February 25, 1948
Meet the Fraziers: Charles and I have just celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary and think it an appropriate time, if ever, to write some of the highlights of my childhood and of our life together.
Federal Census, Series: T9 Roll: 1083 Page: 370
When my family moved to Portland, we rented our first home on the same block on which the William Fraziers were living. Their son Charles jokingly said he had met me first when he gave me a ride in my baby buggy. I was then about one year old. Thus I have known him all my life!
My mother and Mrs. Frazier were very close friends, as were also my brothers with Charles.
Trip to Ohio: When I was six, my mother took me with her to visit her own mother in Ohio.
My grandmother was then 80 years old. She was very good looking, with beautiful brown eyes. She gave me the blue and white sugar bowl which I have in the cabinet and the blue boat shaped sugar bowl for cube sugar which was my grandfather’s.
When we left Portland in March, the trees were in bloom and spring was well on its way, but when we arrived in Massilon, the nearest railroad town to Mt. Eaton, my Mother’s birthplace, there was snow on the ground, and our first purchase was some galoshes.
We went by train tourist style. You had to take your own bedding and food. There was a stove in each coach for heating the car and for doing a bit of cooking.
One man insisted on toasting cheese sandwiches quite often and since they were usually browned too much, it made quite a smell in the closed coach which I wasn’t fond of!
Our beds were not down covered, but it did not interfere with my slumbers. I can remember yet how excited I was in the daytime watching the world go by! It was almost like being one in a fairy tale.
Ten Years Old: When I was ten years old, my mother went East again to visit her mother. My father and I kept house for the three months that summer.
My brother and Charles Frazier had caught some trout, so my brother asked him to come to dinner. I decided to make a pie (my first one) for the occasion. My father was a fine cook, but he was no pie maker. My crust was a bit too short, and it couldn’t be picked up to put in the pan. I was almost in tears when I went across the street to get help from my very dear friend, Mrs. Harkins. She came over and working in a bit more flour and a few deft pats of her skillful hands, the pie turned out an A 1 specimen.
I can remember yet how lavish of praise my own brother Charles was! As for Charles Frazier, he said little but proved the old adage must be true, that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. We did get married later!
Twelve Years Old: When I was twelve years old, there was a very serious epidemic of scarlet fever. More than half of the school pupils were stricken. I had it, also three of our neighbor children, the Harkins.
I was quite ill and Mother nursed me. We had no doctor. Others who had did not fare so well. At that time the doctors did not understand the disease very well. They had their patients bathed. Mother very much disapproved of this. Her theory was to rub the body with oil. She had used this treatment when my two brothers had the fever some years previously and they recovered with no ill after effects.
After I was about well, Mother stayed at night to relieve Mrs. Harkins.
One evening when she went over, she found the children had bathed and she was almost in tears over it.
Whether it was the bath or not is impossible to know, but two of the children, the oldest, a boy just six months younger than I, and their baby girl died soon after. Jessie was the only one who survived.
All this was almost too much for Mrs. Harkins. It was my first contact with death and it was a tragic event!
Mrs. Harkins used to come to see us and often tears welled up in her eyes. Mother would visit her often too and proved to be a great comfort to her.
Often she coaxed Mrs. Harkins to have a bowl of soup with us at noontime. Mother certainly knew how to make soup! Didn’t taste like the canned soups we use now, though they are good too. Hers simmered on the back of the stove seemingly all day. Couldn’t help but get hungry when one smelled it cooking!
I was indeed fortunate to be left with no ill effects from this dreadful disease. Science has indeed, working with the Medical Profession, conquered this formidable enemy!
After being out of school for six weeks, when I returned my teacher said since East and West Portland had now consolidated, she was sure I could skip a grade and have no trouble doing the work. It seems the East side schools were farther advanced than the West side schools in the essential studies. In art, music, etc. we were behind, but they didn’t count many points anyway.
Many times in the summer Mrs. Frazier invited my mother and me to visit her at her cottage in Long Beach, Washington. Also my brother Charles spent many happy times with her son Charles.
Mrs. Frazier took a horse and buggy with her and we drove to some scenic spot or along the Beach almost every day. Didn’t go as fast as we do now with an auto, but there was a charm and restfulness which I sometime miss now-adays! Through all the years I have never lost my enjoyment of the Beach.
