We had always gone south for family reunions, usually at Christmas, but when our upstairs tenants moved out the last of June in 1934, we asked them all to come to Muskegon for over the Fourth of July holiday. With our lakes and sandy beaches it was an ideal place to spend a vacation. Originally I had expected only my own brothers and sisters and their children to come but my father thought it would be a chance also for his remaining brothers and sister Irene to see each other once more. Uncle Eugene, his oldest brother, who had been a doctor in Columbus, Ohio, had died several years previously and so had my Aunt Miny (Schultz) but Uncle George was still living in New Lexington, south of Columbus, and Uncle Hiram was still in Chicago where he lived with a niece of his wife, Ida. Aunt Irene still lived in Paulding.
With the children sleeping on the floor and in the tent we were able to provide beds for everyone except for Uncle George and Aunt Helen. Friends of ours, the David Willsons, who lived a few doors north of us provided them with a place to sleep and were much amused at Uncle George who would sometimes make his appearance completely bald like my dad and sometimes with a nice head of hair, thanks to his toupée. I think it embarrassed Aunt Helen. She was quite reserved and dignified. Uncle Hiram was the most active of the older generation and had a good mop of gray hair. When everybody went to the beach at Lake Michigan he put on his bathing trunks and swam as well as anybody while the rest of the old folks sat around in beach chairs and talked about old times when they were young in Lithopolis and how many teeth they had left. Uncle George was the only one without false teeth, but then, his daughter Geraldine had taken over his dental office when he retired. Grace, Raymond’s daughter was the oldest grandchild there. Bobbie, his son, and David Warner, Evalyn’s son, were both about the same age, between two and three, and the youngest.
There were still no electric refrigerators at the time we bought our first house, not many anyway. We had an icebox, like most people, and had to buy ice about once a week to keep food from spoiling. As the ice gradually melted the water dripped down to a pan underneath. You had to remember to empty the pan periodically or you would have a flood on the kitchen floor. I fixed that by drilling a hole through the wall near the icebox and putting a pipe thru it so the water, instead of dripping into a wide, shallow pan, dripped into the pipe and ran thru the wall where it dripped onto the ground. One day Alan, who hadn’t started school yet, was playing in the back yard by himself happened to notice the pipe and decided to try a little experiment. The garden hose was coiled near the back steps within a couple of feet of the pipe so it was the most natural thing in the world to put the nozzle into the pipe and turn the water on to find out what would happen. Yvette was in the kitchen and I was sitting in the living room reading when Yvette let out a shriek, “A pipe has burst in the icebox. There is water running all over the floor.” I ran to the kitchen, saw water squirting out from the bottom of the icebox and assumed that a pipe must have burst in the apartment upstairs. If I had stopped to think for a second I would have realized that didn’t make sense but the only thing I could think of was - shut the water off. I grabbed the key to the apartment - there was nobody home there - and dashed upstairs to find nothing wrong. By the time I got back downstairs Yvette had glanced out the back window and saw Alan serenely holding the hose in the pipe from the icebox.