Wheeling Spoken History Project: Anne L. Norton
▼ Interview with Anne L. Norton
Title: Wheeling in the 1920s - 30s
[ Date: June 1, 1994; Interview #: 96-002; Title: Wheeling in the 1920s - 30s ]
MICHAEL NOBEL KLINE: Can you say "my name is."
ANNE L. NORTON: My name is Anne Norton.
MNK: And, today is.
ALN: Today, is the first, second of June. First, well, anyhow it's June.
MNK: June first, I think.
MNK: And we're at.
ALN: 33 Edgewood Street.
MNK: And how long have you lived here?
ALN: Oh, I've only lived here for a year. I came, sold my place, and came here to live with my daughter. Just what really did you, were you interested in?
MNK: You started to tell me about some of the good---
ALN: Oh, when I was young?
ALN: We lived at Park, what was known as Park Place. I guess it's still known as Park Place. It was all country in those days. You know, it was still farms and Whittakers lived. You know where Gene Long lives out there on the Pike at the new house? You know where the telephone company office is? Well that was part of the Whittaker farm. They had a dairy farm there and they were drugs. What was the name? "Sterling Drugs." And they had cows and a red bull that we were, we were absolutely terrified of that bull. (017) We'd have to get off the streetcar, down at the end, and walk up that lane. And you just knew that bull was waiting behind that wooden fence to come and get you. But, everybody in that area would take their little aluminum pails and go down and get the milk, freshly squeezed. [ Return to Top ] (023)
MNK: What decade are we talking about?
ALN: This was 1920’s, early 1920’s. And eventually, the Whittakers moved there, McFaddens bought that and it's I think it's still McFadden's. But, McFaddens lived where Wakims live now. And I can remember Hashers had a, they had a big jewelry store in town, the better jewelry. And they had a big clock on the sidewalk that became a landmark. But, they lived out, right out beyond us, on the other side of National Road. They had the first electrified Christmas outdoor display that we had ever seen. It was the ugliest rocking horse you ever saw, big wooden rocking horse. And it had just ordinary like bulbs all the way around it. The people would come from everywhere and just stand there and look at it. It didnt do anything. It just had lights on it. We thought that was wonderful. [ Return to Top ] (039) We had a bathroom. Dr. Budenburg lived across the street from us; he thought that was the most unsanitary thing that he had ever heard of, to have a bathroom in your house. And I think his children were in high school before he had one put in. They had a very elegant outhouse.
MNK: But, it was out there.
ALN: Yeah, but it was outside. And there were those terrible Ritz's over there with a bathroom in their house! [ Return to Top ] It was like, back then the electric wasn’t reliable. So everybody kept a gas jet. At least one in every room, for emergencies. And then, eventually it got down to the point where we just had one in the basement for emergencies. That was the neatest thing, you could put your balloon over the jet, turn the gas on, and fill that balloon up. "No, we didn't do that." "That's air in there." "So how come it's floating on the ceiling?" [ Return to Top ] (052) But you know, kids were given so much more freedom in those days. We'd eat our breakfast, and if we didn't come home for lunch, nobody worried about you. You better be home for dinner. But we could roam all over those hills out there. And Dieckmanns had just started their greenhouses when I was young. And they grew flowers, all over that area at Park View. And, just big fields of asters and poppies and they had a rose house. Just one little building they started with. And one greenhouse where they raised the roses. And it would be a quagmire in front of the place. I got stuck in the mud with my new Christmas boots on. And I didn't have enough strength to get myself and the boot out and I had to go home in my stocking feet, leave my boots there. That place just grew and grew and grew. And they had business from Florida up to the east coast; now, it isn't anymore. And it's kind of sad to see it happen like that. [ Return to Top ] (070)
MNK: Was that what they called "out the Pike."
ALN: Yeah, well anything say from Vance Church out was "out the Pike." Till you came to Elm Grove. And the railroad station was at Elm Grove, and we could walk from Park Place down there and get on the train and come to town. It was a lot more fun than riding the street car. You know that old thing, if you put your ear on the railroad track you'd know if the street car's coming. Hell, you could see the street car coming down there, but you still put your ear down on the track to see if it was coming, because it buzzed. [ Return to Top ] (080)
MNK: Did you put pennies on the track to see if---
ALN: Oh yeah, but the boys did that. The girls never did anything like that. Hell, we never had a penny to put on the track. And the golf course hadn't been built back then. And the gypsies used to come every spring.
MNK: Oh, tell me about that.
ALN: Well, kids weren't allowed to go out when the gypsies were there. You had to stay pretty close to home. And of course, we thought they were going to steal us. But where the golf course is now, they would pull their wagons in there and camp out. They'd stay, oh, maybe three, four days and then they'd go on. I don't recall that they ever bothered anybody. But we were scared to death of them anyhow. And they used to go around and fix umbrellas and sharpen knives. I guess to get a little bit of cash or something. [ Return to Top ] And they, at the park, where the building is now, it used to be, it was always called "the White Palace", was a wooden structure. And it caught on fire one night and burnt to the ground. And everybody in the neighborhood came in their night clothes and stood there and watch it burn. Wasn't anything to save it I don't suppose. That was an exciting night. (099) I remember the next day, we went over and looked down into the what was the basement; and the pop bottles, the fire had been so hot, that the pop bottles had melted around in these weird shapes. [ Return to Top ] But, you'd go up on the hill behind Dieckmann's and pick paw paws. Did you ever eat paw paws. Um, good. West Virginia bananas, they taste like bananas. But you have to wait till the frost hits them before they're good, and then they turn black.
MNK: Picking up paw paws and put them in the basket.
ALN: Yep. (108)
MNK: Who were your people and where did they, how did they come to Wheeling?
ALN: Well, my great grandfather brought his family here.
MNK: What was his name?
ALN: Jacob Ritz from Germany because he didn't want his sons to have to serve in the army over there. And they got here in time to serve in the army for the Civil War! I don't know what my great-grandfather did. My grandfather was associated with T.T. Hutchison. My father was a plumber, not a hands-on plumber. When they put in the Oak Mont section, that was all farm land at that time. When they put those streets in, across from Greenwood Cemetery, he went in to estimate what they would need for sewage, and see I was very young when he died and I don't know too much about what he really did, except that he used to draw the insides of a commode so I would know how a commode worked. (126)
MNK: And that’s how you happened to have the earliest bathroom in the--
ALN: Yeah, uh huh, yeah. All those streets, that was all new houses at that time. New streets. And you know, back then, if they did a development with twenty-five houses, that was unheard of. That was really progress, because usually somebody would build a house. But to develop an area all at one time like that. It seemed, boy, that was really big time stuff. But, freedom that the kids had was wonderful. You didn't ever have to worry. You could go out and eat green apples and get sick and nobody's garden was safe from the kids. Did you ever strip mulberries off the bushes? Just grab a hold of them and you got a handful just by stripping one branch down. And we'd wait for the asparagus to come up. And I don't think anybody in that neighborhood had fresh asparagus, because we ate it as soon as it popped it’s head out of the ground. (146)
MNK: Ate it raw?
ALN: Oh, yeah. You ate the peas raw, and you ate everything in the garden raw. No insecticides then. Our neighborhood was just a mixed bag of German, Irish. I don't know what Buddenburgs were. When Dr. Buddenburg died, he was cremated and they sent his ashes, you know, in a little urn. Mrs. Buddenburg wasn't going to accept them, because she said, "Doc wasn't that big. He couldn't have that many ashes." (157) Then in the later days, after I grew up and was aware of the things happening down town, that was after I met my husband, and he was into the gambling and when Lias had the steak house. Of course, that just seems recent to me. They had a big room upstairs where the gambling was. And they would have the crap games, I mean, $20-$30,000 on one roll of the dice. And it was big time stuff. People would come from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, just to gamble there. I don't know what all they had, but they had a lot.When I was dating my husband, he took me to one of the night clubs and it was upstairs. And, we were sitting behind the dealer, the table was behind the dealer on the crap table, and I'm watching because I had never been around any of that stuff before, and the dealer very non-chalantly, stuck his hand in his pocket and switched dice. Well, I knew that was wrong! "Oh, did you see him?" "He switched dice." He said, "shut up, shut up. You didn't see that." (181)
MNK: Your husband. Well how did he figure he stood a chance at a table where everybody was always switching dice?
