with Theresa Kuntz Bachmeier (TB) - Part II
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: Do you have a relative you really like
the best--like an aunt, uncle or cousin?
ME: Do you remember both of your grandparents,
your mother's and your father's parents?
TB: Not my dad's, they were gone before I
was born. (Go in and get that white envelope with pictures in
it). This is my first cousin that died, and these are the ones
from Rochester that called me last night. This is the Gosechok
ME: That's your father?
TB: That's my dad.
ME: Stolz (proud) man.
ME: I mean the way he stands.
TB: He learned that when he was in the army.
ME: He stands like a soldier.
TB: Yes, that was important.
ME: What was your mother's maiden name?
TB: Elizabeth Duchscherer.
ME: She was a Duchscherer, and that was my
TB: No, not your grandma's sister, she was
your grandma's aunt. And this is my grandma and this was my uncle,
they are the brothers to her.
ME: Your mother's brothers?
ME: Your mother's mother?
TB: My mother's mother.
ME: That is a very good picture, Theresa.
TB: She was born Italian.
ME: Your grandmother was Italian?
TB: My great-grandma was a full-fledged Italian,
her mother was a full-fledged Italian; but she married a German
by the name of Joe Duchscherer.
ME: Do you know if this picture was taken
TB: No, that was taken in Blumenfeld.
TB: Not too far from where my folks lived
by Schaan's, and this was the baby.
ME: What was his name?
ME: And he was a Duchscherer?
TB: That was a Duchscherer, they are all
Duchscherers on here.
ME: What was her husband's name?
TB: Her husband's name was Joseph.
ME: Did they just have the three boys?
TB: No, there's one in Canada.
ME: Now on the back of the picture it says
Grandma Theresa Duchscherers last name was Miller. Her maiden
name was Miller?
TB: That's what they said, but her mother
was a full-fledged Italian and married a German.
ME: Did they get married in Russia or in
TB: In Russia. I think it was Russia; they
were all not married when they came to our country.
ME: You have some really, really good old
pictures, Theresa. It's not everybody that has pictures they can
still show. You should have those in a picture frame.
TB: Yes, I just got this. My daughter contacted
this relative, Jack, who had a neighbor and was the daughter of
his grandchild who had this picture. She put her hands on it and
had them made so I have one. I paid $5 for it, but it's worth
ME: It is so good.
TB: Yes, this is Uncle Mike, this is Uncle
Jack and this is Uncle Paul. I remember how he and my brother
used to talk. I can still remember him getting very sick and my
mother got the tub from under the bed and put real hot water in
there with his feet in the tub and a blanket over his head and
over the tub. He had to sit on the bed with his feet in this hot
water that made him sweat. He had pneumonia, that's why he died.
ME: How old was he when he died?
TB: I think he was about 17 or 18 years old.
ME: Do you know, is he buried in Blumenfeld
TB: Yes he is. He and his mother died within
two months. I think he died in November, and my grandma died in
ME: Was she sick when she died?
TB: She had a stroke. I was in the house,
when two men brought her in on their arms and put her to bed.
She took the crucifix and put it in the holy water, stuck it in
her mouth. That I still remember. She was sitting on the bed at
ME: Very religious person.
ME: Do you know if she was fairly young when
TB: I couldn't tell you.
ME: But she is buried in Blumenfeld too?
TB: She is buried in Blumenfeld. She and
her son are buried side-by-side. They had the same crosses on
ME: Sometime I'm going to have to go out
there and look up some of my relatives, and I know you said that
these are Duchscherers.
TB: Yes, they are Duchscherers.
ME: Are there any other relatives that you
would like to talk about or anything that we have not discussed?
TB: Yes, there are some Duchscherers that
moved from Blumenfeld to Canada. He is my godfather and his name
was Jacob Duchscherer.
ME: Do you know where in Canada they live?
TB: Ich weiss das nit nimmi. (I don't know
ME: Are they still living?
TB: No, no, they are gone a long time ago.
They were older. They probably was older than my folks.
ME: Is he on this picture here?
TB: No, I think he was related to their dad
(pointing to picture), a Duchscherer, yah.
ME: Now when we were talking about relatives,
you said you remembered my grandma.
TB: Your grandma?
ME: My mother's mother.
TB: Oh yah, Bäsel (Aunt) Magdalene.
I still remember her as good as today. When we walked up with
the kettle, and I had the kettle and she had her cane. And she
was so stooped [over], you know, and she helped me to bring this
food up to Grandma, to this Grandma here (pointing to picture).
