with Theresa Kuntz Bachmeier (TB) - Part I
Conducted by Mary Ebach (ME)
2 December 1999, Rugby, North Dakota
Transcription by Mary Ebach
Proofreading and editing by Jay Gage, Lena Paris and Beverly Wigley
ME: Today is December 2, 1999. My name is
Mary Ebach. I'm a volunteer for the Germans from Russia Heritage
Collection at North Dakota State University Libraries in Fargo,
ND. We are visiting with Theresa Kuntz Bachmeier in Rugby and
thank you for taking the time Theresa. We will start off with
you telling me your name.
TB: Theresa Kuntz Bachmeier.
ME: What is the date of your birth, when
you were born?
TB: I was born April 10, 1909.
ME: 1909 and where were you born, Theresa?
TB: In Blumenfeld, around Orrin.
ME: What was your father's name?
ME: Where was he born?
TB: In Russia.
ME: Do you know the name of the town or village
where he was born?
TB: Yah, he was born in Elsass [Kutschurgan
ME: They were Elsassers then?
ME: When did he die?
TB: He died the 20th of July - I don't remember
[the year] anymore.
ME: Where did he die?
TB: At home.
ME: In Blumenfeld?
TB: In Blumenfeld, yah. They lived in Orrin
(in town) and he was craving for watermelon. The neighbor woman
went to Rugby to town so she brought watermelon and before they
went to bed, he craved for watermelon. So they had lunch with
the watermelon. He was tired and he went in to go to bed. He put
the blanket over and fell on the bed with one hand up to open
his [bib overalls] and he was dead. That was a hard death.
ME: That fast?
TB: That fast, yah.
ME: Where is he buried?
TB: In Orrin.
ME: Let's go to your mother now. What was
your mother's name?
TB: Elizabeth Duchscherer.
ME: Elizabeth Duchscherer. And what was her
ME: Her maiden name was Duchscherer?
ME: Where was she born?
TB: In Mannheim.
ME: When did she die?
TB: She died in - [pause while she gets her
book with the information in it]. Grandpa Kuntz died July 20,
ME: Your father?
TB: Yah, my dad yah.
ME: July 20, 1959.
ME: What about your mother?
TB: Grandma died November 23, 1969.
ME: And where is she buried?
TB: Next to Dad, um hum.
ME: Do you know where and when your mother
and dad were married?
TB: That I do not know, but I think it was
ME: So they were married when they came to
TB: Yes, they already had the oldest son.
ME: Oh, they already had a child when they
TB: Yah, Sebastian.
ME: How many brothers and sisters do you
have in your family?
TB: I have six brothers.
ME: And what are their names? Who is the
TB: Sebastian, John, Julius, George, Mike
ME: And then your sisters.
TB: I got four sisters; we were five girls.
Theres Dorothy -
ME: What is her last name now?
TB: She married - the first husband was Senger
and he passed away with a heart attack. So she got married to
John Boehm from Karlsruhe. After he passed away, she went back
to Devils Lake again and is in the home now.
ME: She's older than you are then?
TB: Yah, shes two years older than
me. And then there's Frances, Mary and Rosina. Mary passed away
two or three years ago.
ME: Who was Frances married to?
TB: She was married to a Steffan. And Rosina
was married to John Brossart. He passed away, so she's single
ME: So you still have two living sisters?
TB: Yah, two living sisters. Drei, Dorothy
is still alive.
ME. When did your parents come to America,
do you know that?
TB: In 1901. They come and they went to South
Dakota for the winter and then they moved because the other brothers
and sisters came from the old country. They come back to Blumenfeld
and that's where they stayed till they passed away.
ME: Do you know where in South Dakota that
they came to?
TB: They were in South Dakota with one of
my dad's uncles. He took them in and didn't want them to leave
South Dakota anymore. But they wanted to go home to the other
ME: Do you know when your folks came to this
country, and the name of the ship they came on?
