Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Letter in 1862 to my Great-great-great Grandmother from her Sister

I have a copy of a letter that was sent to my great-great-great grandmother in 1862 from her sister, Eliza, who was living in Dickinson's Landing, Ontario, Canada. Dickinson's Landing is one of the "Lost Villages" claimed by the building of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1958.

Based on the content of Eliza's letter, her sister Ellen and brother-in-law Harvey came to Wisconsin during a difficult time in that part of Ontario, Canada. By 1862, Eliza feels that the situation that caused my ancestors to leave Canada were much improved.

I transcribed Eliza's letter to my great-great-great grandmother as it was written. Eliza did not use puncuation and capitalized words that seem to be at random. She spelled many words phonetically. The letter was very easy to read.

Dickinsons Landing December the 28 1862
Dear Ellen
I take Pleasure of sending those few lins to you to let you know we are all weell at Presant ahoping this Cilent mesenger may find you all Enjoying the same thanks be to kind Providence for his goodness to us all I Recived your letter and was very glad to heir you were all weell for I suppose you all Dead you Did not write to me samual moss is married Miclael Crump and family are well Daniel sends his love to you all he is looking for a letter from Harvey he says is Eyes is geting sore looking
Page 2
Dear Sister I hope yow are Enjoying good Health this is a strange world to live in friend so far apart I hope we shall meet gain by the blessing of god Dear sister I want you to write to me and let me know all the Perticulars Deor Sister we are not liveing at the Presant as you leaft us we have plenty of Every thing we have got all new furniture for Our house we are very Comfortabel I wish you were here we should have good Old tims of it Dear sister try and Come Down it shant Cost you Any thing to go back the boys are very kind to me
Page 3
give my love to Harvey tell him I want that kiss I am as fat as little pig Hyram sends him love to you all sarahann sends her love to you all we had a Dull Chrismas no son uncle Abraham mattice is very Poorly they sends thir love to you all I sends my love to your all
No more at Presant I must Conclud by wishing you all good night and a happy new year
I want you to write soon
I Remain your Affectioned sister
Eliza sophia Winters
When I read Eliza's letter, I was amused at the number of times that she referenced wishing to hear from her sister. I have vivid recollections of writing letters in which I said "I hope you write soon."

Monday, August 15, 2011

California State Houses or Whatever Happened to Hebard Place

In June I posted a message about the house where we lived the second year that my family lived in California. It was on Hebard Place and was a house owned by the State of California. It was destined to be demolished or bought and moved to another location.

The Hebard house was second State house in which my parents and our family lived. The year prior we moved in with my aunt and uncle who were renting a State house on Hope Street. I never knew what happened to the Hebard Place house, but the Hope Street house survived the building of the Garden Grove Freeway.

The State of California purchased houses that might be in the path of the development of a freeway and rented the houses to tenants until the progress of the building of the freeway necessitated the demolition of the structure. My parents were not in a position to buy another home until they could sell their house in Minnesota. But making a mortgage payment and paying rent each month was a real stretch for my parents.

Fortunately for my parents, the rents on the State houses were very reasonable. They were able to sell the house in Minnesota by June of 1962. My parents bought a house and we moved after the school year ended.

It is over fifty years since we lived in a State house. As I watch the effects of the collapse of the housing industry by the financial institutions, I wonder why we don't have "state houses" now. It makes more sense to me to have tenants in a property than to let vandals destroy it and bring down the neighboring home prices down.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Aunt Eleanor's Journal - Her last entry

Aunt Eleanor started this journal when she was 81 years old to give to her granddaughter Patti when she was finished writing. From my earlier posts, you can see that Aunt Eleanor thought the she was about to give the journal to Patti. It seems that she did not as this is her last entry.

Sept. 16, 1989

My how I do hang on. This year has been full of accidents and problems. The fall in the elevator that broke my shoulder Jan. 30 then on March 15 I slipped my leg under a car so it could run over it and the rest of the year has been a time of mending.

I was talking to you a little ago and told you I was going to straighten out my cancelled checks as they were piling up and running over. So that is what I started to do but I come to this little book and the time has been fleeting by while I read it and not much else has been done Funny but we sure have been to many ballgames and just 2 days ago we did it again. I just had to add a line or two as this book seems to go on and on. I sit here and wonder will there be more ball games or have I seen my last one. If so I am ready for my call. I was afraid this spring or summer that I would be moving again but the lord made things happen so we all stayed put on Oliver Ave. No. May God always keep you happy and contented where ever you are.

Love Grandma

I remember my mother telling me about Aunt Eleanor's leg being run over by Patti's car. It was such a freak accident and so fortunate that there was so much snow.

As I read this journal, I was so struck with the relationship that Patti had with Aunt Eleanor. The comments and the pictures that Patti's mother posts on Facebook confirms what a compassionate and caring person Patti is.

I am sorry that Aunt Eleanor did not continue it until she died. She passed away in 1995 at the age of 95.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Aunt Eleanor's Journal - October 12, 1983

This entry was to be the last entry that Aunt Eleanor wrote to Patti, but a year and a half later Aunt Eleanor wrote another entry.

Oct. 12, 1983 1:15 A.M.

I wasn’t going to write any more in here but I talked with you on the phone this evening and you mentioned how you would like to have me write about my past and give it to you, and you said that story you remembered me telling was about the beautiful radio we had to trade of for feed for the cattle.

I couldn’t remember if I had written about it or not so I had to dig my little memory book out and check and it was all in here. There are several more awaiting me on the other side Ferd, Raymond and others. God bless and keep you one and all. When you read this I’ll be gone but I know I’ll not be forgotten. All my love. Goodbye Grandma. M. M

May 20, 1985

Here I am adding another line or two. You were here this evening reading what I had written in the Grandmother’s book, and remarked how I hadn’t said much about you. It is funny because when I wrote it I was thinking of so much I wanted to say but I have been told that I’m so partial to you that I thot keep it cool. After all I have written a whole book to you, and you know how very special you are, and always have been. So if all I said about you was that “you were so uncomfortable” it wasn’t what I was going to write, that would have taken too much space. My “Patti Wats” little Pixie Doll.

