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Anna And Rosie: 5 - Anna And Rosie

Two sisters, Anna and Rosie, bring a vivid sense of what life was like in early 20th Century America in a series of letters to relatives.

One of their descendents, Jean Day gives us a snapshot of what America was like a hundred years ago.

Christmas 1906

Dear Aunt Anna,

Moma and Pa send their best Christmas greetings to you and Uncle Lorenz.

You will be surprised to see that I am writing this from Jamestown. We have moved here for awhile because Moma wants us kids to go to Catholic school. We rented the farm to Con Weaver.

Pa didn’t want to come and he doesn’t have a job, so he sits around at home all the time, and gets in the way.

Aunt Julia asked Moma, “What’s John going to do when you move into town? He’s a young fellow and you can’t put him out to pasture.”

Moma said, “I am not worried about him. I’ll have the rocking chair handy.” But if she thought Pa was going to sit and rock kids in it, she had another think coming. Moma said Pa couldn’t buy a car until us older kids got our education.

My Grandma died in August this year. She had breast cancer. Aunt Julia and Uncle Albert will stay on the farm to help. Apparently Grampa does nothing but sit around and drink.

Do you know what I remember most about Grandma? She used to comb our long straight hair by wetting it and then put it into four tight braids – two in front and two in back. As soon as we were out of the house we undid the braids because they were so painful. Alec and Andrew said that we had better shut our eyes before the braids went in, or else afterwards we wouldn’t be able to.

Moma felt bad she couldn’t go to her own mother’s funeral, but she was busy at the time and we have another new sister now. She is called Gertrude, which is not a name I would have chosen. I wonder if we will call her Gertie or Trudie. But at least we have another girl in the family now.

Anna is a very good little help to me. She is learning how to break the beans and shell the peas and shock the corn. And she loves to help me make bread. She is very quiet but very sweet.

Love,

Rosie

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