment they got out of playing together was something very special to both of them and to us. The house was filled with music on many occasions, perhaps not of professional quality, but the family really enjoyed it. Her favorite songs were “Love at Home” and “I Will Take You Home Again, Kathleen.”
HER PRIDE AND JOY
She loved her family. She especially loved to take her new babies for a ride in the great big buggy that she relined for each new baby. We would walk down town, and she would pull the covers off and proudly show off her new little baby.
THE FAMILY CAR
The first family car was a model T Ford that had to be cranked. She would have to crank the engine to make it go, and when it kicked, she would bruise her arm. When we went to Pincock Springs (Green Canyon Hot Springs), we had to back the Model T Ford up the dugway to get to the springs. If it had been raining, she would get the children out and walk with them because she was so afraid that Dad would wreck us. We swam and then would have a really good picnic and that was FUN!!! The next car we had was a 1924 Chevy that Dad really thought was special. I’ll never forget the smell of that car.
The most exciting time of the year was Christmas and the anticipation of all the presents. She would spend hours upon hours shopping and secretly sewing my Christmas dresses. The first was a black velvet with a lace collar and a ruffled skirt. The next year it was a navy blue dress that was not finished. I tried it on, and decided the collar had been basted on crocked. So I took it off and basted it on straight because I did not want to wear anything with a crocked collar. To this day, I wonder if she ever knew that the collar had been fixed, or who had done it. Then the worst thing I had to do, was act surprised upon seeing the dresses on Christmas morning. The third year she made me a wine colored dress, with puffed sleeves, and a cream-colored lace collar. When I found it, I thought YUCK, I don’t like this and the puffed sleeves. Then I tried it on and pushed the sleeves up, combed my hair and looked in the mirror and decided I looked pretty swell. I started to dance and smile at myself in the mirror and in walked my mother and Aunt Ora Sayer. Mom just about flipped, she was angry! She asked me what I was doing. I was about 13, and she sent me to bed. Talk about humiliating! (To this day, I’ve always wondered why dad called me “old Snoop.’)
Modesty was a way of life, a must. All girls were expected to be gentile ladies. I never saw my mother undressed, nor did I ever know where babies came from, except that the stork brought them. I think I found out the hard way. My friend Lilly Jacobs and I were playing “peddler” and to do this we needed a suitcase to show our wares. I knew we had two in our closet, one a satchel and a large flat suitcase. They would be just right. I got a chair and pulled the flat one off the shelf. It was heavy and knocked me flat off the chair and it broke open. I was astounded. It was full of baby clothes. I asked, “Gee! What were they for?” Lilly said;, “You dumb thing. Don’t you know your mom is going to have another baby?” I said, “She is not, we don’t need another one.” Lilly said that she was going to have a baby. I asked her she knew. Lilly said, “Haven’t you seen her big fat stomach?” I said that she did not have a big stomach. She told me to just look when mom came home. I then asked her “Well if you are so smart, how does a baby get out of her stomach?” She said that there is a little brown line from your navel to your stomach that opened up and the baby comes out of there. Needless to say, I was now educated about the birds and the bees! When Mom came home, every chance I got I looked so hard at her to see if I could tell any difference. She saw me looking and asked, “What are you looking at?” I said, “Oh, nothing!” I watched her the rest of the day, and I could not see that she had a big stomach. That night Max was born.
THE HODGE FAMILY
The fun that the Hodge family had together could probably not be equaled by any other family. They enjoyed each other and all their funny stories. We always me t at Grandma’s the whole clan and ate and ate. After Grandma became too old, Aunt Ora’s and Uncle bill Sayer’s home became the meeting place. They were now the hub of activity for the family. Their home was always open. The amount of food ;she fixed for drop-ins was unbelievable. There would be as many as 12 pies on the back porch table ready to be eaten, and as many as 5 chickens in the oven at one time with a couple of coffee pots on the stove ready for the taking Mom an Dad and Aunt Ora and Uncle Bill had a great love for one another. When they found out that Dad was going to be transferred to South Dakota, they could not stand the thought of the separation. They said they would go as far ass they could with us which happened to be Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone Park. The two families would camp out a night or two, and get in one last fishing trip together. The parting, needless to say, was very sad!
