Home History Culture Oral History Transcribed Interviews

Interview with Christine Gross Jundt (CJ)

Interview conducted by Mary Ebach (ME)
22-23 February 2003
Transcription by Sarah Stensgard
Proofread and edited by Peter Eberle


(Begun at mid-sentence)
ME: …being recorded on Saturday the 22nd of February 2003. We are at the home of Christine Jundt and we’ll be doing the interview and she’ll be giving us all the information.

ME: Give me your name and what your maiden name was.

CJ: Christine Gross

ME: What was your husband’s name?

CJ: Thomas Pius Jundt.

ME: What is your address here in Rugby?

CJ: 410 4th Street SE

ME: And your phone number?

CJ: 776-5665

ME: And what is the date of your birth? Give me the month and the day and the year that you were born.

CJ: November the 10th 1909

ME: Okay, and where were you born?

CJ: On the farm, 10 miles south of Rugby.

ME: Okay, and what is the date of your marriage? When did you get married?

CJ: October the 5th 1934

ME: Okay, what is your father’s name?

CJ: Clemens Gross

ME: When was he born? Do you remember the month or the year?

CJ: Let’s see, in ‘94 he was nineteen. He must have been born in ’72…1872.

ME: 1872? And where was he born? Where was your father born?

CJ: Mannhiem

ME: Okay, what is your mother’s name, and her maiden name?

CJ: Catherine Leier Gross

ME: Okay, what is her birth date?

CJ: (cannot recall)

ME: Do you know where she was born?

CJ: She born in Alsace.

ME: What was your occupation? I know you were a wife and mother, but you were also doing something else here in town.

CJ: School cook

ME: How many years did you do that?

CJ: Twenty-two and a half

ME: Was it all at Little Flower

CJ: Yes

ME: All at Little Flower. What did your father do for a living?

CJ: He was a farmer.

ME: And I see you have some family books there. What is the name of them?

CJ: One’s from the Gross family, and one from the Leier. That’s my uncle and aunt.

ME: And these people on here?

CJ: Yes, this was his first wife. And this was his second wife and her sister.

ME: And that’s your mother’s brother?

CJ: My mother’s brother and my dad’s sister.

ME: And that’s on the Leier family. Do you have anything on the Gross family?

CJ: Yeah, this book here is from the Gross family.

ME: Now is your father in this book then too?

CJ: Yeah, they must be. Let me see…they’re in here someplace. I see Andrew, that’s my dad’s brother. Alright they’re here, here’s my folks. They were married in 1900.

ME: June 18. Well, why don’t you read this to me?

CJ: Clemens and Catherine were married June the 18, 1900 at St. Anthony church.

ME: I see by Father Senger. Father Steven Senger.

CJ: Steven Senger

ME: Just read that out loud, that little bit there. Would you do that?

CJ: Father Senger lived at the Selz, which is now Hague church and had St. Anthony’s as a mission. Witnesses to the marriage were Anton Bachmeier and Maria Bitz. This was a double wedding with Clemens’ sister, Caroline marrying Catherine’s brother, Joseph.

ME: Okay, now let’s go back to what are the names of your mother’s mother and father?

CJ: Mother’s folks was Christian Leier and Grandma was Christine (A54 Lacunas).

ME: Do you know their birthdays? Your mother’s parents? That goes back a little ways; do you think you have that?

CJ: I don’t think I have that.

ME: What were the names of your father’s parents?

CJ: Father was John Gross, and ah…

ME: Your grandma’s name was…

CJ: Bendedicta

ME: And what was her maiden name?

CJ: (A60 Arvine)

ME: Oh. Where were they born?

CJ: They were all born in Russia.

ME: Were they farmers when they lived in Russia do you know - your grandparents?

CJ: Grandpa Leier was a tavern owner. Divine Shame they called it. And Father John was a farmer.

ME: Did you get to know your grandparents very well?

CJ: My grandparents? Just my grandfather John.

ME: On your dad’s side?

CJ: Yeah

ME: The others had all died by the time you came along?

CJ: No, just Grandma Leier had died. But Grandma Gross was an invalid. She was bed-ridden I think for fourteen years. She was almost completely paralyzed due to - in those they called it (A71 German word). It would be like arthritis now.

ME: Did you ever hear anything about any stories they told when they came across in the ship?

CJ: Yes, grandma’s ship was very exciting. In those days they had no way of calling for help or anything, and I don’t know why they had gumption to come. Anyway, they were about half ways over when they got hit by an iceberg. It made a hole in the one end of the ship and they couldn’t repair it yah know - swimming around the ocean. So, everybody that could, even like my mother, she was twelve years old she had to take her turn too; they baled out water, begging for more help and they all had have received the last rites and they sang hymns and prayed and prayed. And for I think eleven days she said - or between eleven and twelve days - they just did that, floated around the water and prayed and sang and just baled out water, begging for more time. And one day a fishing vessel came close enough and the man that run it said, “that ship over there has trouble, I’ve been watching it, they’re not going anyplace, they’re just floating around. I’m going to go and see.” So, they came towards them, and of course they got excited, they wasted everything they could and he got close enough that they could talk. And he said, “We’re so little, I can’t pull you. I don’t know if I can do anything for you - maybe we can take some of the children in our little boat. It was a fishing vessel, and I don’t know how big. So, he said, “Wait a minute, I have another idea.” He said “If you are willing to give up everything you have;” everybody had trunks yah know, they could bring so much; they had hardware, all kinds of wrenches yah know, and equipment and all the kettles and dishes, and books, a lot of books my mother said. They threw everything down, they’re heavy winter clothes, everything went down the ocean. And he said, “Now we’ll take all the boats, your boats and my boats, and tie them with ropes and chains onto my vessel, and the men have to go in the boats and help row, and I will open it wide open and I think we can move.” So, he pulled them and pulled them to the shore - saved them all.

ME: Oh my gosh

CJ: And it’s just, my mother said, “We didn’t even cry for the stuff we had to throw in the ocean, we were just thinking of our lives.” And that’s how they got here.

ME: Do you remember the name of that ship that they were on?

CJ: No, I don’t think it would be in here.

ME: Do you know the year, or the time of the year that they came over?

CJ: It might tell us something in this book, I don’t know.

ME: Well, did you do anything at home that you’re still doing in your family, I mean like your prayers, or your Christmas, or your Name’s day - anything that you did at home, are you still doing that now?

CJ: Not an awful lot. There is so few of us and we’re not together a lot yah know?

ME: What type of a house did you live in when you were a child? Was it a country home, big home, small home?

CJ: It was a country home with the (A113 hits). Let’s see once…two big rooms upstairs - three rooms - two big ones and a small one. And then the front room, bedroom, big kitchen.

ME: Did you have a summer kitchen?

CJ: Summer kitchen? A very nice summer kitchen.

ME: Outdoor toilet?

CJ: Uh huh

ME: Did you live on that same farm all the while, from the time you were born until you moved off yourself?

CJ: Yeah

ME: So you stayed there pretty much

CJ: Yeah

ME: How was your home heated? How did you heat the whole house?