ALN: Well, if you knew the dealer, which they all did, he didn't switch the dice on you. He just switched it on strangers. After all, you know, you've got to look out for the local boys. You know, that some of the things that happened, but you can't say that this is so, because you weren't in on it. You just knew that these things were happening. Like people that got murdered, and you knew, but you didn't know. You know. That was funny times. Everybody in Wheeling gambled. I don't think there was anybody that didn't gamble at something. Oh, every once in a while, they'd run an editorial, but nobody ever really cared because the town was wide open and there was plenty of business and people had jobs. [ Return to Top ] (204)
ALN: Yes, and they tell me that no German has the "i" before the "e." But, we did. My uncle during the second World War, decided to have his name changed because of all of the anti-German feelings around. So he, his name was Otto Frederick, he had the "e" taken out of Ritz. It was still "Otto Frederick" now how German can you get with "Otto Frederick." And all he did was have the "e" taken out of Ritz. (213)
MNK: Did it convince anybody?
ALN: I don't think it, I don't think it convinced anybody at all. He was a "kraut." That's what I say about my youngest sister, if she'd have been in Germany, she'd have been a Nazi. Oh, she thought it was wonderful.
MNK: Was that your sister you were talking about?
ALN: Yea, my youngest sister. If she would have been in Germany, she would have been a Nazi. She’d ... nothing is as good as German anything, particularly the boys, blonde hair, blue eyed. (223)
MNK: When you were growing up, well first of all I wanted to ask you a little bit more about your immediate family and the house you lived in, what your mother's kitchen was like.
ALN: Well, as I say, we lived out at Park Place and the kitchen had big cupboards going up to the ceiling, dark, those wooden cupboards, and it was just a kitchen. Kitchens weren't very pretty back then. And there was the dining room was, that';s where you fixed, there was a pass-through from the kitchen into the dining room, with the china closets on both sides. That's where you kept your pretty things. [ Return to Top ] You don't remember those days, Heidi. (235)
HF: So where did most of your family activities take place, where did you did you pal around with your sister and your parents?
ALN: Well, see, I was only six when my mother died and my father died when I was eleven. And most of my, after that, was growing up, you know, within the family and the aunts and the cousins and yeah.
HF: So, did you leave that house out at ---?
ALN: Later, yeah.
HF: And you went to live with your aunts?
ALN: My dad's cousin. Oh, I hated her. Oh, how I hated her. And the dumbest reason, she came to live at our house out there and she had a daughter who was just in a high chair. And, she pulled one of my mother's meat platters off the table and broke it and it made me so damned mad, I could have killed her. That was my mother's!
HF: That's right, I'm sure that was very hurtful. (255)
ALN: Yeah, I don't know why she ever, yes I do, her husband didn't have a job. That's why they came and lived there. Do you remember, no you don't remember, you're too young. When you went in the entrance to Wheeling Park, on the left hand side there were two brick houses.
HF: Oh, I don't remember that at all.
ALN: And, Jewitts lived in one, and Lucy lived in the other one.
HF: Who was Lucy? (260)
ALN: My dad's cousin.
HF: So, is that where you went to live after--
ALN: Oh, no, they came to our house. I don't think they owned that house.
MNK: Were you aware of a German community as such, the church or were there Germans who---
ALN: No, so said that neighborhood, Duffys lived there and they were Irish. Stentzs were German and Hoffmeisters were German, but Wolfes weren't and Dr. Buddenburg wasn't, Conaways wasn't.
HF: What church did you go to? (270)
ALN: The Lutheran Church in Elm Grove. See, this is what happens to you when you're my age, you can't remember names.
ALN: There were German families, but they weren't, no. Now, in my father's time, the German’s hung together, but not in my day.
HF: When would have been your father's time?
ALN: Well he was born in '84, 1884. So, it would have been in the early, late part of that century and the early part of the next one. But they spoke German at home. We had a German tutor that would come once a week when we were little. And she'd make us sit on the dining room chairs and work samplers. I don't remember only a few words of German. But our Bible was in German and things like that. There wasn't a German community really. (290)
MNK: When you say during your father's time, "they hung together." What exactly did you mean by that?
ALN: The families, seemed like all the German's were related to one another. Like the Italians were later. [ Return to Top ]
HF: Where did they work?
ALN: Well, my grandfather was a partner of T.T. Hutchison and they sold saddles and what all I really don’t know what all they sold, but he was rather arrogant, I've been told. I don't remember him, only vaguely. They spoke German at home. See, I was trying to remember, there was somebody that we used to visit and they spoke German all the time. And when we went there, it was in town, but we always stayed over night for some reason. But they always spoke German and I don’t know how long the railroad had been on, what is it 18th street, 17th street. Seventeenth, and they were still raising hell about the railroad coming in and spoiling the neighborhood. Yeah. (316)
MNK: So the Germans would have a pretty tight little ...
ALN: Oh, yeah. And down at St. Alphonsis they used to call that the "Dutch prison." When my mother-in-law went there, when she went to school there and they always called it the "Dutch prison." And their catechism was in German, and their masses were always, I think, in German. But I don't know about that because we weren't catholic. [ Return to Top ]
HF: I had heard that they boarded up the windows in the church during the war to save the stained glass. Had you ever heard that, did you know of it? (327)
ALN: No, you mean in the second World War? Or first?
HF: First or Second.
ALN: I never heard.
HF: This anti-German sentiment.
ALN: Oh, there was a lot of that. But then, the Germans were, the German people that I knew were just as bad against Catholics. I remember my dad going up, Wolfes lived across from us were Catholic, and on certain days they would burn a little vigil light, and you could see it in one of the upstairs bedroom windows. He'd walk up the street and "look at the damned heathens burning incense." And then wouldn't he be surprised when he sees all the Catholics in our family now. (342)
HF: What school did you go to?
ALN: All of them. Started out in the old Park View, you know where the apartments are there. That was our school house, and my class was up on the second floor, and you had to take an umbrella with you all the time, because the roof leaked. And when it rained, you sat at your desk with the umbrella up.
HF: Makes sense to me.
ALN: And they built Park View School while I was still out there. And we were the first classes to go into the new school. And Elsie McCausland was the principal and she'd stand at the head of the steps, you know you'd go from the ground floor up to the second floor, to the classrooms. And she had razor ... but it had two pieces of leather, and she'd push it together and she'd snap it and oh, it would scare the daylights out of you. And boy, you never talked. You marched up those steps, and you never said a word. And I kidded her about it after I grew up and she was still around. I said, "I was scared to death of that." And she said, "I never used it on a girl." She said, "I used it on the boys once in a while, but I never used it on a girl." [ Return to Top ] (364)
HF: Then where did you go to school?
ALN: Let's see, went to Woodsdale, went to Elm Grove, went to Madison, just name it. See this was after my mother and dad was both dead.
MNK: Can you describe each of those schools a little bit?
ALN: Well, Kruger Street, that was a nice little neighborhood school, and you knew all the kids, they were from your neighborhood, and you knew, the parent's knew each other. It was just a nice friendly little school. [ Return to Top ] Madison seemed gigantic to me, because it was a new school and it was big.
HF: Why were you going to school on the Island?
ALN: Because my mother's sister lived there.
HF: You moved over---
ALN: And we were with her for a while. They used to call the Island the "Garden Spot" of Wheeling. And when you come off the Suspension Bridge down on Virginia Street, they had planters with flowers all the way down that street. It was pretty. And when we were little, they had white sand beach between the two bridges, the old steel bridge and the suspension bridge. They had white sand up the Belle Isle. Of course the pool wasn't built, I must have been four or five years old when the pool on the Island was the first swimming pool in town. [ Return to Top ] I must have been about four, because my mother was so disgusted, they were all planning on taking their kids to the pool and she got pregnant with my youngest sister. And you know, back then, you didn't go out, publicly, let alone swim, if you were pregnant. And she couldn't take us that first year. (397) And then that awful sand that they used to have around Wheeling Park Pool, the first pool that had sand all around, where now they have cement. And then they had little wooden dressing rooms behind that. Well, you'd be wet, get out in the sand, it was dark, it wasn't white sand, it was brown, and you get out and it would stick to your legs, you'd go back in the pool, and by five o'clock the pool would be a muddy brown. I don't know if they drained it every night or what, but it was a mess. (409)
HF: Did you meet your friends at the pool?
ALN: Well, see we could walk from the house over, and all the kids in the neighborhood went there. Seems to me it was kind of shallow, it wasn't a very big pool, compared to what they have now. I can't remember whether they had diving boards or not. [ Return to Top ]
ALN: I remember the roller coaster. (418)
HF: When it was Hornebrook Park?
ALN: No, it was Wheeling. Down where Schenk’s Lake is now, that was all swampy and part of the roller coaster went through there. [ Return to Top ] And, we used to go over to get tadpoles because there was always water in there, and there would always be thousands of little toads hopping around. You’d take them home, they'd jump out, of course they always died. I was telling him about when Dieckmann's first went out there. They had one little rose house and one little glass house and you could roam all over those hills. (434)
HF: Did they grow things outside.
