Boxer, Farmer, Messeure.
1909-1910 Sw Qtr Sec 35 Lismore Twp Nobles Co., 1910-1933 NE Qtr Sec 23 Larkin Twp. Nobles Co., Minnesota. 1933-1935 Se Quarter
Recored life's story (20 hrs. on tape). Legally blind.
Obituary of Francis Arens 1909-1991 in St. Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press:
Francis E., age 81 of St. Paul. Husband of Henrietta. Father of David & wife Barbara, Lakeville, Mrs. Alan (Beverly) Gerber, Richfield, Robert & wife LaVae, St. Paul, Gerald & wife Peggy McHenry-Arens, E. Longmeadow, MA, Marvin & wife Colette, Houston, Texas, Dianna Arens (Russel Anthony), River Falls, Wisconsin, Rochelle Arens (Kenneth Jewett), Riseville; 14 grandchildren & t great-grandchildren. Funeral leaving the WILLWERSCHEID & PETERS MORTUARY, 1167 Grand at 9:40 am Tuesday. Mass of Christian Burial CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY, 10am. Friends may call from 6:30-8:30pm Monday (TODAY), parish vigil 7:30pm Monday.
FRANCIS ARENS' (1909-1991) MEMORIES
In the 1970s my folks, Francis and Henrietta, had a cat. Dad always thought he should record his cat's meow and sell it for a cat food commercial, like Morris. The cat died without being recorded. Dad said he didn't want that to happen to him so he recorded his life's memories on 20 hours of tape. He was legally blind from childhood. He used a tape recorder and portable radio a lot.
I'm Bob Arens (1937 - ). I've begun to transcribe Dad's tapes. I've only got about 1/2 hour of it done so far. Here it is:
``I´m going to record my life's history from the day of birth to the present day. I was born on June the fourth 1909 in the township of Lismore, Nobles County on the Phillip Hendel farm, which was about half way between Lismore and Adrian. I will give you a little background now on my folks. My mother was born to the Luxembourger parents of Philip Hendel, and her mother was Amelia Busch, a direct descendent, a first cousin of Anheiser Busch. And they came to Lismore Township from Caledonia, Minnesota, and had first come to Caledonia from Luxembourg. My mother had four brothers and four sisters. There was nine children in the family. And my father was born to the parents of Frank Arens and Katherine Koob. They were born in Luxembourg also and they came to this country and settled around Remsen, Iowa. And dad, as a young man, worked in Bauer's wagon shop [Adrian, MN] from 1898 to 1900 when he married my mother, Theresa Hendel [She worked in 'Hendel's' hotel in Adrian, MN]. Dad and mother got married in the year 1900 and they started farming on a farm 4 miles south of Wilmont. That was in Larkin Township ... not a stick or a tree on the place. And dad built a building which served them for one year. The building contained their hog house, their cattle barn, their horse barn, their chicken coop, and one room was built here about 2 foot above ground with a wooden floor in and that was their bedroom and their kitchen and their living quarters. They were in that building for one year and then the house was completed so they moved in the house. And while they lived in there, to start with, they had two children: my oldest sister, Genevieve, and my oldest brother, Phillip. They lived there for 3 years and then grandpa Hendel, Philip Hendel, talked 'em into moving to Lismore Township to live on his farm. Well, he lived there for six years and then he moved back to his original farm that he had rented out for them six years. The six years they lived on grandpa Hendel's farm, there were 5 sons born to Dad and Mother. The first 3 died in infancy and then the fourth one was my brother, Alphonse. He was about oh almost two years older than I was and then I was born on June 4, 1909. And that following first of March they moved back to the farm, to dad's farm, 4 miles south of Wilmont and there's where I grew up. I lived on that farm for almost 24 years.
