Marie Witt Memoir
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University of Illinois at Springfield Norris L Brookens Library Archives/Special Collections Marie Witt Memoir W783. Witt, Marie (1907-1988) Interview and memoir 3 tapes, 195 mins., 51 pp. Witt, German-American, discusses life in Chicago during the early 20th century as a child of German immigrants: parents and family, home life, schooling, work at Swift and Co., marriage and children, German relatives, and a trip to Germany. Interview by Kimberly Grove, 1986 OPEN See collateral file Archives/Special Collections LIB 144 University of Illinois at Springfield One University Plaza, MS BRK 140 Springfield IL 62703-5407 © 1986, University of Illinois Board of Trustees Marie Witt Memoir COPYRIGHT@ 1987 SANGAMON STATE UNIVERSITY, SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including phptocopying and recording or hy any information storage pr retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Oral History Office, Sangamon State University, Springfield, Illinois 62708. I Marie Witt, 1972 Table of Contents Family History . Marie 1 s Husband Hurbert Witt Early Fmploynent at Swift & Co. Marie Witt 1 s Parents Schooling. The Depression Ma.rrie:l Life Children Hurbert Witt German Relatives 1972 European Trip Children 1 .11 .13 .17 .19 .24 .24 .26 .28 .31 .37 .44 Marie Witt, Q::.tober 25, 1986, Orl.cago Ridge, Illinois. Kimberly Grwe, Intervie\'er. Q: Okay, first v.e v.ere going to start out talking about your m:m and your dad ani how they care 0\/er here from Germany. A: Okay, my father was John Bliss and he was fran Germany. He came CNer here because he lOlled hunting ani fishing. He mistakenly killed a dear on a \\ealthy man's property. He knew he was in trouble, so he thought, he wanted to corre here anyway so this was the time to corre. So he cane and he was a w:>cxltumer and incidentally, made the railing or banister in the Chicago Theater. He made the turn and dow:1 when no one else could do it. But he didn't get the credit for it because the man that hired him took the credit. So he lOV"ed gocxl w:xxl, he made tables, benches, lanps and everything that could be made with ~cxl. Q: Do you remember ~he cane CNer? Remember around what year it was? A: N:::>, I don't know. Q: You don't ranember, okay. ve can find that out later. (1889) A: He n:et my n:other at a boarding house. She had corre O'i/er here with her sister and a rich old lady that was deaf and wanted canpany caning back fran there . Q: Okay, they came from Germany too. A: 1hey cane from Genmny too. And they got a job in the boarding house, making beds and everything like that. And so she got acquainted with my father and and they got rrarried. (Jnne 27, 1890) Q: WB.s your father the only one fran the family me came CNer? A: He was the only one as far as I know. He only had a cousin here. And ~ never did really associate back and forth. vel! they lived quite a ways fran here so--they called us one time and told us that my father's father died and that they had a beautiful bowl sent to than to deliver to us. It was written on in German silver, a little part about life. It was given to than (Marie's grandparents) on their silver anniversary. And his father I guess wanted him to have it. Q: This was on your m:m an:l dad's silver anniversary? A: No, it was his father's armiversary. Q: Oh, okay. A: And so TAE TAEnt up there arrl got it. I don't knCM' ~t the verse on it is, but it was sOOEthing about good health long life, ani all that. Now it's been passed down to Kinmy Gr011e, so I wanted it to stay in the family. And she is the only grarrlchild I have. Well anyhow, my DDther was one of five girls fran there. ~of them came, my unther ani another one. Q: Wlich sister? Ib you remember A: Her sister, Agnes. Q: Agnes. A: Yes. Q: And your IIDtber was Mary? A: Yes. And they came wi.th this lady so anyhow, Agnes married a man that had a big greenhouse in Winnetka, Illinois. And my IIDther married my father who was a w:>cxitumer. ~of the other sisters married farmers up in Michigan. Q: So m::>re of the sisters cane wer later? A: Yes, they CBilE later with their n:other. Q: Okay. A: There was also a brother in that family rut he didn't want to come here. And they lost all trace of him. Q: Yes. A: So there's no history fran him. Q: Ib you kn.c::M Wt.y your nan and her sister decided to COllE CNer here? A: \Ell, because the twJ girls ~re here already and they ~re doing so good. And the DDther--their IIDther thought she's getting old too, she can't be alone wer there. So she came with them. I named the girls and nCM" I can't think of than all. I just said Agnes and ••• Q: 'Ihere was Agnes , Teresa, Martha . • • A: Yes. Q: Ida and Mary? A: Yes. 'lhe other girls, em married fa.rroors and the one married the greenhouse keeper. And Ida married a m:m who had a shoe store. He did repairs and sold new shoes. And my m::>ther of course, married John. 3 Q: Yes. N:>w men they first came, did they COllE in fran New York? A: Yes. Q: '!hey came in on a sailing ship? A: en a boat, yes. I don't know, I think it 'WaS a sailing ship. I don't remember too much of that. Q: Yes. So they came in fran New York, how did they decide to C()[l£ to Chicago? Ib you know? A: \ell this old lady • • . Q: Oh, the old lady was coming to Chicago? A: Yes. I guess she owned the boarding house that the girls w:>rked in. Well anyhow, she ~s the starter of it all. Then being that they ~re kind of split up all c:Ner (later When all the sisters married) ~ (Marie's family) had places to go to visit and everything. It 'WaS very nice. (pause) And v.hat else 'WaS I going to say • . • Q: Your nnn met your dad at the boarding house, he 'iNS.S staying there? A: Yes. Q: Vhen he first came c:Ner? A: He w:>rked, rut he just lived there. Yes. Q: Ib you know \<!hat k:inl of a va:iding, did they have any ld.nd of any big A: N:>, I don't think so. None of them did then because they \\1ere just w:>rking to live, you know. Q: And they couldn't really afford any real big ~ding. A: Right. But then my IIDther 's IIDther, -well the family rume 'iNS.S Alder. Q: Yes. A: And I named all the girls. My mother's mother 'W:lrked in that greenhouse too. She started a fire in the stwe for the school children, in their school roan. She had a cow, and she had it stake:l out in the garden. Q: was this here in Chicago? Or up in Wisconsin? A: N:>, this ms in Wirm.etka. Q: In Winnetka. A: Yes, and so one day the cow pulled her aver the stake she was putting in the ground. She hurt her back, I guess it broke her spine or SOIIEthing. She was an invalid. Q: She couldn't walk then? A: NJ. She ~nt to stay with my mother. My IIDther took her in arrl took care of her, but then my IIDther had six children, you know. It was pretty hard to handle it all. I can remember I was about three years old, When my father bad her in the horse ani hlggy, arrl ~taking her to ... \ell first my brother took her to Michigan to go with the other daughters, those on the farm. An:l neither one of than w:ruld take her, so he had to bring her back again. And my father took her in a horse and bJggy out to oak Forest, where she died. Vbat year that was I just surmise, me being three years old. It nust, that ms • . . Q: About 1910 or A: Yes. Q: • something like that? A: Yes, about 1910. Q: vas that like an old peoples bane, in Oak Forest? A: Yes. It's still there, it's real big now, at Oak Forest, Illinois. But I don't know how long she was there, but she died there. Q: Yes. A: And the other girls all said that~ didn't want her in our house. Well YE had her for a long t:ine. I don't know how long, rut I can renanber When she lliBB in the bedroan an:l she almys had little red striped peppermints for us children. She spoke uostly German arrl she taught me a little Gel.1lml poan. Should I say it? Q: Yes. A: Ich bin klein, Mein herz ist rein, Soli dianand drirm "-Dhnen, Aber Jesu allein. Q: And that means in Fnglish? A: I an small, My heart is clean, N::> one will live there, but Jesus alone. Q: And you remember that fran when your grandma told you. A: Right. That was a long t:in:e ago. Seventy-six years ago. Q: Yes. llJ you remember anything else about her? You YEre pretty small. A: I was pretty small. fu.t I ahays was ~lcane to cane in and talk to her. She liked canpany. Well then taking her to Oak Forest relieve:i a lot fran my mther, b.lt then my mther still had a large family to take care of. Q: NN, your rran and dad net in the boarding house, arxi did they court for av.hile? A: I suppose they had, you know to get acquainted. Q: Am then did they buy a ~ right away, or did they rent san ething? A: \ell, they 10011e:i then to Sixty-third and M:>rgan, :in Chicago. And they just rented a little apart:n:Ent. And my father got jobs all (JIJer. But he still wanted to have a (~odw:>rking) machine at home, to do WJrk. Q: He liked to do the WJOdtuming, b.lt v.bat other kinds of things r.«ruld he do? A: He liked to make boats. And eventually ~ 10011ed to 7140 Aberdeen Street, and had a big upstairs roan. My father b.lilt himself a boat, and all the neighbors thought he -was insane. Q: He l:uilt it upstairs, in the attic. A: Yes. He built this boat in the upstairs roan, and they said, ''How are you ever going to get that out of here?" Well the wirxlows ~re double sash so you took the W:lole frane out and just put boards fran the winiow doWl to the street 'Where a truck -was parked. It just slid dom on the boards to the truck and got on there. Q: Yes. A: It was just about, I don't know, it was some kind of a--like the Fourth of July. Q: Ch, a holiday, one of the holidays or something. A: Sane kind of a holiday for the country you know". So he had an lmerican flag on it, the front ani the back men they took it dov.n to Gall..Uiet Lake. I:>owl. in Ca.lUIIEt lake \\liS a branch off of lake Michigan. So ~ ~t right fran the, lake Michigan \\e ¥.ent right into the part mere he had it parked. Atxl it ws real nice. Us children had outings every 8\.lJxlay in it. Well, then he made a rCMboat for my brothers, because they ¥Jere always swimning out in the lake there. My father had the boats parked in a boat house, it's like a chili. Q: Yes. A: And he had to pay to have it parked inside. And ~ had to walk on a board walk, up (JIJer the water, out to get to ~re the boat was. That's Vihere he had it parked. It was an outing for all of us. 'Ihe man that m.ned this boat house, his son al-ways w;m.t swimning with my brothers. And it happened. that he got caught in sea-Y.leed and drov.ne:l. Well , my 6 father felt so bad about that, he took the rowboat, tied it behind his boat ani took it out to the middle of Calunet Lake. And drwe a hole in the bottan ani sunk it. Ha said he didn't wmt any IIDre children to dr<MJ. fran our boats. And so that was the en:i of the rowboat. Q: Yes. A: fut we always looked forward to Sunday when VJe could go out on water like that. Q: Okay. Since your m:m and dad ~re both fran Gremany, did they speak German at home? Or did they speak English? A: They spoke both. If they vm1ted to say sarething that they didn't want us to know about, they spoke in German. But VJe kind of learned a little of this German too, so they couldn't get away with a lot. But it was always friendly stuff, you know. Put us children did pick up a little German. And I don't regret it at all, because there's a lot of tines I use it, German. Q: Yes. N:>w did they live :in a German neighborhood? A: No. But there ~e sare German's there. But then VJe IIOV'ed do¥.11 to Aberdeen. FUrther dO\Vll to Aberdeen. Arrl had a bigger house there. So we stayed there for, golly I don't know how many years I--the last of us 10011e cut of there. Elsie and Jolm ~re the last I guess. I don't know what year that w:ls, rut • • • Q: You ~re the youngest, right? A: I was the youngest in the family, yes. I had . • • Q: let's see W:lo WiS bom first? Ib you remember the boys? A: Vbat? Q: Ib :you remember what order, \liho \<IBS the oldest? A: My brother Fred WiS the oldest, and he was a policeman. There was Fred, and then Bill , and Char lie, and there WlS a girl Rose, but she died--she was buried on her sixth birth:lay. There was an epidemic of black diptheria, and she diE:rl fran that. 'lhen after Rose WlS Jolmny, well yes, John and then my sister Gert ani then ne. I was the youngest, and I WlS hom May 5, 1907. Q: The first bouse that you lived in, W:lat WlS it like? A: The house? Q: Ib you remember? A: \ell, it WlS a story and a half. It had a partial basenent, b.J.t we had the house raised ani tmde a full basE!IEil.t. So there was a nice basement ani my father had a w.xxlt:urning DBChine dOY.lll there. He did a lot of repairs for people--neighbors. And he w:>rked on steps. A lot of people didn't know how to make steps. Q: You ~\\UOden steps? A: Yes, w:>oden steps. And then he did a lot of furniture too, because he just lO'Ved good wxx:l. And he never wanted to waste any good WJOd, especially if it had a beatiful grain. And men he died, now men did he die? I don't know • • • Q: \e can check that. I'm sure I have that written dow:1. (November 1929) A: Put when he died that 1 s one thing ~ made it our business to buy a beautiful ~casket for him, it W!iB a rose \\UOd. It was the hardest one to get; to find anywhere. But that 1 s W:l.at he had. Q: Now with all those kids ruming arounl, do you reiiellber if it was crooed in your house? A: N:>, because there was spaces in age, arrl ~ had to get to ~rk early because ~ had to help support everybcxiy. Arrl like I say, Fred be:!ane a policanan. Q: \-hat about some of the jobs when the (brothers and sister) ~re younger. \obat kind of things did they do? A: \ell, they did t\batever they could find, you know. 