Once when mother and I were going by boat to visit Mrs. Frazier at the Beach, Charles came on the boat to tell us all good bye and he pinned on me one of the gold medals he had just won in a bicycle race. Was I thrilled? In those days it was about the same gesture as planting a Fraternity pin!
High School Days: The morning I started to High School, the only one in the city at that time, it was tentatively understood I would take the three year course. I had hoped to take French, but it wasn’t taught at that time, so I signed up for four years and the Latin course.
I wasn’t sure it would be approved at home, but after a family discussion, pro and con, I was given permission to go ahead. I have always been thankful and grateful it was given!
Walla Walla High: When I was sixteen my father decided to go to Walla Walla for a year to be with his brother Adolphe Mathiot on the buying end of the wheat trade. My uncle had bought wheat in the Palouse country and other neighboring places near Walla Walla, but since more settlers were going into wheat raising, there was enough business for both of them. My father had previously taken care of the selling end of the business in Portland.
I disliked leaving my Portland High School very much. When I entered the High School in Walla Walla, I found I could not take all the necessary subjects that Portland required I should to graduate, but by taking private lessons from one of the teachers, in the missing subjects, and all the regular course taught there, it kept me from getting behind.
I had plenty of time and inclination to study as at first I knew only my cousin Rowena, later met the High School young people and some of the cousin’s friends, but I didn’t indulge in many festivities.
At the end of my first term there, I received the highest grade of any one in the High School. It was published each year in the local newspaper.
The head of the school, a large pompous individual who reminded me of some of the characters in Dicken’s books, was quite upset that an outsider could carry off the honors!
One of the girl students who helped correct papers said he told her it wouldn’t happen again. Sure enough the next term I was graded second. Never knew if it was a mistake or not, but give him the benefit of the doubt.
I was also Editor of the Walla Walla High School paper.
Just as soon as school was over, I came joyfully back to Portland and stayed with my brother’s family, who had three little girls, Essie, Marguerite, and Josephine, who were almost like sisters of mine. Also visited with my Aunt Mrs. Labbe and her family who spent the summer time on a farm just West of Council Crest and what is known now as a select residential part of Portland. I think it is called Green Hills.
High School: My parents moved back to Portland in September, and I was happy to be able to return to my beloved High School.
The distance from our house to the High School on 14th & Morrison on the west side was at least three miles and to walk there and back each school day in all kinds of weather was quite a feat. During this time I weighed 136 pounds, the most I have ever weighed. I was in fine physical condition and can’t remember missing scarcely any days attendance.
I graduated Feb. 1897 with highest grades in the class. I had been elected Secretary. During High School days, I went out only on Friday or Saturday nights and had some of the happiest times of my life. Liked to dance, go to the theatre, where some of the finest plays from all over the U. S. were given, surprise parties, taffy pulls and interesting games. Our Latin Class had a Club which met now and then in the members’ homes for an evening of fun.
First Camping Trip: When I was nineteen, two of my friends, Mary McKeown and Andra Hill who afterwards became Mrs. Bow, went on a two weeks camping trip at McIntyres, on the road to Mt. Hood. This was my first experience of camp life.
The McKeown family had a farm near Gresham and we had one of their farm wagons drawn by two horses and driven by Mary’s brother Will. He also set up camp for us, then left us coming back in time to take us home.
It had been agreed before we left that Charles Frazier and Charles Bow would ride their bicycles to Government Camp and we with Will McKeown would climb Mt. Hood.
During the two weeks we were camping, we took long walks often so we would be in shape for the climb.
Climb of Mt. Hood: All went well until we drove to Government Camp the day before we were supposed to climb with the boys. The guide said he couldn’t climb the next day (Sunday), and if we wanted to go up we would have to go right then. We talked it over and thinking neither Charles would want to go without a guide, we decided to go on without waiting for them.. We feared unless we did this, we would probably lose our chance of getting on top of the mountain! Charles said later that I never knew how nearly I came to losing him as my future husband by doing that!
We made the trip safely and when we came down, whom did we meet all dusty and tired but our faithful boys!!
We explained why we had done as we did and felt very sorry too. They decided they would go up without a guide. Then I was worried! Since Charles had climbed the mountain before, he and Charles Bow made the trip without mishap. And eventually later, I think, I was forgiven! All is well that ends well!
