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Interview with Christine Gross Jundt (CJ)

Conducted by Bob Dambach (BD)
18 August 2001, Balta, ND

Transcribed by Beth Freeman
Editing and proofreading by Peter Eberle and Reverend Marvin Hartmann

Prairie Public Collection


BD: Christine, why don’t you tell me your name?

CJ: Christine Gross Jundt.

BD: And where do you live, Christine?

CJ: I live in [Erfish A3], North Dakota.

BD: And where were you born?

CJ: I was born in the family farm home, ten miles south of Rugby.

BD: And how big of family did you have?

CJ: I had three brothers and two sisters.

BD: And where did your mom and dad come from?

CJ: My mother came from Alsace and my dad from Mannheim.

BD: And where were they located?

CJ: They’re located in the north of Orrin, in the sand hills, and my mother didn’t like the sandstorms, so Dad looked for a place and found the farm he liked ten miles south of town.

BD: And where were your mom and dad born? What country were your mom and dad born in?

CJ: In Russia.

BD: And do you know when they got married?

CJ: My mother was twelve when they came over, my dad was eighteen.

BD: So where did they meet?

CJ: They met in the Napoleon area.

BD: So are both of the families from the Napoleon area?

CJ: Yes.

BD: How did they get way up here?

CJ: Well, it was getting a little crowded down there and they knew people that had settled here and said it was so beautiful. So they decided to come up. My mother’s parents had come up here, so they were all together.

BD: Was the land better up here or worse up here?

CJ: It was worse. It moved, every breeze there was. Sand flew, but it was so beautiful. It was all flowers and berries and things.

BD: What types of crops were used? What did your dad plant on the farm?

CJ: On the farm in the Orrin community? Mostly feed for the sheep. They had a lot of sheep and a few cattle, and it was mostly feed.

BD: So he was more of a rancher than a farmer?

CJ: Yes.

BD: Now do you know, when they came from Russia, do you know in Russia, what his father would have done? Was his father a farmer?

CJ: His father was a farmer.

BD: And on your mother’s side?

CJ: Farmers, too.

BD: Did they ever talk about why they came to the United States?

CJ: Well, it was getting so crowded there and they didn’t want their boys all to go and fight.

BD: And do you think your mom and dad were happy that they moved to the US?

CJ: Well not for a while. They missed home a lot. I used to ask my dad, “Why didn’t a lot of people go back?” And he said nobody had enough money to go back.

BD: Now you were telling me some nice stories earlier about visiting the Gross families.

CJ: Well, first we’d stop at Kintyre where my mother’s family lived. And they had a sod house, and it was so much fun to sit on the windowsills because they were big enough for chairs.

BD: And how long would it take to get there from Rugby?

CJ: Well, I remember going down with the horse and buggy. We’d start about five o’clock in the morning, and we’d usually be at Grandpa’s for supper.

BD: And then a little bit later, you had another way to get to Grandpa’s, didn’t you?

CJ: Yes. I think it was a 1914 Chevy my dad bought. And we were so happy going down. And when Grandpa Gross saw us, he was very upset. “How dare you buy such a dangerous thing? Don’t risk your children’s lives by putting them in that and starting for home. Take my horse and buggy, I’ll get it back someday.” And then, “No, we’ll make it all right, Grandpa, with the car.” And he said, “They gave me a ride, and I couldn’t even count the fenceposts, it went too fast.” And later, when I asked my dad, “How fast did you drive when Grandpa was so scared?” He said, “Well, the roads were bad, I couldn’t go wide open. Wide open, I could have made 28.”

BD: And how were the roads on the way down? What kind of roads were there?

CJ: It was just trails. And after a few years, people start fencing and having cattle. And sometimes we got to go along just to open the fence gates, to close them again.

BD: Then this was a big trip for you, as a child.

CJ: It made our summer. We always knew whose turn it was to go along.
BD: So you would take turns as children?

CJ: Yah. Usually two of us could go.

