List Stories

Submitted by Kitty Born

The younger List girls liked to pick apples while picking blackberries. The tree belonged to Tom McCann. They would fill their bloomer legs as full as they could get them. Tom had a mean rooster that would always crow when they came near and warn him they were there. Then Tom would come out with his shotgun and scare them off.

The List family had a horse named Nell. Lucille and Veryl drove the horse and buggy into town when the family lived on the farm outside of Lawshe. Going down the steep hill on Tater Ridge, Nell would slow down. This is when Lucille would poke the horse's butt with the whip to make him kick up his heels. The girls got a big kick out of that!

Grandpap McVey was driven to Key West, Florida in the twenties by Lucille and Margaret to stay for the winter. They took turns driving an old Model T Ford. He would stay in a boarding house while he was there. They did this more than once since he went every year it is said. If you have ever been to Key West, think about how the roads must have been at that time and the bridges. This was quite an adventure for two young girls from Lawshe.

When Veryl was 12 years old, she drove Grandpap List to Columbus, Ohio, to visit Paul. They had an old rooster tied inside of a cage on the back of the Model T she was driving. On the way, the rooster got loose and they stopped the car and ran all over the countryside before catching it. They were taking it to Paul. When they arrived at Paul's house he asked how they like all the new traffic lights. They looked at him and said, "What traffic lights!" They had run every one not knowing what they were. Uncle Paul told Veryl to hide under the bed because the police were coming to get her. She was terrified, and complied. She hid under the bed the whole time she was there she says.

Christmas at the Lists

Christmas was a very special time in the List family. The little kids believed in Santa until they were teenagers. The older boys loved to tease and play tricks on the younger kids. When Kitty was about 16 years old, Hugh and Paul dressed up like Santa Claus. They went inside and grabbed Kitty, carrying her outside into the snow, past the little gate and into the woods. He told her he was taking her to "Goose Heaven." She was kicking and screaming the whole time. At the edge of the woods, Paul put her down and said, "Hell, Kitty, don't you know who this is?" He took off her mask and showed her.

Paul and Hugh, once again dressed like Santa Claus, grabbed Mark out of bed still in his underwear. They carried him out to the edge of the woods and told him to stand there until they went to get their reindeer and sleigh. As soon as they were out of sight, he ran screaming back to the house in the moonlight.

After moving into town from the farm, Christmas was celebrated on Christmas morning instead of Christmas Eve. The first one to awaken would yell, "Christmas gift!" That would wake up the rest of the family. No one was allowed downstairs until everyone was up and ready. They would all go into the parlor together to see the beautiful Christmas tree. Grandma would have already lit the little candles on its branches and have it decorated. It must have been a beautiful sight, as all the children would stand in awe of it. Each child would have one present. Sometimes it would be an orange. Sometimes if the older girls had come home, there would be a toy for each child. Whatever it was, each child would think it was the most wonderful gift they could have received. Grandma List would open a gift of some kind from each little child that they had made. Veryl made her a dishtowel one time, and just thought that was the most wonderful gift for her mother. It was.

On New Years Eve, the children would put their shoes by the fire. Mrs. Claus came in the night and filled them with fruit and candy.

Veryl's most memorable Christmas: Ada came on the train at Christmas bringing her baby, J.D. Since the younger children were not allowed into the parlor, they were in for a surprise. Grandma told them to take the coats into the parlor. When they opened the parlor door, there stood a huge Christmas tree decorated with burning candles and all kinds of gifts. Ordinarily they got fruit, candy, nuts and some clothes. She found a beautiful doll just for her this time.

The List children saved any tinfoil they could find for months before Christmas. They used the foil to wrap sycamore balls and hang on the Christmas tree. They also made paper chain ornaments and strung popcorn for decorations on the tree. Making popcorn balls was a special Christmas treat. Their gifts to each other were also hung on the tree.

In the spring, the List children would go with Grandma and Grandpap to burn brush along the creek and enjoy the warm weather. This was a great time for the family and to this day Veryl still loves to burn brush piles and remember with great fondness those happy times. No harm was done. It was just something Grandpap liked to do to get rid of the brush.

