BG: Do you pronounce your name [moke] or do you
MM: We say [mock] M-O-C-H. Moch
BG: Her mother was Mary Vetter, and she was married to Bernard
Vetter. What do you remember about your mother? I mean she was
adopted, right? How old was she when she was adopted?
MM: Six years old.
BG: And she was adopted by who?
MM: Valentine and Francisca Vetter.
BG: Do you know where your mother came from before she was
MM: Well, there we should get the Vetter book out.
BG: Do you think it’s in there?
MM: Oh yes, oh yes. To me it sounds…like towards south,
or what should I say?
[she searches through a book]
MM: Here I could read this to you. “The girl who was six
years old had the [name of] Mary. The Vetters already had a
Mary who was sixteen so they called one big Mary and the other
little Mary. The name stuck and to this day they are known to
the great nieces and nephews as the little Aunt Mary and big
Aunt Mary in compliance to their names: little Mary is a short
woman while big Mary is quite tall.”
BG: Do know how many brothers and sisters your mother had?
MM: She had three brothers. That’s what I found out from
those people that were here last fall. She had three brothers.
And Sisters? All I knew was mom, [who was] Mary, one was Betty,
and one was Ann. What was the other one? There must have been
four with her. Then the  brothers, that was 7. That is what
I found out from them people that were here. I didn’t
know that ma had any more brothers than one and about three
sisters. That is what they brought in.
BG: When you say Betty, you mean was it Elizabeth?
BG: So say those names again. So Mary would have been your
MM: Yeah. Elizabeth, well that would be Betty, and then one
was Ann. What was the other one? Was it…I thought she
talked about Katie.
BG: Were they all adopted out?
MM: They were all adopted out. They didn’t know where…Betty
might say she was in like Redfield. When her husband or somebody
died, Tony and Helena, my brother, took ma down there and then
that’s all. When dad died, them are ones that did come;
otherwise, we don’t know nothing.
BG: When your dad died, someone came from South Dakota?
MM: Yeah, South Dakota. We had such a trouble [finding] where
they were from. Well, here it was that [reading from a book
now] “Mary got married to Bernard Vetter who was a nephew
of her foster parents. Bernard was born in Russia, a son of
John and Martha Vetter. John’s wife died in Russia, so
he came to America with his son Joe, and settled west of Linton,
North Dakota. One of the things he remembers about John is he
weaved large baskets.” Now I was looking for ma. I thought
I had something about ma.
BG: Way up at the top maybe, way at the beginning here.
MM: It must be right here. I guess I should read this: “Mary
was born at Aberdeen, South Dakota, a daughter of John and Magdalena
Peetsch. John and Magdalena died two years apart, leaving six
or seven children. Maggie Peetsch…” Peetsch is written
in all different ways. Everybody writes it different. P-E-E-T-S-C-H,
but we only write it P-E-S-C-T-H or shorter or whatever, we
didn’t know what was right or wrong. “A brother
of John and friend of Valentine and Francisca took the two youngest
children, both girls” But that was not Valentine? That
BG: No, Mathias Peetsch took the two girls.
MM: [reading] “Mathias Peetsch had children of their
own and was poor, so the Wiess family from Zeeland took one
girl named Ann, and the Vetters took Mary. The girls never met
again until they were grown up and married, even after then
they had heard and connected with each other and with the other
children of the family.” So, they didn’t.
BG: See we have it on here Wiess family. See that Wiess is
not spelled right here either. So if anybody goes by that it’s
probably not spelled right either. That’s the way Aunt
Julia Baumstarck wrote it, but it’s probably not spelled
MM: Yeah, well like it says in her last [name], we always didn’t...
BG: See this word here, Wiess. That’s probably not spelled
right, but we didn’t know how to spell it. So your mother
never talked about her brothers or sisters?
MM: Nothing. Not a word.
BG: Do you think they came from Russia too? Were her original
parents German Russians?
MM: This I would not know neither. It’s not written no
place, and all of what it says here that they were all in Zeeland.
What family took them and this and that is all I know, and I
just cannot understand that she was like in Aberdeen or Zeeland.
This is what I can’t figure.
BG: Ok, let’s go to your Grandpa Bernard’s parents,
Bernard Vetter’s parents.
MM: Yeah, they are here. This is written here.
BG: Your mother never talked anything about her past life or
her brothers and sisters or parents?
