Dorothy Vani and Myron Marfut grew up on the Lorenz property in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park during the 1950s. Coming from an Austrian descent, these two siblings illustrate their experiences of what farm life was like during this time in the Northeastern Ohio region. We were able to extract valuable information from this interview, such as how the farm was run solely by their mother because of a divorce over religious issues, the duties/chores that came with living the farmer's lifestyle, and what daily routines consisted of on this property.
Vani, Dorothy (interviewee); Marfut, Myron (interviewee)
Fasko, Kevin (interviewer)
Cuyahoga Valley Project
"Dorothy Vani and Myron Marfut Interview, 06 April 2011" (2011). Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection. Interview 518024.
Transcription sponsored by Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Carolyn Conklin [00:00:03] Alright, whenever you are ready.
Kevin Fasko [00:00:07] Alright. I'm Kevin Fasko, and I'm a Cleveland State student, and I will be interviewing...
Dorothy Vani [00:00:13] Dorothy Vani.
Myron Marfut [00:00:14] And Myron Marfut.
Kevin Fasko [00:00:16] Alright. We will be using this information to archive in Cleveland State and help with the Cleveland, Cuyahoga Valley Park, National Park, I'm sorry. Well, let's get started here. Basically you guys were farmers. You grew up on a farm, correct?
Myron Marfut [00:00:32] Well, I wouldn't call it a farm. It was 20 acres. Wecame off of a farm that was 80 acres. So this was just a place to move to before we started building our house. Okay.
Kevin Fasko [00:00:44] Okay, so where was that other farm previously?
Myron Marfut [00:00:48] Strongsville.
Kevin Fasko [00:00:49] Okay, and why would, why did you move from the 80 acre to the 20 acre?
Myron Marfut [00:00:53] Because we were renting the 80 acres and we bought the 20 acres, or my mother bought the 20 acres.
Kevin Fasko [00:00:59] So your... Well, I've researched and your mother did run this farm, right?
Myron Marfut [00:01:03] She ran the farm. We did a lot of the work, but she ran the farm, and it was her job. We did what she asked us to do.
Kevin Fasko [00:01:09] Right, right. So basically, when did you purchase this 20-acre plot of land?
Myron Marfut [00:01:16] 1947.
Kevin Fasko [00:01:19] '47? Okay. And when you came here, you guys were how old?
Myron Marfut [00:01:26] I was 16.
Dorothy Vani [00:01:26] And I was eight.
Kevin Fasko [00:01:27] Eight years old?
Dorothy Vani [00:01:28] Mhm.
Kevin Fasko [00:01:30] How many siblings did you guys have when you came here?
Myron Marfut [00:01:32] Well, all together, there's eight kids in our family, but at the time we moved out here, there was Andy, George, me, Eli, and her.
Dorothy Vani [00:01:45] And Dira.
Myron Marfut [00:01:45] Oh yeah, and Dira, but two of my brothers were in Cleveland. No, one was, had got married and the other was in the service, in the Army, service.
Kevin Fasko [00:01:58] So...
Dorothy Vani [00:01:59] Which I'd like to add that all six of my brothers served in the military at one time or another.
Kevin Fasko [00:02:08] So when you guys came to the farm, you said you were 16, you were eight. So what was a typical day like on the farm? [inaudible]
Myron Marfut [00:02:17] Well, it was nothing like you would visualize a farm. It was 20 acres of vacant land. And my mother asked my older brother, who was 21, and his name was Andy, can you build a house? And he said, I don't know. We could try. I was 16, George was 18, and Andy was 21, and we proceeded to build a house.
Kevin Fasko [00:02:48] What materials? You build it yourself?
Myron Marfut [00:02:49] We built it all ourselves. I dug, with my brother George, we dug the footer with a pick and shovel. They didn't have backhoes. They didn't have any of that stuff. We loosened the ground up with a pick and we shoveled it out for the foundation of the house. And I'm going to estimate the house was twenty 24 by about 40 maybe, I don't remember. It's been a long time ago. And then we laid the block, and I was 16 years old. I'm laying cement block. And I guess I did a pretty good job. The house is still standing. [laughs].
Dorothy Vani [00:03:24] [Laughs]
Kevin Fasko [00:03:26] Is it down over there?
Myron Marfut [00:03:27] So. No, go ahead, you want to fill in something? I'm...
Kevin Fasko [00:03:37] And Dorothy, what was your role in this house we're... Did you have any involvement in building it?
Dorothy Vani [00:03:42] I didn't have [crosstalk] any involvement in the building. I remember when we would go there and my mother would build a fire, and somehow she had a thing that would hold bacon over the top of the fire. And we would eat bacon and bacon sandwiches. And usually I think she had a pan or something over the fire. And we used... We had bacon and onion sandwiches and dried onions and, oh, they were delicious. [laughs]
Kevin Fasko [00:04:15] Did you use your own goods that you guys were farming, like for the bacon?
Dorothy Vani [00:04:18] No, that was what... Well, it was what we brought from the other farm.
Kevin Fasko [00:04:21] From the other farm. [Dorothy: Right.]
Myron Marfut [00:04:21] Okay, so after we started, we built the house. Oh, well, were building the house for a year and a half because there was no electricity on the road that we were building on, and the electricity ended about three quarters of a mile from our house. So at the time, it wasn't called Ohio Edison, I don't what they called it at that, but maybe it was Ohio Edison. But they said, yeah, we could bring the electric down. Number one, you're gonna have to pay for it. And number two, I don't know how soon we can get to it. About a year and eight months, they finally brought the electric down to where we building the house. Up until then, we had to cut everything by hand. Handsaw. We didn't have power saws. And there was a rough way to build the house, but it come out good. It was a good, solid house. Then they brought the electric down two days before Christmas 1948. And up until then we used kerosene lanterns and what do you call 'em?
Dorothy Vani [00:05:25] Coleman lanterns.
Myron Marfut [00:05:25] Coleman lanterns, you know? And we had oil heat and an outside toilet. We didn't have an inside toilet in those days because where are you going to put it? You know. So that's the way we grew up in that, you know, and as time went by, we finally finished the house up. My brother, the 21-year-old, is the one that was gonna direct the project. He did a good job of it. And...
Dorothy Vani [00:05:59] He ended up being an engineer. [crosstalk] Electrical engineer, actually.
Myron Marfut [00:06:01] Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Graduated from Case...
Dorothy Vani [00:06:03] Mhm.
Myron Marfut [00:06:04] But. Maybe you can go from there.
Dorothy Vani [00:06:09] I'm sorry, I miss... I interrupted you. The only thing I can think of is when we first moved to that 20 acres of land, the road was called Commodore Road. It was not called Akron Peninsula Road at that time. And we lived there. And Dugway Hill at that time would take you straight into Peninsula. And I guess that's why they later changed it to Akron Peninsula Road. When we moved into the summer of nineteen, into the house in the summer of 1948, as Myron said, there was no electric. We had a kerosene cook stove. And then at one time I remember a wood-burning stove because it had a container on the side that heated water while you were cooking. Okay, and we used the Coleman lanterns and so on, as my brother said. I think my brother has a good story about electric, not having electric, and how we listened to the radio.
Myron Marfut [00:07:12] Oh okay. So the electric wasn't brought down until the twenty-third of December, two days before Christmas, 1948. We had the whole house decorated, just waiting so we can plug the thing in to have lights. Up until then it was all the lanterns. What did you want me to... I already forgot.
Dorothy Vani [00:07:36] How you, how you listened to the radio.