CJ: For the first years we had big hard coal furnace in the front room and then the cook stove in the kitchen. So, we were quite comfortable…and Dad wanted to heat up the coal as fast as he could - one day he had it so hot in the house that the candles melted. Then we put in a furnace in the basement.

ME: Oh. Did you have a cook stove, that’s where your mother cooked on, was in the cook stove?

CJ: Yeah

ME: What did she use in that? Wood or coal or -

CJ: Both - wood and coal and corn cobs

ME: Who had to chop the wood? Your dad or your brothers or -

CJ: I think they all helped.

ME: Did you use candles or kerosene lights?

CJ: Kerosene lamps and we had two big gasoline lamps. Mantles. Do you remember them?

ME: Uh huh. Did you have a cellar in your house?

CJ: Oh yeah, hole cellar.

ME: And is that where you put your canned foods?

CJ: The canned foods. The cellar had another opening to the west dug out, and that was the fruit hole. The vegetable went in there; we had the pickles and the sauerkraut, and barrels and crocks - and wine, like I said, a lot of wine. We were living right by the highway, people stopped when they went to Rugby, stopped on their way home to tell us what they saw in town, and everybody that stopped had to have a glass of wine.

ME: What about water, did you have water in the house or did you have to go outside to the well?

CJ: We had a well outside

ME: Did you have a lot of water?

CJ: Yeah, a lot of good water. The first years I remember we had a dug well and a wooden windmill - dad had gotten trees from over by the river and made his own windmill. And then when I was maybe about eight or nine, we had a well dug and had a real windmill on it.

ME: Oh wow. Who taught you how to cook?

CJ: My mother.

ME: What are some of the things that she taught you how to make?

CJ: Well, the first thing was – no, dad taught me how to bake bread. Mother got called to Napoleon because somebody was sick. And she said, “Oh I can’t go, I was going to bake bread tomorrow and haven’t got things prepared.” Dad said, “You just go, that’s more important, we’ll get along.” So the next day he said to me, “You and I are going to bake bread today.” So he told me exactly how to do it, and we baked bread together and it got fairly good. And after a few days, I thought, I don’t need dad ya know, he showed me how to do it, and I baked it on my own. I don’t think the dogs liked it.

ME: (Laughing) It wasn’t quite as easy as it looked huh?

CJ: Well, Ma figured out that I musta had the yeast too hot, and the yeast never worked. And the way we got by – and the boys teased me about that bread all their lives. And Mary was a little younger than I and she never even looked at how to bake bread—they never teased her.

ME: Did you ever make your own clothes? Did you ever sew your own clothes?

CJ: Uh huh, I did.

ME: Did you learn how to crochet or knit or anything like that?

CJ: No, I didn’t have time for that because the boys were playing baseball, and they needed a help.

ME: What about your mail – did you have the mail delivered right there to your farm?

CJ: For a long time we had to go a mile east to get our mail, and then later on they changed the route and we got it right by the farm?

ME: When you were still home, what did you do evenings?

CJ: Some played cards - dad was a card player. He would help with the supper dishes so play cards. And a lot of us read, we did a lot of reading.

ME: Did you listen to the radio much?

CJ: Well, we didn’t have a radio the first years.

ME: And your father, you said was a farmer?

CJ: Yes.

ME: When did you get your first job? What was your first job? Not at home, but like did you go to the neighbors?

CJ: Oh, away from home? Let’s see…I suppose when I helped my sister when I babysat for her.

ME: Did your family have any fruit trees?

CJ: We had berries – gooseberries and currents…I think that’s all.

ME: What kind of things did you can?

CJ: Any fruit that you could get in the store. And a lot of the vegetables, like green beans and things like. My mother musta had right close to two hundred jars, and she wasn’t happy unless they were full.

ME: Did you can chicken then or did you just butcher the chicken and eat it right away?

CJ: I don’t remember canning chicken - we canned meatballs and sausage and stuff like that.

ME: You raised chickens, a lot of them?

CJ: A lot of chickens.

ME: Turkeys?

CJ: Turkeys, ducks, geese

ME: Did you pick the geese then?

CJ: Uh huh

ME: Made nice pillows?

CJ: Yah, still have two feather pillows.

ME: Did your mother ever make a (A193 feathertick), a quilt?

CJ: Yeah, she had a big feather (A194 feathertick).

ME: Show me how she picked the down off the geese.

CJ: Take the wings, fold them under, she’d hold them with this hand, and she could pick about four or five till I picked one.

ME: Did she put the head under the arm?

CJ: Yah, and I think they all did it pretty much the same.

ME: What kind of meat did you usually eat? Was it mostly pork, or beef, or chicken, or what - at your home?

CJ: Pretty much equal I think – pork and beef, and then a lot of chicken, we ate all the (A201 guineas)

ME: Did you drink a lot of milk?

CJ: Uh huh.

ME: And you made your own butter?

CJ: Own butter, and own cottage cheese, and own mozzarella cheese, and own yellow cheese.

ME: Did you have any hired men or did your brothers do the work?

CJ: For harvest we had from two to four hired men, and then for threshing we’d have a bunch.

ME: What did you normally do on Saturdays?

CJ: Clean the house and bake bread, and bake cookies and cake.

ME: And then what did you do on Sunday?

CJ: Went to church and as a rule I spent the afternoon cooking supper for the company.

ME: And you went to church on Sundays, right?

CJ: Yeah

ME: Where did you go to church when you were still at home?

CJ: Balta

ME: And the name of that church was…what was the name of the Balta?

CJ: Good heavens, don’t I know that…

ME: Our Lady of Mount Carmel?

CJ: Yeah

ME: How far did you live from the church?

CJ: About five – between five and six miles

ME: And then you drove a car over, or horses?

CJ: I remember some winters going with the sleigh—half froze when we got there.

ME: What kind of presents did you get at Christmas time – what was it like for Christmas? What did you do at your house – when you were home yet?

CJ: Oh, I get something maybe like a nice purse, or string of pearls, or a new dress ya know.

ME: Did you have a Christmas tree?

CJ: Yeah

ME: Did you have a Belzanickel?

CJ: Yeah

ME: What did he do?

CJ: He scared the living daylights out of us. (laughs)

ME: Were you mean?

CJ: No

ME: Then he didn’t do anything to you huh?

CJ: No

ME: Did he do anything to anybody else in the family?

CJ: One time he scared Johnny. He had his little tree branch ready to whip him a little, and Johnny ran upstairs and got under the bed.

ME: He was really scared huh?

CJ: Yeah

ME: How was he dressed? What did he have on?

CJ: He had a sheep skin coat inside out. I don’t know what he had on his head, and he was carrying a chain, and a rope. And then a little stick, it was tree branch as I remember.

ME: What about (A235 Krish Kind?)? How was she dressed?

CJ: She had veils over her head and over her body, and she was carrying gifts. And she had a funny, screechy voice.

ME: The Belzanickel never gave you any presents though.

CJ: No

ME: Just the Krish Kinda.

CJ: Just the Krish Kinda.

ME: And what kind of stuff did she give you?

CJ: I don’t know – you see a little basket full of goodies.

