I, Clifford B. Crosby, will jot down titles of incidents and experiences which happened before I reached 92 years as of year 2009; otherwise born January 29, 1917.
I don’t remember when I was born. I have paper work stating I was born on the day as listed above. Somebody told me I was born on a farm situated on the County Line between Hesperia and Fremont, Michigan. According to the map that area could be in the Northwest section of the State. When I was in early teens, my folks drove to the County Line and visited my Uncle Les – brother of my mother. He had married a Stella and they lived on the opposite side of the Line, about quarter mile from the farm where I was born.
Behind my Uncle’s farm, about a half mile, were twenty-five acres of Pine trees, shrubs and bushes. Evidently, my Dad and his Dad – my grandfather – had bought the parcel when they lived on the County Line. I never did know how and when the deal happened, as I was “growing-up” and didn’t even know about the parcel until my folks mentioned it one time when visiting my Uncle. A couple times Dad cut trees to be used as Christmas trees, but gave up that job as it was sometimes too snowy during certain years to venture into the small forest, because of deep snow.
When I was five years old, the folks and my grand parents, moved to a farm south of Fremont, Michigan. I’m not sure why they moved as I was too young; but somebody told me Dad had taken a job at the Gerber Canning Company in Fremont and that’s why they moved, as it was a shorter distance to drive to Fremont from the new farm than from the County Line. I’m not sure if that was the real reason. From what I recall today, the second farm had better soil than the County Line one. The first farm contained mucky soil, not like the second farm. The folks and Grandpa “share-cropped” the farm with Wolfsons, the neighbors on the other side of the creek which ran past our farm. Their farm house (which could be seen from our house) was about a mile from Crosby. A dirt road was in front of Crosby’s farm with the little creek along side, and a small bridge had been built over the creek, so Wolfsons could drive to their farm which was situated on a small rise in the land.
The Crosby farm consisted of the farm house, a barn, a barn yard, pig pen, a garage for an auto, and a granary, where sacks of grain could be stored. The building also contained some tools which Grandpa and Dad used; like working with harnesses for their two-horse team. There was a vise on a bench that Grandpa used a lot. A window was in the center of the back wall. Next to the granary was a space containing a small building which was never used – for some reason - after the folks arrived. When looking at the building it wasn’t over eight feet tall, and the wooden top had a fitting that looked like an inverted V covering the top. There was a small door in front. It couldn’t have been over three or four feet wide, - but never used. The hen house was next. All the buildings were painted red, except the barn. Why not the barn? I never asked. One of my little sisters said maybe by painting it the cost would have been too much. Maybe, I don’t know.
The folks had a small garden between the hen house, and the dirt road, with a wire fence separating the road from the bushes. Not sure today what was planted, but do remember some great red raspberry plants which my two sisters and me sort of borrowed some of the berries before Mom picked some for jam.
There was a wire fence around the yard containing the house, and other farm buildings. The fence west of the house stretched away back to the end of the Crosby property; the property on the other side of the fence belonged to the people living on the other farm. Our house’s back part faced a dirt road. There was a rear porch with four wooden steps – so it must have had a high porch. From the porch, one using a left door would enter the parlor where a phonograph record player sat upon a stand; there also was a long table and couple chairs. If one went through the door straight ahead, from the porch, one entered the sitting room. The folks’ bedroom was to the left and my bedroom to the right. There was a door to the left which when opened, revealed a long, narrow and tall stairway leading upstairs to the second floor. There were three bedrooms upstairs, with beds and dressers in each one. My two younger sisters used one of them. I remember another unfinished room which the folks used for storage. Dad had said the room could have been used for another bedroom if it was finished off. There were no bathrooms in the house and today I wonder if my sisters, and even me, went to the outside outhouse during a night. Maybe we used a pee pot like a lot of people did those days long ago.
Next to the sitting room, there was the dining room with a long table and six chairs; a buffet where Mom kept silverware and table stuff. A long wooden box hung from the wall to the right and that was the telephone with a Party Line System. Anybody who was hooked up to the Party Line would hear one ring (from the Operator) when she was “ringing” some one’s phone. Time-and-again I stood upon a chair, lifted the receiver with a long cord and listened in whenever the phone rang once; I knew some one was going to talk to some one else. Most times when I listened, and since I was only maybe seven or ten years old, the conversation didn’t make much sense.