Now, I will start relating to you events and incidents that occurred in the first 5 years of my life. The first events that I'm able to remember and recall is in the year 1912. It was a real good year for growin' corps and dad had another quarter rented just a little south and across the road east from his home place. He had that rented and during thrashin' time he raised a good yield and the wagons wasn't able to haul it fast enough home in the granary, so they just run the grain on a pile there 'till the wagons would come again, you know. And the reason I remember that quite well is after the threshers had left, I rode along on the wagon with dad down there to shovel up the grain off the ground and shovel it in the wagon. He had to make 3 or 4 trips, but one of the trips, I fell off that wagon standin' there while he was shovelin' off and I bumped my head on the hub of the wagon wheel on my downward fall and I started bleedin' through my scalp and I thought that was pretty serious but I guess it wasn't near that serious. And then the next event I remember was ... I was a little over 4 years old when my kid brother was born, Mathew Arens. It was a real windy hot day and we had the doors open in the house. I was the only one home besides mother, dad and then the doctor had come out. This happened to be on the 15th of June, 1913. And they had quite a time I guess of keepin' me out of the bedroom where my mother was and I know Doc Williams was the attending physician and he gave me a handful of pennies to go out in the kitchen and stay there. Well, I had opened the door goin' out to the kitchen and I didn't quite make it through when the wind brought the door shut and it slammed on my hand where I was holdin' my pennies in and the pennies scattered all over the floor. Doc Williams, he helped me pick up all the pennies and I stayed in the kitchen after that. They tell me also when I was two year old, my mother took me along down to Montrose, Missouri where my widowed grandmother [Justine Koob] was livin'. And the incident that happened on the way down there was ... I guess I was gettin' purty restless and a kinda rambunctious and she had taken a doll along for me to play with on the way down ridin' in the train, you know. And gittin' a kinda restless and rambunctious she told me if I didn't behave myself she'd throw the doll away. And I didn't believe it and so she, without me knowin' it, she pretended she threw the doll out the window. And oh, did I hate that, you know ... the doll, my doll was gone. Well, then she told me that if I'd behave myself and was good and promised I'd be good the rest of the way, she'd see to it that she could bring the doll back. So she pretended to bring the doll back. And sure enough, there the doll was! I guess she had hid it behind her on the seats. Pretended, when she threw it out the window, you know. Boy, I thought that was great that she could do that. So, I kinda worked my way over the window, and I thought that was quite a stunt she pulled, so I threw the doll out the window and, asked her if she could bring it back. Now, I asked her to bring the doll back again because I thought that was quite a trick. But that was the end of my doll there, so, I guess that trick backfired a little bit on my mother.
In July of 1913 I also went along with Paw. We always called 'em Maw and Paw in them days. So I went along with Paw over with the wagon and the team to the neighbors (it was about a mile and a half from 'r place) to borrow their potato sprayer to spray our potatoes for potato bugs with that parascreen. And everything was, ... there was nothin' in the sky that would predict that there was a ... that it was goina rain ... the sky was clear and everything. But, when we got about halfway home, there's a terrible storm came up from the west. We was going west. We had to face it comin'. And dad made the horses go as fast as he could, you know, with pulling that potato sprayer behind ... and we didn't make it. About half way home one of our horses started snortin' to beat the band, indication' that there was a real bad storm. And the clouds were low to the ground and they just seemed to roll toward us, ya know, and it smelled real salty, ya know, and so all at once the rain and the hail come and the horses didn't want to go against it, so dad jumped off quick and had me git under the wagon and he unhitched the team and faced 'em toward the wagon so they wouldn't be facin' the storm, and I was so scared. I was barefooted and everything and had a straw hat on, not knowin' what the word, you might say, 'starved' meant. And I kept atellin' dad, 'I was goina die, I was gona starve', ya know. And that got dad more scared and everything, ya know. And the storm didn't last very long ... the hail and that ... I would say about 15 minutes so dad turned the team around again, and backed 'em up over across the tongue and hitched 'em up and I got on the wagon ... he held me, ya know, and then when we got home, my mother, maw come out and took me in and warmed my feet in warm water and everything. Boy, I was purtty darn stiff and everything, I can tell you that. So, that was another incident I remember before I was 5 years old.
Another incident that happened ... I was three years old, and of course I'd have to take my ... a ... mother, maw would put me to bed about one o'clock and then I'd have to take my afternoon nap, ya know. Well, this afternoon I slept quite a long time and when I woke up, nobody was around, and oh, did I git scared. I started hollerin' for maw, hollerin' for maw, ya know, and runnin' through the house in different rooms. So I finally took to the outside and started hollerin' for maw, ya know. Here she was, out gatherin' the eggs. She had just come out of the horse barn. The chickens laid all over, ya know, we didn't keep 'em penned up at all, they got free roamin' of the farm. By that time dad had several more buildings built. He had a horse barn and a granary ... no, a corncrib, a couple corn cribs and a little hen house and a tool shed for the engine and all that, ya know. Was I glad to see maw then, because I was just scared to death that they ... everybody had left me.
