Top Charlotte Evelyn Marvin Bernice Karen



Char 5-7-28
I guess maybe it's true that little girls are more attached to their fathers. As I think back, I can vaguely remember bits and pieces about Dad when I was very young, but not so much about Mom. I suppose.....especially way back then.....a woman's work was never done, and Mom was busy around the house getting her work done after she had probably been out helping with the milking, or chicken chores, or her big garden. I remember always looking forward to Daddy being in the house, as he would play and goof around with us kids. My mind still has pictures of myself riding my " horse" (my Dad on hands and knees) and being swept off his back as he went under the kitchen table. I can imagine how we were all screaming with delight and Mother would say," Nick, you're as bad as the kids!"

When I was a baby, we lived upstairs in a brick house owned by Mrs. Weber. I don't really remember that, but was told Mom used to tie me up to something in the front yard so I couldn't get out in the street. I would cry to "Mi, Mi Weber, I'm tied up" and she would untie me and take me into her home. I have vague recollections of this same Mrs. Weber being at our house after we lived on the farm and getting sick and an ambulance came and took her to the hospital where she died three weeks later. It must have been when we moved to the farm, that I remember standing in a strange kitchen one day and from then on we just stayed there.

I have vague memories of the night little brother, Marv was born. Of course, it was January and I wonder if Evie and I had a bed in the living room, where it would have been warmer. I think we were put to bed there that night and the door to the kitchen was closed and strange movements and sounds could be heard. The doctor came to the house and I don't know for sure what took place as I certainly never asked and the folks never told me other than that Dr. Butzer brought us a baby brother, but my mind remembers something about the big kitchen table and Mother lying on you suppose that was where the delivery took place?

Gathering eggs was a big deal because on it depended how many groceries we could trade them for at Knapp's Grocery Store, right across the street from the church. There was always a bill at the store and there never seemed to be enough eggs to get it all paid. We hardly ever had eggs for breakfast or for other meals, except on Fridays, of course because if we ate too many, there wouldn't be enough for groceries. I remember a terrible thing we did one Saturday afternoon when the folks were gone to town. We made nests all over the house and put eggs in them and proceeded to gather the eggs so we could go to town to buy groceries. Of course in the process, many eggs were cracked or broken and this distressed our Mother quite a bit when she got home.

As we were growing up, Mother used to holler quite often during the day at us for what I'm sure were minor spats and fights, and it would sort of go in one ear and out the other. But with Daddy, it was another matter. He certainly would punish, or even spank our bottoms if the situation required such drastic action. What he said seemed to carry more weight for some reason. There must have been others, but the one spanking I remember is when Marv was about two or so and I was trying to get him to go one way and the stubborn little kid wanted to go another. I gave his arm a jerk, trying to persuade him my way, but Dad happenned to see me and did I ever get my bottom tanned for "pulling the baby's arm off."

When we were a little older, I remember feeling very lucky to be the oldest, because I could be Daddy's hired man and go out with him to help milk the cows and Evie had to stay in the house to do the hated dishes and Marv was too young to do much of anything yet. Dishes were especially hateful as the water always got so greasy, and we never wasted egg money on soap for dish washing. Then too, that old five gallon stinky slop pail under the sink drain would get full so fast, we really had to watch it so it wouldn't run over. I remember one summer afternoon when I was working as the hired man hauling manure out to the field away from the buildings down the road quite a ways. Dad borrowed Uncle Leo's spreader so we had two of them. He could then pitch one full by hand while I drove the horses pulling the other one out to spread the manure on the field. All was going fine and I was having great fun driving the horses when, on the way past Baumgartner's, I was so busy watching the kids playing in the yard that I didn't notice those dumb horses get too far over and the spreader wheel knocked over the mailbox. Dad took this all in stride. I don't even remember being scolded when I told him what happened. After supper and chores were finished that night, he went over to fix the neighbor's mailbox. When I started school I can remember Mother walking with me out to the mail box to wait for the school bus and shielding me from the cold with her body.

