That December in Allenford, the groom was given a vacation and when he left, the Havemans discovered that he had been mistreating the horses. And particularly the tall one; the one that Mr. Haveman rode.
One day, Aunt Gretchen decided that she would feed the horses. She went out to feed them and the tall horse got very excited. She was a different person than the groom and she tried to calm him down. She had food for him, but he turned and kicked her in the stomach and that did it. I wasn’t there, I didn’t see it. All I know is that he kicked her in the stomach, bad, and next I knew she was being carried into the house. I was probably in the kitchen cooking. I don’t even remember if they brought her into he house, before they put her on the sled.
I don’t know who got her out of the barn, but they had a friend nearby who was a doctor. He examined her and said she had to go to the hospital immediately, she was bleeding internally. And by the time she got to the hospital peritonitis had set in. When the intestines are punctured, the poison comes out. So she had all this punctured intestine leaking poison insider her and she didn’t survive. She died three days later. Oh, how heartbreaking it all was.
Gretchen and I had to stay at home all that time and do our house work and chores and wait and worry and imagine. When they put her in the sled and took her to the hospital, they must have used the same technique as the hockey sleigh driver to get the ambulance sleigh through as fast as possible.
About a day later they came and told us how serious it was, and then another two days later they came and told us that she had died. There were no telephones. I didn’t see her again until she was laid out in a coffin back in Detroit just before the funeral.
They took her body back to Detroit. I think to a funeral home, but I’m not sure and she was prepared for burial. We were told to go to Detroit for her burial. I don’t remember how we got to Detroit. Gretchen had her Chrysler roadster. That must be how we got there.
I was so completely devastated. I sat beside her coffin in their living room all night crying. What else could I do. I just sat there in the familiar surroundings and cried all night. I felt very badly about her death. She was great fun and we had a wonderful time together. She treated me as if I were her second daughter and I felt about her as if she were my second mother. And now she wouldn’t be there to help me grow up. She wouldn’t be there to help me become a fashion designer. My mentor had died. I would have to do it all by myself. With so many odds against me.
She was laid to rest in a cemetery in Detroit. I went to the funeral, I don’t remember it at all. Gretchen and I went back to their Detroit house. Her grand parents had already passed away so it was just her and her father. So we three stayed there. My father wanted me to come home. I couldn’t leave right away. It was a big house with just Gretchen and her father and she did the cooking. I finally went home. But I didn’t stay there very long. Gretchen and her father needed me. Gretchen was very disturbed by what happened to her mother and she didn’t want to stay alone.
AFTER THE ACCIDENT:
These were the famous years, the 1920’s “Prohibition”.
It was in full force in both Canada and the United States. And you could be put in jail if you were found to be making alcoholic beverages or selling them. Mr. Havemann was really a Brew Master of good German beer by profession, not your big time hoodlum, but not the kind of thing to be making in those years. And during this time of Prohibition he was eventually caught and put in Leavenworth prison where he stayed until prohibition was over.
He was caught right after the funeral for Aunt Gretchen. Gretchen decided she wanted to be in Allenford living at the farm. But her father didn’t want us living in the farmhouse way out in the country in the winter time. He felt it was unsafe because of the fact that we had no transportation to get through all the winter snow.
So until the snow melted in the spring we went into Allenford to live with a widow named Mrs. Baker. It was a pleasant place to live; warm and close to all the young people. Mrs. Baker would heat sand bags in the oven to heat our beds, on the very coldest winter nights.
While we lived with Mrs. Baker we could join the young people in their winter activities. Mostly we went to hockey games and square dances. We also sledded on flat shovels and pots and pans. One of the boys had a harmonica and played square dance music at the top of the hill and we would dance in the moonlight.
And those are my memories of Allenford, Ontario and my first friend Gretchen and most of all her mother.