'Ihere ~ren't mm.y ~hanical jobs. wa ~re suprised when v.e finally got an aut.awbile. But like I say w; w;nt fran kerosene lamps to gas, and then to electric • Arrl then when ~ got a telephone--that was a great day, you know. Q: How old ~re you men you got a telephone? A: I IDJSt've been about, oh maybe ten, twelve years old (1917/1919). But eJerthing was down to earth, nothing foolish, you know. All the boys managed to get jobs. My father trained Jolm in the v.oodturning shop, making stairs, because a lot of 1lEil don't like to make steps. But there was a trick to it. Jolm ~t into the carpenter business with my father . Bill went aver seas for amile to England, and then he cane back. Then (the gaverniiEilt) tried to accuse him of not wanting to go in the army, but it wasn't so. Q: Was that during the first w:>rld war? A: Yes. It wa.sn1t so. But it was just that he happened to be wer there when the war broke out. He \lent in for aviation. He joined the army, ani then they had him in this section ~re if you studed and stayed in the army they helped him till he got to be a lieutenant in aviation. Then he was teaching other boys. Well, that's Bill. Q: Did he fly during the war? lUring the Secord W::>rld War? A: N:>. Q: N:> , he di.dn' t. Ie taught. A: He taught. Yes. And Charlie was the conductor on the streetcar, and he lAEilt in for silver polishing. He lAEil.t into that better, he did get good jobs polishing silver and making certain silver things with a canpany. Jolm wa.s also a conductor for aWhile on the streetcar. My sister, she got to w:>rk early too. She quit school about, ~11 she never finished grBfiiiiMr school. Q: <h, she didn't? A: No. Q: So did she go to about sixth grade, or scmething like that? A: Yes. And my brother--well how was it? Bill never graduated, he got to sixth grade in grade school , rut he never graduated. But the rest of than got jobs as soon as they could too. I don't know how old they were when they got jobs. But, we made out real well. Q: Vben you were little, what kinds of things did you do around the house? Did you have chores to do? A: Oh yes. Of course, me being the youngest I got a'WI!ly with a lot. But I lAEilt in for crocheting, knitting ani sewing. I liked that; that I could make things, you know. Q: So did you help your m::m? Did she make sane of her own clothing or did you l:uy everything? A: N:>. I had to \Ear bJmemade clothes. But when my sister started w:>rking she uade her mind up that she "WaSn't going to wear homemade clothes anyroore. So then my mther got IIE some store clothes too. But we used to have to walk to school, I remember one t:iu:e when there -was such a blizzard ani they did not close the schools. \e had to go through drifts of snow up to the seconl floor. We had to walk, 'Well from Aberdeen to Ma and that was almst a mile. Q: 'Ibat's a long ways to go when it's cold out. A: Ch yes. And we didn't have go lashes or anything like that. We just v.ent there ani was wet. I think after awhile we just carried a pair of house slippers with us and when 'We got to school we took our shoes off ani p.t.t the house slipper on; ani transfered back to go 'heme. But the street cars lilllere so slow and everything you know. Q: Now did you take your lunch to school? A: Yes, yes. fust of the time. Yes. I think I was the only one that graduated. Q: You did graduate fran high school. A: I was, no I took DID years of high school. Q: You graduate::l fran grade school? A: Yes. And then I ~t DID years to high school. 'Ihen I ~nt to a business college, and I learned ccmpt~ter and typing. So vtten I finished that, and got my diplana, I got a job at Swift & Canpany. I stayed there 43 years. Of course those latter ones ~e three days a ~k you know. Q: Yes. W:lat else do you ranember about living at bane~ you ~re little? A: \ell, the neighbors ~re frierrlly. You mixed nore; you knew if this one TABB in trouble and you tried to help and all that. 'lhe man next door had a big dog. And one of the ooys, I think it was Fred, 1A2nt in their yard and the dog bit him right in the nose. My father was so mad about that. Che day he saw the dog sitting out in the yard and he shot him fran our kitchen window. He shot the dog and the dog's omer was sitting on the back IXJrch and he saw the dog fall aver and lay down, you know, an:l he di.dn' t know 'Ahat was wrong. (laughter) But he ~t out an:l found him, and the dog was dead. My father said, ''No mre dogs are going to bite my kids." Ani so happened it that everybody in the neighborhood that had stray animal that they wanted to get rid of, they always brought them to my father. My brothers got nat because they had to dig graves for them. lhat's just supposed to be neighborliness, you know. My mther took in washings in order to make IIDney to seni to Bill for books that he needed in the army and all that, you know. And all trivial things to us, but it ueant an awful lot then. Q: Yes. IUring the depression, how did things change? A: Well, your lWill was born. (pause) W:! went to the ~rlds Fair. Q: W:len was that? A: 1931, 1932, 1933. Yes. I got a folder of pictures frcm that sanewhere. I don't (know), it's pretty old, but it's a beautiful thing to have you know. Q: vas that wen the ~rld's Fair was here in Chicago? End of Side Cb.e, Tape Che Q: You said you remembered sanething about v.hen your m:m and dad first got married? A: Yes. Jane Addams ran Hull House and she looked out IIDstly for inmigrants that 'lillere coming aver. Helped than to fin:l ~rk. Or, if they ware in dire need of help, she helped them. She stood up for my m:>ther at m:>ther and father's ¥8lding. My mther kept in contact with her for a long tinE when us children ~re small , you know. And she was supposed to be a pretty smart '\toUl.Tell, you know, did a lot of good for the w:>rld. Now what else was there? Q: let's see. Oh, T,e T,ere talking about, holidays and different jobs ani things like that 0 A: Ch, yes. And my father, \oiell it seemed like all of us had a little music in our systan. My father no, rut rre and my mther, ~11 she liked nice UllSic rut she di.dnIt do anything0 I donIt think Fred ever had time to learn any music either, rut Bill had a tl.'lai'dolin and he used to play that. And Jolm used to have, they called it a ~et potato, it 'WB.S like a little black mld you blow in ani you could play a tune with it. And I don't know, [ocorina], it's a ocorina yes. And he used to play that. Q: Yes. A: Charlie he played the m:ruth organ real good until my father heard him playing and (father) says, ''That boy has got a good ear for UJJSic. 11 He had friends that ~re making concertina's. And he \lent aver and talked to than and they said yes they \IDU.ld make h:im one. Charlie took up the concertina ani he did beautiful!y. And he played at \'ieddings, dances and parties and had a real nice tine with his music . Q: So he could ma.ke sane extra mney that way too. A: Well, I don't know if he ever did. Q: Oh, he just did that for fun? A: He "Wasn't to happily married. He married a greek girl that worked with my sister. She couldn't afford the place that she had so she carre 011er and stayed at our house when my sister got married. And that left me, you know, without a partner (sister) in the house. So she cane CNer ani stayed there. Finally she and Cllarlie got married. 'Ihey never had any children. She was playing and illness, and Charlie just put her in the hospital and they couldn't find anything wrong with her. Q: Did she just not want to do anything? Or did she just lay around the house and say she was sick? A: Yes, yes. And men I got married I had to go aver to their house to show her how I looked in my ~ing outfit. Q: Because she wouldn't E!ITen cane to the ~ing. A: No. And then I used to go CNer to their house. They lived in the attic of my m:>thers house. And I'd go aver there--and one day she "Was laying on the couch, on the back porch in the sun. And I said, "Gee it's such a nice day. Yby don't you get dressed and ~'11 walk a little bit.11 ''Ch no,'' she said,''my hair hasn't been washed in tw:> nxmths.'' So I thought, oh l'lCJW is the time. (laughter) And the sun w:1s so nice and warm there. And I said, "I could 'WaSh it for you." Anyhow, she laid down on the couch and I put a bucket of water next to it. And I scrubbed her hair, believe DE. Being Greek, her hair was coal black and I dried it mstly with a towel in the sun; it 'WB.S so beautiful. Vhen my brother cane hone he said, ''Vbat the heck is the "Water all CNer the back porch for?" And she said ''Marie insiste:l on "Washing my hair." He says, '"lbank God." (laughter) So anyhow they got divorced an:i he remarried. His second wife was real nice. EWelyn, and she had been married and divorced fran her husband. She had ~children with him and then • Q: She had tw::> children before she married your brother? A: 'I'w:> girls yes. And then they had t:w:> girls lenore and Mary Lynn. And the other ones ware Jacqueline and Charmaine. Q: NCM Cllanmin.e and Jacqueline "~Aere fran her marriage before? A: Right. Yes. So then <llarlie died I can't renenber just When. Q: was he sick or . . • A: He had a heart attack. It was a heart attack. Q: Was he pretty young or A: W:!ll, he wasn't old. Lenore was just, golly about four years old. Wasn't she? (to Loraine her daughter) Or was she older? She was older? But anyhow, Fl/elyrt DeV'er rana.rried again. She's out in Arizona in the desert. Yes. She's out there, tw::> of her girls are there and ~ of them are here, in Chicago yet. So we don't get to see them. Q: So tell me heM did you meet your husband Hurbert? A: W:!ll, I'll tell you. He was ••• (pause) Q: Now he caae over fran Gern:any too. A: Yes, he came CNer fran Germany too. He 'W::I.S related in a round about way, he was relate:l to Helen Bliss. Bill 's wife. So they in.vited us CNer the one day and they happened to have a lady, Ifurbert 's cousin I think, Anne Reich. I renenber that. 'lhey invited us, we happened to be up there anyhow, Bill and Helen and Sumy [Billy, their son]. They lived with Helen's father and 11Dther. And he [Bill] was in aviation. Midway airport, he was manager of that for awhile. Q: Helen's father or Bill? A: Bill. Q: Bill was. Okay. A: And they were on strike for aWile and Bill bad trouble with strike breakers ani they were going to kidnap Billy, his boy. He had to have police protection going back and forth to school. But they ne.rer bothered him anyway. But, (pause) anyhCM Helen invited, Hurbert Who was staying with his cousin on the north side. Q: NCM he was staying with his cousin Anne? A: Yes. Q: Anne Reich. A: Yes. Q: Okay. A: And they came CNer. He wanted to met Helen because she was in a rouni about way related. I don't know" how. Helen told me a dozen times and I never could get it straight. (laughter) But anyway, they invited us up there knowing that we could talk german to him. And that's where I met him. And then Bill invited us to come out to the airport for a ride you know. Well it happened to be Easter when ~ ~t wer there. Herbert drCNe us because we bad a car but my father didn't know how to drive a car. I stripped a set of gears on it once too. But I learned. Q: Now was this when the car was pretty new? A: Yes. Q: 'lhe boys drwe the car, but your dad didn't? A: Yes. He couldn't. It wasn't a new car it was used. Bill had a job on the side of an autanobile outlet. So knew a gp.y that knew a gp.y, you know, so ~ got a car pretty reasonable I guess. And then Herbert he said, "I 'm not going in that thing." He w:ruldn' t go in the plane. And I bad my Easter outfit on. And this fellow, I can't think of his t1aii£ now, well any how he was killed in a plane--he took me up, but of all places wer cemeteries and over the lake and around-about way . Q: Vbat ld.nd of a plane was it, a tw::> seater? A: Open. Q: Open plane. He was sitting in the front driving and you were sitting in the back? A: Right. Q: And you ~re strapped in, with just a seat belt? A: Right. And that was it. All I could do was hang on to my coat or it wuld have flipped loose. But I had a heliiEt on and what do you call them? Q: Like a scarf or mask? A: Eyeglasses. Q: Ch, the goggles • A: Yes. Yes when I came back my skin was so wi.n:1 burned. And I said "I think that's enough for tcxlay." I think Hurbert said, ''What did you see?" I said, "Cemeteries and the lake." But anyhow it was nice. Herbert canE fran the north side so we didn't see each other too IIU:h, but he always hcrl a new car to take me out in. Q: N:>w vtlat -was he doing that he had mney to buy a new car? A: Well, these cousins knew a contractor, and fulrbert -was a bricklayer. So they talked to this contractor, arrl he got a job with than. TI:lat way he earned good IIDney. Q: NJw how old 'iolere you then, \<~hen you first met him? A: Sixteen, about sixteen or seventeen. About 1923, that's way back. Q: You ~re still living at hc:JrE and you ware \'lJrking at Swifts then, right? A: Right. And at Swifts too I got the run around. Of course twice I 'W:lrked ten years without a break in my t:in'e. Vbich was supposed to entitle me to a pension. < it di.dn' t go into effect until after I had a break in there. So I didn't get it that way. And I told the boss, I said, ''Well what about the other ten years that I didn't break?" He said, ''Well I 'm going to fight for you." Well it wasn't t'W:l ~eks later he was dead. And no one fought for me, no one stepped up. And all the tine !--otherwise I YDrked like three days a 'ioleek. That wasn't full-ti.n£ and I wasn't entitled to a pension. < anyhow they should have given me severance pay. Q: Or sane canpensation for all those years that you W>rked. A: Yes. Ani you know, there were tines that they called me on my day that I wasn't supposed to ~rk. Che time it had been a blizzard and Bob drove ue up to the stock yards. An:l he couldn't go in because it wa.sn't shov'eled. He couldn't get in there with the car. So I had to walk fran Ashlarrl into l.Domi.s. And I fell twice rut I didn't hurt myself falling on snow. But Wl.en I got there everybody bocxl me. ''Damn fool, damn fool." You know, "Coming out in this ~ther and it wasn't a day for you to come out." And I said that's all right, I wanted to try and I tried. Q: Now did you get the job at Swifts lAhen you first left school? You said you ~t to the rosiness school arrl you graduated? A: Yes. I ~t to the business college. Q: This was the first job that you had afterwards? A: Yes. 'Ibe school sent me to tw:> jobs I think. The one I W>Uld not Vl:>rk there. It was in a basanent and my God you had clock out to go to bathroan and when you cam= back you had to clock back in. That was way dQlNIJ. on Archer /we. someplace near--oh, it was a terrible neighborhood. Q: Wlat kin:l of a business was it? A: Like 1'-t>ntganery Wards or Sears catalog thing, something like that. liked the ~rk you know and I W>rke.d a half a day. And I didn't go back after lunch. I never ~t back for my pay if I had any caning. I didn't want to go there any IIDre. 'lhen I notified the school and they sent me to, where did they send me to? I don't know it was another place. W:l.ere they made these--where you have a hc:JrE camara and show pictures. Q: Slides? A: The screens. 