Bernice Moore Oral History

Liberty Center, Ohio 43532

SR - Additional comments from Susie Crawford Rudolph.

Interviewed and transcribed by Marlene Patterson, March 8, 2011

MP: We are sitting in the living room in the home of Bernice Moore here in Liberty Center, Ohio. Can you give me your name Bernice.

BM: Yes I can. I am Bernice Moore. I used to be Bernice Kessler. I am James & Sadie Kessler’s daughter. I married Glen Moore in 1942. We were married in July of 1942. We were married 64 years when he passed away.

MP: That’s great. Where were you born Bernice?

BM: South of Colton. At that time it was the McGiffen place, and now Delores Atkinson lives there. Ronald Atkinson was her husband. He has passed on too. You go down to the corner in Colton beyond 4A and after you pass that corner it is the first house on the right hand side of the road. The old house isn’t there anymore because it got hit by lightening.

MP: Did it burn down?

BM: Yes it did.

MP: What school did you attend?

BM: I went to Colton School for six years until they closed it up and then I went to Liberty Center to go to school. I have two pictures in here. These are the two of my school pictures. This picture is of the last year students were there.

MP: Do you have all of those people identified?

BM: I have some of the names on the back of the picture.

MP: You know you should take them to the Northwest Signal to Jim Rebar and have the pictures published.

BM: I went to the Liberty Center School the start of my seventh grade and this is my seventh grade picture. I have some of them named and I will have to find out who the rest of them are.

MP: This is great - seventh grade 1936 to 1937.

BM: This was the first year I attended Liberty Center schools.

MP: Now who was your teacher.

BM: Do you mean in this class or my first grade?

MP: The smaller picture.

BM: Carmen Dean was in this one and Don Woody was in the other one.

MP: Now is that spelled Woody?

BM: He was originally from Delta and he taught Liberty Center too. Carmen Dean I had her three years in Colton, and then I had Gertrude Hepner and then I had Don Woody. I went to Colton my first six years and then I went to Liberty Center.

MP: Did you graduate from Liberty Center?

BM: Yes I did in 1942.

MP: How many people were in your class. Was it like twenty or so?

BM: Do you mean in the Colton school?

MP: Yes.

BM: We didn’t have very many, but in Liberty that was one of the largest classes to graduate. There were forty students.

MP: That would have been quite a few. Now when you went to grade school they didn’t have a cafeteria, am I correct.

BM: We carried our lunch. When we lived down by Colton I walked to school with Susie’s dad and my brother who was killed in France. I have a sister that went there for one year. We would take hold of her hand and run as fast as we could. I would be dragging along behind.

MP: You had to walk whether it was ice and snow or a downpour of rain. What did you usually take along for lunch? You would have to make sure it didn’t spoil for you.

BM: We would have jelly sandwiches. We couldn’t afford meat unless we had just butchered. You couldn’t afford to buy the meat.

MP: People didn’t have money years ago.

BM: You are right. People didn’t have money. There were eight of us kids.

MP: You know what I liked was a cold fried egg sandwich. To me that was a treat. Well they weren’t cold they were just not hot.

BM: I liked them too. We liked baloney. That was our treat.

MP: Bologna is good. Did anybody ever take you to school with a horse and buggy?

BM: No, but in the summer time I stayed with my Grandma Whitmire. They lived out on a farm and she would take the horse and buggy and we would go over to Rakers’s store.

MP: How do you spell the name of that store?

BM: It is R a k e r. It was called Raker. That is where we went and Grandma lived on Road V. It was west of Shiloh Church.

MP: Can you name any of your classmates that you still keep in touch with.

BM: I can Estella Miller. She was Estella Moore. She lives right next door to here. She was Glen’s cousin. Her and I were friends in school. Her and Lloyd ran around together with Glen and I. They are both in the Home now.

MP: They lived right next door to you here.

BM: Susie’s aunt, on her mothers side, Betty Barlow, her and I were good friends too.

