Saturday, April 26, 2014

Grandma Spunner Tells Stories in 1931

It’s a good thing there is a calendar to remind me that we are at the end of April. On Thursday night we got 9 inches of snow – ugh! By Friday evening it had melt down to about one third of where we started in the morning. There is a lot of slop and mud around. Bruce thinks the melting snow will help the older snow melt faster by filling it with water. I sure hope he is correct.

New birds have been coming in regularly. Robins are now with us but I don’t know where they are finding any worms to eat. Today there was a red-winged black bird at the feeder for the first time. Grackles are also here regularly. The juncos are now flocks rather than one or two. The gold finches still are not completely turned yellow. Their backs have patches of brown mixed with the yellow and the backs of their heads are still brown.

Tuesday we came home from Duluth in two vehicles. I turned in the Tucker Lake Road and stopped to get our mail. Bruce’s truck was still on the main trail. As I turned in, my headlights caught a huge lynx crossing the Tucker Lake Road. He was very tall and lanky. I could see the fur all the way down his legs. He just glided across the road and then was gone. Bruce never got to see him.

Lately I have been working on transcribing Grandma Spunner’s (Justine’s mother) diary from the winters of 1930, 1931, 1932, and 1933. I am just into January of 1931. Her handwriting is large and flowing to the lines above and below and the words before and after. It is easiest to handwrite the text and then I will type it into my computer.

So I have learned that Grandpa and at least one other man are always working on wood. Some of it probably was firewood but they were also building a cabin. A man named Art seemed to be the carpenter. Bruce thinks it was Art Smith whom Bruce knew as a carpenter. Grandpa was certainly not a carpenter. Grandma Spunner refers to her work as the “usual” or the “usual housework.” I don’t think she was too thrilled with it. Evenings with friends and neighbors were often spent playing cards and talking, sometimes to as late as 2:00 a.m.

One of the interesting things is how Grandma regularly spoke of the ice forming on Gunflint Lake. Now I am not a scientist and don’t really know much about global warming. I can tell you that on January 1st, 1931, Justine took a dog sled ride and went canoeing on the lake. Grandma’s diary seems to indicate that the lake froze solid on January 15th. On January 16th Grandpa caught his first fish through the ice. It will be interesting to read what happens in the next couple of years regarding when the lake freezes.

I think about the large change in Grandpa and Grandma’s lives the Depression made. Previously they lived in Barrington, Illinois and were relatively well to do. They had servants. Grandpa was a lawyer and banker. Grandma taught elocution and started the Barrington Women’s Club. The Depression came and Grandpa was ruined financially. The lodge stayed because his wife and daughter owned it. Now they lived a very basic life in the wilds of the northwoods with few amenities. How would we have handled this life style change?

1 comment:

Kelly Piepkorn said...

Thanks. I love reading this blog.☺