Wednesday, January 1, 2014

THEY PAID THE MORTGAGE; by Harry Botsford; c1910

After the sudden death of their parents in a railroad accident, Alice Tucker and her sister Mildred faced the world with a $1,500 mortgage on the 60-acre farm. There were three horses, four cows, a flock of chickens and two pigs. The house was well built and roomy.

The girls' equity in the farm was less than $500 and for a miserable week they almost decided to sacrifice the equity, sell off the stock and go to the city. Mildred was seventeen. Her sister, a trained nurse by profession, would have to be away from the rooms they intended to rent and hesitated to leave her sister so much alone in the large city.

The girls "put their heads together" and disregarding the comments of free advice givers, went ahead with a plan of their own.

The two horses and such part of the farm equipment as would be used with a team, were sold. This money was spent at once in putting in a bedroom and clearing away several unsightly buildings. Then a tennis court was built. Alice, the nurse, made a trip to the city and called on two or three doctors who knew her work and to them she explained a plan which met with their hearty approval and promise of support.

The girls were going to be ready to board convalescents who could afford to pay a good sum weekly for room and board in the country and attention from a registered nurse.

Before long, six convalescents were sent to the Tucker homestead. They found a large airy house comfortably furnished. The yard was shady and the rooms cool. There were plenty of good chairs and lounges, magazines and books; those who felt strong enough could play tennis.

The meals were a constant delight: delicious country ham and chicken, fresh crisp vegetables, home-grown fruit, good milk, cream and butter. The food was prepared by Mildred who was an excellent cook.

Alice, in white uniform, gave special attention to such convalescents as needed counsel--or comfort.

The expense of the establishment was not large. A neighbor's boy did the errands, milked the cows, fed the pigs and went to town for supplies and mail.

The first year proved very successful from every standpoint. The girls made money and the convalescents were full of praise for the enterprise. It was not long before there was a waiting list.

Part of the profits of the first year were used in improvements. The house was painted and two new bathrooms were put in. A man and his wife were hired to do the hard work. The man does the work on the farm and puts in a large vegetable garden which cuts down the food expense. His wife does the cooking under the supervision of Mildred.

Last year, there were twelve guests all summer, and before winter came, the "Tucker girls" drove their car into town and, at the bank, paid off the mortgage on the farm. The free advice givers have nothing to say and all their friends rejoice.