Marjorie Osborn Morgan grew up on a dairy farm outside of Akron, Ohio. In this 2010 interview she discusses life in Cleveland and the dairy farm. She mentions some of the work her family farm did, as well as her experiences growing up, including going to school in a small one room schoolhouse.
Morgan, Marjorie Osborn (interviewee)
O'Grady, FX (interviewer)
Transcription sponsored by Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Frank O'Grady [00:00:02] It is March 9th, 2011. My name is Frank O'Grady, and today we're going to be introducing interviewing Marge Osborne Morgan as part of the Cuyahoga Valley research project about farming. And so the first thing we'd like you to do for us, Marge, is to say your full name and spell your name for us just to make sure we have that right.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:00:34] Marjorie, M-A-R-J-O-R-I-E, Dawn, D-A-W-N, Morgan.
Frank O'Grady [00:00:45] Very good, and Morgan's M-O-R-G-A-N?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:00:48] Right.
Frank O'Grady [00:00:49] Very good, Marge. First, you know, tell us about where you were born and the different places you've lived in your life.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:01:00] I was born in Akron. Right now, University of Akron has taken over all the homesteads, and that's the area where I was born. And we lived there for three years before we came to Everett. And my dad only came here because work was so slow at that time and a man wanted him to run a dairy farm for him.
Frank O'Grady [00:01:28] So you actually moved from Akron to your...
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:01:31] Yes.
Frank O'Grady [00:01:32] Dairy farm. And was the dairy farm in Everett? Or where was that located?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:01:36] Well, we called it Everett. It was the first place past the trailer court up here. As a matter of fact, that trailer court was our pasture land where all the cows were let loose all the time. And then the house was up on top of the hill. And now we called it Everett. I don't... I guess I still can't Everett. It's almost in, up to the Ira area, but it's still called Everett as far as I know.
Frank O'Grady [00:02:05] What road was it on? The farm.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:02:08] It was off... Just off of Riverview Road. I don't know what the... As a matter of fact, it was just a driveway off of Riverview Road.
Frank O'Grady [00:02:19] Okay. Well, before we start talking about farming, I had mentioned to my professor, Mark Tebeau, that you have some memories about League Park, and he's very interested in hearing about that. So tell us a little bit about your memories about League Park.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:02:36] Well, in the beginning, my mother's very best friend was a baseball addict, and she would see me down at the post office picking up my mail and say, what's your mammy doing? Because she was very Southern. What's your mammy doing? And I said, I don't know that she's doing anything special. Well go home and ask her if she wants to go to the ballgame. And so I'd run home and I'd say, Clara wants to know, do you want to go to the ball game? Sure. So she would take my mother and I and we go to League Park, get a hot dog and sit a clear down in the front row right next to the ballplayers. And that was back in the '20s.
Frank O'Grady [00:03:18] So how old would you have been then?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:03:20] Oh, I was probably eight or ten at the most. Mm hmm.
Frank O'Grady [00:03:27] Did you continue to go to League Park after that, or was it just during that few, those few years?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:03:32] Just when I was a kid because, like my mom and dad, going to Cleveland would have been way over their heads because they were just used to being around Everett, you know, the time. But this woman was assistant mail carrier from the post office and she'd go anywhere. I mean, she had no fear of anything. So it was just while we were, I was small and she'd think, well, let's do something exciting today and we'd go to the ballgame.
Frank O'Grady [00:04:03] What's your favorite memory of League Park? Do you have a certain memory that...
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:04:07] No. Just the fact that you were right down with the players and you got so excited just to be that close to them. And just like you knew 'em all, you know. As far as knowing any of the players now, I don't remember who they were, but at the time they were my idols, you know.
Frank O'Grady [00:04:25] And they were really good back then.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:04:28] Oh, yeah, yeah! [laughs] Well, a home run was pretty easy to get because it wasn't far out there.
Frank O'Grady [00:04:34] Yeah, they had the one outfield wall was much taller than the the Green Monster at Fenway Park, which is famous for being the tall wall.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:04:45] Right. Right. Yeah. Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:04:47] So that had to be fun. There had to be a lot of balls come off the wall.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:04:50] Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:04:56] Talk a little bit about the farm. Tell me what you remember about the farm, including the buildings on the farm and things like that.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:05:04] Well, there were just probably three buildings. One of them was where all the cows were kept and the other one was for machinery. The other one was for food and things. And my worst memory was the fact that there was too much milk. Every Sunday night, the menu was whatever leftover homemade bread from all week that my mom made, and then we had to have bread and milk. And I don't ever want to see a dish of bread and milk put in front of me ever again because that is the worst memory of living on that farm.