'Ihey made that. That's ~ethey sent DE then. \ell liked that too, l::ut also they ~revery strict about how IIU:h ti.J:J:e you go away fran your desk, you know. And I couldn't belie..re that people ~rked under those conditions. Q: N:Jw you ~re ~rldng in the office right? A: Yes. Well canpt~ter ani typing. And so anyhOW" I thought, well Paul Peach was a friend of my mthers. My nnther was bom and raised in the sane tom as Paul Peach's mther and father, in Germany, Sclesia. That's up near Poland. Paul Peach 'IAOrked at Swift's, and he said that I should try there. He'd talk for DE. So he did. Well they didn't have canptaneter open so I went into the typing departna'lt for a¥1b.i.le. I did real good, and I liked it real well. So then they said they didn't want DE to lose my speed on comptcmater so I ~t into order writing. Typing up orders that care wer the phone. I type than right up. Ani then in the afternoon I'd go to another table for the canptaneter TJ~Urk. \-hich you nultiply different things, like if they ordered ten pounds of margarine, you write ten and how UDJCh for each one and then nultiply it you know. It was very simple. And I did real well there too. 'Ihey ~re just tickled because it took a\\hile to get the ~rk into the canptcmater desk, and this way I shoved it along a little faster. Q: Because you v.ere doing half a day of one job and half a day of another job. A: Right, yes. \ell they started ue--when they started that, ~t do you call it? ••• Computer. I didn't want to start on that at all. I knew because I could see the end of my TJ~Urking. You know, I'm not going to pound my head full of that stuff. That was all right. I did a lot of w:»rk for the officers there, too. 'Ihe officials of Swift's. Yes, we got along pretty good. Q: l'bw were there mstly v.anen that you ~rked with in the office? A: Well, yes. I ~rked aDDng all ~. except W:ten I "WaS with the export department. I like them very IDJCh because we sent orders all aver the wn:ld. It was interesting to ue to see where my orders TNere going. 'lhen. one fellow, I don't know ~the was, Korean or W:tat he was. But he was a foreign speaker and writer. He and I hit it off real well. The boss of that departna'lt WiS a dog. (laughter) He'd drink aver the weekenl ani cOOE back to w:>rk and grOW"l and growl arrl by \Ednesday you could talk to him. By Friday he "Was looking forward to the weekeni again. He was a real mean one. <he day he sw.:>re at tie because he said I didn't p.1t something on an order. I said I passed it on to Jean, that Korean fellOW", I passed it on to him for translation. That's all I know about it. Well he S'IAOre at ue arrl I got up ani I walked out. This dog he 'Weilt up and told the big boss. ''Marie got huffy ani walked out." So \\hen I 'Weilt back the [big] boss called tie aver to his desk. He said, "I want to know e..rerything that happened here." And I said, "I don't think Marie Witt I have to stay here to be fM:>rn at." And he said, ''He fM:>re at you?" And I said, "Yes. And I'm not going to stay if that's what I'm going to have • " He said, ''Ibn't you w:Jrry, we ' 11 take care of that." He said, "Just go out on a pass, have a cup of coffee and give me time to talk to him." I said okay. So walked out there and eV"erybody was lllltching me, yru kn.cM, rut anyhow I ~t out and the boss talked to him and told him that's not the way to handle the help. And this gpy, v.ell I don't know how he SDDOthed it wer rut anyhow he held on to his job for about a year. '!hen he got killed on the electric L. Stepped on the third rail of the electric L, he was drunk of course. But otherwise I've got pictures of all of them [the people frcm Swift]. I kept in contact with a couple [of them]. Like Jimn:y Ventura, where SUzie [a pet dog] came fran. He still writes, but I can't write anyrwre. Q: Now when you first started w:>rking, do you renenber how DDJCh you made an hour? A: Yes. :tt>t an hour, I made $18 a week. Q: Eighteen dollars a week. A: Yes. Q: :tbw was that considered pretty good? A: (h yes. And after a year I got a tw:> dollar raise wery year. Q: So then after a year you \'ere making twenty dollars a v.eek? A: Yes. And I'd always put my raise in the Cllristma.s Club. I WJU.l.d have to do without it anyway if I didn't • . . So I thought v.Jell, put it in the Club and I w:>n' t miss it and so I did pretty gocxl. I think I was making $165 a -week v.hen I quit. I didn't really quit, they laid me off. I should have got SE!\Terence pay, you know. Q: :tbw when you ~emaking that kind of mney and you -were still living at hooe did you pay sam board or s<m!thing to your parents, or did you stay at halE for free? A: :ttl. My IIDther would not take IIDney fran Gert or I. But the boys, she figured if they got--well they felt like they should pay a little roan rent. Q: Wtat kind of things did you spend your m:mey on? A: Well I'11 tell you, one thing my sister got a job at a mail order house. Arxl, ~t was it, I think she started with $14. And her first pay she w:mt out arxl bought a pair of shoes for $14. (laughter) AOO my brothers bad a fit, h.lt she said, ''Well it's my m:mey." So anyhow, yes pay was pretty low then. Q: So you saved SOI.re for Chrisonas, you put it in the <llristmas Club. So then you had plenty of m:mey to do <llrisbnaS shopping for the family? A: Yes. Q: You didn't ruy any special things for yourself that you remember? A: I r.e1ted to buy a car. I TAm'lted the iniepen:ience of owrlng my own car. Vbenever I wanted the car I had to stop off at 59th and Racine, my father and brother John both w:>rked in there. And I'd have to get the car fran there and then I'd go CNer to Gert' s and take her shopping and take the kids out or sc:mething. then I had to go back and take them bane. Q: So did you take the street car DDstly everywhere? A: Yes. Q: 'Ihis yas before they had b.lsses? A: Yes. I know I used to walk up Aberdeen Street to 69th. I'd get the street car there, go over to Ashland, Ashlan:l to 42nd, and valk into that stinky stockyards. Oh boy. (laughter) Q: Did it snell pretty ba:i right down ~eyou w:>rked? Were you right dow:1. in the stockyards? A: I was right down in the stockyards, bu.t \oe were in air-condition.e:i wildings. It was all m:xlern. Q: That was pretty unusual for that time to be air-conditioned. A: Well, I don't know if it was air-conditioned. or what it was, but you nwer ~llai anything in the building. It was a lCNely wilding. It had a cafeteria on the first floor and they had all this stainless steel kitchen stuff. '1he food ms delicious. And then they had a restaurant on the fifth floor and that was for the big shots. Red velvet ani silver and all that you know. Chly once did we get invited up there. Q: W:lat did you get invited up there for? A: Well there was a big thing. We were making a new product in the margarine depar1:lie:lt. I typed up sc:me foreign things for one of the guys going to, mere was he go~ • • • Japan. And I said, "Well I can't speak Japanese." He said, ~want it typed in English." I said, ''Well I '11 do the best that I can." Well you had to have werything spaced just so, yoo know. I did a good job, and I was really proud of it. 1hen the boss ca:JEs 01er and he says, ''Well Marie you w:>n the flag." I said, "I 'WOt1 what? I don't need a flag." He says, ''You did real ~11 on that and you're going to get rewarded." So he brought ma three half-gallons of ice-crean, and an invitation to eat up in the dining roan to eat with the big shots. Well I felt like a dime. (laughter) I didn't want to go up there unless I had sc:mebody else with ne. But they said you earned it. So wt can I do, I can't say no to the ross. He was a big guy you know. (laughter) An:l the Japanese guy that I wrote this thing up. It ms in English. But I wrote it for this Japanese guy. And he cane down and shook my hand right in the departuent where I -w=>rked. 1be girls were whistling you know. Well I was the lucky one. I got along with all of than, wen my lx>ss brought his bird CNer to my house here when they ~t to Albuquerque, New Mexico, he and his wife. We took care of their bird v.trl.le they ~re gone. He was a friend to J'l'e until I left. Q: was that Jimny or was that sanebody else? A: No that was Mr. Crew. He was real nice. Q: J:bw later men you were 10\Urking for SWift's, didn't you take a car pool fran out here? Didn't you all ride together or sarething? A: Ch yes. Jimny Ventura had just learned how to drive and got a car and no one w:>Uld ride with him yet. So I asked him if he YlJUld pick tre up. He said, "I'm just learning how to drive." I said, ''Well maybe I could help you," you know. So he picked IIE up then ani 't-Ile 'd drive doW'l.. He did that for a long time, until he quit and l'IXNed away. And then I bad to drive wer to !lOth and--near Kedize I think it was. I'd drive wer there and leave the car. I ro:le with four fellows and they "WOuldn't take any nnney fran DE. ''No ~ don't spen::l any nnney picking you up or anything0 II Q: Because you were right on the way. A: Yes. So it was pretty good. I net the one guy CNer at the store here one tim=. I said how does it feel to be retired? He says for cripes sake you ought to know. I said those were good old days weren't they. End of Side Two, Tape One Q: Okay, first you said you wanted to talk a little bit nnre about your father. A: Yes. Q: ••• before we get started on anything else. A: Yes. Well he was a great fisherman and hunter and he made a lot of friends. He got acquainted with a man that lived in a houseboat on the lakefront. His rume WiB Captain Streeter. He knew my father liked good 10\UOO and he had sare 10\Tely tables that his friends made for him. And he told my father, "I want you to have this table." You know, it was the merrory of him. Ch, my father just prized that ani I did too. It [the table] was a deep rosew:xxl. He lived in that houseboat and I think he ha:i a son. So anyway, he lived there and • • • well the lakefront was all open lan:l so he just hooesteaded on it. Q: Did be have a bouse on the shore? Or did he live on the boat? A: No, he actually lived on the boat. He and my father got to be real pal's. Today yet, I think, on the bridge going wer the river in Chicago, A: Insane assylum. I think he died there. Now there 'WaS SOirethingbrought up later about him having a son and claiming that he 'WaS not insane. 'lbey just ~nt about it that way to get that property, and that's as far as I know. the bridge I think has got a sign, Fort Dearbom. 'nlat "Was the spot that Fort Dearbom used to be on. Wlen Cllicago first got started as the city. They said that he w:>uld have to m::J\le off of that land. he 'WaS insane. 'lhey claimed that Q: Oh, the guy that lived on the boat? A: Yes. assyltnn. That 'WB.Y they could take him off that land. He was put in an Q: An insane assylum? Q: tbw did you ueet him? A: I never net him. Q: You never net him. A: No. My father always TNent there. Q: IX:> you know ~y he wanted to live on the boat? A: Well, it just seene:l like it was open land to claim and he wanted to stay on his boat. My father said it was beautiful and big. ENerything 'WaS so nice. But he was lonely, he was a very lonely man. He and myfather ~nt fishing quite a bit and lrunting. So that's all I know about him. But I think I'm pretty sure there is still a sign there about Fort Dearbom. Q: Since your dad ~t lrunting ani fishing all the t.ima, he DJJSt of caught things. was that part of your IIEB.ls? A: Oh yes. Yes ~ always had something that he had brought home. Q: Did he get special things for special holidays? Since turkey is real big for 'Ihanksgiving, did he go out and lrunt turkeys? A: Well he brought hc.Jn2 whatever he could f:ini. I don't think you even ha:i to have a license. Q: There wasn't a hunting season then either? A: No. So if he w.nt hunting he brought h.c:me rabbits, or any kin:l of wild birds. Q: Then did your liDIIl have to fix than? Pull all the feathers off, or do all the skimi.ng and everything? A: Ch yes. Q: Did she do that or did he do it? A: She did it. I remember at heme v.e had a sink in the kitchen that had wxxl aroun:l the bottan, arxl v.e always had a nail for a towel rack. ThatIS Wlere my m:>ther ~ld hang the rabbitS by their hind legs and start the skin going dmn and just peel it off of them. Yes, she had to do that. She ~ld pickle that in vinegar arxl sane sugar and onions. Q: She pickled the rabbits? A: Yes. \\e cut it up in pieces, and then she'd have it in that vinegar. 'Ihey called it hasenpfeffer; that's a German I'lBlm. Q: So she w:ruld IIBke things like that. Wlat other kinds of things did she cook with? A: \\ell, New Year's Ell;re my m:>ther always held open house, fran the begimi.ng of them living on Aberdeen Street. A lot of people didn't know anybody arrl they ~ted canpany. So my nnther always had open house New Year's Eve arxl she WJUld have hasenpfeffer for them, and that was just v.hat they 10\Ted. So l.e always had ccmpany that way. Q: On New Year's 8/e did everybody bring things, was it like potluck? A: \\ell sanet:imes they w:ruld bring SOOJething. If a lady in the neighborbocxi baked fresh bread then she w:ruld bring a couple of loaves 0\Ter with her. But mstly they just cBJDa to talk and visit with the people that they hadn't seen in a long tine. That kept people close to each other. Q: N:>w I wanted to talk a little nnre about school. I can't rananber the n.aiie of the school you said you \elt to? Grade school? A: Altgeld school , I think it was Jolm P. Altgeld. I know it was A1tgeld. Q: I think M:Jn said she went there for a ~le too. Didn't she? And Aunt Rain [!Draine]? A: Yes. Q: l'bw about how big v.ere your classes, about how many people? Were there big classes of kids? A: 'Ihere were 48 in each roan. I remember six and eight. Q: Oh the rows of the chairs? A: Yes. Fran there I went to that one on 69th and Nonnal, :tbrmal High School. 'lbat was a school that prepared teachers. There were three buildings there. And I went there OiC ani a half years. lhen I went 0\Ter to a bJsiness college, Engel\olOQd Business College. I took up typing and canptc~~eter. Q: N:>w lii1en you were in grade school did you have a lot of ~rk .• A: O:l, we ahays had sane. Q: . .. brought stuff hoo:e? A: Yes. I always liked that, I didn't min:l that at all. Q: Wlat kin:l of classes, do you reuenber lNhat kind of things you had? A: You nean vtlat kin:l of ~rk? Q: Just classes like english, ani history basic things like that. A: O:l yes, I had one teacher in particular Mrs. Mlrphy, she was a wnderful teacher. Arxl she lived near--well 7lst and May Street. Arxl we would walk bane together, v.ben we v.uuld go hane to eat lunch. I v.uuld walk with her. She v.uuld always give me little special things to do. I liked her and we got along real 'Well. Then she also got acquainted with mJ brother Bill. Now I actually "Was the only one that graduate:i from gramnar school. Bill I think got to about the seventh grade. I guess he had to have k:nom Mrs. Mlrphy too. When he cane back, from~ he -was in the service, he came back to talk at the school. He told then about the service. If they had notheing else to do they could go into the service. 