ME: Candy and stuff?

ME: How did you keep cool in the summertime when you were home in your house?

CJ: We did all the cooking in the summer house, so the house stayed nice and cool.

ME: I suppose if they pull the shades, and did all of that. Do you remember any blizzards, or bad thunderstorms that you can remember?

CJ: Oh yeah, we had a lot of blizzards, a lot of big snow banks. Boys would – after the highway got through there the boys were busy when there was a storm, pulling cars through the snow banks. Some people couldn’t make it all the way home and they’d stay overnight. One time we had eight people sleeping there through the storm.

ME: Yeah, you were just right off the highway then weren’t you?

CJ: Yeah

ME: And that was [highway] number three where you live.

CJ: Uh huh

ME: What did you do for playing at home, when you were at home? What kind of games did you play, or did you – you said you read a lot? What kind of things did you read…were they books or magazines?

CJ: Mostly books

ME: Who was your best friend?

CJ: Della Tarvasted)

ME: What did you do – what kind of games did you play when you got together…you and Della?

CJ: We didn’t play games I don’t think, we just visited.

ME: Did you ever learn to swim?

CJ: No, tried – tried a few times.

ME: Where did you go to school?

CJ: Country school

ME: And where was that?

CJ: About a mile and a half west of where we lived.

ME: And that was a one room school house right?

CJ: One room school house

ME: How did you get to school – did you walk ?

CJ: If it was nice we walked. And if it wasn’t nice, either dad or the neighbor would give us a ride.

ME: And how many were usually walking? Was there more from your family, three or four of them from your family?

CJ: Four of us to start with and then boys graduated, so then it was down to two of us. When it was still three of us, it was kinda nice that morning and we didn’t want to wear our jackets, and our ma said, “You wear your jackets, it’s still winter.” So we’d wear our jackets and Travasted had a fence in between the school and our house, so we got there, took off our jackets and hung them on the fence posts. It so happened dad drove by that day and recognized those jackets and took em. So we come home and were all ready to eat supper, the phone rang. Dad went and answered the phone and we could tell they talked about something very serious, and he hung up and he looks at ma and he shook his head, and he said, “There’s something bad going on around the country.” This was Travasted and he said he has two very sick cows, and he’s afraid he can’t save em, he wants me to come and help. “Well what’s the matter?” Well, he thinks they ate something because one of them had something in her mouth and it was cloth. And of course we all started to cry, Johnny and Mary and I left the room. (Laughter) Then the next morning mom told us, “We got your jackets out on the car, go get them – get em on.”

ME: (Laughing) He knew how to get you, didn’t he? Where did your parents do their shopping? Was it in Balta?

CJ: Grocery shopping they mostly did in Balta and we had a little country store.

ME: Oh you did?

CJ: About three miles west (A292 Berzil). And there was a nice old couple and they shopped there some just to help those old people.

ME: What do you remember about (Berzil)?

CJ: It was a nice little store. We could stop there and buy candy on the way over to my sister’s – she lived on the other side. And ah, these two old – Dr. Fox’s uncle and aunt).

ME: Who owned that store in (A270 Berzil) – do you remember?

CJ: Yeah, it was this Dr. Fox’s uncle and aunt.

ME: Oh, they owned it, okay. That’s where my folks got married, was in (Berzil).

CJ: Oh really?

ME: Was there a church there?

CJ: No

ME: Must’ve been Balta then.

CJ: Country church south of (Berzil), yeah.

ME: On their wedding certificate it says (Berzil), North Dakota. When you didn’t go shopping in Balta, did you go shopping in Rugby then, or Minot?

CJ: Yeah, Rugby and once in a while in Harvey.

ME: Did you ever go to Minot, or Bismarck, or –

CJ: Not for shopping

ME: Yeah, that was quite a ways a way. When you were young did you ever get on a train, go for a train ride anywhere?

CJ: I used to – a couple times when I went to school at Grand Forks. I’d come home on the train, or go back down on the train.

ME: Did your family have a horse and buggy?

CJ: Oh yeah, two buggys, a single and a double.

ME: Do you remember what year your dad got the first car? What make it was?

CJ: It was a Chevy and it was in 1914.

ME: Did you learn to drive it?

CJ: No, not that one. I learned a few years later. I went for a ride sometimes with one of the boys or with dad. And one time him and I drove down the pasture with the truck. Fooled around awhile, and then he started walking home and he said, “Bring the truck when you come.” I said, “I can’t!” He said, “Well, how do you know you can’t when you haven’t tried…bring it home.” And he kept going, so I thought, okay dad, you asked for it…if I smash it, it’s your fault. So I drove it home and from then on I knew I could drive.

ME: When there’s nobody beside you to make you nervous, then you can do it.

CJ: Yeah

ME: Christine, let’s go through you family members – who was the oldest in your family?

CJ: Caroline

ME: And who was she married to?

CJ: She was married to Joe Schmaltz.

ME: And who was the next oldest?

CJ: Next was Joe. He was married to Elizabeth Bosch. And then was Walter. He was married to Mabel (A333 Liras). And then Johnny was married to Anne (334 Duchshere). And I married Tom Jundt. And my sister, Mary, was the baby, and she married James Fitzpatrick.

ME: Is Mary still living?

CJ: No

ME: You’re the only one left?

CJ: I’m the only one left.

ME: Wow – you’re tough.

CJ: Well, I think I’m so mean they don’t want me any other place.

ME: Well, we’ll see…we’re glad that you’re still here with us – you still have some things you have left to do. Where did you meet Tom?

CJ: When they came to our church we’d see each other every Sunday and sorta smiled at each other for a long time before we talked. Then we started going to parties and dances together.

ME: When did you get married?

CJ: In ’31…no, ‘32

ME: What month?

CJ: October…and we went to Chicago to the world’s fair and stayed a year.

ME: Wow, what did you do there?

CJ: After we went to the fair maybe two weeks straight everyday and every evening I never wanted to see another fair, and then we moved back up to Milwaukee, and there he got a job working for (A357 AO Schmidt), making car bodies and things like that. So, when spring came all he could talk about is now we would have the little chicks, and all the little pigs would go, “Whah yah.” So, one day I said, “Tom, you want to go home don’t you?” And he said, “Oh, I want to go home so bad.” So, we packed up and came home.

ME: What was Tom’s mother and dad’s name?

CJ: Michael Jundt and grandma’s name was Agatha.

ME: Oh, okay. When we were talking Christine, we were talking about when your mother came over on the ship?

CJ: Uh huh. She got hit by an iceberg…

ME: Tell us about that - that story when your mother came over to America.

