My mother has kept a diary since 1934, almost every day for 75 years. She recorded personal thoughts, local events, and national and international events. She kept track of costs for everyday items. I had the privilege of working with her from 2001 to 2006 to compile, enter into a computer, edit, and publish her first book in 2006.
The following story also stuck in my mind, because 20 years later I grew up on that same three mile stretch of country road. The “we” in this passage refers to my mother and her older brother.
From 1935 on, frequently cars would run or slide into the ditch in our neighborhood. The neighbors sent them to us because Dad had a steel wheeled tractor, which worked well for pulling them out. However, those steel studded wheels wouldn’t be allowed on the roads today. Sometimes the people would be with us only for a few hours while being pulled out, or just to warm up. Sometimes they stayed the night sleeping on the floor to get a start the next morning when it had quit snowing. We often wondered “Who are they?” “Where are they going on such a stormy night?” All sorts of questions like these ran through our minds. Some of the “visitors” were very open telling about themselves. One time it was newly weds with a trunk full of wedding gifts. Other times we had a strange feeling about our visitors. One time a couple had their dead baby in the trunk. Scary! One night there were several people who stayed with us, and we all had an uncomfortable feeling about them. They were anxious to get on their way — and we were glad to see them leave! We found out that earlier in the day they had robbed the Feed Store in Grand Rapids. They were later caught. In 1941 one couple stopped at our place and left a box of candy for Elgin and me. It was one of the couples Dad had helped out of the ditch four years earlier.
from my mother’s autobiography, My Life in the Minnesota Northwoods, by Phyllis Virginia Shields, ©2006.