Too, this happened, I was about 4 1/2 years old, it was supper time ... we were all sittin' at the table and then I called for a slice of bread, ya know, and dad took the slice of bread off the plate, off of a plate there, and asked me what I wanted on it ... did I want butter or syrup or jam or what I wanted on there, ya know. And I had somethin' in mind that I was goin' say that was pretty nasty, ya know, and I just wouldn't dare bring it out and there I was, ya know, not answerin' 'im. "Now", he says, "whatya want on yur bread?", he says, "now you tell me, what do you want on your bread?", ya know. And there I stood. Well, and then about that time, "Well, if your not agoin' a tell me", he says, "then we're goina lock ya down cellar." Now then, so he got ahold of me an' put me off the chair and my older brother, Philip, he opened the cellar door that was in the panty going down stairs, and he was about to put me down cellar when I told him I wanted some butter on it. So I thought he come out with that. But that was another scare I got.
This is another event that I remember quite vividly. This happened the 15th of August in 1913. Our family; dad, mother and us kids, went down to uncle Mike's place. That was my mother's brother. They lived just 3/4 of a mile south of us on the road. While we were down there, here another neighbor came to visit there and it was mister and misses Frank Remackel with their baby girl that they named, Henrietta. And what makes it so interesting that I remember was, when they first come in the door misses Remackel says to Maw, she says, "Ah ha, we beat ya, we beat ya." You see, their daughter, Henrietta, was born the 25th of May and my kid brother was born the 15th of June. So a, so that's how come that a Misses Frank Remackel says, "We beat ya, we beat ya". Now a, that is going to have quite a bit of significance later on in my life story that is think is quite a, quite sompin.
Oh yes, then in 1903, Maw's oldest sister died, the one that was married to Will Bauer, the one that run the wagon shop in Adrian that dad, dad worked for, Will Bauer. Ya, her oldest sister named Margaret, she died and left quite a family of children. There was 2 boys and 4 girls. And a, the children was all split up amongst the relatives. I know Paw and Maw, they took one of the girls, she was 7 years old at that time: Doris, Doris Bauer was her name. And my a, aunt Lou and uncle Frank that lived in Lismore, they took 2 of the girls. They took Armella and Jenny. And then the oldest girl, she was taken by my aunt Ann and uncle Lawrence that lived down in Nashville Tennessee. And my uncle Jake, that lived in Lismore, he took Leo Bauer, that was the oldest boy. And then my a, aunt Rose and uncle Ed that lived on the farm north of Lismore, they took Michael Bauer. So the children were all split up, but they all lived amongst relatives and they gotta, to visit each other once in a while. I know, dad and mother, paw and maw, they let a, a, Michael Bauer come and stay at our
place for a week and visit. And I remember when he was there visitin', he a, brought his 22 rifle along, and a, went out huntin' gophers, and I went along out. I was purty darn small then, I was maybe about 4 or 5 years old and, and I wouldn't sit still long enough that when he would whistle an' gopher ud pop his head out, I'd move, you know, and the gopher would scram down the hole, and oh, he got so mad at me. And a, I told dad, told paw, how, how mad a, Michael Bauer got at me. And, and, dad give him a goin' over; told 'im if he started cussin' us kids why he could put that rifle away, and leave it away and, and forget about huntin' gophers.
It was also in the newspapers, I remember seein' great big heavy type, ya know, at the top of the page, the first page, ya know, and I don't think I was able ta tell what is was but I know my older sister was sain' that that was a big headliner in there about where the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank. And then she explained to me too that that was a theory about in school and that that that was the punishment for the person sain' that, a, "...built sompin' that, a, God himself couldn't sink...", ya know. But then I guess he proved that he could sink it. That was another event that I remember quite well before I was five years old.
