STORIES FROM LILA BROWN & VIOLA BROWN SUYDAM
As told to, and recorded by, Jonathan D. Brown
In the early 1960's
Lila: Well I guess I haven't anything to say. Why don't somebody else take over.
Vi: I don't know any stories.
Lila: Once Vi went to the fair and she came home. Dick was a little boy at that time and he got right down and he watched her while she was talkin', and she told all about goin' to the fair, and when she finished he looked right up at her and he says, "Tell a bigger one."
Vi: Well you know Ken [Albin] had trouble with his stomach and he thought he'd go to the doctor. And he went to the doctor and he gave him some medicine. And he took it but it didn't help him a bit. So he came home and he had a bushel of apples and he started eatin' 'em and he ate that bushel of apples in a very short order. And I said to him "You don't mean that you ate a whole bushel?" And he said, "Yes, I do mean that." And Murial said, "Yes, he did." And she said that cured him, cured his stomach, that bushel of apples. He ate it in a very short order. And Murial said it did too. And he told the doctor about it, Dr. Z. And Dr. Z said it was the pectin in the apples that cured him. But then lately he' said he's had a pain in his stomach for years, so I don't know whether his stomach was cured or not. [See endnotes for more information on Ken Albin]
Jon: What did he do with the medicine?
Vi: Well he took it but it didn't help him, but the apples did, so he said.
Jon: How long did it take him to eat the apples?
Vi: Well, a very few days. It seemed to me he said a day and a half. I don't know exactly. But it was a very short time.
Jon: Tell about how Arthur....
Lila: No, I'm not gonna tell nothin' about him for you to record. I'll tell about when Bobby was little, how he used to do. When Bobby was little he was very interested in trains. So one day he went down to the bridge down east there, and Dick went down. He had his express cart, and he got up on the track. And Dick went down and he tried to get 'em off but he wouldn't get off for him. So Dick came home all out straight and he told his father that Bobby was down on the track, and he wouldn't get off for him. So Bart got in the -- And there was a train that was due 'bout that time. So Bart, he got in the car and he speeded down there all out straight. And he got there just in time to get him off the track and the train went by.
Lila: And he used ta, if he heard a train commin', he would run and lay down on his stomach right there by the gate between the privet [hedge] so's to watch the wheels go 'round on the train.
And he was great for runnin' away when he was small. And once he went way up by the loom hole and he came home dragging a five-gallon oil can.
And another time he went way over to Did's [Diddy Alfred], ran away to go over to his fish pond. To look in that.
And once he was out in his pen, (they had to build a pen for him and tie him besides so he wouldn't run away). And this time he disappeared, and Vi, she went around the neighborhood and she says, "Has anyone seen a little boy with a rope around 'em?"nbsp; And so we went searchin' all around and come to find out he was in the basement of his own house. But he had dug out under the gate, under the wire. Got out that way by diggin' under.
Jon: What else did Bobby do?
Lila: Well, he was great for goin' all over Eastport to see everything that was goin' on. He went up to the telephone office and inspected that and came home and built a model of the switchboard. And he knew where everybody's telephone was situated, the number. And then he went down to Alice Rowland and watched 'er weave. And used to go down to Speonk and see the trains when they came in, and I guess he went up to this depot. Went all around. Was interested in everything that was goin' on.
And then he fixed, when Dick used to call up his girl, he would run down in the basement. And he had somethin' fixed up so he could listen in on the telephone conversation.
Jon: So what did Dick think of that?
Lila: Well, I guess he didn't think much of it, but they wondered why Bobby rushed out of the room every time Dick had a telephone call. And he would listen in.
Vi: When your father was a little boy Jim and him used to play together. Once they went behind the barn and swam in a puddle 'till they got, 'till the water was all gone, then they swam in the mud. Then they used to go around, (we didn't know they did this), but we moved to Good Ground (Hampton Bays). And after we moved to Good Ground somebody asked Jim how he liked Good Ground. He says, "I don't like it at all. Nobody's got any little pigs. Bart and me always went everywhere and looked at the little pigs. What was the other thing they did?
