Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ruby Cole

Int: Would you tell me how old you are or when you were born?
RC: I was born in 1896.  I’m 92 years old.  I was born a half-mile north of Eight Mile Road and have lived there all my life. 
Int: You said you were born near Eight Mile?  Near what road?
RC: Napier. 
Int: What did your family do around Northville? 
RC: My dad did day (hay?) work and my mother was just a housewife.  Other than that, what else do you want to know? 
Int: Little things, like when you were growing up, what did you like to do? 
RC: We didn’t play with much.  We went to school and we had a school on Eight Mile Road. 
Int: What was the name of the school? 
RC: I don’t know what it is called now but then it was Stone School.  What was the name of that school on Eight Mile Road?  No, it wasn’t Stone. 
Int: How many students were there in school? 
RC: It was up to eighth grade. Oh, maybe no more than fifteen. 
Int: Did you have a man or a woman teacher? 
RC: A woman teacher. 
Int: Did the women teachers board around or did they live there? 
RC: They lived here in Northville.  One was Hazel _______ and the other was Hazel _Farmer?_____ and another was Helen________, Lena Parkins was the kindergarten teacher. She’s been dead for a while now. 
Int: Were there certain subjects that you liked in school? 
RC: I liked spelling and was in spelling contests. 
Int: Was it right there in that school or did you compete with other schools?
 RC: No, just right there. 
Int: That’s quite an honor! 
RC: We’d play ball at recesses.
Int: Is that the school that is still there by Maybury? 
RC: Yes. We had a lot of neighbors. 
Int: Think back to those days to what you enjoyed doing or what your neighbors did. 
RC: Well, we played horse shoes, we played baseball.  We had to make our own programs.  There were so few people, they were so far away.  One girlfriend I played with, she lived a half-mile away.  We went to school together.  Other than that, I don’t remember.  When there was a big snow bank, we would cut across the fields to go to school.  Of course, my mother, she died when I was eight years old.  My dad kept us kids all together until he passed away. 
Int: Did you have to help out with the family? 
RC: Oh yes.  We did our own cooking, we didn’t hire anyone for that.  The neighbors would help shovel out the road when the big snowbank would come.  I know when my dad died, the snowbanks were seven feet tall.  The drifts were above the road. 
Int: Did you come into Northville to do your shopping? 
RC: Once in a while during the holidays or the 4th of July we would go to Plymouth for the doings; they didn’t have anything here.  We’d go to Plymouth. 
Int: What kind of doings? 
RC: They had races for boys and girls.  They had baseball.  They had horse shoes for men.  That was just about it.  There was a crowd.  It wasn’t very big, but now you can’t get through anymore. 
Int: Would you drive over there? 
RC: Yes, with a horse and buggy.  We had to take care of the garden.  We had forty acres.  We had to take care of the garden. 
Int: Did you can?  How did you take care of the meat or some of the things like that?
 RC: Meat, oh we butchered pigs, one in spring and one in fall.  We would salt it down in a big barrel.  We would smoke the hams, and if you wanted a piece of salt pork and you thought it was too salty, you would soak it in cold water all night.  We would cure pickles, we would put them down in the brine and put a heavy plate on top of them and squish them down.  We did that the same way. When you want to make a batch, we would soak them overnight and get the salt out of them.  They didn’t last very long..all those kids, we just loved the pickles. 
Int: Did you try doing it afterwards too?  With that same recipe? 
RC: Yes, I still do it.  We made our own bread.  We cooked nine loaves twice a week.  We had hungry kids you know... 
Int: Did you learn to do that then?
 RC: My father and I would do all the baking.  We baked the bread and took turns. One would skip school one day, then the next one… We cooked dinner on a wood stove.  It’s more fun than it is today. 
Int: Sounds like you had a lot of responsibility. 
RC: You didn’t notice it them days. It was routine, something you had to do every day.  Dig the potatoes, put them down the bin in the basement. We had peach tea.  We would can tomatoes. We would can sixty or seventy quarts. 
Int: Did you have your own chickens, too? 
RC: Oh yes.  We had chickens.  We raised our own popcorn. Sunday we’d have two chickens cooked and at night for a snack, we’d pop corn. 
Int: Then you met Mr. Cole? 
RC: I met him when we lived out Napier Road.  Our house burned down, and then we rented down the road about a quarter of a mile where Russell lived.  We lived there for quite a few years.  My dad passed away and my brother went into the service.  When he passed away the boys lived on 10 Mile Road and worked for Mr. Timmons.  I met Mr. Cole.  He lived a mile from there.  We got married and moved from 10 Mile Road to a forty acre farm.  We moved to Wing Street and we lived there for a few years till we bought this place here and have lived here ever since. 
Int: How many years have you been in this house? 
RC: I think 43.  My son was eight years old when we moved here. 
Int: You’ve seen a lot of changes in Northville, haven’t you? 
RC: I don’t get out very much but when I do…if I shut my eyes for a few minutes and look up I don’t know where I am.  Coming down Eight Mile to Northville, turn on Randolph down into Northville, that is as far as we got. 
