More Sipple Stories
I've always loved hearing my Mother tell stories of when she was a little girl... You'll find some of her stories scattered throughout the blog. Here are a few more, some of my favorites:
My Grandparents, Joy and Adda Rockwell Sipple, bought this house on 17th and Broadwell Streets in Grand Island around 1920. It was brand new when they bought it for about $6000. Their payments were $32.20 per month.
The kitchen in this house was very small. The family ate the noon meal in the dining room around a big table because their Father, Grandpa Joy Sipple, was home for that meal. Grandpa would still be sleeping when they ate breakfast and gone to work at supper time so they ate those meals in the kitchen and there was not enough room in it for a big table with six or seven chairs around it. When the children were little, they would stand around the table to eat. Mother and Rex would stand in the back and would then crawl under the table to get out when finished.
At meal time, whenever Grandpa Sipple wanted something passed to him, he wouldn't say, "pass the salt, please" he would say, "put the salt on the table" or "put the potatoes on the table"... not "pass the potatoes, please." And if the meat was overcooked or burnt or something was too salty, he would comment, "you got the meat a little brown... but that's the way I like it!!" or "the potatoes are a little salty tonight... but that's the way I like them!" He always added "that's the way I like it" on the end.
Rex and Juleen
There is one story about fudge... They all loved fudge and whenever left alone would whip up a batch and eat it all. Their Mother might just run next door for a few minutes and they'd be making fudge quickly before she got back. One day Grandma Adda came home earlier than expected and the plate of fudge was hastily hidden under a cabinet in the kitchen. Their dog Pat was going crazy; he kept running over to the cabinet, looking under the cabinet, whining. Finally Grandma said, "What's wrong with Pat?? What is under there??" When she looked she found the fudge.
Mother says that when she was ornery her Mother would say something like, "if you don't be good, I'm going to trade you for an old red dog and then I'm going to take that dog out and shoot it!"
I've heard this story all of my life... in fact when Jerri and I were bad, but not real bad, just being ornery enough for a reprimand of some sort, Mother would say the same thing to us, teasingly, smiling... I thought that Grandma Sipple said that to all her children when they were bad and even though I thought it kind of funny, I thought it was a terrible thing to say to them... I'm not sure who I felt worse for, the kids or for the dog, being such a dog lover. But when I was writing this story, Mother said that Grandma only said it to her... no one else got that reprimand! I'll have to ask Charles and Opal about this.
Maybe Adda was just being ornery and teasing with the old red dog threat because... when the kids were really bad they would get spanked with a willow switch, one they had to go cut from a bush in the yard. After cutting the switch, they had to bring it back to her as she stood in the doorway waiting, hand it to her and then try to run past her into the house without getting hit too much or too hard.
They, or maybe it was just Rex, would also get spanked with the razor strap... the old fashioned kind that hung on a hook and before shaving you would sharpen your straight edge razor on it with a slap, snap, slapping noise... I remember one January, about 1994 when we visited Rex in Quartzite, AZ, where he and his wife, Alvina, went for the winter every year. We all went to the huge flea market that is always in Quartzite in January. Rex was looking for one of those razor straps "to remind him of his childhood" he told me. "My Dad had one and he would spank me with it." I can close my eyes and almost hear him saying that, the tone of his voice with a chuckle beneath the words... a sparkle in his eye as he remembered the some of the trouble he'd gotten into, causing him to be spanked.
In 1980 when all five of the Sipple children were in Grand Island, together for the first time in a long while, they all met in Mother's kitchen and talked about when they were young. Mother had told some of the stories to us before but they told them again and some new ones too. It was such fun listening to them, talking and laughing about "the good ol' days" and the fun times they'd had when young.
The boys, at least Joy Jr. and Rex, were quite the pranksters. In the 1920s and 30s there was a neighborhood grocery store every 5 or 10 blocks, scattered all over Grand Island. Most people didn't have cars and this way they could just walk to get their groceries. One of the pranks the boys would play was to take some butcher paper and fill it with dog poop, tie it up with string just like the neighborhood butcher would have done with a pound of meat and then place it along the sidewalk or in the street like it had dropped out of someone's grocery sack. They'd hide in the bushes waiting for someone to find it. A car would come along, stop and pick it up, and then drive off with the treasure... It wouldn't be long before they'd be throwing the package out the window as they discovered just what kind of "meat" it was.
Another prank they pulled was to put dog poop in a brown paper sack, set it on someone's front porch and light it on fire, then ring the doorbell and run away. When the people came to the door and saw the fire they'd stomp on it to put it out and smush dog pooh all over their shoes and the porch!!
I guess the Sipple boys weren't the only ones who knew about that prank. Check out this Halloween e-mail I got last year.
The boys would also put the hose into the screen door somehow and turn the water on, knock or ring the doorbell, then run and hide and when the people opened the door water would run all over their feet and into their living room. I don't understand exactly how that one would work... but they sure laughed as they told about it that day as they sat around the table in Mother's kitchen.
There was something about stuffing some old clothes with straw or paper to make a dummy and then throwing "the man" out into the street in front of a car at the last minute to make the people think they had run over someone. Mother had told us that when we would plead for "more stories"... but the no one remembered doing that prank or at least they didn't admit it that day in 1980.
About the above photo... Now I'm making this up but can't you just hear the story that goes with it?? Perhaps it's the first day of school; the older kids have already gone off to Junior and Senior High School, only Juleen and Rex are still going to West Lawn Elementary School. One of the parents says, "Rex... stand over here with Juleen... I want to take a picture of the two of you... at least pretend you like each other... put your arms around each other." As the picture snaps, Rex looks away in disgust and Juleen closes her eyes with embarrassment... but their arms are around each other.
I think Rex was the ornery child... You can almost see orneriness oozing out of him in this photo. Doesn't he remind you of one of The Little Rascals?
When Mother and Rex were in grade school, if anyone was bad they not only had to go to the principal's office but they got spanked. Mother was always so embarrassed when the principal would come into her classroom and report in front of everyone, "I had to whip Rex with the rubber hose again!"
Junior and Charles look like they would fit in
with the Our Gang bunch themselves
That's all for now... I'll save a couple stories for another time, to put in the individual stories of Opal, Joy Jr, Juleen and Rex. Can't give you too much at a time. Have to save something or I won't have anything to write about. Teehee.....