Edwin Corrigan Letter 1995 - Part 3
When mother married Pa, she was 18 years and 9 months old. Pa was 39. He had five children: William – 14 years and 10 months, Joseph – 12 years old, Mary – 10 years and 1 month, Agnes – 8 years and 1 month, and Thomas (Francis) – 6 years and 1 month old.
When Maurice was born on December 28, 1898, Mother was 25 years and 3 months old, William was 20 years and 8 months, Joe was 18 years and 9 months, Mary was 16 years and 10 months, Agnes was 14 years and 2 months, and Frank was 12 years and 2 months old.
Pa died with a stroke when he was 62 years and 2 days. Mother died with a heart attack on April 28, 1941; she was 67 years, 10 months, and 5 days old.
The folks moved from Sanborn to the Summit in the spring of 1905. Clayton was born in Ashland on June 16, 1905. None of the first Corrigan family lived at the Summit. William bought a farm southwest of Sanborn which is now occupied by the Miller girls. Agnes and Mary went to Detroit, as some of the older uncles and/or aunts lived there. Joe worked in the woods around Sanborn. Frank (Francis) went into the navy at an early age and wasn't heard from for quite some time, but did come back to visit at times. He married Vera in Detroit and lived in the Detroit area and Chicago area, finally moving to West Palm Beach, Florida. Esther, Lynn, and I visited them in the summer of 1964. Frank died in 1966 and Vera in 1972. Sadie had heard from her after Frank died. I went to the World's Fair in 1933 and stayed with them for a few days. Frank and Vera came up to Milwaukee when step-dad Martin died in 1929.
Our swimming days:
In the hot summer days we would take our suits and walk down Sanborn Avenue to the road that led past the swimming beach on the west end of town. There were no bath houses, so we had to change into our suits in some of thick alder bushes. We never had a towel with us—that was too sissy! After several attempts to swim, we went farther west to what was called Short Bridge. I recall going under the bridge and wading out as far as possible and pushing myself in toward the shore. After many tries, I finally succeeded in keeping myself up. Then I would venture out into deeper waters. To the south of the bridge, Fish Creek came into the lake. Many of the better swimmers went there, generally without suits, as the water was much deeper than on the shoreline. One had to walk out quite far first, crossing several sand bars before one got into deeper swimming water. Lenore and Ethel usually went with me and stayed in the shallower waters. They generally put their suits on at home. Then came the long trek up the hill back home, to the Summit. Later years, most of our swimming was done at the White River Dam, which was about three miles to the south. Most of the time we swam on the north edge of the dam and dive off the bridge. One had to be careful to stay away from the grid that allowed water to go down to the Power Plant. It was always refreshing after a long day in the hay field, chores, etc., to get a good swim. Not many baths at home during the summer. Not many in the winter time either. When I got into High School, we had gym and showers three times per week.
In about 1919 or so, Maurice bought a camera. It was the kind that folded shut and when you opened it you pulled out a lens which was on a kind of bellows. Very few people had camera at that time. Most photos were taken in studios in Ashland, of which there were at least four—I.E. Bailey, Chequamegon, Raven, and Irvin. Later, some of these closed and two others were opened, Johnssons and Pferkorn. Around Christmas time, Maurice took some flash pictures. He had a flat board with the handle under it on which he poured gun powder. Then all would line up and he would open the lens and would put a match to the powder, which made quite a flash. The camera also had a slot wherein you could write what information you wanted on it.
Lenore's pet chicken:
When Lenore was nine or ten, she had a pet chicken, a Rhode Island Red. The chicken followed her all around and would come when she called. Had a picture of her holding the chicken, but it got lost.
Henry's first bicycle:
Not having enough money to buy a new bike, Henry collected parts from all over, put them together, got tires somehow. He was very proud of it. Seems that he was very mechanical minded and he grew up, always took care of his own cars. I learned to ride a bike that he put together. There was no tire on the front wheel, just the rim! I practiced and practiced on the side road and finally managed to keep my balance. The was a real achievement of mine that I never forgot.
Fourth of July for us kids:
We lived on a small farm just outside the city limits of Ashland. Each Fourth of July we were awakened around four o'clock by a blast of dynamite set off by the Olson boys, who lived just east of us. It seems they never missed doing this each year. We always looked forward to going downtown to see the parade, buy firecrackers and light some—always keeping some for when we got back home around six. We also bought sparklers and had fun lighting them after dark and enjoyed making circles with them, eventually throwing them up in the air before they were ready to go out. After dark, we could watch fireworks blasted off on the commercial dock at the end of Ellis Avenue in Ashland. We could only see the highest ones, as the trees in the cemetery next door cut our view of lower sparks.
We saved our money, the little that we could earn, for fireworks. The strawberries would ripen shortly before the fourth and we would pick berries for the Braatzes or the Gingles. We were paid 1-1/2 cents per box most of the time. Some years, we may have gotten five cents. Some money was used for pop at five cents per bottle and ice cream cones at five cents. For ten cents we could get a package of very small firecrackers, which when lit all went off at about the same time. We would buy some of the larger firecrackers also. Mr. Talaska, who lived across from us, used to buy some of the Roman candles that shot quite high in the sky.
At that time the street cars were still running. They were taken out around 1932. You could buy an explosive called a 'torpedo,' which you could throw down hard on the pavement and it produce quite a noise. Some of the kids would put these on the street car rails; they were set off as the car moved over them. By five or six in the afternoon, Second Street was full of litter. By that time in the afternoon, we were ready to hike back up the Cemetery Hill to our house.