Wanda Keefe’s Story [WKS] 2000-001
Wanda Donna Keefe [Wanda Donna Davis-Keefe]
[see also wk0011mr.doc for some background notes on discussion of wanda name etc. tht cam out when this doc was discussed]
In 1956 I decided to visit my family and relatives
We prepared for the trip by buying a new Ford
Station Wagon. We set up the rear of the station Wagon so that games, snacks
etc. were always available. Each child was assigned a task while in motels, way
side stops etc. Preliminary work
completed, we left our Long Island Home on our way to my sister's home in
The Trip to McHenry went well. We drove through
We stopped for the night at a motel close to the Turnpike. All was well with the children. Each was performing the chore assigned. To them. And they entertained each other. The next morning was surprised to see the three oldest boys starting to make their beds. I told them this was not necessary in motel. Too bad I didn't know the magic formula as they seldom made their beds at home. [Ed note: Might add the silly putty - almost chased onto the highway story]
trip on the Ohio Turnpike was made in good time and without incident.
Unfortunately, the Indiana Turnpike was not opened when we went through that
state. It was necessary for ust to go through many small towns while heading to
[Ed note- Uncle Smitty meets us in
We spent time in Mc henry visiting friends and relatives o my sister and brother-in-law Gwen and Leroy Smith. As a fair was being held in town, all the children and their cousins rode the rides, played the games, ate the taffy etc.
My Husband, in the meanwhile had to return to his job. Gwen and her three Children Richie-10, Cindy -8 and Donnie -4 joined us on the last 1,856 miles of he trip. So I, at 35 years of age and Gwen, at 29 years of age left McHenry with nine children ages 7/8 months to 11 years
We started late in the AM from Mc Henry and only
I dropped Gwen and the children off at the hotel and drove around to the parking area. When Gwen registered at the hotel, people were coming into the hotel lobby to attend a formal affair. She was carrying George and the other eight , each carrying a ditty bay , were strung out behind her. She later told me " I felt like 'Ma Kettle'" [ed note Need explanation of Ma Kettle from movie etc.]
She was assigned two rooms. When I went up to the room I found her sitting on a bed surrounded bythe children. She was quite discouraged and worried how we were going to sleep comfortably in two small rooms. We opened the door to the other room and found an extra-large suite with beds galore! We spent an enjoyable night in our home away from home.
· James town 15.00?
Our trip through the remainder of
We passed over the border to
[Editor note: Trailer park? Was the scene of the WK going to clean to community out house for the kids first out house experience]
While with June we did a ton of washing and caught up on the news of the family.
We left Esteran and spent
the next night in
A torrential downpour followed the hailstorm.. We took to the road and proceeded to Tofield. Parts of Tofield were flooded and streets were masses of mud. We pulled up in front of a gas station to ask for directions to Kingman. Two men, wearing hjip boots slogged to the car. We asked if they knew how to get to Dede and Wyman Christenson farm in Kingman. Fortunately they knew Wyman. As it was eleven miles to the farm over a muddy road they said they would show us the way . They hopped into a truck and drove to the farm. I followed them while praying that we did not end up in ditch. The rain was still coming down in torrents and the road was a field of mud.
[Ed notes: Told kids to pray, one later said he fell asleep praying and thought he woke up still praying as we arrived]
At the road leading into the Christenson farm I had a bit of difficulty getting over a hump in the ground. No problem. By the time my parents - Wildy and Stanley Davis - and all the Christensons were aware of our arrival. Wyman drove down the road in the tractor, hooked the car to the tractor and pulled us up into the yard. From then on it was glorious reunion. We had a summer ahead of us for __family gatherings and friends reunion.
The children were fascinated by their newly found
The children had free range of the farm. Wyman built with them huts in the woods and would take some of them while he was handling his chores. They would be clambering about him while he milked cows, fed chickens, attended to the cattle in the fields, watched over the piglets etc. Roaming freely over the farm, the children now and then became quite dirty. It was not an unusual occurrence to have several of them fall into a pig pen or to just be covered with dirt. My sister, mother and I spent many hours daily washing and drying clothes.
Later my brother Fred, wife Riva and the children
drove down from the Northwest Territory to see us. We spent many hours visiting
relatives throughout the providence of
On one trip we visited my Aunt Mable
It brought back memories of going to dance3s with my
parents while bundled up in the cutterbox [a horse
drawn sled?]. I recall going to dances, when I was in high-school in
As we tooled around the Province we saw the towns
that were a part of my growing up. Westlock, Clydashegal??, Vinny,
By late August we had spent time with aunts, uncles and cousins galore. We met school mates, I last saw in 1939, when I told them goodbye as they boarded one of the first Canadian Troop [planes/trains?] headed for Eastern Canada where they boarded ships for Great Britain.
Late August found us leaving for home. After saying
our goodbyes we returned home on the road we traveled on the way out:. Moosejaw,
We have been back to
[ed. Note when the kids arrived on the farm the milk which went more directly from the cows to the table tasted "funny". But when they got back home after two month of the "real thing" they found the NY milk tasted funny and watery. The greatly missed the free reign of the farm, their little self made huts of straw and timber and other experiences of a farm life, which a few months earlier they didn't even know existed]