ME: This lady that we are talking about,
her maiden name was Magdalene Duchscherer. She married a Kloetzel,
who was my mother's mother and father. It was Theresa's relative
too, because this Magdalene Duchscherer that we're talking about,
this grandma, she was your dad's or your mother's relative.
TB: My mother's relative, because my mother
talked about Kloetzels; but we never saw the people.
ME: This Kloetzel died in Russia, but then
Grandma was remarried.
TB: A Linghor, gell (right)?
ME: A Moser. But Grandma had a daughter that
was married to a Linghor.
TB: Yah, because she was living in Devils Lake. See, I
still remember that.
ME: You have a good memory, Theresa.
TB: Yah, my mother said she baked good bread.
ME: Grandma did?
TB: No, that Mrs. Linghor baked as good a
bread as my mother; that I remember.
ME: So it was your father, your father's
mother - explain again how we are related.
TB: How we are related? Well, through the
Duchscherers. Your mother, your grandma was a Duchscherer - she
married a Kloetzel, and her name was Magdalene.
ME: So your grandpa, your grandfather and
my grandmother were brother and sister.
TB: Yah, yah. Your grandma and my grandpa
were sisters and brothers. Yah, yah, that's the right way.
ME: Then we have
it straight. No wonder I like to visit with you so much, you have
so much family information to talk about!
TB: No wonder! (laughter)
Theresa, we're talking now about things that used to be and how
they were. When you look at today, do you see a good life or a
good future for the world?
TB: No, I don't; the
kids got too much right, which is no good. That the parents should
ask the kids what theyre supposed to do, or what?
ME: What about the
religion? Do you think the kids are being taught religion enough?
TB: I think they are
taught enough, but are they keeping it? That is what it is.
ME: Are there any things that you did that
you passed on to your kids...like baking or sewing?
TB: Yes, I said already, "You didn't
learn this at home. You didn't learn that at home." (laughter)
You know my daughter, she made kucha, blachenda, okay? But I told
her before she made them what to put in so she gets them right,
because her mother-in-law didn't make them right. It was not the
right way. They didn't taste like -
ME: Is that the one that brought those in?
She made them right, because they tasted good.
TB: Yah. She made them right, because I told
her just exactly how to make them.
ME: That's the only way we can learn how
to do those things, Theresa, is if you stand there and say, "More
of this and more of that or some of this."
TB: And I said, "Now I want you to put
onion, sugar, little bit salt in the pumpkin and little bit pepper,
whats supposed to be in there before you mix it. Mix that
ME: How did you make the dough?
TB: She knew how to make the dough. See,
I used cream and I used lard and flour and milk to mix the dough.
ME: You didn't put any salt or baking powder
or anything like that?
TB: No, no. Well, you can put a little, not
much, baking powder, just a little bit but not much. You can add
a little salt if you want to but it's not necessary; it's in the
ME: That reminds me, Theresa, we are through
with the blachenda now. You told me about your mother teaching
you how to make kucha?
TB: Not me, my sister. I and my sister.
ME: Tell us about what happened.
TB: Well, she was going to beat the eggs,
and my mother came there in time to tell her that wir sind Essel
(we are dummies). (laughter)
ME: Why was that?
TB: Because we don't know that we shouldn't
be beating them eggs for use to make a thickening. Because when
you beat the eggs with a beater they get watery, most likely.
She stopped us and called us Essel.
ME: (laughter) When someone knows what they
doing, I suppose, somebody like us that don't know what we are
doing, we are -
TB: That's right, and we wouldn't know the
difference. We didnt know the difference that, if we beat
them too much, they would get watery. But I know it now.
ME: It makes sense.
TB: Makes sense, right.
ME: So the eggs were used for a thickening,
but they were not beaten.
TB: Not beaten. Theyre just mixed with
the fork, slowly pulled up and down, up and down and mixed with
ME: Now your kids can all talk and understand
TB: Yah, yah.
ME: Do they still talk German when they come
and visit you?
TB: Oh, the bigger ones do; but the smaller
ones, like Carol, shes not much in German. Helen can talk
whatever she wants. She is a gabber (and has a Gosch). (laughter)
ME: Wonder where she got that from?
TB: I don't know. Anyway, she has worked
for a doctor for 18 years. Somebody [else] was going to ask to
hire her. The doctor said, "You cannot be bought, we need
you." His wife is a doctor too, so they need her.
ME: Is that your daughter?
