Pioneer Life in Hooper
Contributor: MDSIMS Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Crystle Fern Belnap Fowers may have wrote the following:
Memories of Early Pioneer Life at Hooper
by Fern B. Fowers
"The house we lived in was a two-story building with two rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs. The ceiling so low upstairs that an adult could almost touch it with his head, and the sides sloped to about four ft. high on the sides. A Summer kitchen was on the north, back of the house. This was built with boards nailed straight up and down with a compo-board type material in between the boards, also a board floor covered only with a braided rug. This kitchen contained a cook stove and kitchen table and chairs; a cupboard covered with screen wire doors at the bottom and curtained at the top; a bench covered with oil cloth; a wash basin and a bucket of water. This was just for summer alone.
It was always a thrill to move out to the summer kitchen. There was one big summer project to get and keep the flies out twice or more each day. We would all get a cloth and shoo the flies out the door, while one stayed at the screen door to open and shut it as we would get the flies to the door.
The big thrill was when int he fall we moved back into the house. The carpet was a rag, homemade carpet. The rags were all torn out of worn out clothing into strips about three-fourths inches wide and sewn together end-to-end, mostly by hand, and wound into balls which were supposed to weigh about a pound each. If it weighed a full pound, it would make a yard of carpet. Sometimes, my mother would have a sewing bee and would invite several women to come in and help her sew the rags which were previously washed and torn. She would empty the sack of torn rags in the middle of the floor, and it was sometimes Laverne's and my job to mix all the rags so there would not be all of one color in one place, and the colors would be uniform all over the carpet. After the rags were sewn and wound into balls, they were taken to the weaver, and there on a hand loom were woven into yards and yards of carpet.
When the capet was brought home, it was ll in one roll about a yard wide. It was cut into strips and sewed together with double thread which always had to be waxed with home-made bee's wax. The ends were always bound with heavy denim from old overalls. I thought it made a beautiful carpet. The old carpet was taken up, having been tacked down all next to the wall with carpet tackes. It would be my jov to pull the tacks outa dn put them in a dish to save to fhte new carpet. Then the old carpet would be folded up and teknd outside. Underneath the carpet they would lay straw, so by the time it had been down six months or a year, the straw was almost pulverized, and the dirt had sifted through, for the carpet had only been swept with a broom. It was a task for all of us to clean the room out. The pictures had to be taken down from the walls and cleaned and put it the bedroom. The furniture had to be all taken out, too. Mother would open all the doors and window, and then sweep the straw into piles, and we would put it into a tin tub and carry it out to be burned. Then father would dig down in the ground where he had a lime pit, put the lime into a bucket, Pour water on it, and it was called slacked. The water would boil furiously. It was then poured into another container, more water added to make it a bluish white. The walls and ceiling were all dusted down with a cloth on a broom; then it was ready to have a reconditioned job. Then father took the bucket of water and lime mixture which they called "white-wash", and a long-handled white brush and the walls and ceiling were painted with it. When it was dry, they were the most beautiful walls in the world. The windows were all washed and shined, and the woodwork scrubbed and left to dry while father went out north (to the farm) to get a load of straw to put under the new carpet. It was carefully put down into the room and spread evenly over the floor. Then that beautiful new carpet was unfolded and placed over the top of the straw. It seemed a wonderful accomplishment to me to see how my father could stretch and tack that carpet as we watched from the doorway, as we were never allowed in the room until it was finished. But when it was all finished, the shiny black had been brought back from the summer kitchen, and all those beautiful clean starchy curtains hung at the window; it was the most beautiful place on earth. The straw crushing under our feet, the fire glowing on the hearth, and the smell of frying fresh pork, hot biscuits, and milk gravy (mother could make the best gravy) will be one of my most treasured memories." pp. 217-219, History of Hooper, Utah: Land of Beautiful Sunsets by John M. Belnap