CJ: They were little more than half ways over when they got hit by this big iceberg that came in from the north. It made a big hole in the front of the ship. There was no way they could repair it and no way they could call for help, so they just decided everybody available has to bail water – they had to take their turns. Mother was 12, she had to take her turn with a smaller pail. And they got the last rites and they prayed, and they sang, they were prepared to die. When this smaller ship, a fishing vessel my mother always called it, this captain saw them and he said to his crew, “that ship over there has trouble, I’ve been watching them and they’re not sailing, they’re just floating around. We have to go in closer and see what we can do.” So he came over and he looked at them and he said, “I’m sorry, we are so small, I can’t pull you, I don’t know what we could do.” And he thought it over, and he thought, “Would you be willing to give up all your property you took along?” Well, sure they were ya know, to save their lives. So, they threw everything over, everybody had – so they could bring so many boxes and trunks and stuff. And they had like dishes, and kettles, and hardware from the shop. Books, a lot of books my mother used to say, and they were heavy. So, everything went down into the water. All they had left is what they had on. They had heavy winter clothes they had brought along, and all that went into the water. And this man said, “Well, now we’ll take down our boats and your boats, sort of life-saving boats they had on the outside. And the men have to get in there and they have to row and row and row, and I will give my engine full speed and I think we can make it. And that way I think it took them five days, but he got them out. And when they saw land, I guess they all collapsed and cried.

ME: How did they get food, how did they eat, or what did they eat during that time?

CJ: They had food along on the ship, and it was rationed it out enough so that it would’ve lasted, ya know, till they got there. But then, this man on the fishing vessel, they had extra food and they shared it.

ME: Do you know did that ship eventually sink – the one they were on?

CJ: I don’t know, my mother didn’t know. She said it was pulled up to the beach and from there on they didn’t know what happened to it.

ME: Do you know how many days they were on the ship before this happened? Were they on like the first day, or the second day or –

CJ: No, it was about the seventh day, and all together it was 23 days they were on the water.

ME: Wow

CJ: When I think that they had enough gumption to come over here when they knew they could never call for help if anything went wrong.

ME: That’s what you call being a tough German isn’t it?

CJ: Yep, right.

ME: Do you know any other stories about your parents?

CJ: Well, they came to Ellis Island and then I don’t know how they traveled, was that by train or what…that I don’t know. And they went to Eureka, South Dakota, and from there they knew some friends that had come over a little earlier in the Napoleon area. So somebody picked them up and gave them rides to Napoleon, and then they met each other there. My dad was a labor man then, he worked for farmers. He worked south of Hurdsfield. He was the head man on that big Irish farm because he stayed three years so he got top wages, he got $40 a year. He said he bought a pair of mittens, and a pair of shoes, and the rest of the money he gave to dad so that they could buy coal for the winter. And anyway, they met them and they got married. My mother’s folks had come up to Blumenfeld by then, and they kept saying, “Oh, it’s so pretty up here, it’s so beautiful, why don’t you come?” So then they decided to move up to – north of Orrin. And there my father, he had a lot of sheep, he was a sheep herder, and he was a rural mail carrier on a little brown pony. And my mother couldn’t take it there, she said one day she would clean the little house – they put up a sod house then. One day she’d clean it, and the next day the sand was a half an inch thick all through the house. And she said if it was a little windy you couldn’t go outside because the sand blew into your eyes. So she said, “I’m not going to stay here. If you want to stay here, that’s your business, but I won’t. So then dad came over this far looking for a place and he bought the farm.

ME: Were you born already then, when they were living in the sod house?

CJ: No, I wasn’t, I was born about two years later.

ME: Did you ever get back to see that sod house?

CJ: Yes, when I went over there there was still one wall setting, and never took a picture of it.

ME: But it’s not up anymore?

CJ: No, it’s not up anymore.

ME: We had talked a little bit about the iron crosses, and you said your dad has an iron cross at Balta?

CJ: My grandfather

ME: Your grandfather, okay. And then your brother is buried there too?

CJ: My brother is buried next to grandfather…and my parents are right there too…

ME: And there was an iron cross on your brother’s grave?

CJ: Uh huh, and we didn’t think that was right. We thought that was – I don’t know why…looked like we didn’t care, we thought. So I mentioned it to my brothers, I said, “Don’t you think we should get together and buy Walter a stone?” “Yeah, yeah, that was one thing we could do for him.” So we did, and then the cross laid there, and “What should we do with it?” And Joe Schmaltz was down with the pickup and so he put it on his pickup, he took it home, and laid it on the other side of the garden, and there its been laying all these years. So one night I thought about this cross, and I thought, “It’s not doing any good out there, it must be in the grass and weeds by now, why don’t we do something about it?” So I called Carol and I said, “Yah know that cross belongs to us, it belongs to the family, not to the cemetery or anything. We have a right to do with it whatever we want.” And I got a feeling we should try and sell it and if we get a few dollars worth we’ll give that money to the Balta church, because my folks have a window that they had bought when the church was built and it needs redoing. And I said that would be a little help to get that window fixed. So she said, “That’s a good idea, I’ll talk to the boys.” So she called Clem, Clem said, “Well yeah, it’s something to think about, it doesn’t do anybody any good laying out there.” Took a few days when Monsignor Joe Senger had this letter about his trip, and then he said, “I’m all ready, I’ve got everything in order for my trip home. I have a little stone, but I’m not happy with it, I would so like – I want an iron cross so bad that I hurt. Where could you get one these days?” And Clem thought, “Oh my gosh, there goes the cross.” So he called Monsignor, he said, “I have to look, I haven’t seen it for a few years. If it’s still in good shape it’s yours, you want it?” “Oh, I want it. If it isn’t good shape I’ll put it in good shape, I want it!” He said, “I don’t know, this is more of a Christmas day than anything else, I’m so happy right now.” He said he was just beside himself, and we were too. I got thinking, “God must’ve wanted Monsignor to have that cross, cuz why did it all fall in line like that?

ME: Sure, sure…it sounds like it. And it’s going to a good place too; it’s going to somebody that appreciates that.

CJ: Yeah…So all he has to do is take the name plate off and put his on and – So there going to do that as soon as (A521) opens.

ME: Some of those iron crosses, there is a cemetery south and east of Balta, we were out there and they got some beautiful iron crosses there. Yah know, the different designs and everything. Some of those, oh, that was such a special talent those people had when they made them.

CJ: Oh, yeah.

ME: I mean, to know how to curl it up and around and all the different designs.

CJ: Go to a cemetery and look at em all. Yah know, they didn’t have a (A531 pattern) or anything, just whatever come to my mind…there’s so many beautiful ones.

ME: There really are…that was a good part of our life that those people did that, because it’s like a memorial to them, even if it is for our family, it’s still a memorial to the person that made it.

CJ: Yeah, yeah

ME: We were talking about some of the different medicines that you used to have in your family. What were some of the medicines that your mother had? Either to take or to put on or –

CJ: Well, like I think I told you, the main healer was the (A545 Kamility), that cured everything. And kerosene was used a lot when we got a wire cut or something—Kerosene just healed it.

ME: You poured kerosene over it?

CJ: Yeah, or put some in a pan and set your foot in, whatever you had…

(End side A)

CJ: (…begins at mid sentence) And he said, “We drank it because it made us feel good, we did not know that the health qualities.