TB: That I don't remember.
ME: That's okay. And then did they homestead?
TB: Yes, they did. They homesteaded right
ME: And where was that again?
TB: In Blumenfeld.
ME: In Blumenfeld?
TB: In McHenry County.
ME: Do you know anything about your grandparents
or great-grandparents when they went from Germany to Russia to
TB: No, I don't.
ME: That goes back quite a ways.
ME: Do you remember family stories that your
father or mother told about Elsass in Russia?
TB: Oh, yah. They said many things sometimes,
but you know it doesn't all hook together.
ME: Tell us a little bit about those that
TB: My dad said they had to do everything
by hand, you know.
ME: In Russia?
TB: In Russia. When it was seeding time -
when there was threshing time when the grain was to be cut, so
they had to cut it with their hand.
. TB: Sickles, yah. And then the rest of them had to go after
that and put it in little piles to let it dry. And then when those
little piles would dry, then they took them together and put them
into a fence they had made extra because it was a little higher
than the bottom. The bottom was solid, and they made the top with
some slits in so the grain fell down into that part. And then
theyd put the horses on top, you know, when those piles
would dry theyd put that in the fence. Theyd turn
the horses in (they chased them in there) so they stepped everything
out from them.
ME: And then the grain fell to the -
TB: Yah, and the grain fell down in those
slots, you know.
ME: That was a hard way of doing it, wasn't
TB: Well, they knew how!
ME: Oh sure.
TB: You know, I have to tell you a little
story. There was a guy that did threshing and he never farmed,
but he had a hayrack and he had a box under that hayrack. He had
the hayrack fixed like that, had the boards apart, you know, so
when he had the bundles put on when he had to haul bundles, then
he got on that hayrack and stepped them [the grain] out. In the
evening he drove home and he emptied that, so he had some - I
dont know what he done with it, chicken feed or whatever
and maybe a few bags for himself.
TB: That's what happened!
ME: It's almost like stealing, isn't it?
TB: Well, that was stealing, but he was watched.
And then, you know they always had to have supper at the house.
So when they had supper, there was two guys stayed out and they
took that out what he had in the bottom and he went home. But
when he came home, he found out he didn't have it - what he wanted
ME: I guess that shows you that stealing
TB: No, that didn't pay.
ME: It did for once, but not the second time.
TB: Well, it did more than once. Hed
done it before, and he done it again and again.
ME: Do you remember your folks talking about
anything else that happened in Russia? Now we've been talking
about harvesting, did they ever talk about going to church there,
the government, the army or anything like that?
TB: Not that I know. They had to walk to
the church. They also had a few cows, and then there was always
a guy that would take all those cows in that - they called that
Fudder (literally: to fodder, feed), that was like a little village.
They all put those cows in the same place, and that guy took them
out to the country and herded them out there. In the evening he
brought them back to do the milking. The cows knew where they
were supposed to go. They went to their homes.
ME. I think there is something that kind
of interests me, how did they decide to come to America? Do you
TB: Yah, it was said they was talking going
on about war. My dad was pulled in [drafted]. He was a soldier
in the old country. He was three years a soldier and he walked
home 49 miles. I don't know what they called them, Madrosa in
the German. Well, that means the head ones, higher than those
when they were pulled into the military as soldiers. He was a
good dancer, my dad. So they played tunes for him and he had to
dance the Cossack Jig(not sure of the spelling). You don't know
anything about the Cossack Jig do you?
ME: Not that name, but you tell me how they
did the dance.
TB: Well, you know they acted the dance out
while they were dancing - jumped and they stepped on both of the
ME: Kicked their feet out?
TB: Yah, jumped, clapped and slapped their
hands behind and, oh, I don't know. It was that Mike Hager (his
wife lived here in town yet too but they put her to the hospital
now). He just loved to see my dad dance that dance when there
was a wedding.
ME: So when he was a soldier he did this
TB: Yes, he had to do this for those guys. They paid him
to do this, yah.
