An Interview with Mrs. Adelyn Manley

An Interview with Mrs. Adelyn Manley 
By Kelsee Yockey and Maggie Adams,
6th Grade, Springfield Junior High School
December 2004 and January 2005

Maggie: Good Evening, Mrs. Manley. My name is Maggie Adams

Kelsee: Good evening. I am Kelsee Yockey. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Mrs. Manley: Good Evening.
I was born in 1914 in East Toledo on 643 Utah Street. My mother and father were born and raised around Port Clinton. My father was a marine engineer on the Walter D. Sandsucker and my mother was a homemaker. I went Navarre Elementary School and Waite High School. Wedidn’t have electricity, but had gas mantles. We had an old coal stove in the living room with glass around it. It was real pretty when the fire got real red at night. And we’d all sit around it and put our feet up on the stove and try to keep warm, but you back’s would freeze. We had a cook stove in the kitchen. My mother used to bake a lot. A part of the stove you could put water in so we would always have hot water, since youdidn’t have a hot water heater like you have now days. We had a good time. We made our own entertainment. Went out and played. Nobody had to worry about us since nobody bothered us. We would go for the whole day and no one was concerned. We always got home in time for supper or when it was necessary. In the summertime we got out and played hop scotch and jacks. We had a real nice time for children.

Kelsee: Tell us more about your house.

Mrs. Manley: Well, our home was a small cottage. It had three bedrooms and a basement and a double garage. It had indoor plumbing. The two stoves would heat the whole house. In the middle of the bathroom was a large door in the floor and that was the way we went down to the basement. We had to lift that up in the middle of the bathroom and then go down to the cellar. I was around six when we changed the gas lamps to electricity and we all ran around turning all the lights on in the different rooms to see the lights come on.

Maggie: Did you have your own room?

Mrs. Manley: No, the three of us little girls slept together.

Kelsee: Tell us about you and your husband’s family.

Mrs. Manley: I got married in Jackson, Michigan in 1934. My husband was Carl Manley, and he was born right here on Hall Street in Holland. His grandparents, the Levi Manley family, were homesteaders here in Holland in the 1800s. He was an only child and. Of course, we got married and had two boys. He worked at Dohler Jarvis.

Maggie: When you were born, who was President?

Mrs. Manley: Woodrow Wilson.

Maggie: What were some things that happened to you when you were young?

Mrs. Manley: My father died when I was seven years old . Of course, there wasn’t any Social Security then. My mother had to go to work and my older sister and I lived with other people for room and board and worked taking care of kids and that. But we went to school everyday, and I had about eight blocks to walk to school and I’d have to come home, and then we’d have lunch, and I had to do dishes before I went back to school. So I had to really hurry and run back to school to get there on time. When I was in high school, I lived with another family for five years, all through high school, and I got two dollars a week to spend. I graduated and I was pretty lucky because I had a nice family to live with. They were really nice to me.

Maggie: What did you do after you graduated?

Mrs. Manley: I still worked for those people that I had lived with, and walked over to the University of Toledo to enroll and after a month I found out it cost too much money for me so I quit. And I just lived with those people and worked for them under I got married.

Kelsee: Who was your favorite relative?

Mrs. Manley: Well, I suppose my mother and father. I didn’t have any grandparents. They were all gone.

Maggie: Can you tell us a story about your parents?

Mrs. Manley: We use to go to Port Clinton a lot on our vacation in the summer and help on the farm. Of course, they didn’t have any indoor facilities or water. I often asked my aunt how did you put up with us, since she had five children of her own. She’d say, “No problem at all we all just go down to the crick, river, and take a bath, and the water was real clean then. It was the Portage River there at Port Clinton, and we had a good time, and, of course, there was all kinds of food, pies and everything, and we go out lots of times and sleep in the haystack at night, and make candy and all kinds of things like that.

Kelsee: During Christmas when you were little what did you do?

Mrs. Manley: Well, when I was little, I wasn’t home very long. So I don’t remember too much at home with my folks at Christmas time, but the other people were very nice to me at Christmas.

Maggie: Have you ever been through a war?

Mrs. Manley: Oh yes, my husband was in World War II?

Kelsee: Can you tell us another story about what you did when you were little?

Mrs. Manley: Well, we used to…my friend and I down the street – she was an only child and her folks use to pack us each a lunch and we’d walk to the park which was a long way from where I lived and stay all day. Go swimming and play around and we’d eat our lunch and go back home. They had an old log cabin that used to be there and I used to crawl up in the loft and play. It’s part of the botanic gardens now.
In the winter we used to go out and play in the snow. I know that down the block from me we used to coast down the hill two or three blocks, and now there is hardly enough hill or room to slide down the hill, but we did.

Maggie: When you were young did anything sad happen to you?

Mrs. Manley: My father died. I used to go with him sometimes to his work on the boat. That was quite an experience. They had a cook When the boat was moving, they had all the pans wired to the stove so they wouldn’t spill. She used to bake and I had a nice time there.

Kelsee: What was the happiest time in you life?

Mrs. Manley: I suppose when I got married.

Maggie: What was school like back then?

Mrs. Manley: Well, it was similar to what it is now. I worked so I didn’t have time to belong to any clubs. I use to get a free pass to go to the football games, because I was an usher. Of course, all the time I was in high school we were champions and after the game we used to have a snake dance and go across the Cherry Street Bridge. But we didn’t break anything, we had a good time, though. Yes, we did.

Kelsee: What were your jobs when you were a teenager through adulthood?

Mrs. Manley: Well, I took care of those kids for five, six years. I worked at the A&P warehouse putting powdered sugar on donuts. That was a quite a job. During the war I worked at Dohler Jarvis while my husband was in the war and inspected bullets. After that I got a job at Springfield High School and ended up as manager of the cafeteria for twenty five years.