ALN: Yeah, they grew uh --- our house stood on one lot and then we had another lot that we had a garden in, and then up above there, Dieckmanns owned that lot and a house up above. And they planted asters in the one that was next to our garden, and oh, it was so pretty, just asters as far as you could see there. And up where, I don't know what they call that, because see, that was a dead end street when I lived there, and then they opened that up, and I don't know what it's called now. But that was all fields that they grew flowers in, gladiolus and yeah. (448)
HF: Chrysanthemums, I heard.
HF: That they were a distributor of chrysanthemums.
ALN: Yeah. And then they just kept building more greenhouses. That's a shame, Jeanie was here last week, Jeanie Dieckmann. And they're trying to get their, everything settled. And she said it doesn't bother her now, but she used to get sick when she thought, when she would think about. You know, they had a place in Florida, they had one in Charleston, one in Steubenville, one in Cleveland. They had three farms here and that big plant out there that employed hundreds of people, that's all gone, there's nothing left, except the smokestack with 'Dieckmann's' on it. It's kind of sad, really. Her grandfather started his business out in the Peninsula, you know where the cemetery is out at the Peninsula, that's where his first greenhouse was. And he moved from there out to Park View. [ Return to Top ](474)
HF: The years that you were growing up in Elm Grove or in that area.
ALN: From, I was born in '18 until about, let's see, I graduated in '35, and all but four of those years were spent in that in the Elm Grove in that general area, except just for a few years when I was with my aunt.
HF: Did you use the trolleys to get around, the street cars?
HF: From Wheeling, Elm Grove ...
ALN: No, it was the B&O. (486)
HF: Oh, the B&O, tell me about it.
ALN: Well, you know where, who is that that has the, Abbotts have their place.
ALN: Well that's where you would get on the train and we could walk down there. We'd get on the train and go to town and get off at the B&O Station and walk up town.
HF: On a regular big old passenger train?
ALN: Uh huh. Yeah. With the cinders coming in your eyes and the smoke and the stink.
HF: How much did it cost. (494)
ALN: I don't know, ten cents or something like that. It wasn't much. And then, to get the street car, we had to walk over to, you know where the Bishop's house is there, well there was a station down there. And, we'd walk over there and get on and go to town. And then coming out, it stopped at the end of Park Place there. And you know when you try to remember what the route was you can't because things are so changed that you can't remember exactly.
HF: When it came out of Wheeling, it came out through Fulton. (509)
HF: And then it went down Carl ...
ALN: Yeah, and crossed over, it crossed over the Pike there some place, like on Elm Street or some place. I think it went down Carmel, I think it turn went down Elm, but I can't remember.
HF: Because it went around the back of the hill of Chicken Neck Hill.
ALN: Yes. And going in, you always had to pass Schenk's Slaughter House. And you always took a handkerchief with perfume on it to put over your nose when you went through, when they were doing what ever they did. (522)
HF: Where was Schenk's Slaughter House?
ALN: You know where Blaw Knox is?
HF: Yeah. Weimer's.
ALN: No, no, Weimer's was down on Bow Street, but this was, it took that whole block there. You know where the Ace Garage is?
ALN: Well right across the road from that and it started right there at the road and went clear down. It was a huge place. And stink, God, it stunk. But Weimer's were down a little farther on Bow Street. (535)
HF: Did the street car system loop or did when you went in to town or did you go back and forth on the same tracks?
ALN: Well, they just pulled the trolley down the thing and put it up on the front and the street car went the opposite---
HF: Went the other--
ALN: Went the other direction.
MNK: So, it was one run in and back out. So they only have one car on that line.
ALN: No, there were switches here and there. And the street car barn was on McCulloch Street.
HF: Right, where Lamar is. (545)
ALN: Yeah, and the big one was on the Island where it was on Zane Street. I don't know what’s there now.
HF: Do you know the brick building that's out there by, well what used to be the Viaduct, in Elm Grove.
HF: Now, did that have something to do with the street car system?
ALN: I don't know.
HF: It was like an electrical generating building or something. (554)
ALN: It could have been, but I don't know for sure. But, it's been there for as long as I can remember.
HF: But you got on the car down below the Bishop's house there by the creek?
ALN: Yeah. To go to town. And, I know you rode around the back of the hill and you went through Fulton and you crossed over where Schenk's were and you went up that little grade past Blaw Knox and you must have, you went, there was a switch there somehow, you went behind the car barn and up above what was Goosetown, but I don't know what street you came into town on. Because it went up Market Street, I know. But I don't know whether it came down Main or not, it must have, yes, it went up Tenth Street and turned on Tenth Street and came down, yeah. [ Return to Top ] (578)
ALN: Oh yes, you started at the Hub and you went to the Hub and you walked up and there was Steifel's and Taylor's and L.S. Good and the men's, McFadden's, had a men's clothing store over where the furniture store is now.
HF: Chris Miller.
ALN: Yeah. And, then you wound up in Stone's. And then you back tracked if you could remember where you got the best price. But Steifel's was a separate store and Taylor's was a separate store and later they combined and were known as Steifel Taylor's. [ Return to Top ] And we had a, we had housekeepers after my mother died. And I wish I could remember some of the things that they did. We had this one, she was real pretty, and my mother had had charge accounts at Steifel's and Taylor's and she went into Taylor's and passed herself off as, now my mother had been dead for several years when this happened, passed herself off as Mrs. Ritz, bought herself a fur jacket and I could remember the hat, it was purple velvet. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw. And she, it wasn't a jacket, it was skins, you know how they had them, their mouths open, and they'd pinch the tail of the one. She bought one of those and this purple hat. And I don't remember what else she bought. But, anyhow, they came and arrested her. (618)
HF: At the house?
ALN: At the house!
HF: Did she walk out with her purple hat?
ALN: You know, I don't know. I can just remember that was the, and oh, I thought she was so beautiful. (somebody talking in background)
HF: The wash lady from the ...
ALN: Oh, I'd forgotten about that. On Monday's, this woman named Lilly would come to do the washing and she had a little girl that was about my age and she would bring her and I was allowed to play with her around the outside. And we had bushes of some kind out in front of the porch and they were just great for crawling under and play in. And she was telling me that she had bugs in her hair. I thought, oh, isn't that wonderful, she's got bugs in her hair. Isn't that great." So, I gave her my Bilo doll for one of her bugs. And she very carefully picked it out and gave it to me. And I went in and I was so happy and I said, told my mother, "Oh, she gave me one of her bugs." I thought my mother was going to have a conniption. But to think, you're walking around with your own live bugs!
HF: You've got your own friends. (649)
ALN: Yep. Oh, well. That was the age of innocence, I guess. When radio first was around, Wolfes that lived across the street from us, had a radio, great big huge piece of furniture. You'd open the doors and there was a little tiny dial about that big with a light behind it, and they would broadcast half an hour a day. And we would all sit around and listen to this man say "Happy Birthday" to these people that wrote in that their birthday was on a certain day, and that was the whole program. We'd sit there, just enthralled. We were listening to a radio. And then later, Dr. Buddenburg got a radio, an Atwater Kent, and it was on a big table, and all the tubes were out in the open and it had a great big horn that was the speaker, I guess. It looked like one of those horns that the dog listened to in the Victrola ads, that was on there. And dials, oh, it must have had fifty dials, and they'd sell, hell you couldn't get any, nobody was broadcasting, you know, there was once in a while you'd get a squeak here and there. That was fascinating to see those tubes and the lights flashing. Then later, when I was in high school, we all had crystal sets. Did you ever see a crystal? You had a pair of head phones and there were wires. I don't know what they were attached to, but anyhow, you had these bare wires that you held and you had this piece of crystal. And you would put these wires on that crystal until you found a sweet spot, and you could hear broadcasts. I don't know how it worked, but we all had one. (697)
HF: Could you get different stations?
ALN: Well, there was only a couple stations that broadcast back then, KDKA, and there wasn't any Wheeling stations. [ Return to Top ]
MNK: Do you remember any programs you heard then or ---
ALN: No, it was mostly music.
MNK: Country music or pop.
ALN: No, what was the guy with the tenor voice that was opera,---
ALN: No, this was an Irish name. I want to say McCormick, but that's not it. But anyhow, all the women thought he was [end of side A -- begin side B]
ALN: The kids had the job of keeping it wound and you could play maybe one and a half records before it had to be wound again.
MNK: You didn't like that.
ALN: Oh, no. You were captive, rather be out shooting marbles.
ALN: "Run Sheepie, Run," "Red Light," "Hide and Go Seek," the one that you used to say something, cross over, what was that, dang it, that was "Red Light." And when we were wee little, you got on the steps and played "Button, Button, Who Has the Button."