BD: Once again, how many children were there in your family? Your mom and dad, how many children did they have?

CJ: I had three brothers and two sisters. They’ve all passed away.

BD: But at that time, there were six of you, there were more wanting to go in the car, right?

CJ: Yeah, well, the two oldest usually got to go by themselves later. And the others went.

BD: Did the kids ever get to drive the car?

CJ: Oh yeah, the oldest boy. He drove right away when Dad bought the car. He must have been about 12 or so.

BD: Was it a while before you used anything but horses on the farm, on the ranch?

CJ: Yeah, it was quite a while.

BD: Were still using horses when you left the home?

CJ: Yes, there were still mostly horses. A few people started having tractors.

BD: Now, we are in the Balta church area. This is the church that you usually went to as a child.

CJ: Yes, well, I remember when I was very little we went to the country church. Then I remember when this church was built. My dad and the boys were down working, and it wasn’t enough help, so my dad hired a hired man to help also. And my mother took all the kettles down. Sometimes we didn’t know if we could cook a good meal at home or not because everything was down here.

BD: How long did it take to build the church then?

CJ: Well it seems to me they just worked all summer.

BD: And was it mostly people of the parish then?

CJ: They had the horses on the scraper, that’s the way they dug the basement.

BD: What’s your favorite part of this church? Was there something, that, when you walked in, you would look at first?

CJ: Well, yeah, the windows. The windows fascinate me every time I come down.

BD: One of the windows is very special to your family, isn’t it?

CJ: Yes. This is my folks’ window, you know, people could buy, get their name on the window. The priest we had here insisted that the folks take one with St. Clements on them.

BD: And how come they insisted on that window for your family?

CJ: Because my dad’s name was Clements.

BD: Do you have any idea of how much they would have paid for that window?

CJ: No, I often wish I knew. But somebody is saying it’s costing much more now to get them repaired then it did when they were new.

BD: Now, you started to tell me a story - you used to be a choir girl up here, didn’t you?

CJ: Well, we came up here, pretended we were singing, I guess, and the organist was kind of a joker. And he would tear out the pages in the back of the songbooks, and make spitballs. And he gave then to us to see who could hit the wellhead. That went on during mass.

BD: So you must have attended lots of masses here in your time.

CJ: Oh yeah.

BD: And were you married in this church?

CJ: Yes.

BD: And how large of a family did you have?

CJ: Two boys.

BD: Would they have been baptized in this church?

CJ: No, one was born in Milwaukee and was baptized there. And then the other one, the two boys are nine years apart, so when the youngest one came, we were farming by Silva. And he was baptized here.

BD: So why don’t you tell me a little bit about growing up in this area? What was it like for you as a child, growing up?

CJ: It was just a lot of fun. A lot of hard work and a lot of fun. My folks were very, very generous. The more I think of it now, the more I think, why did they let us do that, why did they let us do that? I had three older brothers. And especially the oldest brother, he would say, “Work real good this week. Be nice to Ma, then you see if you can wiggle a new dress out of her, then I’ll take you along to the dance.” So, like when we were sixteen, Dad gave us each a checkbook. And he said, “Use it sparingly, use it wisely. Abuse it, and you lose it.” But the only one that ever lost it was my baby sister, she was a little spoiled.

BD: The youngest one always is, aren’t they?

CJ: Yah, yah. And she had ruptured appendix when she was four, and those days it was a miracle when they saved them. So Dad helped spoil her real good.

BD: Where did you go to school?

CJ: We had a country school a mile west of our home.

BD: And what grade would you have gotten to?

CJ: I went to the country school through the eighth grade. Then I went St. James Academy for three semesters.

BD: And where is that?

CJ: Grand Forks.

BD: What happened after that? What did you do after school was done?

CJ: I just helped on the farm. My mother had a very severe surgery and she ruptured, and so she needed the help. So I pretend that I didn’t want to go to school and I stayed home to help - the doctor said, “Your mother will live if she has complete peace of mind. So what could I do? I quit school.