MM: No, because she didn’t know nobody.
BG: And she forgot it, if she was six years old, and she forgot
MM: What you think when they get to someplace now adopted,
what do they know about six years old, huh? Maybe some little
things that get stuck to them, but…
BG: Ok, Bernard Vetter, his parents. Do you know anything about
MM: No, I don’t know neither. Just what I read; he came
back, and then he weaved baskets for all his sons. I knew my
dad’s brothers all, because they all kind of settled around
beside one. See, then he didn’t like it, and he went back
BG: He went back to Russia.
BG: But you never saw him?
BG: Did you know your grandpa went back to Russia? Did your
dad tell you that?
MM: No. Now where did we get it? I mean in this book I guess.
We got it that he come and weaved baskets, and then he didn’t
like it so then he went back again.
BG: I think Aunt Julia Baumstarck told me that.
MM: I think she done a lot. I always said we should go to her
or to your ma. To your ma or to her. I mean I can’t drive
and where are you going to visit and talk? We visited Mrs. Baumstarck
when she was in Linton a few times. Well, we were by your folks
when they were in Napoleon when they filed income tax. Two years
we visited your folks and had dinner and blachenda with your
BG: I was going to ask you about your dad, but you don’t
remember too much about that either.
BG: Your Grandma Vetter, you never knew here either?
BG: Her name was Martha right?
BG: I don’t think it’s in here. I don’t think
it’s in this book.
MM: You mean my dad’s…
BG: Your dad’s mother.
MM: No. Now did she die and he come in, and then he went back
BG: I think so.
MM: That’s what I understood. So with me you can’t
get back very far because they didn’t say nothing. When
they come they pushed the living room door shut.
BG: Pushed the living room door shut, yeah that’s about
it. (Laughter) Where is your dad and mother buried?
MM: In Linton.
BG: When your dad died, were they living…
MM: They lived in town already a long time, in Linton.
BG: How about your dad’s brothers?
MM: Well, they’re old, you might say old. Two lived out
there where we lived west of Linton. One lived one direction,
Ole, and Joe lived the other direction. And two were across
the river in Shields, and that was John and George. So that’s
four, that’s five and the one we don’t know is Thomas.
Thomas lives in Oregon some place. We never knew him; we didn’t
BG: You never saw him?
MM: No. He left. When he come or what was before we kids knew
something, but later years some of their boys that were across
[the river] came across in the winter time, just to visit. And
now they had two Vetter reunions. From them two families just
one Vetter [A147] had the reunions, two of them. The other Vetters
wouldn’t side in because they were all on the outs—now
isn’t that nice?
BG: You had the Vetter reunion on your dad’s side?
MM: Yeah, that was two of dad’s brothers. They had a
reunion over there for…it was supposed to be the two Vetter’s,
John and George’s kids, but one of them, I don’t
know which ones, but one of the brother’s kids didn’t
go along. They always fought I guess; they were over there by
the Indians. So they had it twice and that was all. We were
over there once. It wasn’t bad; I couldn’t see nothing
wrong; they had it kind of set up nice.
BG: How about your dad’s sisters, did you know them?
MM: Oh yeah, [A162]. One is married to a [A163 Doscher], a
sister. They were out there too…I don’t know if
you’d know where St. Bernard’s church was out there?
BG: I know.
MM: Ok. They lived out there. He died in the flu. That was
a long time ago. But she raised her kids there. The other one
is Martha, she married a Houn. H-O-U-N, I think that’s
what it was. Houn. Ma and dad had her come over from Russia.
[They] had her come over and two of the kids. How the other
two or three come over I don’t know, but ma and dad had
two of the kids and raised them until they could go on their
BG: Of Martha’s…
MM: Of Martha Houn’s children. She had more than two.
She must have had three more, but then how did they come over?
Did they come over by themselves? That I don’t know, but
I always hear that they had them come over and they kept them
and sent them to school.
BG: Was that Houn, Martha’s husband, was he over here?
MM: I don’t know what I should say to you on this because
I remember when she died; we were in the funeral; we were young
yet. She lived in town, but she had no husband. Did she die
already before? Maybe he died before her? No, I don’t
think he was over here. He maybe was dead because the folks
had her and two of the kids come over here.
BG: If your folks had paid for her to come over, maybe her
husband was already dead in Russia.
