The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Nora STONE Smith - 1898-1997
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
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Submitted by Norma SMITH Matteson
Copied by Nora STONE Smith, in her 90th year. Nora liked this poem so much that she wrote it down in her own hand. It meant something to her. Nora did not write the poem herself, but copied it down to save it.

She died November 3,1997at the age of 99 years and 5 months.
Joyce's Search Tip - November 2008
Do You Know that you can search just the articles on the site by using the Articles button in the Partitioned search engine at the bottom of the Current What's New Page

Before It's Too Late

If you have a gray-haired Mother, in the old home far away.

Sit down and write the letter you put off day by day.

Don’t wait until her tired steps reach heaven’s pearly gates-

But show her that you think of her before it's too late.


If you’ve a tender message or a loving word to say, Don’t wait

till you forget it ,But whisper it to day. Who knows what better

memories may haunt you if you wait.

So make your loved ones happy before it's too late.


We live but in the present, the future is unknown, tomorrow

Today is all our own. The chance that fortune lend to us May

vanish while we wait, So spend your life’s treasures

Before it's too late.


The tender words unspoken, The letter never sent, The long

forgotten messages, The wealth of love unspent, For these

some hearts are breaking, For some loved one wait. So show

them that you care for them

Before it's too late.

Comparing Two Lifestyles
Above: The Farm of Nora Stone and Walter Smith
Below: The 1940 Photo of Nora's Parents, Edith COOK and Fred STONE illustrates the rural lifestyle of the era.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Above Photo : 1934

Nora Stone & Walter Smith - 1963 - Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary
Nora Stone Smith And  Eleanor Roosevelt
Submitted by Norma SMITH Mattison - Author not Identified

Nora smiled to herself as she put down the February 25, 1935, issue of Time Magazine. The article she had just finished reading gave a brief description of the First Lady’s morning activities.

Nora Smith and Eleanor Roosevelt- two active, industrious women with growing families, residing in the same nation during the same time period , a few hundred miles apart- but their lives were light years apart.

According to the article, Mrs. Roosevelt arose at 7:30 a.m., quickly shut the window to block out the cold, did 15 minutes of exercises, a cold sponge bath and on with her riding clothes.

Nora’s day had commenced at 4 a.m., as she forced open her eyes to face the pre-dawn darkness. She struggled sleepily into her clothes and headed for the barn to help milk the cows. As she closed the door behind her, she braced herself for the onslaught of cold air. Even though spring was near, as evidenced by the increasing mud under foot, winter refused to relinquish its final grasp. Wide awake now, she entered the barn and was greeted by the low moo of a cow. Even they seemed to find it difficult to awaken. The baby calves lay still in their pens, heads resting against their sides. The musty smell of dry hay filled the air. One of the cats stretched itself lazily and stood up from his bed of straw.

As she stopped to put the milking machine on a cow, keeping her head turned slightly to avoid a sharp slap in the face from the cow’s tail, she though how glad she was that Walter had installed the gasoline engine to power the milking machine. Milking the 28 cows by hand had taken so long.

After the milking was finished, the cows had to be fed their morning hay. They looked up hungrily as Walter pitched huge forks full of hay down from the loft. She seized a hay fork and helped distribute the hay among the animals. Walter and the boys loaded the milk cans into the car for the 1½ mile trip to meet the milkman. Nora turned her attention to washing the milking machines and pails. As she dipped the water into the huge wash vat, she surveyed the surrounding countryside through the small window. Here and there a bit of snow remained in the hedges and along the side of the road. Down by the swamp, pussy willows were bravely exposing their furry bodies one by one. In the still cold air of the milkhouse, she was careful not to slop any of the water on herself.

Mrs. Roosevelt was served breakfast at 8:15 in her sitting room. Should there be guest present or children at home, breakfast was served in the West Hall. When dining alone, she perused the morning papers.

There would be no such leisurely morning time for Nora. Immediately upon returning to the house, she must prepare breakfast. The rest of the children were out of bed now, getting ready for school. Walter had rekindled the wood in the kitchen stove before he went to the barn. Each evening it was the children’s responsibility to refill the wood box with wood and replenish the water in the reservoir on the side of the stove. Now the fire burned merrily, sending its warmth throughout the kitchen. Piping hot water was ready for the children to wash in.

The children gathered around the kitchen table for a breakfast of bacon and eggs, hot cereal and milk. When their father returned, he would want potatoes and hot coffee also. She insisted that her family had a hearty breakfast to start their day. After she finished preparing breakfast, there were still five school lunched to pack. Myrtle, the oldest daughter, helped.

