Below follows part four of the Goldie Gorman Webster story. In 2015, we learned about Goldie’s experiences with local schools, local businesses and the general experience of growing up in early 1900s Junction City. To begin 2016, we will share her memories of the good times she had as a child in the area, and the ways she and other children her age were entertained.
“You may wonder what we did for pleasure in the early 1900s, when there was no radio or television. Well for one thing, families did things together. One that I shall never forget, is the day when the ladies went "greening". The children were taken along on those trips and we learned which greens were edible and which were poisonous. Sometimes my sister and I were asked to pick a pail full for a lady who could not go along. We were paid 15 cents for a water pail full. Our fame as greens pickers was published by word of mouth and we were in business! Billy Graham, "Billy Stix" (as he was called having one leg), cooked at the Depot Hotel. He engaged us to pick a tub full of greens now and then. They were served with corn bread to the trainmen who ate at the hotel. We were paid 25 cents for a tub full.
Sometimes groups of soldiers who had passes to come to town, walked. When they came to our place they sometimes asked my sister or me for a drink, if we were in the front yard. We had a hydrant there and we were always glad to fetch a drinking cup. Sometimes a detachment of soldiers on a march came past our place. We loved to watch the horses, the waving flags and the rolling caissons.
The railroaders had a ball team. We were sometimes taken to watch them practice or play a game. Then there was the circus. It set up on the railroad ground. Father because of his railroad connection received what we called "Comps." There was always plenty for us and our friends, who were invited to go with us, and for father’s workmen & their families. I thought the clowns were silly. I was scared to watch the trapeze performers. I was always sure they would fall and be smashed before my eyes. We must not forget to mention the parade. The sidewalks uptown would be lined with people. The parade was always an hour or so late. Little boys kept dodging out into the street watching for it to come. When the first sound of music was heard, the boys called out loudly, "Here, they come!"
Once a week there was a band concert in the park. We always got a treat of popcorn when we went in. Lillie Nikirk Murphy operated a popcorn stand at the park entrance. Children played on the grass. There was not much noise then, so people could enjoy the music.
There were socials and parties at our church, sometimes hay rack rides. When we came to Junction City, our church, the Christian, had no regular place of worship. The family who lived next to us, had a boy and a girl about our age. They went to the Universalist church and asked us to go with them. The Universalist church had once been Centennial Hall. It was at 5th and Adams. We children took part in the Sunday school Junior League. We made many friends there with whom we came in contact for many years. Mrs. Seymour, Mrs. Bradford and Captain Trott were the children groups sponsors. One summer day our Sunday School Class rode by hay rack out to McFarlands grove, west of town. We were to have a picnic dinner, play games and wade in the creek, which was said to be safe for children. When we arrived we took off our shoes and socks and went into the water. My little sister found a place where the water was fairly deep and she promptly fell in. She was rescued, looking like a drowned rat. Mrs. Seymore wrapped her in Capt. Trott’s lap robe, (they had come there in Capt. Trott’s buggy). We were hustled home at once. I was put out at having missed the fun. Mother was glad it was no worse than some wet clothes.
I must mention our Senior class banquet. It was held at the Bartell Hotel and it created lots of excitement among the students. There was the concern about what we would wear, would we have a date, etc. The hotel was the one with an atmosphere in those days, so we green kids wondered if we would conduct ourselves becomingly, whether we would use the correct silver and for fun kidded each other about drinking of the finger bowl and how to properly use our napkin. It was fun and I will never forget it. Oh yes, you are wondering if I had a date. Definitely no, I was not allowed to date until I finished High School. Either my father or the father or brother of a friend saw to it that I got to the party and returned home the same way.”
Do you have stories of growing up in Geary County? Stop in the museum to share them. Open Tuesday-Saturday; 1-4pm.