And then in the spring, it must have been about in April of 1913 ... Dad bought his first car. It was an Overland. And that, that was quite somethin'... the Overland. A, Dad, course was the only one that would drive it for quite a while. And evnins' after the chores and everything was done, we'd hafta go for a ride in the Overland. Well, we'd all git in the car. There was the whole works of us. There was Paw, Maw, Philip an' Gen and Doris and Alphonse and myself and then my brother ... (Now let's see now, this is latter on but, a, ya, that's when he bought the car but when we'd go for a ride ... this happened to be about in July and August ... I know my kid brother ... my cousin' Doris would hold him on her lap when we went for the ride.) And the ride consisted of two or three times around our orchard. That was, that was considered a nice, ha-ha, a nice ride. Ya, the orchard consisted of about, I would say ... about an acre. There was a lot of apple trees in the orchard but, ya, we'd drive around that ... it'd run clear down to the road and then back up by the house again and then we'd all pile out again and Dad 'ud pull the car in the shed. But it wasn't a regular garage. It was a space left for the car in the machine shed. It was a lean-to on the west side of the horse barn. That's where we kept the Overland. And that Overland had what they called 'Presto lights'. It had a tank on the running board that held that carbide. You mix that with water and then your headlights would be run by that. You'd have to loosen a little screw up there and drop the headlight lens down and take a match and light them lights. There'd be somebody there by the tank with a key to turn on the gas, ya know, and then you'd light 'em. But the taillight consisted of just a, a kerosene lamp ... a red reflector there. You'd hafta keep that full of kerosene. But that, that was for lights. And, a, the toolbox on the running board was on the other side. That, that was a toolbox ... you hada have your things in there. And, a, a ... ha ... also under the hood ... an oil can ... you hada have an oilcan there. Oh yes. That was one of the first things you looked at when you bought a car ... under the hood ... if there was a place there for an oil can. And, a, course no alcohol in the radiator at that time. You'd hafta drain it all the time. Or, if ya left it set a little while, you'd hafta throw a big blanket over it, or a lap robe so it wunt freeze up. And, a, the tires were the clinchers type tires. And all high pressure. They required 60 pounds of air pressure per cubic inch. And, a, the tires in them days didn't have any tread on at all ... they were all smooth. That's the way they come out ... smooth ... and with the inner tube in. And, a, there wasn't a demou ... ya, just a little rim on the outside that you took loose first, then you could slide the casing out, ya know, and this an' that. And, a, I know we'd go over to my uncle Ed's place there north of Lismore different Sunday afternoons. And, a, it was about, a, nine mile over there. And I know this one Sunday goin' over there one puncture, and two blow outs. And, oh, it took us a long time ... it was almost, almost ... we left shortly after dinner [noon] and it was half way to sundown before we got there so we didn't spend too much time visitin' but we always carried our patching equipment along with us, ya know. And, a, an extra spare tire or two. So, a, ya, by the time we got home all ar spares was, a, used up.
And then in 1909 my Grandpa Hendel died. He had a heart attack while he was in the hog lot feedin' the hogs. And, a, gosh, they never noticed him, but when they did notice him, it, it was quite a mess. The hogs had started eatin' away at 'im, ya know, and this and that and oh, my Grandma Hendel she, she, it really hit her hard. In fact, that was the beginning of her ... a ... becomin' ... a ... oh ... a... feeble minded and that. She, a, she was quite feeble minded. But, she lived, she lived until ... she lived another five years. But in those five years ... a ... my Uncle Frank and Aunt Lou kept her at their place. They lived in the town of Lismore. And, a, it had gotten so bad the last few years that they, a, she'd wander off, ya know, and things like that, so they had to keep her in the yard ... fenced in so she wouldn't stray away. Ya, and then too, when we'd go over there to visit 'em, we'd hafta go through that yard to the outside toilet. And the minute we'd got in that yard, she'd come toward us, ya know, and she'd wanna ... we'd have to hurry up toward the toilet and get in there and shut the door quick, ya know. But, she'd stay on the outside poundin' at the door, ya know, wantin' to git in to talk to us. And I'd stay sittin' in there until I figured she was gone ... it was safe to make a dash for the gate again to git out of that yard. But, that one time, I know, she got a hold of me. Ha-ha, and she started pettin' me on the head, and she was Luxembourger, "Oh, such a shaena booby, such a shaena booby" [pretty boy], she'd say, ya know. And she was nothin' but a ... a walking skeleton ... all skin and bone, and oh, I tell ya, it was really scary for us young kids ... a ... to have ... to have ... her have a hold of us. Grandma Hendel died, I think it was in the wintertime of 1914 [March, 1915]. We had a car then but, when it got to be winter, them smooth tires, and, and, it was useless to try to get through the road with that snow! You just put it up on blocks for the winter. So, when at the funeral, Grandma Hendel's funeral, Dad and Mother and my older sister drove to Lismore. That was, a, 9 miles with the, with the team and surrey. Drove over there for the funeral. That was quite a trip with a team and buggy, when you had a car at home. Of course you couldn't use the car.
