Interview with Eva Welk (EW)

Conducted by Michael M. Miller (MM)
11 November, 1993, Aberdeen, South Dakota

Transcription by Travis Bartelson
November, 1994

Edited by Janel Wald
August, 2005

MM: This is Michael Miller, the Germans from Russia Bibliographer at NDSU in Fargo, North Dakota, and it's Veterans Day, November 11, 1993 and I'm in Aberdeen, South Dakota visiting with Eva Welk. And, Eva, when were you born again, what was your birthdate?

EW: Twenty-fourth of December, 1909.

MM: Twenty-fourth of December, 1909. Of course it is a real pleasure to be in your home. You have lived in Aberdeen here how long, Eva?

EW: Ever since my parents passed away.

MM: And that was what year?

EW: My parents passed away two years and nine months apart on the day. My father died the twenty-seventh of November in thirty-seven [1937] and my mother died the twenty-seven of August in forty [1940]. So you can figure it out.

MM: Yes right. And they both died right in Strasburg, right?

EW: Right in our home.

MM: And they moved to Strasburg from the farm when?

EW: In 1928.

MM: 1928, and you were the only one at home yet then?

EW: Yes, Mike was just married.

MM: Oh, he had just gotten married and then it was time they decided to move off the farm. Then who stayed on the farm, Eva?

EW: Well Mike.

MM: Oh, he took over the farm.

EW: Mike and his wife. And she died in, well, I think I was about sixteen years old so you can figure it out.

MM: She was a young person yet when she died. But let us go back to the farm; I'm interested in knowing what the farm is because you’re the only one that still can tell us [what] you know about that farm and so forth, as far as having lived there with your folks. There was of course a large family and everybody had to do their chores and so forth, and you all had your work to do. Can you still remember as a young child who was still at home?

EW: Well, I just remember a little when the first one got married; I was only six or seven years old.

MM: Who was that now, Eva?

EW: Barbara.

MM: She got married in Strasburg?

EW: Aha.

MM: She was Barbara?

EW: Deringer.

MM: She married a Deringer, right. And you were about six or seven, and who else was still at home then?

EW: The rest were all at home.

MM: Oh, they all still were at home. And of course you were the youngest one and the rest were all at home. Describe the house a little bit, your house where you lived, Eva; the Welk home.

EW: Well what do you mean?

MM: The rooms, where did everybody eat for example.

EW: It's just about like it was today; the only thing they made, they fixed it up nice, they did a good job. Where we came in it was what we used to call (33).

MM: Yes, (33) yeah.

EW: And our kitchen was long and narrow, but we had everything arranged so it still looked nice. Now they have it filled up with all kinds of things.

MM: Right.

EW: It isn't like it used to be. And then we had a nice, big dining room where we ate our meals. And then we had a living room, the front room, and the bedroom just like it is now, but all be it was, my mother was a very neat house keeper, and everything had to be just so. Well now it's so filled up that I don't feel at home when I go up there.

MM: They have other things in there. And then where did all the children sleep?

EW: Where did all the children sleep? Well, I slept with the girls part of the time and they had me on the davenport and, you know, it wasn't anything for two, three to sleep in one bed, and the boys all slept upstairs. And they had to go out and go up from outside.

MM: In those cold winters? And then the heat came from downstairs up, huh?

EW: Yes, it was a nice opening. I think the last I saw it was just a hole up there. But we had a nice opening where they could close or open it.

MM: And then the boys of course would all head upstairs and the girls would be downstairs?

EW: Right.

MM: The house where you lived was built out of a sod house?

EW: Yes, you can see it as you go in; they still show it.

MM: And then in the home, course your mom had to do a lot of cooking with such a large family?

EW: Yes, but you know we had so many things on the farm; they butchered their own. They had their own meat and we always had a large garden. And then in the fall, my father would buy apples by the barrel so the kids could have [apples] when they wanted them. It was surprising how they got along.

MM: So they did a lot of butchering?

EW: And we had chickens.

MM: Lot of did they…?

EW: Turkeys.

MM: Oh you had some turkeys too. Did they make a lot of sausage?

EW: Yes, they made a lot of sausage; the neighbors would even help them.

MM: What kind of sausage did they used to make, Eva?

EW: Well, they made a couple different kinds, I didn't like the liver sausage, I like the (65).