I remember during the summers Mother always had a huge garden. We would sit around the table shucking huge mounds of peas. Once we tried putting them through the wringer of the washing machine, but that didn't seem to work. The peas would fly all over the place. The jars would be given the hot water bath method in the big washer water boiler on top of the wood burning stove. Washday was another time that the boiler was put to use heating the water for washing the clothes. The gas engine driven Maytag wringer washer was set in the kitchen with piles of sorted dirty clothes all over the floor. The wash had to all be hung outside on the lines except during very cold weather when lines were strung up all over the house. The wood burning kitchen cook stove was a source of great comfort and warmth during the cold winters. I remember Mother sitting on a kitchen chair or rocker pulled in front of the stove with the oven door open and her feet resting on the oven door while reading "True Stories" magazine by the light of the oil- burning lamp hanging above the kitchen table.

On Saturday nights a washtub was set in front of the stove and the whole family took turns, from the youngest to the oldest, taking their Saturday night bath. I remember feeling sorry for Dad because he had to be the last and the water must have been pretty dirty by then.

There came a time when there was a problem about school bus service for parochial school students. I think it must have been Evie who was in the second grade and we stayed in town so we could go to Catholic school in order to make our First Communion. We stayed at Grandpa and Grandma Goettl's during the week and came home on Friday evenings, sometimes in Grandpa's curtained automobile.

When I was in fifth grade we walked over to Tivoli Country School. It was three miles around the road, but in the winter we could cut it in half by crossing the river on the ice. Then ca me good old St. Clair High. I remember always having to ask Dad if anyone invited me anywhere, especially if it was a boy, and that was a little scary and sometimes, depending on who did the inviting, it really wasn't worth the worry, and I could just say my Dad wouldn't let me and no one blamed me for not accepting the invitation. When I did ask Dad, he didn't really want to say "no", he would say something like, you're too dam young to be running around with these boys yet!

After my freshman year I worked during the summer for Mrs. Haslip and after my sophomore year the folks found me a job worki g for Mrs. Clem Scheurer, so I wasn't home that much anymore. Even after I graduated and started working, when Evie and I and June and Bernice all lived together in a room on 6 th St., the folks would haul meat and canned food and all kinds of things from home every week. We had a kitchen in the basement so we could do our own cooking.

A few years later when I showed Dad my left hand with an engagement ring on it, he didn't even want to look at it. After a while, I guess he got to know Werner a little better and decided to go along with it.

The first time I ever saw my Dad cry was the day DeWayne died. He had complained of not feeling well at the dinner table. Mother told him to take a nap, he was probably getting the flu. It had been going through the family and they had taken baby Bernice to the doctor because she was quite ill for a while. When DeWayne got sick, it was on a Saturday. He said he could go outside and feed the chickens before he took a nap, so he did and then went in the living rom and laid on the couch. Mother had gone to bed for a nap and I was ironing in the kitchen when DeWayne stared coughing. I went in to look at him and noticed some blue lines on his face which I told Mother about. She said it was probably from his coughing spell. Then I went upstairs to lay down too for a while. Little while later Mother got up and went in the living room by DeWayne. She called for us to go out to get Daddy, as DeWayne was all blue. Somehow Dad came running with the horses in the yard. They jumped into the car and rushed down to the clinic. When they came back they told us DeWayne had died in the doctor's office about eight minutes after they got there. Every- one was crying, including Uncle Leo and Aunt Hy who had come over. I also remember when they went down to Landkamer's for funeral arrangements, Grandpa Tacheny had already bought a beautiful white coffin for DeWayne.


2-3-30. 7-16-12
I can remember gathering wood down the hill behind the barnyard, Mom, Char and I. Char and I were pretty little at the time. One summer day when we were pretty young, Charlotte and I made mud pies with real eggs fresh from the chicken house. We got spanked. Mom felt so bad because every egg was used to buy groceries.

Then I remember when Junie got hurt and was in the hospital. It took a long time for the folks to pay that bill with the eggs. We never ate eggs because they always went for groceries or hospital bills.

We learned at a young age that if we pull anything over on Mom, we would have to answer to Dad that evening. I got very angry at Char one sunny afternoon. I can remember picking up an iron leg from an old wood burning stove and running across the yard from the windmill to the garage and throwing it at Char. Mom saw me and told me to come here. Instead, I turned and ran and Mom after me, but she couldn't catch me. I'm sure she felt very defeated, but when Daddy heard the story at supper time, I did not run from him. I received a very hard spanking and in that loud voice of his, I was told never to run from Mom again. I never did. That is so important to stand with each other as parents.

