This is an interview of Pat Morse done on behalf of Cleveland State University and the Cuyahoga Valley Authority. The purpose of this interview is to discuss the area around Lock 26 of the Erie Canal, the Inn that Mrs. Morse's Grandparents maintained, the property around her childhood home, the beaver pond which is adjecent to her house. Other information about the community and other potential interviewees are given during the course of the interview. Another objective of this interview was to obtain more information about the Wilson family which might be a potential future interview.
Morse, Pat (interviewee)
Vallee, Brandon (interviewer)
Transcription sponsored by Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Carolyn Conklin [00:00:00] Begin. Alright? So whenever you're ready.
Brandon Vallee [00:00:04] Alright. Today is March 30th, 2011, and my name is Brandon Vallee at Cleveland State University. Today I will be interviewing Pad Morse at Peninsula Library. Could you please state your name, Pat, kind of for the record?
Pat Morse [00:00:19] My name is Patricia Morse. M-O-R-S-E.
Brandon Vallee [00:00:26] Okay. And could you please tell us where and when you were born?
Pat Morse [00:00:31] I was born down the road a piece on February 2nd, 1931. Oak Hill Road. 3039. Woops, I wasn't born at 39. I was born further down the road. So you've got me located.
Brandon Vallee [00:00:54] Thank you. Where did you live? Did you live on a farm or do you live like on a homestead?
Pat Morse [00:01:01] It was more of a homestead, but there was enough acreage for us to raise food on and there were a lot of farms around close by. The Hale Farm was very close by, across the road.
Brandon Vallee [00:01:20] And who did you live with when you were growing up?
Pat Morse [00:01:23] My parents, Fannie McNeil, and my father had passed away. And my brothers, and I had three brothers and a sister.
Brandon Vallee [00:01:36] And what were their names?
Pat Morse [00:01:38] My oldest brother was Vernon McNeil. My middle brother was James Neil. My youngest brother was Marvin McNeil, and my sister was Susan McNeil.
Brandon Vallee [00:02:00] When you were growing up, would you keep... How was your family? Were they, you know, nice, were they caring, or were they always busy all the time? Would you please describe your family?
Pat Morse [00:02:12] Basically busy, I think would be the best word to describe. They were pretty much around all the time because it was during the Depression. And one of my brothers went to CC Camp in Louisville, Kentucky, for a number of years. And my other brother went to Gary, Indiana, to work in the steel mills. And I was too little to worry about 'em much. Oh, and my sister had cerebral palsy, so she was there a good part of the time.
Brandon Vallee [00:03:07] And what did your mother do for a living?
Pat Morse [00:03:12] She was a full-time mother most of the time as I got older. She worked at General Hospital. She was head cook there.
Brandon Vallee [00:03:29] Did any of your...
Pat Morse [00:03:30] Excuse me. it was called People's Hospital at that time. But it is General now.
Brandon Vallee [00:03:43] Were you close with any extended relatives like your uncles or grandparents?
Pat Morse [00:03:47] Definitely my uncle. My mother was a Carter and she grew up on the Towpath over there where Ira Road crosses Riverview, and my uncle had a dairy farm over there and... Well, my grandparents had an inn on the canal when it was a going thing. And I would say more relatives, I also had an uncle on my father's side, but he lived in Akron. Oh, and my grandmother was living when I was very small.
Brandon Vallee [00:04:44] Was your grandfather still alive when you were born?
Pat Morse [00:04:47] No.
Brandon Vallee [00:04:50] What we're going to do now is we're going to talk about some of the professions of the landscape of where you were born. I would kind of like to start off with your grandfather. Is there anything maybe that was passed down from the family know about your grandfather? It says here that he was a canal boat captain.
Pat Morse [00:05:07] Right. I did hear that. And I think my grandmother did cooking for the canal boat people. There was kind of an inn there. They were right on Lock, I believe it was Lock 29 on the canal.
Brandon Vallee [00:05:28] You know how long he did it for?
Pat Morse [00:05:32] Mmm. I really couldn't say I know he became blind and after that then, of course, and it wasn't long after that that the canal was not that active. It was washed out in a flood somewhere along the way. I don't know the date. And my, let's see, my grandfather on my father's side was also living. But let me see, he was... He lived up in Bath. That's that's where my father was born. And he was a carpenter. Let me see, I think he worked on the bridges, on the railroads that went through.