MM: (65) Yeah, that's good, I still like that today. And they made some head cheese?

EW: Yes they made some head cheese. I didn't care too much for that, but we ate it.

MM: And then of course your mother had to a lot of canning?

EW: Yes, like the cabbage and different things that was always, if I say at that time, they had a way of making, and the eggs, we always had plenty of eggs and bacon. Took some when they took the cream, they also had a crate of eggs that they took to town.

MM: Oh they'd sell some of the eggs.

EW: And that's where we got the groceries that we needed.

MM: They would sell the eggs and the cream and then they'd buy groceries with it, and how often would they go into town to sell this?

EW: Well, I imagine about once a week or every two weeks.

MM: So you as a child, you didn't get to town too often?

EW: No, the day when we all got to town was the Fourth of July. We all got a little money to spend. Very little, wouldn't mean anything now days.

MM: Back on the homestead, as far as cooking is concerned; in the summertime of course your mother had a summer kitchen, remember that summer kitchen?

EW: Yes I do. And that was cleaned up early in the spring and then we moved over. And when we were in the summer kitchen then the whole house over at the main house had to be papered and painted. And it was shiny all summer and it was cool. You could, it made no difference how hot it was outside, you could walk in and it was always cool.

MM: Those thick walls helped a lot, how they built those. And then at night you'd sleep in the house, it was nice and cool?

EW: Oh yes.

MM: And then your ma would do a lot of cooking outside in the summer kitchen?

EW: In the summer kitchen.

MM: Did she make a lot of noodles during the summer time too?

EW: Well I can't tell you if it was different but I know we had noodles because my father liked them.

MM: What kind of noodles did she make?

EW: Oh, what they call (94).

MM: (94)?

EW: (95).

MM: And did they make pigs in the blanket?

EW: Yes.

MM: Some soups too of course; a lot of soup?

EW: And Lawrence liked noodles when he'd come back once in awhile, cause that was something he never got, so my mother would make something extra.

MM: And she'd make him some noodles, for him. And they'd have like, in the summer time later on as the summer went on they'd have noodles and watermelon?

EW: Yes, we even would raise our own watermelon and muskmelons.

MM: Pumpkins too?

EW: And then I don't know about pumpkins. Pumpkin wasn't as popular as it is now.

MM: Do you remember, Eva, as a child, everybody had to have their chores, you were young yet of course, and as you grew a little older you had your chores, what were some of your chores you had to do?

EW: Well I think they started me to milk when I was only about nine, eight, nine years old.

MM: You were out in the barn milking in the morning.

EW: We didn't milk so much in the barn, we had pens fenced in where they were in the summertime.

MM: That's where you'd milk.

EW: And then in the barn, I think I was a little afraid to go between the cows.

MM: I see, and the other boys had to go out too, and the girls and help you?

EW: The boys, they had to do quite a bit of milking, like Mike.

MM: Of course, some of the children were older than you and some even had to go out in the field of course and do work. And at that time you still only used horses, had a team, nice team of horses.

EW: I never had to work like that at home, but one year I was baby-sitter at my sisters, Anna Mary's, and I think his hired man left and he took me out and put me on the plow. And I followed him and that's where I learned to plow.

MM: You thought you were going in for baby-sitting and of you went to the field. How old were you then, Eva?

EW: Well I can remember what his mother said when we came to town and she found out that I was, you don't have to put that on tape, when she found out that I plowed she said, "(129)".

MM: That I understand good. They were concerned what are the folks going to say back home on the farm huh, Ludwig and Christina. Back on the farm, of course you had to do your chores and the others had to do their choirs, and your dad of course was a farmer, did he do any other kind of work other than farming?

EW: Well you know the funny part, they always just tell that he was a blacksmith and he was. At the same time he did a lot of playing for weddings, and it doesn't come out, you hardly ever hear about that.

MM: So he was at the farm, he was a blacksmith and he played a lot of weddings, now, and that's important for us to know, I mean we need to stress that more when we, when they write about him. Now when he played for those weddings he had a good accordion, did he bring that accordion from Russia or did he buy that in North Dakota?

EW: No, I think he brought that with him, cause that's what I used to hear. I don't remember.

MM: So you grew up hearing that accordion. So there was a lot of music in the house.