ME: Oh, that’s good. Did you have any stories that you wanted to talk about? We talked a little bit yesterday about your brother was in bed one night and he saw –

CJ: Oh yeah, we were all sleeping. It was pretty much the middle of the night, and he called to me – our door was next to theirs – and he said, “Will you go down, light the lights, and open the doors lock, let grandpa in, grandpa Leier is standing out there and it’s kinda chilly. And he rapped at the door two or three times and he went and rapped at the folk’s bedroom window and they will not wake up. Please go.” And I said, “Why don’t you go yourself?” He said, “I tried, but I can’t, my legs don’t seem to want to move, please go.” So I went down and of course I knew that grandpa couldn’t possibly have been there, but I went and looked all around and I called him and there was nobody there. So, I went in and shook ma and said, “Will you please wake up, I think Joe is sick, I think he’s running a fever because he claims grandpa is here.” And she said, “Oh my,” she says, “go and bring him a glass of water, dip to the bottom of the pail so it’s cooler, I’ll be right up. So, I went and was going to put water in the glass and the phone was right above me, it rang and I answered it and a man said, “Will you get this straight and tell your folks I want to tell you that grandpa Leier died about ten minutes ago.” So I went up and I told Joe, I said, “grandpa couldn’t come, grandpa died.” And he said, “But he was here, I saw him. He was right in front of the door and he rapped several times and he had his long gray coat on he usually wore and his funny hat.” I remember his funny hat he always wore. I said, “Joe, you’re sick, you must’ve had a dream.” He said, “No, I think I was awake and I saw grandpa, I saw him.” And then he stuck his head in the pillow and cried.

ME: It’s strange sometimes how some of those things come about. You also said about how your mother kinda knew some things were going to happen before they did?

CJ: Oh yeah, she could – I told you about the time Walter was in school at Fargo. He would write home all the time and one Saturday morning—dad was always the first one up—when we were sleeping upstairs dad would say, “Shall we get the kids out of bed?” And ma would say, “Oh, they’re kinda tired, give em another 15 minutes.” And then he’d say, “Well, then I’ll go get the cows, and then you call them.” So that morning for some reason dad was the last one up. And she said, “Hey you, you’re getting lazy in your old age, wake up quick. You gotta get yourself ready, you’re going to Fargo, we wanna go down see Walter. And he said, “Walter’s okay.” We had a letter just a few days ago, and he said, “I’m not going anyplace today, much less Fargo.” She said, “Yeah, but I think you’re going because I can’t yah know, I don’t feel good, and I wouldn’t know my way around like you do, so you’re the one that’s going.” And he said, “No,” he said, “I’ll get up and I’ll even shave just because it’s Saturday not because I’m going anyplace.” So, she went started putting clothes in his suitcase and she said, “Joe will take you to (B42?), you’ll catch the train and you go down and make sure Walter is okay, I’ve got to know.” So just then the phone rang and it was Joe Reinbold. He was in the same – they were boarding together and everything. And he said, “I was wondering if somebody wants to come down or can come down, Walter is in the hospital with double pneumonia and the doctors aren’t sure which way it’s going to go.” So, we were all just shocked and of course dad hurried and got the train and went down.

ME: But your mother knew about that before she even – before she even knew it.

CJ: Yeah, she knew about that. And then too, when Walter and Mabel got married Walter decided they’re going to get married and go to California, so they went, that’s what they did. So one day – he would always write and tell us what he’s doing and they’re getting along so good. And one day, it was spring, and we were cleaning up the yard a little and then my mother said, “Today we have to hurry real much and try to get it done because I think this is the day Walter and Mabel are coming home.” And dad got a little disgusted with her and he said, “Don’t do that, you make yourself sick thinking things like that.” He said, “Yah know, the letter we had about two days ago, he said don’t write to us this week because we won’t be home, we’re taking a two week vacation in Mexico.” And dad said, “You heard that as well, they’re in Mexico right now.” She said, “No, he told us they’re in Mexico, but they’re not.” She said, “They’re coming home.” Well dad come home with a load of cattle and then we’d all go and guess how much they weigh and how much he paid, and the one that was the closest got a prize, maybe a show ticket or something. So, we were out by the road doing that, and this car flew by and she said, “Ha, there he went and he didn’t even stop.” And dad looked around, he said, “I think your mother is sick.” And he said, “Ma, Walter left with a yellow sports car and this was a black coupe.” She said, “Walter doesn’t have to come home with the same car he left. My guess is right, he won’t because he wants to do things his way.” Here it went about a half mile south, turned around, came back. It was Walter and Mabel. He said, “Fooled you!” And dad said, “No, you fooled most of us, but not all of us.”

ME: You said your mother’s maiden name was Leier (prounounced “Leer”)?

CJ: Uh huh

ME: Did they always pronounce it “Leer” or did they sometimes pronounce it “Liar”?

CJ: “Liar” yah. The other side of the number three it’s “Liar”. (Laughing) On this side it’s “Leer”

ME: How did your mother pronounce it? Of course I suppose she pronounced it “Liar”.

CJ: Yeah, “Liar” (German pronunciation)

ME: Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s kind of the German way of pronouncing it, but I know you said “Leer” and I was wondering if that’s the way they pronounce it or if they said “Liar”.

CJ: Yeah, we always - yah know at our house it was “Leer.”

ME: Well, like you said, the highway made a difference (laughing). Did you find the date of your mother…I see you’ve got some notes there.

CJ: Yeah, yeah. Ma came over here in 1898 from Alsace, Russia at age twelve. Dad came over in 1894, and I was right, the ship was Kaiser Wilhelm.

ME: That’s the one my folks came over on too. But you don’t have it anywhere the name of the ship that your mother came on?

CJ: No, I don’t.

ME: That would be kind of interesting to know a little more about that. What about these dates? Where do you got your dates there?

CJ: Oh, here I was doodling my kids’ names.

ME: Okay, what - how many children do you have?

CJ: Two boys

ME: Okay, what are their names?

CJ: Two families, because they were nine years apart. They couldn’t go to school together…one started school, the other one started high school.

ME: Okay, what’s your oldest one’s name?

CJ: Donald Thomas

ME: And where does he live?

CJ: Lincoln, Nebraska

ME: Okay, when was he born?

CJ: May the 20th, 1934

ME: Did he marry a girl from here?

CJ: Yeah, he married Joe Peters’ daughter, Lucille Peters.

ME: What’s your other son’s name?

CJ: That’s Richard, and he was born in 1943…one is 34 and the other one is 43. And he married Diane Geiser.

ME: And where does he live?

CJ: On the farm by Sylva.)

ME: I see in the paper this week that you’ve had five generations?

CJ: Uh huh

ME: Now that’s Donald’s family?

CJ: Yeah

ME: Do his kids and grandchildren live down there by them?

CJ: The daughter lives very close to them in Lincoln. And two of the boys live - well, one lives in Denver and one lives close to Denver in the mountains. They’re both in real estate. And the youngest one goes to college in Rhode Island.

ME: What did you do for a living here in these past years before you retired? Didn’t you cook up at grade school?

