from the upcoming and untitled book about Northwest Iowa


Green Pigs?

By Izetta J. Peterson of Fonda, Iowa

Born 1922


I was born June 8, 1922 so am now 90 years old. I was born in a bedroom on a farm about two miles north of Albert City, Iowa. The Albert City doctor was called and delivered me. We lived with my grandparents and an uncle. I remember hearing that my grandmother was out working in a field when her son was born.


She carried him to the house in her apron.


      I remember men butchering hogs there on the farm. Mother and grandma were making sausage in casings and canning pork.


      Grandma made red Jello and put it in a stairway that went upstairs where it was cool enough to set. At Christmas time branches from a tree in the grove was brought in the house and used as a Christmas tree. Mother put decorations and candles on it.


      Mother told me not to touch the glass on the heating stove. She said, “Ocbta,” meaning, “Be careful. It is hot,” in Swedish.


      Some chores we had as children, my brother, and two sisters and I, were pick eggs, load cobs in a wheelbarrow, and bring to the house for the cook stove. We also fed ears of corn to the hogs.


      Did we get money from the tooth fairy? Yes! Under my pillow was five or ten cents and my tooth was gone.


      I remember someone standing on a chair when others tried to corner a mouse with a broom.


      My dad had fun fooling us kids on April Fool’s Day. He told us there was an airplane in the field north of our place. So we went to see it. Nothing was there. My sisters even went to the pig house to see green pigs. We even had roosters that chased us.


      At grandma’s we played in the barn and hayloft and we used to climb the windmill and then went from one tree to another on the branches. This was west of the hog house.


      Old remedies we had for colds were cooked or browned onions for our chests. We also had a vapor rub on our chests and then flannel rags.


      My brother, Roland, and I took cream to town on a sled on the railroad track.


      The radio programs we liked were Jack Armstrong, Little Orphan Annie, Mr. Perkins, Tom Mike The Dividing Light, Amos and Andy, and Fibber Magee and Molly.


      I gave my youngest sister, Joyce, a bath in a tank of water near the heated cook stove.


      My mother used a wringer washer in the coalhouse. She sewed many clothes for us. Relatives in Chicago sent old clothes to use or use for sewing. Before getting married, my mother taught in a one-room school in the country.


      1936 we kids made a cave in the snow to play in. One drift in our yard was 12 feet high. We only had two days of school in the whole month. Roads were all blocked with snow. March 2 schools started, but roads were still blocked. It took 45 minutes to walk to school.


      March 31, 1937 we kids played basketball in the old hen house.


      January 2, 1939 we finally got electricity on the farm. We had an outhouse on the farm as we had no bathroom.


      Once my dad let my friend, Alice drive our car. We went to Marathon, ten miles away, but we needed gas. I didn’t have much money so didn’t get much gas. We went to the pit close by and went swimming. One time I was floating and heard someone say, “Izetta is getting out kind of far.” So I thought I’d go back. But I couldn’t reach the bottom and I couldn’t swim. So I just got back to floating and someone came and rescued me.


      My husband was in the Coast Guard during World War II. He came home and we married March 9, 1946. He has passed away but we lived on our farm in Pocahontas County, Iowa for many years. I still live on the farm in a smaller house. My son, Ron, and wife, Corinne, live in the big house. I am still very active going to church activities and school events. I have great-grandchildren that are eighth and ninth graders. So I go to lots of ballgames and music programs. I thank God for all the blessings.


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