EW: And then when John came along he played the accordion and he played clarinet. And Lawrence used to say, "It's too bad that John gave up clarinet, he was a good clarinet player." But things change.

MM: Right, do you remember, Eva, in the Welk home on the farm in the evenings would Dad bring out the accordion and they'd have music in the evening or was there a certain time they would play?

EW: I think it was mostly in the house. When we got through in the evening we all sat around outside were it was cool, and I often think we didn't work as long in the evening as some of the neighbors, because I can remember some of the neighbors they would be pitching hay and doing things like that when we were resting, so we didn't work that hard in the evening.

MM: And then he'd bring out the accordion and play some music?

EW: Not outside.

MM: Was inside?

EW: I can't remember that he had the accordion outside. Now when Lawrence came along I suppose he had to go were he wouldn't bother anybody.

MM: Do you remember some of the songs your dad used to play, remember some special songs he played, on the accordion?

EW: You mean Lawrence?

MM: No, your dad, Ludwig.

EW: They didn't have, I don't know if they had names, they just knew 'em, I can't remember.

MM: Did they sing along, too, or just play?

EW: My mother would sing along.

MM: Oh would she. You don't remember any of those songs, what she sang? I suppose they were in German, huh?

EW: Now the funny part I can remember the German prayers that my mother taught me, to this day I can pray it.

MM: Oh you can, from those, what was some of those, Eva, that you, some of those songs, prayers?

EW: Not songs.

MM: No prayer, prayers.

EW: Prayers.

MM: Yes, what were those, can you repeat those?

EW: One for evening and for breakfast, I mean for evening and when you get up.

MM: What was the evening prayer?

EW: (173) and that's the way it went on, it's a long [prayer], and I know it all the way through. Isn't it funny how you remember things?

MM: And then in the morning you'd have a special prayer. And then as they played the music the children would join in and singing with your mother?

EW: No, I don't know if the children would join in. Then when Agatha came along she played the organ.

MM: Was there an organ in the house? Do you remember that, when it came to the house?

EW: No.

MM: That was already there?

EW: That was there, I think when I was born and it was there when we left. I don't know who ever got it. Mike was a little careless that way, he didn't remember who came and got it.

MM: From the family our whatever.

EW: Now did I give you enough information?

MM: Oh, we have a lot of information. What about, I'm interested, Eva, of course John played the accordion, too, did he go out and play for dances too then? Did he play with your dad or did he just go out on his own?

EW: Well, when he was home-- of course it's so long ago I can't tell you for sure and I don't want to put anything in that I'm not sure about.

MM: Right.

EW: I don't think he went out with my dad so much because my dad had different players. And they used to tell us how they'd played for a wedding for two days and evenings and the third day yet where they couldn't get away, but they made quite a bit of money that way.

MM: And they'd go quite a ways to go and play at those dances too. So they'd come home and of course while dad was gone playing for those weddings there was work to do. Then the children had to do more work too, of course. And your dad had to have the farm, worked the blacksmith and playing so they had enough to survive all this, with this money together of course they could raise the family. Your dad played the accordion, Agatha played the organ, and John played the accordion and the clarinet, did anyone else in the family play an instrument?

EW: No, and when I came along I used to practice a little but by that time I had to help my mother and there wasn't too much time.

MM: So there was a lot of work to do. But you remember of course when Lawrence would practice on the accordion, and did he use your dad's accordion to practice on?

EW: I don't know if he was allowed to use my dad's accordion or not, I can't tell you.

MM: But he had some accordion?

EW: I think he bought himself one and then he sent for one, but it was always worn out so dad made, I think he promised him if he would stay home till he was twenty-one years old he would get him a good accordion, which costs four hundred dollars. And you know, they must have noticed something in him because I still wonder why they spend so much money.

MM: That was a lot of money.

EW: At his age.

MM: How old was he, when they bought that accordion? Do you remember, about?

EW: Well I imagine he was about, I would say about seventeen our so.

MM: And then of course he really did a lot of practicing, do you remember the times when Lawrence would go out and practice on the accordion, you were in the house you could hear the music, him practicing?

EW: Well that's so long ago I don't, and the barn was quite a ways from the house. So if he went back there we didn't hear it.

MM: Later on when Lawrence got to play a little better, you know when he was, he knew a lot of tunes, would he play in the house too then for the rest of the family?