MM: Yeah, that’s what I think. Then the two kids ma and
dad kept to learn; they could send them to school. So that’s
about all I know about them. That’s all the sisters he
had, but he had enough brothers.
BG: He had two sisters, a [A191 Doscher] and a Houn. What was
the [Doscher’s] first name?
BG: Katherine, and the other one was Martha Houn. When this
Martha Houn worked for my great grandparents, she took care
of…let’s see, when Francisca was sick, this Martha
Houn lived there and helped take care of her.
MM: Really! See I didn’t…[know that]. We just may
didn’t get informed of that, but I know she lived in Linton;
one day she come over.
BG: So you were named after her?
MM: I suppose. After her or…I guess so.
BG: Because her name is Martha.
MM: And dad’s is Martha too though, isn’t it? My
dad’s mother? Didn’t I read that John and Martha
was his folks? Or was that ma’s folks? What did I read?
BG: Oh yeah, that’s right, the son of John and Martha
Vetter. Your dad’s parents was John and Martha.
MM: That’s what I thought. I have been reading this so
many times, but I sometimes get confused.
BG: So your dad came from the old country too?
BG: Do you know when or how old he was or anything?
MM: I guess he was 19 years old and they….did they all
or most sneaked off, I think that’s what I hear. Sneaked
BG: Some did. Did your dad ever talk about Russia?
MM: No. He didn’t visit with us kids. That’s what
I told you. I says that makes it bad. No, he didn’t say
nothing. I said our kids, they would at least know a little
bit, that you talk about something. But they didn’t let
nothing out. I can’t see [why]; it was no secret, was
it? Didn’t they care to talk about it or whatever?
BG: The kids didn’t ask and the parent’s didn’t…
MM: Well, what could you ask if you didn’t know what
to ask? [Laughter] I guess [A220]. Our dad didn’t talk
BG: That’s right, when you know nothing and then you
can’t ask. That’s about it. So we can’t really
talk about Russia. So where did your dad and ma live? They got
married and then where did they live?
MM: Well, the home place they lived in down by the hill, they
had built a sod house. That’s where they lived.
BG: Where? West of Linton?
MM: Yeah, 14 miles west of Linton.
BG: Is anybody living there now?
MM: No, Tony and Helena, he was the youngest. They moved to
a house in town.
BG: So Tony was the last one to live there?
MM: Yeah. He farmed from town and drove back and forth. That
was a sad thing by them too, I can’t see why, but.
BG: So you went to which church?
MM: St. Bernard’s.
BG: How far was it from St. Bernard’s.
MM: We had about 10-12 miles, all of that.
BG: Is there any of your family buried there?
MM: All I can say I guess is they had a little girl, 10 days
old, that is buried out there in that cemetery.
BG: I was just going to ask you if your parents had any more
children than the ones that are on here or if this is correct.
Oh, I think, Katherine that’s on here died in 1916.
BG: So that was the only infant that died; the others grew
up. How many of your brothers and sisters are still living?
MM: There’s nobody no more besides me, and I got my youngest
sister; she’s in Springfield, Oregon.
BG: Springfield, Oregon.
MM: Yeah, Mary.
BG: Does she ever come home?
MM: She didn’t for a long time, but then they had her
come home when we had my 80th birthday. She was home last on
my 80th birthday.
BG: How many children does she have?
MM: She’s got three, two girls and one boy.
BG: And Anton, Tony, is he still living?
MM: No, but he’s not the youngest of all the boys.
BG: Francis, was second youngest. Mary Ann and then Francis
and then Tony...
MM: Yeah. He [Francis] died…it was two years in January.
He moved to town…she lived in town too, but they moved
in by that time. He was up here; I invited him every time for
my birthday because, you know, they weren’t together.
He was pretty weak already, his lungs, coughing and this and
that. He was going to walk across the street, and then people
always waited for him to come for supper. Then he didn’t
come that night, and they thought he went some other place,
you know. Then the next morning some school kids found him;
he was froze to death in front of his house. Must have slipped
and fell, and was weak, and it was snow. So that’s all
we know. It was sad, but. It was a sad situation.
BG: When you were young did you get to visit your aunts and
uncles? Did they ever take you along?
MM: Oh, yes. When they went back to the Vetter reunion, some
of us, too, were always along. I know this place inside and
out. Who lived here, who lived there and this and that. I guess
I know best than most of the other ones. One of the other girls
got [to go] along. We always got [to go] along, one or two [of
us]. They took us along.