BD: Do you ever have any regret about that?

CJ: Not really. I wanted typing so badly and my folks would have bought me a typewriter just like that if I had told them, but I thought, they have enough to worry about, you know. So I never got my typewriter.

BD: Do you mind telling me, if I ask you, what year were you born in?

CJ: 1909.

BD: So you’ve seen a lot of things in your lifetime, haven’t you?

CJ: Yeah.

BD: And we were talking earlier about family. Why don’t you tell me about your dad? Tell me what your memories were of your dad. What kind of man he was.

CJ: Well, he was kinda - if he wanted help, he wanted help right now. But if you showed him that you were willing to help him, he would surprise you too, like he would probably say, “I’m going to Harvey, you want to go along?” Get to Harvey, he’d say, “Now, you buy anything you want. Buy the nicest dress you can find.” He’d surprise us that way. And he could whistle. He could put two fingers like that, he could whistle so they could hear it a half mile away.

BD: And was Harvey where you would have gone to go shopping?

CJ: Yeah. A lot of times we did. We went to Rugby, but he had friends at Harvey, so we went there often.

BD: Harvey and Rugby would have been fairly prosperous communities with lots of shops and stores?

CJ: Yes, very nice.

BD: Was there a store you would especially look forward to going to?

CJ: Yes.

BD: Which one was that?

CJ: Jacobson’s store here in town.

BD: Why was that special?

CJ: Well, the people were exceptionally nice, and my mother made dress chickens for them and made pickles for them and all kinds of things, so they were friends. And those days a lot of times the teachers or somebody would buy an expensive dress. And payments, pretty soon they’d leave the community and never finish paying for that dress. And then Mr. Jacobson would say, “Come up, I’ve got something you’ll like,” and he’d sell us that dress for what was left to pay on it. So that was a fun thing.

BD: Tell me a little about your mom. What kind of woman was your mom?

CJ: Well, I remember when we were fighting around the yard playing ball, and you know, somebody didn’t do right, hollering at each other, and she’d come out of the house, “Jolly Old St. Nicholas, lean your ear this way,” cause that was in July, so we all laughed and we forgot that we were fighting. Every time we would get a magazine, she would say, “Oh see if there’s something real nice in there; we might surprise the boys for supper.” She always wanted something good for the boys.

BD: Was she a good cook?

CJ: Yah, very good. She was known around the community as a good cook.

BD: What would be her special dish to make for the family?

CJ: Dad’s favorite was in the spring: chicken, cabbage, and potatoes, all in one kettle. Oh, he loved that.

BD: Did you realize when you were growing up that you were part of a German-Russian community? Was that ever something you talked about?

CJ: Not really. We had a community. Our closest neighbors were Norwegian. My mother couldn’t talk Norwegian and those women couldn’t talk German, but they could get together and have the biggest conversation. They would take a catalogue and order school clothes for their girls and for my sister and me. They got along real good. We had a nice house, and we made ice cream all summer long. Then one of the neighbor ladies would call, “Can we come down tonight?” “Yeah.” “Ok, I’ll bring the cake.” She’d bring a big angel food cake, and we would make ice cream, and that was our parties.

BD: Did your mom and dad have much schooling at all? Did they go to school in Russia?

CJ: They went to school, they could read and write. I don’t know how many years they went to school.

BD: Did they pick up English very soon after they got here? Or did they speak German for a long time?

CJ: No, yeah, my dad was real good on the English. He helped many people become citizens and all that. And my mother, she learned to talk it, but she did not learn to write it.

BD: But did they get English language newspapers?

CJ: Yeah, yeah. They got a German paper, the [Gottsenschicle B169]. And they got all English magazines and papers.

BD: You mentioned the catalogues, they were probably English.