Brandon Vallee [00:06:28] And then you said that your uncle was a farmer, and could I just have your uncle's name, along with what kind of farming he did?
Pat Morse [00:06:34] Yes, it was Darwin Carter and he had dairy cattle, raised all of the feed for them, like the hay and the corn and the oats. In fact, his farm was on the Beaver Pond. And it was not Beaver Pond at that time. When the beavers dammed things up, then it flooded. [laughs]
Brandon Vallee [00:07:03] And did you ever work on this farm, like to help out some?
Pat Morse [00:07:11] [Laughs] Well, I remember once I picked bugs off the potato plants, but I was quite small at the time, I really, and I don't know if I helped, but I watched them shuck corn. He had some kind of a big nettle, a big iron apparatus where they put the ears of corn in and then they would grind it through to shuck the corn. And that's as far... Any time we went over to eat it was always there, [laughs] but I didn't work.
Brandon Vallee [00:07:52] Did he have a lot of good food there?
Pat Morse [00:07:53] Oh, yeah. Yeah, definitely.
Brandon Vallee [00:07:58] You mentioned the marsh, the Beaver Marsh. When you were growing up was it really wet? Was it like... Describe the landscape.
Pat Morse [00:08:06] Well, the biggest part of it was not there because it had dried up quite a bit. And I remember vaguely there was a path that went across the field, which was very close to if not right in the Beaver Marsh area, but it was more just flat country.
Brandon Vallee [00:08:37] Now, could you please describe what your uncle's farm looked like, like what kind of buildings, like how large it was approximately?
Pat Morse [00:08:44] I couldn't say actually how large. He had a big barn that was kind of a bank barn. And the cattle were on the lower level as the pastures were... A good lot of the area was pastureland. I don't remember how many cattle he had, but it was quite a few cows. I remember he was so excited when he got an automatic milking machine. [laughs] That I remember. Oh, and there was a large silo, high silo where they put silage, whatever it was. Whether it was hay, straw, corn, I don't know exactly.
Brandon Vallee [00:09:41] So when you were growing up, what school did you go to?
Pat Morse [00:09:46] I went to Bath School on. My brothers went to school down toward the railroad. It's a private home now, but it was the little school in the valley and I don't know when that was built. And they did go up to Bath. And my youngest brother was there most of his years and I was throughout my school years.
Brandon Vallee [00:10:26] Do you have any fun moments from that school, like moments that were particularly memorable?
Pat Morse [00:10:35] Oh, I always liked school. There was, where Bath Elementary School is now located, there was what we always called the portable and that was a separate building away from the brick building. And you had a classroom on each side of the entry hall, so we could play ball over that building and you, "Andy-Andy Over." And that was fun. And I think I remember the playground more than anything. [laughs] We used to have ice slides, if you can imagine letting kids now run and slide as, whoops, as far as you could slide, and they let us do it. And we played a lot of baseball and basketball, etc., and when I was in high school, we had speech, National Forensis League, we went all over for speeches and so forth, and I remember some of my interesting teachers. [laughs] You had to go between the portable building to go to the restroom, and we had this little lady that put a handkerchief over her head every time we went out of the building and to the other building. Let me see. Oh, I do remember one thing. I was always one who was moving as fast as possible. And one time I was first in line running down the hall. So I ran into the cafeteria. They were just coming out with this big pan of hot soup and that spilled on me and I got to go home. [laughs] But that wasn't too satisfactory in the long run. Oh, and another thing. There was just... Bath School was very involved in sports and by high school, football was the thing, and that was always fun. Everybody... The thing with the small school is that everybody has to be involved. So in order to keep things going. And I was in the largest class to ever graduate from Bath, which was thirty kids. So that was the size that it was until the consolidation of the schools, of course. You get a Ridgefield and Bath together and it's grown tremendously since then. But I would say the largest part of Bath was farm country to pretty much totally. There was more and more dairy farms and truck farms in the Valley.
Brandon Vallee [00:14:09] Are you familiar with Woman's Farm Club Number 1?
Pat Morse [00:14:11] Oh, yeah, my mother was in that, and everybody in the Valley always went to that. Now when you say Number 1, there was another one in Bath, and I don't know, there was a discrepancy about who was Number 1 or... But it was the called the Valley Club as time went on.