Myron Marfut [00:07:38] Oh, oh, that's right. Of course we did have electric, we didn't have radios or anything. So we had a car radio in the living room and we run the wire through the, well, we had casement windows, these big metal windows that open like this? We run the wire out to a car. My brother would pull his car up as close as he could to the house and we'd hook it up to the battery on his car and listen to the radio in the house. That was our only only way of getting electric to the house to listen to the radio.
Kevin Fasko [00:08:13] Until after that Christmas, right?
Myron Marfut [00:08:15] After Christmas, we had lights.
Kevin Fasko [00:08:18] Lights. [Myron: Yeah.] That's good. So, you said that this was a house that is 20 by 40, you said?
Myron Marfut [00:08:23] I'm gonna guess in that. Isn't that 24 by 40? I'm not sure.
Kevin Fasko [00:08:26] So including your mother who was 70 who lived in this house?
Myron Marfut [00:08:30] Okay, there was two bedrooms on the first floor. She, her older sister, and our mother was in the one bedroom. My older... Andy had his own bedroom. And the rest of us, there was three of us, lived on the second floor. It had two floors.
Dorothy Vani [00:08:49] So there were six of us living at home at that time.
Kevin Fasko [00:08:54] Oh, so your family got involved in farming with that previous plot of land you said in Strongsville? Is that where you said it was?
Myron Marfut [00:09:00] Yeah.
Kevin Fasko [00:09:00] When... Did you come from a family of farmers?
Myron Marfut [00:09:05] No.
Kevin Fasko [00:09:05] No?
Myron Marfut [00:09:07] My mother was born in Austria. My father was born in Austria. So I'm going to guess that they had farming knowledge because back in those days, they must have done a lot of farming in Austria. But we didn't know too much about it except for what our mother told us.
Kevin Fasko [00:09:22] So. So you guys from Austrian descent. When... When did your ancestors come over here?
Myron Marfut [00:09:32] Those were the only two, my mother and our father.
Kevin Fasko [00:09:34] Oh, your mother and father were...
Myron Marfut [00:09:35] Yeah, they both came over from Austria. In fact, my mother came over when she was 14 years old from Austria by herself. And she's on this big boat. Never been on a boat in her life. And she's coming over to the United States. And the first thing she saw was the Statue of Liberty and to hear her talk about the Statue of Liberty, boy that was the greatest thing in the world to her.
Kevin Fasko [00:10:01] Do you remember anything she actually said about that?
Myron Marfut [00:10:02] Oh boy. Yeah, she talked a lot about it. But, you know, just not real stories. But she got there. She needed a certain amount of money in her pocket when she landed in New York. And then they'd have to have somebody meet them to accept them into the country, and her and lived in Cohos, New York. And she never showed up until what? Hours later, wasn't it?
Dorothy Vani [00:10:34] I guess so, yeah, I think so.
Myron Marfut [00:10:36] And so she was sitting there by herself, couldn't speak a word of English, trying to, you know... But she survived.
Kevin Fasko [00:10:44] What year was that? Do you know?
Myron Marfut [00:10:45] 1914.
Kevin Fasko [00:10:45] 1914? So how did she end up in Ohio and Strongsville?
Myron Marfut [00:10:51] Well, we lived... Okay, that's a good part of the story. We lived in Cleveland. I don't know how she ever got to Cleveland, but we were in Cleveland. And they owned their own house. My mother and father owned their house in Cleveland. When the Great Depression came, they lost the house. They couldn't make the payments. So we went on rent. We rented here, we rented there, until this house became available in... Broadview Heights is where we first landed. And we had a nice farm in Broadview Heights, 50 acres. We were doing a lot of farming. And they sold the house because we were renting it and we moved to Strongsville. And in Strongsville we had an 80-acre farm, and I was 11 years old when I was driving the tractor to plow the fields. You know, I mean, it was not unusual. This is just the way it was done, you know. And then I don't know how she ever heard about Boston Heights. Now she says...
Dorothy Vani [00:11:55] Well, she somehow she heard about the land in Boston Heights, okay? I don't... I thought it was from a Mr. Golber, but I don't know if that... That doesn't seem to ring a bell with other people. But I seem to remember that name. But when we first bought the house, of course, we had to hand dig a well so we could get water, and my brothers hand dug the well and... But it was difficult to reach water in Boston Heights. And but what we did was we used a bucket and a rope to get the water out of the well. And we got our drinking and cooking water from the neighbors, the Headlands who were around the corner from the Girl Scout camp but on the same street, same road. And we would fill ten milk, ten-gallon milk cans and have them sitting in the kitchen. And that's what we used for our water. We had an outhouse out back and we either sponge bathed or, in a pan in the kitchen, or I remember occasionally bathing in a galvanized round tub in the basement, and the basement still had a dirt floor, but we eventually had a coal furnace down there. And so it was warm down there, okay?
Kevin Fasko [00:13:16] This is before you moved to...
Dorothy Vani [00:13:17] No, this is in Boston Heights.
Kevin Fasko [00:13:21] Okay. Alright.
Dorothy Vani [00:13:21] My main memory is Boston Heights because I was eight years old. I was four years old when we moved to Strongsville. I was eight years old when we moved to Boston Heights. So most of my growing up years were in Boston Heights. Right.
Myron Marfut [00:13:39] Yeah, we... We didn't have anything. I mean, no water, no electric. We survived. I mean, I don't know how we ever did, but we did. You were saying something, I forgot what you were saying, and I wanted to... But anyhow, I wish I had my notes. I forgot my notes.
Dorothy Vani [00:14:00] Well, I guess I'll go on. My strongest memory was the fact that my family was able to build a house by themselves. No contractor. Our mother being from Europe knew how to clear the land, raise the animals, grow the food, not only for ourselves but to sell as well. We were poor, but we never went hungry.
Myron Marfut [00:14:26] We had the stuff that we raised, chickens, ducks, whatever, vegetables. I was 16. I was driving a pickup truck. I didn't even have a driver's license. I shouldn't tell you this. I was 18 before I got my driver's license, never got a ticket. But anyhow, we used to go into Slavic Village. Do you know where Slavic Village is in Cleveland?
Kevin Fasko [00:14:50] It's in Cleveland. Yes.
Myron Marfut [00:14:51] Yeah. And off of 71st Street, we had a route there. Once a week. We drive the pickup truck up there loaded with all kind of sweet corn, chickens, eggs, whatever. And my wife, my mother would sell this to the people and they waited for us every week. They knew we were coming and we sold all this to them and then could go back. That's where we got of our money from.
Kevin Fasko [00:15:15] So you built a pretty strong relationship with these ethnic neighborhoods.
Myron Marfut [00:15:18] Right, in that area. Yeah.
Kevin Fasko [00:15:20] So you were on like pretty much a personal basis with them, correct?
Dorothy Vani [00:15:24] I would say so, yeah. [crosstalk] Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:15:27] My parents were ethnic.
Kevin Fasko [00:15:28] Yeah. So it's interesting because when you. Was it strictly just Slavic Village or were any other areas around here?
Dorothy Vani [00:15:38] Oh I don't know, I'm... They called it Slavic Village because it was a lot of foreigners lived there. And I guess that's why it came up with that name. I don't know.
Kevin Fasko [00:15:47] So there were any, like, specific neighborhood demographics that you...
Myron Marfut [00:15:51] I would say so.
Kevin Fasko [00:15:52] It's pretty much middle European.
Myron Marfut [00:15:52] Yeah. Yeah. I would say so. I don't know other other than that.
Kevin Fasko [00:15:56] So with... I actually read that you guys also sold cottage cheese and butter.
