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Carlisle Area Historical Society

Saving History for Tomorrow

Vera Cope

Born in 1916, Vera King Cope has lived in this community since marrying George Cope in 1937. Vera grew up in a family of 7 children during the Depression. Occasionally, each child would get a special honor in the form of a ride into town with their Dad. The shopping "spree" might bring back oranges, hot dogs, or hamburger. These were unique treats for a family used to raising their own pork and chickens, and having their own milk and cream.

Vera graduated at 16 from Indianola High School. She wanted to teach school, but couldn't get her certificate until she turned 18. In the meantime she cleaned houses and helped new mothers, who had to stay in bed for 10 days back then. She earned $3.00 a week. Some girls were only getting $2.50, but Vera was good help and she could cook! At age 18, she went to the county seat, passed the test, and was ready to become a teacher. One week before the start of the fall term, she was offered a job at Ward country school. She earned $55.00 a month. From that she paid $15.00 a month for room and board.

When she married, Vera had to resign her teaching job.

Times were hard in 1937, but the neighbors gave them a chivaree, something you don't hear much about these days. Gifts included a berry bowl with dishes, and some drinking glasses, but a most unique gift from a loving friend, was a jar of home-canned peaches with 50 cents taped to the lid.

Vera and George had 4 children. The birth of one was notable in two ways. When she was in labor, Dr. Oshana picked her up and took her to the hospital, but the delivery had to wait because he was called away to tend a patient who had been shot during the bank robbery in Carlisle.

George and Vera shared a love of music. She played the piano and he, the fiddle. Playing for square dancing in the area, they were able to supplement their income by $3.00 each, for the evening. The last tune was "Home Sweet Home" but usually the crowd could talk them in to just one more dance. Some of these dances were held at the old Legion Hall, and for PTA meetings, which were often just social events in those days.

Vera played the piano for the Avon Community Church for many years, and volunteered at the elementary school for a very long time, sitting in the hallway on tiny chairs, so the children could have their "one on one" time with a special person, Vera Cope!

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