Index | Walter | Marie |
Earl | Neal | Ruth L. |
Betty M. | Howard |
Ruth Bollinger Leinenbach
June 2001- Age 87
I was born in
Evansville, Indiana in 1914. There were no airplanes to be seen.
Very few cars on the roads- most roads were not even paved. No
radio stations to listen to and no television.
I have always loved Christmas and loved to
have the family come to my house on Christmas Eve night and open
presents. Working hard to make the tree special was always a lot
of fun for me and my husband Frank enjoyed it too. When I was a
girl at Christmas time my Dad would make toys out of old wood.
He worked hard at it and we really appreciated it. I remember he
made me a doll bed. Mother bought a pretty doll head made of
painted glazed china ceramic. She then made a body and clothes
for it. We would have to wait outside until they placed what
they made into the living room. They had the blinds down so we
couldn't see and it would be a surprise.
One Christmas I shook hands with my Dad
disguised as Santa. I said "He isn't Santa- that's my Dad!
". I noticed half of his little finger was gone due to an
accident when his ring caught on a nail. Dad didn't try it
again. Our Dad worked in a coal mine and would eat his lunch
sometimes up on the tipple framework where it was clean and
quiet. Sometimes my two brothers Neal and Earl would hear the
mines noon whistle and go running to have lunch with Dad. He
would kindly share his soup with his boys.
My Dad had a Model T Ford that had side
curtains for when it rained. Sometimes on Sunday we would drive
the Ford around the "5-mile loop" and visit his
Mother, my Grandmother, where she lived in a log cabin. My Dad
was born in that log cabin. To get up Stringtown Hill we would
have to get a good running start with the model T for a block or
two so we could make it up the hill. Many years later my husband
Frank Leinenbach and I bought a duplex house at the top of the
hill. One day when I was very young my family got worried that
it was late and I hadn't come home. Finally my Dad remembered
that he had taken me to my Aunt and Uncle's house that day for a
My beloved sister Marie and I played
"follow up" in the gutter to and from school. We also
went home for lunch each day. It was about a mile each way so
that meant 4 miles of walking each day.
Our church was across the street from the
school. We would walk that distance again on Sunday, mostly to
get an orange and a box of chocolates. We played ball in an
empty lot. We also roller skated.
We made a hoop and rolled it down the
street to try to keep it going. We made "light houses"
out of shoe boxes. We would cut designs out of the box and paste
red tissue paper over the cutouts. Then we would put a candle in
the box and turn the lights down. We would attach a string and
pull it around.
On the fourth of July we didn't have
fireworks. My brothers instead put carbide into a tin can with a
match stuck in the end. They would light it and it would make a
big bang. I believe we also had sparklers to go with the
Mother worked hard at the cigar factory.
She was very good at hand rolling cigars. There is a real art to
it. I would visit her at the factory sometimes at noon from
school. She would buy me a bowl of soup for lunch. I would try
to make little cigars and said I wanted a job doing that. She
said "No you are not!" and she meant it.
Sometimes Marie and I would go down the
alley and collect discarded rags and metal. We would sell it to
the ragman and take the money to by tickets to the movies.
Sometimes we would have enough to get our brothers in also.
Since Mom worked us girls had to wash the
dishes. Marie says when it came time for me to dry them I always
had to go to the bathroom. Finally she figured out how to remedy
it- she just left them for me when I got back. I'm not sure
that's the way it happened but I still really don't like doing
On Mondays we built a fire under a big
black kettle and washed clothes on a wash board. Also we would
boil the white clothes. Sometimes we would do the neighbors
wash. I don't think we boiled her whites.
My Aunt had a store and she would bring
Grandma groceries, cookies and candy. Grandma would have the
four of us get in a row and she'd go from one to another of us
to pass out the candy and cookies evenly. After she passed away
we would have parties there. She had a well and they had to
drain it to get a rat out. She had an outdoor toilet about 50 or
60 feet from the house. There was a grape arbor on both sides of
the pathway from the house to the privy.
At our house sometime in the winter we
would sweep snow off before we could use our privy. It was a
two-hole job so that two people could use it at one time if the
When I was about 11 Marie would go to
Grandma's log cabin over the weekend. . Our Grandma was full of
wrinkles but we thought she was the prettiest in all the world.
When I was a teenager I was in a bad auto
crash and badly hurt but I recovered. Once my brother was in a
bad accident on his motorcycle and he recovered also.
