of the Phonograph and Other Stories
name is Betty Barr Boilesen.
I was born in Elba,
Nebraska in 1924 on a 650 acre ranch by a river and lots of
My second grade
teacher, Miss Hildred Karre, gave me my first experience with
music on a phonograph which was a portable suit-case style.
You opened the lid and inside was this wonderful little record
player. Our opening exercise was a special time. We listened
and also played games to the music such as the Farmer in
the Dell and Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.
However, my favorite part was watching Miss Karre wind the
crank. She wore silver bracelets which cling-clanged when
she turned the crank.
My niece Marjorie
Ann was in kindergarden in the same school room along
with my cousin Eudean. After school the three of us would
play school and I would be the teacher. Of course to play
school you must have a phonograph. So I would put my dad's
razor blade sharpener on top of a shoebox as a makeshift phonograph
with crank, and with the rubber jar rings and gold Mason jar
lids on my wrist I was ready to wind the 'crank' and jingle-jangle
and we would sing and dance to our school room songs.
Kross Stropper Razor Blade Sharpener, c.1927
None of our neighbors
except one family had a phonograph. They had an elegant floor
model. If we visited them during an evening we would go to
the parlor and listen to a few records.
When I was around
ten we stayed by the river in a cabin rented by my Aunt Della
for an overnight adventure. During the day some older girls
came to the river bank and brought their phonograph. We watched
from the distance, listened to their records and thought those
older girls were so sophisticated and certainly to be envied.
Fay's sister-in-law's family, the Kellers, had a phonograph
and it was a treat to go over and listen to their records
on their phonograph that sat in the corner of their parlor.
When my niece and young playmate died at age eight the funeral
was held at the Keller's home and I have a vivid memory of
Marjorie Ann's casket put in that parlor corner as they had
to move the phonograph out of the room.
We never had a
phonograph in our house, nevertheless, I do have wonderful
to The Farmer in the Dell, Victory Record
No. 36 circa 1930 Courtesy of The Woolworths Museum
The Farmer in the Dell Record
was included in the Third Bubble Book
- The Harper-Columbia Book that Sings - Records
by Columbia Graphophone Co., 1918
Here we go Round the Mulberry
Illustration from A
Book of Nursery Rhymes by Clara E. Atwood, 1901
Little Tots' Nursery Tunes
Record Albums came with 78 rpm records and picture cards,