The following incidents took place from, a, 1914 to 1919, form the time I was 5 years old 'till I was 10 years old. And there was a lotta, lotta things happened during them 5 years. Oh, I started to school and things like that, but, a, we didn't, they didn't start the children to school until they was at least 6 years old in them days."
And I know at home, we were all, we all hadda talk Luxembourger. Yah, we weren´t allowed to speak English hardly at all. And that made it a little bit rough to when we started to school and didn´t know too much English. But I was sent to the country school that was two and a half miles south of us. So I started when I was six years old, almost seven. I know it was after Easter. My folks sent me down there with the rest of the children, with my two older brothers and sister, just to git me used to going to school because that fall, in the fall of 1916 we went to the Wilmont school because that was a Catholic school that was built during the year, 1915. And ah, it was goin´ at the time I went to the public school down there, to the country school. And of course being a newcomer, down there, going to school and startin´ at that time of the year, all the older girls, ha-ha, they a kinda swooned over me for some reason or other, I don´t know, and I didn´t like it. I didn´t like that babyin´ around and that stuff. But, anyway, that´s what they did.
And then there´s an incident too that I remember quite well. That was mostly Dutch, all Dutch that went to that school down there. But I know my cousins, my uncle Mike Hendel´s children, they had three of `em goin´ to school down there at the time. There was Phil Hendel and Martin Hendel and Victor Hendel. Victor Hendel was about the same age as my brother, Alphons. And then there was another neighbor down there that was the same age, Bert Spiese. Ha. And, what them three guys done, honest to John. They had the girls just screamin´. They would take out their penis and chase the girls, all three of `em. And oh, would they scream. But I tell you, when the schoolmaster found that out and got ahold of it, he really took `em out to the woodshed all right. Ha, ha. But, that´s the way the country schools were in them days I guess. Anything would go if you could git by with it.
And then in 1916 Dad, Paw bought another quarter of land. I was just katty cornered from the one, the home place, but it was in the same section. And that, there wasn´t a furrow plowed on that, it was all pasture, one big pasture, 160 acres of pasture. There was three wells on there and one windmill that had come down in a storm. But, ah, we ah, Dad, Paw bought that. And then with that half section to farm, he went with the implement dealer in Wilmont, Bill Micheals, to Mankato. He, Bill Micheals, took four farmers from Wilmont, around that area, up there to buy tractors. And they all bought Case tractors, 15-27 Case tractors. There was Paw, and Lawerence Balk, and Jonny Becker and Friedo Hartman. They all bought these 15-27, that was the horsepower, 15 in the drawbar and 27 in the belt. They had the cross-mounted motors. And ah, a Case tractor and a three bottom John Deere plow. And then Dad started breakin´ up the bare quarter with the tractor and the plow. Of course a lot of rock on there. You´d hafta take a crow bar and spade along as you was plowing. And, if you hit a good sized rock, you´d either dig it out and roll it on the plowing or else you´d mark in good so afterward you could come and dig it out. But, boy, there were rock there as big as a cook stove. I remember hooking the log chain around some of them and then to the tractor and pulling down till into the creek, or close to the creek. And if you didn´t hook down low enough on the tractor, lower that ol´ draw bar, your tractor would raise up in front. And someone would stand on the front axle to hold `er down in front while the tractor was pulling and dragging that rock. And it didn´t go too fast. I don´t know for just how many years. Well we kept up breaking up a little more each year until I think the last we broke up on there was about in, oh, maybe 1928. End of side one. Turn over on side two.