'Ihose that haven't got a Q: A place to live or a job? A: Yes. Q: Ib you reuenber llbat class Mrs. M.:Jrphy taught? Was she a teacher for a Whole class or What? A: Ch yes. Q: She didn't teach just one special subject. A: No, but she did like us to get a lot of aritbnetic am she liked us to got a lot of, not so IDJCh history as geography. To learn the v.urld and the countries. Q: W:la.t -was you favorite subject? Is there anything that you really like? A: I liked geography very mJCh. Q: I know' that you were always gocxi at spelling, did you like reading? A: Yes, reading ani spelling. I was always gocxi at spelling. History I wasn't to impressed with it, because to rre a man that was in the history, to me he was old. I didn't think to IDJCh of that. Q: W:l.o was old, your teacher? A: No. Q: Or people in history? Marie Witt A: History, yes. .I:t>, Mrs. l-tlrphy must h.ave been about 55 or 60 years old. Q: W:len you TNere in grade school. A: Yes. Q: tbw you liEiltioned before that Bill went over to England? A: Yes, he went over to Englanl. We don't know why. He was married to a w:man ani they lived with her mther and brother. Q: was that the Greek lady? A: :tb, that was Charlie. And he [Bill] wanted to tiDV'e out--they had had a baby. He ~ted than to go off by themselves. Ani the DX>ther v.ouldn' t let her; she w:>uldn' t let her daughter take the baby away. So Bill said he couldn't stay there anyn:me, and he just disappeared. ~didn't know for, oh my, it DllBt have been nine or ten 110nths, TNe didn't know Where he was. 'Ihat lA7B.S just when war broke out. So he cane hoo:e ani he went wer to see his wife and baby. They had the police grab him, as if he was dodging the draft. Q: :tbw that w:ruld have been the First W>rld War. A: Yes. Q: So that ~dhave been about 1914. A: Sooething like that, yes. And then, well he stayed .•• Q: He went into the army though. A: Yes, he bad that choice. Either stay in prison or go into the service. He v.ould have my DDther bring books fran dollltltOVD, am he T.<iDU.ld study vtrl.le he was in prison. Q: Oh, they did p.lt him in prison? A: They did p.1t him in there for a\<trile, and he studied there. Then he jumped frau there right into aviation, and he studied up on that. He became a lieutenant. He was training flyers. He didn't go actually in the war. Q: tbw men you went to the l:usin.ess college, did your m.::m and dad want you to go, or did you just want to go? A: Well they knew that I was getting disgusted with the school. It was three big buildings and you had to run frau one to the other, to different classes. I was getting thinner all the time, and I knew that I was exhausting myself. I just decided that I wasn't that interested. I was getting :into Algebra and all that--it was over my head. It seeDed like I just couldn't grasp it. And I got disgusted and I said, "I don't want to do that." Well anyhow, a frienl of ours--a frierrl of Helen's really--she worked at SWift's and she was a canptOOEter operator, and she says, ''Get in on that." 'lha.t was just like nOW' with the canputers. 'lha.t was just like opening up a new line, you know. I was a little leary about it being all figures, b..lt I thought, well I '11 try it. So I did, I did very well there, graduated fran there [Engelw:»od Business College]. I got a job--I was sent to a couple of places. So I ended up at Swift's anyway. I worked there 43 years. Q: Your job probably changed quite a bit aver time, didn't it? A: Well yes quite a bit. But my part-tiDe job also changed, you know. I got p.1t in the aver-seas letters--all the orders that were going through Swift's. 'lhe ordering margarine and mat and all that bad to be written up. '!here was one man that--he was foreign, I don't know actually wi:lat he \\lis, b..lt he spoke nnstly foreign. I v.ould write the orders up ani he lNOU.ld translate it into the foreign language, Wta.tever country it was going to. I liked that very mJCh because it got IIE into other countries. Q: Since you like the geography, then you knew -where these different things ~e going. A: Right, yes. Yes I liked that real well. Q: W:l.en you started out you did the canptooeter? A: I started out typing. Because there was no opening in the ccxnptaneter section. So I thought well I might as -well do sc.mathing. I might as -well go into the other [section] then. So I was a typist for, oh, maybe five years. Then they had IIE in the order writing. Typing the orders up as they came aver the telephone. I did that for the mrning and then in the afternoon I did the canptooeter desk. I was never without sorrething to do, you know. Q: NJw in later years, did your job change? Did you do other things? 'lhe canptooeter wrk, did that change when they started getting calculators and things like that? A: \Ell, no not that DJJCh. Th.ere was just a certain section that had anything to do with the canputers. 'lha.t was the select, I guess, you know. I don't know W:ly they did it different. Vben they first put the first COOJIUter in there, they p.1t it in a roan, only in glass. No dust or anything could get in to it. But later on they had them all CNer. Q: 'Ihey [the CanplterS] 'Were real big at first, they filled a whole roan didn't they? A: Ch yes. O:le corner of the roan we had \las all glassed in. Yes, there \ere a lot of changes, rut in the end it was just routine. 1hen the company was changing and selling and IID'ling and W1at not. Q: '!hey bad part of the stockyards dow:1 there, didn't they? A: Ch, yes. Q: By the t:in'e you left, ~re mst of the stockyards gone? A: Yes. 'Ihey ~e--eY'erything was going, Swift's was liDVing their office fran downtown up to Brookfield. Q: 'Iba.t' s \\here they ~re IIINing to? A: Yes. 'That's Wten part of the laying off--and ~ had one [office] domto¥.11. too. But the other, the plant itself lNhere the animals actually got killed, they -ware in different places like Texas and G:naha, all ~st llDStly. Yes, and I got acquainte:l with, oh God now I don't remember \\bat his name 'liaS, but anyhow, he had a big office at Swift's in Kansas City. Swift's ha:l a little pamphlet book that came out e\Tery mnth. He is out in Arizona nCM, and he l011ed that. He's retired, but yet he's not retired. He w:>rked in a real-estate office. Q: Now this was one of the guys that you W)rked with? A: I didn't w:>rk with him, no. I just read about him [in the pamphlet] and I got interested. So when v.e [Marie and Herbert] ~t out to Arizona later on--! had written a letter to him, that ~ ~re coming out that way and that I \<nlld like to visit, to see him. I didn't hear fran him until we 'Ware just about ready to go. 'Ihen I got a letter fran him that said look him up when 1tE got there. He lived in Sedona. When le were in Arizona we did look him up. But it was a day when you vote. Q: Election day? A: Yes. So we ~t into a restaurant and had lunch. 'Ihen his wife dr011e us up to their hone. It was a beautiful hone. They lived at the errl of bay or vbatever do you call it. It was like ~re a river had been. You could look for miles ani miles, and it was all dry. 'Ihey 'Ware on the end \\here it was way up high, and you could look out the picture wirrlow and see all the beautiful land. 'lhen \IE ~t off on our o\«1 again. So then to ccne back to Swift & Canpany, they ~re going to liDVe their last IIDITe. They built a new place in Rochell, Illinois. I didn't want to travel that far, ani anyhow I was only doing it part-time. So they--! was let go. I should have got sene • • • Q: Canpensation. A: Canpensation. fu.t I w:>rked 43 years, and twice I worked ten years without a break in my time. But I was supposed to get s<:~~mthing. So I slmlld have applied for unenploynent. Because I was laid off. Q: You always hear about the roaring belties am you \ere like a teenager in the twenties. W:lat kinds of things did you do on dates, W-ere did you go? A: lbt very mJCh, but~ \ere glad that we had a car that~ could travel around. 'lhen when the children were born, well that ki.rxi of pinne:l us down. And of course YE • • • Q: The depression? A: Depression. 'Ihe depression about held everybody down. Q: I was t:hink:ing of just before the depression. You got married in 1927, so you ~re dating sc:ne during the 20's. Did you go to the tmlBet.mJS arrl things like that? A: Ch yes. We wmt to Brookfield [the zoo] arrl rAe v.ent to dancing. He was fran the north side so TAe--mst of our dancing was done on the north side. We visited friends and attended lodge things; he belonged to the lodge. Q: The Masons? A: Yes. Q: So they had dan!es and parties there? A: Ch yes. They had a lot of parties. So v.e v.ere entertained in that way. Of course the children started getting bigger. Q: You got married in 1927, ani then the depression started in 1929. W:lat was Hurbert doing before the depression, lAl:>rkwise? A: Well he t.Es really a brick layer, an:l there was no wilding going on because nobody had the mney to wild buildings. He picked up jobs where he could. Then the man next door, he worked on the railroad. So "*ten my lrusban:l couldn't get any lAX>rk anyplace, this man SJ:X>ke for him and put him on as a brick layer at the railroad repairing wildings. Then when that got all done, they put him on painting. He painted engines and everything just to have a job. That helped us through mst of the depression. Q: So he w:>rked all through? A: Vba.t? Q: He w:>rked the mole time. He ~s never unemployed? A: Oh he was unemployed for Mile before he got the job at the railroad. Yes, he was. He w:ruld lAl:>rk--he w:>Uld ~lk downtown fran l'lcma to save the car fair. It was just like 7¢ or sOIIEthing like that. Q: You uean streetcars? A: Yes. We did everything to save mney. Q: I guess I should have started out asking you about him caning aver here. He caae fran Genmny in 1923. 1l:> you know why he caae here? A: Well there was no real reason. Before the war he wa.s going steady with a girl, and I guess they -wJUld have gotten married ....-hen he got back. But \\hen he got back she was ma.rrie::l already to saneone else. Q: So he served during World war I in Gennany. A: Yes. He 'li!BS very co~erned about it all. He had a cous:in on the north side [of Chicago] • He decided he 'li!BS going to cCUJe CNer here then. Because that gir1 ~living in the sane tom as he was' am he'd be seeing her all the time. I guess it was hard for him to cCUJe heme and fini that she \\laS already married. But he neV'er brought her up to nra, he just explained it to ue and le had to just go with that, you know. Q: Did he e~er talk any about his family in Germany? A: Ch yes. His father , I don' t :know if he was a mailman or 1i.hat. Loraine do you remember? L: [Marie's daughter Loraine] Now I thought he \IRS a fireman. I have pictures at l1on2 of him that show him in a uniform. Q: It was some kind of uniform, but it wasn't an army uniform? L: No. A: It was hard wer there for them. Because his older sister was married to a man that \\laS in politics. An:l he voouldn't go along with them big guys, you :know. Ani he knew SCUJething was going to happen to him, ani sure enough, he WJUldn't join that cult, not a cult ••• Q: Their organization? A: Yes. And so they threw him out of his job. (pause) Well anyhow he [Hurbert] cane wer here because of that gal. Q: \oe didn't talk any about men you got married. A: Oh, well. Q: About your wadding. Did you ueet him -when he first cane CNer here? A: Well ••• Q: Because he came CNer in 1923 and you were married in 1927. A: Yes. I :know I W!lS just "WJrking at Swift's awhile already when t.e got married. Q: N:>w W:lat kind of wedding did you have? Did you get married in a church? A: N:>, we had the minister cCUJe to the house. My father and mther had all of their friends invited. We had a nice le.'iding at the house. Q: I know I saw the picture of the Wi!dding dress and E!'lerything. Did you have anything like a bridal shower? A: I don't ra:xenber any. Q: Or did you take a honeyrooon afterwards and go anywhere? A: No, because Hurbert had just got this one job and he didn't want take away fran it. It was just 'lbanksgiving. Q: Oh, the evening before Thanksgiving? A: Yes. Q: So did you have a big dinner party afterwards? A: <h yes. We had it in the house. We had a basemmt, and the mm drinking down there, you know. Yes, it was a nice house \ledding. Q: Did you have dancing? A: <l1 yes, if they wanted to. But ve didn't go away or anything like that. Q: Did he becane a citizen before you \Ere married? Did he go through any process to becare a U.s. citizen? A: I think so, yes. He got to be a citizen, I don't know if he had to study. Did he Loraine? L: I ranember him talking about it • • • Q: Because you can becooe a citizen by marrying a citizen, so I wasn't sure if. We foun:l his passport. That's how I could tell that he came CNer in 1923. The passport had the date . . . When you first got married, did you get an apartment right away, or did you live with your parents? A: We lived with my parents. Q: For aWhile? A: Yes. We had a little attic apartment upstairs in my 100ther' s house. Q: Did you live there during the depression too? A: Yes, part of it. 1hen my lulsban:i got a job at rrumber one north LaSalle Street. That was a new wilding going up. He got that job, and then ve got out on our own. We lived in an apartment. Q: That was probably later in the thirties, after things started picking up SODE. A: Yes. \Ell, l.Draine was bom, Phyllis was just a baby~\E IIDV'ed away.. Q: Were they both bom at ha:Ie? A: J:b, in the hospital. Q: In the hospital. A: Yes. Q: Were you born in a hospital? A: I don't think so. Q: You think they [your brothers and sister] were all born at honr;. A: Yes, I think they were all born at haoo. Q: W:lat was it like since you went to the hospital? Did you have to stay there .•• A: Ten days. Yes, because I rEm:!lllber when I was there with L:>raine. I reuenber than shooting fire-crackers outside of the hospital, you know. She was born June 26, and I had to be in there ten days. Q: So it was the fourth of July while you ~e there. A: Yes. Q: So then you CariE. home and you lived in the upstairs attic. A: \-hen L:>raine was born, yes. We went out into an apartll:lmt when Phyllis was born. We lived CNer on M:>rgan Street. I rem:mber her crying spells, and I found out she had trouble with her ear. She was just an infant then. I had just ccne bane fran the hospital. Well anyhow, those years were pretty hard. Q: You said that you went to the Vbrld 's Fair men it was here [Chicago]. Both L:>raine ani Phyllis -were pretty small, you didn't take them did you? A: Ch yes. Q: Oh, you took than? A: Yes. Either 1933 and 1934. Ch yes, we took them and I think -we -went on the sky ride and BOlle other little ride. Di.dn't we? (to Loraine) Q: Wlat kinds of things did they have there? A: Oh, they had big displays fran CNerseas, you know. We saw SOliE pictures of Fnglanl and Main Street there, arrl sooe of royality. 