May 2, 2012
Walking into Edith St. John’s home is a visit into a patch of sunlight. She and her husband Roy live in Tekoa, but she has lived around the Palouse during her lifetime. They share their home with one old, spoiled cat, colored orange and white, and welcome kids, grandkids and great-grandkids whenever they can visit, which is often. They remain close to grandson Shane St. John’s widow and children. Pictures and mementos of family life show their pride and joy in their family.
Born in Oakesdale, she was reared in Farmington until her family moved to Moscow just in time for her senior year of high school. That was quite a change for Edith, but she did well, graduating from Moscow High School and going to work at a local bank. Her father said she needed to work for a year before she could marry Roy, and one year later, she and her new husband were farming at Farmington.
Roy and Edith moved into Tekoa in 1996, and they tried Bishop Place in Pullman, but Edith remarked that she only lasted there five weeks.
They celebrated 67 anniversaries, and they have three children, Connie Brandt of Tekoa, Dan St. John and Joe St. John. Dan farms near Tekoa, and Joe farms the family farm. They traded houses with Joe and his wife Becky, an Endicott girl, when they moved to Tekoa. On the farm, Edith was a full-time homemaker, cooked for hired men, and even drove truck when needed. She noted that farm wives don’t cook for hired men much anymore, but it once was the custom. Along with raising children, it was a busy life.
Edith was an active girl, and wasn’t sure she wanted to share her childhood antics for fear of being a bad example, but her granddaughter Tammy insisted. Edith liked to climb the Farmington water tower which either entertained or frightened her friends. One friend was very nervous and called for her to come down. Other friends enjoyed the adventure. The thought of her grandchildren or great-grands climbing it makes her remember that her dad would not have been happy.
She was run over by her horse when she was 10 or 12 years old, riding downhill going home. The hill was slick, the horse began to slide, and she flew off over the horse’s head, and the horse stepped on her. In the pre-911 days, an older couple in a car found her laying in the road, picked her up, and took her home. Her parents didn’t call the doctor because there wasn’t a lot of money for doctors then. Kids in her era played run, sheep, run; kick the can, and other games.
Centering her life on her family shows through Edith’s activities. She has been a habitual letter writer, and her family members and friends have enjoyed her notes and letters over the years. She and Roy enjoy doing things for family members, so they attend lots of school and athletic events and fairs. When younger family members are busy, she has their children over for meals, bakes for their bake sales and the kids can always come to Grandma’s home.
For 22 years, the St. Johns had a lake cabin at Conkling Park on Lake Coeur d’Alene. The whole family enjoyed summer stays that included boat rides, going out for hamburgers and milkshakes, swimming, and fishing.
Granddaughter Tammy Mendoza could count on showing friends a fun time there. She brought Japanese exchange students there when she was a counselor for exchange students at Eastern Washington University, and she brought Lithuanians once. The student who was fishing from the dock surprised the game warden when he read the student’s ID card, from Japan.
The St. Johns continue to enjoy living a rich family life with four generations, and they are happy to be living in Tekoa and supporting their community.
Graham Cracker Roll
My mother used to make this. I especially like to have a roll of this in my freezer or fridge so I can have a slice of it when I feel the need for something sweet.
1/2 pound marshmallows, quartered
1/4 cup fruit juice (pineapple, peach, or whatever)
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dates
2 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
Mix together 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs with other ingredients. Save 1/2 cup of crumbs to roll this in. Form a roll as best you can. You can use more crumbs if needed. Use waxed paper to put mixture on and work it until you get it to stick together in a roll and put in freezer or refrigerator. Cut off pieces when needed.
I have served this at club, also. Put whipped cream and a cherry on top. Good!
Peanut Butter Fudge
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup or less of plain Jiffy peanut butter
Boil sugar, milk and margarine to soft ball stage. Add vanilla and peanut butter. Add nuts last. Cool and beat until ready to pour. It sets up fast.
Pink Cloud Dessert
Mix 1 package strawberry Jell-O with 1 cup boiling water. Stir until dissolved and add 1 package frozen strawberries. Stir until thawed. As berries thaw, the mixture will thicken.
Whip 1 cup cream (or you may use Dream Whip or non-dairy “Pastry Pride”) and fold in.
Our great-grandchildren always ask me to bring this. It is pretty and the adults like it, also.
Round Steak with rich gravy
3 lb. round steak or sirloin, 1 inch thick
1/3 c. flour
3 Tbsp. shortening
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup water
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Sprinkle both sides of meat with flour. Melt shortening and brown each side. Sprinkle onion soup mix over meat, then mix water and soup and pour over. Cover tightly and simmer until done 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Heat remaining gravy mixture and pour over meat.
*If you use 1 inch steaks, pound the flour in before browning.