CJ: Yeah, first I helped farm for years, we were sidewalk farmers…cause Tom couldn’t handle it yah know, Tom had a very serious brain tumor. So we farmed with hired help…in and out, in and out. And then one day they came and they needed a cook for Little Flower so bad. And I said, “Oh my God no,” I said, “If it was fall I would, but now it’s March, we’re ready to go to the farm.” And Tom had just hired a hired man and he sat here and listened a while and then he said, “Mrs. Jundt, who do you think you are…couldn’t you fix us something and we can warm it up out there, if Tom can’t cook I can.” He said, “We don’t even need a skirt running around out there.”

ME: Who said that?

CJ: Louie Gross was our hired man. (Laughter) So, they said, “If you would just help us out a week maybe we’d find somebody.” So Tom said, “Okay, we won’t be in the field that soon. If you want to help them out go ahead.” So I did; so then we got a heavy rain and everything, we couldn’t go to the field. So, I thought, well, Tom said, “yah know what, if you want to finish out the year you can.” They hadn’t found anybody, so I stayed. And by that time I was in love with it…I want to take all those kids home. (laughing). So, I stayed 22 ½ years.

ME: Oh my goodness. And then after that time I know you helped with our OctoberFest, the Germans from Russia chapter had October Fest, and I know that you were kind of in charge of that too weren’t you?

CJ: Well yeah, Helen and I did the cooking for that.

ME: That’s Helen Volk that you’re -

CJ: Yeah

ME: Well, you must’ve had a lot of recipes, all these German recipes don’t you?

CJ: Well, no…I didn’t learn too much of the German cooking. My mother didn’t make all that stuff.

ME: Why?

CJ: Dad didn’t want it. When dad worked for those people for years, he said they were very nice people, very kind, but they were both vegetarians. And he said, “I remember having meat two or three times when I managed to catch a few rabbits when I was working in the field. And I took them in and I begged Donna, I said, “I will get them ready for the pan, will you cook them for me, I’m so meat hungry?” And she did. But they wouldn’t eat any, and they never had meat otherwise. So, he said, “I always said if I ever have my own home, there’s going to be meat and potatoes on the table all the time.” So, once in a while during lent my mother would make Kaseknefla or something and half of us kids loved them, and the other half didn’t want them. And I don’t know, we just never - and I get to go and stay a few days with this uncle and aunt and the other uncle and aunt and they had all this stuff and I come home and I’d say, “Mom, can you cook that?” And I would describe to her, and she said, “Yeah I can but dad would be so unhappy. Sometime when we know he isn’t coming home for dinner you remind me and I’ll make you some.”

ME: Ahh. So you didn’t actually make that much of the German foods then?

CJ: No

ME: I mean for your own family now

CJ: No, just once in a while. I remember the first time I made Kaseknefla for the boys, they all opened (Laughing).

ME: They can do that…you fill them full cream, and you know that filling, and all of the sudden they open up and then you got a kettle full of cream in there. Do you have any cookbooks that have German recipes in them? I mean, other than, yah know, our chapter has a German cookbook, but do have any other cookbooks?

CJ: Well, some that I have bought, but yah know, nothing from home.

ME: Is there anything else that you’d like to talk about? Any jokes or stories or anything that come to mind that happened in your home?

CJ: Ah, well the one I like to remember, we had to milk cows, or give them back to (B152 (tape cut off) ?) when they built the highway through there, we got all our garden stuff…we replanted. And we watered and watered to bring the garden back. And we had to milk the cows yah know. And we liked to fool around, we had little kittens, we took them along too for milking and sent by the cows and milked into their mouths. And we did that for a long time, it was on a Sunday evening, and we got tired of it and Johnny said, “That’s enough now, let’s get to work now, let’s milk our cows!” Well, Mary didn’t want to quit yet so she kept milking on Johnny. And he never said a word. He got up and walked over, and he had about a gallon of milk in his pail and he poured it right over her. And she hollered, and she screamed and the folks had gone someplace and they just came home. Joe came walking over and, “What’s the matter, did you get hurt, did a cow kick you?” “No, it’s him, he’s awful” (Laughing). And he got a kick out of looking at her with this milk all over her. He picked her up and said, “That’s okay, I’ll wash it off for you,” and he picked her up and threw her in the water tank.

ME: He was kind of a little demon wasn’t he?

CJ: Yeah

ME: John told the story one time about when your folks left and they’d made candy – do you know anything about that?

CJ: Oh yeah. It was suppose to be the folk’s big party, it was Name’s day or birthday. So Caroline made a few batches of candy and she hid em, and she said, “Now, don’t tell the folks. This is going to be a surprise for mom…and we’ll serve the candy to her company.” So, Mary couldn’t wait till they got home, she met em and she said, “We didn’t make candy, we didn’t make a lot of it, and Caroline didn’t hide em under the bed either.” (Laughing).

ME: I remember John telling that story, it was so funny…he was quite a story teller. Christine, we had talked about your country church that you went to that was by your place?

CJ: Uh huh. It was a country church, it was (B78 Yohanastad), and during the summer my folks – we went to that church once in a while to take the neighbors cuz the neighbors were old and didn’t have a car, and they appreciated getting rides to their church. And there was some Schmidt girls went to that church and they made up their mind they don’t like us. And we had beautiful dresses yah know, with big sashes and big bows in the back, and some how they got those bows open when were sitting there and they tied us onto the benches – we had homemade benches instead of pews. So when were going to get up yah know, the benches came with us.

ME: What was the name of that church?

CJ: (B186 Yohanastad)

ME: And was there a cemetery there by that then?

CJ: There was a small cemetery.

ME: Is that still there do you know?

CJ: No, it was all sold when they –

ME: They moved – did they move the graves?

CJ: Uh huh

ME: And then where did you go to church?

CJ: Well, our church was Balta.

ME: After you went to that (B190 Yohanastad), after that you went to church in Balta?

CJ: Yeah, well we never belonged to (B191 Yohanastad), we just went to please…it was (B191 Shaun’s)

ME: Oh, I see.

CJ: But, way back when I was little we had a country church northwest of Balta.

ME: Oh

CJ: I don’t remember what the name of that was, cuz I was quite young when they decided to close that and build a new church in Balta.

ME: So, Balta was your, your church until you moved to Rugby?

CJ: Yeah. So anyway, when they tied us onto the benches, Mr. (B197 Shaun) didn’t like that, so he said, “I’ll tell you what to do. Those benches, you see them? There’s boards and there’s crack between each one, you take some stick pins along next time and put them in there head down.” So, we did, about two on each bench. When they were standing we decided we had to pick something up I guess and got those pins in there. And when we sat down you should’ve heard them holler, “Owe!” (Laughing)

ME: You were mean!

CJ: Mr. (Shaun) was happy and my mother thought it was terrible.

ME: Ah, what was the first priest that you can remember there?

CJ: Father (B207 Boniface Dutz)

ME: And did he Baptize you then or was there somebody else there then?

CJ: That must’ve been him.

ME: Did he have Catechism in the summertime?

CJ: Yeah, and some women from the Parish helped. They were down like maybe two or three weeks, five days a week.

ME: Did he have the Mass in German or in Latin?

CJ: In German for quite a number of years, and then they started half and half. His sermons would be half of it in English and then he would repeat the same thing in German, and gradually got into –

ME: Did you understand him when he preached?