Lila: Well, once when Bart 'n Hub were little boys my mother she wondered where they were, so she went around callin' 'em and she went to the back of the barn and there they sat, each one holdin' a little pig up in their arms and feedin' it water out of a bottle.
And then another time, (I think that was Bart), went up in the lot with Grandpop [Jonathan Tuttle], and he had gone up to mow hay. And Bart got tired and he laid down on the ground and went to sleep. But Grandpop didn't know it. And he was goin' along and all the sudden the horse stopped and he wouldn't go ahead. And Grandpop tried to make him go but he wouldn't. And he got down to see what was the matter, and there he laid, fast asleep. And if the horse had gone ahead he would have stepped right on him. So that was a smart ol' horse. So Grandpop, he didn't wanna work any more. He just got Bart up and he came on down home. It had a bad effect on 'em.
And then they used to go up in the lots where Grandpop was huskin' corn when Hub was a little boy, and he'd get baby mice and put 'em in his pocket. And he had his coat hangin' up on the ceilin' down home. And ma, she thought she heard mice. And she heard that noise and she wondered if they were in the ceilin'. She walked over by that coat and she looked in and there he had baby mice with their eyes hadn't even opened up. But how could they been makin' noise?
Vi: When Leslie was a little boy he used to get the mice 'n put 'em in his hat, these baby mice. Then he'd get down and get the girls to set all along side him. Then all of a sudden he'd take off his hat and let these, the mice would go lickety split.
And they us'ta get them and they would skin 'em and they would stretch 'em on a board just the same as you would muskrats. Cuz Hub had seen the bigger boys do that so he wanted to stretch the mice skin. So he fixed 'em on boards that way.
Jon: What did they do with [skin?]?
Vi: Well, just did it to practice up I s'pose for when they got older and they could do bigger skins.
Lila: And he was great for imitatin' everything he saw done. Like when they - when Grandpop worked on the road with the road scraper Hub would see 'em do it so he had a little one so he had to make believe work on the road. And when they put the bell up for the school in the tower Hub had to practice hiestin' the bell for days out on top of a chicken coop. And when the - durin' the war when the war was over he got out on the back stoop and he rang the dinner bell just as loud as he could ring it.
Vi: When Leonard Griffin and Tom were little kids they said if one - if either one was home they were all right, they didn't get inta' mischief, but if two of them got together, why they'd get inta mischief. So Leonard was up to Grandpop's one day and all of a sudden they went out and they hung the hens, like they hang ducks to stick 'em, they had the hens strung up. Grandpop's hens and gonna stick 'em.
Vi: Oh yea, when Amie was a little girl they didn't have any cats home. Somebody's cat came in and Ma put little milk down on the floor in the saucer so afterwards Amie had some milk and she put it down on the floor and started to lick it.
Lila: No! Got to come to that gradg'ly. When she was a girl - when Amie was a girl she used to love to climb trees. One day the groceryman came in our house and he says to my mother, "Do you know where your girl is?" And she says, "No, why?" He says, "She's up in the top of one of those tall trees out there." And she says, "She's used to doin' that. She does it nearly every day." And he says, "Well, I wouldn't wanna girl o' mine doin' it."
An' so then one year she went to Westhampton to work to take care of children for lady that ran a boarding house. And she expected to come home every week. 'Cuz the woman went up to Goldstine's every week. But in the meantime the polio epidemic was around and they were quarantined, the different villages. So she didn't come home all summer. And she had been where she could have all kinds of good things to eat, and out by the ocean, you know, er, the water to get the air. And also she grew very fast. So when she came home my mother said, "Well she went a little girl and came back a woman." And she thought it was because she had so much soup to eat. -- Besides other things.
And then later on when she was goin' with Wesley they loved to sit out in his car under the old wa'nut tree, and one night there was a lightning - a thunder storm. And it - the bolt of lightning went right down our chimney. And Wesley thought, "Well, guess that heater is broken up down there," but as they watched, the bolt of lightnin' came right up again and went off. And the side of our house was scorched.