CJ: Yeah. We had a threshing machine. And boys would come; some boys from Oklahoma City came four different summers, and a lot of them, you know, they just got to be family, and there was one man Dad hired, maybe before I was born. It must have been. And he came 21 different summers to work for us, and then my Dad didn’t need help anymore, he moved to town, so he came two more summers and stayed with my oldest brother. And he was originally from Austria, and he used to say, “When Frank come no more, then you pray for Frank, because then Frank be dead.” And when my mother died - this is funny - she died in March, and she knew she was dying, she told me in November, she told me, “I’m going to die, I think in March, and then I want you to take over” and then she told me about the garden and everything. And my brother had leakage of the heart, and we didn’t know it, doctor’s couldn’t find it for so long, so he was really sick. And this man that came all these years, he always came directly on the train, and then he walked out. And my brother was sick in bed. And I said, “Walter, now you stay in bed. Don’t get up and fall. I’m going to run up the highway and help Frank. Frank is coming walking. And he said, “No, it’s just April. Frank always comes the first week in May.” I said, “I don’t care, but this is, I can tell how he walks, it’s Frank.” So I ran up and he sat up his suitcase and sat on it. Started to have a - run tears down his eyes, he said, “I had to come home, I had to come home, somebody tell me all the time, ‘Go home, Father needs you’ and they say something about Mother and Walter, but I don’t understand what.” I said, “Frank, Mother is gone and Walter is very seriously sick.” And he just cried and cried. And I said, “Come on, we must go home. We mustn’t cry anymore, we go home and have lunch.” Then when he saw my dad he cried again. Now how did he know? I think about that so much. How did Frank know?

BD: And how old was your mom when she died?

CJ: She was only 47. My dad was almost 94 when he died.

BD: Did your Dad remarry?

CJ: Yes, he remarried, and it didn’t work out. She was a very, very mean lady and we all thought he was very happy when he got it annulled.

BD: How old were you when your dad remarried then, a teenager or older?

CJ: Twenty-two.

BD: So you had been taking care of the family for a while, in your mom’s position.

CJ: Yeah, yeah.

BD: Now when did you get married?

CJ: I got married when I was what, 23, 24. The World’s Fair. We went to the World’s Fair, stayed almost a year.

BD: How did you meet your husband?

CJ: We knew each other. After the church closed, they went to this church, and we went to the same parties and dances.

BD: So he was from this area. What was his name?

CJ: Tom. Tom Jundt.

BD: So what made you go to the World’s Fair?

CJ: He had gone down with another boy during the summer, and he said “It was too short. I didn’t get to see half of what, and I’m sure you’d enjoy what there is to see, too.” So we went.

BD: Did you get married at the World’s Fair?

CJ: No, we got married here.

BD: And then went to the World’s Fair.

CJ: Yeah.

BD: How come you stayed for a year?

CJ: Well, he got a job working for A.O. Smith. They made car bodies and trailers and things. But he couldn’t get the little pigs and the little chickens out of his mind. And he kept talking, talking, and I says, “Tom, you want to go home, don’t you?” And he said, “Oh, I want to go home. All my bones hurt I want to go home so bad.” So we said, ok, let’s go.

BD: And then where did you get your first house when you came back, where did you live?

CJ: We stayed with his folks for a little while, then we bought a farm - we leased a year. And my son is sweating it out on the farm now.

BD: Now where was the World’s Fair?

CJ: Chicago.

BD: That must have been very different for you to go to Chicago for a year.

CJ: Oh, was it ever different, yeah.

BD: Tell me a couple of the things that surprised you the most about Chicago.

CJ: Well, I don’t know. The streetcars were very fascinating. And the apartments. We rented a two-room apartment for seven dollars a month. And then we had to live there I think two months until bigger apartments came empty. Then we got to move up on third floor, bigger apartment that was twelve dollars a month, and we had a grocery store right across the street.

BD: And how much money would your husband have made, working in a week?

CJ: I don’t have an idea - I just don’t remember. It was enough that we didn’t have to scrunch.

BD: So how did you feel after the year? Were you ready to come back?

CJ: Yeah. You know, it was the start of the Depression. You saw so many old men sit there, one maybe had a shoe on one foot and an overshoe on the other foot and one was barefoot, and…. You know, people were just so poor that you wanted to cry.

