High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Harvest of Tears! In-Dell-ible Memories Chapter 7: The Demise of the Dell - Pt. 1

I am pleased to welcome back my friend and guest blogger Kathleen Mae Schneider who is here with the latest chapter of
In-Dell-ible Memories, a chronicle of her mother Margaret's childhood at the Shady Dell in the early years of the 20th century.

Chapter 7  

The Demise of

the Dell - Pt. 1 

Harvest of Tears

Kathleen Mae 

   On a recent morning, Mother unwrapped her 
York Daily Record, heavy with back-to-school advertisements. She remembers one of her own seasons as a school child, one that she would 
just as soon forget if she could. On the morning 
of September 5, 1922, when she walked down the 
hill to Violet Hill School, little did she know that she would come back that day to a very different life that would take her home and carefree childhood away from her.

   While Margaret worked diligently on her 
lessons that day, her father George was in court, having been indicted on the charge of common nuisance. Something went horribly wrong over the years that they lived in their beautiful house on the hill, culminating in his arrest. Subsequently, in spite of a lawyer and his plea of innocence, George was convicted and sentenced to four months in the York County Jail. The three thriving businesses that gave his family such a good life for the past decade were now in shambles. During his absence his oldest sons would have to wind down operations in the garage and kennel and his family would eventually have to find a new home.

The Dell property in the 1920s with 
Allie's garden next to the house 
(Photo courtesy of the Spangler family)

   By that afternoon, Margaret's mother Allie was harvesting vegetables from the garden next to the Dell house. In my mind’s eye I see Allie, still attractive at 44, but weary and worn. She hastily and angrily fills her basket with ripe tomatoes, stopping now and again to rest her back and wipe her eyes, trying in vain to banish the tears and anxiety from her husband's imprisonment with characteristic hard work.

Allie with her girls. From left: Ethel, baby Mary Grace, 
Margaret (standing in back),  Allie and Mildred

   Allie dreaded having to break the news to Margaret, who would soon be home from school and would not take this well. At 10, Margaret would want answers beyond her understanding. Allie’s grown children and older daughter were better able to take things in stride. Her two youngest had no grasp of the magnitude of the problem and it was just as well they didn’t.

   Margaret was more sensitive than her siblings. She loved her father so much and always seemed to carry troubles on her own small shoulders – how could Allie ever explain to her the implications 
of George's sentence? She felt helpless at having to add to Margaret's problems.

Margaret's 5th grade school picture

   This intelligent middle daughter ranked third in her fifth grade class but hated school. At recess she stood abandoned by her classmates. The school's bullies made fun of her home with all the animals and barking dogs that kept them awake at night, in spite of none of it being her fault.

Margaret is not found on this picture of 
Violet Hill School students, but her sister Mildred 
is shown with a blue asterisk.

   Soon Margaret was beside Allie, wide-eyed and breathless after a futile search for her father 
in the garage and barn. "Where's Pop?" she asked. “They put him in jail,” Allie said. As predicted, Margaret cried inconsolably. She wondered why he couldn't have just paid a fine and come home like the last time.

A paunchy George Andrew Brown in his late 40s, 
second from right, in front of the Dell garage with a hunting party.

   Everything was so confusing to Margaret and nothing was explained to her - the burning cross, the diminishing numbers of animals, the missing Christmas gifts and the cars gone from the garage. She knew that something was wrong but she trusted her father to make everything right. After all, had he not saved her life by curing her influenza with his special medicines? How could he fix anything now, behind bars? What would become of her and her family and the remaining dogs that now napped peacefully in the sun beside their crates?

Margaret knew there was bound to be even more trouble at school. Just as she thought would happen, she was greeted the next day with repeated sing-song cries of "Your dad-dy's a jail-bird!"

   The next few months were some of the most traumatic and frightening in my mother's life. 
In addition to the disruption at home, she clearly remembers visiting her father in jail. When she looks at the picture of the jail 91 years later, the humiliation and shame are still palpable.

A picture of The York County Jail with 
Mother's incorrect label. Records show she was 
10 at the time of her father's incarceration.

She points an arthritic finger twisted with age 
to the location of her father's cell in the formidable building. She remembers not wanting to leave after visiting him, and she says she will never forget looking back up at his face in the window and his hand reaching out between the heavy iron bars to wave goodbye to her.