So once Ruby was sittin' in the livin' room and there was a thunderstorm, and ball of fire came right across the livin' room by her feet. And she run out in the kitchen. She says -- That was the same time wasn't it that ...? That was the same time it struck the chimney wasn't it? Well anyway, she was goin' out in the kitchen and when she got out in the kitchen it was worse than it was in the livin' room. Pop and Ma had their elbows on the table and felt the vibration like.
Well, we had a thanksgivin' dinner once up by the [?]. All came up and we had the big table full and we had another table set for the kids, Jim and Bart and Hub and Jim. All sat to another table, and we had duck for dinner, and for supper we had roast pork. And so the kids sat at the table and all the sudden [said], "We want some more duck, and they was eatin' pork. Ha ha ha.
And while we were there Hub and Tim disappeared and they were gone quite awhile. And by 'n by they come home and they had been up to the dump and they'd got an old sewin' machine and brought it all the way from East Moriches down to Visic's house, and they put it out by the hen coop out back. And every mornin' Tim used to go out and peddle that old sewin machine. Peddle it, you know, it's one of the old fashion kind that 'cha peddle with your feet you know. And he'd do it every mornin'. He was ten years old. Hub was eleven. So that shows what kids 'll get to a dump.
Oh, and when they used to play ball Jim was a pitcher and Tim, he used to be around and he'd razz the players on both sides, the other side and Eastport too. So they give 'em a quarter to sit up in the tree. And he'd go up in the tree 'n sit for awhile 'n then he'd be down again. So Mrs. Penny, she went to the flag day exercises and she wandered out where they was playin' ball. And the next week she went again. And somebody says, "Why Mrs. Penny, I didn't know you cared about a ball game." She says ---. "I didn't know you ever went to ball games." And she says, "Well I don't. But," she says, "Tim was so much fun last week that I came to see Tim again today." Ha ha.
Vi: And when we were over to East Marion Jim played ball and they had what they called an 'all-star team' made up. And he was the catcher. And so he was goin' with a girl for a little bit then, end of the village, and one day her mother came down to see the ball game. And she says, "Well, I'm some disappointed." She says, "I heard that Jim was a good ball player so I come down to see him play." And she says, "I find out he's the only one that's afraid of the ball." And I says, "Afraid of the ball? I didn't know he was." She says, "Well, he's the only one that wears a cage."
Lila: I'll tell about Great-Grandpop. Your Great-Grandfather Brown used to be a whaler and used to go on these long trips all around. And once he was gone over three years, it was such a long trip. And at one time when my father was a baby he was gone quite a long time, so that - and when he came home he didn't know him, and he was afraid of him and he cried.
When it told about Grandpop Brown goin' whalin', Ruby [Brown], she says [reading from something Ruby wrote down]: They used to leave from Sag Harbor, go to South America around Cape Horn, into Pacific Ocean. Panama Canal had not been thought of in those days. Stopped somewhere in South America either coming or going, to get teak wood and mahogany to carve canes and other articles on shipboard in spare time. Also carved things from whale bone. And they made a cane of both. On voyage to North Pacific was gone three years. And in 1840's they used to go whaling in New Holland, (that's in Australia), the Arctic Ocean and Bearing Sea, the Okatosh Sea (that's north of Japan next to Russia).
Your Grandfather Brown and Uncle Charlie used to go fishin' at one time and the Jews used to come from the city to buy the fish out of the pond. And they'd come 'n buy it, and they'd stay all night there instead of goin' to a hotel or somethin'. Ma would give 'em breakfast in the mornin' and she fried things with grease, and one of them didn't think much of eatin' it. But the other one says to 'em, "Eat it, eat it. It's good."
Vi: And they used to dicker for the fish - See, they'd already caught the fish and put 'em in a pond, and they had so many in this pond and they used to dicker for the fish for so much a pound. And so they would say so much, and the other one would say so much, and go down a little bit and up a little bit, and this 'n that. By 'n by Uncle Charlie got up against the door and says, "I'm a pretty independent little cuss I be, and you can take it or leave it."
