I was a senior in high school the winter of 1909-1910 and my sister Belle Lowe, my brother John Lowe, and three friends, Mary Tucker, Ethel Perriman, and Thomas Lyon and I decided we would like to attend the basketball game at Trenton on a Saturday afternoon.
I do not remember how the basketball team traveled to Trenton in those days, I suppose they probably left early Saturday morning in a horse drawn coach, but I do remember how we the fans traveled. We had to leave school early on Friday afternoon and catch the 2:30 Wabash going west. We four girls were really dressed up for the occasion in our long billowing skirts, our high laced shoes, our heavy coats and last but not least our huge picture hats which were the style in those years.
Our train ride to Gallatin Junction was apparently uneventful and we got out at the Gallatin Junction which was on the northeast side of the West Branch of Grand River. It was going to be several hours before we could catch a train to Trenton, so we decided to cross the river on the railroad bridge and walk on into Gallatin. It was a cold day and the station was too cold to sit around and wait, so we set off double file across the railroad trestle.
When we were half way across the bridge, my brother John, who had keen hearing, apparently heard a train coming behind us. I was beside him in the lead and was suddenly aware of the fact that we were in danger. Immediately John shouted back to the rest . . . “We’re playing a game . . . step up front, go a little faster . . . sing it as you go.”
With that John started chanting “Step up front, go a little faster” and set off at a fast pace . . . I realizing that he did not want to alarm the rest of the crowd, joined him in singing “Step up front, go a little faster” . . . and soon all six of us were racing across the bridge, singing as we went. The singing made enough noise, that none of the other four heard the oncoming train.
As soon as the bridge reached solid ground, John and I dived off of the trestle and those behind followed our example. It was just then that the west bound train whizzed by, our hats blew off, or at least the brims blew up, if our long hat pins kept the crowns firmly anchored. We all realized what a narrow escape we had had.
When our hearts started beating again, we continued our walk into Gallatin. We eventually caught the train to Trenton.
I don’t remember whether the Chillicothe team won that game or not, but there were six loyal fans to shout encouragement. After the game, we went back to my aunts for supper and to stay all night. At 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning we were back at the Wabash train station to catch a train to Gallatin.
This time we rode all the way into Gallatin and found the station ice cold in the pre-dawn winter morning. We had to spend most of the day in Gallatin, since the train to Chillicothe didn’t leave until 4:00 that afternoon. We found a warm church and stayed there for several hours. At noon we ate a prolonged dinner in what to my memory was McDonald’s Tea Room. (Although not the same version that Virginia McDonald had much later).
We caught the train at 4:00 o’clock and by bedtime on Sunday evening, we were back home in Chillicothe.
FUN TIMES IN THE EARLY 1900's by Mignon Sparling
Sometimes my grandchildren have asked me “What did you do for fun, Grandma, when you were growing up?” I don’t tell them, but I don’t think this generation knows what fun really is. We made our fun ourselves and usually it involved getting together with a lot of other people.
Box suppers and pie suppers were really exciting events in those times. The Linville Community where I grew up had a lot of them, but sometimes we would venture further from home.
Floyd Thompson, one of our neighbors taught school up in American Bottoms west of Chula and a big wagon load of us decided to go up to a pie supper at his school house and to stay all night at the Thompson house. Each of the girls took a pie and after the fun at the pie supper we went to Floyd’s parents’ house and stayed all night.
The girls took their own blankets and slept upstairs on the floor, the boys slept downstairs or in the barn. There were twenty-three of us there for dinner the next day.
We decided to go to the Ward Church for services that morning. The Ward Church at that time had planks for seats. Whenever you went to a different church or school event, you had the opportunity of meeting new friends.
The young men of that day were’ very competitive with their horses and buggies, and the fellow who made the most progress with the girls was perhaps the one with the best buggy and the matched team.
One time we had a Leap Year’s party in the Linville Community and the girls had to take their family’s horses and buggies and go after the boys. A few girls were lucky enough to ask nearby boys who could be walked after. I’m sure the older generation of our day said “What’s this world coming to?”