EW: Yes, I think so.

MM: Of course your dad played, continued to play and the rest of the family was listening and singing and so forth. Then Lawrence would go off and play for dances, too?

EW: You mean when he had his new accordion?

MM: Yes.

EW: Oh yes, I think he went with the buggy, a horse and buggy.

MM: And they'd go off. Do you ever remember who played with him, he had some partners, some other band members in this little group?

EW: Yes, he would come home and have one from, was he from (237) or some place.

MM: And they played. I suppose they got home late at night too then, huh?

EW: I can remember when I was quite young when he came home. I knew he was home with his partner. I got up in the morning and baked the cake so we would have a cake at noon. Oh, what a life.

MM: Did you do a lot of baking?

EW: My mother did most of the baking till then, when I got a little along in years then I had to do the baking.

MM: So Lawrence would go off and play for these dances, did you ever get to go along to any dances when he played?

EW: Yes, I got to go to dances and dance and I was about fourteen.

MM: Oh you got to go along already to the dances.

EW: Huh?

MM: You went to the dances already and start dancing at fourteen.

EW: I was bridesmaid three times and when I was quite young and you couldn't help but dance. But they all let us, especially the bridesmaid.

MM: Who were you bridesmaid for three times, Eva?

EW: Well I had a close friend, girlfriend, and then I had two cousins for I was bridesmaid.

MM: In the Welk relationship?

EW: Yeah.

MM: Of course you went to these dances and Lawrence would play and you'd come home with Lawrence then, after the dance?

EW: I think with Mike most of the time.

MM: Oh, he'd go too, huh?

EW: Well Mike was older than I was.

MM: Yes. Did he play for barn dances too?

EW: You mean Lawrence?

MM: Yes.

EW: I think so. Well I suppose he played for barn dances when he had his cheap accordions.

MM: What about name's day parties, a lot of playing too?

EW: Name's days weren't so popular anymore I don't think.

MM: A lot of weddings of course, played a lot in Strasburg? Did Lawrence play a lot in Strasburg, too?

EW: You mean weddings?

MM: Yes.

EW: I don't know if he played so many in Strasburg. And then when he was good enough, then he'd be, by that time he would be gone most of the time.

MM: After he was twenty-one. Now then let's go back to the farm and let's talk a little bit about school. Was there a farm school near your house?

EW: Yes, I never went to the farm school. When I came along we had to stay with the nuns, the Eursiline Nuns in Strasburg, in the wintertime. And in the spring and in the fall we would walk three miles. Now look at what they're doing nowadays, they can't walk a half a block.

MM: So you walked all the way from the farm into Strasburg during the nice weather?

EW: Well, sometimes they would take us in the morning but we would walk back, like in the spring and in the fall.

MM: And who else do you remember of the children? Did all the children do this in the family?

EW: No, the oldest ones, we had a school in the summer kitchen years ago, that I don't remember anything about.

MM: And you'd go into Strasburg and stay with the Eursiline Sisters?

EW: Yes, and that's the best training I ever had. They made us do everything right on time.

MM: So then everybody had their choirs with the sisters?

EW: Well we didn't have so many choirs, but they gave us time to practice to learn and I often think it was good training.

MM: Who went to stay with the Eursiline's of the family, you and Mike stayed with the Eursiline Sisters?

EW: And Lawrence.

MM: Those three, Lawrence, Mike, and yourself, Eva. And how many years were you in town for the winters with the sisters?

EW: I can't tell you because in those days they paid so much and they gave the nuns whatever they needed, like cream and eggs and different things like that. And they paid so much but I don't know how much they paid in those days.

MM: And you were about how old then, Eva, when you would stay in Strasburg, in school?

EW: How old?

MM: How old were you about then?

EW: Well I started when I was six or seven.

MM: Oh, so you started staying with the sisters that early. And then, you and Mike and Lawrence were all in with the sisters at the same time?

EW: No, I think Lawrence got out a little earlier and I don't know about Mike; all I know is that I was the last one.

MM: And then how many years were you in school?

EW: How many years?

MM: Did you go to school, how many from, you started at age six how many classes did you take, till the eighth grade?

EW: No, I didn't make the eighth grade. Sometimes I’ve read books that Lawrence was only in the third grade, that isn't so; he must have been in the fourth or fifth and they didn't put him through without knowing anything.

