MEMORIES of ELMA MULFORD
DENA and CHARLES MULFORD
from MEMORIES of NOTOM,
by ESTER COOMBES DURFEY
consultant: Elma Mulford Bracy
CHARLES & DENA MULFORD
|Charles & Dena Mulford|
Their daughter, Elma, has many memories of her early childhood at Notom. When she was three the cedar tree they had for a Christmas Tree was decorated with strung popcorn and old style tinsel. How pretty it looked to the little girl. Santa left a teddy bear, two dolls, a little set of dishes and a stove for her. Her stockings had apples, popcorn and an orange in it. Christmas Morning one of her brothers said, "Come on out and see where Santa stopped his sleigh." Sure enough there were the tracks right by the door in the snow. Some time later she noticed that those tracks were very similar to the tracks made by the sleigh her father used to haul barrels of water from the creek for his calves and pigs.
It was lonely for Elma as she was the youngest in her family and there were no other children at Notom, but her mother would go with her on picnics--lunch packed in a crepe-paper decorated shoe box. They'd have sandwiches and lemonade, or if they had no lemons, as they got to the store every two to three months, a substitute made from vinegar, sugar, and cream of tartar (fizz water). Ranchers and sheep herders sometimes brought their sons with them, and as Notom was an over-night stop these were her play-mates.
She had a pony named Tom. Each morning she would ride him and drive the milk cows to the pasture, then go and get them in the evening.
They had a cemented cistern for culinary water. All water that went in to it was filtered and once a year it was emptied and scrubbed clean. They also had a cellar dug back into the hill in which they kept bottled fruit and jam, garden produce, the lard they rendered when they killed pigs in the fall, and the extracted honey from their bees.
She also remembers the beef that was kept hung and covered under the trees in the winter time. The ranchers in the area took turns killing a beef. It would be cut in fourths and shared with others. When they ran out of fresh meat another rancher would kill a beef and share it--so they had fresh beef all winter long.
They raised a big garden which supplied much of their food--fresh vegetables in the summer, and bottled vegetables and fruit in the winter. Elma had a little garden patch of her own where she planted flowers--cosmos, poppies and larkspur. She thought them the most beautiful in the world.
Her mother told her that the big cottonwood trees to the east had been planted by her grandfather Smith (they are now about 90 years old and still growing). There are two big locust trees just east of the house to provide shade in the morning and there was a clump of yellow roses close by.
She said, "Life was hard, we had no electicity or refirgeration and we more or less lived a primitive life, but I feel blessed to have that experience for we had to be managers to survive."