Frank O'Grady [00:05:46] And you were... You were how old then?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:05:48] I was three when we come there and then six when we left. We were only there for three years. Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:05:55] And so you had dairy cows?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:05:57] Yes. Mm hmm. It was a dairy farm.
Frank O'Grady [00:06:00] How many cows?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:06:01] Oh, gee, I don't remember how many cows. But, like, our pasture land was full of, like, thorn trees, small thorn trees. And that was one of the jobs that my dad and this man that owned the farm would come help. And one day he came to help my dad and he brought me a pair of rubber boots that went up to my knees and a small ax to go down and help cut brush. And my mother just about went through the sky. You know. That's okay, mr. Carter said, that's okay. We'll watch her. Well, there I am down there with this guy. And I can remember that so well. I mean, that's 80-some years ago. But, you know, those things stick in your mind. But of all things, to bring a kid.
Frank O'Grady [00:06:56] A little girl with an ax.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:06:58] Mm hmm.
Frank O'Grady [00:06:58] Not a good idea.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:06:59] Not too smart, huh?
Frank O'Grady [00:07:01] No, I'm a Boy Scout leader, and I can't imagine that. I have a three-year-old granddaughter. [laughs] I can't reach her with an ax.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:07:09] No.
Frank O'Grady [00:07:12] You mentioned a kind of tree that was on the property. Did you see a fern tree?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:07:17] Fern tree?
Frank O'Grady [00:07:17] Or brush?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:07:18] Brush brush, brush. Yeah, thorns, thorny brush.
Frank O'Grady [00:07:24] Thorns.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:07:24] Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:07:26] So you had to clear the brush so that the cattle didn't get into it.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:07:29] So, yes. And that, of course, gives you more space for your growth for your feed, for the grass to come up because it was pretty thick down through there.
Frank O'Grady [00:07:41] For the grazing for the cattle.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:07:43] Mm hmm.
Frank O'Grady [00:07:44] So would you say there was maybe fifty cows?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:07:49] Oh, that number are a few less, not any more than that I know, because my dad had to milk them all, so I know that they're... I don't think it would've been fifty, probably maybe twenty-five or thirty at the most. Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:08:04] And your dad milked all the cows?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:08:05] Yeah. My dad milked the cows, yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:08:08] Did you help out with that?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:08:10] No, I didn't. [laughs]
Frank O'Grady [00:08:12] Did your mom?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:08:13] My mom did not milk. Nope. She was strictly [an] in-the-house person. Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:08:18] Were you the only child?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:08:20] Yes.
Frank O'Grady [00:08:21] Okay.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:08:21] Yeah. Yeah. Spoiled rotten.
Frank O'Grady [00:08:25] Did you like the cows? Did you like...
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:08:26] Yeah, I liked the cows. Just too much milk. [laughs]
Frank O'Grady [00:08:33] So you said there was three buildings. There was a little farmhouse and then a barn for equipment.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:08:39] Yes.
Frank O'Grady [00:08:39] And then a barn for the cows.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:08:41] Yes.
Frank O'Grady [00:08:42] Right.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:08:42] Mm hmm.
Frank O'Grady [00:08:43] And do you remember how the the milk got to market?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:08:52] Yes, we shipped it. We had to put it in the big cans and take it down over the hill, down to the road. And they come along and picked it up.
Frank O'Grady [00:09:03] Down to Riverview Road?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:09:05] Mm hmm.
Frank O'Grady [00:09:05] And they picked it up right there in front of your property?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:09:08] Mm hmm. And that Riverview Road was not paved. It was strictly mud.
Frank O'Grady [00:09:13] So every day a truck would come by and pick up the milk and take it to a dairy.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:09:25] Mm hmm.
Frank O'Grady [00:09:25] Talk about, if you recall, the reasons that your dad decided to stop dairy farming and go do something else.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:09:36] Maybe he got tired. I don't really know. But anyway, it was not a profitable business. It was mostly just being there and having a place to live and food to eat, you know, because we always had like a small garden with the vegetables and things in it. But he then started working for Summit County for... And I think probably more or less it was he was tired and he wanted something else to do. It was... Had a little payday with it.
