Aunt Leeta’s, by Elma Hewitt (November, 2008)

Leeta Inez Hewitt Coats (1881-1969) was my (Elma Hewitt’s) aunt.  She was a very artistic lady.  I always remember the rugs she hooked.  In those days you didn’t go down to the local craft store and buy a kit to make a rug.   The one I remember her making was a dog.  She had to draw the design on a piece of burlap, which was about three feet by five feet.  Cut strips of fabric and if she didn’t have the color she wanted, she would dye the fabric.  Then cut the fabric into about half-inch srips and roll into balls.  With this done she was ready to hook the rug.  I can’t remember the rug ever being on the floor.  It was hung on the wall in the living room.

Another one of Aunt Leeta’s talents was crocheting.  She had the ability to examine someone else’s doilies and then go home and crochet one just like it.

I never liked to eat at Aunt Leeta’s house.  She made pie in earthenware pie dishes and we fed our chickens clabbered milk out of earthenware dishes. and I wasn’t going to eat out of anything a chicken ate out of.   Another thing I didn’t want to eat was anything with mayonnaise on it.   She made the mayonnaise from scratch and used brown eggs to make it.  I didn’t want to eat anything made with dirty eggs.  Even today I don’t want mayo on my sandwiches.

One thing she did make, that I really liked, was sauerkraut.   When Aunt Leeta lived on Baker Street in Albany, Oregon, she kept the crock of sauerkraut in the closet by the front door.  My cousin, her daughter, Elois and my sisters and I would sneak into the closet, take the rock off the board, peel back the grape leaves, and grab a handful of sauerkraut.  Then we were careful to put the grape leaves, the board, and the rock back on the sauerkraut, making sure Aunt Leeta would never know we had taken any out of the crock.

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