It was the spring of 1921 in Covedale, Ohio. Ten-year-old Mary Ellen finished her homework, closed her books and ran out to the front porch where she jumped onto a swing suspended by chains from the ceiling. Her feet could barely reach the floor to push the swing, but she managed. Its screeching hinges contradicted the afternoon’s tranquility with birds singing in freshly-greened trees. She closed her eyes as the back-and-forth motion triggered imaginative thoughts about being a grown-up living in nearby Cincinnati.
A locomotive hauling freight blew its whistle for a crossing a mile from the house. The sound made the city seem so near. She wondered when her daddy would be home from the Townsend-West Dairy that he managed downtown. He brought a calm presence into the mixture of family issues that she anticipated. With three older brothers, and an older sister, life in her world was sometimes hectic.
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