Memories of Mineral

Downtown Mineral, Late 1940s mineral1940sphotodav.jpg
Submitted by Roger Moore (Class of 1955)

From Roger Moore, MHS Class of 1955, regarding the Main Street photo from above, taken in the late 1940s:

“Eddie Morey is the 3rd. boy from the right.

My cousin Phyllis Windy is the first girl on the left, Shirley Brate is next to her, Joyce Carrington is 3rd from the left, my cousin Donna Rakestraw is the 4th from the left, Phyllis Rakestraw is 5th from the left. The rest have no names on the back of the picture.”

Main Street, Mineral, Circa Very Early 1900s mineraldowntownmainstreetearly1900sdav.jpg
Submitted by Roger Moore
Downtown View of Mineral From the West mineraldowntownmainstreetwestviewearly1900sdav.jpg
Courtesy of Roger Moore

Memories of Mineral Days Gone By

From Virginia Verdun Romero (MHS Class of 1942) sent to us December 10, 2012:

“Having just recently seen my 86th birthday, I thank God that I still can recall such scenes as being in my front yard on a summer evening, chasing ‘lightening bugs’, putting them in an empty jelly jar and calling it a pretend flash light.  I can still see the elm tree in our front yard, and the ‘hog wire’ fence that encircled that entire half block; two streets, an alley and the gravel road to the rear.  I remember the garden that was always planted in a space between the house and the garage, the ‘early’ garden, and the larger one far to the rear of the house ‘yard’.  Both spaces spaded by hand, one shovel full of that great Illinois black loam turned at a time, then hoed and raked smooth to make a snug nesting space for vegetable seeds and ‘seed’ potatoes.  What bounty came to our table from those gardens, and what wasn’t used when freshly picked went into Mason jars to reside on shelves in the cellar for our consumption throughout the winter months.  Well not everything went into glass jars.  There were two huge ‘bins’, one for potatoes and one for carrots, both of which became pretty shriveled looking by the time Spring rolled around!  I remember the two patches of wild asparagus that grew near the back of our property, and of taking a pan and a paring knife to cut the spears and carry them back to the kitchen – a tastey addition to the supper table.  I remember my ‘play house’, which was under a huge grape arbor.  My dad put up a ‘log wall’ on front side and used some old boards for the back side, even adding an old screen door, and making a pretend stove with grates from an old kerosene stove mounted on a wooden box.  I made mud pies, which of course were ‘baked’ in my pretend oven.  I thought my ‘living room’ was quite elegantly furnished with an old sagging couch and a rocking chair – without the rockers.  The only flaw was a grape vine roof wasn’t very rain proof, still it brought hours of happiness to my life, and I might add being the only girl in town with a playhouse, I was rather envied by a couple of neighbor girls.  Now that old cellar also was the place where dad made his annual batch of wine!  The grapes from my playhouse ‘roof’ were harvested, washed and put into a huge crockery container to ferment.  During that time the ‘crock’ was covered with cheese cloth to keep it free from gnats that swarmed in the cellar.  Nasty little buggers which made going to the cellar an unwelcome chore.  The finished product was worth all the trouble, as the addition of fruit juices and fresh oranges, that wine turned into one of the best port varieties you ever wanted to pass over your tonsils!

Turning my thoughts to school, I still remember the parade of teachers, 1st through 8th grades.  Mayme Bolin, Ezma Stone, Edna Barthelman and Steve Bender.  Hi school gets a little ‘blurry’ with the coming and going of a number of one year teachers, this probably having something to do with lower pay for tiny schools, plus the coming of the war taking a couple to military duty.  On the other hand, who could ever forget Oliver Jochum, the coach who took our basketball squad to new heights?  I have to chuckle at the recall of his being required to teach English classes in addition to his coaching duties — and — of having to bone up the night before to keep ahead of the daily class lessons!  I suppose he was rather surprised to find he had to teach classes in addition to his coaching duties!  ..  I was never one of the most popular girls in school.  That was left to the ‘perky’ girls, or those who considered themselves above some of us.  I may have mentioned before that being a Belgian Catholic was not an advantage back in my day.  I guess we were considered by the town ‘elite’ to be a cut below.  Could that have been because the Belgians had a reputation for enjoying the fruit of the hops plant??

It’s all ‘old history’ now, but I cannot deny being deeply hurt at times by being made to feel I was inferior!