Frank O'Grady [00:10:10] How old would your dad have been then?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:10:14] Oh, gosh, he was born in 1899, and we were there like in '25 up to '28, so...
Frank O'Grady [00:10:33] Still pretty young, 29 years old.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:10:34] Yes, yeah, and then we moved just down Riverview Road across the creek. It would've been the second property down on the left, and the way we got our house is kind of amazing, too. At the time, they were building the disposal up at Botzum, and up on top of the hill they had these just... we called them shanties—but they were like a four, just a four-wall construction with no partitions or anything in—that the workers came and stayed there. And so when they got done building that disposal, they sold those structures, and my grandfather had given my mom and dad this property on Riverview. And they dug a basement, and my my uncle laid the tile, and they went up to Botzum with horses and a hay wagon and cut one of those things right in two an brought half of it down and then went back and got the other half and set it on that. And that's the house is standing down there on 4646 Riverview.
Frank O'Grady [00:12:04] And how long did you live there?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:12:07] Well, my mom and dad both passed away there and I lived there until I got married. So a long time.
Frank O'Grady [00:12:19] And it's still standing.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:12:20] Oh, yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:12:21] And that's in Everett village?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:12:26] Uh huh.
Frank O'Grady [00:12:26] You had mentioned about the vegetable garden om the property at the dairy farm that you had. Talk about that. How big was it? Did your dad do all the farming?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:12:38] It was just a small garden and it supplied our family with the vegetables and things that we needed besides the milk. [laughs]
Frank O'Grady [00:12:47] Tomatoes and cucumbers and...
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:12:49] Yes. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And some place or other there was wheat that they grew for the grain for the cattle. And it made awfully good wine. My dad always had a crock of wheat wine brewing in the back room. This is something else probably you shouldn't even remember, but my aunt and her, she had a boy that was my age, and when wheat wine is first fermenting it's just real sweet. It's just like drinking pop. And my cousin and I, we went out into the back room and we were dippering out pop. And they couldn't find us. And all I could remember was being back against the wall and just just slid right down that wall and sat down. That's as far as I could go. And, ooh, boy, did we get it. And my dad wasn't bashful about spanking either, I'll tell you. But I was probably too numb to realize it [laughs] anyway at that point.
Frank O'Grady [00:14:05] How old were you, Marge, when that happened?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:14:07] Oh, not more than probably five or six at the most.
Frank O'Grady [00:14:12] Oh, it's still at the dairy farm then?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:14:14] Uh huh. Oh, yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:14:15] Oh boy.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:14:15] Yeah. My dad always had that. He liked wine, but you weren't supposed to go dip it out and drink, drink, drink it, you know.
Frank O'Grady [00:14:24] Did your dad grow up on a farm?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:14:29] Yes, he did, more or less, and his father was killed when he was just a young lad, about ten years old, and so then he was shipped off to Texas and he was in Texas with a relation for I think about two years. And so then when he came back, he lived on a farm, what they called the Stewart Farm. And that's across the tracks down here at Everett. And of course, everything's all gone now, but that's where the farm was.
Frank O'Grady [00:15:05] Tell me about this Stewart Farm. What was that like? I mean, who lived there?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:15:12] My step-grandfather and, of course, my dad's mother married him, and really that's all I remember was that he had a big farm. And they always had plenty of good things to eat and they had a lot of cattle, a lot of cattle. Mm hmm.
Frank O'Grady [00:15:36] Cattle and crops too?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:15:39] Mostly cattle. But and I don't remember about the crops, but I have pictures of the barn and all the cows and everything around it so that there, again, was more of a cattle farm than it was growing.
Frank O'Grady [00:15:54] Do you have a scrapbook of photos? I know you didn't bring it today, but...
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:15:59] No. I have some photos of a Stewart Farm. I don't have any photos of when we lived up there because I don't know that my mom and dad even owned a camera at the time, you know, so I don't have anything to show what was going on there on the farm. But down at the Stewart Farm, I have some of my grandparents' pictures of the barn and all the cows and everything. But that's all.
Frank O'Grady [00:16:26] We'd love to see those.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:16:28] Would you?
Frank O'Grady [00:16:28] Oh, sure. Yeah.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:16:29] Oh, okay.
Frank O'Grady [00:16:31] So we'll get in touch with you about getting a look at those.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:16:34] Okay, okay.