ME: When he was in the army for three years,
then did he leave Russia?
TB: Yes, he got home; then the other brother
was pulled in. My uncle, Sebastian, was pulled in next to [after]
my dad. See, my grandpa lost his wife and he got remarried, and
she had three boys or four boys, I'm not sure. And they always
went free and the Kuntz side had to go be a soldier - was pulled
in [the army], and so then that's why they left Russia.
ME: When your dad came over, did your grandma and grandpa
TB: Yes, my dad's side and my mother's side.
They both came.
ME: You said when your grandpa remarried,
what was that woman's name, do you remember?
TB: Yes, I remember her. Well, she wrote
her name Kuntz when she got married to my grandpa, but she was
married before to a Giesinger. My Grandpa Kuntz got married to
her, but she brought those boys to the Kuntz home. The Kuntz boys
were pulled into being soldiers [in the army] and the Giesingers
ME: Do you know what the names of those Giesingers
TB: Yes, there was a Jacob, a Bruno and there
was a Joe or John. He was not here, he was in Canada.
ME: I see, well, that's all really interesting.
It's good that you can still remember. You've got such a good
memory, Theresa. It's good that you can tell us all these things.
TB: Yah, the more we get into it - I believe
that one's name was Joseph.
ME: The Jacob Giesinger who lived here -
TB: That was my dad's stepson, and they were
good friends. Oh yah! When there was anything going on, Jacob
Giesinger came to us. They hired my brother to work for them,
yah. They were close friends.
ME: Do you ever remember your folks saying
that they would like to go back to the old country?
TB: Oh, they talked a lot about it was better
there, in some ways.
ME: In Russia?
TB: In Russia, yah, but they didn't like
the idea of what was going on because [of] what had happened there.
They didnt like that.
ME: Did your parents get letters from people?
TB: Yah, they did. Well, you know, this family
that stayed back and they had another sister that was there yet
besides her and they wrote letters back and forth.
ME: Do you have those letters?
ME: Do you know who might have those letters?
ME: They probably didn't save them.
TB: No, they didn't save them. Well, there
was nobody from the family that could read German.
ME: Was it German
or Russian that they wrote?
TB: German, I think, but maybe that one was
a Russian one.
Did your folks ever talk Russian?
TB: Oh yah!
ME: They did?
TB: Yes! They could
rattle that just like you guys rattle off the English. Thats
the way they talked at their homes. They talked Russian. My dad
said that they all talked Russian. I've got an aunt in Canada
and she was full Russian talking.
ME: Well, did you learn
to speak Russian?
TB: No, no.
ME: When they spoke
Russian - when did they learn to speak German then? Or did they
TB: Well, they had
German before they -
ME: German and Russian
they spoke then.
TB: Yah, they knew
the German before the Russian. Oh yah. They grew up German, but
then you know the friends around them were all Russians, that's
how come - just like here.
ME: So you never learned
to speak Russian, didn't even understand one word of it?
TB: Dobravetcha (not
sure of the spelling) that means hello.
ME: Ma never had one word of Russian.
TB: Yah. Oh, my uncle Sebastian and my dad
while visiting one another, being just a
mile apart , when theyd get together then they talked gibberish,
what it was we didn't know.
ME: Did you speak German at home with your
ME: Did your children learn to speak German?
TB: Most of them. Well, they knew how to
speak it and they could understand it.
ME: They could understand you?
TB: Yah and they still do. They can talk
it, if they want to.
ME: What about your grandchildren now, your
children's children? Do any of them speak German?
ME: Not even a prayer or a swear word?
TB: That - vielleicht, maybe.
ME: The next thing that we talked a little
bit about - what were some of the chores that you had to do when
you were little, when you were home?
TB: Milk, rake the yard, get the kindling
wood, and pick everything up that burned in the coal stove.
ME: Clean the house?
TB: Clean the house, yes.
