EARLY YEARS OF MARRIED LIFE
On January 3, 1924, 1 became the wife of John Carlos Bailey. That was a cold day too and my husband says he almost froze the day before, coming so far on horseback. While I have mentioned horseback, I must tell my readers the story he tells folks. He declares I ran him down on horseback because one time we were out riding (there were few cars to ride around in then) and I suggested we should have a race. We did, and I won by quite a margin. I then suggested we trade horses and race again, which we did and I won again. He just didn't know how to race a horse, he hadn't been raised on a ranch and learned the technique of getting a horse to really run. His story is, My wife ran me down on horseback, I just knew I had no chance to escape. I have always enjoyed riding and to this day I am a lover of good saddle horses.
I was eligible to claim my cow but since we had no place to keep her Dad just gave me the cash for her. Forty dollars was a lot of money to have at one time in those days.
So my life on the homestead ended. Many fond memories linger of those years and how happy I always was to return to the old home for a visit, and we made many trips back too. We have been back to the place twice since my parents left and last summer was one of those times. The old sod house has long since deteriorated and only a sunken spot reveals where the cellar used to be. The trees have grown so huge in the coulee, and the Caraganas that my parents planted and cared for so carefully are lovely now. A modern house stands not far from where the sod one stood and the spring that provided us with all the good water we could use is still there. A piece of the flat rock that was at the door of our home is all that's left of it and I meant to bring it home with me but neglected to do so. Perhaps someday I can get it.
The two rooms that were added some years after the first one was built, are gone too, so somehow a lonely feeling swept over me as I walked over the spot where I had once lived. Such is life.
My parents returned to Missouri and planned to spend their last days there. They went back, but the hot nights during the summer were more than they could take, so they moved back to Montana and lived in and around Missuola till God called them HOME.
After Brother Golphenee had said the words that made us husband and wife, friends and relatives sat with us and enjoyed a delicious meal that mother had prepared. Orville was going to take us to the train at Lambert but as the weather was so cold it was difficult for the horses to travel. We only got as far as Brother Wm. Golphenee's home, where we remained until Monday. We did not want to be away from the service of the Lord on His day and by the time the cold abated we knew we would be on the train on Lord's day if we went. Services were held in the Petrick school house and my husband preached. I don't remember what his text was, but I do know I thought it was a wonderful sermon. I still contend that he is the best preacher in the world.
It was customary there to chivaree every newlywed couple. The cold had hindered the group from coming to chivaree us during the first three nights we were there, in fact it was not till Saturday afternoon that anyone came to the Golphenee home and discovered we were there. After the worship service on Lord's Day, Brother Joe Lewis suggested they might come that night to chivaree us, and my husband assured him if they came Sunday night he would have nothing to do with it. We thought we were one couple that would get away without a chivaree for they never came Sunday night. However, they were just a step ahead of us, for about four o'clock Monday morning (some had to come so far) we were awakened by all kinds of noises. Guns being shot, tin cans with stones in were dragged around and shook at our window, horns blown, as well as cowbells being jingled. There was a little store not far away so over went my husband for treats. A big wooden bucket of candy was the treat and while he was gone for this I baked two big cakes and made coffee for that tired and weary but happy bunch. Such tradition has long since been abandoned but I am glad now that the young folks' plans (and some not so young) materialized, for they enjoyed it and so did we. Many that were there that night have crossed the silent river.
Tuesday morning we boarded the train for Big Horn, Montana where a Bible School had been planned for two weeks, and our home was with Brother and Sister Kissee and their two daughters. Brother Kissee went to meet his Lord many years ago but we enjoyed a short visit with Sister Kissee last fall.
Realizing the value of memorizing God's word, my husband assigned plenty of memory work. The classes were held in the home of a member and he was one of the three of us who had 99% at the end of the two weeks.
Having been raised where there were no mountains, although there were hills and bad lands near, those foot-hills appeared so huge to me.
From there we went to Buffalo, Montana where we made our home with Brother and Sister Cecil Barnhart. Brother Cecil went to meet his Maker many years ago. They were so good to us too. It seemed both of those homes became ours, for everyone was so kind to us.