Since I wrote in here last I have made another move. I now live right across the street from you and see you just about every day. Its great. And we still go to the baseball games together. What fun we have. And our coffee breaks.

It is now 1:50 AM May 21, 1985

It was hard not to tell of this little book that I have written just for you.

Great Grandma

I don't know why Aunt Eleanor signed this entry as Great Grandma. She was Patti's grandmother. Perhaps it was due to the fact that Patti visited her grandmother with her children.

To be continued ...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Aunt Eleanor's Journal - February 6, 1982

I was writing the Newsletter for the Stoutenburgh-Teller Family Association so didn't get a chance to post Aunt Eleanor's next journal entry.

The very next morning.

I was lying in bed thinking that I would write some more in here, when the telephone rang and it was your Patti calling to say “good Morning” Such a doll you are. I was thinking of all the things I wanted to write but had forgotten. One of them was about Edward, that first fall when we lived in our rug covered screen door shack he went and sold salve to all the neighbors. The money he made from that he used to buy me a Bible that he gave me for Christmas We used to have our daily devotions every day. It was at this time that I started tithing. My in come was $30.20 a month and $3.10 went into the “Thank Offering” box. It wasn’t too long tho maybe 6 months until I got some help from Aid to Dependant Children and the tithe grew. “Give and it shall be given unto you.”

Now to go on from where I left off last nite. Dianne and Patti joined Max and me in our apt. and Patti really entertained us with music all afternoon and evening. Poor little girl she was so uncomfortable. I think that other tenants must have wished we would move out. Well! Even that was remedied and she became more comfortable. At that time I was layed off at Sears so I had lots of time to spend with Patti. In the spring 1955 Jerry Shoemaker was left with 2 youngsters and no one to care for them. I was asked to take over which I did and Dianne and Patti came with me and we kept house for Jerry for awhile taking care of Kent and Kay. In the spring of 1956 Dianne and Patti moved away. They lived with Joyce & Pat. Also on May 28, 1956 Pamela Kay joined our happy brood. She was welcomed into Edward and Junes family. A little black haired doll she was. Then on Aug. 24 that same year came Barbara Ann. A little blond Barby Doll. She joined Carol, Terry, and Steve to keep that family growing. 1957 was a quiet year I also moved back to the old apartment building and Max joined me. He had been staying with June and Jerry. Poor Max it seems he was always rented out somewhere. But he had a job with a bakery close by and I worked at the Gabriel Martin Bakery. Max bought a car and we took many a joyride in that yellow convertible. even went out to Mont. to visit Bertha and Uncle Fuzz. and brought Dianne & Patti back with us. They had been out there for quite a while and it was a real joy to get them back.

On June 7, 1958 Max and Bev were married. It was hard to have my baby leave for good and many tears flowed in the lonely hours. But Bev was and is a much loved addition to my family. And I’m very fortunate to have two loving daughters-in-law like June and Bev.

1959 was a very eventful year on January 16th Dianne & Jerry were married, now I was truly alone, the apt. was so empty. Lonely, lonely hours. But I was working and I could have Carol, Terry and some times Patti over on weekends and that helped. On Sept. 8, 1959 Todd William arrived to bless Max and Bevs union. He was a very blond, cuddily little fellow with long eyelashes like his Daddy. Just 10 days later on Sept. 18, Joel Alan arrived to bring joy to Dianne and Jerry. He was always such a mama’s boy I could never quite make him comfortable with me. He was a pretty child but he liked his mommy best. Then on Dec. 12. 1959 along came Dene to keep all the Herb Shoemakers happy. By this time there were so many little ones I couldn’t spend enough time with each one to really get to know their every little mood.

1960 came and I kept on working at the bakery. Wanda {Berthas daughter} came and stayed with me for awhile between semesters at Bemidge State College. The Gabriel Martin Bakery Co., were building a new bakery on 79 and Pleasant Ave. and by Jan 1st 1961 they moved in. The bus service out there wasn’t too good so I gave up the apt. and moved in with Edward and June. That worked out very well.

That’s the year the Twins arrived to play ball at the Metropolitan Stadium. Many a game I attended at that Stadium with different ones. Helen Church and I saw many games and lots of my grandchildren went with me. Oh! What fun and excitement.

On March 3, 1961 Michael Alan joined Eddy and Pam to round out that family, and on April 29 we had the surprise of our life. Bev had to go to the Hosp. earlier than was expected and gave birth to not just one but two little premature boys Timothy Alan and Thomas Mark. They were in critical condition and were baptized right there in the Hosp. then moved to another Hosp. that had better facilities to care for them and there they had an intensive care for quite a while till they weighed 5 lbs. But those two boys grew to be two big boys. They looked so much a like that very few people could tell them apart. The rest of that year was rather uneventful.

In 1962 I had a gall bladder operation that put me out of circulation for a while 1963 Helen Church and I decided to get an apartment together and we found one at 63 and pleasant ave. There I could have visitors and I did. Carol, Terry, Patti, Barby and Dene all used to come and spend days and nites with me. Todd was going to one nite but when it got to be bed time his eyes got so big an glassy I asked him “what is the matter? And the eye just over flowed and he said “I want my Daddy.” I had to call Max and in just a few minutes he was there to get his little boy. Terry was another one who liked to come but at nite she would rather be at home, that left Patti and Carol they could stay for weeks at the time and they did. They would go with me to work and stay all day long. Carol even helped me with the work and did so well Erv. payed her. She sure felt smart then. Patti was a bit too small to work but she did a lot of playing and was quite a hit with all the workers.