Jon: You got more information to be passed on from generation to generation? Tell some more stories. That's what we want. About a hundred years from now --
Lila: Well, when your father was little he used to have an indian suit that he used to wear, and that was passed on down. A good many wore it. Dick wore it when he was a baby, the same thing your father wore.
So your father had a pony. This one that I'm tellin' about now was a little rolly polly pony, and he taught it tricks. And he us'ta have it go down to the end of the pikal and then he taught him to put his head down. And Bart would fall off over his head. Purpose to purpose, he taught him that. So the different boys they would come and they'd wanna ride. So they started in and the pony had put his head down and they'd fall off. And one boy went home and he never ever came back again. He never wanted to ride anymore. But there was one boy, and he rode, and Grandpop Tuttle says to him (that boy always [oi'ss] wanted to buy the pony. So Grandpop Tuttle says to him, "You don't wanna buy him now do ya?" And he says to him, "Yes, I want him more than ever." That was George Corwin. And different ones would ride it, so at Halloween time Bart went over to the parsonage all dolled up in an outfit, and the man says, "I think it's the little boy that rides the pony." And his wife says, "You mean the little boy that falls off the pony."
And then he had another pony that was like a small horse, and he used to ride that all around. So one day he was down by our porch and he says to me, "You wanna ride up to the barn?" I said "Yes." And he says, "Well get on then." And I got on in front and he was gonna be on in back. About the time I got on he gave the horse a slap on the back sides and the horse shot ahead all out straight. Well I just reached over and put my arms right around the horse's neck. And I stayed on and the horse went right on a swift run right into the barn. And I stayed on but Bart fell off. Hee hee.
Vi: Tell about Jim commin' over, and hadn't ridden a horse before.
Lila: Well I don"t know much about that.
Vi: Jim came over and he'd never ridden a horse in his life. And Bart says, "You wanna ride my pony?" N' he said "Yes", and he got on. So when the pony got to the end of the pikal he was trained to put his head down and stop. And when he put his head down Jim went right over the head. He he he.
Lila: So Bart wanted to go in swimming one day. And my mother said, "Well, I don't think the water's warm enough." So he was gone quite awhile and by 'n by he came back and says, "Yes, the water’s warm." And she says, "Well how did you know?" And he says, "Well, I;ve been up to the pond with the horse. And I had the horse go in the water and I bent over and I felt of it and it was warm." You know they had to go down quite a hill to get there too.
So once when Vi lived to East Marion and they were commin' over to our house. Well Jim, he went up to the pond where different ones were in swimmin'. And he thought, well he'd test the new swimmin' board that they had out there. So he had on a brand new suit, and he went out to test the swimmin' board, and the board broke and he went in the pond and initiated his new suit. So he came home and Vi saw what he had done and she said, "No need of it! No need of it at all."
Vi: We came over from East Marion, and Jim was a little boy and had a blue serge [?] suit. And he took the coat off and laid it on the runnin' board and we didn't know it. And so we started home and of course he lost the coat off. And somebody found it, and the way they found it, it was full of love letters in his pocket addressed to him. And he was a little boy, little fella.
And when he got older he was goin' with a girl that was a couple years younger than he was. And she had a big collie dog. And he had a dog that wasn't quite as big as the collie. And I was in the hospital at the time, and the dogs got in a fight. And he tried to part the dogs, 'n he got his pants torn. And he said if [it] had been somebody else's dog he probably wouldn't have got 'em torn, but as it was her dog he didn't want either one to get hurt. So he came down to grandma's, and he had torn pants. So she took - had him wear Grandpop's pants to school while she mended his. He was 17 then.
Lila: Well, we use'ta like to watch the hand organ man with the monkey in the summer. He aw'ways went to Mary Ashcraft's and we sat there on the porch and we could look over. And we enjoyed it. And so one day he was around, so Pete Tuttle took his grandson, young Hermie, down to watch the monkey. And they watched it, and they were on their way home when he says, "Grandpop, did'ja like that monkey?" Says, "Didn't care much about it!"
Jon: You'l have the whole history of Eastport recorded here.
Lila: Do you ever go see young Dewey [Rose]? and young Hermie?
Jon: Yea, sometimes.
Vi: Young Dewey's twins and the girl.