It was discovered one day that a weasel was killing the chickens. Brother Barnhart saw the weasel but it got away and hid among some logs that were piled there. He and my husband were going to town, and he jokingly said, You women be sure and shoot that weasel. I had never had a gun in my hands, but Hattie (Sister Barnhart) said she knew how to load the gun and for me to try first and if I missed it she would try. Weasels are not the easiest animals to shoot (maybe they are, I never shot another one). She handed me the gun and told me how to pull the trigger. There I stood, waiting for the weasel to put his head up (it seemed like an hour). Suddenly out came the little fellow and sat up so gracefully. I pulled the trigger, and over he went. I had hit him square in the forehead. We just had to tell the men when they returned, but -- seeing was believing and not until they saw it did they believe us. I kept my reputation as a good marksman by never shooting another gun.
It was while we were there, a meeting was held in the little Coal Mine School and Sister Guild, mother of Brother Claude Guild who is one of the most dynamic preachers we have today, obeyed the gospel. Brother Guild and his wonderful wife are laboring for the Master in Australia.
OUR FIRST HOME
The previous fall, Carlos had worked in the harvest field to earn money for the needed furniture with which to begin housekeeping and each pay day he put some into the bank. Just before we were married the bank went bankrupt and he never saw his money, for which he had worked so hard, again. The forty dollars I had received for my cow came in handy and we bought a few things, and folks loaned us some, so we moved into a house in Buffalo. Before many days passed we had a boarder. Brother Guy Thomas had been transferred to Buffalo and he needed a place to stay, so we got a bed for him and our home was his home during our sojourn there. He was a fine person and we enjoyed his company.
We only spent the summer there for it seemed more could be accomplished in Eastern Montana in the Lord's work so we moved there. We had very little to move, only clothes, bedding and books.
While we were in Buffalo we were asked to have a meeting in Dore, North Dakota, (my husband had started the Church there before we were married), and it was from this meeting that we decided to move there.
Brother Barnhart supplied the car to take us there. A Model T Ford. It had no top but we were thankful to have the use of it and what a trip we had. There were no hard top roads, not even any gravel was on the roads and believe me, when it rained that car did plenty of sliding around. Plowing mud seemed to cause the lights to burn out which made our trip more frustrating, but we managed to get there and we had a good meeting.
A man who owed my husband for helping him with his harvesting the year before promised to pay the debt. We had depended on this money to take us home. He failed to keep his promise and although we had received very little for the time we had been there, we started out for home anyway. The few members there were expecting us, and my husband is one who, when he promises to be at a certain place to preach, goes.
Our trip back was more frustrating than going. We hoped to drive through without stopping over night but we had car trouble and the rain came down in torrents so that we could only go a few miles on a gallon of gas. We saw what we thought was an empty house so thought we could stay in it for the night, but when we got to it we found a family occupied it. They were so hospitable and kind. Having two extra folks to bed down was not too convenient but they fixed a bed on the floor for the two children and the men slept in one bed with a child and I slept with the mother and the baby. I shall never forget those feather beds. The four children usually occupied the one bed.
As soon as the road dried a bit, we started out again. We used the last nineteen cents we had for gas and traded a pound of butter for some more gas but this did not get us quite home. Humiliated and all as he was, my husband asked the proprietor of a garage, (the only woman I ever knew to operate a garage), if she would give him some gas and he would send her the money when we got home. She was a trusting soul, or perhaps she was the kind that was willing to help those in need without really caring if she ever got the money or not. The money was sent to her the following Monday. We were glad to be home and were thankful we had had a good meeting, for that was most important.
OUR SECOND HOME
That fall we returned the furniture that had been loaned to us. An oil stove was one of the articles, and we sold what was ours, and moved to Dore, North Dakota. Much of the time, my husband engaged in secular work and preached on Lord's days. We had rent to pay and money was needed, for a baby was coming in February. Each Lord's day we met with the few saints in the school house, and my husband also preached for the surrounding congregations.
On February 20, 1925 our first child was born. How we adored Norman! We were positive he was the most wonderful baby that had ever been born. He was a healthy, happy baby. When he was twenty-five months old he met with a terrible accident of which I shall tell later.
It was only natural that my husband was anxious for his parents to meet their new daughter and first grandchild, so in May of 1925 we went on the train to Thessalon, Ontario, Canada. Meetings were held and my husband attended what is known in Ontario as The June Meeting and it was then he was asked to work with the Church at Woodgreen. The present preacher was ill with an incurable disease.