BD: Things were better back here when you came back.

CJ: Yeah. On the farm you always had something to eat.

BD: So when you and your husband were farming, what kind of crops would you raise?

CJ: Wheat. Wheat and barley and oats. We had a few cows.

BD: So more of a farm then what your dad ran.

CJ: Yeah. Spent every cent we had on a down payment on the farm. And lost - the first crop was beautiful. Fifteen minutes after he started with the binder, we got completely wiped out.

BD: What happened?

CJ: Hail. The fields looked like they were just plowed. The garden was gone, everything that we had. Five cows, and about 50 chickens and they pulled us through.

BD: Was it sad?

CJ: Oh boy.

BD: Well, you must have rebounded after that.

CJ: Yeah, we had a few nice crops later. We were very happy on the farm. And he got so he couldn’t handle the work. He wasn’t feeling well at all. And it took the doctors about 15 years before they really found a - he used to say, “I don’t have a headache, I have a sore inside of my head. I can feel it, it’s in one place!” And still they just couldn’t find it. And then this one doctor we had here said, “I want you to go to Fargo, and ask for a certain doctor. He’s my friend, and he’s good.” Well he said, “I just can’t help him.” I said, “You’ve got to help him!” “Ok, I’ll try again.” So he worked on him and worked on him, he had an instrument looked like a fountain pen. And he said, “You can go.” And he said, “I want the doctors to take an x-ray of my head. Can’t you do that? Doctors get mad at me up home when I suggest it.” He said, “We can do it, but it won’t show anything. You go home, and we’ll study, and if we find anything, we’ll call you back.” So what time we got home, they had already called the doctor here, and said, “We found it. It’s a very serious brain tumor.” And so he wanted me to talk to this doctor, and I said, “Will you do surgery for Tom?” And he said, “I will, with help, but there’s a man at Rochester that’s better then I am.” So I said to Tom, “We’re going to Rochester.” He said, “We’re going next month maybe.” I said, “We’re going tomorrow.” So I just wouldn’t give in. So ok, we went along down there, and they said, “You have this very serious brain tumor, we have done five of them here, the first two were on dead people, the second one woke up blind, the third one woke up paralyzed, and that’s what we have to offer you.” So he said, “What if I don’t take the surgery?” They said, “Then you’ll have about three months of horrible suffering.” He said, “Well, that doesn’t give me much to lose, go ahead and operate.” And he came out of it pretty good, gave him 22 years, and I mean, he wasn’t bedridden or anything, he enjoyed those 22 years.

BD: Did he continue on the farm then?

CJ: We farmed with hired help. The youngest boy was home yet, but he was not strong enough to do some of the heavy work yet, so he went to Fargo where his older brother was working, and he worked there. We hired a man; he worked for us three different summers.

BD: So both of the boys pretty much moved into larger cities then.

CJ: Yeah. The oldest son is living in Lincoln, Nebraska right now. He’s a retired government meat grader. The youngest one is on the farm - but he’s hurting. They’re working so hard. His wife, too, she’s a real farm woman. And now they’re losing their fifth crop. They had an adjuster look at the wheat, and he said it’s seventy percent gone with this disease the wheat gets. So I don’t know. He said, “Mom, this year I’m going to walk.”

BD: In the ninety years you’ve been alive, what are the biggest changes you have seen in the family lifestyle over the years. How is it different from when you were a girl?

CJ: Well, it’s mostly the children that have changed, you know. They’re all computerized.

BD: Do you think the families have changed since you were a girl? The way families treat each other?

CJ: Oh yeah, yeah, a lot, yeah.

BD: Now you were saying you took over when your mom was sick, doing a lot of the chores and household duties. You said your mom was a good cook, were you a good cook too?

CJ: Well, I did all right. I cooked a little for our school for 22 years.

BD: What type of things would you bake? What dishes would you make for the school?