This very old woman of 101 still carries within her the pain of that terrified little girl waving back to her dear father in jail.

   Her story ends and her expression changes as we return to the 21st century. I see how she deftly submerges the bad memories where they can do no more harm. "Let's do a puzzle," she says.

   The story continues in Pt. 2 with the reasons my grandparents lost their Shady Dell home. The tragic tale of history repeating itself, stubbornness and ill-advised risks is also the remarkable story of a deeply flawed but strong family that survived and moved on. It is Mother's story, it is mine, and perhaps the best parts will become yours.

We hope you return for:

In-Dell-ible Memories

Chapter 7  

The Demise of the Dell - Pt. 2 
 Fighting City Hall

With love to Mother and to All,

Chapter 6: The Dream Becomes a Nightmare
Winter Count: Margaret's 2013 Birthday
Happy Birthday, Margaret! Oldest Living Dell Rat Turns 101
Chapter 5: Home Sweet Dell
Chapter 4: Allie's Rats, Pt 2: Margaret's Pig Tale
Chapter 4: Allie's Rats, Pt 1: Hill and Dell
Chapter 3: The House on the Hill 
Chapter 2: Margaret is Born...and So Is the Dell 
Chapter 1: The Beauty and the Butcher
Introduction: My Shady Dell "Roots"
Margaret's Birthday


  1. Oh my goodness- my heart sank as I read this! Even now, I feel anger at the prosecutors, the justice system, and at those mean kids at the school. I will be looking forward to reading the next installment. Wow!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 5, 2013 at 6:14 AM

      Welcome back to our story, Shelly! One thing that is remarkable about Mother is her ability to have gotten past such a hurtful time in her life and go on without bitterness. I think these painful experiences in our lives have two basic responses. We either get hardened toward the world around us and the people in it, or we become more sensitive to, and grateful for, the good things in our lives and seek to make the world better than we found it.

      Mother took the second approach, and her life is a beacon to the rest of us who face the darkness of struggles and hardship. That's why I feel her story needs to be told, and it's my privilege to do it. It is also our very good fortune to have you visit and read this morning. Thank you so much for your comment!

  2. I always get so wrapped up in your story telling of Margaret's memoirs. I guess because I can just picture where everything takes place because of my familiarity with the dell and surrounding areas. Margaret had it all for a little girl for many yrs, tragically taken away. I can only imagine toll and anguish it must have taken her and her siblings. Poor George was just trying to make a (honest)living for his family. Yorkers really had it out for him that landed him in jail. Most of my sympathy falls on Allie. The pressure she had to keep her family together and survive during all the hardships. She had to stay positive for all her children not knowing what tomorrow would bring.
    I love looking at the old pictures. The picture showing the garage (hunting party) still baffles me. The shape of it, narrower at bottom and flaring out on top. It's also separate from the barn. I guess John Ettline connected them along with adding the dance hall on the other end.
    Can't wait until the next chapter, but I have a feeling I'm going to have to harvest my own tears.

  3. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 5, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Hey, Toni! It's great to hear from you! You certainly know the Dell property better than most, and I'm sure you have a visceral reaction to any and all descriptions of the place.

    Allie certainly must have felt overwhelmed at times with her large brood, especially during such unsettling circumstances as these. I just found an old letter from her that hints at her philosophy when life takes a bad turn. It sounds a lot like Mother's with a bit of fatalism added.

    The garage photo is a bit overexposed, so you have to look really carefully to see the barn roof directly above the REO agency sign. The shingles can barely be seen, but they are there. Also, in the first photo of the house, the garage can easily be seen jutting forward in front of the barn, appearing as a low and flat shape.

    My grandfather, not John, connected them by knocking out the front wall of the barn, (keeping the large support posts), then laying a concrete floor and adding side walls with windows. This made the repair area of the garage much larger than just having the barn floor alone.

    John Ettline added the dance hall much later to the side of both the barn and garage. I'm sure over the years, the shape changed somewhat with repairs and alterations by other owners, but Mother remembers the original configuration in this form.

    The next chapter will reveal much more about my grandfather's personality and paints a portrait of a complex and conflicted man who seemed to attract trouble to himself without even trying. We could easily find many parallels to his life in our own time. The details and clothing styles might be different, but the basic motivations and consequences of impulsive behavior are exactly the same!

    Thanks for stopping by and writing this heartfelt comment. See you next time.