Int: What are some of the businesses or things that you remember many years ago that impressed you or things you liked?
 RC: We used to make butter and sell it.  We had a cow.  We had enough for me to go around to customers.  Picking apples.  Young fellas would come home from school and help farmers pick apples.  ….a hardware store and my brother had a plumbing store down there on the corner.  They tore the building down now.  There’s two of us left.  My brother lives in Newberry and is four years younger than I.  He had a stroke and he don’t feel too good... 
Int: Is it the Cole family or the Light family?
 RC: The Light family ……we had it one year.  We had a picnic area and a treed area and they cut them all down now. 
Int: You’ve seen the track change?  (Northville Downs) 
RC: Oh yes.  I have just since my husband passed away.  He passed away in 1971.  He couldn’t walk that far, he had a lot of things wrong with him.  I used to go down there because he liked to bet.  I think I went just once to two races. 
Int: You like horses then? 
RC: Oh yes.  A lot of people don’t like the noise, but I think it’s not too bad.  Some of the old people who used to park here when we parked cards used to stop in and say hello. 
Int: Were they still having fairs here when you lived here?
 RC: Oh yes, we came from the farm to the fair and entered all kinds of vegetables, wheat and oats.  All kinds of vegetables. I would bake. I used to make cakes, spice cake, and take that over. And I’d get first place. For the filling I had a ???? to it ….. I used to mash it all up and put sugar in it. 
Int: Sounds like you are a good cook. 
RC: She don’t bake so much anymore because here husband isn’t so well. She was a caterer and cooked for other people. 
Int: Did you come in and spend the whole day at the fair or just for a little while.  Tell me about that. 
RC: We would be going for most of the day, but as a rule, …………but we’d stay till 8:00 or 9:00 at night, take in some of the shows, play bingo, and things like that. 
Int: What kind of shows? 
RC: They’d have horse racing.  A fancy horse show, they were really a lot of fun.  It was ten cents in those days and now its $2.00 to park. 
Int: You belong to the Methodist Church.  Have you been a member for a long time? 
RC: Since I moved into town.  First when I went to school we would walk down and go to the Presbyterian Church and then ……….the Methodist Church.  Then when I lived with relatives I went to the Methodist Church. 
Int: You also belong to the American Legion.  Tell me about that. 
RC: They had a party for me for 50 years about six years ago. 
Int: Had your husband been in the service?  It was your brother wasn’t it? 
RC: He lived up on ... 
Int: In the winter time when you were a child, what did you do for enjoyment in your spare time? 
RC: Slide downhill.  We made our own sleds.  We would get some steel runners and heat them and bend them.  There was a hill across Napier.  I think that’s all bulldozed down now with houses down through there.  We had baseball and school picnics... 
Int: Did you have a picnic on the last day of school? 
RC: Oh yes.  My niece was a teacher.  She taught here and she took us to Boblo.  I don’t think that boat runs anymore.  My brother (the ones who’s alive) would climb up on the edge of it, and we had to keep pulling him off so he wouldn’t fall over. 
Int: How did you get down to the river?
 RC: We had a ……………..and you could sit in it. 
Int: I was thinking maybe you had taken the interurban downtown.
 RC: No, that was later.  If we wanted to go to Detroit, we had to take the streetcar. 
Int: You’ve seen a lot of things in your years.  Can you remember when you saw your first airplane?
Oh yes.  I had a ride in it.  On Six Mile road, Stinson, would give people free rides.  We went as far as where the Ford plant is and then circle back.  Three at a time, ………….. thought he was steering it right, but he hit a tree and broke a leg, and we took him to the doctor.
We had four couples who would have card parties, once a month. 

Int: What kind of cards did you play? 
RC: We played 5 hearts, pinochle, and euchre.  I never played pinochle until my son who lives up north…We’d go over there one night a week and we played euchre and they’d make me go. 
Int: You had one child?

Int: Let’s talk about the opera house. 
RC: That was years and years ago…roller rink…….they came over here next to the theatre.  Mostly on Saturday nights we would go. 
Int: What kind of programs would they have? 
RC: Silent movies and reading of it. 
Int: Did anybody play the piano for music with the silent movie?
 RC: Seems like they did.  The beginning of it.  The music was going when you first came in.  The flower shop is there now.  The theatre was above it.  There was a butcher shop.  There was a livery stable to leave your horse, and ………on West Main. 
Int: On Cady? On Center, I mean?
RC: That was all forest there.  They cut down all the trees along the road.  I hate to see it because of the birds, and squirrels had nuts in there.  I used to feed them and they used to fight each other.  I used to watch them from my desk.  They used to dig holes and make a nest. It really is funny to see how they remember where to go all of the time. 

Int: Did you come into Northville to go to high school? 
RC: No.  I went to the eighth grade. 
Int: This has been interesting, and I thank you.

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