MP: Talking about the Barlow family, did you know Ada Barlow?

BM: Yes, that is Susie’s Great Aunt.

MP: I was five and a half years old when my father married Ada.

BM: She worked at Sam’s in Delta, Ohio.

MP: I think my dad would bring us five kids, well maybe just the girls, and he would buy clothes for us there. That is how they met.

BM: Yes people would go over there to Delta, Ohio at Sam Gehring’s just to buy clothes.

MP: I am still amazed that a woman would marry a man with five children and one of her own and still remain sane.

BM: He was a very nice and a quiet man.

MP: Well we are all quiet.

SR: Ada was always my moms favorite aunt. My mom always talked about her.

BM: It was probably because they were so close in age.

MP: She was a wonderful woman.

SR: My grampa, who was Ada’s brother John, was only in the third grade when he quit school. His older brother Irvin had died so my grampa only had a third grade education. John’s dad had five children when he died.

MP: He still made it and got along in life too.

SR: Every one of his kids had a high school education and received a diploma. Now my oldest sister, we called her Sis, she didn’t graduate. She got scarlet fever in school. At that time you didn’t dare go anywhere or do anything. I was the only one of the bunch that didn’t get it. Dr. George said he thought it was because I had my tonsils out. We got four weeks behind and you weren’t allowed to send the papers from the house or get homework from the school

MP: because they thought the papers would have been contaminated with scarlet fever germs. I had scarlet fever also when I was about ten years old. My mother had to take Lysol water and scrub down the walls, and wash everything, including our stuffed toys. I think she burned a lot of things too.

BM: My mother did too. At that time it wasn’t very easy to do the washing. She would get out her pans and heat the water. She would get out her old washboard. When the water was hot enough she would have to carry the hot water to the washer and scrub. She had eight children.

MP: We are all very spoiled nowadays.

BM: Just think how hard my mom had to work at that time.

MP: Don’t you suppose the older children would have helped hang the clothes on the lines to dry?

BM: Oh yes. They all did.

MP: They would have had to. Us kids worked and helped around the house - maybe not a real good job - but we helped. We worked out in the garden.

BM: We would work out in the garden. We helped plant potatoes.

MP: So did we. We had to take a little tin can full of kerosene or gasoline and go out in the garden and knock the potato beetles off the plants and drop them in the can.

BM: So did we. We had to put something on the vines so they would stay off the vines.

MP: Would it have been sulphur powder?

BM: I was thinking more of a powder. I was reading about that in a magazine. We had to put it in a sifter. We had to do it while the plant was damp so the powder would stick. We did that a long long time ago. My brother had rabbits and I hated them. My brothers had scarlet fever so they couldn’t do it but I went out and picked dandelions.

MP: You were probably one tough cookie since you didn’t get the scarlet fever. You still appear to be very very healthy.

BM: Well I am clumsy.

MP: I keep dropping things. I pick up something and I drop it and it falls on the floor. I think that goes with age.

BM: I have fallen several times and that has really set me back.

MP: Just so you don’t break an arm or a leg or break your hip.

BM: When I fell that time back in February of ‘79 that really set me back.

MP: Were you able to contact somebody right away?

BM: I was able to then but I couldn’t now. I did fall in the kitchen two weeks ago.

SR: You can contact somebody nowadays right away because you have Life Line.

BM: I have that on twenty-four hours a day. When I first got it I didn’t know you could shower with it on.

MP: I didn’t think you could get those units wet.

BM: They told me after I fell not to ever take it off.

MP: You would think it would get wet and get ruined.

BM: That is what it is for. I heard of a man that layed in his shower overnight.

MP: That is wonderful that you can get the unit wet. I had never heard that before. I know when my dad had one he would sit in his chair and bump it. Of course you don’t know when you bump it and set it off. The hospital would call and we’d run out to check on him. It was a good thing to have Life Alert.