Maggie: Was you life harder back then or now?

Mrs. Manley: Back then it was harder.

Kelsee: Do you have other stories that you can tell us?

Mrs. Manley: Well, when we were kids, you know, we didn’t have a dryer or washer, just mostly a scrub board, and you always had to hang everything outdoors. Winter and summer. We wore long underwear, and it would always freeze, and we would bring it in and stand it in the corner and it would thaw out. And it always smell so good from hanging out in the fresh air.

Kelsee: What did you do during the depression?

Mrs. Manley: Well, at school they wanted children to learn how to take care of money and so they had like a bank. Somebody took care of it, a teacher, I guess she collected the money, and we could bring in a quarter a week or something like that and so I did that and I had twelve dollars in bank in 1929 and I saved that money, because when I graduated out of the eighth grade we were going to go to Put-In Bay on the boat. Well, the bank closed and I didn’t have any money so I didn’t go. It was quite a while before I did get my money back, but I did eventually.

Maggie: Did you work with the Strawberry Festival when it first started?

Mrs. Manley: Yes, I did. I use to help make the biscuits for the shortcake. I used to help clean the strawberries. My husband worked in the fire department booth, and the boys used to do odd jobs. We had a popcorn machine for a while and used to pop corn.

Kelsee: What experiences did you have in World War II?

Mrs. Manley: My husband was drafted. He ended up in the Philippines. He was in the Seabees and made bars for the officer and parts for bridges. When the war ended he thought he was coming home so he went to China. About four days before Christmas I was working at the school and Mr. Griffith called me to the office and I said, “No, I can’t come now, I’m serving lunches.” He said “Come to the office.” When I went down there, my two boys were there, he’d brought them over from the grade school and said “Your husband’s in Toledo, go and get him.” So I got those boys and we got the car and went down to pick him up. He was so tired, dirty and cold. He said he had come home in a aero car on the train all the way from California. So I picked him up and took him home. He spent most of the time that winter standing by the register trying to get warm. But we were happy because we were all home for Christmas that year. I had two little boys, 5 and 7. Before I went to work at Dohler Jarvis, I took them down to Lincoln School to nursery school and let them put a day in and after work I’d pick them up and come home. We did that for about six months and that got into cold weather and it was too hard to get them up so early in the morning and drive down there, so I quit. But then in January, I got called to go to work at the school , the cafeteria, so I did that.

Maggie: You have this Bible here and you said it had something to do with your family?

Mrs. Manley: This Bible was my husband’s grandmother and her children got this for her 1881. They gave it to her for her birthday. And she had seventeen children. A very pretty Bible. Beautiful pictures in it. They didn’t have anything to mark places in the Bible, so they use pieces of material. And here it tells about all seventeen children. My father-in-law was next to the youngest one. He was born in 1870. They lived right up here off of Holloway Road. The names of the family were: Levi Manley and his wife was Rowena Manley. nd there was a William Manley, Mercy Manley, Esther Elizabeth Manley, Margaret Ann, Joseph Theophilus, Levi (he got sent to jail for stealing a horse), Simon Manley, Mercy Melissa, John Carroll, Ulysses Grant, (can’ read after that) Lemuel (who was my father-in-law) and Grace Manley. There was seventeen of them. So it’s an old Bible. Has a lot of flowers in it, but they didn’t write down what occasion. My mother-in-law went out west to Kansas and about with the children and had to carry a gun because of the Indians. My father-in-law grew up out there and worked on a ranch.

Kelsee: You just celebrated your 90th birthday. What did you do?

Mrs. Manley: Well, I had four parties and four cakes. My grandchildren gave me a surprise party. I went to a meeting at church – Outreach – and they had a cake for me. And then at St. James, they went together and had that big surprise party for me. They gave me 90 gold silver dollars. It was real nice. The historical society had a cake at our meeting.

Maggie: Can you tell us about some of the pictures you have?

Mrs. Manley: Well, they had a large tree at the party and had 90 gold dollars on it. There is about 35 swimmers in my exercise class and they all came as well as from the other classes. This lady is named Helen Beck and she sued to be a school teacher and she organized the whole thing. This is the other ladies who swim with me. Hereis Gladys Caulkins with me. We had a nice visit and it turned out to be a very nice party. It was so exciting. I was so surprised.
This is a picture of my father-in-law and he worked on the ranch in Kansas City at the time the Dalton boys were there. This is a picture of the Dalton boys when they had robbed and bank and finally got caught and were shot.
This is a picture of all the women that were in the pinochle club with me.
I have a picture when I was in the minstrel show here at school.
Here are some of the women who belonged to the fire department auxiliary.
This is a picture of an old tractor that Hank Nachtraub owned.
This is a picture of all the boys who grew up with my husband.
And a picture of the old railroad station in Holland. The train would come in and hang their mail on this post and they would go out and get it.
Pictures of Levi Manley and his family.
One of great-great grandma Manley.
One of old Holland High School.
My husband belonged to the fire department and this is a picture of him on the truck in the parade and my son is in the back.
Here’s one showing the clothes they wore in the 1800s.

Maggie: Can you tell us about the pinochle club?

Mrs. Manley: Yes, we were organized in about 1938, when my youngest son was three months old, and we all had little children, babies. Well, couple of the teachers never had any. We met once a month on Monday night. Later, before we started to play cards, we had to watch I Love Lucy on television and then we would play cards and visit. We played until the 1960s. I am the only one alive now. All the rest are gone.

Kelsee: Thank you very much for sharing your memories with us.

Maggie: Yes, thank you so much for letting us visit with you.

Mrs. Manley: You are very welcome. I’m glad to have you come. It’s was nice to telling you about things in my life.