Barby would stay if she could be there when Patti was but I could be there when Patti was but I could only have one at the time. We had great times together going to work, going to ball games, going shopping and Just going for walks.

On May 26, 1964 my last grandchild came to greet us, it was Tyler Owen a chubby, blond cutie was he who joined the Max Stoutenburg family

Now I have just about finished my memoirs. The rest you have been very much a part of.

I retired in Feb. of 66 took several trips here and there all of which you can well remember. Also the tornado that destroyed the house we had worked so hard to finish, my moving back to Swanburg after 20 years in Mpls. It was such a thrill. I lived in my mobile home up there another 10 yrs. and now I’m back in Mpls. Moving, moving, moving but if God is willing I hope there will be no more moves till I make the last one – Home –

There have been many joys, lots of happiness, also heart aches and sorrow. My one regret is that I always have had to face them alone. No one really to share it with. How your Grandfather would have loved all of you and enjoyed you had he lived to see you. But it was not to be.

At some later time I may add a line or two if not I leave you with this thot. God bless you, keep you always in His care That is for every one of my big family. Remember always that there is a corner for each one in my heart and I’ll be looking for each one of you in that eternal home. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. I love you, each and every one. When I get to the other side I’ll have Grandfather, Grandmother, Father, Mother, Sisters Leola, Bernice, Grace, Emma, brother Glen, Daddy, Grandma & Grandpa Stoutenburg and many more even Jarad. What a joyuous gathering so please let not one of you regret my going to be with my Lord and Saviour Jesus.

To be continued....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Aunt Eleanor's Journal, January 26, 1982

Grandpa Stoutenburg dies...

Jan. 26, 1982
Here I am again. Ready to add a paragraph or two.

That house we moved into had been occupied by a couple of bachelors and the left it in a very dirty condition I scrubbed and cleaned like I had never done before but finally got it so we could live in it. The pump on that place didn’t work so we had to haul our water from the neighbors or from a creek that ran thru there it was about ¼ of a mile from the house. Edward and Leola were big enough and it was their job to take an 8 gal. cream can on the little wagon or a sled and fill it up with water at that creek then putt it up to the house for washing. They had to make several trips every wash day. Quite a job for 2 little ones age 10 and 6. Daddy hauled our drinking and cooking water from the neighbors place. One day when I had wash it was very icy we had had a sleet storm so the trees and bushes were coated with ice and it was very bad day but I had to wash so Edward and Leola were busy hauling the water. Dianne was supposed to stay by the house. I checked to see where she was and no Dianne. This was just 2 weeks after our little blonde boy named Max joined our family. So I had to leave him in the house and run out to find Dianne. There was such a noise from all the ice covered woods it sounded like a child crying. I was running and calling, but never got close. It wasn’t much fun. I was worried sick about her and also Max left in the house by himself. I was about ready to give up but I prayed to be led to her, then I heard talking and turned around to retrace my steps and saw Edward and Leola pulling the sled and there was my little runaway. She had found her way to the creek where they were. All was well. My hair must have turned a bit whiter that day. I did get the washing done and I had to hang it all up stairs because of the weather. The day that Max was born all the Drs. were out on other cases so we had no Dr. and my sister Grace who had delivered dozens of babies came and took care of us. I think I must have worried her because I got pretty sick and Daddy also got scared and when it was over he came and knelt by my bed and wept and thanked me for another son. Max was so blond, all the others had darker hair so I used to cover his head with the blanket so I wouldn’t see his white hair, with his read face it looked all the whiter. When he lost the redness it was O.K. He had blond curly hair and the longest dark eye lashes. A beautiful little boy he was. We let him have his blond curls until he was about eighteen months old then we dressed up in a little dress put a ribbon in his hair and took his picture. After that we cut his hair and he was a boy again. Some of the people thot it was a shame to cut his hair off.

Shortly after Max was born we moved again because the people who owned the house we were renting wanted it. This time we moved down on Grandpa Stoutenburgs farm. We built a little house down there close to their house. Edward and Leola were going to school in Pine River and had to walk a half mile up to the main road to catch the bus. June and Joyce were going too so that had company The last day of school before Christmas vacation June, Joyce and Edward came home but Leola wasn’t along. She had missed the bus and was left at the school. We were rather upset about that she was only six years old and no doubt a scared little girl. Well the bus driver called the school and had them get in touch with his wife who was in town and have her bring Leola out which she did but instead of bringing her down to our place she left her off up on the highway and she had to walk down by herself and by that time its was getting dark. I wasn’t too happy about that.

We got a dog that looked some like Sally and named her Tippy Tin she had puppies and one of them was all white with a black ear and no tail we named him Shag. He just grew up with Max and truly became his shadow. We had to get rid of Tippy Tin because she started running with other dogs that were chasing some neighbors sheep in fact they had killed one, so those dogs had to be done away with.

In July of 1939 Grandpa Stoutenburg died. We lost a much loved friend and the children all missed a loving Grandpa. He was so good to his grandchildren and they all loved him dearly. Life wasn’t quite the same. Daddy had to kind of run two households it wasn’t easy. Kendall was in a C.C.C camp so it was only Grandma June and Joyce. The summer passed and another winter arrived. Wood had to be furnished for the two houses and Grandpas house was big it took a lot of wood to keep it warm. So Daddy was kept busy working on the W.P.A. and keeping up with the other work too.

