My Aunt Evelyn had some old family photos she wanted us to have, to be the keepers of, since we have a collection of other family photos and are interested in family history. My maternal grandfather, Otto Paul Hofstetter, was born in 1892, in Marysvillle, CA, and came to Western Oregon as an infant. The family bought a farm in Clarks, Oregon, the same farm I remember visiting as a girl, and the location of many family gatherings.
My maternal grandmother, Meta Catherine Mohr Stark, was born in 1896 in Wilcox, Nebraska. She was adopted by the Starks at the age of 18 months when her birth parents divorced. After her adoption she came to live in Salem, Oregon.
Otto and Meta probably met at a church conference. They married in 1920 and had four children, the oldest of which was my mother Violet Ruth Hofstetter.
My grandparents lived on the 180 acre farm where Grandpa grew up. Grandpa used a team of horses to clear forest land and turn it in to farm land. They had dairy cattle, and later beef cattle. They raised wheat, oats and corn for animal feed. Being the oldest, my mother helped her dad with the chores, including the milking. Life was planned around the needs of the cows and the seasons.
My Grandmother had a large vegetable garden. I remember going there in the summer to help shell peas a time or two, but my mother and her siblings spent hours and days doing this and other harvesting chores. Grandma canned the produce on a wood stove. I think the only time I saw her without an apron was when she sat down to Christmas dinner, or at church on Sunday, of course. As long as they were on the farm, we gathered there every Christmas eve with the aunts and uncles and cousins. We kids sat in the kitchen around the old oak table and had lots of fun being silly.
My mother remembers when they first got electricity in 1935 under Roosevelt's Rural Electrification Administration. Telephones came later. Grandpa got his first tractor in 1942 through a government war support effort to increase agricultural production. Each summer the women would cook for the threshing crews, made up of neighboring farmers, as they came through to harvest the grain. They consumed lots of farm raised chickens, and home baked bread and pies. And yes, my mother did walk to school through rain and snow and heat, but maybe only two miles, downhill in the morning and uphill back home in the afternoon. Then it was time to milk those cows again.