Thursday, October 22, 2009


"Community" is a group of people living together and having common interests, work, and social life, sometimes described as 'common unity'. Our community was Grover which was named after our country school. The communities that I know about were called by the name of the school, or the school was named after the community.

Maybe we would go to town once a week on Saturday evening. The stores stayed open late in the summer, so people would shop and visit until midnight. If you would tell someone you were from the Grover community, they could identify with that. They would say, 'Oh, that's northeast of town isn't it'.

I would like to share some things about our community that I can remember. The first thing that comes to mind is the dancing in homes. We had a neighbor that lived just across the section that played the fiddle and another one that played the guitar. I was small and it was before I started school that they came over to our house. They moved the furniture to one side of the room so they would have room to dance. We had a rock house made from the sandstone quarried from the pasture just east of the house next to a spring they used in the early days. The house had three rooms on the ground level, a kitchen, living room and bed room, and they danced in all three. They danced several times in the house where the fiddler lived. There were barn dances but they drew people from a larger area. Just four miles west of us there was a very large barn where they had several dances. One of our neighbors was moving away so the other neighbors got together and had a supper and dance in their barn for them. That was the first barn dance I can remember. It was a good time.

The spring I spoke of above was used in early days to keep food, expecially dairy products, cool. You can also still see ruts in the pasture which indicate wagon trains stopped there for good spring water.

Another thing that brought us together was listening to boxing on the radio. The neighbors would gather together to listen to the fight. Dad would shut it off as soon as the fight was over. We had no electricity so the radio was only used for certain thing, like the early markets and other farm related things, because dad would say 'we don't want to run the battery down'.

Card parties were another thing that brought us together. This card party group was made up of people from two communities. We lived right on the line that divided two school districts so it was Grover and Hall community people who participated. Sometimes we would meet in the school house but most of the time they would be held in someone's home. They would take turns hosting the party. This continued for several years. We played 10 point Pitch. It was always fun because every one acts different. Some would cheat, some took it very serious, some just played to have fun. You would know if you got a partner that always cheated. One man, when he had the deuce, would always try to play it twice, another man would put his discards on top of the deck so the other couple would get his discards. Two of the women would kick you when they wanted a certain card played, or they would pass a card under the table, or wink. The hostess would buy four prizes, two for men and womens high score and two for men and womens low score (booby prizes). The ones that were serious wanted that top prize and we had some ornery men that would bid too high for their hand just to 'set' the serious one. The young kids always had a good time playing hide and seek or some other game.

A couple of times, I remember, the people of the community would put on a play at the schoolhouse. Kids would be a part of it also. They would also auction off 'box suppers' to raise money for the schools. The ladies would prepare a supper and put it in a decorated box. The men would bid on the boxes and then eat with the one who had prepared the one they bought. They didn't know until after the auction whose box they had bought.

Life in rural America was a much slower pace and you knew your neighbors. Our rural telephone was the first "Face Book". Instead of clicking your mouse you picked up the telephone receiver and got all the news in the community. We had twelve on our party line and someone was almost always on the line giving out the latest information.

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