'Ihen they had different things, like the sky rides. I don't reDEIIlber . . . Q: Did they have any new things that -were just caning out? You know new types of cars and things that -were brand new? It always seems like they have new teclmology. IX> you renenber anything like that, that \'.Dllld stand out in your mi.nd? A: lb. 'lha.t sky ride impressed ue the mst. Oh, there was the Avenue of Flags. That was beautiful too. There "\ere flags fran e.~ery country.They ware interesting, you know. Q: Besides the displays, ~t other things did they have, like for England? Did they have food or different types of food fran different cruntries? A: Yes, I think they did. I think they did because there ~re so many different restaurants. Of course it was just at the tine when things were pretty rough yet. JWerybody was a little afraid to spen:i too mJCh, you know. But I guess they bad hotdogs ani things like that. Ani buses made in different countries. 'Ihings like that. Q: Did you go dow:1 there several tines CNer the couple years that it was there? A: I think so. Fnl of Side <Ale, Tape 'IWo Q: ve -were going to start out and talk a little bit about your marriage ani your family. ve really didn't get into talking about your daughters and how things changed fran the time you had grown up to the time when you had a family. A: Well, men I got married now, first? Q: Yes. A: Wall, I think I told you about Helen being ldn:l of round about way being related to I:hlrbert. Right? Q: Right. A: Being German like that, be had a very distinct Gennan accent. I kind of liked that. And then my family seeDEd to accept him. Q: They liked him? A: Yes, they liked him. He got in with the Masons, ani that made him feel m:>re at ha:Je. Q: He fit in mre? A: Yes. Q: You knew saue Germm so did you talk German to each other? A: No. He wanted rre to speak English so that he could learn it. picked it up pretty good. He went to school at night for aWhile. He He was a bricklayer, that was really his job you know. He was accepted very ~11, because in Germany vtlen they learn a trade they have have to learn it real \\ell. Q: Did he have an apprenticeship . . . A: Right. Q: ••• before he was actually was certified to be a [bricklayer] ••• A: Right yes. So they knew that if they hired him, he could do a lot of the intricate w::>rk that the bricklayer's here never had to learn. So he was accepted in pretty nice jobs. I think I 1IE11tioned that he--that he got the job on Nlmlber One North LaSalle wilding. It was I think four baseo:ents dm.n, and I think 84 floors or sooething, it was very, very high. I worried because of windy days. W:l.en you ~re way up high you get the full blast. It was dangerous. Q: So he was "WJrld.ng on one of the early skyscrapers? A: Right, yes. Number One North LaSalle was knm.n as the biggest one then, you know. Then of course, other buildings 'Wellt up that t.ere bigger you knc::M. But that kind of broke the [bard times], when ~ \\ere with out mJCh of anything, you know. Then men the babies came lRll, he managed to always get soae w::>rk. It was hard going for awhile, but ~ made out real well anyway. Q: N:Jw since he was a bricklayer, did he ever belong to a union? A: Oh, yes. Q: He belonge:l to a bricklayers union? A: Yes, he did. He managed to always get sooething. Q: So he "WJrked IIDst of the tim:! during the depression? A: Well pretty DIJC.h . • • Q: en arxl off, rut he wasn't unemployed for a real long time? A: No. L: He did painting arxl wallpapering v.hen he couldn't get bricklaying jobs. A: Right, yes, he got jobs inside decorating. He could do that in any \leather. Before it was hard, because of the weather. If you were laying brick you can't w:>rk ~it was rallting. Q: Or cold. A: Yes. Q: Ib you know, men they started the New Deal did he get involved in the Work's Progress Act, 'Where the gOY"ernment paid for any of the wilding? Do you know if he did any of that? A: I don't think so. It was all corporation's wildings. Vben he got this job on the railroad well that \tJaS just to fill out while he couldn't get any l::uilding [jobs]. He fixed all the things for the railroad. Bricklaying and repairing and all that. Then when that was done he went 011er to painting these big railroad engines. Painting the offices and just doing anything to keep w:>rking. Q: After things started getting better did he go back to being a bricklayer? A: No. Q: He stayed with the railroad? A: He stayed with the railroad. Vben he got of age, he got a pension fran than. So that paid off. L: IlJ.ring the Wl.r [WW II] he was frozen on the job. He couldn't leave his job althought there vas still a lot of stuff going on. He had a job Which was defense, keeping the railroads going. So he was frozen, he couldn't do anything until the gCNerrment • • . Q: That was W:lrld War II. A: Yes. So anyhow~ made out alright. It was nice because the children were just getting to the age 'Where they were going to school ani had to have things, you know. Q: \tlere did they go to school? A: They went to Altgeld School too. Q: You lived just d<Ml. the street fran where you had gr<Ml up. A: Right, yes. So I don't know, (to Loraine) did you graduate frcm there? L: You bought the property, M:>ther, and Daddy built the little house on Troy Street. A: Ch, that's right. Q: Okay, so then you lDJ\Ted to Troy Street. A: Troy Street, yes. Q: Where is that at? A: Well • • • L: M:runt Green~od area. A: Mount Greenw:x:xi, yes. L: It w:iS all open prairie and m:m and dad bought a small lot. W:len the lot was paid for, then my dad and all the uncles got together and they put up a little frame house. A: Yes. ve build on the back of the lot, figuring when things get better we WJUld wild in the front and use the one in the back for a garage. Wlen it cane time to investigate about doing that, they w::>uldn' t let us live in that house wile the house was being wild in the front We had to vacate. ve decidEd not to bother with it. 'Ibat's Why we lDJ\Ted away fran there. Q: 'lhat's ~youlDJV'ed to Oti.cago Ridge. A: Yes. 'Iba.t' s v.hen Loraine was ten years old we IID\700 there [Mt. Greenw:xxl] • 1: Cb my tenth birtlxlay we IIDV'ed to 10621 South Troy, Chicago. A: Right. Q: So that w::>uld be 1939? 1: 1938. A: We DD\Ted here [Chicago Ridge] Q: 'lhirty-one years ago? A: 1955 wasn't it? Yes, we lWiled here in 1955. Q: Now what was your house like on Troy? A: vell it had a closEd in front porch mich made and extra roan with a door going out to the porch. It had a living room, a kitchen, a be:iroom, a dining roan, and the bathroan [on the first floor]. We had a stairs going upstairs v.here there ~re tw:> nice bedrooms. That's v.here we lived when Greta came fran Germany to visit us. Q: Okay, and Greta is Hurbert's sister. A: Right. She stayed, I guess t.v.u years. Then she ....ent back hare. Q: She was in vest Germany. Was it vest Germany then? A: Yes. So she ~t back then. Q: Wlat did she think about • • . A: Ehe got settled pretty ~11 here. She didn't want to just sit arouni eating, and living off of us. She wanted to w::>rk, so \'lle got her a job at Little ~yof Mary Hospital. ve figured IIBybe in the kitchen or SOIIEthing. BUt they p.lt her on as a nurse, but she couldn't read or write English. It vas hard for her even to read a therm:xneter, she didn't know if she vas reading it right. I ~t to the head rrurse, she was a rnm. I ~nt to talk to her about it. She said you just leave her alone, she's doing fine. But Greta was too nervous. She bad care Oiler here with, mat do you call it? She ha:i bronchitis. She did get neiication in Germany so that she was healed enough to pass the health test to get in here. Q: was she a rrurse in Germany? A: l't>, she wasn't a rurse. But she was a Red Cross rurse to them. It was a--like a helper. Q: Like a aid or assistant? A: Yes, and she could do a lot of things like wrap a Ttl:>und and things like that. Q: Because she did stuff like that during the war? A: I guess so. But anyway, she stayed on at the hospital for a:\\hi.le, ani then she just couldn1 t take it anym:>re. So I got a job for her, with the president of the bank at 95th ani \Estern. Well first she v.ent to another house. She stayed to do house cleaning there. There \\ere ~children and they had a colored ~to do the cleaning and then take care of the kids men parents v.Jent out. But Greta said that that w:man hadn't cleaned in a long, long ti.n:e. 1he frontroom had a fern plant that had a heap of dead leaves on the rug. She just decided that they r.Nere making a nnnkey out of her, you know, clean up after the colored w:xnan. Put anyhow, Greta thought that wasn't right. They WJUldn1t even let her hang her coat upstairs, just as if it was contaminated. Q: W:tat, they w:mldn1 t let Greta do that? A: Yes, she had to bang her coat in the basemmt. Well, she decided that wasn1 t fair. So TNe got her that other job. Q: IX> you think that was because she \1BS German or because she was hired help, like the cleaning lady? Why do you think they acted like that? A: I think it was because she was German. Well, anyhow she felt out of place there. So that Is men I got her the job in the bank m.ner Is house. 'Ihey had tw children, and it W'iS a beautiful hare and Greta fell in just right. She took care of the little girl and made her happy. The nnther ~ld never let her use any nice dished for the girl, rut Greta did. She made little parties for her ani made her feel important. She did the cleaning. They got along real r.Nell. She stayed if the parents wanted to go out, she liiOUld stay there and then care l1cma vhen they came horre. But she managed to get on the street car and take care of herself, you know. Q: But she Ttl:>rked the whole time she was here? A: Yes, and she paid us back for the m:>ney TNe paid to get her here. Q: Oh, you paid for her travel expenses? A: Passage, yes. So she paid us back and she kept TNOrki.ng tmtil she had a nice little bank account. That's ,.,-ben she decided she didn't want to stay here any longer. She always had a feeling that her lmsband or her son might ccma back fran the war, rut they never did. Q: Oh, her lmsban:i and her son--she lost track of than in the war. A: Both of them yes. 'Ihe son was killed. I guess he was just a real young man, he was a flyer. He got killed in an airplane crash. Her husbarxl, he was captured and sent to Siberia. Q: He YBS captured by the Russians? A: Yes. I don't know, he and another man managed to escape. Cb their way bane they stayed in a barn aver night, you know to get out of the cold. 'Ihey slept in the barn, and when he jumped doWJ. fran the barn. He broke both his ankles. Well, this other man he couldn't keep back to help him. So they walked as far as they could manage ani then this man just left him. So they narer knew Where he was or if be was wried or not. She lost both her son and her lrusbani. Q: lbt she never knew about the lrusband so she didn't ~t to stay here because she was afraid he might ccma belie, and she wruldn't be there. A: Right, yes. So she decided to go bane, rut she didn't know how to tell these people that she's going back to Germany. lhey knew that she liked it here, so she told them she was going back there to get married. These people were so happy that she was going to get umried. 'Ihey gave her a beautiful nightgown and robe, a -wedding outfit, in appreciation of hOW' good she was to them. So she wrote quite a few letters back to than, but m>stly in poor english of course. She did the best she could. Q: ENen though she was w:>rki.ng the vilole tine she was here, did you go on trips and see different things in the United States. A: Oh, yes. You know my brother Bill had that place in Warsaw, Indiana. Well, they had that place there, and ~'d take her there and on trips, rut she always got car sick. ~bad to give her a pill, and then she would sleep so she didn't get to see mJCh of the country anyway. But she was content here, but she still bad that drawing--go l:u:m!, go hotte. So she ~t back there. she died, '\\hen was that last year? Yes. She died fran a kidney operation. Q: But you kept in contact. You had written back and forth all the tine. A: Ch, yes. As long as my lrusbanl lived it was fine. You know, he could write German to her. But oh, ~ got throught it alright. Q: Did she talk any about differences be~en ~t it was like in Gennany and--! know she lived through the war in Germany. That was probably really hard on her. A: Yes it was. But, oh yes, she always canpared things. Q: Ib you remember sone of the things that she talked about that ~re different? A: vell ' I I 11 tell you one thing that impressed us 0 She got that instant coffee and instead of having perked coffee she just put boiling water 01er the ~ered coffee. And it was real thick. Q: It was real, real strong? A: <h she lwed it because it wa.s so strong. In Gennany she couldn't use that IIllCh coffee, because it was too expensive. Well anyhow, I blaimed that [the war] on a lot of her problems, you know. Q: Because of the war. A: Yes. And the differences that she had to Q: With the language probla:n. A: Yes. She brought a lot of nice gifts ¥hen she cane from German. Dishes arrl SOliE glass\Yare. But oh, it was hard ~~had to take her back, you know. She had uoney in the bank here accruing interest. Of course, I don't think she had, \\bat do you call it? You pay in and •.• L: Social security? A: Yes. I don't think she got in on that because she wasn't going to stay. AnyhcM, she wrote and told us that they had to have a new stOle. Instead of sending her the nnney for the sta\re, ~ sent her all her mney that she had in the bank, plus the interest. 'Ibat way she kneN how nuch she bad to live with. Q: Ch, she didn't take the nnney with her v.hen she ~nt back? A: Not all of it, no. AnyhCTW, she made a l'looE for herself in that little shack that they had care to. You know, she lived there with her trother and father and brother. But she just tmde the best of it arrl stayed there. Q: l'bw vre had talked about that last night. About her experiences during the ...ar. Did you want to tell ne that again, since lNe didn't get that recorded last night? A: About When they took her out of her hc.m:!? Q: Yes. A: Yes, that was in--I don't know the town, you know. Q: 'Ihis is where they bad been living in Germany. A: Yes. 