We had a different Pastor by this time. Pastor Mastid had come when Pastor Dehaan was called to a different church. And Pastor Mastid got Daddy to go to Adult confirmation class so ones a week they met and finally the date was set when Daddy was to be baptized and taken in as a member of Faith Lutheran. Just 2 weeks before that date on April 16, 1940 he was killed by a truck loaded with gravel that was standing still and just as Daddy walked by it and stepped back into the road behind it the driver backed the truck up and run over him. Of course that driver didn’t see him and it was entirely accidental. My only comfort was the fact that he had been taking confirmation lessons and Pastor Mastid told me he was saved. He had been going to church with me for a long time so I know we will meet again. But I was left along with my 4 children. To be continued.

To be continued...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Aunt Eleanor's Journal, January 24, 1982 Continued

This part of Aunt Eleanor's entry talks more about the Depression.

When Leola was 3 years 3 months old a little doll came to join our family and that was Dianne Bernice. She was such a good baby that Grandpa Stoutenburg used to say I abused her cause she never got any attention. Of course that wasn’t so, she got attention but she was a very contented baby who liked her thumb. Now in 1982 I have a great granddaughter who is very much like her. Thats Katie. Leola liked her sister and tried to hold her. One day I was in the kitchen and from the corner of my eye I saw Leola in the doorway going to the living room and thot that she was holding her doll instead she had Dianne. I quickly crossed the room and took her.

We had made another move too so Dianne was not born in the house that Leola was born in. My did we move around and each time we moved we had accumalated more things to move. This house that we lived in was about ¼ of a mile north of the highway. We had quite a big fenced in pasture so we kept the horses and the cattle there. Grandpa and Grandma moved from the farm they had lived on and build a home on land they had bought but didn’t have a barn for the cattle.

Mother used to take card of Dianne every time we went to a ball game so I could stand and yell my head off and razz the rival team. It sure was a help to me, not to have to sit in the car and hold Dianne. The fall after Dianne was born a man named John Dehaan came to Swanburg. He was a graduate of Northwestern Seminary and was up there to see if he could organize a Lutheran Church there. He went from house to house and got enough signatures to present to the Synod and went back to Mpls. and it was decided they would accept us into the Synod. We gave him a call and that was the beginning of Faith Lutheran Church in Swanburg. But before this all was settled we lost our dear Mother. On Nov. 1st 1935 right after she had gone to bed she took her last breath. No struggle, just peacefully passed into eternity. It was such a shock to all of us. She had been so active always ready to give us a helping hand when we need it. Oh! How we miss her. Paster Dehaan came back and we had service in the School house. He and his wife lived in a cottage on Trout Lake and that first winter he would walk up to the school house Sunday mornings, build a fire and have it warmed up by the time the little congregation arrive. The collections were very small but he never said a word about that. The people used to have food showers for them and they managed.

The summer of 1936 was a dry summer and there was a great danger of fires. One Sunday when we were at that little school house for the Service a man came to the door asking for volunteers a fire had started up north and they needed every man that was able. Pastor Dehaan closed the service and joined the men who went. The ladies and children went home. Here I was with 3 little ones and I could see smoke rolling up just north of where we lived. The horses were in that fenced in pasture and the wind was blowing from the north. I was pretty worried and I didn’t know what to do. Pretty soon a truckfull of men came down from the north and yelled “get out we can’t do anything with that fire up there and you are right in its path.” I was plenty scared but I prayed for guidance and stayed put. The ashes from that fire was falling right in our yard but I knew that Daddy was up there with others too so I waited and prayed and soon Daddy came he said stay right here we are going to stop that fire don’t be scared. He got some more men went back up to the fire line. They fought that fire all nite, and for several days the women cooked coffee, made sandwitches and took it up to the men. It took several days before they got it under control. That was a close call I’d say.

We lived at that place until the fall of 1937 then we got rid of all the cattle except a couple of cows and Grandpa took those down to his place and we moved into a house on the highway. Daddy was working on the W.P.A. work force and we were getting monthly paychecks it wasn’t much but we survived. By this time we knew another one would join our little family. It was just shortly before we moved that Dianne who had always been so good decided to be a run away I had to watch constantly or off she would go. We had a little dog named Sally who would follow Dianne around. One day I went out to check on her and she was no where in sight I called & called but no Dianne then I whistled for Sally and pretty soon she came out of the woods on the east side of the road but no Dianne I watched and pretty soon she dashed back into the woods I ran after her but she disappeared so I had to whistle again and she came back we did this three or four times till I found Dianne she was about ¼ of a mile into that woods. We sure treasured that Sally dog but when we moved to that other place something happened to Sally she got sick and couldn’t eat and one day she was gone and we never saw her again. We thot that she must have found some poison and eaten it. To be continued.
To be continued...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Aunt Eleanor's Journal, January 24, 1982

Aunt Eleanor's entry of January 24th is much longer than the previous entries. This is the first part. I will post the second part another day.

Jan. 24, 1982, Sunday afternoon.

We are just getting shoveled out after 2 days of blizzard. Ron {bless his heart} got his car out of the garage after much shoveling, and he and Pati and Jo Jo Nicholas and Katie came and picked me up and we all went to Sunday School and church. Now I’m back home and ready to write some more. We were cozy in our little house, but the depression was steadily getting worse. I remember that Christmas in 1929 I too, Edward’s Teddy bear and made a little clown suit for it out of some green and white material I had and then we got a little German Shepherd puppy and that was Edward’s Christmas gifts from us. Someone else gave him some blocks. The puppy was a cute fuzzy little thing and Edward called it Kiki. I guess he tried to say Kitty. But Kiki it was and that little puppy grew to be a great big dog and I do mean big, also useful. More about him later.

