Nellie Seeds used to drive to town every day to pick up the mail and any other things needed that were not available on the farm. One day the nurse asked her to stop at the pharmacy in town and ask the pharmacist to make up a dose of strong laxative that couldn’t be tasted, for one of the kids that was constipated and wouldn’t take any medicine because of the taste. After she finished the errands, she stopped at the drug store, asked the pharmacist to fix up the dose, and went to the soda fountain ( every drug store had one in those days ) to wait. Meanwhile she ordered a chocolate malted. After she finished it, she called the pharmacist and asked when the dose would be ready to pick up. In apparent surprise the pharmacist said ” You just drank it !” – and then, with a grin said ” You’d better hurry home “.
One harvest season, Sid Henderson, the farm manager, acquired a number of corn shuckers, fingerless gloves with a leather pad in the palm and a small steel hook projecting from it. It was a great help shucking the dry corn leaves but, as usual, one of the smart boys discovered a new use. It could be used, with a sweeping gesture, to rip open knicker flys. Sometimes the buttons flew off, this was before the invention of zippers, but they could be sewed back. One of the boys dared Sid Danzis to rip Jean ( Sparky) Rosenthal’s fly since she rarely wore dresses but mostly the boys ” uniform” of brown corduroy knickers and long black cotton stockings. Not one to take a dare, Sid waited until Sparky came out of the dining room and walked up to her and with a sweep embedded the hook in her fly. Unfortunately, since she had no use for it, she was in the habit of sewing her flys shut and the hook got stuck, For several minutes that must have seemed like hours, Sid struggled with his palm flat against her crotch trying to back off, while she stood there with her hands on hips and told him to his face what she thought of him. He finally got free and and took off running. He never lived the story down.
One Saturday morning Sid Danzis and I decided to walk in to town for a horse-opera movie western. Ann Neiderhoed asked to go along and as she was the prettiest girl in the school we were flattered. It was a chilly Fall day so I was wearing a heavy wool sweater and Sid had a lined jacket. We tried to persuade Ann to wear something more than a light blouse but she insisted she was fine. Half way to town Ann was wearing my sweater and Sid’s jacket and we were turning blue. Never invited Ann to go to town again.
As I remember the Manumit motto or creed it was:Education is Life not Lessons. Was there a similar one for the PA campus ? The laundry at Manumit, Pawling, must have been built in the Summ When we came back in the Fall,Dick Taylor – the maintenance man, told us he was leaving and showed my brother and me how to make wire connections in the electrical system. In those days the two insulated and one bare ground wire were protected by flexible steel housing. This was called “BX”. To make a connection one had to cut the housing with a hack saw, remove the insulation on the wires, twist the wires together, solder them and then cover first with rubber insulating tape and then with a wrap of friction tape – a tough process. At one point I was holding the BX and Brother was sawing the covering when the saw went through the metal and into the wire – there was a blinding flash, the saw blade was burned apart and the halves welded to the frame. When we recovered from the shock I looked at him and said ” I thought you pulled the fuse”, he looked at me and said ” I thought you pulled it”. After that we both went and pulled fuses together. We wired the entire house for lights, professional washer and ironer and mangle,and power outlets, I think the only drier provision was inside or outside hanging lines. Remember, we were only 14 and 12 years old. The insurance inspector could find nothing wrong with the job. We had no supervision.
Lizzie Swing came down with something diagnosed as Scarlet Fever and the school was quarantined for three weeks. No one could come or go and the farm milk couldn’t be sold. The milk was separated and the skim fed to the pigs and calves and we were treated to all kinds of goodies, including the richest ice cream I have ever eaten, almost every day we took turns hand-churning it and as I remember, it left a layer of butter on the roof of your mouth.
Scott Nearing visited regularly, to work on various construction projects: dam brook for swimming pool, cast cement blocks and build silo, etc. One day he was working on a project and I was nearby, weeding the vegetable garden. I stood up and said ” It must be close to dinner time, I better go up and wash this dirt off my hands”. Scott came over and put his hand on my shoulder and said ” Young man I abhor dirt. What you have on your hands is EARTH and as far as I am concerned that is the greatest stuff ever created.” I never forgot