Although only seven miles from our home to Visalia, the most of the day would be spent in making the trip.Most times on these trips Father and I would have a lunch that had been previously prepared by Mother.At other times we took dinner at a restaurant.
We had then but little reading matter compared with what children have in these days.I recall that a Mother Goose storybook received only occasionally would give me the delight of my life.A weekly newspaper was all the news reading we had.One room was then pasted with all these weekly papers, and many times have I searched the walls of that room for bits of prose or poetry that I delighted so very much to read and commit to memory then.The old family Bible was always within reach, however, and we children were taught its precepts.All work, excepting that which was absolutely necessary, ceased on Sunday.We did not have the Sunday School to attend then nor even the church services, but Mother read to us and taught from the pages of the old family Bible.
Sometimes, generally in September, a camp meeting was conducted in some wooded and well-shaded community.Then our parents with their whole family would go thereto and camp for a week or ten days.Some years later, of course, conditions changed and churhes and Sunday Schools were established and maintained that we had access to each Sunday, but I am writing now only of our early childhood days, days that we love to recall and days that were so different from these modern times.
These and enumerable other occurrences and conditions are all pleasant to remember.Even our childhood sorrows and afflicitons are associated with pleasing recollections, for they recall a loving devotion of our parents; I am lying on a pallet in front of the old brick fireplace, in the grip of a chill and fever; I watch Mother as she prepares the fever powder or maybe the quinine or some other medicine for me; she bathes my aching brow with a cool damp cloth while Father is pumping for me a cool fresh drink from the old Douglas pump that stands in the yard; she feels my pulse, and I can now see her countenance take on a relieved expression as she notes my improving condition.There is a manifestation of love and devotion through these administrations, and in retrospection we remember neither the pain nor sorrow but only the evidence of the love and sympathy of our parents and our appreciation and longing--yea, longing yet-- for such love, sympathy and devotion.Time in Eternity cannot erase these memories, nor do we wish that it could.
The lowlands in the vicinity of the old homestead were in early days cut with many creeks or sloughs winding their way toward Tulare Lake and unmolested in their course at that time by but few irrigation ditches.These creeks in those days contained water the year around, water thatbecame stagnant in holes during the dryer seasons of the year and thus causing chills and fever which our whole family were experiencing.This malarious condition caused Father to seek out a higher and dryer climate for a while.Accordingly, in 1882, he homesteaded eighty acres situated four miles east of the old homestead.To this place he moved his family and remained for the rest of his life.He retained, however the old homestead which he operated in conjunction with the new.
There were nine children in our parents' family, namely: Sarah Jane Elizabeth, Melinda Ann, Mary Caroline, Deliah Ellen, Martha Louisa, John James, Rose Ella, Andrew Etta, and Edward Vincent.
(here ends this story on this family at this time.Transcribed by Darlene Fly Ames from Fly Family History written in 1980 by Clarence Michaels (my cousin))