Recollections of My Childhood
By Paula Lamont with help from her father, John Hovis

"Recollections of My Childhood by Paula Lamont with help from her father, John Hovis    Paula Genevieve Hovis Lamont was born in Arcadia at the home where all of the five children were born but Sena, who was born at Grandma Peterson's farm home east of M-22 known as Gabils corner. I attended Arcadia elementary and high school at Arcadia graduating in 1930 with a class of 22. Worked at 3 Pines Inn and on N. Manitou Island prior to my wedding to George Lamont on April 23, 1933.

"My younger days was enjoyed by a good home and very good parents. We went to the Danish Bapt. Church out in the country during weekends spent at Grandpa Peterson's and sometimes at Uncle George Peterson's. The majority of the time at Arcadia Methodist Church where Grandma Hovis was a member. Later I became a member here where I'm a member over 70 yrs. Sunday was a day mother saw we kids were in church & Dad would say get a hustle on you, you'll be late. He was such a sweet Dad and provided for us so well. Never wanted for anything. In fact, we had more than a lot of kids.

"Mother did a lot of serving for the German ladies so she depended on me to come home from school & have supper ready for the family. I tried all kinds of recipes some good & some not so good but Dad Hovis said that sure is good Sis, made me feel so proud.

"LaVerne came & stayed all summer & Mother went to the old Wareham Store & purchased what they called bloomer suits for Julia, LaVerne, & me. That way we were well covered when we did antics on the exercise pole Dad Hovis put up for us. Norman had rabbits & if one little one died we'd have a funeral over in the old railroad cut. Neighbor kids came to that too.

"I remember when Sena & kids came & brought your mom to visit. My! We thought her so nice & what pretty clothes she had. She enjoyed going in Lake Mich. with us & had picnics down on the beach.

"The old railroad cut N. of our house was good sleding down hill in winter. Lots of other kids would come. When we got so cold we came inside our house. Dad had shiney red apples, pop corn & potatoes he'd sliced thin & cooked on the old range cover. We ate them with butter & salt. They were so good. Mother Jennie would see the Towsley kids were bundled up to face the cold wind even if she couldn't find a button she'd pinned their coats up good. They were very poor, didn't have a Dad like we did.

"I loved music & Mother would work hard for that $1.00 for my music lesson each week, but I loved music so much. When I was a kid I didn't miss going down on the corner on Main St. on Sat. to hear the Salvation Army preach & sing. We also went down on Main St. to the bandstand which was across from the Hi school & hear the band play. I think they played every week.

"Oh! I'll have to tell you something Grandma Peterson made that hit the spot. She sieved raspberries made juice added sugar & ice from the ice house which was always full for raspberry ice drink or home-made ice cream. She also made big sugar cookies like your Mom's.

"In the fall we kids went out in the woods found beech trees & brought back beech-nuts. Beat the squirrels to them. After school a couple of we kids would go down in the Arcadia Furniture Co's lumber piles & pick up a big basket of bark to make a quick fire to make supper.

"I enjoyed going out with Dad fishing after supper in the summer. He really didn't want to take us as he thought you should be quiet or you'd scare the fish away. One thing I rem. about Dad he always went out & got a Christmas tree. Maybe come home with spindley one but would put in limbs until it was perfect. He always let Santa in C'mas eve in the north window. Mother had made pretty doll clothes with lace & frills on them even little bloomers with elastic on them for our dolls.

"When I was about 15 Uncle Bill Hovis, Dad's bro. & my two cousins came from Butler, PA. Came in an old Model T. We had a big time. Not until a yr. ago did I see any Hovis's until Ken a cousin & wife Mary came from Greenville, PA.

"Mother's half bro. Frank Hansen (adopted) his daughter & husband came a few times [unreadable end of sentence].

"Geo. & I went to visit them in Wis. once. Grandma H. also had 2 half sisters, Mary & Carolyn. Grandpa P. was married twice.

"I neglected to add that Grandpa Christian Peterson came to America from Copenhagen, Denmark and as I said before he was married twice. Wilasena was our Grandma & she too came from Copenhagen, Denmark. She was 50 years old when she married Christian.

"Mike Hovis was Dad's (John's) father. He came from Ireland. Julian Stoops Hovis was Grandma Hovis. They had 4 children, Elen, Lemuel, John and William all born in Butler, PA. the parents both died young leaving the children to live with relatives. John (Dad) was taken by Uncle Phillip and Aunt Ellen Stoops. In his teens he came to Arcadia where Uncle Philip homesteaded a farm south of town on what is now Bishop Rd. owned by Jerry Walker now. He (John) left that home early in life as he wasn't treated well by Aunt Ellen. He cam down and loaded boats at Pierport and Arcadia. He also worked for Grandpa Peterson on the farm. There where he met the fair maiden, Jennie Mettae. He proposed to her out on out on the old Arcadia pier. Mother Jennie said she couldn't say no as she figured the Lake was pretty deep there & she couldn't swim.

"There was a large two story house on Main St. Arcadia where John & Jennie first lived (upstairs). Later they moved to a house N. of town. Then he and William Matteson, the hotel owner, built the house Geo. & Paula Lamont purchased from Mother Jennie. It is 92 yrs. old as George W. was the first to be born there. Some of the house wasn''t all completed yet like plaster etc. when they moved in. Just bedroom downstairs & dining room & kitchen & pantry done.

"Before I close I must tell you that B. L. Pomeroy from Bear Lake a Sunday school missionary often came to Grandpa Peterson on bicycle where he stayed overnight enroute to another place where he'd establish another Sunday school. They were so delighted to see Mr. Pomeroy come.

"I have more to relate but guess this will give you an idea of how we lived. Hope you'll find some of it interesting."  

George and Paula Lamont

This photo was taken in 1958 at the celebration of their 25th wedding annivarsary. Paula was the long-time Community Correspondent for Arcadia for the Manistee County Pioneer Press.