Myron Marfut [00:16:02] Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. She made butter. Yeah.
Kevin Fasko [00:16:05] Did you have livestock on your farm to provide the dairy or...
Myron Marfut [00:16:07] We had one or two cows. How many did we have?
Dorothy Vani [00:16:09] We had several. I think we had more than that.
Myron Marfut [00:16:11] Okay.
Dorothy Vani [00:16:11] I would guess more like four or five. Yeah.
Myron Marfut [00:16:13] But she would milk the cows by hand and make the butter. Then the milk... We didn't sell a whole lot of milk. We sold milk in Strongsville because we had a route in Strongsville on one of the roads there, but I don't know if she sold much milk in Slavic Village or not. I don't think so.
Dorothy Vani [00:16:33] No, I think she made the homemade cottage cheese, and how she did that was she took a cheese cloth bag, would fill it with what we called lumpy milk [laughs] and she would put that bag between two boards and put a rock on top of the bag, on top of the board. And the whey would come out of the bag then. And when it all came out, it was cottage cheese. And then the butter... She had a cream separator. I think that came later on. But she had a cream separator. In the addition that we put on the house, our original house, I thought it was more like 32 maybe or something, or 35 by 24. And then we put an addition on the back of the house and we called that our summer kitchen, and she had the cream separator in the summer kitchen and she would milk.
Myron Marfut [00:17:30] That was after we had electric.
Dorothy Vani [00:17:32] Oh yes.
Myron Marfut [00:17:33] Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:17:33] Oh yes. I would say 1950 is when we added on to the house and she had a cream separator in that summer kitchen when she would milk the cows in a bucket. And we had cats and dogs and we had pigs and geese and ducks and all kinds of animals. And but what she would do is take... The cats and the dogs were always waiting for her to finish milking the cows because they got the first taste of the fresh milk. She always poured a container, you know, a pan of milk for them. And they lapped it all up, of course. And then she'd bring the milk into the summer kitchen and put it through the cream separator. And that would separate the cream from the milk, which then we could make butter out of that cream.
Myron Marfut [00:18:21] The milk, or the milk that's left over is what they call skim milk. Okay?
Kevin Fasko [00:18:25] Right.
Myron Marfut [00:18:26] Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:18:26] Right.
Kevin Fasko [00:18:29] So obviously, you guys were educated, like you guys built a house, you guys were educated. So where did you guys go to school?
Dorothy Vani [00:18:37] [laughs]
Myron Marfut [00:18:37] Right up the street here. Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:18:39] In Peninsula. Boston High School.
Myron Marfut [00:18:42] Yeah.
Kevin Fasko [00:18:42] Was it...
Dorothy Vani [00:18:42] Originally Strongsville.
Kevin Fasko [00:18:44] It wasn't too rural of an area, right? Like you guys had neighbors, you guys... [crosstalk]
Myron Marfut [00:18:47] Oh, well, no, no. The street we lived on, Commodore Road or Akron Peninsula Road, there was one family that lived across the street in a barn way back from the road, Kurzes. And...
Dorothy Vani [00:19:03] Oh...
Myron Marfut [00:19:05] They built...
Dorothy Vani [00:19:06] The Kurzes didn't live across the street. God!
Myron Marfut [00:19:08] Oh, not Kurzes. What's the other name?
Dorothy Vani [00:19:10] Yontz.
Myron Marfut [00:19:11] Yontz. Yontz. [Dorothy laughs] They lived across the street, and in the barn way the back, and after we built our house, then they started building their own house. And that may be because my mother got—I think now, I'm not sure of this—I think she... the electric company eventually paid her for any house that attached to the electric wires, she got compensated because she paid for the wires that come down. And after that, then these people across the street, they moved in, they built the house closer to the street, or to the road, and moved moved out of that barn back there where they lived.
Dorothy Vani [00:19:50] She was an Indian lady and she plowed her fields with a horse and a plow in the back.
Myron Marfut [00:19:58] A walk-behind plow.
Dorothy Vani [00:19:59] Yeah. A walk... Yeah.
Myron Marfut [00:20:01] Heck. We're talking about 1940s.
Kevin Fasko [00:20:02] Right.
Myron Marfut [00:20:03] You know. [laughs]
Dorothy Vani [00:20:05] We at least had a tractor. [laughs]
Myron Marfut [00:20:08] Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:20:08] I will say though, my mother cleared the land, a lot of it with her sythe, okay? And she also used a sickle to... When we planted corn, field corn, and she would take the sickle and chop the corn with the sickle and then put it in a corn shock so that it would dry. And then after it was dried, we would take the corn cob off of the dried corn and put it through a hand cranking corn sheller. And that was for the chickens and the geese and all that.
Kevin Fasko [00:20:48] So you guys, you were a self-sustaining family, right?
Dorothy Vani [00:20:50] Absolutely.
Myron Marfut [00:20:50] Oh yeah, yeah.
Kevin Fasko [00:20:51] So I mean, there's obviously some meeting between profit and... [inaudible]
Dorothy Vani [00:20:57] Okay. My mother... We used to take stuff to Slavic Village. That was one source of income. Then she had a job cleaning a bank or a couple of banks in Cleveland, not of money. She'd clean 'em up [Kevin laughs] at the end of the week. [laughs] But she... That was her income. On the weekends she would do that because they... And in order for her to get there, she, if we weren't home, she would walk... How far do you think it is? About a mile or mile and a half?
Dorothy Vani [00:21:32] I'd say at least a mile and a half to Boston Mill, or to Route 8, Old Route 8.
Myron Marfut [00:21:36] Boston Mills Road and Old Route 8. She'd catch a Greyhound bus, and he'd take her to Cleveland. She cleaned the banks and then come back and then walk this distance, if we weren't home she'd walk it.
Kevin Fasko [00:21:50] This is every weekend?
Myron Marfut [00:21:52] Every weekend. That was her source of money. When I was 18, I got a job working on the golf course. I got long legs. And Wing Chadwick was the owner of the golf course.
Dorothy Vani [00:22:05] Boston Hills Golf...
Myron Marfut [00:22:07] Boston Hills Country Club. And he says, you're the guy for cuttin' the greens. And I cut greens, all eighteen greens, every other day. We cut 'em, every second day we cut the greens. And I did that for a couple of years for a source of income,
Kevin Fasko [00:22:23] But obviously, to provide for your family and yourself.
Myron Marfut [00:22:25] Huh?
Kevin Fasko [00:22:27] Obviously to provide for your family and yourself.
Myron Marfut [00:22:28] Oh, yeah, and my check, whatever it was, I gave my mother two-thirds of it to help her out and I had what was left. And I had a car. I had a '31 Chevy coupe. We're not running... Alright? We had a... I had a '31 Chevy coupe that would... I drove it to school, if I had the gas in it. If I didn't have gas, I'd wait for the school bus. But that's the way we survived.
Kevin Fasko [00:22:57] So tell me more about your mother as a person.
Myron Marfut [00:23:01] Very generous. I wouldn't know if she was strict or not. Do you think she was strict? She was strict with us.
Kevin Fasko [00:23:09] Sounds like a hard worker.
Myron Marfut [00:23:11] Oh, she was a hard worker...
Dorothy Vani [00:23:12] Very hard worker.
Myron Marfut [00:23:12] No question about it. Yeah, well, her and my dad broke up for religious reasons. I won't have to get into it and...
Dorothy Vani [00:23:24] She left my father.
Myron Marfut [00:23:25] And that's when we moved...
