SEGMENT: FAMILY BACKGROUND, CHILDHOOD ACTIVITIES, & CHICKENS

Dr. Debra Reid>ISM Interviews M-Z>ISM Interviews M-Z, Segment 4

SEGMENT: FAMILY BACKGROUND, CHILDHOOD ACTIVITIES, & CHICKENS,

duration 13:44

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Names, Dates, & Places
FAMILY BACKGROUND
Born July 2, 1960 in Chester, IL. Parents had bought the farm in 1954, was a half mile from Grandfather Reid's farm, which was purchased in the 1850s. Mother's family was around ten miles away. Father was one of six children, his father was born in 1876. Recalls most of her aunts and uncles were the age of most people's grandparents. Mother's family was Polish Catholic with very large families. When her Catholic mother married her Protestant father, there wasn't much exchanged between the two families. Grandfather Harry Reid died in the late 1960s. Blind from glaucoma. Had grown up in the St. Louis area. Musician, farmer, jack of all trades. "Reverse migration." Played "potato bug" bow-backed mandolin, coronet, drums. Supposedly learned from East St. Louis area jazz musicians. Felt very comfortable around him. Remembers Grandmother Reid teaching her handicrafts. Elizabeth Novak-Sermon lived with Debra's family until she had a stroke. She was very strict, had old-world tendencies (suck fish heads for nutrients). Had been born in the US. John Derose Reid came from Birmingham, England. Was naturalized in Philadelphia in the 1820s. Married in St. Louis to a KY woman. Moved to Rockwood, IL, near the Mississippi River. Had eight sons. Drowned in the Mississippi. The property is under the name of Tursa Ellen in the late 19th century. Father was born in 1917. Mother's family came from Poland to Poland Station, or Palestine Precinct, IL. Had large German Catholic and French Catholic community, natural place for a Polish Catholic family to go. Mother's grandfather came in 1860s or 1870s, married a Polish woman who already had a farm and children.
CHILDHOOD ACTIVITIES
Modern farm with running water and electricity. Shoveled manure from hogs. Canning vegetables, potatoes, green beans. Candled eggs through the week and took them to Chester on Fridays to sell. Would go to Wittenbrink's Tavern after going to town, for hamburgers and beer.
CHICKENS
Would take 40 chickens to a feed mill where a black miller would kill them, then taken back to the farm. Cleaned the chickens. Chicken and dumplings was difficult to eat after the process of cleaning them. Favorite chore was haying. Least favorite was chicken cleaning. When egg laying chickens stopped laying eggs, they were killed and eaten. A local man made baskets they would carry the eggs in. An aluminum scale would weigh the eggs and determine their grade. Candling was checking to see if the egg was fertilized. Eggs fertilized and unfertilized were sold.