Village Girls

When I was still living at home (home was along Rt. 45 and was condemned and demolished in the early 2020s by the new Laurelton owners as a condition of the sale) during my early teenage years, I remember a "village girl" (that's what they were called locally) named Rose who would come to our house every two weeks to do ironing and help with various chores that my mother wanted her to do.  Rose was very friendly and had a good sense of humor.  I think she left Laurelton before I started college but I am not sure where she was placed.

The other "village girl" I recall was Peggy S.   She was always walking down to our house to ask, "Dr. Derr, will you take me off of my medicine?"  She came down one Saturday morning when my brother and I were watching TV.  She entered through the back door (we never locked our doors) saw my brother and I watching TV and she walked up the stairs, opened my parents' bedroom door, and said

"Dr. Derr. will you take me off of my medicine?"  My father replied, one of the few times I heard him swear, "Get the hell out of here, Peggy!". She said, "OK" and came down the steps and out the door.

Peggy was a frequent visitor for several weeks and usually returned to her cottage when my mother instructed her,  "Go back to your cottage".  I think that the last time we saw Peggy was when she walked down to our house and sat in our car which was parked in the driveway.  My mother spotted her and again yelled "Go back to your cottage Peggy".  Peggy yelled back, "I am not walking up that goddamn hill.  You call the state car to come and get me." 

  Mom called.  The state car arrived immediately.  That was the last time I saw Peggy until I started working at Laurelton in 1972.  I remember talking with Peggy about her Saturday morning trip to our house and getting yelled at by my father.  She smiled and nodded and said, "Yes, you were a little boy in your jammies."  I laughed.

Peggy was eventually placed in Northumberland County where my wife, Linda, was working part-time in the med-clinic (after we retired in 2002).  Peggy remembered Linda.  Linda asked Peggy if she remembered Bob Derr?  Peggy giggled and remembered when she saw little Bobby Derr in his jammies.

I remember many conversations about "village girls" working for various families in the Laurelton area and Mifflinburg.  Most of these stories were from the 1960s when there were a lot of higher functioning women at Laurelton.  In general, their tasks were cleaning, ironing and other chores.

I will always remember the daily walks to the fields by the "village girls" as they came down Route 45, two abreast (on the side of the road) around 8:00 a. m.  It was a very orderly walk, as staff members walked with them.  I think that they took Saturdays and Sundays off.   In summation, I think that there were mainly positive responses from those who had "village girls" doing various tasks for area families.

By Bob D.