Thursday, October 14, 2010

Elizabeth and Gifford Tuttle Interview Stories

Fred Gay – KYRS news department’s “Under the Looking Glass” is continuing our oral history interviews.  He interviewed both Gifford and Elizabeth Tuttle, but I am only using Elizabeth’s interview in this blog.  These two were in Chariton in the hardware business for over 35 years.  They became locally famous, not only for the kind of store that they had but the service they provided and some of the interesting things that came out of that store.  I thought it would be interesting to look at the hardware business and their lives.

Elizabeth -  I was born on a farm in Missouri.  My brother and I walked to our country school, which was a mile and three quarters, but we didn’t mind, as our young legs were good and strong.  We went summer and winter and I graduated from the 8th grade and I knew that I wanted to be a teacher, which I had wanted since I was a little girl.  I wanted to go to Rockport High School and I did and I wanted to work for my board.  I found a nice place in a nice home with nice people and I stayed there and worked for my board in Rockport.  Then when I graduated I took the county examination for teacher.  I applied for a school within riding distance from home and I was hired and I stayed there two years.  I had from one of my high school teachers the thought that after you have taught two years it might be well to move on and move into another neighborhood and have a new, wider experience.  I respected my teachers and their thoughts.  I thought I would follow that although I had two very fine years at that school.  I went over to another direction in the county and applied for a school over there.  I got it and I stayed there two years and all those years were happy teaching.

Meanwhile, my brother and I had walked to our Sunday school a mile away and never missed a Sunday unless the snow was too deep.  I loved our little church and I had joined as a little girl.  About the time after I had finished teaching four years, our little Presbyterian Church went out of business.  The smaller farms had been sold to larger farms.  We had big, big farms around there and they owned lots of land.  That depleted somewhat the population and closed our little church.  Of course my brother, mother and I would go to another church.  We had lost our father by this time.   So we went to a church in the opposite direction and mother didn’t always go.  It was the custom there, since the minister drove out from Tarkio and delivered his sermon, it would be too much for him to drive the 15 or 16 miles back to Tarkio to get his dinner.  So, it was the custom among the congregation to take him to a home to dinner.  The ladies league would meet and whomever was presiding would say, OK, who is going to take the preacher next Sunday.  Someone always volunteered.  We had been going there some for sometime and I had not yet offered because there seemed to be so many other offering before me and one day I said, “We will host the minister the next time.”

So, we went into the church and had our Sunday school and then here came a strange man, it wasn’t Rev. Tiney??, so we took that in stride because at times there had to be a substitute.  This was a young man.  Tarkio had a college there and there were many students.  It was a fine religious college.  Here was a young man that came out to take the pulpit.  I had said I would take him so I approached him and said that we were inviting him out to lunch today.  And he said “Thank You.”  I said we would be out to our buggy and you will see us, and you may follow us with your buggy.  So he followed us and when we got to our place I quickly went in to tell mother so she could put another plate on the table.  I told her there was a young man from the college to have lunch with us.  He was very nice and said he enjoyed the lunch and he had to be on his way because he had a 16-mile drive back to Tarkio.  We told him goodbye and it was our pleasure for us to have him as it was all in a days work.

In the next few days my mother received a very nice letter from this young man.  His name was G.R. Tuttle.  He thanked her for the nice dinner and enjoyed being in our home.  I was always brought up to be very courteous and that I should write him back.  I did and I will let the rest up to your imagination.  He is sitting right across the table from me as he has always been.  We have had a really happy life.

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