Lila: Young Dewey Rose, he has twin boys, and one day they were to school, and there was a little girl that was real cute and their mother dressed her real nice. And the different boys, they liked that little girl. So one of the twins asked her to marry him. So when he got home he was sayin' somethin' about it, and his mother says to the other twin, "Did you ask her to marry you?" And he says, "No." Says, "She wouldn't know the difference?"
When Dick was a little boy he was the kind that would mind good, and wouldn't have to fasten up any cupboards or anything. So when they went upstate there was such a contrast between him and his cousin because his aunt had to tie up all the cupboard doors because Billy would wanna get in the pots and pans and get everything out. So Jo didn't think that was necessary that she'd have to tie 'em up. But when Bobby was little he was that kind that oise [always] wanted to investigate didn't he. There was quite a difference then. So that -
Oh, and Bobby and Dick, they used to fight some'in' terrible. When they were little boys they used to fight so. And once Amie was over there. She had to separate 'em. Why, she thought they would kill each other. And once they were over to our house outdoors, and they got into a fight. And my mother tried to separate them; they had her rollin' around on the ground too. Oh they were terrible.
And Dick, I used to take care of him when Dick was a little boy. I used to take care of him sometimes and he had quite a temper. And when he'd get mad he'd aw'ss kick me in the shins and punch me. And I got sore shins to this day, and sore where he punched me. That was when he was real little you know.
Vi: Well Dick was large for his age, and Bobby was small, and that made a contrast.
Lila: Yea, cuz Dick had such strong shoes you know, and guy how they did hurt when he kicked me in the shins. I wonder if he knows that now?
Vi: Too bad you can't think up something about Jon.
Lila: I know it. Probably can think of plenty. He used to aw'ess come around 'n tease us. Try to do things to scare us or some'in.
Once when Jon was a boy Ruby was sick. He had a rooster to show her. Put it right on the bed. And I think you brought a pigeon in too. I don't know how old he was.
Once when Dick was a little boy we all went riding down to Southampton and we were goin' along and we saw people out rowin' in a boat. And he says, "I wished I was big enough t' be out in that boat. They would say, 'Look at that little boy oarin' that boat.'"
And then we went along a little farther and there was an ice man goin' around to all these city places. Ma says, "Well, that ice man must do big business." Dick says, "Don't say that Grandma." Big business. Heh, heh.
Once when Joe was up here, Joe Brown, he went for a ride with us and when he got home he says, "You know Mommy, I been all over the world."
When Janet was little, and they lived over west, and when they came by the pond and they came to the Lakeside ground, and there was cows out there chewin'. And when she got home she says, "You know, the cows were chewin' chewin' gum."
And once when she was small we went up there one evenin'. Hub, he was goin' to send and get some ice cream to treat us. And it was when ice cream was a little scarce. So he says to her, "You get two pints" - No - Yea, "When you go to the store you buy a quart of ice cream." She says, "I'll get two pints." And he says, "No, you get a quart." And she says, "No, I'll get two pints." So when she came home she had two pints.
Oh, and it was at the time Janet was born, when she was a few weeks old. Prob'ly she was there to your mother's, and she was a cryin'. And Bobby says, "Bub can't shut her off." He thought she should be able to shut her off the same as you would a record player or som'en' like that. He says, "Bub can't shut her off." Heh, heh, heh.
I remember in pa'tic'lar when you [Jon] came over to our house when you were a little boy. You says, "One of these days I’m gonna make you proud of me." And I thought at the time it [was] som'en' about radio or som'en' on that order you had reference to.
And another thing when he was small he was very determined. And he would always say that he was gonna rule the world.
Oh yea, and he was great for collectin' pennies. And he had a whole lot of pennies, and he'd, when he'd come up to call on me, he'd hide money around and just this year when I got ready to have my chair repaired I turned it up on its side to dust it off to get it ready to go, and there was a quarter dropped out. That chair there.
So he said he had many pennies. He said he was gonna bury 'em. But I guess he didn't. Finally he told me he put 'em in Bobby's globe. Did you say you had a globe full?