HF: Going to Heaven. (008)
MNK: How do you play "Run Sheepie, Run?"
ALN: I don't know, it was bedlam. You had to get through, somebody would come from the other side, you chose sides, and somebody would come out and they would say something. And they would say, "Run Sheepie, Run" and the other side had to get through without getting touched. And there must have been a base someplace that you had to touch. But I don't really remember. And hopscotch.
MNK: Jump rope?
HF: Marbles? (017)
ALN: Yeah, marbles, and of course, the boys didn't allow you to play marbles with them. But we played jacks, the girls played jacks more than--- and we had roller skates and you know, that kind of thing. But I remember going ice skating an awful lot [ Return to Top ] and at the, they had an ice house up in Patterson and you know the dam is still there, by Mil Acres, across---
HF: Oh, okay, right.
ALN: It used to be an ice house. And they would cut the ice and pack it and then sell it in the summer time. And that was kind of fascinating, you know, to go up and see them cutting ice.
MNK: Where'd they cut it, out of the river?
ALN: The creek, Wheeling Creek. They had it dammed up and that pool behind there is where it would freeze, and was it colder in those days than it is now? [ Return to Top ] (031)
MNK: I don't know, but yesterday up at The Point I saw a picture of people, thousands of people ice skating on the back channel of---
ALN: Oh yeah, the back channel was not very deep when I was little. You could practically walk across the back channel. And it was only deep in flood time and once in a while the kids could take their canoes out.
MNK: People ice skated?
ALN: Mm huh, mm huh. And my dad used to swim the river all the time. They could swim from the Wheeling side over to the, current must not have been as strong as it is with the damns, I don't know, maybe it wasn't as, I don't know. But they used to swim there. And then, of course that was much much later when Lookie Pugh was such a good diver. (043)
HF: Was that the old sheriff?
ALN: Yeah, yeah, and Tater Gasper, they'd dive off the old steel bridge, like on the fourth of July or some holiday and Tater became physical therapist for President Roosevelt, later. He was quite a swimmer. [ Return to Top ]
HF: Did he come back to Wheeling?
ALN: Huh, uh. Seems to me he got killed. I don't know whether he got killed in the war. I can't remember, but the Gaspers were spiritualists. I think it was his mother that was the preacher at the spiritualist church on the Island. That was always when we were teenagers, you know, we thought that was so daring to go to the spiritualist church. (057) ?: What was the ... name?
ALN: Oh, Mrs. Allen lived up the street from my aunt and she was a spiritualist. And, people would go there and she would tell their fortunes and that kind of stuff, you know. And her poor daughter was tormented so bad. When the kids get mad they'd say go home and tell your mother to make a table walk. Anyhow, my mother had been sick on a Wednesday, and on Thursday, Mrs. Allen called my aunt, who was my mother's sister, called her up and says, "You better go see your sister, she's going to die." Now, my mother hadn't been that sick the day before ... and she didn't come, she didn't come out. And, Mrs. Allen called her again and she says, "Artie, I'm telling you go see your sister." She died the next day. How did she know that? You know, these things puzzle me. I don't believe and yet, someplace back there you do believe in them. Like the three girls, Betty's three friends, went up there; they were, maybe freshman in high school, to have their fortunes told. She told two of the girls and the other one she gave a piece of paper and she said, "Now hold this in your hand until you go home. Don't read it till you get home." She was killed in an accident on the way home. And on the paper it said, "You have no future." Now how did that happen? Those things, kind of, you know. (078)
HF: That was at the spiritualist church.
ALN: No, this was in her home.
HF: At her home.
ALN: But she was, she preached at the spiritualist church too.
HF: Did you ever go to one of their services?
ALN: Oh, yeah, after we grew up. Just Patty Garvin, and Betty Lee Hunter and a whole bunch of us went. And it was kind of interesting you know.
HF: Different than a Lutheran.
ALN: Oh, yes!
MNK: Talk about it a little bit now, what was different about it? (086)
ALN: Well, it was like being at a seance with the lights on. Yeah, you sat in pews, but they told the people things, like things, you know, like 'This is going to happen; that's going to happen,' whether it did or not, who knows. But, these people believe it.
MNK: Were you ever able to communicate with your mother through that church?
ALN: No, never tried. No, I was not interested in that. See, cause someplace, I think that's a bunch of horse manure. You see, I almost learned, you heard that joke about the women that was bragging about when she had her first baby, her husband bought her a Cadillac. The women in the next bed said, "Fantastic!" She said, "What did you have for your second baby?" "Oh, we had a trip to Europe." "Oh, fantastic! This is your third, what are you getting now?" "Well, we're going to go to a spa and spend a month." And the lady said, "Oh, fantastic!" And she said, "What did your husband give you?" She said, "Oh, he sent me to charm school to learn to say 'fantastic' instead of 'bullshit!'" [laughter] That's a Regina Barbaria joke. (106)
MNK: You must have seen the transition from horse drawn conveyances to automobiles. Can you talk a little bit about that?
HF: Sell the what?
ALN: Pierce Arrow car.
HF: Oh, Pierce Arrow.
ALN: And, they were like a step above a Cadillac or something. And, they had their showroom was up at 10th street, I think, someplace up there. But anyhow, he was into automobiles long before, you know. My dad didn't think they were around to stay. And, Uncle Otto would come with these cars, touring cars that you could have a picnic in the back seat and have room for the table, there was that much room between the seat and the front; and curtains, running boards. [ Return to Top ] He later got into, he was Eddie Rickenbacher's mechanic, got into airplanes and during the first World War, he was Eddie Rickenbacher's mechanic. And then they were, both of them, belonged to a motorcycle club of some kind. And they would go to Australia every year to make that run, I don't know what they call it, but there was a Cinder Hill. And this was the ultimate in motorcycle racing, little tires that were so big. And the point was to get up that hill without falling over and stay on top. And they did it once. They went every year for a long time. Now, you don't know who Eddie Rickenbacher was. (131)
HF: Oh, I do.
ALN: Oh, do you? You're too young.
HF: Flying ace.
ALN: Yeah. In the first World War.
MNK: And your Uncle Otto was his---
ALN: He was his mechanic.
HF: How'd they match up?
ALN: I don't know whether it, I don't know whether it was after he was in the army, because he was drafted into the army for the first World War.
HF: Eddie changed his name by then?
ALN: No, he didn't do that until the second world war.
ALN: And he was one of the charter members for the No. 1 post for the American Legion. Couldn't stand the radio on at home, but he could go up there and beat those drums and play the bugles. He was in the drum and bugle corps and they practiced up there, inside; but he couldn't stand the noise of the radio at home.
HF: Or your mother's voice. (143)
ALN: Yes, he did like my mother's voice.
?: Because he was engaged to her before ...
ALN: My mother was their mother's nurse. My dad was in New York studying at school, but I don't know what he was studying, but he was over in New York going to school; and Uncle Otto was at home. And, somewhere along the line, he and my mother became engaged and then when my dad came home, she dumped him and married my dad.
HF: What was your father's name?
HF: What was his middle name, another Germanic name?
ALN: I don't think he had a middle name because it's not in the bible. We have a family bible that has all the names up to her generation, from 1720, I think. (156)
?: No, 1690 something, because it was published in 1717.
ALN: Oh well, whatever.
?: The first day of 1690, but all males, you were the first woman ...
ALN: Yeah. But, I'm not here officially. I'm not registered anywhere.
HF: How do you mean?
HF: In the Bible, or in the courthouse?
ALN: Anywhere. When I was born, most everybody was born at home. You went to the hospital to die. And, whoever the doctor was, didn't register me. My oldest sister was registered, and my youngest sister was registered, but I'm nowhere. Typical middle child.
HF: How did you substantiate your birth?
ALN: Because I was at church.
ALN: No, I wasn't baptized. What did they call it? Confirmation. No, that's not what they call it, what did they call it, but anyhow I was registered at the church.
HF: I see that you collect Social Security now.
ALN: Yeah. (172)
HF: They know you ...
ALN: Well, you drank a lot. I don't think it was that much different. I met my husband because I was friends with his cousin. And, usually, you met through friends and girls never called boys up. And, you die a thousand deaths if you go someplace and the guy you had your eye on didn't ask you to dance, because you couldn't ask him. But it wasn't a whole lot different. We had, we'd have wiener roasts and all the kids that knew each, we'd go out on somebody's farm, build a bonfire, everybody took a bottle and the girls were just beginning to smoke in those days, publicly. [ Return to Top ] We had, white duck pants were in style and you were nothing if you didn't have a pair of white duck pants And then, just about the time you got enough money to buy a pair of those, they changed to what they called "beach pajamas." They had legs that were at least a yard across and they were split from the ankle up to the knee and when you'd walk, they'd flop. God, they were ugly. And they were made all in one piece, and trying to go to the bathroom with all this crap hanging all over you was a chore. [ Return to Top ] (198)
ALN: Wheeling Park had dances all the time. And when I was dating there was all kinds of night clubs in town and you could dance all night. And that's what I say, and we, Friday you went out and you danced and there were a lot of the Cosmopolitan club.