  4. Hi there Kathleen. I always love it when I see that you have put up another chapter on Tom's blog. Firstly, I hope that Margaret is doing okay at the moment. I often think of you all. My goodness, poor Margaret, having to come home from school to find her whole world turned upside down. I found it so sad that, even after all these many, many years, she still feels the humiliation of her dad having to go to jail. What a tragic picture that conjures up, of her dad waving to her between the bars of the jail. No wonder she wants to bury memories such as these. Children can be so cruel at times, can't they? It seems that this is something that never changes all the way down through the years. I am enjoying your well written story so much, telling us of your mum's life, and I very much look forward to the next instalment! Take care and please say hi to your mum from me x

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 5, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      I feel the same way, Diane, when I see your arrival here at our Shady Place! Mother fortunately is holding steady. Thank you for asking about her, and another big thank you for your visit and comment today.

      I read this chapter to her last night, and she broke in when I got to the part of the story about coming home from school. She told me she could still see her mother standing in the garden all alone, waiting for her, and telling her the news. Obviously it really made an impression on her because she has forgotten a lot of other things about her childhood.

      From being in a classroom for more than half my life, I can vouch for the frequency of the cruelty you mention. I experienced bullying in my education and my children did as well. I think if a child can survive it they will grow up emotionally stronger, but adults who see it happen have to know when to tip the balance of power.

      From Mother's accounts, that didn't take place. Her teachers may have lived nearby and, while not agreeing with bullying, were just as angry with my grandfather. In some respects it was fortunate for her that her family moved and she didn't have to go to school at all for awhile. When she got a fresh start later, she loved school.

      I assume that 100 years ago, as today (I speak here from experience!), my mother's teachers were not always aware that children in their care were tormented by their classmates. It often takes place on the playground or while traveling to and from school, where it is difficult to document and punish the perpetrators.

      Having her father incarcerated spelled the end of innocence for Mother. She survived by learning resilience, not listed on most curricula to be sure. She experienced a lot of pain and disillusionment along the way to mastery. She continued, however, to love her "Pop" no matter what others said he had done and the trouble his actions, or lack thereof, caused the family.

      In the next chapter, my grandfather will explain the circumstances surrounding this event in his own words. I think you'll find it interesting and engendering more questions.

      I'm gratified for your compliment about my writing. Such support is "the wind beneath my wings"!

      I'll make sure to relay your greeting to Mother. She will be amazed and thrilled. We both will eagerly look forward to another visit from our good friend in Devon!

  5. Thank you, dear Kathleen, for another absorbing chapter ripped from your mother Margaret's diary. From the gripping title, Harvest of Tears, to the large, sharp pictures to the emotion charged account of the Brown family's hardships, this is arguably your best post to date. Your brilliant writing allowed me to feel a genuine sense of foreboding now that the Browns' dream home on the hillside was turning into a house of cards right before their eyes.

    Our dear friend Thisisme made an excellent point and you expanded upon it in your reply. This chapter reminds us that bullying is nothing new and that every generation produces its share of them. Cruel words, chants and songs have the power to hit like a punch and I felt Margaret's pain as she endured those blows. No wonder she dreaded going to school.

    When I enlarged that Violet Hill School class photograph I was also struck by the fact hardly anyone was smiling. The adults in the picture have serious facial expressions and perhaps only 1 out of 10 children had slight smiles on their faces. I also noted serious expressions on everyone in the "Allie and her girls" photo. It seems like people, especially children, who appeared in candid pictures are sometimes seen smiling or laughing, but not nearly as often in posed shots presided over by a professional photographer. This raises some interesting questions. Is it possible that in those days there was widespread tacit agreement that the proper way to pose for a portrait or group photo was to remain straight faced? If so, was that mentality a carry over from the Victorian Age during which it was customary for people posing for portraits not to display emotion on their faces because doing so was considered improper or a sign of weakness? May we then assume that the few boys and girls "caught" smiling in that Violet Hill class picture were later scolded for their inappropriate behavior?

    I suppose the main question I'm asking is when and where did it become fashionable for people to smile and say "cheese" for the camera? The 1930s? 1940s? 1950s?

    I also want to thank you for your reply to our dear friend and former Dell owner Toni Deroche in which you explained better than ever before how the Dell's garage came to be tacked onto the front of the barn. I imagine it was much safer to have heavy motor vehicles resting on a concrete floor rather than on the wooden floor of the barn.