CJ: Oh, we’d have chili; we had beef stew, and whatever children like. We’d ask them a lot of times, “What would like us to cook this week?” And they were all very nice.

BD: Did you ever make any German specialties for them?

CJ: No, not really.

BD: How about at home, for your children?

CJ: I tried them on it, but they weren’t much. My dad did not want any of these [kasien flynn B327] stuff. When my mother, I’d say, “Mother, you know, my aunt had this and had that, could you make it?” She said, “I could, but Dad would be so unhappy.” He worked as a young boy for some people, for four years he was the number one hired man because he stayed so long, he got forty dollars a year. They were vegetarians. He said he remembers he had got meat twice, and that’s when he had shot a rabbit. So he wanted meat and eggs and potatoes on the table.

BD: When you went to visit your in-laws, though, the Gross’s, they probably served German-Russian food, didn’t they?

CJ: A little, yeah. Yeah. Now and then. It was always good.

BD: What’s it like, growing up and living in a small farming community? What are the good things about it?

CJ: Well, everybody’s friendly. You know each other and you help each other. The neighbor kids figure we’re making ice cream, they manage to come at noon-time. I know one time one of the boys came up, they lived about a mile, and my mother said, “Oh, you hit a pretty good day, we got spring chicken today! And ice cream.” And he says, “Yeah, well, you always have ice cream. I’ll stay for dinner.” Well then his brother came to tell him to go home. Well, he stayed. Then the father came. Then my mother just winked to Dad, and she said, “Oh, let the boys have a little time off. They’ll enjoy this meal. Come sit down and eat with them.” So we did.

BD: What were some bad things about growing up on a farm?

CJ: Well sometimes the work got pretty tough. I know one time my brothers were out threshing and it was going to freeze and the corn wasn’t cut. Dad said, “I’m going to cut the corn and you girls are going to have to shuck it.” And well, you know, it’s kind of hard work. My little sister, she was only two years younger then I, she helped put up about two or three shocks and she says, “Huh. I’m not a hired man.” And she walked home, and that was it. So I shocked and shocked, and when Dad was through cutting he helped me finish it. And a week or two later he said, “I’m going to Harvey, I’d like for you to go along.” [Little sister] “Can I go?” He said, “No, I don’t know you. You weren’t here when I needed help so bad.” So I got to go to Harvey, and I got to pick out the dress I liked.

BD: I was wondering, when you were growing up, did you ever listen to radio at all at home?

CJ: I remember when my brother bought the first radio. Little radio. We all sat up all night listening to the songs. We were so happy.

BD: What were some of your favorite songs you listened to on radio? Did you have favorite shows?

CJ: There were so many, I wouldn’t know.

BD: Did you listen to any of the old soap operas? Did they have any of the continuing shows that you would tune in certain nights and listen to it?

CJ: I don’t know. It was just music, and we just were so happy to have the thing.

BD: Now you mentioned earlier about getting a new dress and going to a dance with you brother. What would dances be like?

CJ: Well, we had the two-step and the polka. I danced polka once and that was enough. We had the waltzes, and the square dance.

BD: Where would the dances be held?

CJ: Well, the Thunder Park. Its building is still standing here in Balta. And the dance hall was upstairs. Every time we went, my dad would say, “Well, when I hear it collapse, I’ll come and look for you.” But it was fun.

BD: And would the dances be on a Saturday night? When would they be held?

CJ: No, not on Saturday nights, as a rule not. Friday nights I think were more common. And then there was the Fireman’s Dance, and the New Year’s Dance, and we had a lot of house parties.

BD: What’s a house party?

CJ: Well, we’d have a party at our house. Then the next week maybe the neighbors would have a party and then the other neighbors. And whoever would have the dance there would serve a nice lunch. Sometimes we got to have it at the schoolhouse.

BD: Now back to the dances. Would there be a band playing or records?

CJ: Oh, somebody would play the violin or somebody the accordion or sometimes it was just the record player.

BD: But everybody had fun there?

CJ: Everybody had fun.