HF: Where was that?
ALN: On 15th Street, and the Fort Henry would have, the DeMolays would have dances there, they were always formal, like once a month. But there isn't even any DeMolay around anymore. You had to have an invitation for that. [ Return to Top ] (208)
HF: Was that during prohibition?
ALN: No, this was after, after prohibition. Of course, I wasn’t aware that there was a prohibition, because everybody had something to drink anyhow. Everybody made stuff in their bath, oh, and---
HF: Do you remember making---
ALN: Oh, my dad always made home brew. But, of course, all the Germans had home brew. We drank beer with our meals all the time, it was accepted, even the kids drank beer with their meals. Like the Italians drink wine. [ Return to Top ] But, Overbrook at that time, just had that one little bridge, it was the only way you could get over there, and everybody in Overbrook either made moonshine or they brought it in. We always thought, they always said it was the Ku Klux Klan that was burning the cross, we always thought it was the bootleggers trying to keep everybody out. They would burn a cross over on the hill there. Everybody walked out and watched the cross burn. We always thought it was the bootleggers trying to scare people from coming over so they could get their booze loaded and get it out. They were, that was something. So many little areas like Goosetown and Overbrook and they were communities unto themselves. [ Return to Top ] (229)
MNK: What do you mean by that? Talk about Goosetown, for example.
HF: On the creek, it had come up the creek?
ALN: Yes, it came up the creek, and they turned it into a club room and then they put a foundation under it.
HF: So it must have been down around Tunnel Green? (237)
ALN: Yeah. It was right off Tunnel Green. And, those families there, there were two saloons down there, and the women all went to one and the men all went to the other one. And the husbands and wives didn't very often go out together, and I don't think half the people down there knew what the bloodline of their children were, because there was a lot of "hanky panky." But they all stayed friends, even when they knew that their friend was seeing their wife when they weren't home, they were still friends.
HF: So those were the people in the neighborhood. Did people from outside the neighborhood go to---
ALN: Well, yeah, yeah, they went down there to the if they happen to belong to the Duquesne Club, but you weren’t accepted in this inner circle.
HF: So Goosetown people stayed with Goosetown people?
ALN: And they usually married Goosetown people.
HF: What happened to Goosetown?
ALN: The road went through and kind of, wasn't very many houses left. [ Return to Top ]
HF: Cleaned it right out.
ALN: Mm huh. And then, too, I think that the people that were younger than me left, they didn't stay. Where, the children of the older people that lived there and had lived there, they stayed. And of course, most of them worked in the glass house, Central Glass House was going strong at that time and they mostly they all worked there. I was telling Beth about, during one of them, I don't know what President it was, but for his inauguration they, Central Glass, made a set of dishes that was plated in, I don't know whether it was 14 or 24 karat gold. And, of course, they all worked on it. Well, they all took a souvenir home. When they got ready to pack up the order, there wasn't enough to pack the order with. So, they called them all together and told them if they would leave the factory open and none of the bosses would be around, and it would be open from a certain time to a certain time, and if enough ware came back to fill the order, no disciplinary measures would be taken. And, I guess, there was enough came back to fill the order. [ Return to Top ] (280) And glass workers, my father-in-law was a glass worker, and he worked at the Central, and he worked at the Fostoria, and he worked for Duncan Miller, and he was really a craftsman. And, he was asked to come for special things. And, there was one kind of a vase that they made and it had to be blown up in the air, and so many times it would explode, and the other glass workers used to say, “he didn't have enough brains to be afraid of it exploding in his face.” But, nothing ever scared him.
HF: What was his name?
ALN: Charles Forzel Norton. Named for old Doctor Forzel that had his office down on 14th, the house is still standing there across from the Fort Henry. He had his office down in the basement there. Used to be a Doctor in Elm Grove, I'll think of his name tomorrow, and he had a tree growing up in the middle of his office. And he was a character. And he chewed tobacco, and he was so blunt, and back then you didn't make an appointment, you walked in and whoever got there first went to see the doctor first. And he came out, washing his hands, this one time I, my dad's cousin was in the office at the time, that's how I knowed the story, he was washing his hand and he said, "Everybody go home." He said, "I just had a woman I let out the back door whose you know what was so dirty, I can't touch anybody else." He minced no words. So he closed the office up and everybody went home. (309) And then there was old Doctor Kahle that had his own clinic over on Key Avenue. You know where the catholic school is, St. Vincent's School. And there's that road that goes through to what used to be Stone Church Road and right there on the corner of Key and Cross Street he had a clinic. And, you can't tell this one because there's still Kahles around.
HF: Is that like K-a-h-l-e, Melvins and---
ALN: Yeah, it's their grandfather. And he was a quack, I mean a true quack. And he had a machine that would cure cancer, the thing, you know, and it had lights, flickered and things, and if you had, where ever you had cancer, if it was in your arm, you stuck your arm in this machine. And he turned the little dials on, of course you never got cured, but he was a quack. He was always drunk. They took from up at the camp they had a some kind of cannon that they put powder in.
HF: ... (332)
ALN: Yeah. And it blew up. And this one kid got hit with a piece of the metal, pretty bad cut, I guess. And they rushed him down and Doctor Kahle was the closest doctor and they took him in to have this bandaged to stop the bleeding and he wasn't there but his son was and he said, "He's got poison in some of these bottles and I don't know what to give him." He said, "I might poison him." But they slapped a bandage on it and he went home and that was the end of it. (340)
HF: You said "While he was up at camp." Where was the camp?
ALN: Up on Big Wheeling Creek. Everybody had a camp up there. The farmers had a camp up there. The farmers rented all the ground next to the road for camps and you built your own, you rented the ground and built your own camp. And, oh that place just buzzed all weekend and on holidays, everybody.
HF: Did your family do that?
ALN: No, my husband's family had a camp up there. The Justers was up there. I think the Juster's camp is still there. A lot of these other ones the hillside slid in one time and ruined a lot of them. But there's no water, very primitive. Everybody had good time. They swam in the creek, everybody knew each other, they'd visit back and forth at the different camps. All except that one man, his name was Dean, his last name was Dean, and he had bought a new car, a Ford, I don't know whether it was a Model A, Model T, whatever; and he was driving and you had to ford the creek at one place, and there was a dam and they said he was loaded and he missed the fording place, so he hit the dam. And he backed off and started out again, and hit the dam again. Finally he stood up and said, "Oh with the creek and hit the dam." And he'd back her up and hit the dam again, and then he'd stand up and he'd yell, "Oh with the creek and hit the dam." Brand new car and he'd smashed the whole back end in. They were kind of wild up there. Now where those camps were, there's houses. And I wonder why people built there when they know they going to get flooded. And they do, they get flooded all the time. And they're not, you know, they're right on the ground, they're not. (383)
HF: Is this out beyond Langmeyers?
ALN: Oh yeah. Clear out to where you, Shepherd's Bridge South, instead of going up over Shepherd's bridge to Pine Hill, you kept on going this way and then there was another bridge out there and that took you up to, well that would take you up to the Hare Krishna now. Yeah, it was a good town. [ Return to Top ] I wish we had what we had then, the business. You know, all the factories were working and look how many glass houses there were. And the nail factory and the tobacco factories. Oh, times change. (399)
HF: Did a lot of your friends work in the factories?
ALN: No, I can't think of any of them that did.
HF: What did most of your contemporaries do?
ALN: Clerking, usually. Pat Werzinski worked at, I forget the jewelry shop, I think it was called, it was on the corner, by the Plaza, and she married Bernie Kaufman. Bernie? The one that played basketball, Kaufman's store. And her sister, Blanche, you know when we were that age, the town was so sooty that your collar would be black in a day, around the edge of your cuffs. And you would breathe in and if you didn't wipe your nose five or six times a day, the black soot would come down on your lip. It was like you were breathing out soot. And I said, "You know, you'd think about you forget about those things, and how polluted." (427)
HF: You just accepted that.