Frank O'Grady [00:16:36] Okay, great. Now, you were only from three to six years old, but describe a typical day on the dairy farm that you remember, like, what time did your dad get up and then...
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:16:48] Oh gee, I don't know. I know he was up and gone before I was up. I have no idea. I just know that when nighttime come, he was pretty well pooed [worn out]. And of course, like I say, he was running that by himself. And I think that's why he got out of there, because he got tired. But anyway, you know, he'd be gone. And another thing I remember about the farm, we used to always have to go... This Mr. Carter lived up the Highland Road hill over in that area. I don't even remember exactly what town he lived in over there, but we always had to go to his house with a team of horses and a big wagon to pick up things that we needed for the farm off of his farm. And one day we were coming down that big hill and something happened to the car—I forget now what they call the thing that hooks up the wagon to the team—and we had no brakes. And my father got out on the tongue of that wagon and walked down there and got hold of those horses and stopped 'em. And he was just beside himself because he was sure that... And there were just the two of us. There was no one else to help him. But now that's things like that that you remember up here that happened to you when you were a kid, even though it's been so long ago. But he was very, very scared and so was I. I don't think I realized because I, you know Dad's gonna save us, you know, so you don't realize when you're a kid how bad things are.
Frank O'Grady [00:18:37] Anyway. Yeah. You know, in the movies you sometimes see that...
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:18:42] Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:18:42] Where somebody has to jump out there...
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:18:43] Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:18:44] And stop a team of horses.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:18:45] In the Westerns.
Frank O'Grady [00:18:46] Exactly. It sounds like your dad was an amazing guy, I mean to do all of that on his own in his twenties.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:18:52] Yeah. Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:18:53] How about your mom? Tell me about your mom.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:18:57] Well, for some reason or other, girls, I guess, are closer to their dads, but my mom just tried to help him. And then my mom was a very good piano player and she got that from her mother. My grandmother could sit down to a piano and play and play and play without a sheet of music and never had any kind of instructions. Now, my mom did have some lessons. And then in later years, my mom and dad had a square dance orchestra and had another man playing with them. And they went around to like the Grange halls and played for dances on Saturday nights. So we were all musicians as I played the piano. And then as I got older, I played the trumpet, which belonged to a man who was the head trumpet in the Barnum and Bailey Circus Orchestra, and he got too old to travel anymore. So he sent that trumpet to my grandmother and she gave it to me and I said, okay, I'm gonna learn how to play that. And that trumpet went from me to my son, and then my grandson had it redone so it looked brand new. And he left it in his car one night and somebody stole it out of his car, and we were so sad because it was an antique. But yes. So we had a very musical family. And that was one of the things we used to do. My grandmother would play the piano before that she would pop corn in one of those big iron kettles is just sat down in the stove. And they always had those big, yellow, sweet, delicious apples in the cellar and we could eat popcorn and eat those great, big, good, delicious apples and listen to her play the piano. That was our entertainment. That was our entertainment.
Frank O'Grady [00:21:03] Would that have typically just been you and your mom and dad, or would other people come over?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:21:08] Sometimes, but mostly it would be just like our family and my grandparents had two other children, too. So, yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:21:18] Now, the square dance band, were you in that as well?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:21:22] No, I was not, because I had played in it several times, but they had a violin player, which is out of my class, but after I was playing the trumpet, if the one guy that played trumpet didn't show up after the violin player left, why then I played some, but not... It wasn't my cup of tea. I didn't really care for that. [laughs]
Frank O'Grady [00:21:47] Where were the square dances held?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:21:50] In the area, like down at Peninsula at the G.A.R. hall. That was a Saturday night event. And there again, all of us gathered there, and we had one of those dances that you circle like this and the guys go one way and the women the other, and then you change partners all the time. And I was in the eighth grade at the time, I remember. And this one fellow was way in high school. But anyways, that was Saturday night and Monday I couldn't go to school because I [caught] mumps. And this poor guy, he almost had a nervous breakdown, a friend of ours who had danced with me and he was sure he was going to get those mumps. And that was our Saturday night entertainment, and, you know, that was... We looked forward to that.
