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The Murphy's of Ohio/Florida

Updated December 26, 2000

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Paul Murphy:
How it was 60 to 70 years ago without TV.

It was the years of almost everyone helping each other, which mostly comes from being poor. Most of the living came from milk and eggs. I had seen a farmer get sick or die (more than one). Then other farmers would get the crop off, or what ever it was that had to be done. It was a case of you help me and I will help you. They traded thrashing grain, butchering. This all meant a feeling everyone had for each other. It all made for more honesty and maybe more religion.

When I was 8 or 10 years old, I would ride my bike to Grandma and Grandpa Hills in south Bettsville about three miles from Burgoon. 590 was not a state road and was stone, as only the very important roads were paved. After a time it went from dirt to stone and Grandpa (John) Murphy and his sons had a big part of this change in Sandusky County. They would make a quarry crushing stone and hiring like 5 or 6 men which made 10 to 12 workers, hiring farmers with teams to haul the stone in wooden wagons. The reason for the extra quarry was, less distance to haul the stone. Dad’s first job in the morning was to go to the quarry 2 hours before workers started the fire and have the steam up so the work could start at 7:00 a.m. He rode a pony and motorcycle. It was all very hard work. On the stone road to Hills (Bettsville) I would go into an orchard and get a big apple. It was Swichards. It happened to be the spot where Rita my boys and I built the red house like 40 years later. I liked to go and stay some, usually a night or two. It was different. I could play with the boys. The trains went by the front of the house just 100 feet across the street. It seamed a train went every hour or two. Most had about 100 cars 1 mile long, all steam. There would be maybe 10 to 20 hobos getting a free ride. It was 1928. A train wrecked carrying a new Buick. My Uncle Russell bought the motor and built a boat for it.

Grandpa and Grandma almost every night would go up to town. Grandma would set on a bench in front of Hartsels store with 3 or 4 other women talking. Grandpa was a very good card player and would go to Nortons cards place and play card at about 9:00 p.m. Grandma would tell me to go get Grandpa, and say, time to go home. I would slip in, tap him on the shoulder and whisper, Grandma said to come. He would give me a chip worth 5 cents (that they played for). I would buy a Three Musketeers bar.

There was a “Punch and Judy” show that came to Bettsville two or three times a summer. He had an old panel truck with the back set up like a little stage. He would always back up next to the store. Maybe it lasted an hour. (It was free and maybe 30 or 40 people came to see it.) Then he would start selling his medicine (cure all) $.50 per bottle.

Many times there would be women at Grandma’s (in the living room) stitching at the quilting frame. In the kitchen next to the window is where Grandpa played solitaire. Always when we left to go home to Burgoon, Grandma (a worrier) would say now call so I know you got home safe. (It was three miles away.) When I would call her (number 23) it went through a switchboard operator that would plug in. She would say OK Paul, I will get your Grandma. She was my Aunt. One time at Grandma Hills mother was in the house coming out soon so I would start the car up and go back and forth, finding out how it worked. When she came out, I guess I demanded I drive home and she said no way, but after some time I won out. I think I was only 12 years old, maybe 13.

At Grandma and Grandpa Murphy’s there was a big Christmas family dinner maybe in 1929. They had been to Florida and had shells and a shell lamp. Then it was a week away. The long trip seamed like so far, I never thought I would get there. At that time, there was a barn back of the house. I liked to go in and look at a road scraper, a roller and a steam engine, etc. It was their

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