children, put one hand on the
stair rail and called several times
in a tremulous voice, "Is anyone there?"
She received no answer which is understandable, so we went across
the street to the barn and told Alfred Sibley, our foreman, about it. He
armed himself with a pitchfork and we all walked squeamishly back to the
house. However, we were reassured by Alfred's bravery and we stood
outside while he searched the inside. Every minute we expected to
see a burglar dash past us pursued by Alfred and a bloody pitchfork, but
whoever had been there had had plenty of time to
escape during our absence and Alfred finally emerged from the
house with his weapon untarnished.
Once on an automobile ride we passed a man and two young ladies
walking along the street. My father turned to Aunt Sophy and said,
"I don't see how such a nice girl could marry that
A few days later the nice girl's sister happened to be at our
house for Sunday dinner. About halfway through I spoke up.
"Did you hear what my father said to Aunt Sophy when we
were passing you the other day?" and before there was time to stop
me the whole story was out.
In school I had a dreadful time learning American history
and Aunt Sophy tried to tutor me. "Brighten up the dull parts
with a little imagination," she said, "and picture things that
might have been going on at the time."
My day's assignment had to do with the Madison administra-
tion and the first family moving into an unfinished White House.
"Just imagine something silly," Aunt Sophy suggested, "like
Dolly going up to her bedroom on a ladder because the stairs