CJ: Oh, I don’t think we cared, I don’t think. (Laughing).

ME: A lot of good it did. (Laughing).

CJ: We had a organist that liked fun. And we could go up in the balcony and sometimes he would tear out the front and back pages of the song books and make spit balls. And he let us throw em to see who could hit the bald heads.

ME: (Laughing) Yeah, you’re all going to go to heaven I can tell.

CJ: And I had long hair…and that’s when we went to Balta church. And one Sunday morning, dad helped us get ready to go to church and he braided my long hair real tight. And I’d sit in church with the girls behind me, and I would go – and that was a funny priest, Father (B226 Mindra), and I go (demonstrating) the tail would – the braid would go up and down and they would laugh and then the priest scold them and said, “Can’t you sit nice? Look at Christine how nice she sits.”

ME: Sure, you were the one causing it.

CJ: I was – I just sat quiet. When he didn’t look, I did it again and the girls would laugh again.

ME: Do you remember when the war broke out – World War II.?

CJ: Uh huh.

ME: Was there anybody in your family that went?

CJ: No. No, I can’t remember anything about it—a lot of friends and ah, my mother put out any boy that’s drafted is welcome for a big dinner on their way to Rugby to catch the train. So all the boys from Balta and Sylva, and all the area; sometimes she’d have eight or ten for – she’d make a big chicken dinner with homemade ice cream and everything. And the boys appreciated that so much and there was one of them, Russel Lomein was his name, he was from Sylva, he sent mother a big box of chocolates from France, and that made he feel so important.

ME: Did anybody that you know from down there get killed during the war?

CJ: Let’s see…yeah…this was not the big war when I was very little. I don’t remember anybody from then – there must’ve been somebody. But then the other war, later than that…

ME: Korea?

CJ: That was the Second World War, wasn’t it then the later one?

ME: That was from 1940 –

CJ: We lost two boys that had been our hired men.

ME: What were their names?

CJ: One was (B253 Berkithmeyer) and the other one was John Thompson from the Devils Lake area. They worked for us until they got their call.

ME: What was (B254 Berkithmeyer’s) first name?

CJ: I can’t remember it. His folks had the restaurant up here in town.

ME: Were your mother and dad – were they pretty worried when the war broke out?

CJ: Oh yeah, ma would worry a lot about those things.

ME: When you you kids were all at home yet, did your mother…like make you say your morning prayers or kneel down and say the Rosary with her or anything like that?

CJ: Oh yeah, it had to be real wicked before we didn’t go to church. And then we’d have to kneel down and say the Rosary when the boys had the chores done and then they would come in and everybody had to kneel in the front room, and dad would lead the Rosary. And one day it was storming pretty bad and one of the neighbor boys came on horseback, it was Ed (B265 Woolerd), lived in town here, and being it the weather was so nasty and he came and then ma got scared and she got up and she said - in German it sounded so funny – (B270 German dialogue) His name was Edward, she called him (B270 German words). Yah know, she thought they sent him, and he said, “No, I just came over.” And we all busted out laughing when she said (B272 German word) (laughing). So, he had to kneel down too and we had to start the Rosary from the beginning. So we said, “Eddy, if you ever come over again when it’s storming like that on a Sunday morning we’ll skin you. Don’t do that, on account of you we had to pray the Rosary twice.”

ME: (Laughing) When you were still at home did your dad ever make wine or beer or anything?

CJ: My mother made pop and beer all the time. We had an ice house, and in the summertime there’s big barrel into one corner and that was always full of pop and root beer and beer. And the basement was half full of wine. They had a lot of barrels – they made all kinds of wine. We’d go to town and get a whole car full of grapes and make a lot of grape wine and then we had to pick Juneberries and chokecherries. And everybody that came there – everybody that stopped in had to have a glass of wine.

ME: Do you still do that?

CJ: Yeah, I make wine.

ME: What kind of wine do you make?

CJ: Ah, I like…Dandelion wine is my favorite. Then I make chokecherry wine and sandcherries - whatever cherries I get.

ME: And then when do you drink that? Do you have like Christmas or birthdays?

CJ: Sometimes just a glass wine with the supper.

ME: Well, it’s good for you. You’ve lived longer than anybody else in your family, so it must be doing its job.

ME: Okay, you started telling me, before I turned the machine back on, about your mother?

CJ: Yeah, she was dying here in the hospital and she talked to us. She said, “Joe is so strong and he likes you kids, and you stick with him and do what he tells you and you’ll do fine. And you all have to be real nice to dad, he’s such a kind man. But he has one mistake. He thinks all people are good. But all people are not good, there’s some bad people too. He’ll get into a trouble and then you kids have to stick with him and help him.” Well, he married that witch and that was a lot of trouble for him. She said, “Joe will do fine, will have a nice family. He’ll have quite a few girls and he’ll dress em up so pretty, and he’ll be so happy with em. And Johnny…Johnny loves money too much. (Laughing) He’ll get it okay, but he won’t have a big family, nothing to be proud of.” And she said, “And Walter, don’t worry about Walter, I’ll get him as soon as I can.” And he died nine months later.

ME: Oh my

CJ: When Walter and Mabel came home from California they stayed all summer, until the fall work was done. And then they started out, they were going to some other state. And one Sunday afternoon we all sat around like this and Mabel had a diamond with a blue stone on each side and he took that ring, and he took his pocket knife and he carved a little hole in one of those blue stones. I said, “Walter you are a dummy, now you’re ruining her ring?” And he said, “Someday you will know why one of this little blue hearts had a little hole in it.” And that’s because he musta had found out that he had a little hole in his heart.

ME: Oh, for heaven’s sake.