Dorothy Vani [00:23:26] With all of our kids... With all of her kids. [laughs]
Myron Marfut [00:23:28] To... That's we moved to Boston Heights, but that's how we managed. We'd all pitch in a little bit, you know, to help her out. And she always paid... Oh, that's one thing she always said. You never... No. If somebody loans you something or you owe them money for, you always pay him first before you buy something else. She says you never buy something if you owe somebody money. And she always did that. And she always... She never had a late payment of anything, I don't believe and...
Dorothy Vani [00:24:03] I think she taught us that as well. And you told her, or you told me about she always bought her lumber and...
Myron Marfut [00:24:12] Terry Lumber. Have you ever heard of Terry Lumber? Well, he was down in, not where he is now, but he was down in the valley where the ski slope is now. And, Terry, everything, even the coal we bought, he delivered it. After the house was built, they delivered the coal to put in our furnace to heat the house. Everything, the wood, the cement blocks, everything we bought from Terry Lumber. And she never, never was late on a payment or anything that I know of. She always paid. Always pay your debts first.
Kevin Fasko [00:24:45] You utilized the wood, obviously, for a fire warmth. Building your house. And anything else that you utilized lumber for?
Myron Marfut [00:24:52] Well, the wooden rafters for the house. And here's another story. Can I write on the back of this? This is the roof of the house. And Andy, he was the... He was a smart one, and like you say, she said he was an engineer, which is true. He put the wood like this, instead of across...
Kevin Fasko [00:25:15] He put that...
Myron Marfut [00:25:16] Right. And the guy from the street across the street, the guy that lived in the barn, he came over and he couldn't get over how he was put in this wood down. And Andy's way of thinking was, if it's this way, the house is going to do this.
Kevin Fasko [00:25:32] That was stabilizing it.
Myron Marfut [00:25:33] Stabilizing. And that's how he... But every piece of wood was cut by hand, not a saw because we didn't, there's no electrcity. And all the woodwork in the house was all... He did it. We took it all home to Strongsville. He'd run on the power saw in Strongsville, and made beautiful woodwork, and he nailed it around the windows. That was how we dressed it up a little bit, you know.
Dorothy Vani [00:25:59] We also used the wood eventually to build a barn and a chicken coop.
Kevin Fasko [00:26:05] So what would, was this livestock, so just the geese, chicken, ducks, were these.... How did you utilize those? For yourself? You were self-sustaining or you guys sold, like you mentioned Slavic Village...
Myron Marfut [00:26:15] Oh, no, we ate a lot of that and then we sold a lot of it. Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:26:19] Yeah.
Myron Marfut [00:26:20] But we never went hungry.
Kevin Fasko [00:26:21] Right.
Dorothy Vani [00:26:22] On Sunday, I remember we had the best tasting fried chicken ever. My mother would take the... Kill the chicken on Sunday morning and by Sunday afternoon we were eating it. Okay? And then sometimes when a chicken got a little too old to fry, she would take and make homemade chicken soup with homemade noodles. And then occasionally there'd be a chicken yolk, an egg yolk, in the soup because the older chicken maybe hadn't developed the egg totally. And so she would add that to the soup as well. And it was, it was really good.
Kevin Fasko [00:27:03] Good. You had... When you had... Did you have designated duties on the farm or do you pretty much do what your mother...
Myron Marfut [00:27:10] We did pretty much what she asked us to do. I was the middle one. George was older than me. I was, at that time I was probably 14. No, no, I was 11 when I started driving the tractor, but we'd plow the fields for our crop. This area here was for crop that we sold. A lot of it we sold. It was vegetables. In the back, it was grain or field corn for the animals, you know. Isn't that about the way it was?
Dorothy Vani [00:27:42] Yes. In the area to the right of the house, which was beyond the ravine where the house sits now, beyond the ravine is where the vegetables...
Kevin Fasko [00:27:53] The vegetables. What vegetables did you grow?
Myron Marfut [00:27:55] Oh, everything, everything that you needed...
Myron Marfut [00:27:59] Tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, you name it.
Dorothy Vani [00:28:03] Yeah. Beans, green beans...
Myron Marfut [00:28:04] Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:28:05] I remember... And my sister's job and I was kind of to pick the things. We, oh and we had a big strawberry patch in the front of our house. We had an area that was grass. And then beyond that, closer to the road was a big strawberry patch.
Myron Marfut [00:28:18] Directly in front of the house was our fruit trees. We had peach and all kind of fruit trees and from the house to the street, that area right there was our fruit trees...
Dorothy Vani [00:28:28] Strawberry patch.
Myron Marfut [00:28:29] And strawberries and what have you.
Dorothy Vani [00:28:31] Mhm. And we... My sister and I would... That was our job was to pick the berries and vegetables and that kind of thing.
Kevin Fasko [00:28:38] How old was your sister? You're older?
Dorothy Vani [00:28:40] She's four years older than me. Mhm. So she was 12 when we moved there. Mhm.
Kevin Fasko [00:28:47] Did your father have any contact with this farm?
Myron Marfut [00:28:50] No, no.
Kevin Fasko [00:28:51] That was that?
Myron Marfut [00:28:53] He... Well, I don't know. I don't want to say what religion he was. I don't want to step on anybody's toe. He was a Jehovah's Witness, and my mother could not stand it. So she says either you you're with us or you're with them. And he stayed with them. So that's why we moved. And he... We never even told him where we moved. He found out on his own.
Kevin Fasko [00:29:18] Weren't there one day?
Myron Marfut [00:29:18] That's about it.
Kevin Fasko [00:29:20] So where... Where did you go after you moved off the Strongsville farm between the period of [inaudible] farm? Because you had to build the house. So where were you staying?
Dorothy Vani [00:29:29] We were still paying... We were renting.
Kevin Fasko [00:29:30] Oh, you were renting.
Myron Marfut [00:29:31] So we're still paying the rent and building.
Kevin Fasko [00:29:33] Okay, I see.
Myron Marfut [00:29:34] [crosstalk] For about a year and a half. Our gasoline was 18 cents a gallon.
Kevin Fasko [00:29:38] I wish.
Myron Marfut [00:29:40] A five gallon... Now, we had a tractor, so I'd go get gas for the tractor. A five-gallon can would cost me less than five dollars, which was 18 cents a gallon, for our farm tractor.
Dorothy Vani [00:29:58] I guess I'd like to add about the man that came to our house one day... Because we didn't have a whole lot of water in that well that we dug, and my mother needed another well for the animals, you know, so she'd have enough water for them. And a man came to our house...
Myron Marfut [00:30:13] [laughs] Okay.
Dorothy Vani [00:30:14] And he had a peach tree branch. It was the shape of a Y, and he would take that branch and hold it in his hands real tight. And if he would kind of hold it up, if the bottom part of the Y went down towards the ground, that's where he said you could locate water.
Myron Marfut [00:30:37] Did you hear of that system?
Dorothy Vani [00:30:37] And we eventually did.
Kevin Fasko [00:30:39] I took a geology class or something like that. We talked about it.
Myron Marfut [00:30:42] Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:30:43] Yeah.
Myron Marfut [00:30:44] The wand... There was a name for it.
Dorothy Vani [00:30:46] I don't remember the name.
Myron Marfut [00:30:47] I can't remember the name.
Dorothy Vani [00:30:47] Yeah. But anyway, she eventually did drill a well and I assume it was through his telling her where to drill it, or had it drilled I mean, by the barn, near the barn. So she had that water for the animals.
Kevin Fasko [00:31:00] How did she build the well? Or how did she drill it?
Dorothy Vani [00:31:03] She didn't drill it. No, I say she had it drilled.