.. quite a bit of pasture that stayed in them fences we put up
It was my job to sit on the platform back there with that rope and every time we got to the end, to trip the plow to raise it out and when they made the turn, trip it again when they got goin´ the other way. And I remember the one time I didn´t trip in down it time. And Paw got quite a bang out of that I said I went about a foot to far and actually it was about six or eight feet too far. But I guess I just didn´t pull just in time so it went just a little further than we should of went. Yes, and then also in 1916 Paw built a nice overhead corncrib and granary. That was sumthin´ and Bill Bruns was the contractor that built it. And I remember that while they was building it, this one afternoon, it started rainin´ quite heavily and they´d hafta quit. They´d climb down and they gathered in the machine shed on the west end of the barn right there where we kept the car in. And of course they were talkin´ to each other and ah, in the rain, it was still a rainin´ and that and they ah, I was in there with `em and ah, some how or another the got .. how fast I could run, ya know. Well, I told `em I could run to the house and back. That was maybe, oh, I would say, 150 feet one way. About 300 feet there and back, ya know. And, how fast I could run that, ya know. Well, I told `em that I thought I could run that, there and back, while they counted up to a hundred, ya see. So, all right, they started out, they started countin´ one .. two, and I took off ya know and then I come back ya know and course they never was countin´ at all them darn buggers. They´d say ``naw, ya dint make it´´. They got up to 125 before I got back, ya know. So, I´d try it again, ya know. And they had me doin´ that three or four times. I finally I think maybe Dad put me wise to it that they wasn´t countin´ at all. And that was the end of that. But anyway I figured that that was a big, big deal that they pulled on me.
And in them days too, there wasn´t much for roads, just a little bit of a ditch, ya might say, on each side and the traveled portion of the road wasn´t very wide either. I would say maybe it was, ah, oh, a rod wide. Not over 16 feet wide. All dirt roads, ya know, an´ all township roads. There was no such thing a county road in them days. There was maybe some state roads that we haven´t heard of, but, just all township roads. And it was up to each township to take care of their own roads, ya know, which would mean that after a rain and after they got so dry, dry enough to go over `em with a drag, regular road drag that was made for that. It was pulled by four horses. And you'd have so many miles to drag, to get in shape. You'd hafta make a round and if it was very rutty, you'd maybe hafta make two rounds before you'd get that roads nice an´ smooth. But that was sumpin´ too dragin´ the roads in them days. I know us kids we´d like to a get out on the road and walk up and down the road maybe for a mile or two lookin´ for articles that was left there. And especially if you'd be at the house there lookin´ down the road and you seen a car stoppin´ in the road down there well you'd know he had a flat tire or sompin´ that that´s why he was stoppin´. So after he had left an´ gone us kids, one or two of us would go down there an´ see if he left anything, forgot to put anything in the car. Maybe they forgot to put it in the toolbox, but they´d leave it lay on the running board, ya know. And they´d maybe go for 8 or 10 rods and the thing would shake off. So, you could find a screwdriver or nice pair of pliers or maybe a tire pump or sumpin´ like that you'd find on the road. That was quite interesting for us. And I know my oldest brother, he drug the roads fur several years and he´d always come home with a couple pair of pliers and things like that that he´d find lain´ on the road. Ya, it was quite a while before they started gravlin´ roads. I just forget when they did start gravlin´ `em, but ah, even ah, yah well when they did start gravlin´ roads then they had just one man take care a lot of the county roads because it was a motorized deal then.
And, durin´ the summer months, when we had our Overland, oh as soon as the fishin´ season opened, why ah, we´d go fishin´ in the Overland. We´d maybe go about 17 18 miles to West Graham Lake. We´d go to West Graham Lake fishin´ . lay down the top on the Overland, ya know, and put our cane fish poles, bamboo fish poles, tie them down along side of the car and go fishin´ pack our lunch along. And, I remember one time we went to West Graham Lake when the neighbors was over there, Johnny Becker and his gang. They was, they had a big seine there, they was seining fish in there and wade out there, ya know, and oh, could they ever pull in the fish at one time with that net. They´d divide up the fish for everybody that was along shore there. They had quite a few bullheads, some carp, some red horse, some buffalo, ya, and a few perch quite a few different kinds of fish there. And this one time we went over there, I know Reed Butler and his wife was there and in a pasture. We´d cross the fence and go in a feller´s pasture and fish there. It just so happened that when we first went in the pasture we didn´t notice it but there was cattle in the pasture. They had been on the other end. But, grazing they was comin´ closer an´ there was a bull in there a mean bull too. Boy, he started comin´ toward us and Reed Butler. Reed Butler had his little rat terrier along. I know Dad and Reed Butler; they picked up each a couple rock about the size of their fist. They figured if that bull come much closer, a snortin´ an´ a balerin´, they´d let him have one right smack between the eyes with them big rock.. But Reed Butler sicked his little rat terrier onto the bull. And, by gosh, that done the work. It made the bull go the other way. Ya, that little rat terrier tried to jump bite `im in the ears as that bull lowered his head, ya know, and charged the little dog, ya know, and bite `im, you know, and finally the little dog worked around the back of `im and started nippin´ `im in the heels and chased him toward the farm building again. But I remember that quite plainly. And then git your fish all in the cream can with their water an´ that an´ put `em in the car an´ git ready in the car and come home. About half way home, here it would start rainin´. Judas, you´d all hafta get out and git them poles away there, an´ put the top up, ya know, an´ git the curtains on the car and then come home. But, you had to drive pretty careful toward last because I tell ya, them tires, them smooth tires, they´d slip all over that wet muddy road. You had to drive pretty careful.
