My grandmother, Reita Geraldine BISHOP, was born in Lincoln, Lincoln County, Kansas, 3 January 1912, to William Franklin BISHOP and Hattie May BOYER. She was their third child and third daughter.
Lincoln is a very small town located about 77 miles from the geographic center of the United States. Grandma’s life growing up sounds a bit like the stories of Laura (Ingalls) Wilder in her Little House on the Prairie series.
These are some of Grandma Reita’s remembrances as found in, A History of One Branch of the Bishop Family, by Faye (Bishop) Drake, editor, c 1997:
“When I was born, so I was told, the lady whom we always called Aunt Molly GRAVENOR attended my mom. I’m sure she was in attendance when all of us older children were born as well.
I had my first automobile ride in an open touring car, a Model T Sedan. This was about 1918, when I was six years old. The car stalled in a low place between two hills. I recall that the battery was under the front seat. If there was trouble, everyone got out so the seat could be removed and the battery checked. It would be quite a while before they got it going again. We all had to walk over the hill then get back in. I think it was when Aunt May, her second husband, Mr. WOODSWORTH, and her daughter, Velma BISHOP, were taking me to Lyons, Kansas, for a week’s visit. I remember they had one of those windup gramophones.
Aunt May WOODSWORTH was widow of David Wayne BISHOP, who was Grandpa Tone BISHOP‘s third son. David died in August, 1912.
Many a time, Dad and Mom loaded us in the wagon bed filled with clean straw, with blankets over and under us, and away we would go to someone’s house to celebrate a birthday or a wedding. Dad would call for the square dances or barn dances, if the need arose.
When I learned to mix bread, at about age eight, I stood on a chair to be able to work with, or knead, the dough in the pan.
Also when I was about that age, probably 1920, I almost drowned on a church picnic at Shady Bend, Kansas, and was rescued by a PETERSON boy who was about 16-17 years of age.
I had orange crates for a dresser and a ticking stuffed with straw on my bed, which was refilled with fresh straw when it became matted.
It was the custom, when we were young, on May 1 (May Day) to make May baskets (often out of colored paper or wallpaper), fill them with flowers, hang them on the neighbors’ doorknobs, ring the doorbells or knock, then run so they wouldn’t know who did it.”