'Ihey just cane in and told than, ''Qlat you have on that's all you take." Q: 'lhese ~re the Russian's that came in? A: Yes. Q: Because they had been living in, wt it now East Germany. A: Right. So they vere packed in an old box car of a train. 'Ihey just about emptied the town--sent than all in one. 'Ihey didn't know Where they '\\ere going, what direction or nothing. They just did the best they could. l:er being a Red Cross assistant she had privileges of making them stop [the train] f:Nery once in &Jlile to get cleaned up a little bit. They [the people in the box car] ~re dying so they just kicked them out of the box car and kept going. Well that broke up families. Q: tbw this was after the war was CNer? Wasn't it? A: Yes, vben the fighting was CNer. L: Yes. 'lhe whole country lAl'B.S tom apart. People ~re just transplanted to Where ever they could go. Q: So then they got off at this one little town, right? A: Right. It lAl'B.B CNercrovrled as it was and there was no roan for all these people, because other trains before them had dumped off a lot of than [people]. At least they got, like a little chicken coop on a farm, to live in. 'Ihey got out of the ~ather, you know. But it was real hard for Greta to feed than, because there was no food there. 'lhe fa.rner [whose property they were living on] was pretty nice to them. He let than go through the fields after he took the potatos out. He let then go through and pick up what he had missed, you know. They managed to get by, I guess. Greta mmaged to get SOJ:Ie kin:i of v.urk in the hospital, as a Red Cross assistant. She IIUSt of got sorre kind of job that paid anyhow. Of course, sooe of them vere in the Russian zone. I rrean Where Russia had taken CNer. They [Greta's family] ~re now in the Russian zone. So the family was so broken up, you know. [Part of the family was left in the Russian zone and f30im got into the West.] Q: Th.en they had problems because Herbert'a--younger brother was mentally retarted. A: Yes, he had had what do they call it? L: Polio. A: Polio. Yes, and it left him IIEiltally ~ak, lut he grew so big; he v.ns always lrungry. They couldn't keep him because he kept eating all the food and they got nothing. She had to rut him in, like an old people's ~. vell they [the institution] didn't tolerate those that couldn't \'lUrk, and so I guess, they just put him to sleep. She never even found out \\here they [the institution] buried hlm. It was a hard thing to do [putting the brother in the institution]. So the family was scattered all over. Q: NJw how large of a family did Hurbert hav'e? A: I think about seven. I kn<YN his oldest sister was the one we ~t [during a trip to Germany]. \-bat was her I.1BilE? L: Lena. A: Lena, yes. Her lrusbarrl was in German politics. Q: This 'WaS Lena? A: Yes, her lnJ.sband was in politics. And they [the party] wanted him to join this fascist party. He didn't want to, and they took him off his job. He had a good job there with the electric cooq>any, besides being in the politics. So they took him off all of his VDrk and made it rough for him. Anyhow, saE way or other he died. His wife Lena she had her daughter's son. Her daughter was married to a young man in the Ccmwnist Party. So men her husband died, Lena decided to get out of there. She wanted to get into the West zone of Gern:any. Q: Lena's husband was in the Ccmnmist Party? L: No, her son-in-law. A: Yes. Anyhow she didn't kn<YN how to do it to get the little boy out. Lena had been taking care of the little boy. She didn't know hOW" to get him through, because it wasn't really her son, you know. But anyhow, she did get through before the wall ~t up. SOlie other people that were going to cane--she managed to have than bring the little boy. So they did, they got through. Q: Vba.t about her daughter? Did her daughter stay in the East? A: She stayed in the other part of Ge:roany [the East]. I guess she stayed with her husban:i until, I think he got killed too. I don't know the rest of the famlly. But he [Herbert] had one older brother, Frank. He [Frank] built up a nice rosiness of--like wrought iron railings and things like that. He made a nice big place for himself, but it was in the East Zone \there they COUldn1 t COOE CNer, you know. Q: So part of his famlly was in the East and part was in the West. A: Th.ey still are. Yes, it was all broken up and now there's hardly any fami.ly left except for those that were in the East Zone. Your m:>ther [Phyllis] corresponls with Frank's daughter, I think. Q: Ingeborg. A: Yes. I think wa wrote to scmebody else, I can't remember .•• L: Joachan. A: Cb, yes. Vben wa ware in Germany wa want aver to see Lena. She had a nice aparb:Ient. We ~re going to IIBke a big swing around to see other ca.m.tries too. We stopped at Heidelberg, ~ took pictures of Heidelberg. Ani ~t 'WaS her town? L: Offenburg. A: Offenburg, yes. We stayed there with them, I guess, for three or four days. Ani then their boy [Joachem] took us up to the Black Forest, ~ere the cuckoo clocks are made. But \lle didn't see any, the weather was so bad 0 Being in May' it 'WaS a nice day rut it turned bad. We ~t through sleet and snow. Then we stopped at a roadhouse for coffee and cake, just to get warm. Then we saw all we could ani took pictures. It was a l011ely country, rut the tNea.ther was against us. Then we '\\ent back to the towt. lena's boy dr011e us. Q: Joachem? A: Yes. W:l.en we came back [to lena's] , my the trees were all broken fran the storm. Vhile we were gone the storm broke S()llE of their trees. But it was beautiful country and then we started out and--oh, one day we took off to go to France. So we drove dovn across the Rhine River and visited, I don't know What the tow1' s name is L: Salzl:urg. A: Salzburg, yes. Q: And that' s Germany? A: Yes. L: Well it's France. A: It was right across the river fran Germany. Q: So it was France. L: In the wars it was exchanged fran France to Ge:rmany many times through the centuries. '!bey were always fighting wer that area where the Rhine and that city • • • A: Alsace-lnrraine WiS fighting always too ••. always fighting back and forth. Sonet:i.J:Ies it was German and. soo:etines it 'WaS French. Yes. We spent a day in Salzburg Wich was very interesting too. But they v.Jere still repairing a lot. A lot of big churches were being repaired, and. everything. It was interesting, in their church the kneeling pads were w:>m dom and. the steps were all gr011ed dom, because they were so old. It was very rich glass and I was surprise:l that it survived so IIUCh fire, gun fire. -----·-·---····-·- Q: And the fighting. W:l.en you 'Wellt to Gennany that was in 1973? A: 1972. Then ~ left their [Lena 1 s] house. wa stayed in a hotel there, because it was too crooed in her apartment. 'Uley ~re sleeping on garden furniture, you know. Q: Did they QlN[l. their own l:'JoiiE or did they live in an apartment? A: Apart::mmt, it v.as beautiful. You should see how pretty it is. They ha:l an elevator and arerything. She lived on the third floor. But it was real pretty and m:xiem. L: 'lhese places ~re build by the German gcwernm:!nt and delegated to displaced persons. She was alone, so she had one small apartuent. People that had children they had three or four roans. But they v.ere displaced poeple that carce there frcm all CNer Germany. 'lhe German govenm:mt build--like plblic housing. A: So then we started out and we went to that college tow:>., Heidleberg. We passed that going ~to Lena1 s. Q: \bit other things stand out in your minl about Germany? A: VIall, we went through Austria and Switzerland. SWitzerland I think struck 11E the mst, real beautiful. Loraine and Bob ~t on that Jungfrau. 'lhat1 s the highest IIDUll.tain there is. Loraine and Bob went, I didn1 t go. I stayed in ..• L: Interlaken. A: Interlaken, yes. See if Loraine wasn1 t here I couldn't do this. But it took than how many trains to get up there? L: Three. A: I didn't want to go because I can't stand that nuch height, and it was all ice up there. So we stayed there about three days. It was beautiful there. But they told us that -was the first clear day you could see that IIDUll.tain frcm Interlaken. wa lere lucky. So I stayed back at the lx>tel and I wrote cards in the garden. That -was just beautiful. 'lhey had a little bridge that had water rurming under it and tulips as big as a plate. 'lhe garden was so taken care of. 'lhe owner, a gir1 (origionally her father o\tlled the hotel) , she sat dm-.n in the garden with llE. She had a beautiful collie dog, and she w:mt back to water her horse. Then she sat dom near ne and said, "'Ibese DDUiltains are pretty, but I was in your country and the Rocky M:runtains are just as pretty." She spoke very good English. Well anyhow, I wanted to mail the cards so I asked her ~re to go and she told 11E just dQTN[l. the street. 'lhere was a place \libere they had Q: A post office? A: Yes, they had cards and stamps rut they [the hotel] were out of them. Her husbani was up in the IIDUiltains with the goats, so she couldn't leave the store, so I said, ''Well I'll go get than." She toldue to go to the store. So I ~t to the store, but she said be sure you cOOE out the same door you go in, or you might get lost caning out the wrong door. So I got the stamps ani she wrote dow:1. what she wanted. I ~t dom and got than, and then I bought a couple of trinkets there. I brought back a little picture, you know. Oh, then the hotel gave ue a card if I got lost, it said taxi on it. Just show him [the taxi driver] the card and he'll bring you back to the hotel. It wu; a beautiful day dow:1 in tOWl, but they [l.Draine ani Bob] lere up there liihere it was cold. But it was a nice day ani \oe went out for dirm.er . . • Q: Did you fin:l your way back, or did you get lost? A: No, I foun::l my way back. I reaenbered the stores as I walked along. And where they had a vacant lot there loere people selling flowers. 'ilie wrren always shopped every day, and they always brought flo\ers back. I sat on the balcony for aWile and then I ~nt down in the garden. It was a nice day. But I was glad v.hen I saw them [!Draine and Bob] cane back. So yes, that was Interlaken. The hotel was Belvidere, I renember because that wu; the nama of my car. We ~t to a lot of interesting Inn's, you know stay OV"ernight. Their beds, their quilt ewers are all filled with feathers. Q: J:k>TNll filled? A: Yes. And oh my Gc:xi, you sink dCMO. in there, you think you're never going to get out of there again. Q: Was it cold at night lti1.en you tere there? A: No, it "AlaS cold for us. It was in May and !.Draine and &>b had E!llerything on men they tent up liihere it was cold. But I sat with a light sweater on in the garden. But people \ere all running aroun:l with short sleev-es, they v.ere used to it, you know. Q: They thought it 'IIIJaS warm. A: Ch yes. And at night it got pretty cool. So anyhow -owe ~t around to where Bob WiS a prisoner [PGJ]. \Ell, in this one tom, I don't know, Hapsberg or sanething, he wanted to see mere he was a prisoner, you know. Q: He had been a PGl [Prisoner Of War] during W:>rld War II. A: Yes. we traveled aroun:l a lot. You didn't see so lllll1Y cars. They [the native people] tere bicycling and walking. People walk an awful lot there. But the scenery was just beautiful. Ehi of Side One, Tape 'lbree L: • • . ~ T.Ere in Munich, in the Holiday Inn mere the Beatles had sung Yellow Submarine. \okll, that \\liS a cocktail lounge in this Holiday Inn. Q: Ch, they had played there v.hen they had just started? L: I guess. So that's how they named it I guess. It 'W.S very mxiem, just like downtown Chicago. We stayed there and \..e could look out our window and see ~re the Olympia 'WaS going to be, there llere still bJ.ilding yet. (pause) A: • • • the street's were so narrow that if a bus came down, nothing else could go doWl that street until it got out of the way. But ~ went to a restaurant that had all--like deer meat and Q: Wild garre and stuff like that? A: Yes. And they had arerything so nice in there. After I saw their tray [Loraine and Bob] I wished I had ordered it. But I 'W.S scared of W:lat I was going to get, you know. Q: Did that rem:inl you of v.hen your dad used to lrunt? A: Yes. 'lhen at another place there was a young couple, I guess they were on their v.e:lding trip or sa:Ething. 'Ihey wanted a steak, rut they wanted it not done so tDJCh, you know. Q: Rare? A: Rare, yes. 'lbey didn't know how to ask for it, so I told them, ''Kleine bisse rote.11 You know, a little bit red. So I told the waiter lfilat they wanted. And he said, ''Oh thank you, I like to please.11 'lbey [the waiters] spoke sooe rough English, you know What I uean • • • Q: All the waiter spoke mstly German, but they spoke a little bit of English? A: Right, yes. So, oh he W:lS tickled with that. 'Ihen this other place ~re they had all the wild things, she said too, 110h you should try it.11 'lhere was deer uea.t and lamb I think, ani birds some kinds of birds. Q: Like pheasants and things like that? A: Yes. It wa.s a fancy place you should have seen it--red velvet and gold stuff. Ellrerything was sparkling, it was real pretty. Yes, ~ had a lot of experieoces there [in Europe]. 'Ihe first one, What -was the first one? College place? L: Heidelberg? A: Yes. You should see the fellows, you know, they ware laying around on the grass with an old table cloth selling old jewle:ry and stuff like that to make mney. I -was so interested with the Wildings, because it's know:t for its college. Jvbstly for tredical. It \\liS very interesting there. Each town was different you know. And the streets '\Ere so narrow. Q: Were they one way streets? A: :tb. Q: :tb. You could go both ways, 'but you just had to A: You just had to wait mtil your turn cane. Ard then the castles, oh they '\Ere beautiful. That one day when '\E '\Ent on the Rhine River, on the boat, it was funny you know. We walked to the depot to get the train. 'Ihe train took us to a to'Wtl Yhere wa \IU\lld get the boat. But '\E had to take a bus then, didn't v.-e? Well that day anyhow, we walked, ~had a train, wa had a boat, and a horse an:i buggy, and the river, and a bus. L: And a taxi. A: And a tari. Q: You just used all different kinds of transportation just in one day? A: Yes. We saw all these castles up on highest hills. Q: Along the river? A: MJst of them, yes. In one place there ware ~castles, one on each hill near each other. 