ME: Help cook?
TB: Whatever there was that I could do -
carried the water.
ME: What did you like to do best?
TB: What had to be done. I had to wipe the
dishes and sweep the floor. My other sister she washed the dishes
and cleaned the table. Then we carried the water in for the night
and next morning. If there was washing, we had to carry all the
water in as well.
ME: When you were a bad girl, now it never
happened I know, and your brother was a bad boy, did they scold
you different than your brother?
TB: No, we got in fights, not lots of times.
ME: I know you weren't a bad girl. Where
did you go to school?
TB: It was a mile and a half from our home.
ME: Was it a country school?
TB: Country school.
ME: How many years did you go to school there?
TB: Well, I was in the eighth grade.
ME: You went to the eighth grade?
ME: Did you go to school all year, all the
while school was in session, or did you have to stay home sometimes
TB: No, the last time, when I was in the
eighth grade, I had to go to Anamoose, North Dakota, where I was
a cook. I had to get breakfast, dinner and supper. We had a great
big new house. It had 49 windows that house.
ME: Where you lived?
TB: In Anamoose and a furnace in the basement,
which we did not have that at home. I had to cook for the two
ME: So that wasn't your home, that's where
you went to work?
TB: That's where I went to work. My dad had
rented the place; so it was mostly half of the summer that we
were down there in Anamoose. It was about 20 miles from our home.
It took time going back and forth with the horses. At that time
we didn't have no cars yet. Then my brother gave me 25 cents,
and I had to walk to Anamoose and get a ring of sausage.
ME: How far did you have to walk?
TB: A mile. And then when I walked home,
the neighbor man (I kinda knew him) had an old car without a top,
picked me up and dropped me off, because the road was just a little
bit off from the house.
ME: Then you worked there, while you went
TB: No, I had to quit the school when I was
in the eighth grade then.
ME: When you went to school, were the rest
of the kids that went there all German or were there some -
TB: They were all German.
ME: They were all German.
TB: All German.
ME: What kind of games did you play when
you went to school?
TB: Anti-I-Over, tag, and drop the handkerchief.
ME: When you went to school, how did you
get there? Did you walk or did you drive?
TB: We walked most of the time. In the winter,
they hauled us with the sled.
ME: How far was it from your home?
TB: About a mile and a half.
ME: The teacher that you had, was that a
man or a woman?
TB: It was a man in the first place I went.
Then we had an old woman. Oh, she was a nice woman, a heavy-set
woman. I still remember her.
ME: Now you're a Catholic. And your parents
and grandparents, they were all Catholic, going back as far as
ME: Do you remember anything about your religion
like Kircheweihfeste (church feast days)? Can you tell us a little
bit about that?
TB: Yes, I remember that. We had to stay
home from school and had to go to the religious school, in April
it started. We always had two months of religious school.
ME: Was that taught by the nuns?
TB: No, it was taught from an old man, not
an old man but he was -
ME: When you were little, he was old.
TB: Yes, their oldest son was as old as I
was, that's how I knew them. Do you know Lena Heintz?
ME: Uh huh.
TB: That was her dad.
ME: Oh, her dad taught you.
TB: - taught yes.
ME: Then they taught you your prayers and
TB: Prayers and went to Holy Communion and
everything, confirmation and everything.
ME: When you went to church were all your
prayers Latin or German?
TB: No, it was German.
ME: The Mass was in German?
TB: Everything was in German yet when I left
ME: What was the name of the priest that
was there mostly?
TB: I think it was Father Miller, I'm not
so sure about it anymore.
ME: When were you baptized or confirmed?
Now I know you don't remember when you were baptized, but where
were you baptized?
TB: In Blumenfeld.
ME: In Blumenfeld. Who were your sponsors,
your godfather and godmother?
TB: My sponsors were my aunt, Josephine Kuntz,
and an uncle, Frank Joseph Duchscherer.