BG: Did you go to your ma’s relatives more than to your
MM: No we didn’t because we didn’t know any. [Laughter]
BG: I mean…what, you didn’t know any of your dad’s
relatives? No, I meant to the Vetter’s.
MM: Yeah, that’s what I say we always got to go along.
They only drove back there maybe twice a year. So we always
got to go along.
BG: Did they go over there to Vetterville—to Valentine,
the adopting parents—more than they went to your dad’s
MM: No, I guess they were there, but at night, I don’t
know if they stayed over night or they maybe went over to John
Vetter and [A314] then they were there, so then I don’t
know because when we come back there, Baumstarck’s kids
come over and I had to go over and sleep with Anna Mary, the
oldest girl, married to that Miller. Then we had to go back
there, some of us kids. They divide us up, two for a night.
BG: Well, they had to divide you up because there was not room
for everybody. So when you were young you didn’t hear
anything about Russia. Nobody, I mean your aunts and uncles
didn’t talk about it either, huh?
BG: So we’re not going to find out much about there.
MM: No, I guess not.
BG: Can you still talk German?
MM: Just about better than English.
BG: Do you know any poems in German? Do you know like [A333]?
MM: I guess so, yeah. [Laughter]
BG: How does that go?
MM: You know I get confused on some of this now too you know.
BG: Do you know some other poems? Do you know [A340 hopa hopa
roce, badish dida schloss]?
MM: Yeah, some of them things I can say…when the kids
asked me once to pray “Our Father” or some of this
stuff once and awhile. Because George’s kids—you
know this is my son lives here—they got three kids, but
they can’t talk German, but she is from Strasburg; she’s
just as much German as I was. So then with the kids, my daughter’s
married to a guy who can’t talk German; they’re
English. So that’s when you lose it, most.
BG: How many grandchildren do you have?
BG: No, George has three…
MM: Yeah, that’s all.
BG: Your daughter has…
MM: My daughter ain’t got no kids.
MM: She lives in Turtle Lake.
BG: Turtle Lake.
MM: It’s just north from Bismarck.
BG: What’s her married name?
MM: Hayes. H-A-Y-E-S. Hayes.
BG: Can you say the “Our Father” in German?
MM: Not much no more. I had to forget it; when the kids went
to catechism, I had to learn everything in English. Because
that time church was not in English when we growed up. This
was hard then; sometimes I wondered why a person goes to church
if you don’t understand English. But you lost it, you
know, the German. Had to learn the kids and then.
BG: What about school then. Where did you go to school?
MM: A farm school just a mile from home. And that was good
in German, too, I’ll tell you.
BG: It was good what?
MM: It was German. The teacher, whenever we kids…we couldn’t
talk English, so when she stood out in the entry way and when
we played and she heard us talk German, why we had to go in
and take our seat.
BG: So then you were punished?
MM: Well, yeah.
BG: You were punished when you would talk German.
MM: Yeah, but then what could you expect from us, you know?
Not that I care, but who learned us when neither ma and dad
couldn’t talk English?
BG: Exactly. How many years did you go to school?
MM: Till the 8th grade. It’s not very high, is it? [Laughter]
BG: Well, it’s high enough.
MM: That time…
BG: That time that’s all you needed.
MM: We only had school until March. It started maybe October
[End side A]
[Begin side B]
MM: Then that guy was on board when their kids went home and
tattled and then their dad come and told the teacher, “You
get out or be out by tomorrow morning.” So sometimes we
had two teachers a year. Well, do you think that helped a lot?
BG: What kind of teachers did you have? Or where did the teachers
come from? Were they from far away?
MM: Good God, what should I say. I can’t even really
ask that much. There were people who took them in. Then they
were 2 miles south there was a [B7 teacherage]. The woman teached
down there and the men drove up here that 2 miles. So that’s
about where they stayed, and sometimes the neighbors took them
BG: Was everybody German Russian in this school, all the children,
or did they have others?
MM: No, they were all Germans like we were.
BG: All Germans. What kind of games did they play?
MM: Andy Andy Over…the barn. [Laughter] Played tag.
BG: Were the teachers mean if you did not know your lesson?
Did they spank you?
MM: No, they didn’t spank, but you maybe had to make
it up in recess or stay in recess till you get it done.
BG: How did you go school? Did you have to walk?
