Ruth Remembers…

Stories bring back memories of a more rural Grove City
This story was provided by Ruth Sawyer Jividen as told to Liz Thompson

Grove city news (Ohio)
Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My mother lived to 94. Here I am at 95 remembering her.

She was born Relieffe Gertrude Grant at Beulah Park, which was named after her Aunt Beulah Grant Campbell. Beulah Park belonged to Beulah’s grandfather, A.G. Grant.

During the summers, my mother visited her Uncle and Aunt Johnson who lived in Lisbon. The town was more a crossroads with a church, blacksmith shop and grocery store located between South Charleston and Springfield.

Mother’s aunt made her school clothes during these visits. Her uncle ran the blacksmith shop where my father, Clarence Wilbur Sawyer, learned the trade, as a young man. During one summer visit, my parents met. They corresponded, dated and married on July 6, 1914.

My father’s brother helped them get started farming but didn’t think my mother, a city girl, would make a good farmer’s wife. She really fooled them.

When they got married, the church and neighbors had a shower for them. They each brought a hen for the couple — a little different from wedding showers today.

I was born June 8, 1915. My grandmother died that year and my grandfather moved to California. Four years later, we moved into their home, which was quite neglected, and I still live in that home today.

My mother had a lot of work making it livable again as renters destroyed much of the house and used the kitchen as a grainery. My mother said the grain would forever come out behind the woodwork. She fought other problems left behind like bedbugs.

My Uncle Charlie helped my parents get horses, cows and pigs to farm. We farmed down to where Hayes Tech is now, on Haughn Road on both sides of the road west to Moore and Dudley and north to Richard Avenue. We had dairy cows we milked by hand. We had to cool the milk and set it out for the milk truck to pick up or we would separate the milk and sell it in five-gallon cans of cream.

We raised our own meat, which was butchered, rendered for lard, made into ground sausage, cured hams and we took the head and made all kinds of lunch meat. We used the whole hog one way or another.

We raised chickens; and produce from our large garden was canned and pickled and we made jelly and jam. We made hominy, cottage cheese, butter and buttermilk. We enjoyed dandelion greens, sassafras tea and in the winter we made snow ice cream.

Our wheat was ground into flour at the mill. We bought very few things at the store — sugar, coffee and salt — and traded eggs for groceries.

So much for not making it as a farmer’s wife! Thinking of my mother brings back many fond memories of hard work and simpler times. I realize her strength and love helped make me who I am today.

Ruth is the last descendent of the first settler in Grove City, Ohio. We did a series of columns together in 2007-2008.

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