BM: If mine goes off the hospital will call and ask me if I was okay. I would say yes I accidently bumped it. It made me feel like two cents.

MP: Bernice I don’t think you should feel that way. It is so easy to bump things.

BM: I think they expect that to happen.

MP: I think they do too.

BM: They have called me at different times and wanted to know if I had bumped it.

MP: Can you tell me some of the games you played when you were young.

BM: Outside we would play Andy I Over, Baseball, and Tag, That’s about all we played outside. We would play Hide the Thimble. We didn’t have many games.

MP: Most people didn’t. What they did have they made the games themselves.

BM: We played Hide the Thimble a lot.

MP: Did you play Hide the Button?

BM: Yes

MP: We played that too.

BM: I know down at the Colton School we played Andy I Over the schoolhouse. We would play Tag. We would play anything we could think of. We had a good time though.

MP: We played outside too in Freedom Township.

BM: We had an outhouse at school.

MP: We did too. I can’t remember if it was a two-holer or a three-holer. I know there was one smaller one for the little kids.

BM: I think we had a two-hole one. The girls had one and the boys had one.

MP: I think ours was one big one for boys and girls. I don’t know it has been so long ago. Okay that is enough of that let’s talk about how you learned to drive a car.

BM: When Glen went into the service he had a Model A Ford and I didn’t learn how to drive it until he got home. We was down to his dad’s one time doing something - I was getting dinner We went someplace and I drove. I didn’t have to turn the car around. That is how I learned to drive.

MP: So you started on a Model A Ford. That is something. Talking about your husband. What service was he in?

BM: He was in the Air Force. It was not the fighter planes and he was not taking care of the planes. He was in chemical warfare.

MP: So this would be World War II.

BM: After the war he and I used to go to Texas for the winter. We were going one time to Washington and we stopped at a Motel and he said that we were not going to stay here. He told me there were drugs in there. He could smell that. So we didn’t stay.

MP: It was probably marijuana or something like that.

BM: I wondered why he said at first that we weren’t staying there.

MP: It must have been pretty bad if he could smell it.

BM: Yes, and he was in that chemical warfare. They had all of that in the service. He wasn’t over in France or Belgium, but he was in England and they had bombing there too. I lost a brother in World War II.

MP: How did that happen?

BM: He was in France.

MP: Was it the Battle of the Bulge?

BM: It was right after that. He was in the Infantry.

MP: That was such a sad war.

SR: My dad, Bernice’s brother was in Belgium. I think about that so much, how my Grandma had two sons and two son-in-laws in service at the same time. She had a nephew and he was killed about the same time her son was. I don’t know how they coped with it.

MP: I remember when people would hang these flags in their window to show they had a family member in the service.

SR: You would have a gold star if you had lost a son in service.

MP: How did you meet your husband?

BM: We were in school together.

MP: Had he been a friend all this time.

BM: He had a double cousin Estella and she and I were friends and that helped too. Then Marion, my brother that got killed had a car that had a rumble seat. There were free shows around town on that night and he would take us to the shows.

MP: Did he take you in the car?

BM: Oh yes. It was Estella and Helen, she was Helen (Barlow) Donnelly then. Betty and I would ride in the rumble seat. We thought we had it really made.

MP: Actually you probably did.

BM: We would even tell them where to take us.

MP: How many children did you have?

BM: I have three daughters.

MP: Can you name them all?

BM: Caroline Slee, Cynthia Lambert, and Christine Veigel and I have seven
grandchildren. Cynthia has Bill and Robyn. She has two that were adopted and you would never know it. They are wonderful. Now Bill has a step-daughter I miss seeing these great grandchildren. I have two in Cleveland and one down in Columbus, and one in Fort Wayne.

MP: Children get spread so far away nowadays. They have to go where the jobs are. Did you ever have any what you would call an outside job?

BM: I worked at Gould.

MP: Not when your children were small.