MM: We walked and then one of the neighbors—that’s
one of my dad’s brothers, they had about four of them—drove
with the sled and then we just walked out on the road and drove
along. Lots of times we walked. They didn’t get hauled
BG: Did you go to church a lot?
MM: Well, yeah, we…I don’t know if we always had
church every Sunday or every other Sunday because he stayed
in Krassna church. So the most was over there. Like I says,
most of us all got married over there [in Krassna] in that church.
BG: In Krassna, because St. Bernard’s never had a parish
house. They never had a priest living there.
BG: So you were north from St. Bernard’s?
MM: Yeah, I think more west.
BG: So the sermon was in German?
MM: Yeah, for a long time I should say.
BG: Do you know anything about those iron crosses that were
used in the cemeteries? Those iron crosses, homemade iron crosses?
MM: I understand what you mean, but….You mean out there
in St. Bernard’s?
BG: Or did none of your relatives have them?
BG: Your little sister that died, where is she buried?
MM: Out there at St. Bernard’s.
BG: Is there a cross there?
MM: Yeah, there was I’m sure. We were going to drive
there once, but it was such a bad road. That was a few years
ago, and then we just couldn’t get up there. But I think
they take care of the cemetery nice there, yet. Then they built
a basement and a few years ago they were going to build on top
and it never did happen. Then they moved away from the direction
where that was. The church was just on top of the hill. When
you walked down to the cemetery, it went just down. I mean so
dumb where they built that church up so high, and they had such
a high step. Then a little ways they had a store, a grocery
store. There was a grocery store there.
BG: A grocery store out there, really? Pretty nice, get some
MM: Yeah, but then I guess they never had enough people to
go to church, so they divided them up to Strasburg or Linton,
BG: How did you celebrate Christmas? Did you have a Christkindel?
MM: No, you mean here?
BG: No, at home when you were growing up. Did you have a Christkindel?
MM: No, or a Santa Claus. But when we were pretty young, well,
dad was the Santa Claus. [Laughter]
BG: Did you see him?
MM: Well, we weren’t that dumb that we didn’t know
it was him I guess.
BG: But you saw him. How was he dressed?
MM: With this old…what they say, that coat that had that
hair inside out; years ago they had those insulated coats.
BG: So that was the Belzenickel, really, huh?
MM: Yeah, well he was Belzenickel.
BB: Not the Santa Claus, not the red…
MM: No, not the red one. [Laughter]
BB: Did you get any gifts?
MM: Not when we were young at home, no. We just got…ma
packed a sack. They bought a lot of stuff; you could buy everything
cheap them years, you know, cookies and candy and oranges and
everything. Ma made a sack for each one. No, we didn’t
get no gifts just from our [B60 giddle].
BG: Who was your [B61 giddle]? Your Godmother.
MM: She was a Zahn. What was her name? Elizabeth, I guess,
something like that.
BG: How about your Godfather?
MM: That’s the one that died in the flu—that [B65
Doscher]—so we were just barely old enough to know. I
know I could see this all, but we didn’t know too much.
BG: What was [B67 Doscher’s] first name?
MM: Conrad [Kunrud].
BG: Did you get a [B69]?
MM: Yeah, we got them. [Laughter] That was something new at
that time. We even ate the peelings [B69]. Them kids now don’t
have to eat the peelings.
BG: You ate the peelings?
MM: We ate the peelings. Or ate what’s on there a little
yet, you know, that white; I mean it’s to laugh, but I
mean with them kids do now they got them everyday. They don’t
know how hard we had it.
BG: No, for sure not.
BG: Did you ever get any gifts?
MM: Well, from our [B75 giddle and fiddle], you know, sponsors.
BG: Well, yeah, but I mean not just candy and peanuts, but
I mean a gift, a doll or something?
MM: Yeah, you could buy a pack of nice four hankies in a box.
What else, I wasn’t forget that, something else I mean
a quarter for which you pay 6-7$ now.
BG: A quarter, what?
MM: Well, I says there was three hankies, nice hankies, in
a box; that’s what we sometimes got from the godparents,
and like I say now, what you have to pay? 10$?
MVM: We got married in ’36 and we had tough going too.
BG: In ’36 was pretty tough?
MM: ’36. No crops…and we wasn’t fussy, we
BG: So what did you eat in ’36?