I remember the prayer times. Mom always waited until Dad was in the house and washed up and we would kneel around the kitchen chairs. During Lent we had novenas. If Dad said no popcorn during Lent, that was what he meant.

In summer, if Dad got home from the field in time on Friday nights, we would go to free movies. What fun! We would hurry a d get chores done and get cleaned up and ready to go. I remember too, how we used to go ice skating on the river and Dad would go with us. What fun times we had with him! And then the times we all went dancing... There were the Sunday mornings in the spring time of the year when we would get home from church and Mom would be busy with dinner and Dad would be bothering by teasing and tickling her. Then he would start doing the same thing to us kids.

I remember how important farm animals were to them. Dad would bring little pigs in to warm by the oven to try to save them. How sad it was when we lost two or three milk cows under a new stack of straw that slid down over them during a storm one night. How hard Mom and Dad worked to keep us all going. I can remember Mom out early in the morning working in the garden. We always thought it was too big. I can remember the hours we used to put in shelling peas, cutting the ends off beans, washing jars and carrying water. I remember the boiler siting on the stove with jars of peas, beans, and carrots in it.

Going back to the winter days and washing time... Dad would have to get the Maytag washer into the kitchen. I don't remember if it was outside when it was not in use. It seems he had to pull it into the kitchen and get the tubs in and get the motor going. The smell of that thing in the house! All the water had to be carried I and Mom would string up clothes lines throughout the whole house. What fun we had chasing each other around, hiding behind sheets and every once in a while the lines would come down. It!s a wonder Mom never left.

Mom loved to sew. I can remember her making doll clothes and redoing our dolls from one year to the next at CHRISTMAS time. Since she kind of hid things so we wouldn't see them, we didn't know what she was doing. How she must have loved her family, her home and her work. What a good cook she was. Dad, the strong one, hard working, loving, caring and gentle. Both of them praying, playing and dancing with all of us. I thank God more and more for the paren He ave me and for my strong German background in my religion. How blessed I am in the family life we were brought up in. I pray every day that each of our children will know the value of family and Jesus's way of life. It seems I can remember the good times, the sad times, and the hard work, and the lessons learned. The bad times or the angry times are not so clear and I know it is because of the love we felt all the way through. Thank you God, for my Mom and Dad and the family living they taught me.


1-23-33. 8-19- 97
I remember our parents as hard working people who were satisfied with the simple life. As I look back and try to remember those early days, I see two people who worked hard with tools that required manual labor. As I see the post hole digger hanging in my garage, I see the many holes that Dad dug and all the oak logs that he split to make the posts. We only had about 60 or 70 acres to work, but it was all done with horses and lots of hours of hard work. At Dad's funeral Uncle Leo said that when Dad was a young man, before he was married, he worked for him and was a very strong man and did the work for two. To a little boy he seemed to always know what to do and how to do it. He raised chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, horses and cows and did carpenter work. He helped wire the farm when we got electricity. He dug a well and fixed fences and the old windmill. He butchered and made wood.

I remember the time we went skating on the river and along came a man on skates. It was Dad and his skates were clamped to his shoes. Those old skates hung in the shanty for many years. Oh yes, he also blasted stumps and cleared about 15 acres of trees off which we all knew as Romac's . I remember every morning after milking was done and we had breakfast, we had to chase the cows up to that pasture for the day. Each might we had to go up and chase them back in time for milking again. The milking was done by hand. We got the milking machine when I was in the army( for some reason). This was about 1952.

One of the things I remember about my Dad was his hands. He had very big hands, and for a little boy, they were really big. They could be gentle or at times firm. I know what they mean by" laying on of hands" . Well God gave him a big heart to control those hands and I believe he worked those hands with his heart. Never do I remember seeing those hands clinched in a fist of anger at someone. Oh, he used them on a cow or a horse that tried to kick or get out of hand. When he used those hands on a shovel, ax, or pitchfork, or cross-cut saw, he had full control. Also on any of us kids.

I remember when I was on the other end of the cross-cut saw and would wonder when he was going to stop and rest. When I was about ready to drop he would stop and say he needed to rest. But, as I think back now, he only stopped because he knew that the little kid on the other end was the one who needed the rest.