Brandon Vallee [00:14:39] And hat exactly do they do in this club?
Pat Morse [00:14:42] The women met once a month and they did, I would say, they studied progress and farming, being farmers wives, I would say with canning and sewing and that kind of thing. Oh, and the other thing they did was each year they had a big picnic at the end of the year and I don't know how this evolved, but all of us kids had to put on a play to entertainment, and we just loved that. That was such fun. And you'd meet at different people's homes each year. And they were very large gatherings at that time.
Brandon Vallee [00:15:40] So did you participate in these plays and picnics all throughout school?
Pat Morse [00:15:45] Pretty much, yeah, as much as it was available.
Brandon Vallee [00:15:53] After you graduated high school, what did you do?
Pat Morse [00:15:56] I worked at Ohio Bell Telephone Company and got tired of that, so I went back to school, got my degree and went into teaching, which I've only not been subbing for a little over a year now. So I did that for a long time. Elementary kids. I love the little kids.
Brandon Vallee [00:16:24] And what school did you teach at periodically?
Pat Morse [00:16:27] Well, the past may be 15 years or so, I substituted at Bath in all of their elementary Bath and the middle school. Previous to that, I was in Akron for maybe 10, 15 years and basically through the sixth grade and full time in Akron and full time down at Boston Elementary, third grade kind of, and first, second, fourth, whatever, elementary.
Unidentified [00:17:15] What college did you graduate from?
Pat Morse [00:17:18] Akron University.
Brandon Vallee [00:17:27] Now, along Riverview Road, was there an auto shop on that street?
Pat Morse [00:17:32] Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
Brandon Vallee [00:17:36] Do you know when it moved in?
Pat Morse [00:17:40] Hmm. The man who owned it, his brother was in my class at school. I remember that. I don't even remember... Well, it would have been probably, let's see, '36. Might have been around '38, thereabouts, 1938. His family moved in there. Was, I don't know, there were a couple of brothers, maybe three or four brothers. The man who owned the shop across the road was... I don't think he was ever married, but I never knew them too well, except for the boy who was in my class.
Unidentified [00:18:44] Do you remember what the shop owner's name was?
Pat Morse [00:18:50] It was Tompkin and it might have been Percy, but I'm not sure of that.
Brandon Vallee [00:19:02] Do you remember anything about the salvage cars there?
Pat Morse [00:19:09] I can't say anything specific. I know... I knew they were there and I knew that he was the mechanic that a lot of guys always came to because he could do anything with cars. He was just very mechanically involved. And capable.
Brandon Vallee [00:19:40] Is that auto shop still in business?
Pat Morse [00:19:45] No. He's not even living. They... When the park moved in, they totally took that away, filled it in.
Brandon Vallee [00:20:02] When did you move out of your initial home, the all that you're born in?
Pat Morse [00:20:07] When I got married. Let's see, '52 I actually left.
Brandon Vallee [00:20:19] And where did you move to?
Pat Morse [00:20:25] We got married and didn't have any place to go specifically, but my brother was on vacation. My brother started the house that I now live in and we built. We found... We stayed at my brother's for a couple weeks. And when they got back, we went to my uncle's over in a dairy farm and stayed another week. Then we found a house trailer up on Bath Road that was being, that they rented. So we rented that for a year. And then my brother was selling the house where I now live, so we bought that from him, lived there for 11 years and built on, 11 years more, built on again. So that was from 1953 that we ended up over where I am now. It's less than a mile from where I was born. It's on Oak Hill almost.
Brandon Vallee [00:21:44] So you've lived there for about 67 years?
Pat Morse [00:21:48] You mean at my present house?
Brandon Vallee [00:21:50] At your present house.
Brandon Vallee [00:21:50] Yes.
Pat Morse [00:21:52] Oh. I hadn't thought about that. 60... Not real good with math. [laughs] 60, probably. Right, 50. 1950s. That's good enough.
Brandon Vallee [00:22:15] Going back to your original homestead, the house that you were born in, did you have a neighbor by the name of Don Wilson?
