Monday, September 3, 2012


 Loretto Green aka Sally Sod
Sally Sod sailed under no false pretenses. She told us all frankly, "Ours is not a Success Story. We still live on a rented farm with positively no modern conveniences, either in barn or house."

So I was not surprised, that Sunday afternoon, when there loomed up out of level, bare, March fields, a modest shingled house. It stood plain, straight, uncompromising, humble and proud of it. But it had one beauty. It was bursting with bloom at every window, the bloom of childhood. In another moment they were around me, a bevy of little children; modest, but friendly, smiling, unafraid; fairly prancing with eagerness and high spirits. I had a "guard of honor" through the mud and up to the back steps where Mr. and Mrs. Green awaited me.

"Is this Sally Sod?"

Not one breathing second was she the disconcerted hostess, surprised and caught off guard. A warm grip, an eager flow of words, a torrent of laughter. And I was fairly swept into the house on the wave of it; through the dining-room with its long table, a regular harvest-hand table; into the little parlor. And when we were seated, with most of the little folks standing, the room was furnished as no interior decorator could do it, damask of pink-and-white cheeks with the roses of red blood in them, jewels in sparkling eyes.

And how we laughed! I never laughed so much to the square inch in all my life. Just why? I've tried to recall. But the little jokes melt away into thin air,--too fine to be caught in the mesh of words. You see, Sally Sod is Irish on both sides. "Grandparents right from the bogs," she said. It is impossible for her to speak without giving a quizzical twist to her words. And the children, born and bred to humor, are always ready with a come-back. Their father, Yankee by birth, has a merry twinkle in his blue eyes,--born there and kept always busy.

Sally Sod's Ten Children, and counting (She had more!)

So they laugh,--the Sally Sod household. And the house is full of their laughter. If you ask me, I think this is the secret and heart of the whole story of their success.

"Laugh a lot?" Sally Sod repeated when we caught our respective breaths. "I'll say so. I wish you could hear and see these children of mine when they are shut in for a time. You surely would hear some rib-crackers."

"Ma, she's writing it down, "shouted nine-year-old Jessie from the other end of the table." She was reading upside down as fast as I (Grace Gray, the interviewer) could write. 

"O, we have a circus here all the time," Sally Sod went on. "I suppose I could make something of it if only I had the sense to appreciate it. I've just finished writing 'The Diary of a Distracted Mother.' I bought a big tablet and wrote it full. And I still have more to say.

"And here are my ten. Robert, 14, is my chief executive. He has just taken a prize in a declamation (speech) contest and won a gold medal. But he's so dignified he doesn't like to have me speak about it. He's planning to be an electrical engineer.

Mervin, 12, is our joke-smith, our clown, the cause of our greatest laughs. He's the boy who is going to rubberize his Father's milk checks. His ambition is to drive a truck. He has just won the seventh grade spell-down which made him grade champion and brought him a fine modern dictionary.

"Gladys is eleven and mothers all of the children. She is a prize-winner, too. She spelled down the fifth grade last year and won a dictionary with a 'G' in gold letters...

More introductions in my next post. To read Sally's "Diary of a Distracted Mother," type that title into the "Search This Blog" box on the left side of my blog. She was such a clever and funny writer.