Frank O'Grady [00:22:47] Did he end up getting the mumps?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:22:48] No, he didn't get 'em. And it's a wonder, too, because everybody in a school had 'em. [laughs]
Frank O'Grady [00:22:54] Where did... Where did you go to school?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:22:58] First of all, I went to school up here at Everett at the one-room school. I went there for two years, first and second grade, and then moved... When they consolidated with Peninsula, I went to school the rest of the time down at Peninsula, first of all, in the building there on the corner 303 and Riverview and up at the high school. I graduated from the high school.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:23:20] Peninsula High School? Well, it was called Boston Township at that time because we were consolidated with the Boston and Everett and Peninsula.
Frank O'Grady [00:23:33] How many kids in first and second grade in the one-room schoolhouse?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:23:41] Now, let me tell you, through eight, through eighth, there were probably, oh, between 15 and 20 kids. And the lady who was my second grade teacher turned out to be my aunt because she married my uncle. She boarded with him and then she married him. So anyway, I felt sorry for most of those teachers because some of these boys should have been long gone out of school and were still in the eighth grade. Of course they didn't go to school half the time. That's why. But anyways, she would get angry with those kids and chase 'em around that room and they'd just run, you know, avoid her and make sport of her. We all felt so bad. We'd keep our head down and stay out of it. But it was kind of scary, too, when you're only in first and second grade to see some big lugs chasing your teacher around.
Frank O'Grady [00:24:41] So when you were in first and second grade, all the kids were together first to eighth?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:24:46] One room.
Frank O'Grady [00:24:47] Wow!
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:24:48] Well, you know... Are you familiar with that building that's across from the church? If you go up, what do you call it?
Frank O'Grady [00:25:00] Riverview?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:25:00] No, down Riverview and then make a left and start... What do they call it now? I don't know. They changed all these... Oh, Everett Road. And then, there up at the top of the hill, there's the church on the right. And then just past that, there's a building and that was the schoolhouse, a one-room school.
Frank O'Grady [00:25:28] I'm gonna go see that when we're done.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:25:30] And it turned into a house, somebody remodeled it after we left there, and families lived in it there for years after that. But then the park come along, and that was one of the places that they took over.
Frank O'Grady [00:25:50] Marge, talk about Everett village and how it's changed since you were a little girl. What kind of things do you....
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:25:58] Well, you know, we had a post office on the corner of Everett and Riverview and we had a gasoline station. If you go up Everett Road, just across the tracks, on the righthand side a couple of buildings up there, there was a grocery store and a gasoline... You know these kind you pump like that? And just... A well-knit village that everybody knew everybody and would we'd have what we called the bunko parties on Saturday nights and we'd all get together at somebody's house and play games. And it was just like one big happy family, you know. And then the big building down there on the corner where the the park has their offices now, that was a dance hall upstairs, very beautiful dance hall. And downstairs in one end was the bar where you went in the bar and then upstairs to the dance hall. And the other other half, my aunt and uncle lived there. And that was a big deal on a lot of Saturday nights too. Back in those days they danced and danced on Saturday night. [laughs]
Frank O'Grady [00:27:32] And was most of the people that lived in Everett in farming back then?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:27:42] No, I can't say... I can't say... Not commercial farming. Maybe enough to feed themselves, but as far as any big farms as... No. The Stewart Farm, of course, that I mentioned, that was big. And then after after they were all gone, then some people came in and rented it and grew strawberries, melons, and just a lot of things that they could take to market and sell and they would, like, take it to Akron to the market and sell their wares to make a living.
Frank O'Grady [00:28:29] So the Stewart Farm was your your step-grandfather and grandmother?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:28:34] Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:28:35] Okay.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:28:35] Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:28:36] And what year was it when they sold it to someone else and they changed from a cattle farm to...
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:28:45] I don't remember that. I don't remember that.
Frank O'Grady [00:28:49] About how old were you? Were you married already?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:28:52] No, no, no, no, no. That was back when I was just little. As a matter of fact, my grandfather, my step-grandfather, I don't remember him on a farm. I just know it belonged to him. Now, whether he was renting it out, I don't know. I don't know.
Frank O'Grady [00:29:19] Did you ever go to the farmer's market in Akron.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:29:22] No. No. Now, another thing that you have to realize was that when we lived up there on that on the hill and we needed things at the grocery store, there's only one way you could get there and that would be hitch the horse up to what we called a mud boat, which was nothing but a box, a wooden box with some sides on it, because there were... The roads were nothing but mud. And that's the only way you could get to the grocery because the mud would get like that deep on it, and we'd hitch up and then come down to the grocery store and get staples, and talk about a rough ride.
