A Little Girl in the Woods
By Jeff Clark
Individuals and families deemed insolvent were "sentenced" to live there, many decades ago. When neither family nor neighbors would take them in. Many were old. Were infirm.
Nila's dad would salt meat and hang it from the rafters. When Poor Farm folks became ill, her mother or dad would sit up all night with them.
"Daddy liked to whistle," Nila told me. "He was known for that. You could hear him, even at three in the morning, out there whistling." He was a deacon in the local church, where her mom taught Sunday School and played the piano. Before they were married, Mr. Bielss had to sell his beloved horse Penny. He needed the money. He wanted a proper wedding ring. He sacrificed.
I drive past it. Often. Though I've never ventured up to it. Wouldn't be polite.
After World War II, the federal and state governments increased social services for the poor and the elderly. For the nation. Not just
One morning the Bielss Family was having breakfast. Before sunrise. The cows down the hill started bawling. Her dad got his lantern. Said he'd better go check on what was wrong. On what was the matter.