MM: There was a real good education during those years and of course the sisters taught only in German?

EW: Oh no, no, German that was a… they also put German in one hour a week.

MM: So everything was in English, classes were all in English, teachers would speak in English, and then you'd have German, too?

EW: Yes

EW: Did you see Larry's show on public television?

MM: Yes.

EW: About three weeks ago, did you see it?

MM: Yes.

EW: What he said that his father used to say, that the choir back home was the best choir that he ever heard, and Lawrence used to tell that when, after a few years when he would be out that he never heard as nice a choir as we had at home.

MM: Who was the choir director, do you remember?

EW: (342)

MM: And he had a beautiful choir, huh?

EW: He was from Germany, but oh was he ever strict. When he would walk in our class you could hear a needle drop. He was so strict we were afraid to make a move. But he had 'em trained.

MM: Did you sing in the choir, too?

EW: No.

MM: You were too young yet then. When you were in school, you know in staying with the sisters, what was the schedule like? Did you have to get up early in the morning?

EW: Yes, we got up at the same time and then we would say our prayers together, the morning prayers and then we would go down and have our breakfast. It was good training.

MM: And then you'd go to school. And you were in school in the morning and then you'd come home for lunch?

EW: You asked me if I liked afternoon coffee or a snack in the afternoon, they had for us children, (364), each one had a piece because it was too long from lunch to supper.

MM: What was that called?

EW: It was, it was bread with syrup on it, and that syrup had soaked in a little and it was good. And you know, when you are kids you get real hungry.

MM: So you'd have that in the middle of the afternoon?

EW: No, about four o'clock, or after four.

MM: Now where was the school, Eva, where did you go to school?

EW: Well first we started in the basement under the church and then St. Benedicts came along, that's where I went to school.

MM: So you went into the first school, it was just brand new. That must have been interesting.

EW: So you went to that one too?

MM: Yes. Now the church was very important in your family and of course the beautiful church in Strasburg, do you remember those early days in the church there at Strasburg? How was the priest, do you remember who was the father when you were there?

EW: That was a (384), his name was Max too, wasn't it?

MM: Schephtmeier maybe, Father Schephtmeier.

EW: I won't say anything about that cause I'm not so sure.

MM: You’re not so sure of the year?

EW: Isn't that funny now I remember the German choir.

MM: Very beautiful choir, huh. We always heard about that wonderful choir. Did you have your first communion there in Strasburg? Do remember that a little bit?

EW: Yes.

MM: Had your white dress. Had your beautiful white dress. Did your mother make it, did your mother do a lot of sewing, [and] make dresses?

EW: I can't tell you if she made it or if she bought it, that I don't remember. I know everybody had to be in white (397).

MM: The clothes that the Welk family would wear, you would wear, did you buy most of those clothes or did they make some of those too? The dresses and so forth?

EW: Yes, Barbara was good at making clothes; she was the oldest one.

MM: So she would make the clothes for the others too. And of course you had to have your clothes in your little suitcase when you'd go to town for the week when you'd go to school. Well then would you stay in Strasburg all week and go home on weekends?

EW: Yes, they would come on Fridays and get us. They sent enough along so we could get from Monday morning till Friday.

MM: You'd go home for the weekend. And you enjoyed staying with the sisters? Did you enjoy those years?

EW: Yes, very much so. And to this day I still think it was the best training because everything had to be right on time.

MM: Sisters are real strict and they had, and those sisters of course. Were they some sisters that were German?

EW: We just had one that came from Germany, that gave us a German hour.

MM: What was her name, do you remember?

EW: Sister Paulina.

MM: Sister Paulina. And then you learned to read and write in German?

EW: I was never very good about the writing, but I can pick up a German prayer book that I had from my mother's sister in Montana and I can read German yet, so it wasn't lost.

MM: When you would go home, Eva, on the weekends, of course you were growing up and getting a little bigger, did your folks have a lot of company on weekends, did they get together (429)?

EW: Yes, they had a lot of neighbors and then I think when the flu came along it took some of their best friends. That was, that was in eighteen, wasn't it?

MM: 1918 yes. Of course you remember that, you were already a young girl then, and that was tough. During the time of the flu did everybody still go to school or did they stay home?

EW: I think they stayed home because they would all come down one after another.

