Monday, January 13, 2014

Learning to Shoot...

After my Uncle Jack's widow, Hilda Heitmann Friddle died on 24 Jun 1989, Mom and I got a pleasant surprise.  Her brother dropped by some of Jack's photo albums and a few other bits and pieces.  Among these bits and pieces was a photo album with some really wonderful pictures.  I think my favorite was the one where Pop Friddle was holding on to the toddler (Uncle Jack) while Mom Friddle was learning to shoot.


I have no idea as to the specific location other than it was up on Grouse Flats above Troy, Oregon.  I have no other specific date except the guess that it must have been taken during the late summer, as Mom Friddle seems to be showing her pregnancy somewhat and she had my Grandma Capitola in December.  So this was photo was probably taken around August 1911 and Jack would have been almost two years old, and Mom Friddle (Sophia Dollar Friddle) would have been 17 years old and Pop Friddle (David Carl Friddle) would have been about 22 years old.  I think it is a wonderful picture of a pioneer family...which is what they were.

When Mom Friddle came out west with her young son who was just over a year old in 1910, it must have been quite a culture shock.  She had grown up in a household as the adored and coddled granddaughter.  As my Grandma Cappy described it..."she had grown up like Topsy!"  To paraphrase, she didn't know how to cook much, make soap, care for a house...and here she was a young bride and mother at 16 years old when she came out west in November 1910.  I imagine that after the trip from Troy, OR on a wagon up to her new home, she must have wanted to throw herself on the bed and cry her eyes out.  She had left a comfortable home where she had been taken care and  was in a simple small shack with her young son and her husband gone for weeks at a time working.  That first winter had to have been very hard.  Perhaps Pop Friddle was with her...I don't really know - but I know that I heard stories of hearing the screams of cougars nearby and various other types of wild animals.  She couldn't have felt too protected in that small shack.  By the time the summer had rolled around, there was not only the wildlife making loud and terrifying sounds, but also rattlesnakes that were plentiful in her new home.  So, with that knowledge - this photo becomes more significant.  My great grandmother was preparing be able to protect her children and herself while her husband was away...and if it took using a gun nearly as big as she was...then so be it.  So she not only had to learn to shoot...she had to practice so she could hit whatever she was shooting at!  Knowing what I do about my great grandmother - I suspect that she probably became quite good at it.