Honk & Helen

This blog is a bit of history, and a bit of an experiment. First things first: I'm not Honk, and my wife's not Helen. Harold ("Honk") and Helen Dohoney were the couple who previously owned the small farm we live on in Dover, Indiana. The farm was built in 1912, by Helen's dad, Charles Booher.

Honk was born in 1898, Helen in 1901. They were married on June 14th, 1948. Helen passed away in 1990, Honk died in 2001, a day away from his 103rd birthday. I bought the place out of his estate in 2002.

They had no children - Helen had children by a previous marriage who were the executors. After the sale, all of the home contents were sold at auction, but a lot of stuff was simply thrown out.

The farm originally had something over 100 acres - Honk and Helen raised corn, soybeans and cattle. He also worked on the railroad, for the old Monon line, and Helen was an RN, a graduate of a certificate program for nurses at a now defunct hospital (Williams) in Lebanon, the county seat. Honk had a crop in the ground and cattle in the pasture until 1996.

Helen was also a diarist - and I recovered her papers covering the years 1953-54 and 1973-74 from the flotsam and jetsam after the auction. These are the diaries that will be preserved on this blog - a snapshot into the daily life of a Hoosier farm couple from a half century ago, records of momentous events (Milan's basketball championship, the Nixon resignation, the 1973 oil crisis ) from the perspective of an American small town in the heartland.

Starting November 1st, I will post here the contents of the 1953-54 diary, which runs to December 1st, 1954. The following August (2010) I'll start the contents of the 1973-74 diary, which runs to September 7th, 1974.

There won't be a post every day - the blog will follow the diary, and Helen didn't write every day. Some entries will consist of nothing more than a record of the weather. Other will have visits to friends and neighbors chronicled. But every one will be real - this is peering into the past, if through a darkened glass, and discerning how much has changed, and indeed, how much has not.

Occasionally I'll try to post more biographical information - we've begun something of a hunt for records and family history on this couple. I'll definitely get a picture up before too much longer. Perhaps our affinity is merely the result of living in the same place, but I think we share an affinity in temperament, too. There are times I think they're still hanging around, watching as we clean and scrub, gather eggs, feed cattle and shear sheep. I'd like to think they'd approve of the changes we've made.

We did locate their final resting place this past summer: it's less than a mile from the house. And we took them a sunflower, and promised to do our best to keep their memory alive. And to take good care of the farm and the land.

And that's why we're here, on Blogger.

See you November 1st, 1953.

Dave & Lorraine Haxton

1 comment:

Robin Weber said...

Thanks so much for doing this! Bryan grew up on the family dairy farm in Snake Run, near Fort Branch, Indiana, and his parents are still there. His dad sleeps in the room in which he was born more than 80 years ago. This is a precious part of real history that you are preserving. Thank you! If we can do anything to help, please let us know.
Bryan and Robin Weber (robin.e.weber@gmail.com)