MM: Did this happen in your home too?

EW: Yes, I think my mother was the only one left, I think they all got down.

MM: So you were on the farm and of course you stayed on the farm with your folks until they moved to Strasburg, but do you remember the times, Eva, when Lawrence left the farm and then went down to South Dakota and to Yankton and so forth, do you remember the times when he'd come home for visits?

EW: When we lived in town?

MM: Well even on the farm.

EW: Well I think I told you. One time when he came home and had a partner I heard about him coming home that night and I got up and baked a cake.

MM: You mentioned that, yes. And then later on when Lawrence was playing and traveling and so forth and down in Yankton and then of course met his wife and so forth and you were already in Strasburg and he'd come home more often then. By that time you were living in Strasburg and Mike was on the farm, raising a family out there. You remember some of the times when Lawrence would come home when you were in Strasburg, I bet.

EW: Yes, and when he would come home, we had a nice home in Strasburg and there he had his own bedroom when he would come home, he didn't have to go out to the farm. I read one time that he would always come home and crawl up the outside steps and that isn't so cause he stayed in town when we lived in town.

MM: Cause you were there, you saw it, you lived there of course. And he'd come home and did he ever come home then and play much with his little band, in Strasburg or around there, when he was down in South Dakota?

EW: Yes, one time he gave a concert for the school, St. Benedicts School. That was before your time?

MM: Yes. Was that in the gym or where was that concert?

EW: That was in the gym.

MM: In the new gym they built during the WPA days.

EW: I remember my mother got tears in her eyes, and I asked her after that, I was with mother alone, and I said, “What made you so sad when Lawrence played?” And she said, "Well I just wish that dad was still here, that he could hear."

MM: Of course by that time--.

EW: My dad was gone.

MM: Your dad was gone?

EW: I told you they died two years and nine months apart.

MM: And your dad died in Strasburg, when they moved to town?

EW: Umhu.

MM: And so you still remember that when Lawrence came home he played in the gym, there in Strasburg. And by that time did he had a nice orchestra already?

EW: Well I would think he had about, I would say about twelve.

MM: Oh, so it was a nice size already then. Singers too?

EW: Huh?

MM: Was there some singing also, did he have some vocalists?

EW: Not at that time.

MM: And then after that, what year was that about when he came home and played in the gym, do you remember about what year?

EW: Well I would say it must have been in, my father died in thirty-seven I told you, that must have been in thirty-eight or--.

MM: Shortly after?

EW: I wouldn't say for sure because it's so hard to remember everything.

MM: All those dates, yes. Was there ever another time when he came home and played in Strasburg with a big group that you can remember, after that one time your mother and you went? Did he ever come back again, like in the forties, that you can remember, or were you down here in Aberdeen already then?

EW: No, my mother died in the forties and I came soon after that, I came down here.

MM: And you remember of course when your mother died and not everyone in the family could come to the funeral, right?

EW: And it was hard for him cause he couldn't get home, it was real hard that he couldn't come home when she was so sick. But we talked back and forth.

MM: On the phone. You had a phone by then already?

EW: Well we didn't have a phone in the home but we had to call from somewhere. We had some neighbors that had. Do you remember Mike Schumacher, he had the Ford garage.

MM: So you'd go over there and use their phone?

EW: I don't remember if I used it or if one of the other children talked to him. There was no plane going out where he was; he was in Pennsylvania some place.

MM: With his orchestra in Pennsylvania. Your dad died and then shortly after that then you stayed with your mother of course, continued to live with your mother. Did you work too in Strasburg or did you primarily work for your mother?

EW: Well my mother had diabetes for eleven years and I had to give her the insulin (004). they had me up in Bismarck to teach me, I even had to weigh her food.

MM: You learned a lot there.

EW: So when I came to Aberdeen I had no trouble getting jobs.

MM: Cause you had all that experience from taking care of your mother and of course--.

EW: My father both.

MM: Your father too. How long did you take care of your father?

EW: Well he wasn't down, he had heart condition and a little lung trouble.

MM: And your mother after she died, then your family members all came together, did Lawrence get home for your mother's funeral?

EW: No, I told you he couldn't; there was no plane.

MM: Oh, he couldn't come at that time, right.

EW: And it was very hard for him. He wrote me a letter, sent money home for (15) and I had that letter, I sent it to Shirley a while back. You know about it?