BM: Christine, the youngest one was in the third grade when I started. We needed a new refrigerator and needed money when I went to work. I stayed there for thirty-one years. Of course now the plant is called Tenneco.

MP: Right. The factory is still going strong from what I hear - which is good.

BM: Our retirement group meets yearly . The sheriff’s aunt who was a Nye, she lived out in the country and I lived in Colton. Sally Elling and worked with her for a long time. She lives over here in the big trailer court. Her and I have been together for years.

MP: I noticed the trailer court over there.

BM: That is the big one.

MP: I can’t say that this trailer court is a small one.

BM: No there is another street over there.

MP: You mean in back of you?

BM: Yes.

MP: Of course you grew up on a farm. Did you have to help with the chores?

BM: My job was to feed the chickens and the geese. See I had a lot of brothers older than me. I never had to milk

MP: Because the boys did it. I’d say you were lucky.

BM: I had to feed the chickens and the geese.

MP: I had to feed the chickens before I went to school. My dad had these big wood barrels with a lid on them. I would always pick up the lid and a mouse would jump out. I would usually let out a scream. After a while you learned to pick up the lid and not look down in the barrel. You would lift up the lid and wait till that mouse jumped out.

BM: Those chickens probably went on a diet. They don’t like mice.

MP: I don’t either.

BM: Those geese will get behind you and jump up on your back.

MP: Geese can be so mean. People say that geese are better watchdogs than dogs.

BM: Guineas are good watchdogs too.

MP: Didn’t your uncle raise guineas Russell?

RP: No he had banty roosters.

BM: A lot of these kids don’t know what life was like years ago.

MP: Did your husband always work on the farm?

BM: His last job was working at Campbell’s Soup. He was working at the Rossford Ordinance when they closed it down. He worked there till it closed up. My sister and her husband went out to Illinois with Rossford Ordinance and my sister Grace is still out there. Susie and my one daughter Cynthia all went out and she didn’t know they were coming. When they got there to visit she just screamed and screamed. She was so happy to see us. We stopped and the girls got her a bouquet of flowers. They got my walker out and my oxygen, and the flowers and I went to the door. I said is this the Lavon residence and I said is Grace here and she said yes she is. She turned around and said Grandma some lady is here and she has a bouquet of flowers for you. She said who is it and she said I don’t know. Grace said later that it sounded like my voice but she thought it can’t be. When she saw us come in the door she just screamed - just at that time Susie’s telephone rang and it was her son and he wanted to know what all that screaming was about. I kept telling everybody that they will hear her scream all the way back to Ohio.

SR: We went because I had gotten my Uncle’s diploma. He was in World War II. We went to visit her without my Aunt knowing it. We took the diploma along to give it to her. She didn’t know about the diploma.

BM: Her birthday had been on that Sunday. We went to church at her daughters church. All of us went. Someone had heard that the children and grandchildren were there too. That church used to have 800 people and now they are down to 600.

MP: That is only 200 people less. A lot of times people move out of the area.

MP: What church do you go to?

BM: The Colton Methodist Church.

MP: The Napoleon Methodist Church, what did they split for Russell?

RP: They didn’t really split - I think they combined with the Evangelical. Then they had separate churches. I think the younger people aren’t coming to church like they used to.

BM: I don’t think they are either.

RP: Churches are having problems.

BM: Susie’s sister Sherrie will come up and get me or Pat Strock will. I think they have a son that teaches in Napoleon.

MP: Yes they do - Troy.

BM: My dad is a first cousin to Pat, and one of them will pick me up. They come up on the porch and help me and everything.

MP: That is the Christian thing to do.

BM: Arla Fry she is my youngest brother Harold’s daughter. She brings me reading material and keeps me well supplied.

MP: She probably picks out something she thinks you might enjoy reading.

BM: I will call her and she will say okay I will stop by. If I don’t care for them I will read them anyway. She has spent all that time picking them out for me. I read everything she brings me. I have read over a thousand books.