That next winter Edward played with his blocks and he got so he knew the alphabet even started to know little words. I had time to spend with him and he was a good little student. The winter passed but not without a tragedy striking twice. Both sister Leola and sister Bernice died that winter Leola in Jan. and Bernice, in April. I missed them but learned that life must go on. Edward was so attached to Leola when he was with her. He called her Aunt Poli. That was in 1930-31 and Edward had another outfit made for his Teddy bear and a harness for Kiki. We would hitch Kiki to the sled and he would pull Edward all over the place, he would also pull 8 gallons of water from the pump to the house for me. That came in handy on wash days. This was the winter we traded our electric radio for $10.00 worth of feed for the cattle. That didn’t last long so little by little Grandpa Stoutenburg had to sell or give away his sheep and cattle herd as there was nothing to feed them. He had about 12 cows left and no sheep but we struggle on, always had enough to each, tho the wardrobes were getting pretty skimpy. In the summer of 31 we found out a new little someone would be joining our family and that gave us something to look forward to. Besides we needed more room so we got some lumber, I don’t know from whence it came but we built a bedroom unto our little house and we opened an account with Sears and bought a bed, dresser, and bedspread, a yellow one. Mother made curtains for the windows and gave us rugs for the floor and there we were all fixed up. I can’t remember what that Christmas was like, but things were getting better the crops improved so there was plenty of hay for the cattle and Grandpa had got a contract to cut pulpwood. He had two young men hired Oscar and Billy Puttin {not sure of that last name}. So the men in the family were busy and there was a little money coming in.

On the 10th of March 1932 our expected some one turned out to be a golden haired little girl and we named her Leola Jean. Daddy called her his million dollar baby. Edward thot she was pretty special and so did the Mother. When she was 3 months old I started to make a dress for her out of some colored material. Up till that time babies were dressed in white. So this was supposed to be her first colored dress and it took me so long to finish it that when it was done Leola had out grown it. It ended up as a dolls dress. Things would have been pretty tough I’m afraid clothes wise if it hadn’t been for my sisters Grace and Em and my Mother. They were always there giving me a helping hand. In the summer after Leola was born Mother got arthritis in her hands it got so bad she couldn’t do any crocheting, sewing or even her work like washing and ironing. We had to help her. She never could lift or hold Leola. That lasted for about a year and then she was alright again. All this time there was something that was bothering me. I had been brought up knowing that parents were responsible for the Christian upbringing of their children. We believed in the baptizm of children and here I had Edward aged 5 years and Leola 1 years old who had never been baptized. It weighed on my conscience till I finally had to talk to Daddy about it tho I know he would not agree. He objected and I insisted till there was no harmony in the household, I went ahead and made arrangements to have it done at my sister Em’s house on a Sunday by a Methodist minister who was in Swanburg and was going to baptized the children of my cousin Mable Stevens’ family. Well Saturday came along and Daddy had not agreed, in fact he threatened to disrupt the whole service. I said “I can’t help it do whatever you want to, but Edward and Leola will be baptized. I can have no peace of mind until I have it done. Daddy was very angry and he left the house and went into the woods. This was in the morning and he never came back until evening. I kept on praying all day asking God to speak to his soul, to change his mind. When he came home he came and put his arms around me and said we will have them baptized and we both wept. The next day he went along and for the first time in his life he witnessed a baptizm. That was the start of a changed life, God worked in our hearts several more years. Prayer can change lives.

To be continued...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Aunt Eleanor's Journal, January 17, 1982 - An Aside

As I was rereading Aunt Eleanor's journal entry of Janaury 17,1982, I had an Aha! moment.

My mother told me about her mother's spinning wheel that was in Aunt Eleanor's possession. She implied that Aunt Eleanor would be giving the spinning wheel to one of her sister's granddaughters.

I assumed that my grandmother actually was in possession of the spinning wheel. After I read, Aunt Eleanor's journal, I learned that the spinning wheel belonged to her grandmother. My grandmother had asked her grandmother for the spinning wheel. Since my grandmother died so young, Aunt Eleanor came into its possession.

Between my marriage and birth of my daughter, Aunt Eleanor came to California to visit my mother who seemed to imply that Aunt Eleanor was going to decide which my grandmother's granddaughters would receive the spinning wheel. My mother invited me to come to her house to meet with Aunt Eleanor.

When I arrived at my mother's house, Mom was shocked at what I was wearing. She was convinced that Aunt Eleanor would not give me the spinning wheel. I was wearing expensive designer jeans, a silk blouse and heels. My mother focused on the jeans as she felt that her aunt would disapprove of a female wearing jeans or pants.

I don't believe that Aunt Eleanor said a thing about my jeans or even had a reproachful look when she saw me. In 1991, when I saw Aunt Eleanor at a family reunion, she was wearing pants.

As far as I can tell, pants had nothing to do with her decision. She did not give the spinning wheel to any of my grandmother's granddaughters but instead donated it to a museum. I never learned where the museum was but the spinning wheel served many more people than it would have if it had ended up in anyone's livingroom.

Although I am happy that the spinning wheel is in a museum where many can view it, I wish that I had a picture of it

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Aunt Eleanor's Journal, January 17, 1982

My grandmother becomes a widow in this next entry. And as a reminder, the text within braces {} is information that I added for clarity.

Jan. 17, 1982

Again evening is here and I can’t think of anything interesting to do so I’ll go on with my tale. Can’t imagine any one getting a bang out of reading this, but perhaps a similar evening will come into some ones life when they are alone and wondering what to do to pass the time, then they can read this and maybe think “Oh! That’s what I can do. Write a story of my life: Then go a head and do it. Now to go on with this little story.