Pat Morse [00:22:21] Oh, yeah, I don't know what we would have done without Don Wilson. He and Nan had 12 kids [laughs] and therefore there was somebody to play with. And yeah, knew all about the Wilsons. Great place to be. Great fun. You could do anything you wanted to. [laughs]
Brandon Vallee [00:22:48] And what did he do for a living?
Pat Morse [00:22:53] He actually managed the Hale Farm for C. O. Hale and continued that with Miss Ritchie when she took over. That was Mr. Hale's niece, and she would come out from her mansion in Akron and sit on her bench and watch her workmen as they would do whatever she pleased, along with Don Wilson just managing the farm and cattle. He had dairy cattle, so, and he also had a big milk truck where he'd pick up the gallons of milk all over the Valley and take them into Akron to the dairy, and that pretty much kept him busy, along with twelve kids, so. [laughs] And they raised a lot of food and canned for in the winter. So it's like we did on our property as well.
Brandon Vallee [00:24:13] What kind of food did you raise on your property?
Pat Morse [00:24:19] I would say kind of a typical garden, the vegetables, and we had apple trees and cherry trees and we had always had a cow and we had chickens and we had pigs and we had calves. And they were all butchered for winter food. And of course, the milk and the eggs and so forth were subsistence sort of farming. We never had... Well, we never really sold a lot of produce, except I remember one summer when they took garden produce into Akron and then just sold it door to door, but nothing with the truck farming like the large, larger farms did. And we also... My family owned land over toward the covered bridge, and we would the lower, well, it's actually the lower level of where I live now is a large, open field. And we would raise potatoes in there every summer. I don't think we ever sold any but raised them. The best part of that was always after they finished planting I was too small to be involved other than my mother gave me a little plot that was supposed to be my garden, and afterwards we'd all go and get a pint of ice cream and come back and have ice cream. So that was great sport. [laughs]
Brandon Vallee [00:26:20] And what did you plant in your personal garden?
Pat Morse [00:26:23] Oh, well, that wasn't important to me. I don't really remember, although at home my mother always had flowers planted and I know I had all my old geraniums and mostly wildflowers in my little space.
Brandon Vallee [00:26:54] It says here that your brother James fought during World War Two?
Pat Morse [00:26:59] Yes.
Brandon Vallee [00:27:01] Would you care to talk about that at all?
Pat Morse [00:27:04] He was... There was no Air Force. [crying] I'm emotional about that. [pauses] He was kind of like my father, because he was an old man and he was always lots of fun, so I really enjoyed him around, and he was actually in the Army Air Corps because there was no Air Force as such. I shouldn't be so emotional because he survived amazingly well. He was never really even injured. But one time he didn't feel well. So he told them to call him when they left the mission. He was a gunner and they didn't call him. And his plane was shot down and all the guys and all his friends were gone, but he survived, and then another time, one of the fellows wanted to hi trade with him and do his gun instead of where my brother was, and that man was killed. So when you look at... And it was really a very lucky situation, but he's still living and doing quite well. He lives in Oregon. I'm a weeper, so I don't get disturbed. [laughs] That's just me.
Brandon Vallee [00:29:44] It's okay. If you don't mind me asking, did he fly over Europe or did he fly...
Pat Morse [00:29:49] Yeah, he flew over Germany. He was stationed in England, kind of northeast of London.
Brandon Vallee [00:30:03] And after the war, did he come back home to live with his mother or did he...
Pat Morse [00:30:08] No, he had married just before he went overseas.
Brandon Vallee [00:30:16] So, he lived in Europe then?
Pat Morse [00:30:19] No, he came back and he married here before he was in the service, and then they built the beginning of the house where I now live. When he got out of the service.
Brandon Vallee [00:30:41] And it says here that all three of your brothers were [in] the CCC?
Pat Morse [00:30:46] Two of them were, but the one that was in the service is the one that went to Indiana and worked in the steel mills for some couple of years.
Brandon Vallee [00:31:00] Do they have any interesting stories that you remember that were particularly interesting for you?
Pat Morse [00:31:08] Well, the... Oh, well, my middle one was also in the three C's [CCC] before he went to the steel mills. He was in Idaho and Utah in the forests and did a lot of forestry work. Oh, he was always telling stories, but they were just interesting stories about his work and so forth there.
Brandon Vallee [00:31:47] Now, after you got married and graduated college, besides teaching was there anything else you did? Like, did you go on any vacations, did you help around the community?