ALN: Yeah. And the river and the creeks were so polluted. Wheeling Creek especially, because the raw sewage just went right into the creek. We lived at Lauring Place, it's right out next to the monument place there. The people up the street had a great big Doberman and he'd get out and the creek would be low in the summer time and it was just nothing but raw sewage. And every once in a while, he'd get off his leash and he'd make to the creek. And he would run up that thing and down, and the stench would go all over. It would be everywhere. And he would come out and be so happy with himself, he'd rolled in the manure. Now, it's, I think it's safe to swim in now. [ Return to Top ] (446)
HF: Was town a lot different, since it had 60 or 70,000 people living in it?
ALN: Oh yeah. You would sometimes have to step off the sidewalk to let other people pass, there would be that many people in town. Everybody, if you didn't have a date, you went to town. Because all your friends would be in town if they didn't have dates. And, by the time seven, eight o'clock rolled around everybody had dates.
HF: It was kind of like the mall these days.
ALN: Yeah. The five and tens used to stay open on Christmas Eve, sometimes until three o'clock in the morning because they never put any stock back. Whatever was left was up for grabs, I mean it was up for grabs. It looked, I mean people walked on it, and a lot of people waited to get their Christmas, you know, the icicles and not lights so much, but ornaments and things like that; because you'd get it for pennies instead of dollars. And as long as there is anything there to sell, the store stayed open. [ Return to Top ] (471)
MNK: But you could always run into somebody you knew down town.
ALN: Oh yeah, always. And the restaurants always had customers.
ALN: Well, there was the Apollo was up on Main Street, in the block down below Stones. And the Dinner Bell was across from the plaza. And then there was down between fourteenth and sixteenth street there was Chain Grace Tea Room, the Hope Davis, Grietz had a place there, and Lanslagers had one on the corner of fourteenth and market. There was a Chinese restaurant, and there was always the White Front, that's where the men went, and Louis's Hot Dogs. Not the Louis's that you know now, this was up across from the Y, a little whole in the wall. (489)
HF: But did they have the same kind of hot dogs.
ALN: Oh, no. Not, that hot dog. Did you ever eat one of the hot dogs from Bud’s Bar?
HF: No, do I need to eat a hot dog from Bud's bar.
ALN: You need to eat a hot dog.
HF: I've eaten his hamburgers.
ALN: Well, he gave Bud his recipe and they don't make much of it at a time, a little pan full at a time. And, everybody would go in and get, you didn't eat in there, you went in and got bags full and took a ride or something. Because if you’d pull the table out, the roaches would crawl. And you always opened them up to see if anything was crawling. Yeah, and the Hamburger Inn. Yeah, she threw a fit in the Hamburger Inn when she was little. We'd been over at Horne's and we went over there to have a hamburger and a roach crawled out. And she always collected snakes and worms and frogs and crap, and she had her little box that she kept her bugs in, oh, she had a new one for her collection. My sister was with me and she said, "She can't have that one." She threw a fit, and you know, you don't want to say, "That's a roach," people would, oh. Yeah, I don't think you kids had as much fun as we did. [ Return to Top ] (518)
ALN: Oh, I remember going down there late at night. Everybody waited because they didn't hold anything over.
HF: Up until the bells rang.
ALN: Oh no, they stayed real late, sometimes be one o'clock. And the open end of the market with the vegetables and things, and I can't remember who was in there before Jebbia's, Megna's and Jebbia's, but anyhow, Anthony's.
HF: And Lankmeyer.
ALN: Yeah. And, they would practically give the stuff away. And a lot of people went until twelve o'clock to get their green things. [ Return to Top ] (534)
HF: So wasn't there an old ordinance about they would the market master would ring the bell and then the prices would drop.
ALN: Well that was up at, this was in the open market.
HF: Okay, so the bell was in the upper building?
ALN: The upper building would be closed.
ALN: But this was in the lower building, because there was no way to close that up.
HF: And they'd just stay open all night?
ALN: Uh huh. They';d stay open until most everything would be gone.
HF: And would you go down late at night?
ALN: Oh, yeah, everybody did. Yeah. That was sort of a meeting place too. (547)
ALN: Probably whorehouses. You know after I bought my building, we had that light out, and there was a light by the doorbell, and we thought we could live there, up in the apartment, ...the way. Huh, we hadn't been there just a short time, we didn't have the awning up yet. And about three o'clock the doorbell rang and I said, "Don't you dare open that door," because it's solid, that door, that double door, I said, "Until you know who's out there." So Newt opened the upstairs window and looked out and this guy, two of them that he knew, the guy looked up and he said, "Newt, what are you doing up there?" (laughter)
HF: He thought he was a customer?
ALN: Well, you had a lighted doorbell, that meant you were in business. And when we were in, we must have been high school age, because the boys were driving, and this was the big "no no," but everybody did it. You would ride through the alleys between Water Street and Main and between Main and Market. The alleys that, you know, and the girls would sit in the houses in the window in the alleys and, of course, the guys would take us to see the sights. And we'd ride down through the alley, they would make obscene suggestions to the guys, of course the girls would have to get down so that the they wouldn't be seen. Oh, we thought that was so daring. We knew where the whorehouses were. (590)
MNK: Was that another Lias industry or were those independent?
ALN: No, these, well they had their pimps, I guess. But, madams and but I don't know who controlled it, whether it was individuals or, I don't know. The most notorious of the, I guess she was a madam, was, I'll think of her name tomorrow, she drove a big white Cadillac, and everybody in town knew who she was, bleached her hair blonde. And I guess she put on shows in her house.
HF: Alma Henderson.
ALN: Alma Henderson, yeah. And, she was, I guess she was a very different woman. Always heard Alma Henderson stories. And, I know my --- (612)
HF: What would you hear?
ALN: About some of the dances that she would perform, and too raunchy even to talk about. But, when she was younger, your grandmother told me that the dances when they were young you had to be invited to. And, the, even the young men had to be on the list to come, and somebody brought her to one of the dances, and I guess it was a near riot. They were, mother’s were just out raged to think that this could happen. But, [ Return to Top ]
[male? in background]: ...
ALN: No, he wasn't allowed at two of them. (634)
MNK: Who was that?
ALN: My father-in-law and Timmy Kennelberger. They used to win all the dance contests. He was quite a dancer. And what they would do, they would put a chalk mark on the men's heel and if that was disturbed, that eliminated them. You'd never put your heels on the floor with these waltzes and the fox trots and two steps and the things that they danced. He had to go, he had to go to the public ballrooms because he was sort of known as a fighter, trouble-maker really. They, the Norton, three Norton brothers came here from Ireland, his, I don't know whether his grandfather or his father, must have been his grandfather, because the one was some kind of an officer in the army, and he was involved in one of the rebellions and he was going to be hanged for treason or whatever they called it then. They got him out, across the Channel to Holland and, your cousin traced the family back to Holland. But they don't know whether his name was Norton when he was in Ireland or they knew that he had changed his name for the passage across the Channel. But they don't know whether he went back to, if Norton was his original name or whether he kept that name when he came to America. Then they opened the mines here, they had a mine that the adit was on Bow Street and it went through to North Wheeling, remember when they put the tunnel, no. (687)
HF: Well, I remember the tunnel.
ALN: Well, and when they found the adit in North Wheeling. That was part of that. And you know where Custer’s dog thing is, that was an adit there.
HF: What's an adit?
ALN: Where you go into the mine. And it went in and all that underneath of Butt's apartments and all through there, that was all mined. (698)
HF: So the Irish came over, or at least those three brothers came over and worked in the mines.
ALN: Uh huh, yeah. And, they, the two brothers left, and we're on that side of the family, a dollar short and a day late, her great-grandfather decided that he would stay here. He raced trotters and where the Butt’s apartments are now, that was meadow and he had his trotters pastured up there, and then he had a place over in Ohio where he trained them. And he decided that's where [Tape 2 of 2]
ALN: On Saturday afternoon the show boats would come and they would put on a performance. I think there was an evening performance, but we just went to the afternoons probably because it was cheaper. And, I was trying to remember the actor, Laning, something Laning, was the, at one time, was the matinee idol. Then, years later, he was in a couple stage shows, was it the Victoria where they used to have the stage shows, but anyhow, he later sort of graduated better things in show biz. It was really a fascinating afternoon to go up and the, what do you call with the pipes, (011)
ALN: The calliope would, they would start to play to announce that they were in town. Because there was no set time, it was whenever they got up the river. They would play the calliope and you could hear it all over town, you knew it was time. You could get dressed and go down and see the performance. I have no idea what they performed. It was fascinating to see all the women with makeup on and up that close where you could see the mascara. All these sinful things. (018)
MNK: Tell the whole thing, tell what it looked like.
