Life in Glendale or Oakland
The farm on which the large house was built, and where five of us were born, consisted of fourteen acres of beautiful rolling land with many fine trees, orchards, flowering shrubs, and a good-sized lake.
My brother, Orville, was four years old on December 4, the day I was born. He became my most devoted brother, as we celebrated our birthdays together for many years. Lennie, as Leonard was called, was my constant companion, and I think we were in the same nursery for my first years.
My earliest vivid memory is this: When I was three, Lennie took me by the hand to go out back of our house where there were some very tall trees. One was a great spruce tree. A tiny bird was in the top of the trees, singing. I asked Lennie what the bird was saying. He said it is saying “c-e-d-a-r tree-ee-ee.” So I had become a bird-watcher in these early years.
I was always quite adept at using my hands and could cut out fanciful things at an early age. Mother always said I kept Lennie out of mischief this way. Now at eighty-seven this talent has given pleasure at Gatesworth Manor.
My love of nature and knowledge of plants, trees, and flowers was developed at an early age. Animals, from butterflies and tadpoles to horses were my friends and playmates; also frogs and snakes. We children did not have the fancy or “scientific” toys _______ that my grandchildren have. My love of horseback riding came when I was four or five years of age. We had two horses, Ginger and Bill. They liked carrots or sugar. I would climb the fence, call the horses, give one his reward, grab him by the mane, throw my leg over his back and ride around the field. After we moved to St. Louis my horseback riding lagged for a few years. In my late teens father let me hire a horse from time to time. During the nineties and early nineteen hundreds riding was much the vogue. I rode a great deal. Now, back to the little girl in Glendale. Mr. Chandler was my father’s lawyer. They lived in a large brick house still standing in Glendale. There were several children. Miss Amy Chandler, a few years older than I, would come and get me to spend the day with her. She would let me dress up in grown-up clothes and play lady, make pull candy, and give me a fine time. This would relieve my mother who had had a stillborn child. Then, on October 4, 1880, mother’s ninth child was born – big, husky Claude Levering.
The lake in our place was twenty feet deep, and at one of _______ that ________ children were forbidden to go alone to the high dam for fear of falling in. The lake was stocked with fish. We had a boat house and a bath house, including bird house near the roof. We also had an ice house which was a pretty Moorish-ty building with six columns that supported a cupola topped by a lightening rod. Porches surrounded the six-sided building. How well I can remember the screeching of the ice saws in winter when hundred-pound blocks of ice were cut and stored in sawdust. I can almost smell the damp sawdust.
One Sunday my sister Mary, in ruffled white dress and pantalets, wandered down to the lake and stood watching the bullfrogs above the high dam. Father went up behind her to frighten her and punish her for disobeying the order against going to the high dam. In her fright Mary fell into the water. Although she knew how to swim she was struggling in her fancy clothes, and father, fearing she might drown, threw off his Sunday coat and vest and jumped in after her. This incident was a lesson to all of us. We never went to that spot alone again.
We loved to watch and mimic the frogs, and enjoy the water lilies and fireflies. One of my chief delights was watching the train go by with my brother Willie or Orville looking down the deep embankment to _______.
When I was four or five years old my sisters were going to Mary Institute in St. Louis. My sister Mary’s friend and classmate was Emily Sproule. She had a sister about my age who was named Martha. Some Saturdays Mary would go to spend the day with Miss Emily, taking me to play with Martha, called Mattie. (She later became Mrs. Daniel Harry Clark.) Mattie lived next door to Bessie Clark. We three often played together. (Bessie Clark became Mrs. Henry Boeckeler.)
My sister Belle had a classmate at Mary Institute named Alice Knapp. Her little sister, Genevieve (later Mrs. Gutherie McConnell) was one of my playmates. Sister Belle took me to spend the day with her. These three little girls ______ met at an early age became life-long friends.
After we moved to St. Louis in 1880, when Claude was one month old. A year or two before Claude was born, father was building the big house at 1000 Grand Avenue.