We were one happy family of three with sister Leola making it four. We stayed at this house till the 1st of Nov. 1928. Ned {from now on I’ll call him Daddy} He was so proud to be a Daddy. He had to be on the road all the time from Mon. to Fri. Nite or Sat. sometimes, so week ends were really looked forward to. One week end he couldn’t make it so he called to let us know he had to go out to a place in western S. Dak. When he was away I never bothered with fixing potatoes so I was rather amused when I went into the kitchen and found Leola peeling potatoes. I said “what are you peeling potatoes for? Daddy wont be home till next week end. She said “I know but I’m not going to wait another week for potatoes. Guess potatoes are a desired food on most peoples menu. We had a phonegraph with a big horn we put on the floor beside Edward and turned on the music, he would lay there and listen to the music for a long time. Mother came to see us that summer and sewed some outfits for Edward and a dress for me. Leola started to take up beauty culture in the fall so I was alone with Edward during the day. I never mentioned this but Leola became a widow in 1926 and when she came to stay with us she left her family “Kendall June and Joyce” with Grandpa and Grandma Stoutenburg. She planned to get work as a Beauty Operator and then have the children with her but that was never to be.

We went down to Martell to see Grandma and Bernice that summer and Leola was along. She hadn’t been there since she was five yrs. old so it was quite a thrill for her. She noticed Grandma’s spinning wheel that was standing in a corner in one of the rooms upstairs and she went downstairs and asked Grandma if she could have that when Grandma was gone. I had many times wanted it too but never thot I could ask for it. Grandma’s face lit up and she smiled so sweetly and said “yes you can have it. But that too was never to be.

In Nov. we moved for the 6th time back to the apt of 24th and 1st ave So. We bought a very nice Majestic radio and we spent a lot of time listening to that radio. It was presidential election that fall 1928 and Hoover ran against Al Smith. That was the first election we had ever had the chance to hear over a radio. Hoover won of course and took on the job of pulling a nation up out of a down slide into depression. Right after that Daddy was encouraged to go to Regina Sask. and take a job up there, so just before Christmas he left and I made a move to Swanburg no. 7. Leola stayed in Minneapolis so she could finish her course at the Beauty School. I with Edward stayed at Grandpa and grandma Stoutenburg. On March 16th Edward and I (move #8) took the train and left for Regina. Daddy met us in Moosejaw and took us to our new place in Regina. We rented a furnished home there, and we had a boarder by the name of Spika Harris. Edward had his first birthday just eight days after we arrived. His Daddy picked up some gifts for him as I was too new to venture down town to shop and I thot his gifts were kind of strange for a little boy. He got a cupiedoll, a little black doll, a mouth organ and a rubber ball. I made a little birthday cake and he was happy. I spent the day dressing him up in different out fits and taking his pictures. It was a nice warm day and I had outside without any coat or sweater on for some of the pictures, It was while I was outside that the lady next door came out to hang something on the clothes line and she spoke to me. She had a little girl and a little boy who used to come over and play with Edward. We got to be good friends and used to have tea together in the afternoon. But at times I would get lonely for friends back home. I remember we had a couple of gloomy days and I wrote a letter to some one back home mentioning the gray cloudy day but I said “we don’t mind the dark cloudy day cause Edward is our sunshine. He was a little busy body and could get into his share of mischief. One Sunday as we were sitting out on the veranda we heard him inside, it sounded like he was swatting with a flyswatter but I thot I’d investigate and here he was on a chair up the kitchen cabinet and we had a bag of eggs there that we had just bought from a farmer who was selling them door to door. Well Edward had dropped them one by one on the floor and there was that puddle of eggs all 12 of them. I don’t like cleaning raw eggs off the floor very much. But seeing it was Edward who was to blame it wasn’t too bad. I don’t believe he was even paddled.

We lived in the house till May 31st then we made move number 8 to another apt. Spike didn’t come with us. In the new place there was a fenced in yard where Edward could play, and there is where we got acquainted with Joe and Esther Hudon. We used to play cards and have each other for dinners and go to shows etc and that made life a little more worthwhile. Esther and I have corresponded and we have visited each other ever since.

While we were there Bernice came to see us in Sept. Grandma had passed away shortly after I arrived in Regina and Bernice was free to come and visit. We used to get letters from Grandma Stoutenburg telling us that Grandpa was not feeling well and things were not going well on the farm, they sure wished we would come back and help out on the farm. Daddy felt he should do that but he had promised to stay year with the Company he was working with so we couldn’t go till the first of the year. I was a little skeptical about this but finally in Oct. we decided I had better go back and Daddy would finish out the year up there. Thats what we did, and just before Christmas I rec’d a letter telling me to meet him (Daddy) in Brainerd on a certain day and to keep it secret. I got Aunt Em and Uncle Bill to take me to Brainerd and we met him and surpriced Grandpa and Grandma. They were sure two happy people, and Leola came up from Minneapolis too so we had quite a reunion. She had graduated from her Beauty School and was working in a Beauty Parlor. But the depression was being felt, money was scarce and living became harder every day. We cut timber for pulp wood but it didn’t pay much. We never were hungry but we sure didn’t have money for anything but food. We lived right with Grandpa and Grandma for that winter and part of next summer then we got a truck and went to Mpls to get our furniture and we fixed up a little house that was used for storing things in, and we moved into that. Seemed nice to get by ourselves again. We had our beautiful radio but no electricity to plug it into. To be continued.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Aunt Eleanor's Journal, January 13, 1982

The following journal entry tells of her time in Minneapolis about 1923 or so.

Jan. 13, 1982
Here I sit twiddling my thumbs nothing to do. What better time to sit down and write in here. We have had some record breaking cold the past few days, not just here in Minnesota but all thru the central and eastern part of our nation and in Europe too. Hard winter so far in 1982.