To get coal for the stoves at home, Veryl and Lucille climbed into the parked railway coal cars sitting on the railroad tracks. They would throw coal out of the cars to gather and use for burning.

Kitty bought red long underwear to wear on her honeymoon.

When Gayle was little, Carsel Storer came over to play with the girls. She fed him little radishes as they played. Dipping one into chicken poop, she fed it to him. He said, "Ohh, that one was bitter!" All the girls broke out in laughter. After that "Ummmm, that one was bitter!" became a favorite joke in the family.

Gretchen Wagner at three years old to her mother, Margaret. - "What is that little round thing under that dog's tail?" (Even then she was interested in anatomy.)

Uncle Mark - "When we got cheese, ain't got no 'lasses. When we got 'lasses, ain't got no cheese." (Molasses and cottage cheese was a favorite List treat.)

Easter was another special holiday in the List family. The nests for the Easter Bunny were planned with great anticipation. First a trip into the woods was in order to gather moss growing under the trees. The tallest moss was always sought after because that would tickle the bunny's butt and make him lay more eggs. After carrying the moss back home, the nests were made. They took three bricks and laid one in the back and one on each side. Inside the nest the moss was carefully arranged to line the nest. The front was left open so the bunny could get into the nest. On Easter morning, the children found the nests filled with colored eggs. Mom always carried this tradition over to us. We also went to the woods, gathered the moss and made the nests. I used to do it with my little ones too whenever we had Easter at Grandma's. They loved the idea and Grandma was very convincing about the importance of gathering the tallest moss and why.

List Stories by David List

These stories were sent to me by David List and are about him, Buddy and Joe Clark when Joe came to the Hugh List farm to visit. Joe used to love to go visit David and Buddy and sometimes stayed several weeks with them.

Joe would come and stay and wanted to play cowboys most of the time. He carried his six shooters making sure we had protection when the Indians would attack. Bud and I living on the farm, had to do chores. We helped in the tobacco fields, and other things that were going on. This would leave Joe alone so he could make plans. Down in the woods there was a special place with a sink- hole that he could hide in. He would build a fort or enjoy whatever else was going on. He always found something interesting to do.

On Saturday afternoons they had Western matinee movies at a little theater in Seaman. We could go and see a double header for 11 cents each. The movies always had a lot of six shooters, horses, some good old- fashioned fist- fights, and shootouts. It Bud and I were working, we wound go on Saturday night. Usually, we would walk from the farm to Seaman if we wanted to go.

These were some days. After seeing movies where people were dragged by horses, tied to a tree, or even hung, we would go home and try it ourselves. Many times Joe would be tied to a tree and left there while we went off to do something. We would tie a rope under his arms, then hitch one of the big draft horses to it and drag him through the corn- field. (Dirt was very soft in between the cornrows, and made lots of dust. The horses didn't get excited either.) We never tried the hanging part though.

Haystacks and straw-stacks were always a good place to play on and around. You could always build a good fort or climb on top and slide down. A lot of cowboys were ambushed from the top of straw -stacks. There was one problem. A lot of the stacks had fleas. Naturally, we would get them on our bodies. We were always strip searched before going into the house and sometimes we went in the house with nothing on but a towel. Taking a bath in well water was always chilly. We didn't have electric or gas water heaters at that time. We had a heater in the basement to build a fire in for hot water. We always got a warm bath on Saturday night though.

Diane used to come and spend time at the farm also. She would join in on what ever would be happening. One time we were riding horses and she and I were on the same house. Somehow, someway, I started falling off. I pulled her with me and we fell under the horse Bud was riding. How nice the big draft horse stepped on her arm and made the nicest bread you could ever find. I don't know why but I carried her arm out beside her all the way to the house so she wouldn't let it down. Away to the doctor we went to get a good arm setting, cast, and whatever else was needed.

Gayle would never let her children play in the leaves because you could get Polio.

Palmer Tradition

One of our family things to do was to cruise cemeteries to hunt for certain people. We would admire and remember certain graves. Without fail, we would be encouraged to go up to a mausoleum and ask, " What'd ya' die for?" We would listen as Mom and Dad told us to keep listening. Finally I got it. The answer was NOTHING! We did this countless times.