Dad also did some trapping on the river during the winter. I can remember the skins of muskrats and mink stretched over a board and drying in the shed before they were sold.

A typical spring day in Dad's life was getting the cows in the barn and milking. Everyone in the neighborhood knew when we were milking. We had a Maytag motor which ran the cream separator after the milking. There were pigs, horses and chickens to feed. Dinner time came and so he!d come home again and water the horses and then out to the field again. Evening came, he had to unharness do part of the chores and eat supper, then went back to the barn to milk the cows.

Winter time I remember when it was cold, the car didn't start and we had to hitch up a team of horses to the car and drag it out of the shed. Then we had to hitch them to the front of the car and I had to drive the horses and walk along side while Dad was in the car.

Remember the bobsled? We had a wagon box on it and had to haul wood or put the hay rack on to haul hay from the haystack in the field. I remember when we graveled our driveway. We got the gravel from the river bottom. The wagon we used for this was a special one made just for this job. It had 2 by 5's on the bottom and a 10 inch board on the side and ends. After loading this all with a sand shovel, it was hauled up by a team of horses across the river, up through Drummer's yard. When we got to our driveway, it was unloaded and this was the easy part. All we had to do is take off one side and two ends and turn over each of the 2 by 5's on the bottom and the gravel fell to the driveway.

Summer meant swimming. The swimming hole was the same place that Dad said he swam in when he was a kid. Of course, we never went down to the river alone. Mother was always there for that. Although, she always said she didn't know what she would do if one of us would start to drown, she didn't know how to swim.

Remember the hay cutter? I still have one of those hanging in my garage. In the fall the corn had to be husked by hand. Possibly one load in the morning and one in the afternoon. We had to unload that corn into the crib by hand. Summer's big event was thrashing. There was a crew of six or more farmers. Dad was gone sometimes for two weeks. Fred Boe owned the thrashing machine. It was a big day when the tractor and thrashing machine came into the yard. The elevator had to be set up and ready to go by the time the thrashing Machine was running. The lunches and the big meals are fond memories.

How I remember Mom. The first thing you think of is how she worried about everything. She was always nervous about everything. This is only a small part of what she was really like. She did housework and at times was on her hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. She had no running water and sewed a lot of clothes which we wore. She washed these clothes week after week in an old Maytag washing machine run by a motor. It was done in the summer time in the shanty and in the winter it was done in the kitchen. The water had to be carried in to fill the tubs and the boiler on the stove. Ropes were strung about the house to hang the clothes on.

Mom took care of the big garden. She did not have a rotor tiller. After Dad plowed it, it was her job to plant and weed. Remember when we had to pick gooseberries? Mom made sauce and jelly out of them? I think Mom worked harder at getting us to help weed the garden or shuck the peas than if she did it herself. Oh how we liked the canning season! Everything you can possibly think of was put into jars and put in the basement for winter use. Remember the canned pork chops, or the bacon and hams soaking in salt water? And after that, they were all smoked with hickory wood in the smokehouse. I remember when we butchered, how Mom cleaned the intestines and prepared them for the sausage which was put I to rings in the smokehouse. Remember the head cheese and liver sausage? I think we ate good for sure. I think Mom baked bread every week. It was a treat when we had store bread when we ran short of the home baked bread. This bread did not keep long and often became moldy. We kept the butter, cream and milk down in the well pit where it kept fairly cool. Mom did not like to drive the car, but a lot of Saturdays she'd drive into town when Dad was busy in the field. She drove to the top of Main Street hill and we would walk downtown from there.

Mom and Dad had a very strong faith. They made sure all of us got our religious training. We went to catechism every Saturday and confession every two or three weeks. I remember we prayed the rosary if we couldn't get to church during Lent.

Remember the Watkins man? He always drove an old Model A. I think Mom always got her vanilla and pepper from him and sometimes by trading our produce. Once in a while we got nectar from him in a big half gallon bottle which was always a real treat. I remember when the junk man came and bought up our iron which we collected.