ME: Did you get a certificate when you made
your First Communion or confirmed?
TB: Not at that time. There was nothing at
ME: Were your parents or grandparents there
to help when the church was started? Were they there when they
built the church?
TB: Yes, when our church was built in 1906.
I'll never forget in my whole life - I dont forget that
because it was put on a concrete foundation.
ME: Which church was that?
ME: What was the name of it?
TB: It was known as the Blumenfelder Karch,
ME: Was it in the country?
TB: Yah, a country church.
ME: Your parents and grandparents helped
ME: What did your dad do to help build it?
TB: Well, I suppose what he could.
ME: Did he bring horses in?
TB: That I couldn't say. Well, they didn't
dig no foundations at that time, but they had dug one [before].
That was the last time I saw the country church. Then they moved
the country church to my grandpa's land that he had homesteaded
when he come to the Blumenfeld country. They moved it across the
lake and it just about went down. And there were so many people
who were against the moving part, but they finally got it out.
ME: Why did they move it?
TB: Well, they thought they had it long enough
in this corner over there and there was hardly nobody left there,
so they moved it further in, as not very many had cars. But then
there was a split, when some of them were mad and went to Orrin;
and some of them stayed.
ME: Is that church still there?
TB: I think it burned down not too long ago.
ME: Do you remember when you went to the
funerals, what some of the songs were they sang?
TB: No, about the same as here.
ME: Do you know anything about these iron
crosses in the cemeteries?
ME: Did your relatives help make any of the
TB: My grandma and this Paul, they had iron
crosses in the cemetery.
ME: Who made them?
TB: They were made in Orrin; I think it was
a Kessler, I'm not too sure.
ME: Do you remember any of your relatives,
whether they had to make the coffin for them or were they all
TB: They were all bought.
ME: You don't remember anybody having made
a coffin? Now we are getting into Christmas. How was Christmas
celebrated in your home, when you were home with your parents?
TB: There was a Christkindel, there was no
Santa Clauses. Anyway, she [Christkindel ] came in the house with
a rod, a branch.
ME: The Christkindel?
TB: The Christkindel, and with the rod you
received a few slaps on the back.
TB: Well, if you was mean -
ME: If you were bad -
TB: If you were bad.
ME: The Christkindel, wasn't that a good
one that brought you candy or presents?
TB: Yah, but you know the Christkindel had
to say, "Where are the bad girls and boys that didn't listen
to their father and mother?" That's what the words were.
ME: When did you get your present and candy?
TB: Well, then they put it on the floor and
when you went to get it, they were going to hit their fingers,
but you got it. (laughter)
ME: What do you know about the Belzenickel?
TB: Not much of that, there was no Belzenickel.
ME: What do you remember about Easter? How
did you get ready for Easter?
TB: As far as I know, we had a little path
going across from the house where we went to school. That's where
the Easter rabbit laid our eggs.
ME: Were they colored eggs?
TB: Yes, they were colored eggs.
ME. Did you have candy then too?
TB: Yes, colored candy, those long ones -
ME: What about Holy Week, did you go to Stations
of the Cross?
TB: Oh yah. We went to Stations of the Cross.
ME: When you were still home, did you go
to church on Good Friday and Holy Thursday?
TB: Yes, we did. If there was snow we had
little overshoes on; when the snow got deeper, we stepped into
the snow with the overshoes.
ME: And then you went to church on Good Friday
in the afternoon.
TB: I don't remember anymore, but I think
it was in the morning.
ME: What about Easter Sunday? Did you get
all dressed up in new clothes?
TB: Oh yes, what do you think -
ME: You wore hats and nice dresses.
TB: What we had nice, everything good - the
best we had.
ME: Was always first -
TB: And when we got home, we had to take
them off and put other clothes on.
ME: When you got married, did it take place
TB: Yes, in Orrin.
ME: Then after you got married, did you have
a meal or did you start in dancing right away?
TB: No, we had a meal.