And there was one time we was comin´ home from (that time we went to East Graham Lake) comin´ home an´ we got caught. We made just about to Wilmont when it started hailin´ to beat the dickens. Oh, we made it `till in town an´ I know we pulled up along side the auctioneers house, Fred Blatey. And, ah, we went in there until the storm was over with. That was a pretty bad storm. Man, I tell ya, there was about two or three inches of hail layin´ all over the ground. She had just covered the ground with hail. And such a strong wind too.
Yes, and then my first year in the Wilmont school, Saint Joseph´s school up there, in 1916. I was in the first grade. And we started out, had German readers. Ya, it was German in there we had a German to learn how to read in German. And, ah, the first teacher I had was Sister Marcella. And, ah, of course afternoon it would get to be about 2:30-3:00 o´clock, I´d pretty doggon sleepy. I´d lay my head on the desk and doze off an´ Sister Marcell would notice it and she´d go in their bedroom and bring out a pillow for me to put my head on. Ya, the sisters lived in the same building there, in the schoolhouse. They had the upstairs part, most of the upstairs was their bedrooms and then downstairs was their dinning room. Ya, but that was somthin´ when a sister would bring her pillow out for me to lay on. Ya, I was known as her `little Frankie´. See, my name is Francis, Francis Arens. So, ah, yup, Frankie.
And, the first grade pupils would get let out about an hour earlier than the rest of the scholars. And then we would go home with the kids in the first grade that lived in town. I know the one time I went with Joe Braemer. He was in my grade. We´d play around at his place, ya know. And he had some kind of a heavy iron on the end of a rope. The rope was about 25 feet long. And he´d swing that `round an´ `round, an´ `round, ya know make that ol´ iron take the big thing. So, I was goin´ a try it once. He let me try it. And about that time the rest, my older brother, come out. School was over with. We also kept our horse in Braemer´s barn there too. And the buggy was standin´ there. So while I was swingin´ the thing around, my older brother, Alphons, he was takin´ hold of the schavs of the buggy, to back it around in the right position so that when he took the horse out of the barn it was facin´ the right way. And Joe Braemer was in back of the buggy pullin´ it backwards. He was backin´ up pullin´ it an´ all of a sudden this iron hit him right in the forehead. OH, down he went, ya know. He got up screamin´ to beat the band and run for the house, ya know. An´ boy, was I scared. About that time my older sister come there too. And about that same time mister Breamer come home from the field. He had some land there. He come with the wagon an´ a couple horses. An´ misses Breamer come out and talkin´ so fast in German, ya know. And my older sister wondered what the heck was the matter? She could understand about half that German. They was talking high German. And I was scared to death. I wasn´t sayin´ a darn word. I was just in hopes we´d get the heck odda there. So, we made it adda there before they got ta me anyway. And, a, ya, Joe Braemer had quite a gash across his forehead cut the skin an´ he bled quit a bit. But, I guess they called the doctor, had him come out, an´ put a few stitches in there an´ that. Wanted to know she tried to get it atta Joe Breamer what happened. And o´ course he wouldn´t tell on me. He told on the neighbor´s boy that was about 3 or 4 years older than any of us. That ``Hiene Kelso done it, Hiene Kelso done it´´, ya know. And I guess they bounced him about it and he didn´t know a darn thing about it, ya know. And finally the phone rang at our house and here is was misses Braemer. She wanted to talk to me to see if I knew anything about it. Well, ya. ``Well´´, she says, ``Ya, that´s alright for now, but
Sunday´´, she says, ``before church, I want to see you in front of church Sunday´´. So, Oh, I was scared to death. But, it wasn´t bad, she just wanted to get the straight of it. That I done it, ya know. That they didn´t get too rough on Heini Kelso.