MM: What did we eat? I never forget that. I made a cake from
scratch, and then we had canned tomatoes and that was our Sunday
dinner. But, otherwise, we bought like the Corn Flakes for 8
cents a box. But if you ain’t got nothing to buy with
we couldn’t even hardly buy that. We only milked three
cows, we just start. When the car broke down, why you had to
let the car set and first buy groceries. I mean it was tough,
for at least five years. Then we moved over here; then we were
lucky, had a lot of cattle, milked a lot of cows, and then it
was going pretty good.
BG: So how did you did you celebrate Easter?
MM: Suppose when it started from Thursday go to church, Good
Friday go to church, Easter Sunday go to church and then well
we [B97] over to mom and dad.
BG: When you were young, did you get Easter eggs?
MM: The littler ones, ma surprised them. We older ones could
stay up, but the little ones had to go to bed you know. It’s
a laugh and a half, isn’t it? [Laughter] You don’t
fool them now anymore.
BG: How did you color the Easter eggs?
MM: Well, ma bought them. You could buy them in a little paper,
they were little round just like a candy and then you put it
in hot water.
BG: When you got married in ’36, did you have a big wedding?
MM: No, not too big, because he worked in Fort Peck dam, and
so when he come back—he come on a Wednesday and on Saturday
we were married; you don’t find that all over, do you?
[Laughter] At that time you’re not supposed to get married
until, you know, three months announced in church. So he has
to be back by Monday in his job, so well he did it. Because
he was a father; he was pretty good; I told you.
BG: Did you have a white wedding dress?
MM: No. My other sister that was older than I am didn’t
have one either. The oldest one…don’t you know Johnny
BG: I used to know them, yeah.
MM: His wife was my oldest sister. You know that don’t
ya? Well, she had a white dress, and I guess most all had a
white dress, but I and one of them—she was married too
a Moch too, Maggie. We had to have just nice light green dresses
on and a veil. Well, then we had invited his brothers and sisters
all and a few neighbors, and we had a dance in the basement
in the house, but not that much.
BG: What kind of dances did they do in them days?
MM: Well, I guess just a waltz. I guess, what do they call
it, the fox trot or something like that? They didn’t have
that many. Of course I can’t dance now anyway. They just
jump anyway, don’t they?
BG: How about the polka? Did they dance the polkas then already?
MM: Well, once and a while they did, years ago. That’s
when I [B131].
BG: Did they sing any German songs at the wedding?
MM: Not in our wedding, but in Johnny Wald’s, because
he sent Schimdt and her and then there was Joe Vetter, the old
Joe Vetter. They were all out and they sang quite a few. Some
got stormed out there; it was the 26th of December. They got
stormed out there. They stayed over night. They sang.
BG: Well if they were stormed out, they could sing all night
MM: All night long, yeah, because we didn’t have enough
room to go to bed anyway.[Laughter]
BG: Did you take a picture when you got married?
MM: No. There was some like that, there was none I guess. There
was very few that got a picture when they got married. There
was maybe Tony and Helen. I don’t think there is nobody
BG: In your family did you sing a lot at home? Was there music?
MM: Yeah, we did; I mean just us girls together for the heck
of it, you know.
BG: Did anybody play the accordion in your family?
MM: No. Dad bought, what do you call it?...an organ. A pretty
organ, but they didn’t learn. Dad thought they could learn
with out having something to learn about. Then they had it and
they had it and I suppose when we were all gone they had the
school teacher out there, ma and dad and Francis was home yet
and then they sold it. I mean it doesn’t do any good if
you…Dad thought we could learn when we got an organ.
BG: Did they have barn dances in them days?
MM: Not them days. but we had barn dances.
BG: Later on you had barn dances.
MM: Later already, [but] before we was married. We didn’t
go to a town dance neither. We had one for the 4th of July;
they had one at this neighbor or that neighbor and that’s
where the dances was. There was nothing in town.
BG: Ok, now another topic. Did you have home remedies for healing
people when somebody got sick?
[Break in tape]
BG: Was there Brauche?
BG: Do you remember if you went to somebody?
MM: Not me, but I know like my brother, they had the little
girl and she had the colic, and they took her to Wishek. But
I thought it was ridiculous when they used them crock pots,
8 gallon, and then they put pretty cold water in there. Then
they were supposed to put her down and up, down and up and that
kid hollered. That was ridiculous. That was Brauche! [Laughter]
BG: Was too cold for the kid.