I always felt that Don was Mom’s pride and joy. We had a contest to prove who could learn our geography and history lessons dates and places the quickest. I think Don won because he was always so smart. He was a great help around the house when he was home. He worked at the sugar factory during the campaign, then went to business school in Salt Lake. He was the number one draftee in World War 11 from Garland. I should mention that the rest of the boys Bob, Bud, LaMar also served in the worst part of the war. Max also served but his was in the Korean War.
Bob was our greatest reader. He sat behind the kitchen stove and read constantly. Sometimes, his reading got on our nerves because there was so much work to be done. Perhaps we weren’t very nice , and not mature enough to handle him correctly. He was a good natured boy, and very good looking. A few years ago, I talked to the principal of our Sugar Salem High School, and he asked if Bob had become a doctor. I told him no, and he said, “What a shame it was to have wasted that great mind of his.”
The saddest thing to me is that he says that he cannot remember mother, except kissing her good-bye in her casket. He was always so sweet and willing to help with all the chores. He really worked. He told me he felt bad that Dad did not hold him like he did the two younger boys, LaMar and Max, and felt that he was not loved quite as much. Dad probably felt that he was too old to be held. Dad would be sick to think that he had slighted Bud in any way. Even though, Bud still has one of the greatest loves and appreciation for his dad that I have ever known. He named his only daughter Coralee, after his mother Cora, and she is a credit to her name.
Getting the boys pictures taken was easy until it came to LaMar. He was a stubborn, little character. Actually he would even wet his pants thinking he wouldn’t have to have his picture taken. He had been sick in the hospital, and had a tube placed in his lung, and we had to baby him all the time that the tub was in the lung and was draining. We spoiled him! He got so bad he even threw his shoes in the ditch every time he got mad, and sometimes we couldn’t find them. I seem to remember a few spankings he received for this act. He says that the things that he can remember about Mother was when he fell off a horse at Uncle Will’s and broke his arm and taking him to the hospital. Also a funny thing, was when she took him to the show and the MGM lion came on the screen, he looked up and saw that lion roar and he let out a scream, jumped up, and ran out of the theater. Mom had to run after him, console him, and bring him back to the show. A sad memory of his is walking be the hospital to see if she might be at the window so he could wave to her. He was too little to go in.
Max was a beautiful baby, loved by all his older brothers and sister. When he was nine months old, he was in his walker and tipped over against the old coal stove and burned the whole side of his face. I remember coming home from school, and Dad with tears rolling down his face was holding Max trying to comfort him. Mom was crying too, because they knew he would be scarred for life. Max can remember when Mom made Indian suits for the boys. He wanted one too, so she made him one with red fringe. The big boys were playing Indians and jumped over a pile of burning leaves in the ditch and Max jumped too, but landed right in the middle of the fire. When I got home from school, there was Max again with his leg burned really bad. Mom had great big blisters on her hands from pulling the suit off. We all took turns caring for him, and all developed a great love for him through this nurturing. Max can also remember walking by the hospital to wave to his mother through the window. He said he really missed her. Max was also a great help around the house and willing to do anything to help. After putting my thinking cap on, and thinking back to when she still here, I now realize how many things I learned from her and have practiced in raising my own family. I am so glad that she helped me raise my family even though she was not here. She was an example to me all my life, and her spirit was always with me to help guide and direct my choices.
Our Trip to Belle Fourche
Contributor: MDSIMS Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
In July of this year, 2010, Ardith and I planned a trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We had a great time and while there I wanted to visit the town of Belle Fourche to see where Mom lived as a little girl. I had heard her tell of living there at a dark time in her life. That was where her mother Cora died. My grandpa Abe Hodge was transferred there from Sugar City, Idaho where he worked for the U and I Sugar factory. Mom told of how hard it was to leave Sugar City and all their friends and go to a far away place in South Dakota to live.
Just a little bit about Cora as I was told by Mom. Cora was a very energetic person. She was up early every day, every one had household assignments to be completed by I think she said 10AM. Cora kept a spotless house. When the work was done then Cora and the neighbor women would get together for a fun visit. Cora had all kinds of energy. Mom said she and Abe would put on a record of the charleston music and they would then dance around the house like crazy. Anyway she was a great mother, wife, and housekeeper.
When they got to Bell Fourche she apparently developed some health problems which I remember as an eptopic pregnancy. She spent a lot of time in the hospital and eventually died when only 40 years old.
