My Life — Helen A. Wengrin

On a bright Sunday morning at 9 o’clock on the 14th of March a baby girl was dropped down the chimney at 424 Carson St. in Pittsburgh, Pa. A good angel was sent from Heaven but I changed my mind by the time I reached the house which was to be my home and turned bad. The doctor had to spank me as soon as I reached the house and I always was spanked since then.

Helen Wengrin
HELEN A. WENGRIN, 14 years

When I was five months old Daddy took me to a saloon and I drank some beer. I started to be a drunkard since I was five months old. At seven months I started to cook. I put ashes in the coffee pot. I cooked better then, than I do now.

At nine months brought a change into my life for I then moved to Cleveland. In Cleveland my Uncle had a bookcase full of books and I liked to read books better then, than I do now. A book was “read, tasted and digested and throughly”, as once said Elbert Hubbard. (See the art. by Peter in Sept. Ed. of “Lemko”. It was I). The only time I was quiet was when I was in mischief.

One Monday morning Mother had to do the washing. It was too cold in the basement so she left me upstairs with plenty of toys to keep me busy in the kitchen. It was so quiet upstairs that Mother wondered what I was doing. She came upstairs and to her surprise I was cleaning house: I pulled the plants out of the pots and threw the soil all over the rug in the dining room and I was sweeping the ground with the plant.

On Christmas morning I received a very beautiful doll from a good friend of ours. An hour later everybody went to eat dinner except me, but I had a doll to play with, and dinner was not on my mind. I went behind the door with the doll so nobody should see what I was doing and I was doing anything but good. During the time they were eating dinner they were eating in peace because I did not disturb them, but, what was I doing: I tore the dolls clothes and hair off and I took the whole doll apart. Then Mother asked, “Helen, what are you doing?” And I answered: “Ma, I fixed the doll”. You should have known how Mother and the Girl Friend who brought the doll, felt and I don’t blame them.

When my brother was born, I was his nurse. Mother went to the store on the corner and my brother started to cry I didn’t like to hear babies cry and since I had a bag of peppermints I gave him a mouthful of peppermints, and if my mother would not have arrived that minute, I would not have any brother.

When my brother was a year old, I made a birthday party for him. Mother had some ammonia water in the cupboard and I thought it was pop. Although I liked pop I was so generous, I gave the ammonia water to my brother first and to my surprise my brother screamed and fell down while I started to cry and said to my Mother, “I didn’t know that the piwo was no good”.

My brother and I were curly-heads when we were smaller and I knew that people had their hair cut but my Mother wanted us to have long curly hair. I took a pair of scissors and I went underneath the bed with my brother and played barber! Good thing that I did not cut my brother’s ears off. Oh boy!, If you would have seen after I finished giving us a hair-cut you would have laughed to death, and after I got done my brother and I stuck out our heads from underneath the bed and yelled out, “Ma we played barber”, and I guess you know what happened.

One day Mother went to the Drug Store and I was no place in sight, so she did not call me but I went into the house, climbed up to the top of the cupboard and got my Mother’s good set of silver that she did not use, and I took some cleanser and I heard my Mother coming in, so I ran to the door, and exclaimed, “Oh Ma. you are a dirty housekeeper, your silver was all black and I scrubbed it all”. Boy then my Mother scrubbed me.

A few days later I tried to bake bread. Mother had a large can of flour, and I had to dip half of myself to make a hole in the flour. Then I took a pail of water and spilled it into the can of flour and I was mixing the bread when my Mother came into the house. I was half in the can and half out of it and Mother asked: “Helen what are you doing?” and I answered: “Mixing the dough“. Then my Mother made some dough out of me.

Soon as I grew smarter I noticed that ladies used cold cream and powder, then I just wished my mother would leave the house so I could do the same thing. My Mother had a large jar of cold cream and when she left the house I smeared the whole jar of cold cream all over my brother and me. Soon as my Mother stepped into the house we yelled out, “Ma we didn’t use any cold cream”, but Mother looked into the jar and there was not a bit left.

Soon after I started school. I noticed that some children wrote with ink and I thought it would be great if I could write with ink, when my Mother wasn’t home. One afternoon Mother went to the Grocery and made me promise that I would not do anything wrong, if I wouldn’t she would buy me lots of candy. How could I be out of mischief for five minutes when I knew that a bottle of ink was in the cupboard? The ink was corked tightly so I took a cork puller and pulled the cork out and I spilled it all over the kitchen! When my mother came home I was washing the tablecloth and my dress already. I thought it would come out easily so my Mother would not know I did it. When Mother came home and saw what I did she knew giving me a licking wouldn’t help, so she made me sit outside on the doorsteps and it was in Winter she told me I had to wear that dress on Sundays and while I was sitting on the doorsteps crying, my girl-friend came along and asked me what the trouble was and I answered, “My Mother doesn't like me anymore”.

Christmas came along soon and we got a large sled and I wanted to stay long outside and my Mother would not let us stay long. We had a hook on the outside of our door, if you were on the outside you could not open it from the inside so I hooked my Mother in and all the windows were frozen. We lived in a single house. My brother and I stayed until 10 o'clock and my brother and I came in and said: “We had a great time''. Mother thought we were killed or kidnapped, and she was scared to death but when she got through with us we were dead.

Now when Mother goes out nothing much happens just sewing machine needles are broken or pans are burned or I am fighting with my brothers.

I am always so ambitious, Mother says if she had another girl like me she would not have another thing in the house.

I would tell you some more but you would think I am too good, so this is the end of my story.

I remain yours truly, Helen A. Wengrin.