My Forty Years Scribblin's
Historical Accounts
Neighbors

This piece was written in 1997 and published in the Summer 1997 issue of the Charity Peak Outlook. Two residents of early Evaro are remembered.


Just call them Abe and Ann— an immigrant couple who farmed a little and logged at their place a couple miles north of Evaro. I remember them there when I was a kid in the early 1920s. Both spoke English with a heavy Scandinavian accent. Anna always wore a long dress and coat when she went away from home, a real old fashioned lady. And she never went anywhere without her hat.

Abe got into an altercation with a man named Cooper while they were loading logs on the siding at his place, and Cooper shot him in the leg. Abe spent a long session in the hospital, and there being no antibiotics, no modern medicines, he lost the leg. He put on a wooden appendage, called a peg leg, and went on about his business.

The buildings were a small, unpainted dwelling and some unpainted sheds and shacks that were used for outbuildings. Abe seldom went anywhere and Anna seemed to take care of their business transactions. She carried a small satchel that appeared to be very heavy for its size, and kept careful watch over it wherever she went. During prohibition most people had an inkling as to what she carried in it, but nobody mentioned it to the revenue men.

After the railroad discontinued the Polson stub, she rode the Galloping Goose, often spending a night or two at a small house that the couple owned in Missoula. Galloping Goose, by way of explanation, was a one unit gasoline powered conveyance that the railroad used to service the lower Flathead Valley as a passenger and mail carrier. It reminded one of the Toonerville Trolley, rumbling, rocking, and hitting the high spots on its daily journey from Missoula to Polson and back.

From information given me by a cousin, Abe and Anna sometimes hired help for a job that they couldn't manage themselves. Apparently Anna had little use for a bank. The relative, a girl named Grace, accompanied her father on these work visits and observed that when time came for payment, Anna would take her shovel, go out behind one of the outbuildings and dig up a can. She would take some money out and re-bury the can, then on to another little shed and repeat the process. Seems that Anna took a shine to the youngster and invited her along on one of the Galloping Goose rides and an overnight stay in Missoula. After delivering the contents of the little satchel Anna took the girl to a dry goods store and bought enough material for each of them for a dress.

The little dwelling was arranged for convenience—Anna's kind of convenience. On the wall above the cupboard was a shelf. "And," said Grace, "so help me, there was a hen's nest up there, and the hen was looking down at me." Soon the biddy gave forth an excited cackle, then flew off the nest and out the door. Anna nonchalantly reached up into the nest and collected the new-laid egg.

Another cousin accompanied our grandfather Johnson to Abe and Anna's abode. While Jesse waited in the kitchen and grandpa finished his business transaction, a pig walked into the kitchen—twice. Finally, throwing an apple out into the yard, Anna said, "Soosie, go outside and eat your oppel." Susie went chasing after the apple and Anna went about the business of making coffee for her visitors as she usually did.

It is said that European people live closer to their livestock than others do. This was just Anna's way.

Of course Abe and Anna are no longer among us. I wish I could tell you what happened to them, but I lost track of them after I married and moved away.