Lila: So he's got a globe full of pennies. I better not relay this to the public.
Once when Vi lived to Hampton Bays she wrote a letter to Ma and said, "Everybody come down for Thanksgiving. Get Pop to get out the sloop and all come down, every one, and come Thursday and stay till Monday." There was quite a gang so I don't know where she was gonna put everybody, whether she was gonna put 'em around on the floor or what.
When Tom was a little boy he had curly hair, and he had curls up until he was three years old. So Vi wanted to have his picture taken while he still had curls. So one day she went to school and while she was gone they had his curls cut off. When she came home she cried because he didn't have the curls anymore. Cried because she didn't have the picture of him with the curls.
Oh, and the boys used to go up in the barn and box. And Pop used to box with them. And who was it he knocked out? Was it Louie Griffin?
Vi: The boys was up boxin', two of the boys. So Pop, he thought he'd go up and give them some pointers how to box. And he was the one that got the black eye. Hm, hm, hm.
Lila: Well, he hit one of them over the heart and knocked him out. It was one of the Griffin's I think. Pop says he was kinda scared. You know, because he didn't mean to do that.
Jon: Tell about Grandpa, used to chase me and Bobby around the house -
Lila: You used to tease him purpose so he would get mad and chase you.
Vi: He used to let Bobby take his telescope, which he hardly let anybody take, because he was very interested in the stars.
Lila: Bobby used to love to watch the stars, so he'd come over and borrow Grandpop's telescope and go out and look at the stars. And Jon, he would look at 'em too. He used to be real choice of that telescope, but he still let 'em look at the stars through it.
Grandpop used to tell time by the stars. Once when he was postmaster our clock stopped. And Ma says, "Well, I'll go over to Lat's and see what time it was." But 'twas late at night, and Pop says, "I'll go out and see." So he went out and told by the stars, and she went over to get the railroad time, and it was just right. He knew how to tell it. By the big dipper wasn't it, that you tell?
Vi: Grandpop Tuttle, he had a puddle out by the well. In the back of the old house there was always a little hollow space there. And it used to be icy in the winter so he put a lantern out there so nobody would slide on the ice. So they said to him, "Why do you put a lantern out back of your house?" And he said, "Why I do that to scare the witches away."
Lila: He a'wys used to tell the kids Tom Quick stories.
Vi: And when Earl and I were courtin' we used to sit out on the front porch, and first thing you know Grandpop, he'd come along with a lantern, and he'd set it right down between us. And he'd say, "I know it's too dark for you. I know you want light."
Lila: I can hear him laugh now, can't you. He was a great joker.
There was quite a family of us. And quite a few girls you know. Grandpop [Jonathan Tuttle], he was always commin', watch to see if any of 'em had curly hair like Mary [Britton]. She had black curls, beautiful curly hair. So he'd always look. None of the girls had curly hair like Mary. Some of the boys had curly hair but their hair wasn't dark. He thought Grandma's curls was just about it.
He used to go up with the cows. Take the cows up in the lot to leave 'em in the morning you know. And every morning he'd pick her a bouquet of wild roses and bring to her. Throw out the old ones from the day before and put in the fresh bouquet every single morning just so long as there was wild roses.
Sadie had curly hair. But her hair wasn't as dark as Grandma's. She had pretty hair, brown hair.
Jon: Tell about Ruby and Harry courting.
Lila: I don't know much about it I guess. It happened so fast. Ha, ha.
Vi: How many years was Amie and Wes courtin' before they got married? She didn't say that long, but you thought it was longer .... [??]
Lila: Theirs was a long courtship.
Vi: And they were old enough to get married when they started.
Amie and Wes courted 10 years before they got married. Ma never approved of long courtships. She always said a year was long enough, and 6 months was better, I guess she said.
Lila: So when Amie and Wes were courtin' Ma used to write notes and give them to Wesley. I don't [know what] she said in them. I never saw one. I'd just love to know. They went together so long. I suppose she thought they was never gonna get married. Heh heh.