Myron Marfut [00:31:05] The well, the first well was a hand-dug well.
Dorothy Vani [00:31:08] Right.
Myron Marfut [00:31:08] And all of us, me, George, and Andy, the three of us, dug that by hand, and...
Kevin Fasko [00:31:13] How far down?
Myron Marfut [00:31:14] We were twenty...
Dorothy Vani [00:31:16] I was going to say.
Myron Marfut [00:31:17] Twenty feet, I'm gonna guess. And you know the scary part, and I think back today, you hear of all these people where ditches are collapsing and we were down twenty feet and we never had a single thing holding that dirt from coming out. And we dug twenty feet down and we had a little bit of water, but not enough to depend on. That's why she's bringing it up that well.
Dorothy Vani [00:31:40] Mhm.
Kevin Fasko [00:31:45] So when your mother would go to the banks on the weekend or just any other... Did she ever leave the farm for any extended period of time?
Myron Marfut [00:31:56] Oh, we'd take her shopping. Or you mean on her own?
Kevin Fasko [00:32:01] Yeah, on her own.
Myron Marfut [00:32:02] Oh, no. Oh, she couldn't, she couldn't drive.
Kevin Fasko [00:32:05] Right.
Myron Marfut [00:32:05] So we, and wherever she went, we drove her.
Kevin Fasko [00:32:08] Okay.
Dorothy Vani [00:32:08] My mother never knew how to drive a car, but she knew how to drive a tractor.
Kevin Fasko [00:32:12] Drive a tractor.
Dorothy Vani [00:32:13] That's right. That's, she's right.
Kevin Fasko [00:32:15] So when she was at the bank on weekends during the day, who would, how did you guys work on the farm?
Myron Marfut [00:32:22] Well, [crosstalk] you know, there's a lot of times, you're not on the farm constantly, but she couldn't read or write English, so we'd do a lot of that stuff. Well, she did have a checkbook either. Everything she bought was with cash. But we'd take her to the bank or whatever. That's...
Kevin Fasko [00:32:44] Seeing as how, given the time period, 1950s or so, this farm's being run by your mother, a woman, did she ever encounter any problems because she was a woman in charge of this farm?
Myron Marfut [00:32:55] If she did, we took care of it. And I couldn't really come up with any one specific thing that happened that she needed more assistance than what we can give her. Do you think?
Dorothy Vani [00:33:07] I can't either. No.
Myron Marfut [00:33:09] She did a lot of... She was smart. She couldn't read or write because she was from Austria. She could read and write Austrian, but not, well it wouldn't be Austrian, it'd be what, German or whatever they called it then.
Dorothy Vani [00:33:21] I don't remember her writing at all...
Myron Marfut [00:33:23] But she could never write English, you know. But if she ever wanted something or needed something where it took the pen to write it, we would, we would do it for her.
Dorothy Vani [00:33:35] She eventually did sign our report cards. She learned how to write her name.
Myron Marfut [00:33:38] Oh, is that right? [laughs].
Dorothy Vani [00:33:39] That she knew. She would write her name. It wasn't really clear, but she knew how to write her name eventually, and she would sign her report cards.
Kevin Fasko [00:33:48] Well, that's kind of what I was getting at before was like, why I talked about she was a woman in charge of this farm, was like, was anyone outside of your farm giving her problems because she was...
Myron Marfut [00:33:55] No, no. In those days, you didn't have that kind of stuff.
Dorothy Vani [00:34:02] I'd like to add that growing up on the farm and her teaching us, you know, how to be...
Myron Marfut [00:34:13] Self-sustaining, self-sustaining?
Dorothy Vani [00:34:15] Self-sustaining and honest, I think we all learned from that experience. And I think we've all been successful as kids.
Myron Marfut [00:34:27] The oldest one, Sam, would have been, well I don't know...
Dorothy Vani [00:34:29] Twenty years older than me.
Myron Marfut [00:34:32] Twenty, so that he was 38?
Dorothy Vani [00:34:36] When we moved there. Mhm.
Myron Marfut [00:34:40] Now I forgot what I was gonna say.
Dorothy Vani [00:34:40] He was married. Mhm.
Myron Marfut [00:34:42] Yeah, but we all... Now I forgot what I was gonna say.
Dorothy Vani [00:34:48] Okay, let me... Okay, I'm going to interrupt too. My brother Harry was in the service when she bought that property, and he helped her by sending home his paycheck from the Army. And that helped us as well to give her some money to build the house and, you know, have the extra money.
Kevin Fasko [00:35:11] After he was done with the service, did he come back to the farm and help out?
Myron Marfut [00:35:14] Not to the farm, but he came back to live. Yeah. And then he reenlisted. And when he died in 1983, he was a judge in, just outside of Washington, D.C., in Virginia, he was a judge. So he would all... And he quit school because he didn't want to transfer from Lincoln High School to Brecksville, because that's where we first moved to Broadview Heights with Brecksville School. So he quit school and then he ends up going back to school, getting all of his degrees, became a judge, and he died as a judge in Arlington, Virginia.
Kevin Fasko [00:36:05] So how did you guys interact with nearby farmers? Did you have a healthy relationship?
Dorothy Vani [00:36:10] We got along with everybody. I mean, it wasn't that... We felt like we were all the same. You know, the people next door didn't actually live there, they'd come out on the weekends, and we'd help them out if they needed help. And we just never thought of doing anything differently.
Kevin Fasko [00:36:28] So it wasn't competitive?
Myron Marfut [00:36:30] Oh, no, not at all. Not at all. No.
Dorothy Vani [00:36:32] I think the people next door who were the Fiedlers, I think they might have lived in Slavic Village...
Myron Marfut [00:36:38] Oh, that could be.
Dorothy Vani [00:36:39] In Cleveland.
Myron Marfut [00:36:40] Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:36:39] And that's kind of how I think my mother got associated with...
Kevin Fasko [00:36:43] Slavic Village?
Dorothy Vani [00:36:44] Right. And they would come every weekend and, you know, sometimes... We always had company on the weekends. People would come from Cleveland. And, you know.
Kevin Fasko [00:36:52] Where they just people from Slavic Village or just...
Dorothy Vani [00:36:55] I think it was mostly the European people. So I would say probably from Slavic Village.
Kevin Fasko [00:37:00] And they knew from you guys because of your weekend trips to Slavic Village.
Dorothy Vani [00:37:05] Right. And my mother spoke the language that they spoke and, you know, so...
Kevin Fasko [00:37:10] So growing up as kids on this farm, you went to school. What did you guys do for your social activities? Did you have time for that or were you just tired...
Myron Marfut [00:37:20] Well, we always had time to go to the football games or... In fact, I was the manager of the football team for a while. So we did things. I was one of the few that drove a car to school, and I had a '31 Chevrolet that I... I worked on it myself. You know, I didn't have the money, so I jerry-rigged something, whatever had to be done. But I drove it to school and back. And if I didn't have the money for gasoline then I waited for a school bus. That's just the way it was.
Dorothy Vani [00:37:50] My sister, our sister also drove to school and she drove a Crosley, which was a little tiny car, okay? And one day she came out of the school building and the boys in the school who were ornery had put her car on top of some blocks [laughs] and she couldn't leave.
Kevin Fasko [00:38:13] They just lifted it up and put it...