The view from the summit of Mt. Hood was one of the most awe inspiring I have ever seen. Only once again did I have a similar thrill. That was from an airplane over Great Salt Lake. In all directions over a snowy landscape, as far as the eye could see, was a gorgeous sunset which lasted for more than a half an hour.
The view from Mt. Hood included four high snow capped mountains, green valleys, forests, rivers, and likes. Truly nature is magnificent!
We started the climb early in the morning. In the high clear air the heavens that night at Mt. Hood illustrated the poem:
One by one, in the Infinite Meadows of Heaven
Blossomed the lovely stars,
The forget me nots of the Angels!
My Father and Mother climbed the Mt. many years before I did:
Many years before I climbed Mt. Hood, my father planned a camping trip and climb of Mt. Hood.
When the time came to set out, all the friends backed out. Nothing daunted, my father and mother decided to make the trip from Woodburn where they were living at that time.
In due time they arrived at the mountain and started the climb alone, as there were no guides in those early days.
My Mother said she was quite satisfied with the view before she reached the top, but told my father to go on if he wished to do so and she would wait where she was.
She had a large bright colored shawl which she staked out as a land mark. My father later said he was sure that shawl saved their lives. He often said he never could have found my Mother and the road down without that guide!
When I returned from my trip, he asked me many questions. He never reached the top, but was quite high before he started back. It was pleasant talking it over. We climbed in August, the day Manila was taken, and on the 15th of September my dear father went to his rest! He died within a few minutes of a heart attack. This talk of the mountain climb was one of the last long talks we had and I have cherished it always!
One of the grandest fathers any girl ever had, I was indeed blessed and give my thanks nightly for my great blessing.
Not often does any one have both a father and mother who make such a perfect home life for a child!
After graduating from High School, I wanted very much to go to Stanford, but we couldn’t afford it. In recent years Mrs. Harkins told me that Mrs. Margaret V. Allen, a teacher in High School, whom I had had as my teacher, had come to see my Mother about my going on to college, and offered to advance the money but Mother thought it best to decline the offer with thanks.
It wasn’t very common in those days for a girl to go to college. Now I am not so sorry I didn’t get to go. I do not think my life would have been happier. Often college changes one’s point of view and it doesn’t always lead to happiness. “Where there’s a will there is a way”! I have always enjoyed reading and study and when I remember how much my father did to educate himself with such success, I feel I had things very easy having had four wonderful years of High School.
We are happy to know our children have had College Educations since that is more of a must these days and it is money well spent as it is something no one can ever take away from them!
My friend Mary McKeown became a pupil teacher, and I thought I would like to be one too. My father said it wasn’t necessary as he could take care of my mother and me. After his death, I thought it would be best for me to do so.
Teaching began Oct 18, 1898. The probation period was two years. The recompense was $2.50 a month, car fare, and in case any teacher was absent, if you filled in you received $1.25 a day. The first year I received $47.00. The second year I had a regular class but received only half pay. It then amounted to $30.00 a month. Since the Brooklyn School was near enough to my home, I could walk and have all the money $2.50 a month for myself.
The second year if I could have found two more pupils, I could have had full pay of $60.00 a month.
One of the School Directors, who was a friend of my father’s, visited my class and jokingly said: “Couldn’t you adopt two more students? Wish we could give you full pay!”
I taught for five years and was able to save some money. I paid my Mother some for board against her protest, and when I was married, besides my trousseau, I bought a set of white Haviland China consisting of a dozen of each kind of tableware, most of which I still have. Also Battenburg hand made lace curtains for the living room and a sewing machine which is still doing duty. I really think I had a happier time than most young people do now-a-days.
Teaching: I enjoyed very much my teaching career and I think it made me a better and more successful Mother, having been associated with so many different types of young people. I liked children and think most successful teachers owe it to this. I learned a great deal. One must know a subject well in order to teach it to others.
The only subject I didn’t really like was Science. Mathematics, History, Language and Spelling were joys to me. My study of Latin has made me a much finer English student. So I didn’t just give of myself while teaching, I received a deeper and more lasting benefit than I would otherwise ever have attained.