Chimney fires seemed to be common at our house. The first one I remember Uncle Joe was there to help. We had many of them over the years. It seems Dad never got around to clean the chimney until it was too late. I remember when we got the new barn. It was built with the help of many neighbors and friends. They called it a building bee. I remember the foundation and all the lumber, but can't remember the rest of it. After that was all done, Dad built a doorway up to the hayloft. They had a big party for all who helped, but I had to go to bed. I can still remember the old barn that was torn down after the new one was built. I remember our first big tractor. It was used of course, but it was the biggest looking machine with the cultivator on. This was the F 12 . It must have gone 3 miles per hour in high gear. I believe it had steel wheels and we got new tires for it.

There were good times and also some very sad times. The most tragic time was when our brother DeWayne got sick and died suddenly. I remember that day they took him in the pickup to the doctor. We were out picking up hay along the road when someone came out and said DeWayne was worse. We hurried home and the folks hurried to Mankato. They came back soon, it seems....I can remember going to the funeral, but I was too young to understand it all . I do remember I hauled wood to the house and DeWayne carried it I. The house and put it in the wood box. In those days there were few cameras in our family and we had few pictures of him. I'm sure the very strong faith that Mom and Dad had helped them through this very tragic time in their lives. I can remember Dad coming home and telling us we had another sister, which I suppose was Karen.

Another ti e I remember was the bicycle accident that June and I had in Drummer's driveway. I remember the car, flying over the car, sliding mother gravel road and scraping my chest. I recall June laying on the ground and helping pull her out from under the car. Aunt Mary came running up the road. I remember the folks loading everyone in the car and the long ride to the hospital in Mankato. I think Charlotte was in the back seat with June. I remember her saying," hurry, she moved" . Mo and Dad spent a lot of time at the hospital. June was unconscious for 11 days. Everyone was praying for her and when she came to we had a birthday cake for her. After that, Mom had good news every day and of course, all know that it turned out well.

Our parents worked hard, but also seemed to find time for relaxing. Many Sundays we had aunts, uncles and cousins for dinner. There were lots of family get- to- gathers with Tacheny's and Goettl's. They also had a card club. Remember the free movies? Many times we had to wait for Dad to get ready. He was always slow, even I. Those days. The free movies were cancelled one summer because of the polio outbreak.

For most of the first eight grades we went to a small country school called Tivolie. Our teacher took care of all the grades and sometimes there was only one student in the grade. In spring we walked around the road and it was about three miles. In winter when the river was frozen we went down the hill and across three or four different pastures. All in all, it was a good life and I wouldn't trade it for anything.


When I was born, I had a three year old brother and two older sisters, five and seven. So I suppose Mother was kept pretty busy. Within two years she had another baby, DeWayne.

I wonder if there was any jealousy on the part of the younger ones in getting Mother's attention. If my figures are accurate, the folks were 36 when I was born. Seven years earlier they had been through a depression and nine years after I was born we were in a world war. Of course these outside factors influenced the way they raised us kids. They did have seven by 1945: Char- 16 Evie - 14 Marv 12 June-9 DeWayne, Dec. Bernice-5' Karen-1

When I was four, Bernice was born. Any specific memories of the folks during my first six years are very vague, but I know the folks were plagued with sorrow, anxiety and hard work. When DeWayne died suddenly in 1942 ,I recall how sad, quiet and different the folks were when they returned home from the doctor after the shocking event. DeWayne had been my playmate and all of a sudden he was gone. They could not talk about it , nor do I remember anyone in our family talking to me about it. I do remember Aunt Hy,s loving presence there during those first hours.

Four years later, I was in the hospital after a bicycle accident. What a concern for the folks with their young family. Again , two years later, they had four year old Karen in the hospital with acute appendicitis. They certainly had lots of financial problems. Their Church and their faith must have given them the strength they needed. The importance of Faith is what I can remember from little on because of them.

Other rememberances for me in my early childhood are a big garden, chickens, cleaning eggs and lots of bread dough. What a treat to have fresh bread. The coffee cakes on Sunday morning is a fond memory. Although I do remember what a treat it was at times to have store-bought bread.

Free shows at St. Clair were more enjoyable times, it was someplace to go. And, besides, we usually got to get some popcorn or ice cream afterwards. Going to St. Clair with Dad to get feed ground was also a happy time. Trips to Mankato for shopping usually took place on Saturdays. Mom would take us kids along and then we would meet Dad at George's when we were ready to go home. I can remember liking root beer we were treated to before we left for home. A regular event of this town trip was dropping off 30 dozen eggs at St. Joseph's hospital.