TB: That's my daughter, Helen.
ME: How many children did you have?
ME: You had nine. How many boys?
ME: Two boys.
TB: Seven girls.
ME: Are any of them still living here in
or around Rugby?
TB: Just one girl is living in Rugby.
ME: What's her name?
ME: And what's her last name?
ME: Heilman, I see. Do you know if any of
your children or grandchildren have done anything like this? I
mean have they asked you a lot of questions about your past?
TB: We had talked about it; if it meant anything
to them, I wouldn't know.
ME: Did anybody make a record or tape of
TB: No, huh uh.
ME: Theresa, you've got so much history that
I could sit and listen to you for hours talking about the things.
Things come to mind for you and some of them are funny and some
are sad, but that's the way life is.
TB: Right, right but I still know what I'm
ME: That's what's so amazing, is that you're
90 years old. I see on your picture over there, you're 90 years
old. Your memory is excellent and you get around well.
TB: Oh yah. Well, if my feet would carry
me better, it would be better.
ME: Well, maybe you can sacrifice your feet,
as long as you have your memory yet.
TB: That's what I thought too.
ME: You had a hobby, and that was crocheting,
TB: Crocheting, and I could sew if I wanted
ME: In your crocheting, you never used a
pattern, you just looked at the picture and then you could do
TB: Yah, by counting.
ME: That's amazing too. I've seen some of
the beautiful things you have crocheted, and it's wonderful.
TB: But my mother, she could crochet, she
could knit, she could sew. She could do everything she wanted
to do. And what got me, we had a sewing machine, and she didn't
have anything [a design] to put on so she made [created] it. And
she made a beautiful pattern [design], thats what really
got me. And she crocheted onto the curtains about that wide [on
the bottom] a zigzag.
ME: Does anybody still have those?
TB: My sister asked me, if I know what happened
to them. I said, "No, you was home longer than I was. Why
don't you know it?" (laughter) So I never found out what
happened to it. And I and her, each one, crocheted about that
wide on the bottom of the bed sheet. We used them on top of the
bed, those heavy white sheets we had on our bed where we slept.
We made it about that wide and we had nice flowers on it.
ME: Did you embroider?
TB: No, we just crocheted.
ME: There are so many things that are so
interesting, because I know you said my mother baked a lot of
good bread. That's something that nobody does anymore either.
Do you still make your own bread?
I bake it yet, but I buy the frozen dough, but I still could.
My mother told my older sister, and my older sister told me, she
said in German, "Theresa bakes better bread than she did".
ME: That's a compliment!
TB: (laughter) Yah, that's the truth.
ME: That's a hard thing to do. It
sounds simple to make bread, but to make good bread is something
TB: You have to work
that dough down in time and you got to know how many times you
work it down.
ME: How many times
did you work it down?
TB: Well, you know
I got up during the night. At that time we made the dough in the
evening and then got up during the night towards - after midnight
and worked that dough down. Then in the morning the dough was
raised big again, you worked it down again and then after that
it was raised again. Well, then you could put it into loaves;
and sometimes, if it wasn't quite right, you worked it down in
the loaves and let it raise again.
ME: When you put it
in the pans, did you let it raise again?
ME: Just one time,
TB: Well, but if it
needed raising, working down, you worked it over again.
ME: About how many loaves of bread did you
bake at one time?
TB: Well, that was about six or eight. Well,
we put two [loaves in a pan]; or maybe if it was a long pan, we
put three in.
ME: Now on the day that you baked, did you
make kucha or anything like that?
TB: Yes, kucha, bean soup, or potato soup.
ME: What did you usually make on Fridays,
when you didn't eat meat?
TB: Oh, all kinds of things, like blachenda
and soup, something like that. Or noodles, potatoes and Nudla
and Dampfnudla, that's the raised ones. If we baked bread, a lot
of times we had Dampfnudla and milk to drink.
ME: Sounds like good eating, Theresa. (laughter)
On the day that you butchered a pig, for example, did you do everything
in one day? You made the sausage and -
TB: Most every time we made the sausage.
ME: Did you help with the blood sausage or
didn't you make any?
TB: Yes, yes.
We made blood sausage too. As much as I didn't like to do it but
ME: Schwardamawa? (jellied meat or head cheese)
Oh gosh, I liked that Schwadamawa.
ME: How did you make
TB: Oh, we used the
head and some of the bottom of the belly from the pig, you know,
like some skin. Not too much though, not too much skin. And the
head and some red [meat] -
ME: You cooked the
TB: We cooked the head.