ALN: You walked up the gang plank and it was an open deck with sort of a baluster around it. You went inside and the stage was at one end and there was a stairway that went up, and I don't know what was up there, I don't think we ever got to go up there. It was pretty on the inside, it was a pretty boat, wasn't as big as the Delta Queen and what's it, Mississippi, whatever. They came later. I don't even know what the name of the boat was. It was pretty. (028)
MNK: You went inside the boat to see the show, you didn't see it down on the---
ALN: Yeah, the performance was on a stage inside the boat. We used to get on the boat right there at the Wharf to go to my grandmother's who lived down across, in West Virginia, but across from Gallipolis. It took all afternoon and all night and most of the next day to go that far. You got off at Gallipolis and then you took a ferry and came back to West Virginia. They would come, my grandparents, would come with a big wagon for all the luggage and kids. There were a team of four horses, and I don't know how far it was from there to the farm, it seemed like it took a long time. Where their farm was, is now part of the National Forest, the National Forest is down there. Remember when they put up, no, I keep saying "Remember," -- you guys are too young to remember. What they called the big ear, it was a sort of like these dishes that, and they called it the "big ear" and it was up on a hill right beyond my grandfather's farm. My grandfather was a veterinarian, and he looked like Moses, the white beard. (047)
HF: And then after you visited your grandfather you get back on the boat and come back up.
ALN: No, we usually took the train home. Took too long to come on the boat. One time, we hit a sandbar and you weren't assigned a state room of your own. You slept with strangers, you'd have maybe four bunks to a room, and you were assigned a bunk. Anyhow, we hit the sandbar and two of the bunks came down onto the people below. My sister was in one of them; but she was in the top one. Oh, the kids had so much fun. Somebody told us if everybody ran to the other side of the boat, the boat would tilt over and all the way down the river -- we were trying to make that damn boat tilt over, and it never did. We all, we'd round up everybody, all the kids on the boat, and some of the grown-ups too, and we'd all run to the other side. Never did tip that boat. (059)
HF: Was this like a paddle wheeler?
ALN: Yeah. It was a paddle wheel.
MNK: A stern wheeler? or was it
HF: A side wheeler?
ALN: No, there were two big wheels in the back. And the johns were over the paddle wheels and it was just a board with holes in it. I didn't go to the bathroom from the time we left to the time we got to the farm because I was scared to death I was going to fall down and get caught in one of those damn wheels. You looked down and there it was, churning. [ Return to Top ] (066)
MNK: Do you remember the names of any of those?
MNK: They were just standard commercial riverboats?
ALN: Mm uh. I suppose they had names, they all did, but---
ALN: It wasn't much. The roadway went down right into the water, and off to the side was like a wooden fishing pier. It wasn't, there was nothing. (072)
HF: Was it grassy or was it--?
ALN: No, I think maybe the street up was cobblestone, but the one going down, as I remember, was kind of dusty and dirt. But it went right into the river. There was a little park. We used to call it Debo Park. I don't know if that was the name of it or not. They had the statue of the soldier was in that park. It wasn't kept very well or anything. All the drunks loafed in there, slept there at night. (082)
HF: Debo, how would you spell Debo?
ALN: It was just D-E-B-O, Debo Park and I don't know what the name really was.
MNK: Or who the soldier was?
ALN: I don't whether that was the first World War soldier or not. But I think they gave that statue away to Bridgeport or someplace when they did that over. It's just a vague memory. I think that one that's over in Bridgeport is the statue that was down there. That'd be easy enough to check. [ Return to Top ] (090)
MNK: Did you ever see any riverboat races on the river?
ALN: Not up here. Down in New Martinsville they always had races.
MNK: Did you go to those?
ALN: Yeah, but after I was grown up. I don't remember, there wasn't much boating, because there weren't motor boats in those days, there were canoes and skiffs and rafts and things. The big thing was to wait for a flash flood and take your canoe up Wheeling Creek and ride the rapids down to Elm Grove. That was the big do. "And don't you dare go near that creek." "Oh no, I wouldn't do that." The only criteria was that you knew somebody that had a canoe. (102)
HF: Did the canoes used to crash and tip or---
ALN: Oh yeah, they always tipped over, but I think the boys did that if the girls were in, they did it on purpose. Because most places in the creek you could stand up, at least touch bottom. [ Return to Top ] We used to go swimming in what we called "Eskews Hole." It was, you know, where the ball field is in Patterson, it was down there. It was a, the bottom was solid rock, and it wasn't gravelly and gritty, and there was the best clay mud on the banks and you could slather your legs and let it get hard and break it loose. It didn't take much to entertain us. A family named Eskews at one time had a camp there and I guess that's why it was always called Eskews Hole. It was one of the deeper parts of the creek. [ Return to Top ] (117)
ALN: Yeah. You could buy three boxes of Aunt Jemima Pancake flour for a quarter and a lot of people used this as their mainstay. And you went out and picked blackberries and got the apples that were fallen and made apple sauce, and blueberries or whatever you could scrounge that didn't belong to anybody. Everybody went over on the hills and dug up dandelions and poke weed, at a certain stage it's safe to eat it, a lot of families subsisted on that. But at that time, we were living on a farm and we felt rich because we had our own smoke house and raised our own things---. A cousin one time gave me dozen ducks and nobody told me that little baby ducks could get saturated. I got a nice tub and filled it full of water and I put a little thing that they could walk up and drop in the water, but I forgot to put something in so they could get out, and they all drowned. Twelve little dead ducks floating in the water. (136)
MNK: What was Wheeling, downtown Wheeling like during the depression. Do you remember? Were there soup kitchens, soup lines, or bread lines?
HF: Was that what you and your friends did?
ALN: Mm huh. We thought we were well paid.
MNK: Where did you work, what sort of job did you do?
HF: Were you making ice cream?
ALN: They made their own ice cream and they had chocolate factory on the second floor, where, who's in there now, Black's Music was later, but they had an ice cream factory, Ziggenfelder's had the chocolate factory upstairs. And Ziggenfelder's had an ice cream down in the basement and Shutler's bought it from them, and Ziggenfelder's still had the one in on 19th street, I think. They made good chocolate, wonderful chocolates. (192)
HF: So Ziggenfelder's started out being a chocolate factory?
ALN: Chocolate and ice cream. Yeah.
MNK: Who could buy it? Who could buy ice cream?
ALN: Well, an ice cream cone was the weekly treat, they were a nickle, and most families tried to save enough that their kids could have an ice cream cone. That was a big thing. And then the frozen custard opened at the Grove during that time, Giezler's opened that. [ Return to Top ] Time seemed like after that, time started to improve.
MNK: In the late 30’s?
ALN: Not until the early 40s because in, when did the war start, in '41, didn't it? And that's when things started because the factories were running, everything was, and when the factories were running, the mines started producing. Every little place where they could dig back through the hills and find coal, they did. There's all kinds of little where people dug their own coal. And there's probably still some of those around. (214)
MNK: Dog mines, they called them?
ALN: Yeah, Willa Glen has a coal mine, you know, down in the basement and---
HF: I never went through that house, when they had tours-- -
ALN: I was invited up once when Agra was still living. McKinleys were living there before they built the house at the bottom and they had made a kitchen for her in one of the hallways upstairs, and she said, "Oh, if she just had a window." There was no windows in it at all. And Agra had one painted on the wall. "Now you got your window." (226)
ALN: Oh yeah, oh yeah, especially for women, pay went up. Women were accepted, you could even open a charge account, which before you couldn't. You had, your husband or your father had to have it, you couldn't have anything in your name except a savings account. Things changed drastically.
MNK: And the women went to work in the---
ALN: In the factories and the corrugating was running, and a lot of women worked in that. [ Return to Top ] (237)
HF: Was that the mill or the plant out at Elm Grove?
ALN: No, the plant over across the creek there.
MNK: What was it called?
ALN: Corrugating, they made the corrugated metal, I don't know what they used it for, they made tons of it.
HF: Who made the famous Wheeling trash cans?
ALN: Wheeling Steel made those. I think the corrugating made those. I guess that was hard work.
MNK: And then when the war was over, did all that switch back for women? (247)
ALN: So many people, so many women, because they had to do it on their own and take care of the families while their husbands were in the service, were a little more independent. Yeah, a lot more independent, like, you know, I don't have to depend on you. And as Phil Maxwell said, I was the ring leader.
HF: You were---
ALN: Well, I had a husband that whatever I wanted to do was all right with him, yeah.
HF: What kind of activities did you do? (256)
ALN: Well, we bowled, swim, I thought the world would come to an end if I didn't get to go swimming every day. Believe it or not, when we were teenagers, we would walk from town up to Oglebay, swim all day and walk back. There was no bus service or anything. And the Suspension Bridge was a toll bridge and my cousins lived on the Island. And, everybody wanted to go their house because she had a brother and all his friends would come and all her friends would come, you know, and you could, there was always something going on. And, if the guys didn't have a nickle for the toll, the toll keeper would let them leave their golf clubs or tennis rackets or whatever they had of any value in the car and leave it there till the next day when they got a nickle. And it cost a nickle to ride the street.