MM: But that was the remedy. I don’t know how good it
helped or not.
BG: Do you remember any games that you played? Do you remember
MM: When one’s got the button and then you went around?
BG: Button, button who’s got the button? You have to
guess who had the button.
MM: Played that one too.
BG: [B180] was with the broom stick.
MM: Yeah, yeah I remember that too, yeah. But I just don’t
know by heart how that goes, but I remember we did that too.
BG: I’m trying to remember how that went, and I just
MM: You neither. Well you see I know it.
MM: Otherwise that one I really don’t know. I just don’t.
Them old things, you forget some of them.
BG: How about the [B188]? When you had to lay on the floor,
the little kids had to close their eyes and then somebody said.
MM: What was that then? How did we play that then?
BG: You said [B191-194]
MM: [Laughter] You know a little more about that than then
I do on this one.
BG: Do you know any ghost stories?
MM: I don’t think so.
BG: Did you ever hear when somebody died that you knew about
it, that there was a knock on the wall or did a crucifix fall
off the wall?
MM: No, no.
BG: Well did your mother rub you in with goose fat? Did they
take the goose fat and rub you in?
MM: I think ma saved some of that that I hear. They even talked
about skunk fat is supposed to be real good too.
BG: But you don’t remember that?
MM: Well they didn’t do that, but did she use that for
lard for baking, the goose fat?
MM: I was sure she saved some, but I think for baking maybe.
BG: I don’t know why not. Well did you have to make all
your clothes or did you buy your clothes?
MM: What should I say? Well as long as we were small, ma made
them, yeah. Then later on we made a little bit. We learned to
sew a little bit our own too. We didn’t get that many
clothes that time.
BG: Did you have a sewing machine?
BG: Did your ma have a sewing machine?
MM: Yeah. She sewed some stuff.
BG: Where did you get the material to make clothes?
MM: Well I guess she bought it in town when we were small,
and when we were older you got some dresses cheap. That’s
what we got. She bought us then the dresses. But before, why,
she made them. I can’t see how she made them, I mean,
she had no pattern.
BG: Did you use the flour sacks?
MM: No I don’t think so. They made the dishtowels to
wipe the dishes from the flour sacks.
BG: Sometimes you got the chicken feed in the flour sacks?
MM: Yeah, I guess so. Towards the last day they even had nice
prints on the flour sacks, too. They looked real nice. You could
make a blouse or something; they were real nice, you know, the
BG: Did you get any newspapers when you were little? Did you
get any mail?
MM: Very, very little. It’s not like today I tell you.
BG: So you never learned how to read German, or did you learn
to read German?
MM: No, I did a little bit. We had a church book in German.
We did, some of us, we did, but because we had learned catechism
in German you know so we learned a little bit, but I forgot
in a hurry, but I could read a little bit and learn the younger
BG: So you don’t remember getting the German newspapers?
MM: We never got no newspapers when we were at home. There
was nothing like that.
BG: Did you have the radio when you were little?
MM: No, nothing.
BG: No even radio?
BG: Do you remember when the first radios came? When you first
heard the radio, do you remember that?
MM: Well I should say we never had nothing; I guess when we
were home, if I’m not mistaken when we were married and
lived in Kintyre we had a battery radio. That’s all. I
mean from home, no. We didn’t even have no cards in the
house. Dad could play cards and they played cards when they
went visiting, but we never had no cards in the house.
BG: Why didn’t you?
MM: Well I don’t know. Dad never bought any, but he liked
to play when he was some place, but we hadn’t any. Well
I should say when my oldest brother John, his wife could play
and then they bought some. But then we got pretty older already
and then we learned a little bit Wist and that was all we could
play. Well they didn’t play when somebody come. Ma couldn’t
play cards at all. But he liked to play, but he never had any
in the house, but when they went visiting he played cards. But
that didn’t bother us that much, I guess.
BG: Well what did you do at home besides work?
MM: Well, we done our homework. [All] Sit at the table and
doing the same thing. There was quite a few of us.
BG: But later on when you were out of grade school until you
MM: Well what did we do? Help. Go out help set the haystack
and haul hay in, and we were two, three, my brother and my sister
that was older than I, we were out and picked up the hay and
hauled in the hay. During the summer we had to raise beans,
hoe them and pick them. Sunflowers—you asked what we did?