That fall the crop was very good in Saskatchewan and we wanted to work in the harvest, so we rode on an excursion train to Macrorie and while Carlos worked with the harvesting, mostly threshing, I was helping cook for the crew of men. There were no combines then. Brother Wilfred Orr worked there too and he and my husband took turns preaching for the small congregation who met in the country school house.
After the harvesting was finished, we loaded our suitcases into the back of Brother Orr's Model T and we visited some of the congregations in Saskatchewan and also in Montana. This car was also topless and part of the windshield was gone so Norman and I got full benefit of the breeze, but this never bothered us at all. Brother Orr decided he would like to go to Ontario too and that we would travel in his car. The weather turned colder and it was decided that Norman and I should travel by train the remainder of the journey, so at a small town in North Dakota, called Harvey, the men escorted us to the room in which we were registered and they left to continue the journey. There was no lock on my door so I put a chair against it never thinking that the few hours that I would be there anyone would barge in. Suddenly a voice was heard, I am coming in. There was no way of stopping anyone from entering that room so with a good push, open came the door and in came a man who had been sitting in the lobby as we came to this room. He had been drinking and I was SCARED. The only thing I could think to do was to try and bluff him, and my trick worked, for when I told him he had better go or he might not be able to go, he got out and fast. From that time, whenever I stay in a hotel I always make sure there is a good lock on the door. I never slept a wink and was ready long before the taxi came to take us to the railway station. The rest of the trip to Glencoe was relatively uneventful.
In due time, the old Model T came with the men and from the report they gave, they had a very interesting trip too.
Sister Whitfield, who was the widow of the now deceased preacher, asked us to stay with her and her family for the winter, so again we had a home with fine people, but when spring came we bought a house.
OUR FIRST HOME IN WARDSVILLE
Again we began housekeeping with very little furniture but gradually we furnished three rooms.
Some of the finest people on earth lived there and they were willing for work to be started in new places as well as see the work prosper everywhere. Meetings were held in Sarnia, Blackwell, and Forest and the work seemed to grow and prosper.
On March 26, 1927 God gave to us another baby boy. Stanley was a cuddly little brown eyed fellow. I had decorated a basket so prettily with pink ribbons for the baby girl we were sure was coming. It seemed Stanley resented the fact that he was to have been a girl, and he simply refused to sleep in that basket. He not only refused but he howled so much I was unable to sleep. The only place he liked to sleep was beside his mother so that is where he slept as long as I was in bed.
Stanley has never married but some day I hope the right girl comes into his life and they will be happy.
The Whitfield family dearly loved Norman and they asked to keep him while I was in bed. When Stanley was five days old, Sister Whitfield was going to wash clothes and she dissolved some lye in a glass of water. She left it on the table within Norman's reach and went out to look after her baby chicks. Although only out for a very few moments, when she came in she found Norman lying on the floor vomiting. Wherever he vomited, the pattern came off the linoleum. He had drunk that dissolved lye. Troubled days were ahead for us and no-one was more troubled than dear Sister Whitfield.
That summer we made a trip back to Montana, as we did every year except during World War Two, and soon after we arrived I became very ill and the Doctor said I was to remain in the drier climate, so we had our furniture sold. Only our personal things were shipped to us. Norman spent many weeks in the hospital in Minot, North Dakota where he underwent sixteen operations on his esophagus.
During that summer, my husband held meetings in Saskatchewan which he had wanted to do for some time, and he saw what an open field it was for the preaching of the Word.
The fall before we went to Montana, we visited in Mother and Dad Bailey's home and a seven year old boy who had lost his mother was there. He needed a home and it seemed no-one wanted to share their home with him, so we took him home with us. He had few clothes and we had very little money, but we took him to Toronto and with the help of my husband's sister and her husband, we bought clothes for him so he could go to school. Lonnie was a fine looking boy and not a bad boy, but one who was badly confused. We kept him for more than seven years. He just refused to go to school and despite all efforts we made, we never succeeded in getting him interested, so we took him back to Ontario and he got a job working with a construction crew on the highway. He is a tender hearted person and is a member of the Church and, as far as I know, is faithful.
Many folks felt we should not take him but isn't that what James 1:27 means? No, we will never be sorry we kept Lonnie for those years and we only regret we could not have done more for him. We love him.
Picture with Chapter Two
Published in The Old Paths Archive
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