Pat Morse [00:32:03] Oh, well, I was very active in that church and the first two years we were married, we went out to Yellowstone National Park and next summer to Yosemite, and never been out of the country, but my husband was very interested in collecting classic cars. So we belonged to the Thunderbird Club and they had meets all over the country and let's see, what else? Nothing in particular. My daughter was born in 1970 and we were in the Thunderbird Club traveling with that and... No, that's pretty much it. Of course, I had to finish up my schooling. I started with what they called cadet certification, which was a two year, and then you had to finish it. And I did that in summer school. So that took up a lot of time.
Brandon Vallee [00:33:43] Did you have any other children besides your daughter?
Pat Morse [00:33:45] No.
Brandon Vallee [00:33:48] And what was your daughter's name for the record?
Pat Morse [00:33:50] Kimberly Sue.
Brandon Vallee [00:33:55] And what is she doing currently?
Pat Morse [00:33:57] Well, she is living in Columbus. She is with... She just changed. She's with... She does the technology instruction for Limited Express, but the Limited is kind of an umbrella now for a lot of fashion companies, and Kim does the computer technology training, et cetera, et cetera. Has a little boy who is five years old and wild as they come. [laughs]
Brandon Vallee [00:35:00] I would like to return to Beaver Marsh. After the 1980s, like before the 1980s, you said it wasn't that bad. After the 1980s, how how did it change? How did the landscape change?
Pat Morse [00:35:16] Well, the biggest thing really is basically what I said with the spread of the Beaver Marsh, the water extended way out and of course, my uncle's farm was gone, as was my grandparents and the Towpath Trail, which is a great addition for everybody in the area, basically the Towpath was actually my uncle's driveway and when you said you were going down the Towpath you were going down to Uncle Darwin Carter's house. And the other thing, the covered bridge, which is over on Oak Hill Road, actually on Everett, or where Oak Hill meets Everett, it had, gosh, how many times, I think it washed out twice and once heavy equipment went over it and crashed it in. And then it was down for a long time. And the neighborhood then whatever could be contributed to it was done to rebuild it. And then I guess it was partially by the national park, combined with the local money that had been collected, and then they would not allow any crossing of it other than horseback riding or walking, which actually made good sense. But when we were kids, the water was clear enough and clean enough that we always played down in the in Furnace Creek and there were water holes deep enough that you could swim, and that's... Basically, I would say that Towpath Trail was the biggest actual change and the Beaver Pond expanding. As far as the landscape, after Mr. Hale died, I knew him for a couple years or sort of knew him and when he passed away then Ms. Ritchie whom I was referring to coming out with her workmen, she had everything cut down to the ground, and everybody had a fit, but in the long run, it ended up looking more cared for, let's say. I'm sure if he had gone back through the years as he got older. He was quite elderly when he passed away.
Brandon Vallee [00:38:47] Was your family close with the...
Pat Morse [00:38:50] Hale house? Yeah. In fact, my mother took care of him for a short time when he was passing. I don't know how long it was. She probably went over and at night to be there overnight. He had a housekeeper. She might have been gone for a while. I was just little, I don't know the details, but that's the way it seemed to me at that time.
Brandon Vallee [00:39:26] Do you remember when Mr. Hale passed away? What year it was?
Pat Morse [00:39:36] Well, one would have had to been in the early '30s, probably. Maybe '35, thereabouts.
Brandon Vallee [00:39:53] Alright, what I'm going to do now is pass it over to Carolyn and see if she has any questions.
Pat Morse [00:39:56] Okay, Carolyn. Don't make me cry again. [laughs]
Carolyn Conklin [00:40:05] Well, what I would like to learn more about is your memories of the community. What was the community like growing up?
Pat Morse [00:40:14] Well, I think I have more memories of it when I was quite small because of the 12 kids next door and there were two houses where I guess they might have been grandchildren who came to visit. So we had a few more to play with. And we pretty much stayed on the Oak Hill Road where the Hale Farm was simply because it was closest to us. And I vividly remember learning to ride a bicycle and I could ride up and down Oak Hill without any cars, disturbing me pretty much all day long at that time. And it was just gravel base. And my uncle was a trustee and did the scraping for the roads. They were all pretty much just dirt roads, and the Valley Club, like we spoke of, that was kind of the out... Anything that happened in school, there was always somebody that you could ride with to get there because there weren't many cars other than the ones they drove to work. So if there was anything during the day, you had to catch a ride and even going to Akron as I got older, you'd do that, and everybody in the community was totally willing to give you a ride or whatever.