Frank O'Grady [00:30:17] How long would it have taken you to get to the grocery store?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:30:19] Oh, gee. I guess it would really depend on the road situation and how fast the horse could go.
Frank O'Grady [00:30:29] How much mud...
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:30:30] Yeah. [laughs]
Frank O'Grady [00:30:30] Or if it was dry. Did you ride horses, too?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:30:35] No, no.
Frank O'Grady [00:30:36] Just hitched 'em up, and away you went.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:30:38] Yep. Hitched 'em up to the mud boat.
Frank O'Grady [00:30:45] After you got older, did your dad ever talk about the farm anymore?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:30:51] No.
Frank O'Grady [00:30:52] He was just exhausted.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:30:54] I guess. He never... My dad was not a talker, and he always said my mom talked enough. He didn't have to. But anyways, you know, as I grew older, I don't think I ever heard him mention that. He must have disliked it immensely. He must have. Because, I never heard him ever say that.
Frank O'Grady [00:31:20] Sounds like a lot of work.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:31:21] Yeah. Yes. Yes.
Frank O'Grady [00:31:27] Just a couple of more more questions. How did how did you see farming change in this area during your lifetime?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:31:37] Well, farming used to be just for your own good, but what food you could raise, like the back of our house there on Riverview, we always had a garden, fresh tomatoes and all the goodies that you have to go to store and buy now. And it wasn't commercial. No, not a bit. Except maybe some of the guys that raised like the melons, cantaloupes and things like that, that were rare and they would take 'em to market in town in Akron. And then when [the] Szalays came to farm, well then that turned into a big deal. They farmed to sell, to make a living. That was their occupation.
Frank O'Grady [00:32:25] The Szalays.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:32:28] Szalays, yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:32:28] Tell me about them.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:32:29] Well, they came here from Detroit. Let's see, about... My best friend, she turned into my best friend, and we started in school and we were in the third grade together. So that would have to be in early '30s. And he... Mr. Szalay was a strictly... What do I want to say? A domineering person, and he had... My friend, and she had two brothers, and the only thing they could do ever was work on that farm because that was their living, and they weren't allowed to go out with us kids when we'd go someplace. It was all work, work. And my friend, even when she was little, I used to remember we'd go swimming up in the creek, but she couldn't go in because she had to wash the vegetables to get 'em ready for market. So that's when it really, the farm that they farm today, that's when it really started turning commercial because they were making a living.
Frank O'Grady [00:33:49] And there was a lot of other commercial farmers, too?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:33:53] No, no. Just Szalay's, yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:34:04] And, Marge, is there anything else that we haven't talked about that you think might be helpful to our project about farming in the Cuyahoga Valley?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:34:17] No, like I said before, when I first came in, you know, farming wasn't my forte, so I don't... And I remember the farm up there and I remember everybody had their own little gardens and things as... But like commercialized, it wasn't. Nothing was commercial except just go to the farmer's market and try to sell your wares to make a living. That was it. Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:34:44] And how about the... How about Everett village? Anything else you'd like to talk about about how it's changed over the years?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:34:57] It's nothing like it used to be, of course. Because everybody... It was like family before. The houses were close, and if your friend needed something, your neighbor needed something, you were right there to help 'em. And it just isn't that way anymore. Isn't that way.
Frank O'Grady [00:35:25] And that was during the Depression era as well.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:35:30] Yes.
Frank O'Grady [00:35:31] So it meant a lot...
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:35:31] Yes.
Frank O'Grady [00:35:32] To have people help you.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:35:33] Yes. Depression wise, I can remember that we were allowed to have maybe two pair of shoes in the winter or in the year because that's all my dad could afford. And if I did something that ruined my shoes, that's tough. You had to do with it. You tell a kid that now, and they'll look at you, uh? You know, go buy me a new pair of shoes, and they go do it. It wasn't that way.
Frank O'Grady [00:36:12] Was your mom a seamstress?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:36:14] Yes. Yes.