Well to go back to the past. I stayed at Grandmothers for about a month then I went back to Minneapolis to look for work. Times were hard, work was or I should say jobs were scarce. I stayed that the Lutheran Hospice there I met a girl named Leona who had a sister named Violet. Violet and I were both looking for work. I finally got a job with the Savage Co putting addresses on catalogs. It only lasted 2 weeks and there I was again pounding the side walk, wearing out my shoes, broke, and rather hungry. Violet and I had taken a room in an apartment building on Hennepin Ave. near the Public Library that was on 11th St. at that time. I had to write to my Mother for money to pay the rent and when that was used up Violet and I had still no jobs. I wrote again and when Mother sent me some more money she said “if you don’t find work come home” I didn’t want to do that so we tramped the streets some more. One day Violet and I had a nickel between us. We bought a banana and split it that was our food for that day. We met some young men who worked in a bakery and one evening we stopped in at the bakery and they gave us some rolls. I guess it must have been a matter of a month or so that things were bad. Violets sister Leona helped us a couple of times. One evening when we were walking to our room we were talking about where we would go to sign up for work the next day, some young lads were walking right behind us and overheard what we were saying. One of them asked me if I wanted work. He said he knew of a job opening I wasn’t too impressed but he insisted. His sister worked at this place and she was quiting. He gave me the address and got a note from his sister for me to give to the boss of this place, saying she knew me. The next day I went there and I was hired. That was the “Minneapolis Pleating and Button Co. Our problems were solved. Funny but the Lord must have put those young men behind us that evening to hear us talking about our troubles and they were ready to give the help we needed. The one who spoke to me was Jim Toohy and his brother who was along was Bill. I got to know their sister too. Very nice family. This was the middle of April. I had eaten so very little for most of a month that the second day I was at work I fainted away and I was sent home. Violet and I stopped in at a little restaurant close to where we lived and asked the owner if we could charge a meal ticket till payday he was very kind and we finally got meals twice a day. From then on things improved. Violet got a job in the kitchen in a Hospital. I enjoyed my work at the Button factory. There is where I got acquainted with Helen Church and many others. We used to go swimming, skating, tobogganing, dancing, hiking and to the movies. In Aug. that next summer Ned returned from the Marine Service and we started seeing each other than he went to Swanburg and we corresponded. We made plans to get married on my birthday but gave that up because of financial circumstances, and he went to Butterfield in southern Minnesota{thats where the Stoutenburgs came from} there he spent most of the winter with relatives there. In the spring he came back to Minneapolis and got a job at the Minneapolis Rubber Co., On June 13, 1925 we were married in a Lutheran parsonage at 912 21stave. So. and we lived with Joe and Mable Castle for a few months. I had been boarding with them for several months, Violet had married and so I gave up living in a room and eating out and went to live with the Castles. Thats how it happened we moved in with them. It didn’t last long because Mabel was left with all the work, while I worked away from home. Mabel’s brother Bill Denson was married to Florence who worked at the Button Factory and they wanted Ned and me to rent an apartment with them and seeing we both worked the same hours and all, we thot that would be better and our 1st move was made. We got an apt. on 4th ave. right on the street car line and the noise of those streetcars all nite long left something to be desired so in a few weeks we made move number 2 to an apartment on 24th and Emerson Ave So. We managed to live there thru the winter, but in the spring Bill and Florence decide to move to a farm in Cedar Minn.and Ned and I finally moved into an apartment by ourselves on 24thand 1st ave. So. that was move number 3. While there we bought a living room set and our own dishes, pots and pans, always before that we had used what belonged to others. We lived in this place for quite a while. Helen and Orville got married and they rented the apartment next to ours. We had many happy times while there. Ned changed jobs at this time. He got in with the Firestone Co. and traveled all over the states of Wis. no. and so Dak. and Minnesota. It wasn’t long till he wanted me to quit my job so I would be at home when he came in and also I could go along on some of the trips. I quit and I did go along on many of the trips. I enjoyed that. Things were going great and in Aug. of 1927, Helen and Orville Ned and I made move no. 4 to a house near the Veterans Hosp. We didn’t stay there too long tho. For some reason or the other we decided we wanted to be closer to down town. I was pregnant and I felt pretty sick most of the time. Helen had increased her family by 2 Audrey and Donald she worked and I took care of the little ones during the day. It got too hard for me so Helens folks took Audrey and I took care of Donald.

Helen’s folks kept Audrey and raised her. At this time, Bertha came to stay with us and go to school. She went to Roosevelt. Well we made the move (move no. 4) to a nice home on 3437th and 39thave So. and that’s where we lived until May when we made move no. 5 and then we lived by ourselves. Edward was born at 3437. We didn’t move far only into the next block and it was in May. As soon as school was out Bertha went home but Leola was with us. She came down to be with me when Edward was born. We had waited 2 years and 9 months for this baby and he truly was so very much wanted. And prayed for. To be continued.
To be continued...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Aunt Eleanor's Journal, December 25, 1981

Aunt Eleanor wrote the first entry in her journal just after Thanksgiving 1981. She wrote her next entry on the night of December 25, 1981. As I read her journal, she seemed to write in it after she had visited her family.

When I transcribed her journal, I typed what I saw. In some cases, Aunt Eleanor added comments within a pair of parenthesis. Occasionally I added comments to clarify things. These comments are included within a pair of braces {}.

Christmas Day nite Dec. 25, 1981

I will write a few more lines in here tonite. I was at Diannes last evening, joining her family on Christmas eve, and today I was with Edward and June at Pamela’s. All of them except Eddie and Jan were there.

I’m thinking of the many Christmas’ in the past when Santa was such a hero. How we waited fro Christmas to come and what fun we would have visiting with the neighbors, it was one big dinner after the other. We would always gather round the piano or organ and sign our hearts out also had skating and sliding parties and sleigh rides. The horses were always decked out with sleigh bells and as they trotted merrily along the bells would ring out so cheerfully. Santa was very real till I was seven years old when I found out he was a hoax but it didn’t stop us from hanging out stockings and as long as I was at home Santa always left something in them. My father and Mother made very sure tho that we knew what Christmas really was, and there was a truly sacred atmosphere there which seems to be missing in so many homes today.