Dorothy Vani [00:38:14] Just put it up on blocks! [laughs]
Myron Marfut [00:38:15] Now, very quickly. Here in 1957, I became a policeman in East Cleveland. Now, you ought to know where East Cleveland is. And I was driving an English [Ford] Consul, kind of a small car, like almost, not as small as the one you're talking about. So I drove that to the police department. So I come out one day getting ready to go home and where's my car? And here they, four or five guys picked the car and put it up on the steps [laughs] and I had a heck of a time getting it down off of there. But that was just all in fun.
Kevin Fasko [00:38:48] So, when you became a policeman, did you still have ties to this farm? Was your mother still living there and farm there?
Myron Marfut [00:38:53] Yeah, she was still there. I got the job on a farm or on the police department at '57. And when she moved to Hudson?
Dorothy Vani [00:39:05] In 1957.
Myron Marfut [00:39:06] Oh, shortly after I...
Dorothy Vani [00:39:07] Right. Also, you, three of my brothers worked on the railroad, and they got their jobs right there at Boston Mills Road and Commodore.
Myron Marfut [00:39:16] And I was one of them, before I went...
Dorothy Vani [00:39:18] Myron was one of them. Yeah.
Myron Marfut [00:39:19] Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:39:21] And you became a policeman eventually for the railroad.
Myron Marfut [00:39:25] Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:39:25] And he eventually became a policeman.
Dorothy Vani [00:39:28] Yeah, I was working on the New York Central, and a guy that got me on the job lived up, they had the gas station up there, he says, I'll get you a job on the railroad. And I was a station agent, giving out the orders as the trains would go by. And as the years went by, the rumor was starting to go around that railroads were in trouble. And one guy says, I'll tell you, why don't you go up to East Cleveland? They're hiring. It'd be a good place to get a job. And, you know, I've never... I have never been turned down on an application for a job. And I went there, fill out the application, went through all the processes of.... And I became a policeman. And I was there for seven years until I gave up being a policeman. I went to where I could make more money.
Kevin Fasko [00:40:16] Where was that?
Myron Marfut [00:40:17] No. Driving a tractor trailer semi.
Kevin Fasko [00:40:22] Tractor trailer semi?
Myron Marfut [00:40:23] Yeah, for Consolidated Freightways. [laughs] I doubled my income overnight. That shows you how underpaid the policemen were.
Kevin Fasko [00:40:35] What city was that in? You said Cleveland. East Cleveland?
Myron Marfut [00:40:38] East Cleveland was the police department. I drove right out of Boston Heights.
Dorothy Vani [00:40:46] I think when we lived on the farm, too, you know, we always had something to do. There was always something to keep us busy. And that way we never got into trouble. You know, we always, we turned out to be good kids. And I think my mother taught us that as well. She was...
Myron Marfut [00:41:04] Yeah. Eight kids. None of us were ever arrested for anything.
Kevin Fasko [00:41:09] So when you guys were in school, your mother would just do all the farm work while the kids were at school, or were there enough for you where some guys were graduated now, or what did you do during the day?
Myron Marfut [00:41:21] No, we got out of school at, say, three o'clock.
Kevin Fasko [00:41:22] Three o'clock?
Myron Marfut [00:41:23] But then we spent the next four or five hours, whatever she wanted done. Digging this or plowing that or whatever. No, twenty acres isn't that much land, you know. And you could probably farm twenty acres, hardly any effort at all. It's not that big.
Kevin Fasko [00:41:40] I was going to say, did she wake up early at 6:00 in the morning or... [crosstalk]
Myron Marfut [00:41:41] Oh, probably. She was always up early, always up early.
Dorothy Vani [00:41:44] Yeah, the cows were milked twice a day, and she always was the first one up in the morning to milk 'em.
Kevin Fasko [00:41:51] How often did you make the milk and the cottage cheese and the butter? How often?
Dorothy Vani [00:41:57] I think once a week, probably.
Myron Marfut [00:41:58] I don't remember.
Dorothy Vani [00:41:59] I don't know how often.
Myron Marfut [00:42:01] That was her job.
Dorothy Vani [00:42:02] Yeah.
Myron Marfut [00:42:02] I wasn't involved in that at all.
Kevin Fasko [00:42:04] So you didn't make the milk at all?
Myron Marfut [00:42:05] Not at all. [crosstalk] No. That was... She did the milking, she made the butter. She did all that.
Dorothy Vani [00:42:10] I think I helped make the butter. We had a little butter churn, and it was glass and it had paddles in it and you turned it and you made the butter that way.
Myron Marfut [00:42:19] Everything we did was by hand. I don't care if it was... Except for driving the tractor. And I was 11 years old when I started driving a farm tractor, plowing the fields at 11 years old.
Kevin Fasko [00:42:30] Did your mother teach you?
Myron Marfut [00:42:32] We taught ourselves.
Kevin Fasko [00:42:33] Taught yourselves?
Myron Marfut [00:42:34] Yeah.
Kevin Fasko [00:42:36] Do you know how to drive a tractor, Dorothy?
Dorothy Vani [00:42:37] Do I? No.
Myron Marfut [00:42:41] You did. Didn't you?
Dorothy Vani [00:42:41] I never drove the tractor. No.
Kevin Fasko [00:42:47] So when when did you move off the farm? 1957?
Dorothy Vani [00:42:52] Right. And I guess I could tell that story.
Myron Marfut [00:42:54] Go ahead. Yeah, I was...
Dorothy Vani [00:42:56] In 1957, my brothers, most of 'em were married. Myron was getting married that year. And my sister was already married. I had one brother that was still not married, but he was in the service still. And a real estate man came to our house, came to our farm, and said to my mother, I have a buyer for your farm. Would you like to sell it? And out of the clear blue, she said yes.
Myron Marfut [00:43:27] Oh!
Dorothy Vani [00:43:27] I was shocked.
Myron Marfut [00:43:28] That's the first time I heard that.
Dorothy Vani [00:43:29] Oh, yeah.
Myron Marfut [00:43:29] Is that right?
Dorothy Vani [00:43:29] I was so shocked, you know, but I had already graduated from high school, just graduated that year in June or May, and we ended up selling that to the Lorenz family. And Mr. Lorenz still lives there today.
Kevin Fasko [00:43:46] Right. Gunther, right?
Dorothy Vani [00:43:49] Gunter, Gunter Lorenz. Yeah. And I can't remember his wife's name, but I remember my mother remained good friends with his wife for many years. They actually, I think, ended up getting a divorce. The Gunters did. And but my mother remained friends with her for years on into the '80s, okay? The late '80s, in fact. And my mother eventually moved to Cuyahoga Falls. And Mrs. Jones, who I think owned what is now the Spicy Lamb Farm, would bring my mother to Cuyahoga Falls to, with Mrs. Lorenz, and then I would drive my mother to the Lorenz house, which was our house, so that she could visit with Mrs. Lorenz.
Kevin Fasko [00:44:38] They utilize the farm the same way you guys did, or did they have different...
Myron Marfut [00:44:42] I don't know.
Dorothy Vani [00:44:43] I don't know either. I know I visited there. I don't remember any animals, to be honest. I do remember a garden where we had our garden to the right of the house. I don't remember ever seeing any animals there. They might have had 'em, but I don't know. They did somehow add on to that barn on the right side. They made a kind of...
Myron Marfut [00:45:04] They made it wider. Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:45:05] Yeah, they made it, yeah, wider or longer, whatever. So they must have had something back there. But I don't remember them raising animals.
Kevin Fasko [00:45:23] Well, your mother, she... When did... It was 1957, she sold it. Do you know when it got turned over to Cleveland, or the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Myron Marfut [00:45:34] Oh, after they bought it. After Lorenzes bought it. It was when?
Dorothy Vani [00:45:39] I don't know what year.
