Friday, August 11, 2006

Tuesday, August 11, 1925

Tuesday, August 11, 1925
Had washing on hand but it poured down and drizzled till noon. Then I put the colored clothes out and they just barely got dry enough to iron by dark. Miss Dunlea told me in no kind terms not to throw my scraps to the chickens. I had tried to be careful and not throw anything they wouldn’t eat, but she has evidently got peeved at something.

(I assume that Miss Dunlea was a neighbor to one side or another who kept chickens. As far as I know, Grandma never had any chickens or other livestock in her back yard. Today there is probably a city ordinance against keeping any kind of livestock within the city limits!)

(08/24/2006 - Following is some additional info on Miss Dunlea. Using public census and index records, Annie in Austin, found out the following:

It looks like the neighbor was Mary/Mame Dunlea, born about 1873. In 1900, Miss Dunlea (Mary) was on her own, working as a riveter. (I didn't think women worked as "riveters" until World War II?) Her brother John and his wife, Annie Dunlea, lived elsewhere and had several children. By 1910 Annie appears to have died, and Mary was living with her brother John, who is listed as the head of the house.

By 1920, John is gone, the family was at a different address, [not the one by Grandma] and Mary was the head of the house, which included her father Charles Dunlea as well as John's 3 adult children.

By 1930, and as reported in the 1930 census, Mary owned the house by Grandma. Mary had 2 adult nieces and a nephew living with her, but not her father.

From Annie in Austin... "I guess she had to be pretty tough, but sure wonder what would bother the chickens? Aren't they like walking garbage disposals?"

I then called my mom and she remembered Miss Dunlea as a "crabby old lady" who didn't like anyone to be on her property. Sometime in the 1930's, a paper boy realized that Miss Dunlea had not taken in her paper for several days, so he told his parents, who called the police. They found her in the house, alive, but having had a stroke. She probably laid there for several days before the police found her. Mom said that's why you should be neighborly, because if you aren't no one notices if you haven't been seen for a few days, and you could be sick in your house, like Miss Dunlea. Mom doesn't know when Miss Dunlea died, but remembers a younger family moving in at some point.

As a kid, I remember that this is the house that you could see from a window on the landing halfway up the steps to the 2nd floor. I don't recall ever seening anyone around the house or yard when we visited Grandma in the 1960's. I do remember that when we looked at the house from that window on the landing, we could see a gun shaped stick of some sort on the roof, which we assumed was something Santa had dropped there one Christmas and it was just laying up there rotting away, whatever it was.)

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