Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick


Born on January 5, 1913 my mother was stricken with infantile paralysis (later called polio) during the late summer of 1914. Nobody knows how she contacted the dreaded disease but like a plague, it victimized many children during the first half of the 20th century.

She spent several years in the Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. Therapy was introduced and she would ride back and forth on the train, spending three months in the hospital, then three months at home on the farm.

She did not begin school until the fall of 1920 when she finally started first grade at Douds-Leando Consolidated. Larger and older than her classmates, wearing an iron brace on her right arm and another on her right leg, she was the blunt of many cruel jokes and much tormenting. Teachers usually kept her inside at recess.

Charlotte rode five miles up the old, dirt river road to school with other neighborhood children in a wagon drawn by a team of horses. Originally an old Indian trail, the road followed the river through lowlands and was subject to frequent flooding in the spring and summer. About a mile southeast of Holcomb Creek, a large oak tree stood in the middle of the road and traffic had to go around the tree on either side.

Mom said that one morning on the way to school, the horses defied the driver and decided to go on each side of the tree. The split upset the school wagon and the children tumbled out in all directions. Her sister hurt her back causing problems throughout her long life.

It was not unusual for children to bring produce with them. On the way to school, these students would stop at the store and sell their fresh products. That morning, one of the girls had several dozen eggs while another girl had a gallon of cream. There in the roadway amidst the bruised and battered kids was the makings for a delicious omelet!

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick