Three Mirotas are sitting on the car, with another behind the wheel, in this delightful photograph from the 1930s. Taken at the Mirota farm in Readington Township, Hunterdon County, NJ, the car is a Ford Model B, 2-door Roadster, from about 1932. The car appears in other photos in 1937, so perhaps the picture was taken then.
Zofia is sitting on the running board with her husband, Jozef. He’s embracing her with one arm, while looking away from the camera, and gazing at his wife affectionately. Their daughter, Mary, is sitting on the hood all decked out. What a gorgeous dress! I imagine this outfit must have been divine to dance in. Their son, Joseph, looks ready to take the family out for a Sunday spin.
Joseph also helped bring the family farm into more marvels of the modern age, when after returning from service in the Army in 1946, he helped wire the house for electricity and arranged for a telephone to be installed. The family had to pay for the utility poles that ran from their house, along the farm lane, to the main road. The house continued to be heated by the coal stove, and although water was piped through the house with an indoor bathroom installed, the hand pump and the outhouse was retained outside.
In the back of the photo the main barn is showing. Here in the barn during the summer the Mirota kids slept in the hayloft, when the family took in paying boarders wanting to escape the heat of the city. The farm was completely self-sufficient, with only some sugar and white flour occasionally purchased for fancy desserts. Meat was kept in a cold freezer in nearby Somerville, and brought back home when needed by the train.
Here’s some of what was involved – and think of doing all of this without electricity or running water! Livestock was cared for daily with cows milked, along with the vegetables grown, the fruit trees in the orchard pruned and fruit picked when ripened, grains planted and harvested, grapes picked and turned into juice and wine, and honey extracted from the bee hives. Berries and mushrooms, and other edible plants, were also sought out from the fields and the woods. I’m sure city-slickers must have been in awe of all the hard work a farm took to be successful.