Our Smith Corner Neighbors
Now I will tell about our neighbors. Down the road, as I mentioned before, lived my grandmother Smith and her family. Heading west, in the next house lived my grandparents Bowser. Then there was our house. Continuing "up" the road, on the other side lived Jim Stiffler and his sons. Directly across the road lived Mrs Langham with her son Jimmy. Jimmy was blind but made his way around the community very well. He weaved all kinds of baskets and other things. Mrs Langham had the first battery radio and she usually had a lot of company on Saturday nights listening to the country music. Finally, up at the head of the road, where it intersected with the road from Smith Corner to Polecat Hollow, lived Grammy Nofsker and her family. She was widowed the 26th of August 1928. She raised a large family by working in the fields with the grown children. Little did I know that when I was five years old she would give birth to her youngest daughter, Dollie, with whom I would fall in love and marry.
Grammy would work in the fields every day all week, then on Saturday she would bake pies and perhaps kill a chicken or two so that she could have things ready for Sunday dinner, when all of the family would be home. On Sunday morning they would go over the hill to the Smith Corner Mennonite Church and then come back home for dinner. Then they would go back to church in the evening. Church was a must in her family. She was truly a saint, in every sense of the word. At a later time in her life, she would move down to live in an apartment that we made for her over our garage. Sometimes the Nofsker family had to walk to and from Church, but Grammy was used to that. She was very active, walking several miles each day right up to the day she died.
Everyone that knew Grammy Nofsker loved her. She spoiled our two boys and they really loved her. They would visit with her at her apartment. Then when they would come for supper they were not hungry. We found out later that she let them make things to eat up at her place. They especially liked making toast in an old toaster she had. It was the kind in which the sides folded down, the toast would be placed inside a wire holder, and the side would then fold back up. She also let them chop up lettuce for salads in a glass chopping jar. They might not have been as hungry for the food, as they were for the fun in making it. We sometimes sat on our porch and she would come and sit with us. We had a dog-named Louie, a Boston Terrier, that I would have do tricks. I would make a circle with my arms and tell him to jump through. Of course he would not move a muscle, but lay there and stare at me. I would say, " See that, watch him do it again." Louie would not move. Then I would have him roll over and sit up. But all the time the lazy pup would just lie there. Grammy got a big kick out of me doing all that pretending.
We sometimes wonder just how long she would have lived if a reckless driver would not have slammed into the side of the car in which she was riding and inflicted wounds that caused her death. The reason she was riding in the back seat of the car was rather an unusual one. My dad was taking a lady friend along to the foot doctor and she seemed to want Grammy for a chaperone. It looked to me that she did not want to go.
The legacy that Grammy Nofsker left her children was not money or worldly goods because her son Arthur took her farm and the contents of her home and barn. There were antiques that some of the other children were to have that Art either kept or sold. Other antiques she gave to one of the Stiffler girls who was married to a Bowers. When she went to meet her Savior, Art came and took the contents of her home that we had made for her and either sold or gave them away. Her legacy was a life of love and devotion to her children and, as I said before, the church. As a child I came near her two times that I remember. The first was when she and her husband Cleveland went by in the horse and buggy. The other time was late at night when my dad went for her to be a midwife for a brother or sister that was on the verge of birth. I did not know that my mother was pregnant. I was not allowed upstairs that night, but I heard them talking and later I was told that I had a brother or sister [I don’t know which] that was not alive.
Grammy Nofsker had friends in Roaring Spring who came to visit her and would have her go to visit them for a week or two. The Stiffler’s who worked in the paper mill at Roaring Spring asked me almost every week about her health. In reference to that, the people around here and Smith Corner lost a good friend and virtuous woman. The loss in our home is felt many times and when I hear people telling their grand children or great grand children to call them "Grammy" I proceed to tell my family that there was only one "Grammy". Her aversion to drinking alcohol in any form and card playing were well known by her boys and their friends. If they got drunk, which Art did on several occasions, they would have to go out and work all day on the farm. On one occasion, Dollie tells me, Grammy heard noises down stairs. She looked down through a hole in the floor that was used to let the heat up into the bedroom. Several of her sons and friends were playing cards. When she came downstairs, the card game was over for that night.