Ethelyn (Hubbard) Roseboom, Interviewed by Anthony M. Cucchiara, October 22, 1976
Ethelyn Roseboom was born in 1904 in Middlefield, NY and was a life-long resident of Otsego County. This interview was conducted in 1976, when Mrs. Roseboom was 72 years old. The interview was originally intended for Mrs. Roseboom’s husband, Horace Roseboom, but at the time of the interview Horace declined to speak. In this clip, Mrs. Roseboom discusses raising children on a farm and the change brought by electricity.
[Ethelyn Roseboom] We girls, being all girls in our family, boys, we did outside things as well as inside chores. And, let’s see, what did we do the most of? Outside, probably haying, we helped with the hay, drove horses. It was before the times of tractors. And, when I was 21 years old, I married [a] young farmer, came to live on the ancestral farm, which was par for the course in those days. Then, of course, naturally there were many, many, many changes on the farm. We had kerosene lamps for our light; two lanterns my husband had that he took to the barn with him night and morning. And, I really think of all the changes, for the benefit of farmers’ wives, that electricity was the very most important thing that happened. It took away a lot of the drudgery. It even took away those well, very, very chilly trips to the little house, back of the house, and I found that to be very, very much of a benefit with five babies to wait on. And, of course, we appreciated the water, the hot water and the cold water. Before that, in this house, the water system came from a spring and it ran in a big tub in this back room. When my mother-in-law, and also me after, wanted water, we just took our pail, stepped out the door, and dipped it out of the tub. The tub had to be watched of course, with little children in the family. I never heard of anyone falling in. I guess they were too well policed by their mothers, but it was not the most convenient system. Then, after we got the electricity, then the water was put in, we had the bathroom, and we really were on the top shelf. And, I think for all the farmers’ wives, I would say that was the very best thing that happened.
Source: The Library of Congress, link: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2017780805/