ME: And then you started dancing?
TB: No, in the evening we went up to Fulda,
and then there was the dance and the supper.
ME: And the supper?
ME: How many days did that go on?
TB: Two full days. (laughter)
ME: Did they sing any German songs?
TB: Yes, they did.
ME: Do you remember any songs they sang?
TB: No, I don't remember any songs but Pete
Bischoff, old Tony and Adolph Gerger played at the wedding.
TB: Accordian and fiddle, the geige.
ME: Do you remember what kind of meals you
had? What did you have to eat at the wedding? Was it just roast
beef or chicken or -
TB: I think it was chicken for dinner at
our house, my folks' house, and the supper was at Bachmeier's.
ME: Did they have schnapps?
TB: Oh yah, und bier (and beer).
ME: Was the beer home brewed?
ME: What kind of wedding gown did you have?
Was it a long white one or a dress?
TB: No, it was a light lavender one.
ME: A dress?
ME: That was your wedding dress.
ME: Do you know anything about a Liebsband
TB: A what?
ME: Liebsband sash, that I don't know either
ME: How many bridesmaids did you have?
TB: There were two.
ME: Did you have a flower girl?
TB: No, huh uh.
ME: Did they take pictures when you were
married? Do you have a wedding picture of yourself?
TB: Yah, I had one.
ME: Who took the picture?
TB: Hanson's in town here.
ME: Where did you meet your husband?
TB: At my brother's wedding in Fulda.
ME: So it wasn't arranged by your folks?
ME: It was something that just happened.
What kind of music did you play in your home when you were home
with your folks yet?
TB: We had a phonograph at home; and my brother
could play the mouth organ (harmonica). He could play that for
ME: Did anybody play the accordion, clarinet
or anything else?
ME: Did you sing?
TB: Yah, we sang.
ME: Can you sing any songs now?
ME: Oh, just one.
TB: That's gone.
ME: Oh, just one.
TB: No, I cannot do that. We had to sing
for old man Lacher, or was it Lena Heintz' dad, and he thought
I was a good singer.
ME: That's why you should sing now.
TB: I forgot all about that. There wasn't
always singing time.
ME: Where did you go when you went to parties
or dances? Did you go to town or somebody's farm?
TB: Yah, we had an old place where my uncles
lived. There was dancing on Sunday evening, but only till 12 o'clock
then we all had to be home.
TB: My sister had a birthday and they had
a dance in our summer kitchen. That was a full one!
ME: When you got sick, cut yourself or burned
yourself, what kind of medicine did they use? Do you remember?
Did your grandma mix up some medicine or - ?
TB: They did what they could, what they knew
to put on, tied it up and put some salt on.
ME: What did they use salt for, when you
cut or burned yourself?
TB: To quit bleeding.
ME: Did they use Chamomile Tea for anything?
TB: Yes, when you had a swollen foot or hurt
somewhere they made Kamille Tee (chamomile tea).
ME: And they used that too. We were talking
about the white liniment, what did you do with that?
TB: If there was something swollen or hurting,
we would rub it on. And to this day I'm using it, yes.
ME: And where did you get the white liniment?
TB: From this lady up here.
ME: Was it Watkins?
TB: Yah, Watkins; I got a bottle of it now.
ME: Then did your mother ever give you, if
you had an upset stomach, some sugar with a little bit of peppermint
ME: You didn't do that.
TB: She never found out, when we had a stomach
ME: When you had babies, were there women
that came over to help you? Were any of your children born at
home or were they born in the hospital?
TB: Two of them were born at home.
ME: The lady that came over to help you,
what was her name?
TB: Margaret Jundt.
ME: Did your parents ever get any German
ME: They didn't.
TB: They couldn't read German.
ME: Your folks couldn't?
ME: Did you get like the North Dakota Herald?
TB: No, I didn't get it.
TB: Not German.
ME: Do you remember when your family first
got electricity and the telephone?
