When my mom’s sister Aunt Mary came to visit us from Wisconsin in February, she brought a bunch of old family pictures with her so I could scan them. Well, I finally finished scanning and I thought I’d share a few of the best ones:
This is my favorite. It’s a picture of Grandpa at home in the kitchen, sitting in his rocking chair next to the potbelly stove. Mom says he had just come home from church and was reading the church bulletin. She said he did the same thing every Sunday morning, that he’d sit there in his hat and coat and read the bulletin from front to back.
Grandpa was a farmer, by the way; he owned a small dairy farm near Green Bay.
Here are Mom, Mary, and their sisters Diane and Sharon about to ride to school. They attended a two-room country school, Summit School, that was close enough to bike to. “There were nine kids in the family,” Mom said, “but we only had three bikes, so the little kids would always have to ride on the back while a big kid pedaled.” In this picture Mary’s the little one on the back of Mom’s bike. It’s Mary's first day of first grade. Doesn’t she look excited?
It’s not surprising she eventually became a teacher since she was that jazzed about school.
Here are Grandma and Grandpa on their wedding day. They got married in the middle of January. Doesn’t the snow-covered world look surreal? The third person in the picture is their priest, and I think it’s kind of funny and, oh, so typical that he looks happier than they do on this important day. Grandma and Grandpa were definitely your classic no-nonsense Midwesterners; they didn’t generally show a lot of emotion.
This is Grandma as a teenager. I’ll tell you what I know about her. She grew up on a farm near Eaton, Wisconsin. She went to school through eighth grade, and when she finished school she went to work for a family who owned a nearby country grocery store called Osterloh’s. As I understand it, Grandma lived with the family (the house was around back of the store, I believe), and she helped with housekeeping as well as tending to customers. Mom said she thought Grandma probably worked at Osterloh’s from the time she was 13 to the time she got married at 23.
I asked Mom how Grandma and Grandpa met and she said they probably met at “one of the dances.” She meant the polka dances, which were very popular in Wisconsin at that time, in the 1930s. Mom said dances were usually held at a local bar or supper club and that there was always a live band playing the polka music.