CJ: And then anyway they left. I think they were going to Florida, and they were gone two or three days, and one morning we got up and said, “Walter is home, his car is here and the kitchen is full of suitcases.” We said, “How come he came home?” And Mabel said, “We had to, Walter couldn’t drive anymore.” She said, “he tried to sneak away from me in some town and I thought, I’ll watch you where you go.” She said, “He went upstairs…so, I waited until he came down and Walter (tape cuts out B335?) and I went up those stairs too, and I noticed there was a doctor’s office upstairs.” So, he had seen his doctor, and his doctor must’ve told him something he didn’t want Mabel to know. So they started out again, and he started crying and he said, “I can’t drive.” He said, “There’s something funny going on. Every time I drive I think my mother’s in front of the car pushing it back…you drive.” So, she start driving and he said, “It doesn’t work, we gotta turn around and go home, ma doesn’t want us to go away.” So we just didn’t know what to think of him, but we could tell he was getting weaker and weaker, and dad kept taking him to the clinic here. And I gave him blood – first blood transfusion Doctor Jensen ever did. And he pulled the needle too fast and the blood ran, and my arm was just like that black and blue. So, then Mabel gave him the next blood, and then he was just getting weaker and weaker and dad had some doctors come down from Minot. We could tell that he wasn’t getting better. So one day this doctor at Minot said, “Maybe if you brought him up there to the hospital I could do something. So first thing he said, “He needs more blood.” So, we all went up to see who could give him blood. And when we left dad said to me, “Now don’t you give him blood…if the others can’t, then I will see maybe there is somebody that we can find blood,” because they had trouble finding it. And we got up there, and they tested all our blood, and the doctor said, “Now you go and have lunch, you kids can all have a hamburger and Joe has to have a big steak because we’re gonna take a lot of blood from him. We’re not suppose to take more than a pint, but Walter needs more, so we’ll take a little more…so I want him to eat a big steak.” So we did that and when we came back they said the wrong person ate steak. We went over our medication and it wasn’t his blood that matches, it yours,” and he pointed to me. So he said, “I wish your brother could’ve given it, because we can take more from a man than a lady.” I said, “I’ve got a lot of it, I’ve got big veins, take all you need.” He said, “Okay, we’ll try to take a little more, but when you start getting weak you tell us and we’ll stop.” So, I took blood and it came so fast, I passed out. So they gave him that blood, but it didn’t help anyway. I had to go stay in the hospital, I don’t know, so many hours then. And they fed me orange juice, I thought I’d bust. And they said, “We’ve got to go home, dad’s home alone and he’ll wonder what’s going on, we’ve got to get home.” So, the doctor said, “I’ll give you two half gallons of orange juice, and you make her drink all of that on the way home.” So, we stopped by Burbick, my Aunt lived close there, and she let me rest about half an hour, and gave me more orange juice and we got home, and we had it all planned out that four of us going to go in and talk to dad and kinda go in the front room and he’ll follow that through here, and then I should sneak in and go upstairs, cuz I was pale. But he saw it right away, and he said, “You can’t listen can you? Haven’t I got enough trouble without getting you in trouble too, yet?” I said, “I’m okay,” but I was so weak. And it all didn’t help.

ME: Do you remember any stories that your mother or dad told about what it was like in Russia?

CJ: Oh, they talked a lot yeah. They didn’t associate with the Russian people, they kinda were a colony of their own. And there was one Russian family lived close, and one of my uncles was praying and this ah – it was a Jewish Russian, they said, and he made fun of them. And then my brother said, “You’re going to pray too.” Well, he wouldn’t, so he took him by the collar and held him in the water. He said, “I’m going to drown you unless you say a Hail Mary with me.” So he went on and on and finally the kid got scared and so he prayed the Hail Mary. (Laughing)

ME: Did you ever ask your folks if they would like to go back to Russia?
CJ: Yeah, yeah, they would’ve liked to go back. They missed it a lot, cuz they said it was pretty and they said everybody had all the fruit trees they wanted. And the weather was – they said it compared pretty much to California. And my grandpa used to say his folks had all the fruit trees they wanted, but that wasn’t fun to go out and pick a peach or something, they went to the neighbors and stole some. (Laughing)

ME: That’s more fun to steal huh? Did you do any sewing? I mean, did you make your dresses or anything?

CJ: Yeah, I did. I had gotten so I was fairly good. I made my dresses, I made two dresses for ma.

ME: Did your mother sew too?

CJ: Yeah, she sewed. She sewed for all the neighbor children. Then, when we were married and lived on the farm I never had time to sew. And I used to say to Tom, “I have to be your hired man and I don’t even get time to sew.” And he said, “You don’t need to sew. If you help me you earn so much money that you can buy anything you want.” And I got away from it, I didn’t want to sew anymore.

ME: Did your mother make your wedding dress?

CJ: No, my mother wasn’t here then.

ME: So did you buy it in the store or did you make it yourself?

CJ: I bought it in the store.

ME: Where did you buy it – in Balta or Rugby or Harvey?

CJ: Rugby

ME: What was the name of the store that you bought it?

CJ: Jacobson’s – that was the one that burned.

ME: How many bridesmaids did you have?

CJ: None, we didn’t have a big wedding. We just decided to go to the fair and we wanted to get married in a hurry so we talked to Fr. Boniface. He said get yourself some witnesses and marry you. (picks up again in mid-sentence) …and I would like them to stay free of all dough, that’s my big worry.

ME: Your children and grandchildren, of course.

CJ: mhmm

ME: And your kids, they’re pretty healthy?

CJ: mhmm

ME: Well, maybe someday they’ll be listening to this tape and if you have a special message for them?

CJ: Well, just be kind to people and stay away from all the dope and drink.

ME: …and live in a world of peace.

CJ: Yah, and live in a world of peace.

ME: We’re looking at possible another war but maybe it will turn around and won’t have to develop into a war.

CJ: I hope not. I still have hopes but it’s getting closer right alone.

ME: Okay Christine, I thank you for the time that you took to answer these questions. There were a lot of interesting things I always like to hear and even if I heard them before, but the people that are going to be listening to this have not heard them so for them they’re going to find it interesting, they’re going to find it informative.

CJ: Maybe that’s one more thing I should tell you. You probably think I’m nuts. I was feeling real rotten, you know, just tough, so I got up and I unlocked the door and I dressed and I laid across the bed and I kept thinking, “Oh, I wish it was morning, I need a doctor. If it was just morning I could go to the clinic.” And all of a sudden I heard somebody walk in the house and I sat up and walked around and there my sister stood that died five years earlier. I was shocked and I said, “Caroline, how did you get here? How did you come?” And she said, “I came to tell you get to the clinic now, don’t wait till morning, it’s going to be too late.” So I looked around again and she was gone. And I thought I got to do something, so I called my neighbor, I said, “will you take me to the emergency.” She did and that’s when they gave me my pacemaker.

ME: When was that?

CJ: That’s about ten years now. When I got to the clinic they said you’re so lucky you came when you did, you didn’t have much time left, about another hour you’d of been dead. Well I said I wanted to wait for morning, but my sister told me to come now. They took me to be and put (B503) all over me and after a couple days they said we have to give you a pacemaker, your heart is about gone.

ME: Some of these things that you talk about. I guess they call it intuition or whatever, but that took place in your family and it is just amazing some of the things that you talked about, that either happened at the right time (tape cuts out and picks up again)…I wish she could have stayed longer, she was standing there with kind of a long pinkish dress on and I was just dumbfounded. I said, “Caroline, how did you get here?” She said, “I came to tell you have to get to the doctor now, you can’t wait till morning, it’s gonna be too late.”

ME: So your still the last one in your family then? Do you get around yet, you don’t drive anymore, do you?

CJ: No, I gave the car up a year ago.

ME: What about walking? Do you walk up town or does someone give you a ride?

CJ: I need a ride. I can’t walk that far on (B530 account) pacemaker starts.

ME: But you do a lot of canning yet too don’t you?

CJ: Oh yah.

ME: Do you have a garden?

CJ: A little garden.

ME: Well I thank you again Christine and if something else comes to mind, why I’ll be back and we’ll get it all taken care of on this tape so that we can get all the information that we can. Thank you again Christine.

CJ: Well thank you. You’ve got yourself a miserable job.

ME: No, no, I thouroughly enjoy it. I thank you.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Libraries
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
Libraries
NDSU Dept #2080
PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Tel: 701-231-8416
Fax: 701-231-6128
Last Updated:
Director: Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Library North Dakota State University North Dakota State University GRHC Home