Jeannette Davidson, b. 1916

My name is Jeannette Boersma Davidson.  Boersma was my maiden name.  And I was born September 11, 1916, so I’m an old heifer. My dad was born in Chicago.  But his relatives all came from Holland, my grandpa and all of them. I was born in Manzanola,  Colorado. It’s kind of southwest of Denver.  I think it’s west—maybe it’s east. We came to Everett, Washington in 1924.  And we came to the Tolt Farm in Carnation in 1928, I think. That’s a farm on the other side of town. It still has “Tolt Farm” right on the barn.  It’s just past the second road goin’ to the Farms—it’s that farm.  The house is gone, but the barn is still there.

My dad was a farmer. He was a horse man. He could do things with a horse that nobody else could do He loved horses.  My mother used to say he thought more of the horses than he did of us. He used to sit in a chair, and he’d have his knees apart, his big old horse would put one of her feet right up on the chair and stand up in front of him.  He had black Percherons, the prettiest ones in the valley.  Everybody knew him by his team of horses, I guess. He farmed around, put up hay for different people, and of course used them on his own farm.  He was quite a horseman.

We had a pasture out in the back and he went down to the barn one Christmas morning and he called for the horses to come in and eat, and they had an incline they had to come down from the back pasture, and the mare slipped and broke her neck.  I’ll never forget.  My mother said she thought that was the worst thing that could have happened to my dad.  She was a beautiful horse, big black Percheron.

My mother was born in Kingman, Kansas, but she’d moved to Colorado, and that’s where she met my dad.  And they got married in Rocky Ford, Colorado. She was always kind of a loner at home.  She’s from a big family, but she was the oldest one, and she got left with watching the kids and everything all the time.  My dad was a neighbor, and he used to go over and help her dad and mother.  And they met, so he married her and took her away, and her dad never forgave my dad.

Well, she had just three children, but she lost some in between.  But there’s thirteen years between my brother and I, and I think she lost three children in between there—I don’t know why, but she did. I was the oldest. She had ‘em all at home, every one of ’em.  Yeah, we never heard of hospitals so much then.  Most of the people in Carnation, the older people, were born at home, if I’m not mistaken. Well, I didn’t have any of mine at home. Yeah, I had all my kids in the hospital.  My old man insisted on that, because he took care of me. When I was a youngster, I walked to school every day, and I had certain friends that would come down and play.  Most of them lived in town, so our farm was a celebrity [i.e., novelty] to them; they just didn’t know many farmers, I guess.  Heck, I milked seventeen cows night and morning, and went to school for three months.  One time my dad’s neighbor, he cut his hand or something, and my good old mother volunteered me, “Sis’ll milk for you.”  So I didn’t get out of that.  I didn’t mind it, they were good neighbors. We milked by hand. I got strong hands—–from whippin’ my kids.

I never went out much.  I stayed at home most of the time.  But I’d have friends that’d come down to see me.  We didn’t do much, but then….I played basketball at school.  I was on the first team when I was a freshman in basketball, in high school.  I loved sports. I played guard. And I belonged to the—what do you call it when they run?—the track team. I liked that.  I have short legs, but I could run.  So I think I was good at it, I think.  We jumped rope every noon, all noon hour, all recess—us girls always jumped rope.  That was quite a fad then.

I was a fair student.  I wasn’t outlandish or nothin’.  But I got passing grades, just barely. I think I went to school more or less for sports than anything else—to high school.  God, I loved sports.

Nick Loutsis milked cows for my dad for a while.  I was married by that time.  He milked cows for my dad, and my dad liked Nick.  Nick was a good kid—he still is.

Everybody knew everybody else. I had lots of friends at school. We were waitin’ for the bus one night, and this guy with a covered wagon went by, so we were all standing on the fence going, “Hee haw!  Hee haw!” laughing at him, you know.  When I got home, the damned thing was parked in my yard!  It was my dad’s brother.  I’d never met him before, he lived at Ellensburg, and my dad said, “Well, this is Sis.”  He said, “I think I’ve seen her before.”  He remembered me!  He was quite a cowboy.  He was in the rodeo in Ellensburg and he broke his leg so many times, they made him retire.  So they made him a doorman, and he’d sit there and go to sleep, so they fired him.Yeah.  Golly.

My folks were pretty strict.  They never let me go much.  I stayed at home most of the time.  They were good to me.  But they didn’t like to have me go away very much.  I could have all the friends stay all night there that I wanted.  But Mama never wanted me to go and stay at night.  I don’t know why.  I never got into mischief.

I never went to dances much ’til after I was married.  My mother wouldn’t let me.  My husband and I used to go once in a while.  He liked to square dance.  So I learned how, but it was never my favorite dance.

I got married before I graduated from high school.  My folks were unhappy about that, but it was just one of those things. Oh, I didn’t have to get married! I don’t know, Vern was a good talker, I guess. He was a hunter and a fisherman, that guy. I went to school with his sister, she was in my class.  He’d come to school once in a while to pick her up, and she introduced me to him.  One day he parked out in front of my folks’ place, and he wanted to know if I’d go for a ride.  And I said, “I’ve got to ask my mother first.”  Of course she said no, because she didn’t know him.  And he’d come to visit me once in a while.  Finally we started goin’ together, and that was it.  I got roped into it.

We got married, and we lived across the road over here, where Maxwells live. We lived over there, and then we seen this piece of property was for sale.  So Vern said, “Let’s look into it.”  So my uncle gave us some money for a down payment, and we bought this property, and we’d come over every night, wheel the two kids in the baby buggy, and we’d work on our house.  We had no walls or nothin’, just a shack of a house, not even any porches.  And we moved in that way, and finished the house as we lived in it.  That was nice.  It was fun. Got married in1934.  We were married sixty-three years when he died. He died in 1986, yeah. He had a stroke in ’83 and died in ’86.

[Fannie] Jeannette Boersma Davidson
Date of interview: 01/26/06
Interviewed by Jerry Mader
Supported by a grant from King County 4-Culture Heritage
Transcribed by Jardee Transcription, Tucson, Arizona