    Thank you again for another superb installment of your series, dear Kathleen. I eagerly await Part 2 of Demise of the Dell. See you soon!

  6. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 5, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    My goodness, Tom! This story grew from humble beginnings, but it's hard staying humble as it's author, given your praise! Thank you so much for your long comment on a day when you could be resting as host.

    I'd like to make one more comment on the topic of bullying and it's aftermath. Looking at our world, it looks like the school bullies have grown up and are now running countries. Instead of verbal indignities, they throw around threats of nuclear weapons!

    As for the serious expressions on faces in old photographs, the reasons for it that I was told in my photography classes is corroborated by several sources on the internet.

    Exposure times were long for early cameras, and it was easier to hold a straight face than a smile without moving, which would have blurred the result. The earliest cameras sometimes took 15 minutes to expose the film. That's a lot of time for children especially to sit or stand still and it was no doubt uncomfortable. Even for adults, imagine getting an itch on your nose and there are 11 minutes left to go! Or in a woman's case, your corset was cutting off your breath. Not much reason to smile!

    Another reason was the expense and luxury of posed portraits by professional photographers. Traveling photographers brought props and posed everyone just so. It was a certified big deal to have your picture taken and everyone wanted to look dignified and proper. Many people only had one or two pictures taken of them in their entire lifetime.

    Dental care was also spotty and poor for most people 100 or more years ago. If you were going to pay a lot of money for one of these rare pictures of yourself, it didn't make sense to be remembered with crooked or missing teeth, so you kept your mouth closed. People tried to look important by standing or sitting tall and displaying their good looks and taste in clothing. That part probably hasn't changed in 100 years!

    One of my favorite anecdotes about my grandmother Allie was something she told my cousin. When, as an old woman, she looked back at her marriage to George when she was young, she said, laughing, "AFTER I got my new teeth, I could have had any man in York, but I ended up marrying a red-headed butcher with three kids."

    That begs the question of what she looked like BEFORE she got her new teeth! She would have only been 22, and perhaps she had to have all her teeth pulled because they were damaged by a liquid iron medicine that was commonly given for anemia. Perhaps they were decayed. All I know is that in almost all of the pictures we have of her, she is either serious or smiling with a closed mouth, perhaps out of habit!

    There may be other reasons, such as the propriety one you mentioned. I think all are plausible. Snapshots taken by amateur family members or friends with newer cameras were not considered as valuable, and therefore smiling was accepted. As a society we were also "lightening up".

    It's fun for me to look at my ancestors in these old photos and guess what they were thinking or what their lives were like. In the school group picture, I see the teachers and imagine their jobs without the aid of air conditioners in the summer or computers and colored illustrations in the textbooks. I also can locate several students that wear the universal expression of bullies. Poor things, they may have been very nice! We'll never know.

    Thanks again Tom for your super-sized comment, and for inviting me to write Mother's story for your blog. Without you, it never would have seen the light of day!

  7. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 5, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    It turns out you were right,Tom. I did more research and an expert on the subject says that smiling at strangers was a sign of ignorance or poor status in society. Cultural norms of the late 19th century required command of the emotions, and since smiling could be forced, there was a popular belief that a smile could be false as much as it could be friendly. Sitters were encouraged to be self-possessed and calm.

    The big wide toothy smiles that were popular in ads in the 1890s and particularly after the first movies in the 1920s gave rise to the change of style in portrait photography that we know today.

    Another amusing fact I found was that some enterprising itinerant photographers of those times were also dentists - who used the same chairs for both professions. What a great business idea!

    1. Hello again, dear Kathleen! I'd be willing to bet those photographers-slash-dentists also operated candy stores! (LOL)

      It certainly is an interesting subject and between the two of us I think we've come close to understanding the reasons why people didn't smile very much in those days. I was wondering if your mother Margaret might be able to shed some light on the subject if you show her Mildred's class picture and ask her about it.

      Of course, when you look at the faces of people in pictures taken during the Great Depression years and the Dust Bowl, you don't find any smiles either, but in those cases the serious expressions were a reflection of hard times and a tough life.

      Thank you very much for your follow-up research and comments, dear friend!