Vi: Let's see, how many years is Harry older than Ruby? Five. When I was a girl my mother used to say to me, "Don't ever marry a man that's more than two years older than yourself, because he always knows so much before you were born. Because my father was six years older than Ma. And when he wanted t' tease her he would say, "I knew that before you was born." And so she told me that. So Earl was four years older than I.
Lila: Harry was six years.
Vi: So she wouldn't approve of those things would she. So before I got married Sadie said to me, "Don't wantcha t' marry that boy," cuz he had "dam" in his name. See --
Lila: She didn't approve of swearing. Heh, heh. So we used to make 'devil's' cake when I was young. So Sadie said, "I don't want t' eat that. If you'll make 'angel' cake I'll eat it.
Vi: When Ma and aunt Sadie were little girls Grandpop, he used to come in and he would lie down on the couch. 'N he had whiskers. 'N they'd take hold of his whiskers 'n pull his mouth open 'n put some popcorn in and say, "The mill will chew it up -- grind it up. The mill will grind it up." So then he'd chew the popcorn up. And when he got that chewed they'd open the mill again and put some more in.
Lila: When your grandmother [Carrie] was a little girl, one day she had a brand new dress. In those days you know it took quite awhile to make a dress. So she was pretty proud. So she went along, backed up to her grandfather and she said, "Take this proud lady with a new dress on."
And another time she was out doors, and I think she had a new dress on. It might'a been the same one. And they had had a fire out there and they thought it was out. But see, there was some of the embers still burnin' there, and she went and stomped in it I think.
Vi: No, she was back to it.
Lila: Anyway, she was back to it, and her dress got afire. And her grandfather was up in the lot and he saw her and he started to run toward her. Told her to run toward him. "Run Carrie Run."
Vi: With a big blanket he had.
Lila: And he started toward her and he wrapped that blanket right around her and pulled her dress off, didn't he?
Vi: No, smothered it. But they said that the wind was blowing her dress away from her instead of toward her. The wind was right so it blew the flames that way. And he told her to run so she didn't get burned. But he did. He got his hands burned puttin' it out.
Lila: And that was a new dress wasn't it.
Vi: But they said if it had been cotton she'd have been burned, but it wasn't, it was wool.
And then there used to be a man that went along to sell things, a pack peddler they called them. Carried them on the back, you know. And Ma said she used to be so scared of him, so whenever she saw him she'd run. So one day this pack peddler was along, and her grandfather, he was quite full of fun, and he was somewhere or other in the lot. And he saw him commin' and he kept his eye on Carrie cuz he says he know that the minute she turned around and saw that fellow she would run. So he kep' a watchin' and pretty soon she turned and she went out on a stiff run. And it tickled him.
And he used to farm all day and then he would go in swimmin' every evenin'. He went up to the pond and went in swimmin' and put on clean clothes every evenin'. They said they wore these sorta thin outfits wasn't it they made, you know. Ma says he put on a clean one every day. Wonder if he washed the other one in the pond? And he was great for floatin'. She said he could turn over and float away, you know. He a'ways went up there swimmin'. It's about where Dr. Keller's is now.
Lila: Oh, well one night we looked out we could see the fire commin' up --
Vi: You heard the fire siren first.
Lila: Yea, I guess we heard the fire siren first and we wondered where it was. And we looked out our north bay window toward the church and we could see the blaze commin' right up. Because it was commin' up through that heater in the floor you know, and we could see it through the window. The church was right next door. So the fire engines came and we thought it must be a real bad fire. We could see all this flame goin' up so we got outdoors. Pop came home from the post office cuz he heard the church was afire and he was all ready to get things under control, you know. And so -- but they put it out, so we didn't -- our house --
Vi: Tell what Ruby took down, that's the funny part.
Lila: So Rub', she grabbed up sum'im she was gonna save, and it was her crocheting.
Lila: Yes it was.
Vi: What was the time she took the bouquet down that somebody had given her like she'd been sick?
Lila: She might have taken that too, but she had her crocheting too.
And when Tom's house burned up, what he saved was his mirror. His hand mirror that he brought down. Because he was a'ways great for lookin' in the lookin' glass you know. So that's what he grabbed up. Well they brought Arthur cuz he was a baby, and he was only so many months old. And they had to watch him close. The doctor said he was liable to have smoke poisonin' you know, and they wanta watch 'em.