Mom told of their travel to South Dakota packing everything they needed, plus 6 children and old Dutch the dog on the front fender of their car. It must have been quite the sight as they left Sugar City. Abes brother and family traveled with them as far as Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone. They fished for a day and then left for South Dakota. When they got there they got a home and Cora fixed it so it looked real nice.
My objective in going to Belle Fourche was to find their house and take a picture of it. I did not have an address so I wasn’t sure how to find the house. As we went into town it looked pretty run down and quite old. Apparently the main street is pretty much as it was in the 30’s when the Hodge family lived there. I thought I would start by looking for the Sugar Factory but after driving around could see no sign of it. I told Ardith that we needed to find an older person who might remember it. I saw an old building that was a mechanic shop. When I went in I saw all kinds of junk, parts on the floor, and oil covering the place as well as the old guy working there. I asked him if he remembered the Sugar Factory and he said he did and tried to explain where it was. It was now a seed plant. Unable to explain how to get there he got a piece of paper off his desk which had parts and papers and all kinds of stuff on it. This piece of paper all ready had a map on it which he had drawn who knows when and it took me right to the Sugar Factory location. That was the first kind of miracle (map already drawn for us). Next we went to the factory stopped in the middle of the road since there was no traffic and took pictures of it. As I was taking a picture a car pulls up behind us and has his red light turned on. It was the sheriff and he wanted to know if we were lost. I explained my grandpa used to work here and also my grandmother had died here in the 30’s and could he tell us where the hospital might be located. Second miracle--he told us how to get there. While driving to the old John Burns hospital we passed the old Belle Fourche high school where Don and maybe Mom went. Don would have been 18 when Cora died. Mom was 15. The old building was now a homeless shelter. We also passed the grade school where all the rest of the kids including Mom attended. It was in good condition but was for sale. It had an apartment in the basement. When we got to the John Burns hospital I was not sure it was old enough to have been there in the early 30’s. It was now an apartment house.. We stopped at the police station and they didn’t know how old it was but told us to go to the historical museum and they could look it up. Next step was the museum and the lady there verified the hospital was finished in 1933-34. She said there was a house there that had been moved that was the hospital before that. She volunteered to take us to it. We got pictures of both the house and the John Burns hospital. It was special to see the building where my grandmother had died many years ago. In the museum were early pictures and history of the Sugar Factory. It was a very important part of the economy in those days.
Our final stop was the court house. As I said earlier my objective was to find their home and take a picture of it. We thought if we could get Cora’s death certificate it would have an address. I wasn’t sure of the year she died so I said somewhere between 1930 to 1935. The lady asked to wait for just a minute. Within 2 minutes she was back with the death certificate -died Sept 11, 1934. I got a copy of it but in those days they didn’t put the home address on them. As I examined the certificate I had a real feeling of sadness for Grandpa Hodge at that time. He was listed as the informant for the information. I thought of him with 6 children so far from his home and family and with his wife and love of only 40 years of age gone. I thought of how terrible it would have been to make all the arrangements for the body to go to Idaho and to pack up all the children and travel back there. I also think it must have been a hard thing financially too. According to my Uncle Max after the funeral Grandpa packed them up and they returned to South Dakota to finish the year assignment he had back there. The death certificate indicates that Dr Threadgold treated her from June 22 to Sept.11 when she died from general Septicemia. I saw Dr. Threadgolds picture in the museum along other historical doctors.
Mom told me the day before Cora died she said she was feeling better so Abe and family took quite a long ride up to Spirit Lake. Mom said her Mom always told everyone she felt better than she really felt. She didn’t want to worry Abe. The ride Mom felt was too much for her and she got much worse that night. The next day Moms last memory of her mother was a big black hearse not an ambulance came and took her to the John Burns Hospital. She kissed her mother goodbye and Cora told her to take care of the children. Moms brothers were Don 18, Bob 12, Bud 10, Mar 8 and Max 6. That was the last time she saw her mother alive.
I came to Belle Fourche to get a picture of the house--didn’t get that but was rewarded with special feelings toward Cora Abe and Mom. I saw some houses down around the corner from the Sugar Factory that looked like the homes in Garland. I think one of those was where they lived. Mom and Dad were back there several years ago and found their home. I think that the Sugar Factory probably rented their homes out to their workers so there is no record of purchasers or sales at the court house.
I am attaching pictures taken there and hope you get the same feeling I got visiting Belle Fourche.
Oldest son of Dorothy Hodge Parkinson