Brandon Vallee [00:42:06] I know we talked about the auto shop, but do you remember or can you tell us about some other local businesses?
Pat Morse [00:42:16] Over by the covered bridge, if you would go on Everett Road, turn down toward the Riverview, there was a little gas station and various and sundry things, mostly food that went through several people after the original owners, but then that closed, and they've kind of restored it but there's no use there. I guess as far as community goes, Grange was quite a big thing. I don't know if they met once a month. I never was too much involved in that. C. O. Hale had apples and a lot of farm things, but he grew more. Oh, I would say for cattle feed and that sort of thing, plus the apples. And he had I don't know if he started it or not, but it was called a horticultural society and they met on a regular basis. I can remember my mother going to that. And we did mostly things through school as far as other than the immediate community, and that also involved some things with the Grange and. There was always a lot going on in school like square dancing in that sort of thing toward high school. But everybody always helped if you were out of the store and whatever.
Carolyn Conklin [00:44:21] Were there other events that kind of brought the community together, like the dances?
Pat Morse [00:44:30] Well, I would say those monthly club meetings and those were... And the picnic. But I think people were pretty busy just working and surviving, you might say.
Carolyn Conklin [00:44:53] Can you or do you know what, you mentioned the inn that your grandparents ran on the canal, was that still standing when you were born? And you know what was like?
Pat Morse [00:45:04] Yes, I was. And I do remember. But at that point, it was just the home of my grandmother, and my uncle who had the dairy farm lived almost next door. You could just walk to his house. And I remember going over there with my mother when I was small. I don't know if they didn't have electricity, but it was so dark in there, and that's the main thing I remember. So I went out the sat along the creek or the canal there on the... Well, it was the lock, so there was concrete you could sit down. I probably exploded your... [laughs]
Carolyn Conklin [00:45:51] That's okay. Can you tell us what the house looked like, your grandparents' house?
Pat Morse [00:45:57] I didn't bring it here. There'ss a picture of it in some of the books on record. It was just a house. [laughs] It was just a... I think it was... Oh, it was a bank house. In other words, it opened... The front of it was right on the Towpath and the lower level was more in the back yard. And I remember seeing pictures of my grandmother who always had chickens down there and a picture of her feeding the chickens. And the upstairs, the main thing I remember is that it was dark, really dark, and that was in the daytime, so I don't know how. And I can see the outside of it, but then I must have been in there more than once, but that's the only thing I remember because it was pretty close to our house across from the Hale Farm but you still drove rather than walking, so. And I remember my uncle had a car. It was, must have been before, well, it certainly wasn't normal looking to me as I remember it. It was kind of like what I would describe as a Model T Ford and sort of looks. And he was so proud of that car, my goodness. To ride in it was just a wonderful treat. That's the another connection with my uncle and I think we must have had cars. We did. I know, because when my brothers got back, they were working in Akron and had something all over where.
Carolyn Conklin [00:48:05] And what did your house like, your property?
Pat Morse [00:48:11] It was two story and had a front porch toward the road. And the roof of the front porch was... I always loved to climb no matter where or what. And I would crawl out on that roof until my mother would throw a fit and then I'd come back. in. But that was so fun. In the back of the house [laughs], there was a flat roof between the main house and we called it the shop. It was more like garage and it was two story. And we would... I would crawl out on that roof too and the shop in the back was two story and we would sleep out there in the summer because it was hot in the house. We had no air conditioning. And I can remember—neither of you would remember, I'm sure—but the kidnaping of, oh, what was his name, the flier that flew across the Atlantic the first time, his first born child was kidnapped. And I guess that child must have been about my age, because every time my mother would take us upstairs in that room to sleep, I was scared to death that I was going to be kidnapped. And then I finally told my mother and she said nobody would kidnap you. We don't have any money to kidnap for. [laughs] So that relieved my mind. [laughs]
Carolyn Conklin [00:50:15] Did you have any other favorite places besides the roof?
