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Pathways Through Our Past

If you've visited the Blackduck Area History and Art Center this month, you probably were awestruck by the life size cow waiting to be milked, the rooster standing on a stool getting all puffed up to crow and then... Oh, what do I see... Oh! Oh! Oh! It's Elvis Presley! Hound Dog is playing in the background and off to the side a little brown bear is dancing to Just Want To Be Your Teddy Bear.

It's been fun watching our visitor's reactions to certain Elvis music and displays and the kids and parents listening to Don Houseman reading from his latest book, Great Fishing Adventure. Their time is running out, so you may want to stop in soon.

This week -- Moon Week tells of her memories of living in Hornet Township.

Helen was born in a little log house in 1922 to John and Jennie Moon. She had five brothers and two sisters -- William, George, Jack, David, Gordon, Delores and Bonita. She spent 19 years in Hornet.

When she was six years old, her dad got the bright idea to move to Washington State. The family put all of their belongings in a two-wheel trailer and hooked it behind an old 1917 Model T Ford and away they went. Her mom was six months pregnant. The trip took them 17 days.

A year later, they came back to Hornet Township in the same old Ford. They stayed between the homes of Grandpa Moon's (William and Annie) and Grandpa Bogart's. Times were hard as it was the days of the depression.

After awhile -- finally -- they moved back into their old log house and Helen's dad went to work on the WPA. A few years later, he built a garage, but instead of using it for a garage, he made it into a house. Years later, Arnold Krueger bought their old home place.

All the years they lived there, they carried drinking water from a spring that was across the road and wash water from the river. Later she heard they (Krueger's) drilled for water and hit a flowing well. "Wow, wouldn't that have been great?"

Some of Helen's other memories were of the old swimming hole down in the river. Her dad blew a hole with dynamite and then dammed up the river. Everyone in the neighborhood went there to swim.

Another memory is when they would all congregate at the home of August and Bertha Kilde. They had 11 kids and August was a great fiddler and most of their kids were all musical too. Everyone in the neighborhood joined in -- the Moon kids, Carrigans, Roy Millers, Albert Millers, Kruegers and Nagels. They really enjoyed themselves singing, dancing and playing games.

There were three schoolhouses in the township and as Helen remarked, "Wouldn't you know, it was three miles one way to each of them" from her house. Murray School was in the west; Winons School in the northern part and the Masey (Massee) School was in the south end of the township. Some years they went to Murray and sometimes to Winons. They cut through the woods on old logging roads and stopped to warm up at Bill and Esther Nagel's or August Kilde's and Grandpa Moon's. They were late a good many times because they would get so cold.

Helen talked about the old town hall being a dance hall and a Sunday School meeting place. A guy by the name of Herb Rockensock was their Rawleigh salesman and a good Christian.

He held Sunday School there and he also had a thing going called "Young People" where he would unload all of his Rawleigh products and load all the neighborhood kids in the back and meet at different homes. He was a dear friend.

Election day was also a great time for the kids. They would sit and listen to their elders squabble and fight about who was going to get their roads graveled!

Helen liked to tell about the little fawn her dad found and brought home. A couple of neighbors had shot the mama and the little fawn would have died. They raised her up and the first year she had three little bucks and they grew up to have antlers before they disappeared. She recalled that this deer had two more sets of babies before three young people from Blackduck drove out through Hornet one summer night and shot her with a .22 rifle. The deer would attend the dances at the hall and go right in among the people. She was the neighborhood pet, or pest, some people thought. Helen and the neighbors called her Blossom.

Helen ended here, saying she could write a book on her memories in Hornet Township. If you'd like to read more stories like Helen's and the people in Hornet, come visit the History Center's library.