When I was in 6 th grade, I got to go to town school. Charlotte, Evie, Bernice and myself boarded in a room together on 6th Street. For the next 5 years or so, Mom packed us up with food and clothing to last for the week. Later on the three of us were the only kids left at home, the older ones had gone off to work or married life.

Mom was always busy with the garden, baking and canning. We were expected to help with the work. Cleaning had to be done, and done well each Saturday. Mom was always wanting us up and getting the work done " before the sun got too hot!)

In my teens, I did a lot with Dad outside....field work , milking, thrashing duties. For some reason, I was very, very fond of him, and always felt a great love for him. It was very disappointing for him when I drove the point of the corn picker through the tractor tire. Yet the next morning he put his arms around me and after a big hug he expressed that he knew I didn't mean it. I surely felt better about the whole thing. So often I came later then I should have to help with the milking in the morning. Rather then a scolding, I was greeted warmly with a hug. Guess I'll never forget that kind of love and care. Through all of my Theology courses, teaching and helping others in their prayer life, there is no other clearer example of our Lord's constant love and forgiveness of each of us.

I am so thankful for Mom's example of devotion to marriage and family life. Although she was very serious, she saw to it that things were taken care of and prepared for her husband and family. She worked hard and long, I can remember her often singing. I can remember the folks going out now and then or having a group come to our house to play cards. Sandwiches and coffee with cake were the usual lunches when they came to our house.

As the grandchildren started coming, the folks always were surrounded with love and attention from them. At times they took care of their grandchildren. Many times the folks went to their homes to visit. I remember when Mom was in the hospital in 1972 . She was concerned who was taking care of Dad. We didn't tell her, but he often sat at home crying of lonesome ness and worry. After her death he was never quite the same person again. I'm proud of him though, because of how hard he tried to get on alone, but the gleam in his eyes was never quite there anymore. He did get back to bingo, cards and being with friends until later when his health went downhill.

So that time in my life when they were living was a special time. Memories of the, are kept alive in the things we say and do and believe. The faith of Mom and Dad continues on in us like a radiant energy. It must continue on through us to those who are part of our lives. I am grateful and proud of my sisters and brother who carry on the spirit in your daily lives. I am so grateful to be part of the SSND community. The 7000 throughout the world are my family, particularly the 650 from the Mankato Province who I know. Their faith, prayer and commitment are a great source of strength and hope to me.

Turn to the next page.


Every summer we had to fix the river fence. Of course this couldn't be done until the weather was warm enough and the water low enough to walk across the river. Then one day Dad would start collecting everything needed for this, fence posts, mall, wire, an old old pair of shoes saved just for this job. We didn't mind, since we were always anxious to go swimming. So we " swam" while Dad fixed the fence. Then we'd collect everything together and climb back up the hill. What a drag!

Butchering chickens every summer, sooner or later, it would come time to butcher chickens. Now, if Dad was available to help, no problem. He could lay that chicken on the chopping block with his neck stuck out so far and with just one swift crack of the ax, the head went rolling. Then he put him head first, or I suppose, neck first in a round tile, just as clean and neat, hardly a drop of blood spattered. Then the dressing procedure could continue until all were safely in the freezer. But once in a while Dad would be busy, so Mom would take on the task alone. First, catch the chicken. That was a job in itself. Then, for sure he knew what was coming, for that ol' chicken got his second wind when she would try to lay his head on the block. But she would swing that ax, sometimes hitting, sometimes missing all together, but sooner or later the chicken would loose his head. Then, her chickens would always seemed to be bigger than Dad's, or she had a smaller tile, for the chicken never fit in. Occasionally, one would even get away and hop all over with everyone trying to catch it without getting all full of blood. But, eventually, the chicken would lose and finally end up in the freezer.