Pat Morse [00:50:20] Well, we... whern my brothers got back, they kind of all came home and tell my mom, they would buy these huge stocks of bananas and hang them down in the basement where it was cool. And I loved to swing those bananas [laughs], and I didn't swing on them, but I remember knocking them down once and really getting it but good. In the yard, oh gosh. My favorite thing was to go next door to the 12 kids next door and the barn was between to two houses and there was a mean rooster in there [laughs]. And he was really mean. He'd attack you with his sharp beak. And one time I didn't go out to the road. We'd usually go out to the road to get around the rooster. One time I did not go out there like that. I thought, I'm not afraid of that rooster. Well, he came out chasing me and chased me in the barn and I was against the wall. I knew I was going to die. I just knew I was gonna die. [laughs] And Don Wilson came along and he said, Oh, no, that rooster. And he's slung it clear across the hay mound. He saved my life. [laughs] I just thought he was the greatest in the world. But now... Oh, and one time, we would swing in the hay mound in the barn, there were... It was kind of raised tower from where they stored equipment below and the rope hung clear from the roof of the barn, and we'd go from one side to the other on this rope. And when all of the girls were doing that, the boys were trying to knock us off the rope, and we thought it was such fun. [laughs] And one time we decided we were going to build a fire. These are the kind of things you did for entertainment when you had no TV. We decided we were going to build a bonfire because it was cold, and the easiest thing to catch fire was the straw in the barn. But we knew that would catch fire too much. So we went into the the straw and hay mound, carried that straw, a trail, going right outside to the barn door, and we built our fire against the barn door and thought we were being so careful. And my mother didn't switch me very often [laughs], but that was one time. Luckily, she was looking out the window. Our kitchen window is just across the yard from the barn. And she saw this smoke. So she called and got the neighbors and everbody there and put the fire out. Did burn the barn door but luckily that was all. It could have been horrible really. Oh, my goodness. But again, that was entertainment, so.
Carolyn Conklin [00:54:01] Well, my last question is just what did you like the most about growing up in the Valley?
Pat Morse [00:54:08] Probably the Wilson family. [laughs] No, we used to play a lot and in the woods and Mr. Hale really was totally free with his property. We could go anywhere we wanted, and that was fun. And the Pinnacle behind his place, you had go to the woods up a steep hill, and there were fruit trees up there and we could go up there and eat the fruit. And he had a spring in the front yard with a dipper and we could drink water out of there. And one time we dropped the dipper and we were scared to death. So I said, let's go up and tell them that somebody dropped the dipper in the spring. And that's all we told them. And we didn't get punished. But it was real clear, cold, good water. So I think it was playing outside most and going over to the covered bridge and wading and swimming and so forth.
Carolyn Conklin [00:55:25] Do you have any other stories or anything you wish we had asked?
Pat Morse [00:55:28] Probably got plenty of things but... [laughs].
Carolyn Conklin [00:55:31] Anything else you'd like to share?
Pat Morse [00:55:34] Oh, let me see. Oh, another thing that we did as kids was when Miss Ritchie came, that was a whole total change, see. It was her property. That means she didn't want us even walking in the barn. So our greatest fun was walking in the yard [laughs] and going back in the woods, the sugar camp where they made maple syrup was back in the woods, and we'd go back there and she kept that locked. But we could climb up on the roof and get the windows at the top open and we could get in the sugar house just because we could do it. It was fun. And she also had a swing that was... It had a canopy over it and there were two kind of bench seats on either side and then you would swing to make it go higher. So we pretended that was our train and we'd jump off and then we'd go so high that it would jump the track and then we'd run home so that Ms. Ritchie wouldn't know who did it or if anybody did it, so that, that's, I don't know... And then, of course, as I was in high school, things were somewhat different. It was more trying to get a ride out of the Valley than it was doing much there. But I don't think of anything in particular. We had a big mulberry tree in the front yard that had purple fruit that... The mulberries fell all of the summer, and we always went barefoot so we would have purple feet for a couple months. [laughs] And we thought that was fun. That's pretty much it. The neighbor boys, the Wilson boys, always had to milk the cows and they would sing to the cows [laughs] and that would wake us up. And that was neither extreme, I don't think it was. It was disgusting or disturbing, let's say, but that was part of, you might say, part of the scene. I don't think of anything else.