TB: No, I do not remember; but they had the
telephone already when I got married.
ME: What were some of your favorite radio
programs that you listened to?
TB: I wouldnt remember anymore.
ME: When you first saw television, and saw
Lawrence Welk, for example, was that pretty exciting for you?
TB: That was exciting for me, and was always
turned on. But my dad was interested in the early morning radio.
ME: There is one thing that I want to ask,
before we get too far away here. You had a relative that built
a radio and an airplane. Tell us what his name is and what he
TB: Matt Duchscherer, not Tuchscherer.
ME: How is he related to you? Is he your
TB: Yes, his dad was a brother to my grandpa.
ME: To your grandpa. Tell us about this radio
and airplane, because I think this is really worth talking about.
TB: He came and hired me. The first thing
you know, he went and got a piece of wood and started cutting
out a radio and by morning it was "talking."
ME: He built that all by himself?
TB: He built that all by himself, by bending
a little wire he put on himself. But when he made the airplane
I wasn't there, so I don't know about that.
ME: But you said it flew.
TB: But it flew, yes. It went up and fell
down on the wagon box.
ME: But he did get it up in the air?
TB: He got it up in the air, yes.
ME: And he built all that from scratch?
TB: All by himself, and that was Matt Duchscherer.
His mother couldn't believe that he had all this knowledge in
ME: We had some pretty smart relatives, didn't
TB: We sure did, we sure did! Yah, he was
one, and he explained it to me.
ME: For the radio?
TB: For the airplane and where electricity
comes from and everything. He said, "Take those clouds, take
the electricity from the sky, that's where it comes from."
And he explained it but I don't remember everything anymore.
ME: No, of course not, but he was interested
TB: Yes, he worked with the priest; and they
had built the new church in Karlsruhe. They did the entire church,
including the electricity. The priest had the key too.
ME: But you were there
when he built the radio, weren't you?
TB: Yes, I was there, and I seen it myself.
I was going to go to bed; but he didn't want me to, because he
said, "It's going to play yet."
What do you remember about the German foods that your mother or
TB: Oh, everything
that was good.
ME: Now you still make,
I know you do.
TB: Kucha, Blachenda,
und bohne Suppe, baked bread with loaves this high. Yes, and Grumbera
(potatoes) und Knöpfla.
TB: Borscht suppe.
ME: And holuptsi?
TB: Holuptsi, yes,
holuptsi. Lots of them!
ME: So you learned
to make all this from your mother then?
TB: Yes, yes.
ME: Now, do you still
make all of those things?
TB: I used to make
ME: Did you teach your
kids how to make it?
Yes, some of them they know it, and some of them wasn't very interested,
so they have to ask each other now.
said your mother taught you how to make Käsekuchen, when
she said -
TB: It was Kucha, yah
- and it was making the topping. My sister, she was going to beat
the eggs and mother said we were Essel. (literally: donkey; dummies).
ME: Why did she say
TB: Because we didn't
know that the egg yolk makes the thickening if you just mix it
up with a fork. Pull it up and down with the fork, instead of
not beating it, yah.
ME: Instead of beating
it. Why is that better than beating it?
TB: Because beating
the eggs makes it watery, I found that out! If you will take the
beater and beat the eggs, they get like watery. Yah, I found that
ME: And your mother
already knew that, so she was going to tell you.
TB: My mother already
knew that, yah.
ME: So you were Essel?
TB: We were Essel.
ME: When your daughters make all these things,
do they turn out pretty good? The way you made them?
TB: Oh yah, they had to make them a few times;
but they learned more and more. Theres some of them they
make good kucha.
ME: That's good. It's good they learned how,
and that their husbands and their children like it.
TB: They all like the kucha. I heard somebody
down by Selz say they ate some of Theresa's kucha. (laughter)
ME: That's pretty darn good that they can
make it similar to what you made. Did your mother crochet or knit?