ME: Then you cut the
TB: And we cut the
meat off and whatever [other] meat we put in yet, we cooked that
too. Like ah, if we had some red, some dark meat to put in, we
put some dark meat in, boiled it and cooked it and ground it up
with the others. Oh, that was good.
ME: You put it in the
TB: Oh yah, you had
to clean that stomach.
ME: Cleaned the stomach
and then you put this ground meat in the stomach and then you
boiled the stomach?
TB: Then you boiled
the stomach and everything and then you press it. The next day
you can eat it. That Frank, my brother, he's a good Schwadamawa
one. Don't forget to put garlic in.
ME: And you put some
spices in there?
TB: And spices.
ME: Which spices?
TB: Salt and pepper
ME: Did you put bay
TB: No, no. It's a
little bit too loud [strong]. (laughter) No, but that is good
stuff, that Schwadamawa. Somebody is still making it in
Esmond and Ambrose; Betty brings me some once in a while.
ME: And when you ate it, you dipped it in
TB: Yup, dunked it in vinegar.
ME: Well, one day we brought in some horseradish
for you, Theresa.
TB: Oh, I got mine just about done.
ME: And you said we didn't make it right.
We ground up the horseradish root and then you said - What do
you do with it after that? How did you tell us to do it?
TB: When you got it ground and then you make
boiling water and put that on. After so many hours you rinse it,
pour that water off, and then put your vinegar and sugar on, yah.
ME: And then put it in small jars and -
TB: And seal it.
ME: And when you eat it, you get tears in
TB: Yah, right.
ME: You get tears when you grind it too,
Theresa, Ill tell you!
TB: I know how that is, because my brother
had it out in front of my door here when he ground it.
ME: That will clear up the cobwebs (laughter)
but it's good. Everything that you've talked about, most of it
I ate myself. Most of it, maybe in today's standards, wasn't the
best food, but there were 12 in my family and we all lived!
TB: Yes, that's what at our place was too.
ME: So if it wasn't the best according to
some cooks, it was good for us.
TB: Yah, it's just like this lady said, she
said she gets meals on wheels too. I said, "Yah, I do too,
but it's not the best." (In German - "My cats get it
ME: (laughter) So your cats are going to
live well of what you didn't want.
TB: I said, "It's always flat. What
you get, it's always flat." She said, "Isn't that the
right!" She said, "I can do better." And I said,
"I know I can do better too, than make it like that."
ME: If you make potato soup, it would be
TB: You know, yesterday I got a potato. It
was as big as my fist, bigger, and hard--not cooked soft. The
cats wouldn't even eat it. When theyre soft, they eat the
potatoes, but when theyre too hard, they dont want
it. I took the knife and I cut it and they gave me cream to put
on. I didn't put it on, because I couldn't eat that hard potato.
I wasn't going to waste the cream, after I had cut it up.
ME: There is one thing that I thought of,
Theresa - When you lived on the farm, did you sell cream or eggs
or anything in town?
TB: We sold cream. Oh, once in a while we
had some eggs, but not too often.
ME: Where did you sell this, in Rugby or
TB: No, it was in Berwick or Balta, mostly.
ME: When they talk about [you] in the future,
when they talk about their grandma and their mother, what would
you like them to say about you?
TB: Yah, I don't know. What I heard was from
my sister when she said, "Mother said that I baked better
bread than she did."
ME: Well, I can add my own. There's a lot
of things that we can remember you for; and that you are such
a happy person; and youre still a tie to my mother and that's
TB: That was for sure. You had a good mother.
ME: Yes, do you know if there is anybody
else that you can think of that maybe remembers some things that
we could ask them, like we did with you?
TB: I don't know.
ME: I think we'll just end it for today.
I want to thank you for your time and for sharing with me and
for all the future people that are going to listen to this tape.
All the things that you said that people are going to get some
information from. Theyre going to be glad that we did this,
Theresa, because theres so many things that die with people
that nobody knows about.
TB: We covered a lot of areas.
ME: Yes, we did. I thank you again for your
time. I thank you for the time you spent when we did the video
tape here, when you made Käseknipfla.
TB: You know, we never was that close and
we know each other for a while now already, but we didn't know
what we were, what's behind us or -
ME: Maybe some people think she's just a
little old German lady; but when you talk to that little old German
lady, there's a lot of things that we recorded. Thank you, Theresa.
TB: Yes, you're welcome.
ME: Tell them goodbye.
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