Fairy Godmothers: Two of the women in my life who were of greatest assistance to me, indeed almost like Fairy Godmothers were my Aunt Angeline Labbe and Mrs. Harkins.
For many years my Aunt had no daughter and during that time I was like her daughter. Would stay with her and her family often on weekends. She was very generous, often helping out when I needed new clothes. She would add a bit so I could have what she wanted me to have.
Later she had a daughter of her own Margarite who was one of the loveliest girls I have ever known. Her coming did not change my Aunt’s love for me in the least and we three spent many happy days together. The Labbe boys Edmund, Henri and Antoine were more like brothers to me than cousins.
Mrs. Harkins, almost like another Mother, lived across the street from our home for over thirty years. She was a very gifted woman. Taught me to sew and crochet. She was very well read, in fact a very unusual type for those days.
Her father was a Methodist Minister, but she had been educated by the Sisters in Vancouver, Washington. That was at the time the only girls' school in or near Portland. There was an agreement that she would take everything but the religious training. That was a very unusual agreement.
My father said many times that it was too bad Mrs. Harkins hadn’t been a man, as she would have made an outstanding Judge.
I have heard too that Mrs. Harkins said if I had been a man, I would have made a great success as a business executive. However, I guess the world needs Mothers always, so we should have no regrets.
Wedding: At the time of our marriage, Charles was a Deputy Sheriff. His father William Frazier was elected Sheriff and wanted his son to be a deputy. Charles had attended Stanford University for two years. Did not graduate because his father felt he needed Charles in the Office.
Charles had a charming house built at East Stark and 8th Street and on February 26, 1903 we were married in our new home.
The basement was lined with cedar and hemlock limbs interspersed with many fancy Chinese lanterns. There were long tables laden with food. With our fifty guests and music, it was a fairy picture!
We had a week of sunny weather before the wedding and two weeks after it. We have had in all these years only four anniversaries with any rain and at no time any heavy showers.
We decided not to go on a honeymoon as we still owed a thousand dollars on our home. We decided to sell a launch which Charles owned and a stranger was considering purchasing it. He came back Sunday to say he would take it, but in the meantime, the mill where the launch was moored burned Saturday night and the launch too. We felt even worse when the buyer came back to say he would take it. Eventually the house was paid for and after we had been married seven years and had our two older boys by that time, we left the boys with my Mother and a maid and went to Yellowstone Park.
On our train trip there, I met a charming lady who said she lived there at the Park. Her son was connected with the small army stationed there. I happened to mention we were on a belated honeymoon.
In those days everyone went through the Park in horse drawn buses. The first morning all were assembled where the buses were lined up awaiting for us to be assigned. What was our great surprise and delight to be assigned to the first bus! One woman on the train had said she would gladly pay twenty dollars to get this coveted chance as the first bus had a chance to see the deer and bear, elk and other wild life along the way before they were frightened away. Also since the roads were not paved, the first one missed the clouds of dust.
But our greatest surprise was yet to come. At the large hotel where we stopped, we were assigned the bridal suite of rooms! And all through the Park, it was the same.
The lady who said she lived at the Park was of course our Fairy Godmother, but it didn’t dawn on us at the time. She had asked us to visit her in her home there if we could find the time and I was so happy afterwards that I had done so! When I came home, I wrote her as she said she hoped to hear that our boys were well and I also gave her our most sincere thanks for her great kindness to two appreciative strangers.
Portland, Multnomah Co., OR, 3 Jan 1920, Series: T625 Roll: 1502 Page: 21
When Ronald graduated from Reed and at the same time Wallace finished High School, Charles took them by auto this time to visit Yellowstone.
When he came home, he advised me not to go again as the old charm was gone. So many guests were there continuously, one had to wait to have your number called so you could dine. The autos went by so fast you couldn’t see much in detail and even the geysers didn’t seem to shoot as often or as much.
I had planned to go with Cecile when she finished High School, but instead we took the Summer Cruise to Alaska and enjoyed it very much.
Lloyd didn’t get to visit either place but thanks to Uncle Sam, he is the only member of the family who had a tour of Europe during World War II. He was near my father’s birthplace, but it was a devastated country then and I do not think my father would have been able to recognize it either.
For other details of our family, the individual Baby Books of our children will be the best of references.