By Polly Mazariegos
Ruthy Markey nee Leaper in 1941 in pool on the Wike farm in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania
In 1941, when the Wikes moved to the farm in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania, there was a small cottage in a depression between two hills. There was a garage up on the hill and down the depression was an in ground pool. (see photo of Ruthy Markey nee Leaper).
There was a hole in the floor of the pool and it was full of leaves and branches blown off the nearby trees. Uncle Bill went to get some old brooms that had been in the garage, to sweep and scrub the pool so the kids could swim in a full pool.
When Uncle Bill started to walk back from the garage to the pool, he felt something on his leg. He assumed it was one of the old harnesses he had seen in the garage. So he took the broom and tried to get it off his leg when he suddenly realized it was a snake. The broom allowed the snake to unwrap from his leg and it headed toward the garage again. I watched it to see where it was going and I saw it go out the door. Uncle Bill let it dangle over the broom and headed back to the pool to show everyone.
Myra Riley (nee Wike, Wagaman) told me a story about one of her brothers skipping stones in the pool and one hit her in the head. As she was always fooling around, the boys thought when she went to the bottom of the pool that she was teasing them. A little later they discovered she has been hit with one of the stones and knocked unconscious and was drowning. One of the boys jumped in and saved her.
Another story about the pool and Myra Riley (nee Wike, Wagaman) was that she remembered when she had her daughters, Shirley and Polly, there and Shirley picked up a big black ant and it pinched her tongue. Myra tried to get it off but the ant hung on and pinched harder and of course by now, Shirley was crying. Eventually Myra did get the ant to release its pinchers.
Shirley wanted to go back to the cottage after that. A similar situation happened to her other daughter, Polly, only this time it was red ants. She was also sitting by the pool side and this time she did not want to eat the ant, not after the incident with Shirley, but these ants started up her legs and began biting her. She also began crying and Myra had to come and see what was the matter with Polly. I told Mom the ants are biting me. This is the saga of the swimming pool.
My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn’t seem to get food poisoning.
Published in U S Legacies March 2006