Raised sunflowers that had to be cut off and cleaned, beans
and I says God what that next?
BG: What did you do with the sunflowers?
MM: Well there was tame sunflowers to eat. Then in the winter
time we sit and [makes spitting sound].
BG: Like the old Russians.
MM: Oh, Dad was just wild on sunflowers. That’s all he
done; he’d just sit there. I don’t why we don’t
eat any now, but Pete liked them too, but we didn’t spit
them out. We’d lay them in a tray. But dad just sit there
and [spitting sounds] like you could sweep every minute. But
we didn’t say nothing. We didn’t say nothing to
our dad. That was dad. [Laughter]
BG: That’s how it was. Did you have to work in the field
MM: Well not in the spring, but I was out and helped ma when
they thrash them stacks, help her.
BG: So your ma worked in the field?
MM: Yeah, when we were real young yet she was out with dad
and helped dad, but later on she didn’t when more the
boys were home. There was two boys older and went out. We were
out, dad mowed the hay and raked it and we were out with the
header box and hauled everything in. When they thrashed that
stack from the thrasher machine we hauled all the straw in.
We didn’t have that much hay land as the people got now.
The cows had to eat straw too, and oats.
BG: When you worked in the field what did you wear? Did you
wear pants or go out with the dresses?
MM: No, ma did, but we didn’t. We wore some of the boys’
pants, we never wore slacks that time yet. Put the boys’
half pants on and put the pin and out you go. But Ma would go
out with a dress. Ma never had no slacks on.
BG: She worked outside with a dress on.
MM: Yeah, in the field yeah, well she never had any slacks.
BG: Did you raise a lot of chickens?
MM: At home?
BG: Yeah, at home.
MM: Yeah, we raised quite a few.
BG: Did you have ducks and turkeys?
MM: Ducks we had but no turkeys. At that time we had no turkeys.
But we raised pigs.
BG: A lot of pigs?
MM: Quite a few pigs, yeah.
BG: They ran all over; they were running around the yard, right?
MM: No, ours we had a special fence with barbwires so they
didn’t run around then. Nope, we didn’t have that.
BG: What kind of food did you eat when you were young? Did
you eat borscht, halupsi?
MM: Yeah, we still make them.
BG: Do you? Do you still know how to make halupsi?
MM: Oh yeah. I can make all the old-fashioned meals.
MM: Yeah, we quite that. When we quite milking we quite that.
Well then we made some once a year, but I don’t even care
anymore; we had it so much that we don’t care anymore
BG: Did you do embroidering?
MM: At home I did, yeah and when I was married at first oh
for a mighty long time then I crocheted. I was a big crocheter.
BG: You crocheted?
MM: Oh God did I crochet. And I made about 30 afghans. Gave
them all to the kids. Divided doilies out and I got enough yet.
But I got glaucoma so bad that I quit. I quit.
MM: Oh I got it bad.
BG: Then you can’t see anymore?
MM: I could see, but then I do it a little while and they get
watery. So I just couldn’t get over it that’s why
I got a no pass time. Makes me mad. You know, what can I do?
BG: Well what do you do now for pass time?
MM: Make my meals. Then I go in lay down a while, maybe lay
10 minutes, get up and do this some then go back lay down again;
makes me mad. Then at night I walk over there when I’m
done eating supper then I walk over there. I don’t think
I’ve missed very many since he’s gone.
BG: You walk to your son’s place?
BG: What do you do over there?
MM: Just be with them. Sit out there; I don’t use my
TV at home, but when I’m over there, why, when I sit in
the kitchen, they got it in the living room—I don’t
go in, I see it better from far—so I watch that or we
visit some. She’s in school and he’s out so then
we visit what was the day once and a while. 9:30-10 o’clock
I go home and go to bed.
BG: In the winter time you can’t do that.
MM: No, when it storming or what I don’t go. I don’t
go over there if it’s bad weather.
BG: Do they mind? Are they happy when you come over?
MM: I didn’t ask them yet. When I don’t come over,
why, George calls, “Ma aren’t you going out [B386
venture]?” I says, “I don’t know.” Then
I walk over anyway.
BG: Well it’s good that they can live close by.
MM: Sure, yeah, I won’t be here neither at this place
if they wouldn’t be here.
BG: In your family did your mother make the decisions or did
the dad make the decisions?
MM: I think father made the decisions. You didn’t here
that neither, nothing.