A History of the Burns Family
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PART FIVE: Cuyahoga Falls, 1926-1932  

Chapter One: June in Mitiwanga

Mitiwanga, Erie County, Ohio
June, 1925

1 - Mitiwanga June
2 - Mitiwanga July
3 - Mitiwanga August
4 - College Kids
5 - Homesick
6 - Opportunity
7 - Home Boys
8 - Two Birds
9 - Binks World
10 - Crash

More Information

Author's Note

Ebba spent three months during the summer of 1926 as a mother's helper to the Steere family of Cleveland. On this page are highlights of June's correspondence between Ebba and other family members.


Letter from Ebba to Ada  --  June 20th

5:30   Swim in ice-cold Lake Erie (this is not all it’s cracked up to be)
5:45  Washing for baby
6:00  Prepare breakfast for Kenny & Josie Steere, set table, and get breakfast for rest of family except Baby Steere
7:00  Arising of Kenny and Josie Steere and subsequent splashing and dressing until children emerge ready for morning
7:30  Breakfast for Kenny & Josie
8:00  Breakfast for the rest of family (while they eat I make beds – 3 cribs & 3 beds)
8:30  Wash dishes and clean kitchen
9:00  Anything (play tennis, go for walk on beach, play with Kenny & Josie)
11:00  Prepare lunch for Kenny & Josie & feed them & put them to bed
11:30  Lunch for rest of family (cooked meal)
12:30  Wash dishes
1:00  Clean (a little)
2:00  Put bathing suits on Kenny, Josie & self for the afternoon on the beach
5:00  Supper for Kenny & Josie & supper for rest of family (bread and milk)
6:00  Bathe and get Josie ready for bed
7:00  Bathe and get Kenny ready for bed
7:30  Wash dishes
8:00  Free

Ebba on the beach at Mitiwanga, Ohio with Kenny and Josie Steere

The Steere Cottage at Mitiwanga


Letter from Guy to Ebba  --  June 21th

The Falls Christan Church Choir


A Bit of News (or, A Sad Story)

One of the elders, searching for righteousness,
In the evening gloom,
Peeked inside the closet
Iin the choir’s room.
He stood amazed, and gasped in horror,
For the robes were gone, either stolen or borrowed.
The Robes!  The Robes!  The beautiful Robes!
Which reached to the feet and up to the lobes!
“They’re gone, they’re gone,” he cried in despair,
“The beautiful robes the choir loves to wear!”
Straightway he went to the Elders meet,
To lay the case before their feet.
They all stood aghast and with silent mien,
Wondered how the choir would ever be lean?
For they knew that by wearing this somber dress
That they would evaporate more and fatten less;
And it was always the hope of the august men,
That the average weight would be one hundred ten.
But alas and alack it cannot be,
For the robes are gone, also the key
To this latest mystery and pilferer bold,
Who purloined the robes from the choir’s fold.

D. U. B. non de “plumage”


Letter from Ebba to Ada  --  June 23th

Yesterday I upset the whole household when I unthinkingly displayed and expounded upon a forty-eight hour chick embryo which I found in an egg I broke for Kenny’s supper. I evidently made them quite ill. The day before that I became so interested in tracing the alimentary tract in the fish I was cleaning that the potatoes scorched….


Letter from Ada to Ebba  --  June 23th

Lo and Mary Rebecca in the country

I am very glad to see so complete a schedule, including dishwashing and cooking, although I dare say it pricks my pride a little to think Mrs. Steere is able to accomplish something I could not. I am planning a vacation, as soon as I finish cleaning. Grandmother [Mary Rebecca] is going to take charge of the house and I will take Bob and Dave and go to the country. Sometimes I wonder who will have the vacation, Grandma or I….Dave has just returned from town with the good news that he lost my cantilever shoes sent over with him to be remodeled, so will close for this time…


Letter from Ebba to Ada  --  June 25th

…How is Bobby? Is he well? Did you get some Klim and Toddy.
[1] for him? Sometimes when I am giving Kenny a bath the tears actually come to my eyes when I picture to myself dear little Bobby’s thin little body beside Kenny’s strong, sturdy, dimpled one….They get much more rest than Bobby and also have a regularity that he lacks. I wish we could try such a system with him for a little while and see how it works.


