Carroll Zwinge vividly remembers when her teacher put tape over her mouth to prevent her from talking and used rope to keep her from getting up out of her chair.
And on Thursday, Zwinge looked back on the methods that would be considered insane today and laughed – reading the details as part of The Manteca Historical Society’s “Letters to Your Grandchildren” writing class that she participated in over the course of the last several months to pass details of her upbringing on to the younger generations in her family.
The class itself, she said, opened her eyes to a way of chronicling some of her experiences and putting them down on paper.
“Doing this really brought back some memories and me think about things that I hadn’t thought about in a really long time,” Zwinge said. “It’s also a lot of fun to be able to listen to everybody else’s stories as well.”
The story session served as the monthly program for the Manteca Historical Society. It drew a handful of members that shared examples from the stories that they have written about their family history and how they grew up.
For Beverly Hardesty, who lives in Sacramento, the five trips that she made over the course of the last five months to attend the classes gave her a chance to put some of her experiences down on paper. Thursday gave her a chance to overcome her fear of sharing in front of people.
Hardesty – an alumni of Calla Grammar School and Manteca Union High School – talked about the opportunity she had to travel to St. George in the Portuguese Azores to visit the house that her father grew up in, and the trip that they took to visit the place where her paternal grandfather was born.
The trip, she said, gave her a chance to learn more about the roots of her family before they made the trek to the United States through Boston.
And Eleanor Vierra, who grew up on the corner of Dale Road and Pelandale Avenue in Modesto, talked about the rural atmosphere of the ranch that she grew up on. Her mother would go out and strangle a chicken to cook Sunday dinner and all of the fruits and vegetables that they ate came from the garden that they kept in the back yard.
Pat Gobel – who grew up in Southern California before moving to Stockton and eventually Manteca – reminisced about watching the ice delivery truck come around and having the driver just walk inside of the unlocked houses to make sure the iceboxes were cold.
“Sometimes we have to learn about our past so that we can share it with our grandchildren,” Manteca Historical Society Executive Director Evelyn Prouty said. “We’re glad to have people here to share these stories with us.”
The writing classes will continue on the third Thursday in September at 1 p.m.