  8. Things sure were hard back then, I would love for you to write more...

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 5, 2013 at 8:10 PM

      Hi Amy! Actually I am writing more. There's another chapter of In-Dell-ible Memories in the works and probably will be posted the beginning of next month. Ever since I visited the real Shady Dell, I knew her life story had to be told alongside my mother's that is woven throughout the house's. It's a challenge to get the home-place of my ancestors to give up her secrets, but slowly and surely I'm discovering them. I love to share what I'm learning with others.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. We sure hope you'll come back again to enjoy more storytelling.

  9. Kathleen, your mother's story is fascinating and your writing brings the emotion of that era alive. I think there is a great similarity to things that are happening in this day and age. Many families have lost their home because of the economy. Bullying is a hot topic and a big concern. Women having to raise children alone. Unfortunately, I don't think children or adults are handling these events as well as your Mom and her family did. I'm looking forward to the next chapter. Please give your Mom a big hello from this Kathleen!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 5, 2013 at 8:37 PM

      Hey, Kathleen #2! It's great to see you here again and read your observations. I agree totally about what happened to my family paralleling current events. Some things such as financial success followed by ruin, lives broken by bad decisions or things totally out of their control, children missing the stability that is so needed for their healthy development - these and more are often-repeated themes in every time and generation.

      While sad, seeing how others persevere in the toughest situations and even thrive in spite of them encourages us to do the same when our lives go in less-than-perfect directions.

      While I sometimes think the narrative of my mother's life feels like a modern-day soap opera, it is compelling nonetheless. The characters, sets and script are all in place, waiting to be produced. The story practically tells itself!

      You may want to reserve your opinion of my family's handling of their problems until you read the next few chapters. Some of their solutions would be funny if they weren't so tragic!

      Thanks for stopping by tonight and sharing your thoughts! Also, thank you for your greeting to Mother. Although it is hard for her to fully understand the internet and blogging at her age, she is always pleased to hear from readers of her story. I tell her she doesn't need to understand, but just know that people care about her. That's more than enough for her - and me too!

  10. This had my full attention! I always marvel at our parents, grandparents, and older, as they displayed such an amazing ability to pick themselves up and carry on in the face of disaster and hard times. We should all take a lesson, which of course is why stories like these are so wonderful to have a record of. Can't wait for the next installment...

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 6, 2013 at 4:46 AM

      Hello Karen! I'm glad you see the same things I do with my mother and her family regarding their toughness when tragedy struck. When you think of all they endured, you feel a kinship. I look at these old photographs and imagine they had the loves of their lives next to them just like we do, probably disagreeing and compromising on at least some of the big issues, struggling on to try to make sense of it all.

      This is the great family of man to which we all belong, regardless of time and geography. May our lives reflect those lessons that they learned the hard way that you mentioned and be worthy of stories told about us by future generations.

      Thanks so much for your comment! Hope to see you again next time.

  11. goodness. what a gripping story! Will look out for the next installment

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 6, 2013 at 6:13 AM

      Thanks for reading Part 1 of The Demise of the Dell and writing a comment, Catherine.

      In Part 2, my grandfather's personality will come into sharper focus and we'll see both his good and less-than-good sides.

      As I see it, he was like most of us really - a mixed bag of intentions, driven by the desire to prosper and provide for his family. He chose actions based on what he thought was best, but fell victim to the consequences of those choices played out on the stage of the early 20th century environment in which he lived.

      Watch this space in a few weeks for the details.

  12. Only me agaiN! Gosh Kathleen, I just love the way you take so much trouble when replying to our comments, and I just had to say "thank you" for that. Shadykins is just the same when he leaves comments. To me, that shows that someone really cares and it makes the world a happier place! I did smile at all the comments about the serious little faces in the photos and you finding out about the exposure times and then the poor dentistry!! I'm honoured to be the wind beneath your wings my friend. :)

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 6, 2013 at 4:16 PM

      Hello again dear Diane! This is certainly a bonus to have you visit two times!

      It is no more trouble for me to write a long reply to a comment than it is for me to have a conversation with my sister. I enjoy two-way communication and dialogue, and this blog is the perfect place to find it.

      Tom and I both believe that SDM&M is about relationships with our readers. I am glad you can tell that building friendships around the world through the Shady Dell is our delight, and yes, we certainly do care about each and every one of our visitors.

      Thank you very much for your encore comment and for keeping the spirit of the Dell alive through friendship. I surely appreciate the "lift"!

