Lorraine – a snap shot of her childhood in her own words
I was born October 5, 1922 in Duluth, Minnesota, at a hospital. My mother had my sister at home, but me in the hospital. I think Daddy paid $25 for me. I always think he got a bargain.
I have one sister, Arlene Mae, was born four years and nine months before me and my brother, Donald Lambert, was born six and a half years after me.
I had a happy childhood. I remember, probably the outstanding things that happened to me or the traumatic things. Things...like how my mother handled it if we got a cold. First, Mother would put us to bed with a hot mustard plaster on our chest. My grandmother always had a goose on Christmas and would give my mother a jar of goose grease. So, next, Mother would put goose grease around our necks then wrap with a flannel cloth. While you laid there, the mustard plaster would burn. Your whole chest would be red when she’d take it off. Then she would fix a hot lemonade with a shot of whiskey in it and cover you up. You’d lay there and sweat. Somehow, we lived.
Things...like my dog named Spot. Yes, I really had a dog named Spot. I think he was a sheepdog. He was black and white, long-haired. When I started to go to kindergarten, he would walk me to school and then go home. Mother would let him in and when it got time for me to get out of kindergarten, he’d seem to know, and he’d raise a ruckus at the front door. So, Mother would let him out. The schoolyard backed up to our backyard. She’d let him out and he’d be right there at the door of the school, waiting for me to come out. All the teachers knew him. Well, when mother had Donny, she decided that long-haired dog had to go. I guess Daddy found a home for him and gave him away. Old Spot found his way home and Mother was furious. I can remember my dog disappeared again, and I never saw Spot again. They told me he went to heaven. It broke my heart.
Things...like the winters. I have many fond memories of the winters. It was cold in Duluth. One of my favorite memories is waking up in the winter time and hearing my dad down in the basement putting coal in the furnace. We knew that soon we could jump on the warm register and put our clothes on.
We always had a little air in our bedroom, the storm window had three little holes in it. You’d wake up in the morning, there would be little mounds of snow inside on the sill between the window and the three little holes.
I can remember when it snowed so much that my father dropped out of the second story window of our house with a shovel to shovel away the snow from the front door and the back door so that we could get out to school.
A favorite treat was going downstairs to collect the milk that the milkman delivered before dawn. The bottles were glass with little cardboard lids. The cream would separate and raise to the top. When it froze, well boy, that was just like ice cream. My brother and I would race down there, trying to get it and see if we could get a spoonful before Mother caught us… because the cream was for daddy’s coffee. We thought, wow, ice cream in the morning.
We used to make igloos cut in blocks of snow. Being up near the border with Canada, Duluth has a lot of snow. Also, when there was fresh snow, we made snow angels. The trick was to lay down, make your angel and get up without destroying any part of it.
And of course, winter sports were all the rage back there. The adults used to make a frame in the schoolyard, fill it with water and it would freeze into a wonderful ice skating rink. We would put on our ice skates at the house and tip-toe over, we lived that close. The rink opened after school until 5:00.Then they would squirt some water on it, it would freeze, and it would open again at 7:00 until 9:00 for the kids. After 9:00 it was adults only. As I grew older, boys would ask you to skate like they asked you to dance. They had an old wind-up phonograph and I can remember them playing Pennies from Heaven and the Skaters Waltz. It was a big thrill if a boy asked you to skate with him. I really had a happy childhood.
All Dressed Up, No Place To Go—Lakewood Mom in Mideast Dilemma
The Independent – Long Beach, California (November 5, 1956)
A husband halfway around the world, a houseful of furniture en route to New York, delayed passage to Iraq and four little girls in an empty house she has already sold are making living an uneasy, day-to-day operation for a Lakewood housewife.
Mrs. Don Newton sat in her empty house at 2922 E. Sandwood Ave., Sunday and pondered the problems of family safaris to the Middle East in these troubled times.
Mrs. Newton’s husband has been working in Kirkuk, Iraq, as an oil well driller for the Iraq Petroleum Co., for the past 14 months.
After much deliberation, they decided Mrs. Newton and their four daughters, aged 3 to 8, should pack up and move to live with him for the next 10 years.
The family was all set to leave New York Nov. 16 on the SS Exeter. That is, until Friday they were.
Friday Mrs. Newton received a telegram from Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey, which arranged her passage, which said:
“Urgent, Retaining booking for you departure Nov. 16. In view of Middle East situation departure may be deferred. Do not proceed New York until further advised.”
Saturday she received a cablegram from her husband, saying:
“OK here. Sorry mail unreliable. Coming home if trouble reaches us. Don’t worry. Reports exaggerated. Love, Don.”
Now Mrs. Newton’s problem is this:
Is her husband coming home?
Is she going to be able to go to him?
Should she try to get her house back? And what about the furniture? She paid $413 to have it shipped.
Should she go to Iraq in the next few weeks as planned?
Should she try to get her husband to come home and forget the whole thing?
How do you live in a house barren of furniture and cooking utensils with four little girls?
Just what does a woman do with formal dresses purchased to entertain formally in a foreign country? Don’t they look kind of silly at the supermarket?
Her uneasiness is not alleviated by the facts that:
Air observers report seeing three major pumping stations aflame, near where her husband is stationed.
To fly out of the country her husband would have to fly over parts of Syria where fighting (presumably in the air) is reported.
Her husband works as head of a crew made up entirely of natives and does not speak the language.
Whenever these things cease to bother her for a while she can always consider the plight of trying to live in a house empty of furniture and utensils.
“Camping out,” she calls it as she brews coffee in the two-cup pot she didn’t pack. Of course she can wear formal attire while doing it. That helps.
If her trip to Iraq doesn’t come off as planned, Mrs. Newton says she can console herself with the fact that she would not have been held in very high esteem over there.
Her husband wrote that after the birth of their fourth daughter one of the natives in his crew commented:
“Oh, it is terrible about your tragedy. Why don’t you send your woman back to her parents and go out and buy a new wife who can give you boys?”
Mrs. Newton sums up her feelings about the whole thing by saying”
“Maybe I should have stood in my home town of Duluth, Minnesota where life was ever calm and collected.”