Memories from Dora Isabel Swan

My parents were Henry Craig and Mary Helena (Coburn) Swan.

When I was fourteen years old I contracted Scarlet Fever which ended my school days. Because of this illness, I missed riding to school on the pung drawn by Bingo. Bingo was a big grey horse driven by a fellow classmate, Annie Speedy. Annie, the teamster, would drive Bingo and the pung out the Swan Road, collecting classmates along the way. When they reached the main road, the children would alight; Bingo and the pung were turned toward home. The children went on to school. Bingo went home to his warm barn where Annie’s father would unhitch him from the sleigh and feed him.

I attended the Swamp School. My first teacher was Bessie Coburn, a sister to Edgar and Flossie Coburn. This was a one-room school with Grades one to eight.

I remember our first Christmas tree. My father and mother waited until the rest of us were away to bed. Father put on his coat and boots, got the lantern and went out to cut down a Christmas tree. That was the biggest Christmas of all times. There were no store bought ornaments, at least at our house. Mother made six candy bags out of green fly netting which were hung on the tree. Using a darn needle, she pulled yarn through oranges and apples which were also hung on the tree. Christmas cards were placed on the boughs. How excited we were Christmas morning when we discovered the decorated tree. Santa Claus had left each of us a gift and had put something in our socks which were hung on a chair. Each of the girls usually received a piece of print material which was made into a “tier”. A tier was an apron or a pinafore which was worn over our dresses. The boys would probably receive a licorice pipe or a pair of mitts.

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