  13. By putting mother Margaret's words into print ensures that her story will live on. People years from now will be able to read and learn from the words you write. Your stories also mean that the history of the Shady Dell and John & Helen will live . To many stories are lost because no one took time to put the stories they were told to written words. If my mother were alive today she would be nearing 100. My mother and her mother told me little pieces of there past . What little I know shows some likeness to Margaret's story. My grand mother left my grand father years before I was born when my mother was a young girl. He to had become a successful business man and he to found the darker side of York and looked for short cuts to wealth. I think this was common in that time . Our country was still recovering from the Great Civil War and growing at a rate that the law had a hard time keeping up with. My mother told of how my grand mother had to run a boarding house and take in wash and sowing to get by. I hope mother is feeling better and that you are doing well. I know it's a lot on you taking care of Margaret and finding time to write. Just remember that all of us wait to hear and learn from your words. Take care of your self and Mother and tell her I said hello and hope to see you both soon. Your Friend And A Dell Rat All Ways Greg

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 6, 2013 at 7:16 PM

      My goodness, Greg! Your comment contains so many wonderful ideas for stories that my imagination is firing on all cylinders! Those memories told you by your mother and grandmother wait for you, as mine do, to be fleshed out with research and put into words on paper or computer. Those "little" stories are our ancestors' gifts to us and are so valuable.

      That's how this series began. My grandfather's inkwell and Mother's snippets of stories pointed to a mystery to be solved. Three years later, after talking to Mother about her past and looking at her vast collection of old photographs, the story has taken on a life of its own. Clues appear from the last 100 years like pieces of a thousand-piece puzzle, fresh out of the box and ready to be assembled.

      How fascinating it is, as a woman of this century, to read about the struggles of your mother and grandmother! Thank you for sharing what you were told with us. Even if you never write anything else (and I hope you do), they now will never be forgotten!

      Think of the questions about those remarkable women! Why did your grandmother decide to leave your grandfather? Had he put his business interests ahead of her and his daughter? Did he lose large amounts of money by speculating on shoddy enterprises? Was he unfaithful?

      If any of these possibilities are true, we can understand why a woman of that era would be determined to support her offspring by doing the only thing she knew how to do - keeping house, doing laundry and cooking - mostly for men. In future chapters you will see how closely Allie's life mirrored your grandmother's. The similarities are positively eery, Greg!

      I don't know as much about post-Civil War history as I should, so I asked my history teacher husband about it. He agreed that it was marked by rapid expansion of industry and gave rise to crime - both petty and corporate. He said Teddy Roosevelt had a hard time getting things under control.

      Education was not very developed, so men either apprenticed themselves to learn a trade, or they survived by their strong backs as day laborers. Still others, like our grandfathers, devised ways to beat the system, but sometimes the system beat them back!

      Your comment made me want to learn more about this time in American history because it's more meaningful when there's a personal connection, and it can only help my research and writing.

      I sometimes do feel like there aren't enough hours in the day - a complaint that I didn't expect to have when I retired. However, spending time with Mother is so special. It gives me the opportunity to return the help and love she gave to me all my life, and hear history in her own words at the same time. For a daughter (and writer) there is nothing better!

      I will tell Mother you remembered her. She still mentions the flowers and birthday card you brought her! You live in her end of town, so please do pay us another visit.

      Thank you for your very thoughtful comment Greg, and for spurring me on to learn more about our grandparents time. Oh - and this is important - don't lose those great stories. Do get more of them preserved somehow!

  14. Hi Kathleen. I really do apologize for strolling by here so late, have had a busy week...but, I knew you had been here.

    It's hard enough getting yourself through the first few days of school, to be or not to be accepted. When we're 9 or 10 years old, the other 9 or 10 year olds may not consider that one who appears quiet and introverted, may just possess an intelligence and talents that are unique, and not willing to make an appearance until a bit later on. I think Margaret was so special and, it went unnoticed by most of them at that time. Those children missed out by not knowing Margaret.

    I know that school bullies can eat you alive, and, Margaret's closeness with her family was so important, even in the worst of times. She strikes me as being an unconditionally loving lady, and, a very strong one at that!

    I am so impressed with the photo of the jail, and that Margaret was able to visit her father. You know, children aren't usually welcome as visitors to a jail. And, her memories of the visit and her departure are so emotional, I can just picture her looking up at the window as she was walking away. What transpired later was even more devastating for Margaret and her family. If the family and Margaret felt shame for the problems, they don't seem to dwell on it. Allie picked up and continued to conduct her household as best she could. And, Margaret and the other children appear to have followed suit.

