Search billions of records on

My Grandma

Esther Qualey


Nick Lorenson

6th Grade 1998, Tri-County School, Karlstad,MN


My grandma, Esther Qualey, was born February 10, 1913 ona farm in Thief River Falls. Her parents were Thorvold and Serena Wasley. She had 3 brothers and 4 sisters. She was the second from the oldest.

Their house had 2 bedrooms upstairs, a dining room, a kitchenand a living room. The kids slept upstairs and her Grandpa and GrandmaHanson stayed in the living room.

While she was growing up on the farm, she had to pump waterfrom a well and she carried it into the house. They had a bucket of drinkingwater in the house and everyone had to use the same dipper to drink from. One time her brother and she fought over the dipper and he cut the tipof her finger off. They used an outdoor toilet and used the Sears Catalogand magazines for toilet paper. She washed clothes on a washboard.

They used to milk cows by hand and separate the cream fromthe milk to make butter. They churned and churned and there was alwaysbuttermilk in with the butter in the churn.

They did not have electricity. Because they didn't havea fridge, they would hang the food in the well to keep it cool and wouldpout the butter in a jar in the cellar. They used a kerosene lamp to readby at night and then would turn it down to sleep. They would go to bedabout 8:30.

They cooked with wood on a wood stove. They canned alltheir food, even the meat, in a water cooker boiler - not a pressure cooker. They planted a garden and raised everything they needed. The house washeated with wood, so they would split enough wood in the fall for the winter.

They had four horses. They would put a blade behind thehorses and have them pull to cut the hay. One day, Grandma was in the fieldhaying and the horses were stung by hornets. They ran and pulled her along. She said, "I hung on tight. Then I let go after awhile." Thehorses had been bitten so many times that they put mud on them.

Grandma brought cold beans and jelly sandwiches to schoolfor lunch. She walked 2 miles to school. It was a one room schoolhouseup through the 8th grade. Grandma said, "You didn't start school untilyou were 6 years old because they didn't have preschool or kindergarten. After you were 16 years old, you didn't go to school because you had togo to work." She got a job 6 miles from home.

Her dad had a Model T Ford. He dad would drive the ModelT to town once a week to do all the shopping and to haul the cream to town. The rest of the family had to stay home to do the work.

At Christmas, they had candles on their tree. They hada pump organ. She liked playing in band.

There was always a lot of work to do and they didn't domuch visiting. They never stayed over at friends.

On Dec. 14, 1933, Grandma married Gust Qualey. They had6 children - 5 girls and 1 boy. They lived in Middle River, MN>

In 1942, they got a radio. They had a phone on the walland it rang in to everyone's house. Their ring was 1 long and 3 short. They had to crank the phone to make it ring. The kids couldn't touch thephone until they were about 10 years old.

Grandma stayed at home with the kids. She planted andstill canned and used the cellar.

After their children left home, Grandma worked in potatoesand at the Community Center for about 10 years.

She still has a house in Middle River but has been in ThiefRiver Falls in CNC because of her health.

Grandma said, "We always knew what to do. We neverwere told what to do. We did our work as best as we could and were gladbecause there are people who couldn't work. We made our own fun. We neverlocked things up like we do now. I can't keep track of all my kids, grandkids, and great-grand kids.

by: Nick Lorenson

Resource: Esther Qualey

ZE=+1>by: Nick Lorenson

Resource: Esther Qualey