TB: My mother crocheted, she knitted and
sewed. She was a good sewer and everything.
ME: Did she knit clothes for you or was it
TB: She didn't knit clothes; but she could
knit anything she wanted and she crocheted without a pattern,
which she did in the old country. I cannot understand how she
could do that. We had a sewing machine; and she made a big part
of it. The opening was about so wide (she shows with her hands)
and was made that with flowers on it. It was so pretty, and for
years and years and years we had it, and she didn't have a pattern.
ME: But you crochet and you don't use a pattern.
TB: No, I can take it off by counting every
stitch; and that's what does it; and that's what she remembered.
ME: Now, when you were a child you said your
mother sewed. Did she take the older girls' dresses and make them
over for the younger girls?
ME: Or did you all have your own?
TB: We had our own. I couldn't wear my sisters
dresses, because I was smaller. I was the smallest in the bunch.
ME: Did you do any sewing yourself?
TB: Oh yah, I sewed everything for the children.
Sometimes I was sitting until 4 o'clock in the morning and was
ME: We didn't talk very much about your mother.
We did talk about your dad and his family. What was your mother's
TB: My mother's mother? Theresa.
ME: It would be your grandmother that we
talked about. You said she was Italian?
ME: What was her name? You said her maiden
name was Theresa Miller.
TB: No, that (pointing to a picture) was
ME: And that was your grandmother?
TB: That was my grandma, and I don't remember
her mother's name. My mother said you couldn't talk with her.
TB: She said she couldn't understand her
Italian language. I remember Grandma Bachmeier said, "You
know she was down in Harvey at the home, where they had Italian
nurses and nuns." She said, "All you could hear was
(cackling sounds), and there was nothing to understand."
ME: I thank you, Theresa, for taking the
time to talk about this. It's always interesting for me to listen
to it and it's important that it be kept up because maybe your
children don't think about making a tape of you. Maybe your grandchildren
some day are going to say, "I wish we had talked to grandma
about this." So what we are doing today is really very important,
because I can't ask my mother or grandmother anymore. I'm sure
they would have had some good stories to tell, because life wasn't
always hard; it was fun too.
TB: Oh yah, they had their fun days too.
ME: Oh sure, we need to know. I'd like to
ask my grandma some things, and I can't. But now your grandchildren
TB: I remember your grandma.
ME: See, I don't.
TB: I remember your grandma, how we carried
up the supper or dinner to my grandma. To this grandma (pointing
to picture) she was in bed. I remember that we had it in the little
ME: Do you remember what my grandma cooked
or weren't you around that much?
TB: No, I wasn't there.
ME: What can you tell me about my grandma
that you -
TB: What I remember from your grandma (Bäsel
Marion): they made those good doughnuts, the
kind with raised dough. They let them raise a little bit.
ME: Was it bread dough?
TB: It wasn't like bread dough, well, something
like bread dough but it was different stuff. They put eggs in
and they put lard into that dough. I don't know if they put any
lemon in the dough. I'm not sure about what they put in. But oh,
were they good!
ME: Did grandma visit very much?
TB: Oh yah, she knew a lot. Sometimes your
grandma was a whole week at our place.
ME: She had a few relatives. By the time
you get all these Duchscherers and Tuchscherers together.
TB: I suppose, she didn't like it very much
in some places. They didn't have very much company. I don't know
what it was, or didn't have enough room. Anyway, she and my mother
always slept together.
ME: Well, grandma was a little person too;
TB: Oh yah and heavy. Well, you can't say
she was that heavy; but she was kindof stooped over because of
ME: You said she was bent over from working
TB: You know what she did? She carried that
water so far on both shoulders using two wooden pails.
ME: Do you know of anything else that you
would like to talk about that you want to be remembered by? We
talked about so much already haven't we?
TB: No, I think we have it all down.
ME: I thank you; and I know it's time for
your lunch, so I'd better let you go. Thank you again.
TB: I got some coffee now.
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