'Ihey ~re brothers. I guess they couldn't get along in one, so they had to make one for each of than. And it was all grapes, all along the river there '\Ere grape vines. Q: 'Ihis was along the Rhine River? A: Right, yes. That took us up to Cologne. L: ve saw the lDrali. A: The lDrali. Q: Wlat's that? A: It1 s a big rock that sticks out into the river and it1 s supposed to coax nen in there and drom them. Q: Ch, and it wrecks their boat? A: Yes. So yes, that was <Nell known. 'Ihey announced it on the boat, you know. I bought some film on the boat ani those pictures ware lousy. Q: Ch, they don1 t have very goa:i film there? A: It wasn't. Maybe it was just mine, it was an old one [camera]. But my pictures ~en't very clear. It was nice that~ had that all in one day, that traveling you know. Their trains are real , ~ll they're canfortable. Q: Axe they different fran the trains here? A: Oh, yes. The seats are kin:i of boxed in you knO'W'. On the bus I think you could get on and get off with out paying. Q: Did you just pay one fee and then keep your ticket? L: I don't know', ~ just got on and off. Q: They didn't say anything? L: I don't know how Bob did it. A: Well, I saw some people that got on and then got off at the next stop and I didn't see than pay anything. But it was furmy in France, I had a hot chocolate, I didn't know ~t else to order. I didn't know' what their coffee was like. We didn't have anything to eat, I don't think. Yes. But every place you go--oh this one place the bakery oh my God. There's a garden and they had tables all around and lattice w:>rk. It's known for its cakes. Oh., they ~re all whip-cream and chocolate, nuts and everything. Oh my God, you could gain 0\1enty pounls in a day. (laughter) Each to~ seeDEd to have sooething different, that was attractive. We 'iNent in this one tcM:l and the poeple could bring their dogs right up 'into the restaurants and tie than to the table leg. Have than right with them, no fuss about it. Q: W:ruld that be outside eating in the garden or acutally inside in the restaurant? A: Up a elevator, on the seconi floor. Yes. I don't know W:tat else I was going to say. Oler where this cake place -was, boy that was a garden. It was real nice, but it was so urrusual to see just cake, you know. Q: But it was a bakery. 'That TNas their specialty. A: Yes. And then wa want up to • • • W:tere was that ~way north with the old, old cl:uJrches? I don't know, sooething about that tow:1 we wanted to get sane old relics you know. L: Oberamergau. A: Yes. 1: 'ThatIs mere the Passion Plays are. Q: Oh, the Passion Plays. L: 1he entire town is painted with Biblical scenes. 'Ihey have beautiful ~carved nativity scenes, an entire city. A: Yes. 'Ihe windCMS in the stores ~redress so beautifully. A little dog cane along arxi '\let the lamp-post ani a guy caiiE along with a bucket of water arxi washed it off am ~pt it in the street. Everything was so clean. 'lhat's why sooe of the pictures that 11e took, the reflections across the street, stores windows reflecte:l the same picture. I mean, ~ saw the sane picture in the win:lOW". Everything was so shiny ani clean. Q: Was that just in this one town, or did you notice all over Germany things ~e real clean? A: tell, I think they ~re pretty clean all CNer. You never saw a piece of paper in the streets. \e ~t in a grocery store, just to get an idea of \Jlat they sold. Bob was interested in grocery stores. Q: Since Bob w:>rked for A & P he was interested. A: Yes. 'Ihe w:xnen there just bring a bag, a shopping bag. They just thrOW" arerything in there. Ani they don't have to b.mdle things up you know. Little babies were left in their l:uggies outside the door. You YX>Uldn' t do that here. \-bile they [the tlDthers] went in shopping. Boy, I thought to myself, 'W:lat a different living here. 'lhe fruit arxi everything that--the carrots had the green on it. 11\rerything was just the way it is. Yes, that was real nice. 'Ihey had a lot of picnic groves too. Q: Is there anything else you ra:nanber about Germany that stands out in your mind? A: Well, the fluffy quilts, the ewers. You could get ruried in them. Then there ~one hotel, I could lay on the bed ani look out the windOW". Our car it 'ii!BS a little, \Jlat do you call it? L: Volkswagen. A: Yes. Parked down in the street. 'lhe river ran right along there. Arrl you could look across the river. A bridge was going across the river and there 'ii!BB a park on the other side. \e TNB.lked around there for cM1ile, it 'iliBB nice just to be BDDng the people, you know. Ani boats fran all countries--the flags were fran all countries. Big ships went dovn that river. At the college tolllll. [Heidelberg] there too, they have big ships going past. Yes, even the hotel we stayed in they had like palm trees trimed nice. The people could have dogs arxi they ~re put in a kennel dCMl in the back yard. 'Ihey each [the dogs] have a house of their own. Q: So people traveled with their pets? A: Yes. Q: A lot of the hotels hal places to keep pets? A: Ch yes. lhey bad little houses for them and it was all wired in and an attendent goes out there e.Tery once in awhile. And the roadways were very, very good. Q: Did they have speed limits there? A: Yes, I think they did. Didn't they? Q: Bob did the driving, right? A: was Ch, and we came to one place mere they stopped tha rock slide ani it was cODii.ng do'W:l on that road. e people. lhere Bob v.e1t fNer ani told them he was a policanan too, (laughter) fran Amarica you know. L: From Clti.cago. A: Chicago. But we had to wait until they cleaned it all off and then we could go ahea:l. Then we stopped at one place, we were going to stay there for the night. It was starting to get dark. And I noticed a lot of snow shoes on the front porch. Oh, it was obnoxious vtbat they wanted to have for CNer night, just obnoxious. Everybody said your crazy and turned away. Well if you didn't know the IIDney value you w:ruld get taken in, you know. But we had to go further, then through a turm.el. Ch, that scared m. (laughter) We finally got to a place. But the hotels v.ere pretty good. Sanetime you ~uld get there just as saneone was leaving, you'd have to wait wtil they'd paid up the roan, you know. MJst of them had little elevators. When we first lande:i there we stayed in an airport hotel. It was kind of like in the deal, you know. And I founi empty gtm shells in the parking lot. Q: Was this in M.mich? L: Frankfurt. Q: Ch, you flew into Frankfurt. A: Yes. Spelled just like a frankfurt. But it was a real nice hotel. Except I told the girl--she ~ema pillow, it was not even as thick as this one here. An::1 I said, 'Ich IIDre grocer hissen.11 I want a bigger pillow. Ani she just looked at rre kind of funny. She cane back with one about an inch difference. It 'WaS alright, but that night I fell out of bed. (laughter) loraine and Bob had the bed and I had a cot. It was low down to the floor and there wasn't hardly any springs in it. I turned CNer and I was on the floor. (laughter) But outside of that, the bedding was real nice. Q: You know we're talking a little bit about you traveling with Loraine and Bob, but we haven't really talked too mxh about your daughters and their growing up. Ib you want to talk about Loraine and Phyllis a little bit? A: Wlen they ~re growing up? Q: Yes. Just tell me a little bit about them going to school and getting uarried ••• A: <h yes. Well, I don't know how old they were men they got married. Oh, lDraine WiS just getting out of school. Q: So l.oraine was eighteen? A: Yes. She waited until Bob [Hubley] care llcm! fran the army. We had an AnErican legion hall reception. But I had to scrape all wer to get enough tickets for ham, you know. I made potato salad and Mrs. ~l:Jnann helped, so did Gert my sister. Potato salad and ham. And with Phyllis she had a nice wedding too, in a great big restaurant. Q: The reception was in a restaurant? A: Yes. L: Both had clrurch veddings in the same church. A: Ch yes, they both had church w=ddings. Q: \ohat clrurch did they get married in? L: Salem, ~ther. A: Yes. L: 'Ihe old Salem in 68th and Fmerald. A: loraine and Bob v.ent to Michigan for their honeymxm. Phyllis [and Stephen Grwe] ~nt to Wisconsin. Q: Neither one of the girls v.ent on in school but, they both graduated fran high school. Since you ~t on to a business college, did you ever think of having than go on in school? Or did they want to go on? A: Well, I left it up to than. I left it up to than and pick out v.hat they wanted to do. Loraine did v.nrk during vacations before she graduated. L: And Honey [Phyllis] ~t to ~rk at Shell [Oil Co.]. A: I don't think she ~rked any other place. Q: Yes, she w:>rked in a real estate office. L: Yes, but that was after she married your dad [Stephen Grwe]. Q: Oh. Wlat kinds of chores did they have to do ~they were going to school? Did they have to help out? Christmas-time 1967 First Row: Phyllis and Steve Grove Second Row: Loraine Hubley, Kim Grove, Hurbert Witt, Robert Hubley, Marie Witt Marie Witt A: Ch yes. 'lhey always did help out. We divide it up. \oe each w:>uld have tw:> rooms to do, arrl we l«Jllld switch the next week. W:t.en we first lWiled out to, mat was it again? Q: Troy? A: Yes. That was country to us. It -was all open, you know, only about four houses. We l\ere the first ones to get gas, electric, ani telephone. Q: fuw long had you lived there before you got the telephone, gas and electric? A: Ch, it was just about, I'd say about nine m::mths. Q: Oh, it wasn't too long after you had UDV"ed out there. A: N:>. \oe had a little gas range, with just the biD turners. 'Ihe water we got fran the fire pump in the comer. That didn't take long and we got water. They started digging up the street then. It came down to us. Ani then other houses started being luilt. How long did we live there? L: \ell fran 1938 to 1955. Q: About twenty years, something like that. A: vell 'We IID\Tal there Wl.en Loraine WJ.S ten years old. L: From 1938 to 1955. Q: Se.renteen. L: M.tst have been about seventeen. A: Yes. Q: 'Ihey grew up there. So ~yourroved out here [Chicago Ridge] loraine had already gotten married. A: Ch, yes. Q: fu.t Phyllis was still living with you ...tlen you rroved here to Cllicago Ridge? A: Yes. Ch yes, she said, "I'11 neV"er get married. I might as well stay here." Well it wasn't long that she started getting interested in • . (Stephen) She \mlld bring her girl frien:is sooetimes to stay CNer night; out in the country. Q: 'lhis 'Was out :in the country then? A: Yes. Well, these luildings ~e luild all at once, you know. 'lhey were all in different stages of being done. N:>t a lot of changes were made in the houses. lhe people on each side added a roan in the back. Well, tNe didn't need it. Q: lhis house is just a DiU bedroom house. So it's quite a bit smaller than the house you had before. Isn't it? A: N:> , this is bigger• lhose roans were real small ooer there. lhis dining roan could be a third bedroan. It's got a closet in there. L: They l.Nere very happy W:len they came here, because their other house was fran:e and Grandpa, being a bricklayer, always wanted to live in a brick ~. 'Ihey saw this ani both liked it • . . A: He 'Wmlted to make a fire-place out of that wall over there [at the em of the living roan] • But he was afraid of it sticking out in the driveway too mJCh. lhis -was enought for us then. He enjoyed it too. We planted those trees (e.rergreens in the front yard) the year after •.. We m:Ned in on Armistice Day. So that was just last week. But v.e di.dn' t plant anything until the following spring. Q: Were there any trees out here? A: N:>. Q: It was just k:i.ni of open prairie? A: Yes. The dog v.uuld get stuck in the back yard in the IIJJd. (laughter) I had to go out a couple of times and p.1ll him out of the IIl.1d. Q: We never talked DUCh about pets. Did you have pets ~youv.ere little, at home? A: Ch, yes. We always did have a dog ani a cat. We always had them, even when the children were small. Well, for aWhile there I di.dn' t. Well, you live in a tw:> story house its hard. Th.e first dog v.e had, ~ got r,ihen tNe l~Ere there. 'The girl dow:1 stairs threw him over the banister fran the second floor. He w:ts just a .J;UPPY, you know. I thought sure he w:ruld be killed, h.lt he was just lane for a couple of days. But I had to tell them [the children] not to do that. Q: Is that "When they t.Nere real little girls ani they didn't know any better? A: Yes. lhey l.Nere an Irish family. lhey used to be so jealous. My husband's cousin--that he staye:i with when he can:e from Germany--had a girl friend ~'iJB.S married and she bad a little girl that was kind of heavy. 'Ihey v.ere pretty well to do, he [the husband] made good nnney. Evertlrlng that she [the little girl] w:>uld out-grow, she [the nnther] w:ruld pack in a box and sencl to us. 1he girls had silk u.rrlerware and lace pettycoats and everything. Well, people t.Nere so jealous. \oben I was w:>rking and my husbanl wasn't he did the laundry. He w:ruld hang it out and E!V'erthing you know. He w:ruld always say, oh such fancy lace and all this stuff, you know. Marie Witt It just sea:ned like • . . like the family TAent down after the w:u: c:»er there [Gernany]. 'lhere TAere so IIBilY of than died in the war. Arrl as they got older . • . now the name dies out with me. Because my husbani 1s brothers are all dead. Arrl their sons got killed in the war. So the name is wiped out there. Ani here I 1m the only Witt. And Bliss [her maiden n.ame] there are SC'IIm Bliss1 because there ~e boys born. Q: Sane of your brothers; they had children. A: My brothers, yes. Ebd of Side Two, Tape Three
|Title||Witt, Marie - Interview and Memoir|
Social Life and Customs
World War, 1914-1918
World War, 1939-1945
|Description||Witt, German-American, discusses life in Chicago during the early 20th century as a child of German immigrants: parents and family, home life, schooling, work at Swift and Co., marriage and children, German relatives, and a trip to Germany.|
|Creator||Witt, Marie (1907-1988)|
|Contributing Institution||Oral History Collection, Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Contributors||Grove, Kimberly [interviewer]|
|Digital Format||PDF; MP3|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Title||Marie Witt Memoir|
|Source||Marie Witt Memoir.pdf|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
University of Illinois at Springfield
Norris L Brookens Library
Marie Witt Memoir
W783. Witt, Marie (1907-1988)
Interview and memoir
3 tapes, 195 mins., 51 pp.
