Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I've received several warm welcome messages in the past couple of days.  Thank you all for the wonderful encouragement.  Guess it's time to swallow the butterflies and jump in.

One of my fondest memories growing up in small town Iowa revolves around my Grandma Kornegor.  She lived just about 3 blocks away and I loved to walk down that dirt road to her house and spend the afternoon.  She had a great playroom upstairs filled with old dolls, small china dishes and assorted girly things that her youngest child and only daughter, my Aunt Genevieve,  had played with years before.  Many of the doll furniture pieces had been handmade by my Grandpa.  It was a lovely, quiet room tucked away beneath the eaves where a small girl, with a vivid imagination, could wile away the afternoon. 

She also had a great old piano that I would pound away on.  Of course, I could not play a note, but I would sit on that bench and sing, "That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine" and pretend.  Now I realize why Grandma would also pick that exact time of day to work outside in her garden. 

One of my least favorite things was when she would send me out to the hen house to gather eggs.  Oh, how I hated those darn chickens!!  They would squawk and peck at me when I put my hand up to gather an egg.  Then I would run back to the house, crying and whining that I couldn't get the eggs.  Grandma would sigh and walk out with me, gruffly telling me to quit crying and she would show me how.  She would push those nasty hens off their nest and gather those eggs with no effort whatsoever all the while telling me how easy it was.  I tried to do it many times, but just could never overpower those hens and they knew it!!  They would lay in wait for me.  Finally, Grandma quit asking me to do the eggs.  She knew it was futile. 

She always wore a huge apron over her housedress.  It wrapped completely around and buttoned in the back.  She would use that apron for everything.  It made a perfect basket to carry the eggs back to the house, wipe a tear from a little girl's face, and even a quick dust of a table if company pulled into the yard.
Around the house, she always wore her stockings rolled to the knee with a garter to hold them in place along with the standard oxford shoe with a 2" heel.  I think all grandmas wore those shoes in the 40's.  In her later years, she had an old pair of trousers she wore in the garden.

Grandma always called a bicycle a "wheel".  She would stop by my house and say, "Evelyn, will you take your wheel and run to the store for me?"  Usually it was for a loaf of bread.  She would give me a quarter and since bread was only .20 that would give me a nickle to buy a candybar.  Big money in those days!

Grandma was born Isabel Stockman in March of 1884 in Boone County, Iowa.  She was the third child of William and Kate (Birmingham) Stockman.  She had a 6th grade education as was normal in that time.  I found her on the 1900 census of Boone County. She was 16 years old, listed as a servant, living with a widowed lady. She is listed as "Bell" which gives me the image of a vibrant young lady who enjoyed a bit of fun.  This photo was probably taken about that time.

She married my grandfather, George Kornegor, when she was 19 years old and they raised a family of four sons and a daughter.

In all the time I spent with my grandmother, I don't remember ever asking her about her parents or siblings.  I knew she had a siblings and once in a great while, one of them would visit; but they lived several miles away and people did not travel as they do today.  Now that I'm nuts about family history, I kick myself for not asking her a thousand questions while following her around the house and yard.  I now know her father came from Denmark.  What could she have told me about him?  I would love to have heard the story about why he came to the US when he was only 16 years old.  Her mother's family were all Scottish coal miners who emigrated to Ohio and then on to the coal fields in Boone County.  What glorious stories she might have told me if I had only asked. 

And then there was the day she caught me and my cousin Marge smoking ... but that's for another day.


  1. What great memories you have.

    My grandparents owned a chicken ranch and had about 2,000 hens. When we were visiting we loved to go help collect the eggs, although with the design of the cages these hens couldn't touch our little hands. Then we'd help grandma weigh the eggs and were delighted when we could keep the pee wee or jumbo eggs to take to school for show and tell. Grandma would spend hours in the dark room candling the eggs to be sure there was no blood in them. And then they'd go in the giant frig just waiting to be delivered to a restaurant for others to enjoy in their omelettes.

    Thanks for stirring my own memories. I see my own blog post coming :-)

  2. Debi, obviously your chicken operation was a bit larger than the few chickens Grandma kept for eggs and Sunday dinners. I look forward to your future post.

  3. You look quite a bit like her, you know! Really nice story.

  4. Also--you found the perfect picture for your blog heading!

  5. What a wonderful piece, Evelyn. You can paint pictures with your words. And I love the new header you've selected for your blog!