Another event that thrilled us no end was the Christmas program at the little school house. Well it was all so much fun and life was so carefree and gay but years passed and in 1917 we lost out dear Father. He died of anemia on June 28. It seemed that life could hardly go on but of course it did but never quite the same.

That summer Mother, Mrs. Peterson {Nora’s Mother} and Uncle Theodore {my cousin Isadora’s father} decided it was time that we girls should take confirmation lessons so every Thursday Leola, Nora, Isadora and I would ride into Pine River with the mail man and meet with the school principle and go over our lesson. We were good students because in just a couple of months we were all confirmed. It was during the Time we were riding with the mail man that we first saw two young men who used to come out to their mail box to get the mail. We girls were quite smitten and all four of us rather claimed them. Nothing came of it tho and the next summer I went to Wisconson to help in my uncle Louis Hemness’ general store. That summer on the 4th of July I went to my first dance and from then on I was dance goofy. Dancing and singing were my great pastimes. It was also at that time that I got letters from Nora, Isadora and Leola telling me that they had met those boys who always met the mail man and I would get reports of all the fun they were having at parties. I wrote back that they had better not think they could have the one named Neddy cause I was going to have him. Well I didn’t really get him until 1925 that was seven years later. I stayed at my Grandmother’s later on in the summer of 1918 and worked at a little store in Martell until just before Thanksgiving Day, then I went home and came down the flu. I gave it to every member of the family but I was hit the hardest. I really was sick and it took me longer to recover. To be continued.

Jan. 2, 1982
This is a good time to reminisce so I’ll add a few more paragraphs. It was while was staying with my grandmother that I learned a few things about her. She was such a sweet devout person. She grew up in Norway, in her youth she used to take care of sheep and she would ski seven miles to school. She like to read and every day she read in her Bible. At the time I was there she was 81 years old and she would walk up to the pasture in the morning with the cows and in the evening she would go and get them. I think it must have been at least ½ mile away. She milked the cows also took care of the chickens. Grandfather was a stone mason and when he came home he just rested. I remember he always went to bed early. I remember I couldn’t understand Grandfather, he spoke in a different dialect and so grandmother would always tell me what he said. They both spoke Norwegian.

After Grandmother grew up she became a dress maker. She had lots of pictures of ladies she had sewed for and I used to love to sit and look at them. My what fancy dresses they had on.

Well to go back to the fall of 1918, after I recovered from the flu – by the way it was the flu that caused Grandfathers death that fall so I never got to see him again. From Thanksgiving time till Feb. 28 it seems we did nothing but go to parties and dances and it was then that I met Ned and we sure had lots of fun. He made a bet with his brother Max that we would get married before he did. But he lost out on that because on the 28th of Feb. I went to Fergus Falls and it wasn’t long till we didn’t even write to each other. My sister Leola and Max were married a year later.

I was 2½ years in Fergus taking up nursing. I didn’t finish the course because I couldn’t get along with the head nurse and her second in charge nurse. So I went to Mpls. Worked down there as a nurse maid for a year then went back home and loafed for a couple of months. In Oct. I went into Pine River to care for Mrs. George Bowman who was bedridden with inflamitory rhuematism. She was in terrible pain and was a lot of care. One of the treatments we gave her was steambaths. We borrowed someones alcohol lamp and used that to heat the water and she would sit inside the tent like deal with just her head sticking out and get steamed for 20 minutes at the time. The ones who owned the alcohol lamp needed it so we had to get another one. Mr. Bowman couldn’t find an alcohol lamp instead he got a keozine lamp. The first day I used it Mrs. Bowman said, “It looks like there is smoke coming out around my neck.” I came to examine it and sure enough black soot was coming out of the steamer. I opened it up and Mrs. Bowman was covered with the blackest soot. I had to wrap her in a blanket, get that lamp out and believe me I had a mess but we couldn’t help but laugh. It was some job to get her washed clean. I was on that case for over 2 months. Then I spent Christmas at the Stoutenburgs my sisters Emma and Bernice were there too and we had a great time. We all got books for Christmas and everybody was reading. Ned was in the marines at this time. After the holidays I went with Bernice to Martell Wis. There we stayed with Grandmother she was alone and very crippled with arthritis, so she couldn’t be alone. She was still her own sweet self reading her Bible but so bent over, she had to use a cane. Grandma and Bernice always went to bed at 9 o’clock so I had to too, but I would take the lamp and set it on the floor at the foot the bed, turn it down low so it wouldn’t bother Bernice, then I would lay on my stomack with a book right by the lamp and I would read till all hours of the night. Our cousins Erwin and Bernell came too and we had a great time that winter. The next spring I took a job taking care of Mrs Theodore Winger who was bed ridden. She and her husband and 2 bachelor sons had moved into a new home, when she got sick. It was a nice house but they didn’t have any furniture only in the kitchen and their bedrooms. There was an old phonegraph and a few records I used to play. I had an Army cot to sleep on. And the men folks did all the cooking. The same thing day after day. It was a rather dull time. I did get to leave on Sundays and there were young folks that I went out with so on Sundays we had fun. The summer passed, in August I went back to Mpls. got a job as nursemaid for Mary Hoyt age 1 year. I was there till the middle of Dec. then I got called back to Martell. My uncle Edward had fallen off a boxcar and broke his neck, he was paralyzed from the neck down. He had been taken to a chiropractor’s place in Ellsworth Wis. And he needed nurses care around the clock. My cousin Bernell and I took care of him there until after Christmas then he was transferred to a hospital in St. Paul and we went there to be with him every day. He died the first part of January. This was the uncle who never could stand me. I guess I was always goofing off too much. Its funny that it ended up that I had to care for him. I was there by his bedside when he took his last breath.

It is now 12:25 PM. Saturday or Sunday now. And I have to be ready to go to church in the morning by 9:15. So again we will leave this writing till another time.

To be continued...