Vi: He brought him in his arms and Marguerite had to come down bare footed.
Lila: Yea, Marguerite came barefooted in her night gown cuz they woke up. The baby woke 'em up. Otherwise they woulda got burned up. He woke up cryin' and they woke up and found the house all afire.
Vi: And he brought the baby and told them to call the fire company, and he went back for Marguerite.
Lila: Yea, and it was when we had the well and I remember Fred Hawkins standin' there drawin' water out o' the well cuz it was in the winter when --
Lila: I think there was snow on the ground or ice somthin' or other, so that they had to get water from our well to get up there.
Vi: Before we were married there was one of these Gypsy outfits just 't west of red school is now in that grove where by Dickie Toots. And they had a fortune teller there. So Dad [Earl] said to me, "Come on, let's get our fortunes told." I wasn't crazy about gettin' my fortune told but he just wanted t' do it, so I said, "Well all right, you go in first." So he went in and got his fortune told. And he came out, and he wouldn't let me get mine told. And he said, "Oh come on, we don't want to get our fortunes told." And he wouldn't tell me why until after we were married. He said that this fortune teller told so much truth that he didn't want me to get mine told. It seems that he was goin' with me and he was also goin' with a girl. You know how the fortune tellers do, they tell ya any old thing they think of. So he was goin' with a girl up to Patchogue, and he was goin' with me at the same time. And I was light and this girl was dark. So the fortune teller told him that he was goin with two different girls, that one was light and one was dark. And if he wanted the light hared one that he cared the most about he'd better leave the other one alone. He he he. So then he was afraid, I s'pose, that he would tell me somethin' 'bout this dark hared girl and didn't want me to get mine told.
Lila: Well, and he told how many kids you were gonna have too.
Lila: And that was right.
Vi: And he told a whole lot of things.
Lila: Five children.
Vi: But they find it out some way.
Lila: Have you ever had your fortune told?
Lila: Miss Doroughty started to tell mine once, by the hand, but somethin' stopped her short 'bout my life-line. And then she says to me, "Have you ever been real sick?" And I said, "Yes." So she wouldn’t tell it. She was great for tellin', you know, this and any [??] at the time.
Vi: When I was a girl we used to go to Riverhead to shop. And if we went with my father we'd go with a buggy 'n horse. We'd go along real fast, a good gate he had a going horse. When went with my mother we went with a two seated wagon and an old horse. So she would go 'n shop for the kids. And we'd start home and she'd say, "Well, you'll all have to get out now, to save old Joe you'll have to walk up the hill. Joe was the horse, you know. So Leslie, he was in the back seat and he'd bought a book. And she said now get out cuz we have to walk. And they all got out but Leslie. And she says, "Leslie, you must get out." And all the time we were all walking 'long you know. And all the time the horse was goin' up the hill. And she'd say, "Leslie, you must get out." But then they got to the top of the hill and he hadn't got out yet. So --
And I went once and went to a restaurant. And everybody had their hats on. And I was a little girl then. And when I came home, we was gonna eat, and I went upstairs 'n got my Sunday hat 'n put it on. And my father said, "What the dickens you got that hat for?" And I said, "Well, over to Riverhead everybody eats with their hats on."
Endnotes added by Gary Skarka:
I especially liked the story told about my Great Uncle Ken Albin eating the apples. I used to spent a lot of time at his house on North Bay Avenue (upstairs over the two-car garage). He had a barn in the back with an old cow named "Bessie" that he used to milk. One time I walked back to the barn to see him and he pointed one of the cow's udders at me and squirted me with milk! I also remember the time he got a stingray stinger in his foot, right through his boot! His brother (my Great Uncle Buzz Albin) brought him home and he still had the boot on with the stinger stuck through it into his foot! They took him to Dr. Kris who cut it out! I also remember the sign "Tuttle Weavers" on Lulu Seaman's house by East Pond. I remember a lot of the people and things mentioned on that site! What a great trip down memory lane!