Mrs. Roosevelt’s article continued: “ Then I run down to my car, and drive myself out to where the horses are waiting. An hours brisk ride along the Potomac, a bath on my return.

After waving the children off to school, Nora got down to the real work of the day. As usual there were clothes to be washed. Laundry seemed a never ending chore, she thought to herself as she hunched over the scrubbing board attempting to remove a stubborn spot. All the freshly washed clothes had to be hung on the clothes line to dry. She shivered as the wind whipped a wet shirt in her face. At least it was warm enough so the clothes were no longer freezing stiff on the line. When the washing was out of the way, she had to start her daily baking. Seven loaves of bread and a tin of cinnamon rolls every other day she baked to keep this family and their endless stream of guests fed. On the other days she would bake donuts, cakes, cookies and pies. Today it would be cookies. A pleasant aroma filled the kitchen as the baking continued.

After the ride and bath Mrs. Roosevelt settled at her desk to meet with the head usher of the White House to go over his lists and plans for the day. Here the article ended although she knew that the First Lady’s busy day would continue as would hers.

Before she could finish her baking, she had to take time to prepare the noon meal. It seemed she spent most of the time in this kitchen. With the children at school, the noon meal was a relatively quiet time giving she and Walter an opportunity to talk together. They had so little time when there could be just the two of them in quiet conversation.

After the dishes were washed, she finished her baking and turned her attention to a basket of ironing that had to be done. She sat the flat irons on the stove to heat and adjusted the ironing board. She put a record on the victrola, wound it up with the hand crank and started it playing.

Soon the younger children arrived home from school excitedly relaying tales of their day. As they gathered around the large kitchen table to sample her freshly baked cookies, each one trying to be the center of her interest. She listened carefully, trying to be attentive to each in turn. She had recently read that there was now a film available to take snapshots in color. If only it wasn’t so expensive-- she would like to have these precious moments recorded in color. She smiled to herself as the plate of cookies rapidly disappeared.

Soon it was time to prepare supper for they ate promptly each day at 5 p.m. The table would literally groan under its weight of hearty food. Tonight it was a roast of pork, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots, beans and a salad along with the huge slabs if her freshly baked bread. It was a noisy time, but a good and sharing time when all the family were gathered together around the table. They hesitated before eating while Walter thanked God for his blessings on them.

After supper while the girls tidied up the kitchen and finished the dishes, it was time to don the chore clothes and head for the barn. Milking time came fast. It was not so peaceful in the barn at night for the animals were wide awake and restless. Tonight the calves frolicked in their pens hungerly awaiting their pails of food.

When they returned from the barn and the coats were neatly hung in the back closet, Walter switched on the radio for the evening news. The world was moving rapidly, sometimes she felt a bit too rapidly. Foreign countries that in the past had rarely been heard of now made the news almost daily. The President had just made a trip all the way from Washington to New York City on what the Pennsylvania Railroad termed new electric tracks in only 3 hours and 53 minutes. The major news item continued to be the trial of Bruno Hauptmann for the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. She didn’t know if he was guilty or not, but the mother in her ached for the child’s parents. How difficult it must be for them to have to relive the heartbreak of their recent tragedy.

A measure of  quiet returned to the house as one by one the children went off to bed. Walter had to go out tonight. The community had formed a committee, of which he was a member, to investigate the possibility of having electricity extended to their area. She did hope they would succeed soon. From what she understood, electricity would greatly simplify their lives, both in the house and on the farm.

Soon she was alone, but not idle. Tonight there was sewing to be done. It seemed these children went through their clothes so quickly. There was always mending. After that, there was the dress she was making for 10 year old Geraldine. While her needle and thread busily wove in and out of the fabric, her mind darted here and there. These were her moments when she could think, plan and dream. There was not time for such luxuries during the day. Now the busy day was behind her; the family were sleeping. She relished these quiet reflective moments by herself.

As her eyelids began to grow heavy, she slipped her sewing back in the wicker basket, yawned and arose from her chair. She hesitated before going into the bedroom, walked to the window and stood gazing out, seeing nothing. The darkness of a late winter night hung heavy over the valley. Her thoughts turned to that other woman, not so far away in miles but so very, very far away in life style. Would she change places? As she looked out across the darkened valley and thought of her five children peacefully sleeping upstairs, her mind returned to the busy day, just completed. This was her life; she would not exchange it.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Tri-County Local Poetry

Published On Tri-Counties Site On AUG 2001
By Joyce M. Tice

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The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933