Myron Marfut [00:45:40] I don't know what year. No.
Dorothy Vani [00:45:40] The National Park took over all the land in that area, and I'm not sure what year that was.
Myron Marfut [00:45:46] But...
Dorothy Vani [00:45:47] I know my mother sold the farm for 16,000 dollars and I believe the Lorenzes got 135,000, is what I heard through the grapevine, from the park for that land. And Mr. Lorenz still lives there today and he doesn't even have to pay the taxes.
Kevin Fasko [00:46:05] Do you guys have any contact anymore with the Lorenzes?
Myron Marfut [00:46:08] I don't think... I don't think I ever met 'em, because I was already working.
Dorothy Vani [00:46:12] I did. I had met 'em. And in fact, I stopped to see him, oh, probably three years ago. I stopped to see Mr. Lorenz. And then lately, when I drive by the property, there was a sign for a while that said No Trespassing. And there's a chain across both driveways. We had two driveways. The one to the right was a shorter one, and that was where we parked our cars. And the one to the left was a real long driveway that led all the way back to the back field where the corn and the grain was raised. And he has chains across both driveways. So I'm a little leery about stopping and seeing him anymore. [laughs] I don't know. He doesn't seem like he wants company. Yeah. So I, I'm a little afraid to stop and see him now.
Myron Marfut [00:46:58] How old is he now?
Dorothy Vani [00:46:58] Oh, he has to be in his 90s.
Myron Marfut [00:47:00] Oh is that right?
Dorothy Vani [00:47:00] Oh yes. Because Mrs. Lorenz and my mother both died around the same time, and I think they were around the same age and my mother died in 1994.
Myron Marfut [00:47:14] She was 94.
Dorothy Vani [00:47:16] She was almost 96.
Myron Marfut [00:47:18] Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:47:18] She was two weeks shy of 96 when she died. So I'm sure Mr. Lorenz has to be up there in years. Yeah.
Myron Marfut [00:47:31] But, you know, when you sit back and think about it, all of us had jobs, some sort of a job cutting grass on a golf course or whatever, but we all contributed to the pot to help her out and her... Why she stood by this all the time. You never buy unless you could... If somebody gives you credit, that's the first person you pay. [taps table]
Carolyn Conklin [00:47:56] Watch your hands.
Dorothy Vani [00:47:57] Me too.
Myron Marfut [00:47:58] Got her. Bingo.
Dorothy Vani [00:48:00] I'm the same way I'm doing this.
Myron Marfut [00:48:02] You always pay the... Always pay that person off first, somebody that was willing to give you credit, and that's the way she lived. If if she was going to buy something, she didn't have any bills to pay because she paid them all and then she went out and bought something different. You know, but that's just the way, her way of living.
Kevin Fasko [00:48:22] So how often would you need to leave this farm? Probably once a week to go to Slavic Village?
Myron Marfut [00:48:29] Yeah, I think it was on Wednesday. We always went on sometime during the week.
Dorothy Vani [00:48:33] On Saturday.
Myron Marfut [00:48:35] Oh well maybe it was Saturday.
Dorothy Vani [00:48:35] I thought it was a Saturday because people would be home. Also, I remember when they would go to Slavic Village, on the way home, I guess it was, they stopped at an old bread store. What would you call it? A... Like an outlet store where the bread was old, and she would bring home a bag of old bread for the pigs. But always on the top of that bag was a nice dessert for us. [laughs].
Myron Marfut [00:49:10] This was day-old bread. I mean there was nothing wrong with it.
Dorothy Vani [00:49:12] That's what I was wanting to say. [crosstalk] Day-old store. Yeah.
Kevin Fasko [00:49:15] That's fresh. That's still fresh in my book.
Myron Marfut [00:49:18] Yeah. [laughs]
Kevin Fasko [00:49:24] And you guys fed the animals based on your crops, like through the grain, the oats to feed the pigs, the livestock? Correct?
Dorothy Vani [00:49:33] I think pretty much, but it seems to be that Myron and my sister kind of remember that we must have bought stuff from Terry as well, Terry.
Myron Marfut [00:49:44] Oh, yeah. We bought a lot of stuff. Terry Lumber. He was like a hardware lumber yard... He had everything. And we bought so much stuff from him. He was our supplier, everything we needed. We went down to Terry Lumber. And again, my mother always paid Terry Lumber. And the day he was dying, he praised my mother, Terry, himself. He died shortly after that. I don't know what he had, but that's the way Ma was. And she had some friends because of it.
Kevin Fasko [00:50:19] So obviously, you had a very good relationship with Terry.
Dorothy Vani [00:50:22] Oh, yes. Up until the day he died. That's right. Oh, I'd go in there and I mean, I wouldn't see him for maybe six months because I'm living in Vermillion or someplace. Hey and hi, how are you? You know? And here he's the owner of Terry Lumber. So, yeah, we were friends.
Kevin Fasko [00:50:44] [inaudible]
Carolyn Conklin [00:50:46] Yeah, I just have some questions. First, what was your mother's name?
Dorothy Vani [00:50:50] Christina.
Myron Marfut [00:50:54] I-N-A at the end.
Carolyn Conklin [00:50:55] Okay.
Dorothy Vani [00:50:58] Marfut.
Carolyn Conklin [00:51:01] Okay. And then you mentioned that she didn't know English. Did you speak English at home?
Myron Marfut [00:51:06] Yes. When I started school, I had a very limited English and I couldn't hardly... I couldn't... I went to the store one day and my mother says, Go to the store and get some moosh-ted. Oh, okay, Ma. I had no idea what she's asking. But so I go up to the store and I said, I want some moosh-ted. And the guy says, You want what? I said moosh-ted. He says, can you point it out to me? I said yeah right there. He said, Oh, you want mustard.
Carolyn Conklin [00:51:34] [laughs]
Myron Marfut [00:51:36] But that... And, you know. And then shortly after that, I don't know, she wanted me to go up, get some kielbasa. I said, no, Ma! I'm not gonna fall for that. Soshe said, go, go get the kielbasa. So I go up there, I said, My mother wants kielbasa. Oh, how much, how many do you want? That was English to her, you know.
Dorothy Vani [00:51:53] [laughs]
Carolyn Conklin [00:51:57] And then can you tell us any more about local businesses? I mean, you mentioned Terry Lumber, but, you know, from the '50s or whatever, you can remember about local businesses around here.
Myron Marfut [00:52:07] Well...
Dorothy Vani [00:52:07] Lemkofsky? Lemkofsky, the store at the corner. He was a gas station and a little, little store that, you know, had maybe a few little things that you might need. And they also had candy. And my sister and I would walk up there quite often and talk to old Mr. Lemkofsky and get our whatever we needed to get and of course get our piece of candy or whatever, you know, and walk back home again. That was on the corner of old Route 8 and Boston Mills Road. Yeah. And...
Myron Marfut [00:52:39] Old Route 9 up at 303 was a gas station and delicatessen.
Dorothy Vani [00:52:44] Blondie's.
Myron Marfut [00:52:44] Huh?
Dorothy Vani [00:52:45] Blondie's.
Myron Marfut [00:52:46] Yeah, Blondie's, right. And we'd buy stuff up there, but mostly oour gasoline and stuff we get from Blondie's if we didn't get it from Lemkofsky's.
Dorothy Vani [00:52:57] I think Blondie's is where you got the first pizza.
