By Audrey L. Barclay
I am Audrey Lou Barclay, daughter of Ernest and Minnie Smith. I was born near Galena, Missouri, October twenty-sixth, 1900, then going to make my home in Stotts City, Missouri when my parents separated two years later.
It was there I attended school, graduating from high school in 1916--as valedictorian. Soon after graduating I came to Springfield, living with my grandparents until my marriage to Erna Barclay on July Fourth, 1918. Our union produced nine children, six sons and three daughters, and we reared three of the thirty-two grandchildren. The present count is sixteen great-grandchildren. I became a widow two years ago last September, after it had been necessary to place my husband in a hospital three years before. I've lived alone since that time.
So much for the vital statistics. Obviously, it is doubtful if I can contain a detailed account of the nearly seventy-four years of my life in the wordage allowed me, so I beg your indulgence.
Mother remarried when I was four, in due time giving me four sisters. I became an expert at baby-sitting, which was to be an advantage later on, as were the other household skills I learned. I was quite capable of keeping a home going long before I had my own. I suppose my childhood was about that of any normal child, with the usual preferences both in work and in play.
Music and reading were my favorite interests, though there was no money for lessons on the old cottage organ. I think I read everything in the school library, many of the books more than once. And I learned to play very well by ear. I kept the mails flooded with letters to both grandmothers from the time I first learned to put words on paper. It was then I began dreaming of someday becoming a writer.
When I had no housework assigned me I often rode horseback.