    I enjoy seeing your family pictures, they serve so well in illustrating and unfolding the events of your mother's life. Margaret's father was very handsome, and, what an interesting photo of the hunting party with the old trucks and the display of their catch.

    Thank you for this chapter Kathleen...I anticipated a few of these events, but not the arrest. It is pretty heart wrenching...the family certainly had to re-organize and do their best during his absence. But, now, I cannot imagine what comes next. I hope you and your mother are doing well. Take care, I look forward to seeing you again!

  15. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 7, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    There's no need to apologize, Suzanne. We're always happy to see you whenever you get here! Thank you for taking time to read the first part of Chapter 7 and to share your thoughts about my Mother's childhood experiences.

    I've read that Benjamin Franklin was bullied so badly by his brother that once he left home, he never returned. Yet who is remembered as one of our country's greatest inventors and a founding father, Benjamin or James Franklin?

    In Mother's case, the disdain she endured seems to have made her self-reliant and more compassionate to others who are treated badly in life. I know it is the source of her admonition to love and forgive those who mistreat us. Ironically, this attitude has probably helped her to outlive most, if not all, of her tormentors and she is now honored by friends such as yourself all over the world. I believe justice has been served!

    There is a walking tour video online of the deserted old York County Jail. Although the interior is badly in need of repair, it is still foreboding and I shudder to think how my grandfather must have felt serving his sentence. Without child psychologists to warn against the negative effects on a child's personality of visiting loved ones in such a place, it probably was common in 1922.

    It only takes Mother about four sentences to describe finding Allie in the garden after school, but I think it speaks volumes about my grandmother's toughness and strong will. Other chapters will illustrate this personality trait that helped her not only survive, but actually thrive. When I once asked Mother if she ever saw Allie "lose it", cry or be upset by the tragedies in her life, Mother softly asks, "What good would that have done?"

    The old photographs tell stories without the aid of my words, and I agree that they bring my Mother's story to life. Each one could have a chapter devoted to it! The picture of the garage is one of my favorites too. It holds many clues, but causes just as many mysteries to be solved.

    I'm sad it is no longer standing, because I felt such a sense of closeness to my ancestors when exploring there, and in the barn to which it was attached. I have Toni to thank for being able to do that a number of times before the property was sold. Now my own photographs of those unforgettable visits help me recapture my experiences.

    Thank you again,Suzanne, for writing your reactions to this last segment of In-Dell-ible Memories. A good story is even better when shared!

  16. Oh Kathleen, my heart just breaks for Margaret, so young experiencing such sadness and chaos. Even though it was so long ago I wish I could help her and make everything better. I'm sure her parents were heartbroken too knowing their children couldn't possibly understand what was going on. Thank you for sharing these difficult memories of your mother's with us and for the beautiful photographs, they really add to everything and make it much more real. It's a pleasure to read your words and get to know your family Kathleen! I hope you are all well. Until the next instalment!

    Emma x

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 9, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      Hello, Emma! It's good to see our Irish friend again!

      I was sorry to have to write such a sad chapter, but the truth needed to be told. Children often get caught in the middle of such bad family situations. I saw it frequently when I was a teacher.

      The amazing thing is how resilient little ones are, and how they adapt to changing circumstances sometimes better than the adults in their life. A century ago, children were loved, but they weren't "fussed over", according to Mother. Their feelings weren't considered very often, especially when so much other disruption was occurring. I am certain my grandparents did feel sorry for their offspring, but they just didn't show it!

      Mother's family in general never talked about this event, so all I really had to go on were Mother's memories and documents from the York County Archives. She was reluctant to "stir that thing up again" when I told her I was writing the family history. She was still afraid, after all the time that's passed, that something bad would befall us if the story "got out". After much reassurance that her father's enemies were all dead and that her story could possibly help others, she relented and shared as many details with me as she could remember.

      I'm glad you like the old photographs. There are many more I hope to share with everyone as I continue the story.

      Thank you for your compassionate comment, Emma. You're right in observing that we can't help that little girl whose shame and humiliation were so painful. However, you certainly are now helping the same little girl who survived the trauma and grew to be a very, very old woman. Your comment makes her happy and proud of her life instead of ashamed of it.

      Thank you for your visit. We hope to see you next month!


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