HF: On the steel bridge.
ALN: Yeah. But I think you could go to Martins Ferry for a nickle. You could go pretty far on a nickle. (277)
HF: Was there any other way to get over to the Island? Could you walk on the steel bridge?
ALN: I don't remember ever walking on the steel bridge, I remember that we walked the Suspension Bridge. And, it used to scare the hell out of me because you could look down and see the river. Newt was on the bridge in the ‘36 flood and the cable broke and it swung the bridge around, but it righted itself. But he said he thought he was going in the river. He said it just went flip, right over.
HF: You mean the '36 flood, hit the floor of the Suspension Bridge.
ALN: Well no, I think it was the wind that did it. I think it was the wind. I don't think the water came that high.
HF: The cable snapped.
ALN: Yeah. But, the Tabernacle was up at the upper end of the Island, on Belle Isle and it wasn't a very secure building. And everybody was afraid the Tabernacle was going, and the radio made such a big thing. They scared the hell out of everybody, they just, day and night, and telling all these things that were going on, somebody's drowning, we saw this and that. Well, anyhow, the Tabernacle did go out. (298)
HF: So it floated away.
ALN: It floated away. The Norton's sometimes aren't very bright. They had a house up on Belle Isle and they all got out and somebody said, "We forgot the important papers, the insurance and everything is still in the house," so they sent their daughter over in a row boat with some of the firemen to get the papers and put them in a safe place, she put them under the rug. Tabernacles came down and took the house. It was a big building, and when it broke loose, it took several houses out.
HF: I heard it got caught on the bridge.
ALN: Yeah. But see, it had come from Belle Isle before it hit the bridge.
HF: Right, that must have been some---
ALN: And here, all their papers are under the rug going down the river. I don't suppose it was covered completely with insurance anyhow. I don't think people insured the way they do now against things like this. But people on the Island were crazy. They wouldn't leave until the last minute, move up one story and then up another story and then they'd have to get them out. [ Return to Top ] (318)
HF: They'd go through---
ALN: From the attic. It was like the Dusquene Club, after that one real bad flood, they decided what they needed was a boat to get stragglers out. So, they bought a boat and built a boat house and they'd go out, they knew the inches, "Well, when it's here, it's in somebody's basement," and "When it's here, it's in somebody's first floor."
HF: ...have another one?
ALN: Yeah. So they're measuring the water, drinking, and measuring the water, and they said, "It's time to get the boat out." They went out and the boat house was under water and the boat was floating up in the tip of the roof. "Well, that's okay. Now, we have to stay." [ Return to Top ]
HF: Yeah, go back and have another one! (330)
MNK: So your aunt's house was on the Island?
ALN: My husband's, my aunt, yeah, was, but her house wasn't taken. It was my uncle's house, er, my husband's aunt's house that was taken. Yeah.
HF: In the '36 flood.
HF: Seems like... and the Stratford burned down. That's what daddy was saying that the Stratford burned down there wasn't a bit of insurance on it.
ALN: Huh uh. His, my father-in-law's people had this Stratford Hotel that was out here. I don't know just where it was, over there someplace.
HF: They were Nortons.
ALN: No, they were Porters and, I don't remember who else, I never really, there wasn't anyone around to tell us the history of the Nortons. His dad was, but hell, he could care less, "They're dead, who cares?" Their mother died when the youngest boy was just a baby and just a baby, baby, and they used to be sent out here to spend the summers at Stratford, and they hated it, living in the country. One funny thing they had was a grocery store across the street from them and one of the boys threw a baseball and it went through the window. I don't know who owned it. He had a warrant sworn out for Adrian Norton. So, the old man didn't say anything to anybody, he appeared in court with Adrian Norton, he was a baby in arms. He says to the judge, "Does it look like he could throw a baseball?" That was the end of the case. He had the wrong boy. (362)
HF: Tell about the, was it ... that had you memorize the poem?
ALN: Oh yeah. You know Catholic school, no you don't know Catholic school. They had, it was a military school when my father-in-law went, and it was downtown. They had to learn a poem and recite it. So these guys, you know, there were no women around, these guys, "Well we'll teach you a poem." So they taught him a poem. And he was so proud and he got up and he said his poem.
HF: Hi diddlie dee dum dee.
ALN: "Hi diddlie dee dum dee. The cat ran up the plum tree. Ran swish, skinned his ass. Hi diddle dee dum dee." And he couldn't understand why the brothers took the cane after him. But then the men thought that was so funny. (377)
MNK: I was going to ask you if you could remember any resuscitations from your early schooling.
ALN: No. I used to remember the one about cabbages and kings, but I can't remember that. Hell, I can’t remember my own name half the time. We all, a bunch of us, meet for breakfast, they're all my age, we don’t gossip anymore because we can't remember who the story's about.
HF: We ought to just put a tape recorder in over there. (389)
ALN: Why, you know the area were Dorothy is, what's that called, down Lenox Avenue, around in there. And she's lived there all, she was born in that house, she's lived there all her life and she could tell you stories about that area and the people that lived there; because she's lived there all of her life and she’s 76.
MNK: What's her name?
ALN: Dorothy Morrisey.
MNK: Irish? (396)
ALN: Yeah, she was a McCallister. She could tell you stories that were different. Her up-bringing was totally different from mine. Her mother lived to old age and her father lived not real old, but after she, I think after she was married, he didn't die until after she was married. So she had a stable up-bringing, which I did not have. There's areas in my life that I don't think about and I don't talk about. And you're not going to get any stories from there. (409)
MNK: What was it like raising children in Wheeling as apposed to when you grew up as a child? Have things changed dramatically?
ALN: Well yeah, we had, as I say, we had more freedom to do things, to play and to roam around now. Now kids you have to take them someplace. They don't play around in their own neighborhoods. They don't have, they don't play games. It's, you know, take them to the ball game, take them to bowling, take them to dancing school. It's all orchestrated, it's not, "Go out and play."
HF: They didn't play, they don't play 'Run, Sheepie, Run.' (421)
ALN: No, they don't play anything. It's like, over there where Dorothy lives, there's all those kids, and you never see a kid out playing, only the wee little ones. It's just different.
MNK: When Beth was growing up.
ALN: Well, we lived up in Bethlehem when she was growing up. (other female voice) See, there's fifteen years between my sister and I, so she really raised children in two whole different generations. So, there were big differences in the way my sister grew up and the way I grew up.
ALN: And see, there was no, what did we know, we didn't know to look for kids in the neighborhood before we bought the house. She was the only girl, and her only playmates were the three rotten Kutch boys.
HF: I hear they were bad.
ALN: Oh yeah, oh yeah. (434) (other female voice) The one blew himself up when he was sixteen.
ALN: He blew his eye out, he wasn't even sixteen yet. (other female voice) No, he had his driver's license.
ALN: Did he. He fooled around with Chemistry, brilliant boy. He fooled around with Chemistry sets all the time. His dad would buy him things that were illegal for him to have. He made TNT but he wasn't sure what it was and he put it in a baby food jar, and you know it should never be secured with a lid. And he went across the street to wait for his friend and his mother wouldn't let him come out until he finished his dinner. And Jim's sitting there, impatient, and he's doing this on a rock outside.
HF: With the---
ALN: Baby food jar full of TNT and it blew up. It blew one eye completely out and it blew, he had--- (female voice) His ring finger and half of his middle finger.
ALN: And half of the other hand was gone and they thought they could save one eye for him, but they couldn't. And he's working for NASA now, he's a computer wiz. He was a brain when he was a kid, but you wonder, is he this good because of the accident, or would he have channeled this into this regardless? Oh, they were rotten kids. (460)
MNK: Let's start again with the story about---
ALN: I don't know whether it's true or not, but it's always been a story that was told. When they built the first S bridge that takes the road up to Triadelphia, this plans were for where they built out there were really for a bridge that was supposed to built down state. And the story is, that the engineer committed suicide over it. Then, they built the one that's out there now, it's still an S but it's elongated and when, do you remember when they built this new one? It didn't reach, it didn't reach either side. They had to put things to build it out to make it reach. And like putting the tunnel in, they had to lower the street. (474)
HF: Yeah, I heard that story, that the bridge and the tunnel didn't meet---
ALN: No, and they had to lower main street, because cars couldn't get under it. That's typical of Wheeling thought.
HF: Technicality. What's a foot, give or take.
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