Witt, German-American, discusses life in Chicago during the early 20th century
as a child of German immigrants: parents and family, home life, schooling, work
at Swift and Co., marriage and children, German relatives, and a trip to Germany.
Interview by Kimberly Grove, 1986
See collateral file
Archives/Special Collections LIB 144
University of Illinois at Springfield
One University Plaza, MS BRK 140
Springfield IL 62703-5407
© 1986, University of Illinois Board of Trustees
Marie Witt Memoir
COPYRIGHT@ 1987 SANGAMON STATE UNIVERSITY, SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS.
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including phptocopying and recording or hy any information storage pr retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Oral History Office, Sangamon State University, Springfield, Illinois 62708.
Marie Witt, 1972
Table of Contents
Family History .
Marie 1 s Husband Hurbert Witt
Early Fmploynent at Swift & Co.
Marie Witt 1 s Parents Schooling.
Ma.rrie:l Life Children Hurbert Witt German Relatives 1972 European Trip Children 1 .11 .13 .17 .19 .24 .24 .26 .28 .31 .37 .44
Marie Witt, Q::.tober 25, 1986, Orl.cago Ridge, Illinois.
Kimberly Grwe, Intervie\'er.
Q: Okay, first v.e v.ere going to start out talking about your m:m and your dad ani how they care 0\/er here from Germany.
A: Okay, my father was John Bliss and he was fran Germany. He came CNer here because he lOlled hunting ani fishing. He mistakenly killed a dear on a \\ealthy man's property. He knew he was in trouble, so he thought, he wanted to corre here anyway so this was the time to corre. So he cane and he was a w:>cxltumer and incidentally, made the railing or banister in the Chicago Theater. He made the turn and dow:1 when no one else could do it. But he didn't get the credit for it because the man that hired him took the credit. So he lOV"ed gocxl w:xxl, he made tables, benches, lanps and everything that could be made with ~cxl.
Q: Do you remember ~he cane CNer? Remember around what year it was?
A: N:::>, I don't know.
Q: You don't ranember, okay. ve can find that out later. (1889)
A: He n:et my n:other at a boarding house. She had corre O'i/er here with
her sister and a rich old lady that was deaf and wanted canpany caning back fran there .
Q: Okay, they came from Germany too.
A: 1hey cane from Genmny too. And they got a job in the boarding house, making beds and everything like that. And so she got acquainted with my father and and they got rrarried. (Jnne 27, 1890)
Q: WB.s your father the only one fran the family me came CNer?
A: He was the only one as far as I know. He only had a cousin here. And ~ never did really associate back and forth. vel! they lived quite a ways fran here so--they called us one time and told us that my father's father died and that they had a beautiful bowl sent to than to deliver to us. It was written on in German silver, a little part about life. It was given to than (Marie's grandparents) on their silver anniversary. And his father I guess wanted him to have it.
Q: This was on your m:m an:l dad's silver anniversary?
A: No, it was his father's armiversary.
Q: Oh, okay.
A: And so TAE TAEnt up there arrl got it. I don't knCM' ~t the verse on it is, but it was sOOEthing about good health long life, ani all that. Now it's been passed down to Kinmy Gr011e, so I wanted it to stay in the family. And she is the only grarrlchild I have. Well anyhow, my DDther was one of five girls fran there. ~of them came, my unther ani another one.
Q: Wlich sister? Ib you remember
A: Her sister, Agnes.
Q: And your IIDtber was Mary?
A: Yes. And they came wi.th this lady so anyhow, Agnes married a man that had a big greenhouse in Winnetka, Illinois. And my IIDther married my father who was a w:>cxitumer. ~of the other sisters married farmers up in Michigan.
Q: So m::>re of the sisters cane wer later?
A: Yes, they CBilE later with their n:other.
A: There was also a brother in that family rut he didn't want to come here. And they lost all trace of him.
A: So there's no history fran him.
Q: Ib you kn.c::M Wt.y your nan and her sister decided to COllE CNer here?
A: \Ell, because the twJ girls ~re here already and they ~re doing so good. And the DDther--their IIDther thought she's getting old too, she can't be alone wer there. So she came with them. I named the girls and nCM" I can't think of than all. I just said Agnes and •••
Q: 'Ihere was Agnes , Teresa, Martha . • •
Q: Ida and Mary?
A: Yes. 'lhe other girls, em married fa.rroors and the one married the greenhouse keeper. And Ida married a m:m who had a shoe store. He did repairs and sold new shoes. And my m::>ther of course, married John.
Q: Yes. N:>w men they first came, did they COllE in fran New York?
Q: '!hey came in on a sailing ship?
A: en a boat, yes. I don't know, I think it 'WaS a sailing ship. I don't remember too much of that.
Q: Yes. So they came in fran New York, how did they decide to C()[l£ to Chicago? Ib you know?
A: \ell this old lady • • .
Q: Oh, the old lady was coming to Chicago?
A: Yes. I guess she owned the boarding house that the girls w:>rked in. Well anyhow, she ~s the starter of it all. Then being that they ~re kind of split up all c:Ner (later When all the sisters married) ~ (Marie's family) had places to go to visit and everything. It 'WaS very nice. (pause) And v.hat else 'WaS I going to say • . •
Q: Your nnn met your dad at the boarding house, he 'iNS.S staying there?
Q: Vhen he first came c:Ner?
A: He w:>rked, rut he just lived there. Yes.
Q: Ib you know \, I don't think so. None of them did then because they \\1ere just w:>rking to live, you know.
Q: And they couldn't really afford any real big ~ding.
A: Right. But then my IIDther 's IIDther, -well the family rume 'iNS.S Alder.
A: And I named all the girls. My mother's mother 'W:lrked in that greenhouse too. She started a fire in the stwe for the school children, in their school roan. She had a cow, and she had it stake:l out in the garden.
Q: was this here in Chicago? Or up in Wisconsin?
A: N:>, this ms in Wirm.etka.
Q: In Winnetka.
A: Yes, and so one day the cow pulled her aver the stake she was putting in the ground. She hurt her back, I guess it broke her spine or SOIIEthing. She was an invalid.
Q: She couldn't walk then?
A: NJ. She ~nt to stay with my mother. My IIDther took her in arrl took care of her, but then my IIDther had six children, you know. It was pretty hard to handle it all. I can remember I was about three years old, When my father bad her in the horse ani hlggy, arrl ~taking her to ... \ell first my brother took her to Michigan to go with the other daughters, those on the farm. An:l neither one of than w:ruld take her, so he had to bring her back again. And my father took her in a horse and bJggy out to oak Forest, where she died. Vbat year that was I just surmise, me being three years old. It nust, that ms • . .
Q: About 1910 or
Q: • something like that?
A: Yes, about 1910.
Q: vas that like an old peoples bane, in Oak Forest?
A: Yes. It's still there, it's real big now, at Oak Forest, Illinois. But I don't know how long she was there, but she died there.
A: And the other girls all said that~ didn't want her in our house. Well YE had her for a long t:ine. I don't know how long, rut I can renanber When she lliBB in the bedroan an:l she almys had little red striped peppermints for us children. She spoke uostly German arrl she taught me a little Gel.1lml poan. Should I say it?
A: Ich bin klein, Mein herz ist rein, Soli dianand drirm "-Dhnen, Aber Jesu allein.
Q: And that means in Fnglish?
A: I an small, My heart is clean, N::> one will live there, but Jesus alone.
Q: And you remember that fran when your grandma told you.
A: Right. That was a long t:in:e ago. Seventy-six years ago.
Q: Yes. llJ you remember anything else about her? You YEre pretty small.
A: I was pretty small. fu.t I ahays was ~lcane to cane in and talk to her. She liked canpany. Well then taking her to Oak Forest relieve:i a lot fran my mther, b.lt then my mther still had a large family to take care of.
Q: NN, your rran and dad net in the boarding house, arxi did they court for av.hile?
A: I suppose they had, you know to get acquainted.
Q: Am then did they buy a ~ right away, or did they rent san ething?
A: \ell, they 10011e:i then to Sixty-third and M:>rgan, :in Chicago. And
they just rented a little apart:n:Ent. And my father got jobs all (JIJer. But he still wanted to have a (~odw:>rking) machine at home, to do WJrk.
Q: He liked to do the WJOdtuming, b.lt v.bat other kinds of things r.«ruld he do?
A: He liked to make boats. And eventually ~ 10011ed to 7140 Aberdeen Street, and had a big upstairs roan. My father b.lilt himself a boat, and all the neighbors thought he -was insane.
Q: He l:uilt it upstairs, in the attic.
A: Yes. He built this boat in the upstairs roan, and they said, ''How are you ever going to get that out of here?" Well the wirxlows ~re double sash so you took the W:lole frane out and just put boards fran the winiow doWl to the street 'Where a truck -was parked. It just slid dom on the boards to the truck and got on there.
A: It was just about, I don't know, it was some kind of a--like the Fourth of July.
Q: Ch, a holiday, one of the holidays or something.
A: Sane kind of a holiday for the country you know". So he had an lmerican flag on it, the front ani the back men they took it dov.n to Gall..Uiet Lake. I:>owl. in Ca.lUIIEt lake \\liS a branch off of lake Michigan. So ~ ~t right fran the, lake Michigan \\e ¥.ent right into the part mere he had it parked. Atxl it ws real nice. Us children had outings every 8\.lJxlay in it. Well, then he made a rCMboat for my brothers, because they ¥Jere always swimning out in the lake there. My father had the boats parked in a boat house, it's like a chili.
A: And he had to pay to have it parked inside. And ~ had to walk on a board walk, up (JIJer the water, out to get to ~re the boat was. That's Vihere he had it parked. It was an outing for all of us. 'Ihe man that m.ned this boat house, his son al-ways w;m.t swimning with my brothers. And it happened. that he got caught in sea-Y.leed and drov.ne:l. Well , my
father felt so bad about that, he took the rowboat, tied it behind his boat ani took it out to the middle of Calunet Lake. And drwe a hole in the bottan ani sunk it. Ha said he didn't wmt any IIDre children to dr
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