Frank O'Grady [00:36:16] She made your clothes?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:36:16] And I was a seamstress. I'm still a seamstress. My son, who is 66 years old, brings me his pants to let in or out or take in or something all the time. I love to sew. I made costumes for a dancing school for years so my son could take lessons. But we had 4-H clubs, and we learned how to cook, we learned how to sew, you learned how to be a housewife. And I was one for 65 years when my husband passed away. Yeah. And then on top of that, we had a business and I helped him run that. Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:37:04] What did your husband do?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:37:07] He was always in automobiles. From the time he was in high school, he worked part time for... Bigelow Chevrolet used to be down there in the corner of 303 and Riverview. And he started when he was in high school working for them. And after he graduated, he worked down at the paper mill down at Jaite, and he had migraine headaches very bad, and the smell of the paste... And and he would get so sick down there, and he had no way to get home because they had to ride a bus from Peninsula down to the mill. And he finally said, I gotta get out of there. So he went over to Hudson and got a job with the man who had Hudson Motor Car in a garage over at Hudson. And he worked for him for years. And then he got a better job in Cleveland with the distributor for Hudson Motor Car. From there, he went to Akron and worked for the gentleman in Arrow, Lloyd Oliver. And he got fed up with being told what to do and didn't want to do it, I guess. I don't know. Anyways, we started our own business. He said, we'll see what we can do. So we had our own business in our backyard, Morgan Motors, and he did repair work, bodywork. Anything there was to do on an automobile he could do. And I learned a lot about automobiles. I probably know more about automobiles right now than my two schoolteacher sons do, but that's what I tell 'em anyway. But then it got to the point where making a living was getting harder and harder and the man that owned Bigelow's, he says, come on back to work for me. You've been gone a long time. He says, come sell cars. So he went back up there and Mr. Bigelow said, Marge, you know all about all this title work and everything. You better come up here, too. So my husband worked for him for 22 years and I worked for him for 20 years.
Frank O'Grady [00:39:27] And your two boys are teachers?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:39:29] Schoolteachers. They're both retired. One of them was music. Of course...
Frank O'Grady [00:39:36] That makes sense with your family.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:39:37] Yeah. And the other one was strictly a history buff. He loved history and he taught history. And then he was a basketball coach. And then he was the principal of Stow High School when he retired.
Frank O'Grady [00:39:57] Very good.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:39:57] And he had 32 years in. And my other son had thirty years of music.
Frank O'Grady [00:40:07] That's terrific.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:40:08] Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:40:08] We used... We lived in Hudson briefly, and I'm working on becoming a history teacher.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:40:13] Are you?
Frank O'Grady [00:40:13] And coach footbnall, so I can relate to your boys.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:40:15] Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:40:17] Carolyn, do you have any questions for Marge?
Carolyn Conklin [00:40:19] Yeah, I have a few questions. I think the stories about the one-room schoolhouse are really interesting. Could you tell us a little bit about what, you know, the outside, the inside, what it looked like and kind of what a day was like at school?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:40:35] Well, first of all, of course, we had to walk to school, rain or shine, and it was just one, one big room. And then it had rows of desks. And we'll start over here, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth. Across there. And you would carry your lunch because there was no place, and there was a well and they'd go out with a bucket and dip down in the well, and there was always just a dipper in the bucket. And one of my friends was telling us the other day, she says, you know, I started carrying my own water. I didn't like everybody with that dipper in the water. That's one of the hazards, I guess. Yeah. And like I say, you walked to school, rain or shine. And she would teach the first and second grade together and then maybe the third and fourth, fifth or sixth and seventh and eighth grade, but there might be only three or four children in each grade. So at the most, at the most, I think there was maybe, never over twenty, never over twenty. I've got some pictures of the whole class and I think maybe, oh, probably eighteen or nineteen. But it was an experience that you don't ever forget. I mean, even though you were six or seven years old, that would... That... People say, you went to a one-room school? Yeah. That's a long time ago. You got it. It's a long time ago.
Frank O'Grady [00:42:33] We'd like to see those pictures too.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:42:36] Would you?
Frank O'Grady [00:42:36] Sure.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:42:39] I have another descriptive question. Could you tell us some more about the dance hall, what it felt like, I mean did they decorate the room? What did it feel like to be in there?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:42:51] No, it was not a decorated in any way, except sometimes they had special parties up there. But like that building that the dance hall was the whole, whole upstairs and it had a special floor for dancing. You know, it might have been oak, I'm not sure, but it was fabulous and slick, you know, you could... And it was really, really great. I mean... But then downstairs they had a bar and there were always those who abused that. And nine times out of ten, I guess, in the olden days, that before I could even start going there, they always had some kind of a big fight of some kind, [laughs] and people going home with a bloody noses... Because that was one of the things they did in olden days. They'd have too much to drink and then they'd fight. I mean, that was their entertainment.
