Pat Greer Remebers her Mother, Hiedi

Prescott - Mt Vernon Street - 1942(?)

We moved to Prescott in 42 or 43 - and rented a home on Mt. Vernon Street. It was a much bigger house than the one in Holbrook - and was almost scary because it was one story in front and two stories in back. Built on a hillside……….pretty strange.

We went to school at Washington School. I think it was about 6 blocks down Mt. Vernon and then west a block. Many memories of walking to and from school come to mind. Smelling the roses at the old house with the white picket fence, my first girlfriend (Cynthia Gardner) walking part way with me, stealing crabapples and throwing them at anything around, playing hop-scotch most of the way,

Several things stand out about the school. I was in Second grade. I could not write at all. All the other girls had beautiful round letters, mine were horrid. But, I was allowed to go to the library after a short while and was in the “Blue” reading group. Getting to go to the library and take books home was a huge treat for me. I also remember having to wear long, brown stockings in the winter time. This was before little girls wore long pants, and it was thought that we had to have long stockings to keep our legs warm. Oh, how I hated them. They were down around my knees before I ever got to school and I spent all day tugging and pulling them up. Ugh!. Mama and our 2nd Grade teacher somehow became friends. She was a young beautiful girl and thought mama was very special.

There was a small house next door to us. For a little while an old lady lived there. She was a very small lady, and she seemed to enjoy talking with us girls. One day she showed us a whale bone corset that she used to wear. I was in the second grade. I could not get it around my waist. How small she must have been!!

One of the strongest memories I have of Mt Vernon street was the fire. Mom was doing 3 or 4 things at once (as usual). I know she was ironing, making jelly and feeding us kids lunch. She had paraffin melting on the stove to seal the jars of jelly. As she was getting our lunch, she forgot the paraffin and all of a sudden it was on fire. She grabbed the pan, turned to take it to the sink and caught a bunch of ironed clothes that were hanging nearby on fire. I’m not sure what happened to the pan, but she grabbed the flaming clothes and threw them out the back door. Some of the hangers caught on the clothesline under the back porch and others fell on the ground. She then rushed down the stairs and put out the fires. Then she came back up and shushed us - we were all very helpful - sat at the table and screamed. Then she realized that her hand was badly burned. She called dad and he came home and took her to the doctor. It turned out to be a bad burn and I remember her being in a lot of pain for a rather long time. I also remember that I learned to do dishes during this time, as she couldn’t put the hand in water.

War was declared while we were living on Mt. Vernon, One of the things that civilians could do to help was to have a victory garden. Ours was in the back yard near the back fence. I thought it was pretty darn good and a lot of fun. There were also shortages of things. One of the worst was elastic. We wore panties for a long time, and the elastic wore out. Mama used to put a new string of elastic in them, but couldn’t get it and safety pins were miserable. I remember standing in line at the little store by the Elks theater to buy chewing gum. The grocer at Piggly Wiggly used to save the paper that oranges and other fruit was wrapped in for us to use as toilet paper. Mama used to trade ration stamps with the Mormon women. She didn’t use all the sugar stamps, and they traded their coffee stamps. I remember a couple of times when we had black outs. It was a big adventure for us. We would go outside and look off toward town to see if we could see any lights.
Mama and Daddy occasionally dressed up and went out. I’m not sure where they went, but Mama had a beautiful burgundy satin long dress. She wore it with rhinestone necklace and earrings. I thought she was about the most beautiful woman in the whole world.

We sometimes attended the Congregational Church. I don’t remember much about church services, but we had Sunday school in the basement of the building. I remember an old man - I think he was Moses Hazeltine - who lead us in singing. I loved “The Old Rugged Cross” and “Rock of Ages”. I couldn’t sing, and was aware of it very early. He used to tell me to close my eyes and sing anyway, that way, no one would know who was singing. I believed him, and it was the only time in my life I ever enjoyed singing. We also had Camp Fire Girl meetings in the basement of the church. I think they played a large part in the person I became. I loved Camp Fire - all of it - the meetings, the ceremony, the nature lessons……….