MP: What type of books do you enjoy? Do you enjoy mysteries?

BM: I do some.

SR: I like the Karen Kingsbury.

BM: I like the Brawnstetter books. I like her. I like Grace Livingstone. I write down the names of the books I read.

MP: That is a good idea. I was just given an audio book.

BM: I like those.

MP: I do too. You can just sit and relax and let someone read a book to you.

SR: I listen to the audio books in the car while I am driving.

BM: Or if you fly somewhere. I have read 39 of her books.

MP: Do you enjoy John Grishom?

BM: I am not sure. I would have to go through my list. Of course they keep track of them at the library for me. Of course my cousin George has read over 5,000 books.

MP: I have trouble like if I start a book I can’t do anything until I finish it. I don’t know why but I just can’t put a book down. I get so interested in it, and I don’t like to stop reading and fix a meal. If it’s in the evening I like to keep on reading into the wee hours and then I can’t get up in the morning.

BM: I can be the same way. I am that way with Wanda Brawnstetter’s book. I have read 30 to 40 some of hers. I also have some pictures that you might be interested in right here. Some of these are my relatives. Now this one of Rollie Kessler.

MP: His wife used to baby sit for my youngest boy Sam. Her name was Mildred and she was wonderful. She was just like a Grandma to him.

BM: Her and my Mom got along real good. Now Rollie and Dad were cousins.

MP: It was Rollie and his son that put a roof on our house when we lived on Haley Avenue. Oh yes it was Aubry and Rollie.

BM: It would have been Leslie’s daughter that would pick me up and go to church. Like she said I will be there anyway so I will just pick you up. She played the organ in our church.

MP: I think she would probably pick you up even if she wouldn’t be going there.

BM: I have a lot of old pictures of Colton if you would like to see them. Susie’s nephew has given me a lot of these.

MP: I always enjoy looking at old pictures.

BM: That is the old depot over at Colton. The houses are gone now.

MP: Take a look at these pictures Russell. You have always enjoyed old pictures.

BM: Turn that light switch on so you can see the pictures better. He can turn on the table lamp over there too if he needs it. Danny gave me most of those pictures over there. That is a picture of the old church. One of them burned. We don’t have that store over there anymore. I went to the Colton School through the sixth grade.

MP: You know - Russell let’s put this picture in the Northwest Signal. Bernice has them all identified. I would think they would like this for publication in “Out of Henry’s Past”.

BM: Here take this list of the people’s names. It has two of my sister in-laws grandmothers on it. You see my mother had the original pictures. I thought I only had my mother in there. Mary has her mother, her mother-in-law, and her cousin. I gave the original to her. Mary is Susie’s mother. This one is probably the church that burned. That is a picture of the Church of God. You can take them with you as long as I can get them back.

MP: We will return them. I run into Susie quite often and I can give them to her. I am sure you won’t mind if I take it to the Signal. I am certain they will print it. We will give you the credit for turning them in for publishing.

SR: This is a picture of my two grandmothers. This is my dad’s mother and this one is my mother’s mother.

MP: You know we never called Ada our stepmother. My father told us to call her Mother and we never even considered her our stepmother. She was always Mom to us. She was my mother. I was only five and a half years old. I really don’t remember much about my birth mother. One thing I do remember is that my brother caught my finger in the back door hinge. I lost my finger nail over that. My brother had to sit in a corner for a long time. I am sure he didn’t do it on purpose.

BM: You had better take this picture and the one of my grandmother.

SR: After the war he opened the Al Barlow General Store. Now this store was the Red and White store. My mother and dad ran that.

MP: You know buying groceries is so much different nowadays. You know these smaller stores couldn’t keep up with all the people they would have to wait on.

SR: They can’t afford to buy all of the variety we have now. Before my daughter was born I worked in the drug store run by Bryan Jennings. I can remember him saying that people would come in and tell him they can get it cheaper somewhere else. Anderson’s was just opening up. Now you know they buy in bulk.