Carolyn Conklin [00:44:00] I just lost my train of thought.
Frank O'Grady [00:44:00] It's like the Old West, right? [inaudible].
Carolyn Conklin [00:44:11] Oh, okay. I'm supposed to ask about your Swann ancestors, if you know anything about them.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:44:20] Not very much because that's several generations back. I don't really know too much about 'em.
Speaker 3 [00:44:31] You weren't told any stories about them when you were younger?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:44:34] Mm-mm.
Carolyn Conklin [00:44:38] Okay. Then my last question is, what about the Valley here do you like the most that you think is important?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:44:50] Well. It's important to me because it was my home for nineteen years till I married and went to Peninsula. And you just have a lot of recollections of when you were a kid on a bicycle riding up to the store and maybe getting just a stick of licorice or something like that. I mean, simple things were entertaining for us. You didn't have to have something on your ears or this thing go on, you know. It was just basics and we didn't have money to buy dolls and all that kind of stuff when we were kids. And I was interested in sewing. My mother taught me how to sew, and I'd make my own clothes. One of the recollections I had, in 4-H we made dresses and we had to go to Peninsula to a Grange a meeting and we we put our clothes on and modeled them. And at that time you could buy material for maybe 10 cents a yard. And I had, I think, 23 cents in this dress that I wore. Well, you had to walk back and forth on the stage and then you'd say how you made it. And I, then I would... I said that I have... It cost me 23 cents, and everybody started laughing. And there was one man way in the back of the room and he says, I don't give a... It's beautiful. And I mean, you tell kid now 23 cents for a dress... Twenty-three dollars won't even buy a dress anymore. It, you know, life has gotten too complicated. I worked for twenty years and when the first computers come out, each one of us had these big set ups. Each one of us had a word that'd get us into the system. Big thing over here to copy every night. And now it's like this. That's how far it's gone since I was in the computer business. And they'll call me up on the telephone and want to sell... I said, I don't ever want to see a computer as long as I live because it's too complicated. Life is too complicated, especially when you're 80-plus years old.
Frank O'Grady [00:47:32] Marge, I have a question for you. You mentioned, you know, going up to the store to get licorice.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:47:34] Mm hmm.
Frank O'Grady [00:47:37] Was it more of a grocery store or more of a general store?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:47:41] Oh, it was a general... The one up on Riverview Road, mrs. Carter's store, was... She had everything. She had meat. She had groceries and everything. And then where the post office was down there, she just had a few items, but she had this great big case as you went in the door, was all glass covered. It was full of penny candy, and that was our treat because we'd take two or three cents down there and go home with a bag of penny candy, you know, and like my friend that lives over there on Bolanz Road, she said, that used to be our our big delight, wasn't it? I said that was. That was our treat. We could take three or four pennies and go down there and come back home with a bag full of candy.
Frank O'Grady [00:48:36] That was the little store by the post office?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:48:38] Uh huh. Yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:48:40] What else did she have in there? Kind of like describe it for us, in addition to the case with all the candies.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:48:45] Well, when you walked in the door, on the lefthand side was a candy case, and then it's straight ahead of you where all the boxes where she put your mail. And then there was an aisle that went down through the middle, and over on that whole wall there it was miscellaneous things that... As a matter of fact, we never bought anything there, but I don't remember if she had groceries, mostly like hardware and things like that, but that's where all the mail came for... And then the lady that went to the ball games with us, she was a mail carrier, and they took mail all up Ira, all around up in there, you know, she'd be like gone all day delivering mail in the car. Before that it was a horse and buggy, of course.
Frank O'Grady [00:49:37] So it was a combination post office and the store?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:49:41] Yeah, mostly post office. I mean, they didn't care if they sold anything or not.
Frank O'Grady [00:49:48] And how about the other store, the bigger store? Is that more of the grocery store?
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:49:53] Yeah, that was groceries and meat and also... She had some small hardware things in there, too. But that was a bigger... And it was, wasn't half post office like it was down at the other one. And then she had the gas pump out there too.
Frank O'Grady [00:50:13] And you said you had to crank the gasoline.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:50:14] Oh yeah, yeah.
Frank O'Grady [00:50:24] Marge, you did great! Thank you so much.
Marjorie Osborne Morgan [00:50:25] Oh!
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"Marjorie Osborne Morgan Interview, 2011" (2011). Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection. Interview 518013.