|A horse and buggy in Carleton County, New Brunswick, c.1910|
From the New Brunswick Provincial Archives Historical Images Collection
I don't know how old I was when I went to a store in Easton, Maine with Mama [Edith Rae Giberson Crabtree]. She would take her very tasty churned butter to be bartered for sugar and vanilla, etc. I was so thrilled it was my turn to go. We had a pretty little driving horse named Dolly. Well, one wheel broke off and threw Mama into the ditch and Dolly ran away with me on the three wheels. I was so terrified I lost consciousness but fortunately some men caught Dolly and I survived.
I also have scars from another narrow escape. Elva [Elva Crabtree Harris Rodriguez] was digging a grave for a dead bird. We always had a proper funeral at these times. I got too nosy and got hit in the middle of my forehead with the ax.
[Another time] Gladys [Gladys Crabtree Victory Bither Hudgins] was throwing wood into the shed and hit the crown of my head. I have a groove there to this day.
I thought it was heavenly to go into a neighbor's house where it was so quiet you could hear the clock tick. I still love to hear a clock tick.
We were dirt poor and didn't know it. We lived off the land. We picked strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, chock cherries, and wild hazelnuts. Fiddleheads and dandelion greens. We had great vegetable gardens and everything in its season was canned and put into glass canning jars and stored in the cellar.
Bread was baked daily. Pancakes were on the table at every meal in case you didn't get filled up with everything else. Saturday was beans and steamed brown bread day.
There was an icehouse where ice was stored in sawdust and we had homemade ice cream on special occasions. I can still taste the yellow transparent [apples] that grew only there.
I remember walking two miles "Down Cross" (to the border between U.S. and Canada) to spend an Indian Head penny we had earned picking bugs off the potato plants.
We had a dog named "Buster." He was great at bringing the cows in at milking time. We had a little brook where we could catch trout.
Later in life, Gladys would give hilarious imitations of [friends and] neighbors. She had a gift of mimicry. Gladys and I were a year and a half apart and were like little twins. We were destined to be separated, but the bond was never broken and we adored each other always.