I married a wonderful man Frank Leinenbach.
His mother died when he was young and he grew up in a Catholic
Orphanage and had a terrific sense of humor.
He seemed to have people laughing
everywhere he went. We enjoyed Evansville ( we sometimes called
it E-town ). We lived across from Mom and next to Neal on Elsas
Avenue near Heidelbach. Earl and Marie weren't far away so
everything was handy. Sometimes on hot Summer days we would make
homemade ice cream. Earl had a motor driven freezer. We all
really loved ice cream.
We also lived on the top of Stringtown
hill near the Country Club. We had a duplex and lived in one
side of it. The back yard had a grassy hill that the nephews
would like to roll down. There were beautiful weeping willow
trees also. Once Walter played a trick on Frank. He sneaked into
the driver seat of Frank's car parked on the hill and when
released the emergency brake and let it roll for a while. Frank
was all upset. But he got a big laugh out of it when he saw what
was going on and his car wasn't getting hurt.
We would go to Garvin's Park on 4th of
July to see fireworks. Sometimes in the Winter we would play on
the ice at Garvin's Park Lake.
In 1946 we moved to California and lived
for a long time in Monrovia. We came to California in our little
old black Ford with my Mother, Sister, and 2 Nephews and one
little Niece. We also had our beloved little dog Spotty. We came
out on Route 66 and had to take a detour when we got to
We came into California through Palm
Springs which was a small village then. At one motel stop Frank
had to nail the door shut because there was no lock on the door.
Motels were called cabins in those days . In spite of the
anxiety of moving so far away and the cramped quarters there was
not a cross word on the whole trip. My Mom was sitting next to
little Harold who was only 5 years old. I guess her lunch didn't
agree with her or something because Harold said "I smell a
skunk" - then in a minute he said "I really smell a
skunk!". We rolled the window down and kept rolling along
enjoying a big laugh.
In Monrovia we lived on Mayflower Ave,
Stedman Place and Acacia Ave . Frank drove a milk truck for
McShane's Dairy and delivered Dry Goods to the Cleaners and
back. Sometimes on the dry goods route I would ride with him and
we would have lunch together.
When television first came out they were
black and white with very small screens and were not very
reliable. My Brother Neal was the first to have one and since we
all lived close to him we would often go over to see this new
gadget. He had just moved to Monrovia and didn't have enough
furniture to seat all these relatives so we laid a mattress on
the floor and everyone was comfortable. Eventually we all got
our own sets.
About 1950 we moved to La Casita Lane
between Monrovia and Bradbury Estates. Sometimes my Nephews Bob
Bollinger and Howard Williams would ride their bikes to visit
me. I would usually be able to fine some cookies for them.
Once I had the misfortune to be standing
on a cesspool cover at my mothers trailer when the cover gave
way and I fell in. My Mother laid on the ground to try to pull
me out. Finally we managed to get me out and it felt good to get
a hot bath. I don't know who has the most fun telling that story
- my Sister or me.
In the mid 1960's we moved to Hemet where
I now live in a trailer park. I have nice friends and relatives
but I will always remember Frank. He loved to make people laugh-
especially his nephews and niece. He would pretend to take their
nose off and hold up his thumb saying " see your
nose?". Sometimes he would pretend to remove the end of his
My Brother Earl and two sweet
Sisters-in-law also live here in town and we get to visit from
time to time. I have enjoyed the good climate here in Hemet for
a long time now. I have a good friend Louise who lives next
door. She often reads my sisterís letters to me because of my
vision problems with macular degeneration.
When I was born the country was 138 years
old. That may seem like a long time and maybe it is but a few
people have actually lived that long. The country is now 218
years old. That means I have witnessed nearly 40% of the
country's life. I have witnessed both world wars and hope I
don't have to see another.
Teddy Roosevelt was president just months
before I was born. There have been 15 presidents during my life
so far. There were only 25 presidents before my birth. Sears
Roebuck was only 26 years old. Annie Oakley was 53.
Various events and when they occurred in
my life are recorded in the table below showing how fast the
world has changed. It makes me wonder what more will happen in
Event My Age
First Commercial airlines 1
Henry Ford's first Model T 1
Panama Canal opened 2
First movie with sound 14
World depression started 16
I saw first television program 36
Man on the moon 56
First Polaroid camera 60
End of the Cold War 76
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Copyright © 2001 Williams Family from Evansville, Indiana