And there was another time I went home with Eloise Stuntebeck. That was pretty nice too. His dad was Henry Stuntebeck and he had pointer huntin´ dogs. And a, the one dog had a nice litter of pups. And, they were fit to wean, so, Eloise, he says `if you wanna take one of these, you can take your pick of `em.´ So, I picked one of the pups out, ya know, and I carried it home (we walked home that time because it was in late spring-shortly before school let out and Pa needed the horse to work in the field) and I put the pup in a 10 pound syrup bucket. That´s what we took our dinner to school in. We called it a gallon bucket. And I put `im in there. Course I left the lid off and had him facin´ out. And I carried `im home, the full four miles. He was a dandy little pup. And the second day when I come home from school, my little pup wasn´t around there at all. I was wonderin´ what happened to `im. And, here when my Pa and my older brother was scoopin´ oats outa the bin inta the wagon to take it out for seeding, they´d push it ahead a little (it was in the overhead granary) and here the little pup was a kinda playin´ with the wheel. They didn´t notice him. And the wheel run over `im and smashed his head. And there it was! Oh, did I feel bad about that, that my little pup got killed. Ya, you have somthin´ for a little while and . And then one of the next times I went home with Louie Spartz. He was in my grade too. His dad run a thrashin´ rig. And, we´d play around there. We went in big shed where Pete Spartz kept his thrashin´ machine and we played around that. And then another time I went home with Vic Lebens. His dad run the restaurant. And for to play around we walked down to the railroad tracks. And played around there and laid a penny on the rails while the train went over it. And we found it back. But, boy, it was just flattened out jist one little sheet of copper that´s all it was jist real thin. But, that´s the way the town boys hadda spend their time after school. Where us country boys, we had plenty of other things to do when we got home from school. We hadta do chores and feed this and feed that. But, that was the difference between the town boys and the country boys what time they spent after school. `Course after supper I guess we all done our home work.
My first chores to do as a grown up boy, why a, was to gather the eggs. That was one of the things. And then also to feed the horses their oats. It was about a gallon and a half bucket. dip it in the oats bin and then put that each horse´s feed box. There was about 6 or 8 horses to do that to. And then also to throw hay down an´ this an´ that. And then drivin´ ar horse ta school too, we´d hafta put one them containers full of oats in a little bag and stuff a gunny sack full of hay ta feed the horse at noon. Ya, that was all them chores that hadda be done. And then latter on as I got a little older I was able ta help do the milkin´ evenins mornins didn´t get up early. We´d just get up in time to git dressed an´ git ar breakfast an´ take off ta school. In the wintertime, we´d take off ta school it was dark and we´d come home from school in the dark. Because the school wouldn´t let out `till four o´clock in them days. And, at a little after 4 the sun would set. The stars were shinning when we left in the mornin´ and when we come home at night. We had a good old mouse colored mare that we drove ta school. It was a Morgan horse. A real swell horse. And this one day comin´ home from school we had jist started out from the school barn there goin´ west a little ways and then we turned south to go home. But comin´ that little distance there was Bill Gaul the fuller that run the butcher shop, he done his own butcherin´ at the slaughter house and he was drivin´ some, about 6 or 8 pigs on the road. And he was dressed up with his big ol´ buffalo overcoat on an´ big ol´ fur cap and ever´thing and our horse, Daisy, got scared to death of `im. She thought it was a bear or sumptin. She didn´t turn around and wanna go back, but she went clear off to the edge of the road almost dumped us off in the ditch. And she was so excited that she run over one of the girls that was walkin´ home. There was the two Lentz girls. There was Clara and Lucille. Clar was the thinnest. She could run the fastest. She run off to the side. But Lucille was heavy set an´ that. She didn´t make it. Ar horse knocked `er down and we run right smack over her. And hell, we couldn´t stop the horse. The horse kept a runnin´. `Course we had it under control, really, for direction but for speed naw. You´d pull on them lines and the tugs were completely slack. She was pullin´ the buggy with the bit with her mouth."
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