My Childhood Memories of the Pennell relatives


I was 4 years old and my grandmother, Effie, was going back to Illinois to visit her family on the train. She took me with her. We lived in California so this was about a two day trip I think. I remember crossing a large body of water and the train was going across in the middle of this huge lake. It could have been an ocean to me as it was so large. I was so scared as I thought we'd sink. I couldn't understand the tracks were carrying us across and wouldn't sink into the water. I later understood and the location was across the Salt Lake area of Utah.

I was so impressed as a little child with this old homestead. It was a nice farm with cow, hogs and chickens. Their was all kind of crops growing in the fields. Grandma Pennell had a basement full of home canned vegetables and fruit from their garden and their trees. I remember the going down her stairs into the basement behind her and a few years later she fell down those very stairs and broke her arm when she was about 80 years old.  

My impression of the house was of it being kind of dark in the living room area. They had very thick dark kind of drapes. I also remember being so intrigued with a mimi (toy size) black cook stove like they actually cooked on. What fascinated me about it was the little burner covers and the mini handle to fit into them to remove them from the burner. I played with that a lot while I was there. I wanted one of my own so bad. I never asked for it. I wouldn't think of doing that.

I also remember grandpa Pennell. He stayed out side during the day. I didn't feel like I got to know him. I felt a littler closer to Grandma Pennell. They would serve big breakfasts to to table full of people. What was surprising to me was gravy for breakfast. They served  ham, sausage, eggs, potatoes, apple sauce, biscuits and gravy at one meal.  I had a great time.

When I was about 7 years old, grandma and grandpa went by car to visit the Pennells' and relatives. I remember the out houses, which was a new thing to me. They had newspapers and corn cobs inside and toilet paper. I guess you had your choice. On, the walls were papered with newspapers. There was no indoor plumbing yet. I would go out with Aunt Mary and help feed the chickens, hold the bottle for the little lambs to drink from thru the fence.

When my mom married Tommy and after he was discharged from the Navy, he, Mom, Nancy and I drove to Florida to meet his family and to live with them. I was about 9 years old. On the way we stopped in Illinois at the Pennell relatives and stayed at the usual places, Aunt Mary and Aunt Mabel's. Nancy, my sister, had never been to Illinois and I had a good time showing her around. There was the milk churn on the back porch of both homes and they showed us how it worked. To travel on the 'graveled' roads from farm to farm was very different. Kind of noisey. The main roads were paved. 

About a year later, my grandparents came to visit us in Florida and I came home with them. We came thru Illinois and visited Aunt Mary and Aunt Mabel. This time uncle Lawrence let me go with him into the field to bring in the cows for milking. He let me drive the tractor and you'd get right behind a slow cow and follow it so she would keep moving to the barnyard. Sometimes you had to nudge her with the tractor. I did this once but was scared I'd hurt her. She did keep walking until she got to where she was suppose to be. I helped milk the cows. Another day on this visit, Uncle Lawrence let me drive the tractor full of grain. I drove it from his property out to the gravel road, made the turn right onto the gravel road and drove for a couple of miles to where it was going. I was worried that I might turn to sharp and loose the grain in the ditch at the end of his driveway as I turned onto the gravel road. He was riding on the tongue of the wagon. He sure trusted me. Wow, I can't imagine his letting me do that.

I visited my grandma Pennell's sister, Leila, a couple of times that I can remember. She and my grandma Pennell were in their 80's. We visited their brother and his wife, Andrew and Bertha Scott in Illinois and they came to visit us in Sunnyvale, California.

Aunt Bertha and Uncle Andrew Scott

At their house in Illinois


L-R around the table: Esther, Homer, Aunt Bertha, Uncle Andrew Scott, Grandpa, Grandma and a friend, Mrs. Kring (w/glasses and elbow on chair) in Sunnyvale, California

Picture taken February 1947 in our dining room where we gathered for dinner anytime we company. 


Lawrence, Mary, Earl and Mabel


Grandma Pennell, grandma, mom and me

(4 generation picture)