My first days of school were at Tivoli. We'd always walk over there , since it was only three miles. We would meet Gerry and Betty Drummer at their mailbox and walk together. Some- times we would cut through the woods so it was not so far. In the winter we'd go down the hill to Drummer's and cross the frozen river, making it only half as far. Come spring, we'd have to walk along the road again. Of course, I always had to wear long stockings in cold weather. So one really nice warm spring morning, everybody decided I didn't need the win- ter stockings that day, so I was told to take them off and put them behind some bush in the ditch. We would pick them up on the way home. Well, when we came back there, we couldn't find the stockings. We looked and looked, but never did find the stockings. I don't remember what we told Mom.

"Friday night at the movies". We always anxiously waited for Friday night all summer. That is when St. Clair would put on family movies, outside, on a high screen.( the insurance co. building lot is where the movies were held, before the building was there.) We made popcorn gathered up blankets to sit on and head to St. Clair. There was always a full house in the big outdoor theater. The movies were always good Westerns, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, etc. Once in a while we would even get to go to the drug store next door and get pop- cicles to share and have with our popcorn.

In second grade, I went to town school and stayed with Char, Evie, and June at a house on 6th Street. I went home on the weekends. It seemed like there were always so many kids. Later, I stayed at Grandpa Goettl's and when he died I stayed at home and rode to town school with Marv as he was working in town at that time.


Dressing warm by the kitchen stove, a house full of smoke and the smell of wood as Mom tried to get the basement stove going, my crib in the middle of the living room, Mom's hands in the bread dough, Dad dressing in whatever he found in the shanty to play Santa..... These are some of the instant, flash-back memories that come to my mind. I don't know where to start because I can't recall what came first, but I do remember when our house was wired for electricity.....I don"t remember, though, when we didn't have lights.

I had no idea why I had to stay in the crib in the living room for so long and can still see everyone sitting in the kitchen waving good-bye as Dad carried me to the car and Mom pinning the Sacred Heart badge on me. Long days followed as they were spent in a crib in the hospital. I'm sure Mom and Dad were there every day, however I only got to see them accidentally through the crack in the door, and could I scream at the poor nurse letting her know they weren't fooling me. Finally, I was taken upstairs to a big bed and woke up one day with something very heavy on my stomach. Many nights Dad came after chores and sat in a wooden rocker to be with me until morning when it was time to go home for chores. Little did I realize, until recent years that this was their third experience in about six years with tragedy and sickness. So after I recovered, I think there were a few years of pleasant times as after the hay was all in the barn and the thrashing done and all the bread baked, many nights were spent around the kitchen table with neighbors and relatives playing cards. I always got to stay up real late and sit and watch, and even could talk Mom into a whole half of a Hershey bar from the top dresser drawer in the bedroom.

Sometimes, they went places as Marv got to babysit with me. I think the other kids were all staying at Kenney's to go to town school. Anyway, I would sit on Marv's lap and pick his pimples till it was time to go to bed. And let me add, time for bed was always right before he would make himself something to eat. I could smell the bacon and eggs frying. But then, he needed a snack because a few times I could hear Dad,s voice in the middle of the night...."Marv, get up, the cows are out."

My main job on hot summer days was checking on Dad in the hay barn. Mother was always worried that he was taking too long to stack the hay, so she had me climb the ladder to check on him. It was always about 200 degrees in that hay barn and the hay scratched my legs. Water was always dripping from Dad's nose, but I always reported that he was fine. Thrashing was always the most fun of the summer, because all those men were at our house for dinner and around three in the afternoon we took dishpans full of fresh baked bread and applesauce cake and sat under the shade tree. It was a real picnic for me, but I'm sure just a short break for the guys.

The worst job was cleaning all those chickens. The smell of the wet feathers after they were scalded was terrible and no matter how fast I picked, I was always behind with my share and never,never did I get the pin feathers good enough. Gardening was another horrible job, and since Mom believed in getting everything picked before the sun got too hot and I believed in sleeping until noon, I quite got my share done on that job either. I did gather the eggs though, for a while anyway. That is until they found out I was skipping over the nests that I couldn't get the hens out of ( well......they probably would have picked me and I was scared of those mean ol chickens!). I did bri ng the cows home from the pasture by Drummer's driveway. It was a long walk through the hills to get to the pasture and it was sort of fun. But then, there was always the dreaded fear of meeting the cows face to face on the path when they decided to come home on their own. But no matter how scratched up I got from hiding in the brush until they passed me, I seldom got out of that job.

