This photo was taken in the spring of 1912.
Dad is the baby and his sister, Clarice, is holding him. They are seated in front of the first house that my grandfather, Clifford Alton Matheny, built on the land he homesteaded near Blackduck, Minnesota in 1904. Some years later, he built a new, more modern house that was stucco on the outside and had a second story for the children's bedrooms. Dad told me they built the new house around the old one. They tore down the old house as the new one went up. The new house had electricity, but no running water or indoor plumbing. I remember that water was pumped using a hand pump just off the back door of the house, and the outhouse was a short distance in the same direction. Water had to be carried into the house, and I remember that the drinking water was in a white enamel bucket sitting on a stool by the kitchen door. There was a metal dipper in the bucket, and when someone wanted a drink of water, they filled the dipper and drank from it. It was the best tasting water I have ever had, and I don't think anyone ever got sick from drinking from the dipper. Folks were a lot tougher then.
This photo is also of Dad and Clarice, and Dad said it was taken in the fall of 1912.
Clarice's job was to watch over her baby brother, and she continued to do so for over 90 years. They probably had one of the closest sibling relationships that I know of, and even when both were in the nursing home in Blackduck, they enjoyed each other's company. Dad is wearing a dress in this photo, and he said that was common practice back then for a boy to wear dresses until about the age of three years, when he was old enough to manipulate the buttons on the fly of a pair of pants.
I have always treasured these two photos for the fact that they are now over 100 years old, and they are the only photos I have of Dad as a baby.
I think this may be my favorite picture of Dad and Clarice in their later years.
I have always thought that Dad looks like he either has been up to some mischief, or that he is about to. Which wouldn't surprise me one little bit.
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