Sunday, May 23, 2010

Visitors and Visiting

Saturday, May 23, 1925: Len, Ruby & I went to town this afternoon. It was warm today but turned cool this evening. Friday had been a very warm day. We baked bread, coffee cake, a cake. Plus we did the churning and cleaned the parlor. Dad talked with a Ford agent that morning. The Watkins* man called at noon and at supper time a picture enlarger man came. Terrible pest he was.

Thursday Mother was sick with a bad cold. We ironed and then planted late potatoes over in the garden in the afternoon. Raymond and Loretta Fiedler came down in the morning with an ad the mail man left up there. Uncle Edd came down in the evening. Aunt Annie was in town. Mattie was very sick Wednesday with acute indigestion. Had the Doctor there three times and a nurse. Win went over to Dubuque to Dr. Guthrie Tuesday and went to the hospital and was to have an operation on the lump on his shoulder. On Wednesday we washed and stretched the curtains. Then in the late Dad Mother & I went over the cemetery. It would have been Grandmother Trudgian’s hundredth birthday* and Dad wanted to go over the cemetery. We cut the grass on the lot with the lawn mower.

Tuesday we finished papering the bedroom and got it straightened up. On Monday it was a very nice day although there was frost the night before. We all went to town in the afternoon with two cars. Ruby took in fifty dozen eggs. Got twenty-seven and a half cents per dozen. Last Sunday we all went to town to church in the morning and then came home and had dinner. Then we went to Aunt Lizzie’s. Maryanne had an operation but was home again. A cold day and we wore winter clothes.

* What was the Watkins Man? He was one of a legion of salesmen who traveled the back roads of rural America in vintage autos, selling products door to door for the J. R. Watkins Company, located in the Mississippi River Bluff town of Winona, Minnesota. In 1868, Joseph Ray Watkins started the company in Plainview, MN. He had one product. He purchased the right to produce and sell “Dr. Ward’s Anodyne Liniment.” The product was mixed in the family kitchen, bottled in a woodshed, loaded onto a horse-drawn wagon and sold door to door throughout southeastern Minnesota. After the company moved to the town of Winona, the product line expanded, but products stayed true to a standard that is still adhered to today. All products are made with natural ingredients with no chemical additives. The Watkins line of products is one of the very few that is certified by the Natural Products Association. By the 1940s, the Watkins line of products had expanded to include soaps, cleaners, personal care products, and my mother’s favorites, the baking materials. The vanilla cinnamon, cloves, and other spices came in metal cans with a tight-fitting top. They made great toys when they were emptied. The Watkins Man would deliver the products customers had ordered the month before, and fill out a form for the products to delivered the next month. The Watkins man often arrived in his Model A coupe, with a rumble seat. Inside, on the rumble seat was always a box of candy, one free piece for every item the customer had purchased. I have a Watkins' medicine bottle from Lillian's home with a bit of cork still in the top.

* Lillian's Grandma Trudgian was my great-great grandmother, Mary Pellymounter Trudgian, who had settled in Galena with her husband, Joseph Trudgian from Cornwall England in 1852. 

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