MP: That was the same way with the small town drug stores.

RP: We had the same problem with our drug store.

MP: First we had Lane’s Drug store come to town. Then you have to deal with insurance. They were 25 cents cheaper on their copay and people would switch drug stores. People thought they were cheaper on their drugs too. It is just changing times. Stores buy differently than we could. WalMart goes directly to the manufacturer and demands a better cost. You can’t really blame people. We do the same thing now. We go where it’s the cheapest.

SR: I can remember Bryan telling about some of his regular promotions. He said, you know what - I am not asking you to buy my things. If you want to spend the money on gas to buy somewhere else that is your choice.

MP: People like that are just dumb. They don’t understand the way buying and selling works. We had to pay more for our drugs. You can’t sell drugs and merchandise for less money than you had to pay for them.

BM: You are right.

MP: I will look through this package of pictures and if I see anything the Northwest might be interested in I will show it to them. They are always interested in old pictures to print.

SR: I told Rev. Rosalin that Sunday was her busy day and she should go home. Everybody was working on Friday when he got sick. I rode with them in the ambulance. Sherrie lives where my mother and dad lived. Mom died on Valentines Day three years ago. My sister lived out in Boulder City and worked for Delta Airlines out in LasVegas. In May her husband passed away. They were on their way to Michigan hunting mushrooms. He died in a rest stop where they had stopped.

MP: Have you ever been up to Michigan hunting for mushrooms?

BM: Oh my yes. We went up there lots of times.

SR: We picked blueberries and mushrooms. We all had campers, so there were usually 7 or 8 campers.

BM: We picked blueberries here in Ohio when I was a kid. I went with my Grandmother Kessler.

MP: Blueberries are fun but you definitely earn them.

BM: The blueberries are almost as big as a quarter up in Michigan.

MP: I love blueberries. There is a fellow off of Route 6 that has blueberries - pick your own -

BM: We used to freeze them.

MP: Oh I did mine too. I think I still have some packages left over from last year that I should get out and eat them. I put them in these tiny plastic zip lock bags. It works out real good.

SR: We used to go camping with my brother and sister-in-law. We loved to go camping.

BM: What was the name of that campground?

SR: KO A

BM: That is the place that had the glass house. Susie’s sister-in-law was from there and that is how we started going up there.

SR: Does Karen ever hear from Jane’s family?

MP: Yes she does. They all keep in touch.

SR: Now where do they live?

MP: They live in Naples, Florida which is where she died.

RP: You see Jane’s husband Bob was a civil engineer and they moved around to different cities and states.

MP: You see Bob was assigned to different projects like building bridges and interstate roadway. One thing Jane always did with her family was to plant a tree wherever they lived. You know her children were small and the tree planting gave them a feeling of putting their roots down. They moved every few years to a different city and area. Her children all turned out good and well rounded and grounded.

SR: I think at one time she lived in Pennsylvania.

MP: I know they were out in Seattle for at least two years. I remember Jane telling how they all wore rain coats because it rained every day. Now little Amy, she was my dad’s favorite. She was such a beautiful little girl. Amy was Janes’s daughter that died in the accident when Jane and Amy were killed.

SR: I have a picture of the Ladies Aid in Colton, Ohio. They made a quilt one time and all the women had signed that quilt. Then the ladies took it and sewed over the names. Cecily Rohrs now has the quilt. Her mother lives here in Liberty and she is 94 years old.

BM: She is Louisa Strock. She fell and hurt herself. They called up Susie’s sister to come and take her out to eat. Sherie takes her to get her hair cut.

SR: Sherie was supposed to drive Louisa’s car. Louisa doesn’t go out as much since she fell. Sherie was working four or five days.

MP: I know she did a documentary with her father-in-law Art Rohrs. She did a very good job.

END OF TAPE