Letter from Lorenzo to Ebba  --  June 28th

Dear Eve – Was glad to hear from you and glad you are having some pleasure as well as work. This leaves us all forked end down [2] and ready for 3 squares a day.  Well Eve your Grandmother and I are starting for Fenelton, PA [3] in a.m. Will be gone couple of Days. I suppose we will have a wonderfull time…Well everything looks shiny around our house now. May has all her pappering done down stairs. Well, Mays boys have not found jobs yet, work is mighty scarce around here. Well, nothing has happened since you went away so I will not have to write about it. Well, I know a lot of things but I can not think about them so I will close with love from all hands and the Cook --               

From your Gramp L D Burns

Would write more but am to damn nervous. Good By




Letter from Ada to Ebba  --  June 28th

Do not shed tears for Bobby for he is in better condition now than he has ever been before. Seems to me every time I get him ready for bed his body has taken on more flesh. Since you have been gone I have given him a great deal of attention and he is surely paying me back. The noon nap is hardest of all but then it is all done to surprise you, and he falls for that. Today for his dinner I am giving him something new. I have fresh spinach in the garden now and I took leaves of spinach and cut them up with scissors…then I made a white sauce adding cutup boiled eggs, and poured in the spinach, and he ate all the spinach because he didn’t see it. 

(L) On the porch at Center Street with Don's shoe scraper; (R) Bob running in the garden

Letter from Ada to Ebba  --  June 29th

Ebba on Mitiwanga Beach

I have had a hard day today. And until the storm, I felt quite wretched. I can look the world in the face now, however, and even smile. To begin this imperfect day, I overslept. I have no alarm clock, but until this morning I have always awakened at 5:30 and had breakfast ready and some of the work done by the time the little ones had to be dressed. This morning I awoke with a start and looked at my watch. It was a quarter of seven. I jumped out of bed praying inwardly that the family would oversleep too but no such luck…I dressed in three minutes (think of that) and although breakfast was ready on time the whole day went wrong. I started the strawberry sunshine last night and cooked it this morning. While I was waiting for it to cook I decided I would comb my hair. I was in the very midst of it when I heard the stuff boil over and smelled the acrid odor of burning sugar. As I reached the kitchen door I struck my shoulder smartly on its corner then reached blindly for the burner under the sunshine [which] rose in a veritable volcano boiling over the stove and my hand below. In taking off the cooked “sunshine,” which fit like a glove, I removed most of the epidermis. So I am quite swathed in bandages as far as my hand is concerned….There is but one consolation in such an arrangement. I can’t do the dishes. However, I can wipe them and put them away so I’m not an absolutely helpless person yet.

Ebba's illustration of her injuries

Letter from Don to Ebba  -- late June

Dear Evelyn,

I had a little drink about an hour ago, and it went right to my head, otherwise I wouldn't be wrighting this letter as you all too well know. Before I go farther I suggest that you go thru this letter and correct the mistakes in spelling and grammar so you won't misconstrew its meaning -- suppose you think your quite the stuff up there where you can put on the lug and give everyone the high hat, but whatever you do, "never fall in love with some millionaire," and you happy be, "living in poverty." (Good advice) -- BURNS & CO, EXPERT ADVISERS.

Since Minor Lee Bates's [from Hiram College] address Sunday I've had a harder time convincing Dad that I must go to state. I wish I could get the prexy from O.S.U. up here and mebe Dad would change his ideas about a small school. The world is on a big scale and I guess I might as well get used to it sooner or later....

By the way, I'm getting to be quite a literary man - my editorial was published in the paper the other day just as though I was a philosopher of some note (I wouldn't be surprised that there will be two great writers by the name of Burns).

You have nothing on me with your evening dip. I take a little dip every night in city water plus a little soap whether I need it or not. That's my latest resolution. All I need now is a cottage and a (cawr) car.

You will note that this letter is similar to Mitchell's 5 & 10 cent store, a little bit of everything rather of a spontaneous nature. I've been thinking of going up on Lake Erie myself to work on a freighter. Dad don't think much of that idea but if things don't come my way better than at present, I'm willing to try anything.

I can't think of any more,

Yours till Delaware's boots....Don


[1] Klim is Milk backwards and refers to powdered milk. A toddy is made of hot water, lemon, honey, cloves, and whiskey!

[2] When a rider falls off a horse and lands on his feet, it’s forked end down – meaning a success.

[3] Fenelton, Pa is about 50 miles from where Lo Burns and Mary Mason grew up.