Butternut time was another event never to be forgotten. One time Dad pulled a wagon down through Drummer's. it was quite a sight watching Aunt Kate and Aunt Bert climbing into the wagon. We always found many butter nuts around the roots of hollow trees and they were carefully put on top of the chicken house to dry. Some winter days the entire day was spent by Dad cracking them on an iron and Mom picking them out of the shell.

Going to St. Clair to get feed ground was always a treat because Bernice and I and sometimes June I think would ride along and get a big double-dip ice cream cone from the drug store. Sometimes though, the day got awful long sitting outside the hotel waiting for Dad to get done playing cards.

Every spring when the river was down we "helped" Dad make fence across the river. We always made sure the fence was extra good along Louie Schweim's line as he was the awful man we never saw, but one who you didn't want to see when he got mad. Today, several of his sons are married and live in my neighborhood and they say he has sort of mellowed with age.

I was more or less brought up with 2 sisters and one big brother. The two sisters and I were always bickering about something and the big brother had friends over for a good time when the folks were gone. Once he invented a new way to set the table when the folks were in town. He stood in the pantry and threw the dishes to us who were standing by the table. I don't recall how many we missed, but Marv figured it was a great way to save steps. He soon left home too, at first just during the day. He must have found a super job, as he bought the family it's first TV. In not too long a time he went to the army and we received a few letters from him from strange places.

Another brother's memory was kept alive with a picture of him sitting on the cedar chest and many times at the table right after the meal prayers Mom repeated "pass the ketchup" just like DeWayne used to say it. Dad often talked about the steel wheel he played with still laying out in the apple orchard.

Of course, there were two more sisters, but they were always grown up to me a d there were special times when they came home. The living room was always cleaned and the door closed long before Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa. Why all that time was wasted in cleaning the living room, I"ll never know, as Santa always left our things on the front porch and always when Dad was out milking. A couple of times I had to ride along to Mankato to pick up Evie or Char, and naturally, Santa came while we were gone. At least those times The clean living room didn't go to waste, because the goodies were left inside when I was gone.

After Evie married and lived in the Cities, it was a real treat for them to come home on Christmas Eve and stay with us. She always brought the best Christmas cookies and home-made candy. Every Christmas the house was full of grown ups and lots of small children. The first year that Mom thought it was too much work for her to have Christmas dinner for everyone, Char and Evie decided it would still be done. Bernice and I played a big role in the surprise. We were to see that Mother took a nice nap after church. When we thought she was sleeping, we were supposed to peel and cook enough potatoes for everyone. We made so much noise in the kitchen that Mom didn't get any sleep, but she thought we were just making dinner for ourselves. She was really surprised when everyone came at noon with turkey and dressing and all the trimmings in hand and Christmas dinner was just like always.

Some of the happiest times were Sunday mornings, coming home from church. We always stopped at Goettl's little store on top of Main St. Hill and took either one pint of ice cream home or one pan of store-bought rolls. However, sometimes Mom would have bread raising, so we went straight home and made "knickerbockers", that was a clump of fresh dough stretched flat and deep fried and rolled in sugar. No matter what, Dad always sang on Sunday mornings, his favorite song was "Old Lonesome Me". Probably his favorite because he did spend a lonesome week at home while Mom stayed with us at Grandpa Goettl's during the week to care for him while we went to school.

Mom and Dad always seemed old to me when I was little. I remember first grade when Mothers came to school to visit, everyone's mother seemed so much younger. My main worry was that everyone would grow up and leave home and I would remain the baby and end up an orphan. Well, as usual there was nothing to worry about, in fact, the older I got, the younger the folks grew. And today I have no memories of Mom being old. The last few years of her life were possibly the most enjoyable as she did all the things she most enjoyed, playing bingo and cards and visiting her family and friends.

My first knowledge of having a young Dad was when I was a junior and was staying in Mankato. Dad came to pick me up for a Father- Daughter banquet. When I got home, Helen, the woman I stayed with remarked that I certainly had a very young and distinguished looking dad. And his pride in walking tall and looking good stayed with him up to the time that he lay bed ridden. Many a time I picked him up from the rest home, he had to make that one last stop in front of the mirror to make sure his hair was ok or that his hat was just right.