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This Week In History, 10-25-07


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The following reports are taken from The Calhoun Chronicle archives:

 1932, 75 years ago


When the smoky haze is o’er the valley at twilight, white Americans seem to see in it the council smoke of the red man, and call it “Indian Summer.”


To the Indian, however, it is “lazy-farmer time,” and his explanation of the name and time is like this:


The Great Spirit sends the warm suns of fall to ripen the corn and the pumpkins, and as they turn golden he causes the leaves to fall to show the Indian and the squirrels that harvest time is at hand.


Most of the farmers and the animals heed this warning and hasten to the work of harvest, but there are some lazy humans and animals who always say, “I shall do that tomorrow.”


So, to awaken these lazy folks, Great Spirit calls on the North Wind to send down a real blast and this makes the lazy folks realize that winter is at hand and they have no harvested stores. The lazy man and animal look upward for pity and then the Great Spirit sends a few warm days so that the lazy folks can do their delayed tasks.


After that comes the winter, and woe betide that lazy man who did not catch the real meaning of Indian summer.



  1957, 50 years ago


More information has been received concerning the line which Western Union Telegraph Co. proposes to serve the Grantsville area.


In a letter to R.C. Flemming, president of Rubber Fabricators, Inc., Grantsville, district manager R.V. Warren told Flemming that a teleprinter would be installed in the local plant’s office. He said that all necessary equipment had been ordered and installation could be expected by the middle of next month.


Warren said that his company intended to open an office for the benefit of the people of Grantsville and vicinity. It would be located in the Citizens Telephone Co. building, and would give people the benefit of sending and receiving telegrams without telephoning Spencer.




  1982, 25 years ago


Pa took a match from off the mantelpiece, struck it on the hearth, and put the blaze to wood in the fireplace. It was a mid-June day, but Ma said it was damp and cold in the room.


As Pa raised up from kindling the fire, Ma said, “You’d better go fetch Aunt Bet.”


Aunt Bet lived at the foot of the mountain. She never rode a horse, always walking, carrying a stick as tall as she was, when she made her rounds delivering babies and helping the sick.


“I’m too fat to sit side-saddle, and I’m not about to wear breeches just to straddle a horse’s back.”


Aunt Bet, as I recall, was born a Gainer, but married a Wilson. She was born when the Civil War was going on and had learned the art of a midwife when doctors were scarce and difficult to obtain. She knew the herbs that grew in the field and forest, how to mix them into a tea, and how to apply them to certain ailments.


In the early days, settlers had to rely on medicines such as herbs and those they could obtain in a country store, such as turpentine, Epson salts, Yeager’s liniment, and castor oil. Whenever it was time for a baby, Aunt Bet was summoned.


It was on that June day long ago that I was born.


As I grew older, I remember seeing her. She walked with a slight bend, slowly, but with her face toward some designated place where a sick person waited her coming. Aunt Bet passed away many years ago. She was laid in the churchyard near her home.


Like Aunt Bet, many customs of our fore parents have passed away. Too many politicians, too many laws have deprived us of certain freedoms our forefathers had. Perhaps some burdens were relieved, but between the doctor and the midwife there is a financial gulf as wide as the Mississippi--and getting wider every day. --Bill Umstead



This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:

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