Myron Marfut [00:53:02] Oh! [laughs] Okay. How far behind we were because we didn't associate like the kids do. I'm up there at Lemko[fsky's], I was driving a car now, I had my '31 Chevy, and they asked me if I'd go into Hudson and pick up a pizza pie. And I said, yeah, what kind you want? He said, a pizza pie. I said, Yeah, but what kind? He said, Just go up there and ask, tell him that you want the pizza pie. Well, they're talking about pizza pie. [laughs] Coming home, this thing's sitting on the seat next to me as I'm driving back. And it had the cheese. What kind of cheese is that they have on it? Oh it was... I couldn't stand the smell of that cheese. And I'm driving back to the gas station and hey, you want a piece Mike? You want a piece? I said, I can't even sit next to it and I'm going to eat it? No! I don't want any. And that was the true pizza pie. Or maybe I'm saying it wrong.
Dorothy Vani [00:53:56] Pizza.
Myron Marfut [00:53:56] Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [00:53:58] [laughs] And I remember when he brought some home and we said the same thing. Oh, that stinks! We don't want to eat that.
Myron Marfut [00:54:05] But we didn't have that at all.
Dorothy Vani [00:54:06] How times have changed. [laughs]
Myron Marfut [00:54:07] Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Now I love it.
Carolyn Conklin [00:54:11] Do you have anything else that you want to add that we didn't ask?
Myron Marfut [00:54:15] Well, we built the house by ourselves. Andy, my older brother, he was the engineer. He knew exactly what had to go where and how to do it. And my younger brother and my older brother and myself, we put it together and it was a good house.
Dorothy Vani [00:54:33] I can add another store actually, Bootie's down in Boston, and I would get off the bus. I don't think my brothers did that. But by the time I was riding the bus, and I didn't want to ride it all the way around through like where the ski slopes are now and everything. And so we would get off at Bootie's store and get our whatever snack or...
Myron Marfut [00:54:55] You mean that...
Dorothy Vani [00:54:55] Candy.
Myron Marfut [00:54:56] Ice cream. [laughs] [crosstalk] Yeah, I used to get off up there.
Dorothy Vani [00:54:58] Or Ice cream, yeah. And then we would have to walk one block to Stanford Road and when the bus came all the way back around, he would pick us, the bus would pick us back up again at Stanford. And one time, oh, I can't think of his name, John Crachie, threw a rock. I wasn't allowed to get off of the bus. My mother didn't know I was doing that. And John Crachie threw a rock and it hit me in the back of my head and my head was bleeding. And I, boy, I was scared to death to go home. How am I gonna hide this from my mother? But she found out. [laughs] I had this bloody spot on the back of my head, so, yeah. My lies weren't too good. Another story I have to tell is about the strawberries in the refrigerator. Probably that time maybe my brother's picked the strawberries, one of them or something, and I snuck in the refrigerator and ate a few strawberries, okay? And I must have left a little dip in the strawberry area of what was in the refrigerator. And one of my brothers said, who was the last one in the refrigerator? And I said I was, but I didn't eat strawberries. I just that taught me I wasn't a very good liar. [laughs].
Carolyn Conklin [00:56:18] Oh, and I have here, you have a funny story about your mother accidentally killing a turkey?
Dorothy Vani [00:56:22] Oh, gosh, yeah. She she had a gobbler and he chased us. He chased her. He chased us. And the one day... She usually carried a stick. She always carried a stick when she was going to the backyard or whatever. And the one day—maybe she had a bigger stick or something—and that gobbler started chasing her and she took the stick and went like that. And she hit him right across the neck and killed him. And she's sitting, standing at the sink, when we came home from school, she's standing at the sink and she's plucking the feathers out of that turkey and saying [in a crying voice], I didn't mean to do it. [laughs]
Myron Marfut [00:57:05] I don't remember that. [laughs]
Dorothy Vani [00:57:06] I do. [laughs] Yeah. And I guess what I would want to add is, you know, they asked for a special place in the Valley. And to me, it was our house because my family built it and the farm where I spent most of my growing up years. I would hope that the house that my family built not be torn down as so many of them were in the Valley, and that the Marfut name remain as part of the history of the farm, as it did with the Spicy Lamb Farm, and keep the tradition going. Someone would take over the farm and keep the tradition going and live off the fat of the land as we did.
Myron Marfut [00:58:06] Sounds good to me.
Carolyn Conklin [00:58:07] Okay.
Myron Marfut [00:58:12] Harry's the one that eventually became a judge. He got out of the service and he just couldn't get back into civilian life. He didn't know what to do, so he reenlisted. So we're gonna go from... He picked us up at school in Boston—Peninsula School—and he was gonna to take us up Dugway Hill. That's the way, it's a shortcut to our house. And he's in a hurry because he's running late. And we got to that first curve on Dugway and he lost control, and he had a beautiful Buick car that he was driving, and the car just flipped right over. And I'm on the window side and I managed to get out. I cranked the window and got out of the thing. And I don't know how, he must've got out kind of the same way I did. But he about destroyed his Buick because he was in a hurry to get back so he wouldn't miss train for the service.
Dorothy Vani [00:59:05] Nobody got hurt.
Myron Marfut [00:59:06] Nobody, oh, no, nobody got hurt.
Dorothy Vani [00:59:07] And my sister still talks about the scar that she has on her wrist from where she rolled her bicycle over on Dugway Hill. [laughs]
Myron Marfut [00:59:17] But that was a rough hill. Now it's closed. Are you familiar with Dugway Hill? It's what they called the Akron Peninsula Road, but it's the road which is Commodore Road where that house is, and it takes you all the way down the steep hill into Peninsula. And about two-thirds of the way down they had an awful lot of mudslides and stuff, or whatever you want to call 'em. And it washed the road away so many times that they gave up on it. They just closed the road. You can't get up that way anymore.
Dorothy Vani [00:59:49] And as far as farming, I think we all kind of gained a little bit of that interest as we got older. And my sister still owns a farm today and they raised beef cattle and have pretty good sized farm. And I think we all had gardens.
Myron Marfut [01:00:09] Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Dorothy Vani [01:00:10] Every one of us knew to have a garden and to raise your own vegetables and things to eat. We learned that from our mother. She was a great person. [laughs] Look who's talking. [laughs]
Myron Marfut [01:00:31] As far as the property we're talking about or the way we lived, or world about what? Just anything?
Kevin Fasko [01:00:39] Anything about the farm.
Myron Marfut [01:00:43] Well...
Dorothy Vani [01:00:49] I guess I just had... Our farm must have been successful. We never went hungry, had good wholesome food to eat, had a love of animals—as I said, my sister still has a farm today—and that my mother could raise all of us so well off the fat of the land.
Myron Marfut [01:01:07] And farm. Raise us and do farming, because she did most of the farm work.
Dorothy Vani [01:01:17] And as I said, we never got into trouble, we learned to respect animals and people.
Kevin Fasko [01:01:23] Sounds like the farm was a positive experience. Sounds good.
Dorothy Vani [01:01:25] It absolutely was. It's a way to... A way to grow up.
Myron Marfut [01:01:30] And out of eight kids, not a single one of us have ever been in trouble...
Dorothy Vani [01:01:36] Except when I lied about the strawberries.
Myron Marfut [01:01:37] Yeah. [laughs] But today, you know, the kids today, you don't know what they're gonna do next. But we... No, my mother never had to worry about what we were gonna do because she knew she had control of us. And I guess we'd listen to her... Now, this has nothing to do, nothing to do with the story.
Dorothy Vani [01:02:00] Cut.
Carolyn Conklin [01:02:00] You want me to stop?
Myron Marfut [01:02:01] Yeah.
Carolyn Conklin [01:02:02] Okay.
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