BD: Now we’re sitting here doing the interview in church. Would you say your family was religious?

CJ: Yes, yes, quite religious, uh-huh.

BD: Do you think that was normal for people living in the community?

CJ: Yes. When it was a holy day or something, church came first. Go to church first, and then, if it was important, you could work in the afternoon.

BD: So you went to church every Sunday?

CJ: Oh you bet. I remember going with the horse and sleigh when it was real cold and snowy.

BD: How do you feel when you see this church nowadays?

CJ: Oh, I just love it. When I walk into this church, I just feel so warm. Our church in Rugby is pretty, but it’s cold. It’s not friendly.

BD: Now does this one bring back memories of your brothers?

CJ: Right, right.

BD: Did you get to come here for mass often?

CJ: No, not often. I can remember when I had long hair, and my mom wasn’t feeling good and my dad braided my hair. And he braided it pretty stiff. And I would sit in church and the girls would laugh, and then the priest would scold those girls. He didn’t know I was the leader.

BD: Did you get to take lessons for church, like for confirmation or Sunday school?

CJ: Mm-hmm, yeah. Not after church. In the summer, after school was out, maybe two weeks we would come to Balta for our lessons.

BD: Who would teach those lessons?

CJ: Sometimes it was the priest; mostly it was a sister.

BD: And were there sisters in the parish here?

CJ: No, they’d come from Fargo or wherever.

BD: Now was there a Catholic school here, at all, or just the public school?

CJ: Just the public school. Later in years there were sisters teaching in the public school here.

BD: What does it mean for you to be of Russian-German heritage?

CJ: Why, I don’t know. I feel real good about it.

BD: Do you know much about the groups, about the history of the Germans from Russia?

CJ: My grandfather lived with us, and he told us a lot of good things about Russia.

BD: What were some of the good things he’d tell you about Russia?

CJ: Oh, about the fruit trees. How he and his friends would go and steal fruit off the neighbors’ trees. They had more fruit then they could use at home, but it wasn’t fun to pick that, it was more fun to steal the neighbors.

BD: Did he ever talk about life in the villages in Russia? Did you have a picture in your head as a young girl of what it would look like over in Russia?

CJ: Oh yeah. My dad talked about it, too. He could visit with so-and-so lived here, and so-and-so lived three houses over, and he could remember all that.

BD: Did they every talk about when the house was built?

CJ: Mm-hmm. Yeah, they would all live together, then they went to the field. Each one didn’t live by his land.

BD: Would they have had like cows?

CJ: Yeah, and it was usually one big building. The cows in one end, and the people in the other end.

BD: I guess one thing people talk about when they are over there visiting and they saw a vineyard, they were talking about grapes.

CJ: Mm-hmm, yeah. They talked about how good the grapes were.

BD: Would they have made wine over there, do you think?

CJ: Yes, lots of wine.

BD: When people would gather at your house, would they sit around and play cards or anything like that? What types of card games did they play?

CJ: Whist, and pinochle, and go fish. They played a lot of games.

BD: Did they teach you the card games?

CJ: Yeah, I play a little. My husband didn’t care to play cards; he had too much weeding to do.

BD: You know, I was going to ask you and I forgot. One of your sons was born in Milwaukee. What were you doing in Milwaukee?

CJ: Well, we went down to the World’s Fair, and we had friends in Milwaukee. So after we spent all our money at the fair, we went back up to Milwaukee and he got a job there.

BD: So this was your first year of marriage, then, very early in your life.

CJ: Yeah, yeah, we had to borrow some children. He couldn’t get a job because he didn’t have no family. So we borrowed two children from the friends, the inspectors came, and “Oh, yeah, you have two children now, yeah, you need a job.” And so he got a job.

BD: Did you sing in the choir, did you sing ever?

CJ: No. Just went up for the spitballs.

BD: What I’d like to do is for us to walk downstairs, and then for you to point out the windowthat your dad bought for the church, and then maybe tell up the story about the priest again, how he asked you to buy a window.

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