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Oral History Interview Geraldine (Gerry) Livingston, Peacham, VT March 11, 2002

Interview by Lynn Talamini, Leah Benedict, Caitlin Morgan, and Emma Hansen

I had one brother and one sister. My sister was four years younger and my brother was six years younger. I lived through the depression years and so money was tight so we didn't waste anything. Everything was hard, you just didn't waste anything. Being in the depression years, my mother did most of the cooking. She didn't allow us girls to mess up around her and spoil anything. Breakfast was usually oatmeal, toast, coffee, and juice. Usually when we weren't in school, the main meal was at noon. Meat, potatoes, and vegetables. Vegetables that you grew in the garden. At night it was a casserole or soup, something of that nature. My grandmother was a seamstress so that helped. My mother didn't teach us to cook cause we couldn't afford not to make things work. My bad didn't believe in the women folk working the barn and lots of times he would hire young people from the village and my brother helped awhile when he was home before he went in the service.

I lived over across from Thelma's (Thelma White) during the '27 flood ... and it was just water all the way to the village. There was no land - just water. I was only seven then and the roads washed out. In the spring of the year you didn't want to go down the road by Thelma's. It was absolutely impassable. The ruts got about that (12 inches) deep!

We walked up the hill to school and down again. In the wintertime there wasn't any road there - you walked, you know, the top of the hill where you look across from the top, that's how high the snow was and we walked up! In the spring when it began to break like, you went clear down in there. We made it! There was usually a bunch of us all went together in Peacham. All the different families, we all walked together. I played basketball and played baseball. We had some good teams. We made the tournaments.

Mr. Page built our barn in 1936 for $8,000.00. The lumber did not come from our land. It held 40-60 cattle. It was about 110 feet long. It had wooden stanchions on both sides made by the Roy brothers. It was used for storage after we stopped farming. It wasn't really a surprise when it came down. We knew it had weakened. There were asbestos shingles on it and the roof leaked. It would be quite an undertaking to roof that much barn. My niece and her husband own it now and will have to decide what we'll do with it. Today it's a hard job to dispose of wreckage - anything that has paint... It's hard to find places to put it and it's a big expense.

It was a good life - with family and everyone worked at home so you were together during the day.


The original audio recording of this interview is available for listening at the Peacham Historical Association. Project: Barn is the Peacham Historical Association's contribution to The Community History Project of the Vermont Historical Society which is funded in part by Verizon and IBM.