Carolyn Conklin [00:58:26] Do you have any final questions?
[00:58:29] Yeah. Are you still in contact with the Wilson family?
Pat Morse [00:58:36] The Wilson family moved to Maryland when I was in about the sixth or seventh grade, and some of the older boys lived around here and they built—one of the sons and his wife—built a house maybe half a mile from where I grew up and kind of between the covered bridge where I live now and where I grew up. And they I have... Oh, gosh, he started a gravel business here in the Valley, and they moved to Florida and I had to keep in touch with his wife and the oldest son, Vernon—they always called him odd—he had Wilson's garage up in Bath. And he still lives across the road from there. And I see him occasionally, and the rest of them are pretty much spread out all over. I see them once in a while and they have a reunion sort of get together at Bath School for the alumni who went just to Bath School before it became Revere. So I see them at that time, but that's about pretty much it at this point. Some of their kids are around that I know that were at the age of my daughter and so forth.
Brandon Vallee [01:00:46] Besides the Wilson kids, was there anyone else that you hung out with from your school, maybe?
Pat Morse [01:00:54] From the Valley as such the Cranzes lived up on the top of Ira Hill. One of their daughters are the same age as I was, and we were friends through the years. But they got very, very interested in horses and riding horses, and I couldn't care less about that. So that, in fact, one thing I wanted more than anything when I was growing up was a pony because Marianne Cranz had a pony. Well, we had a birthday party up there and we got to ride the pony. And the pony knocked us all off on the ground and I sprained my arm, so I didn't want anything more to with ponies and horses. [laughs] Let's see, who else? There was a family that lived west of the Hale Farm and of myself. They had a number of daughters and they also moved, but when I was small they were around. And the Eugene Cranz house, which is next to the cemetery down at the foot of Ira Road, Eugene Cranz was quite elderly and he had a family move in with him who was the Wyatt family. And Susie Cranz became Susie Wyatt. And she has a lot of the history and pictures. She started the Bath Country Journal, so she has a lot of background material. And at the Eugene Cranz house, the Wyatt family had, let me see, two sons and three daughters. And a couple of the daughters, Nancy Wyatt was about my age. In fact, she lives around here. She's... Nancy Parthy is her married name. She lives over in the trailer park, Spring Valley or whatever they call... Saw her not too long ago. And Susie Cranz Wyatt and David Wyatt is trustee up at Richfield. Lives on Brush Road up there and... Let's see? Oh, the Jackson family... What was his first name? Margot and Jim Jackson lived on the hill as you go up from the cemetery on Ira Road, and he was an associate editor at the Beacon Journal, and Margo did... She did book reviews for the Beacon and they had a number of kids. They were smaller though. I used to babysit for them. And lo and behold, the interesting thing happened. I broke my leg about 12 years ago or so and I was living alone so one of my friends said we found a park ranger and she's looking for a place to live so we gave her your address. So when she came over, I have a bilevel house with an apartment downstairs. So I said, well, you're welcome to stay here if you would like, but it's not really set up for a perfect apartment yet,. Well, she looked at it and said, that'd be great. We got to talking and here her mother was one of the Jackson kids on Ira Road that I babysat for. [laughs] So it was kind of round in a circle. And in fact, she got me going to finishing my downstairs after my husband passed away so that I could rent it and stay in my house. I don't know. But I might be close to the only one that still owns my house outright on Oak Hill Road because, right or wrong, at the time it was absolutely a right, I started our homeowners association in opposition to the park, not so much in opposition as it was opposing the way they approached owners and the way they did it initially. As it has evolved, I would say they've done a good job, but their first park, head of the park was a trip anyway. We won't go into that. So, anything else?
Brandon Vallee [01:06:46] Is there something else you'd like to end?
Pat Morse [01:06:49] I'll probably think of a lot of things on the way home, but I don't think of anything at this point.
Carolyn Conklin [01:06:56] Well, thank you.
Pat Morse [01:06:57] Oh, don't tell anybody I'm renting my downstairs because I probably shouldn't be doing it, although I own my house. I own my four acres, but the park has all kinds of rules, so you... [laughs]
Brandon Vallee [01:07:13] I won't tell... [recording ends]
Cuyahoga Valley Project
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"Pat Morse Interview, 30 March 2011" (2011). Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection. Interview 518019.