MM: Yes, she told me about that letter.

EW: Did she?

MM: Yes.

EW: They like old things and I still have that letter in there and I thought here's something I'm going to send you, whether you appreciate it or not, but it was the oldest thing I had that her father wrote me in his own handwriting.

MM: Right. And then of course when your mother died and it was time for you to leave Strasburg and you came to Aberdeen?

EW: I came down to John's, they lived in Ipswich.

MM: Oh I see.

EW: That was only twenty-five miles and they said you won't have trouble finding a job. So that's what I did for quite a few years. Till I retired, then I had a few good hobbies. When I retired I played bridge and (25) was my hobby.

MM: Beautiful work.

EW: That's (26). Did you ever see (27) before?

MM: Yeah my mother did that too, and Mrs. Kline did that also, Mrs. Johnny Kline. You knew that. They got together to do a lot of craft work during those years, a lot of crocheting.

EW: I learned it when I was only eleven years old.

MM: Who taught you how to do (29)?

EW: Well, when Louie got married he and his wife lived at our place for a while, till they had a home fixed up for them. And I know I would always tie it so you couldn't pull it open, but I kept at it and finally I got it. And the next thing I knew one of the sisters wanted me to make a (34) for an alter cloth or something. And I said, "Oh my gosh, that would take me all my whole life".

MM: One of the Eursiline Sisters wanted you to do that?

EW: Huh?

MM: One of the sisters wanted you to do some (36), did you ever do?

EW: No, not for the church. Because it was such slow work when I first started.

MM: Yes, beautiful work. Did your mother do many crafts, did she have time to do any crafts?

EW: My mother did some knitting.

MM: Oh.

EW: And when she wanted to, I used to (40) and embroider and crochet. I learned to crochet I think in school. And when she wanted me to knit, I thought, "Oh that's old fashioned", I never wanted to knit. And that's very popular again.

MM: Yes it is, of course. So in the evenings your ma would do a lot of, for past time they'd sit of course there was no, there was no electricity either then, was there? Did they have electricity then?

EW: In town?

MM: No, on the farm.

EW: No, no they burned coal.

MM: Burned coal. By the time you were growing up they were already bringing in coal and burning coal. Of course that was a...

EW: They had what they call brick coal or whatever and they would just fill it up once a day or so and it would last.

MM: It kept the house nice and warm and then she'd do her baking with that coal too?

EW: No, I think they had wood. And then at night they would put some coal in the cook stove so it would keep the kitchen a little warm overnight.

MM: Your mom made a lot of bread. Did you learn how to make bread from her, and (53)?

EW: I was never too good about making bread. She did the bread and I did the, oh like when it came to cakes or pies. But you know, I can still remember when Lawrence would be home and she would eat something sweet, he would always say, "Well mother, can't you have fat?" It hurt him just to see her eat a little something sweet.

MM: And she loved it but she still wanted to have a little bit. Then after you moved down to Aberdeen, Eva, and of course the rest of the family was spread out, some were back home, Mike was on the farm, and you had a family member down here in Aberdeen too, one of your brothers was down here, right?

EW: No, he was still in Ipswich.

MM: Oh, he was still in Ipswich.

EW: But they would come in quite often to see me, John and his wife. They did quite a bit of shopping here in town.

MM: Were there quite a few German Russian people down here at that time?

EW: Yes, but I never got to well acquainted because they belonged to St. Mary's.

MM: I see.

EW: And I joined Sacred Heart and I've had it ever since.

MM: But through those years when you were down here in Aberdeen, starting in the forties and then on from there, did Lawrence keep in pretty good touch with you?

EW: Yes he did.

MM: You would see him once in a while?

EW: And, he would always say anything that you need or just that I would never ask him for anything wasn't in my way of. And you know I sometimes think, "it wasn't fair the publicity he got before he passed away," Because he would have been the last person to ask the government for anything, that I know.

MM: That was not in his work ethic?

EW: Huh?

MM: That's not how he felt. But then did you ever get to see him perform with the orchestra as he got more popular?

EW: Oh yes, I was out there a few times and when he played in Bismarck I had some good friends that called me, we went up. The funny part, her picture was in the paper last week with the couple I went up to Bismarck. And then they played in Jamestown one time, I think I went, my niece and I went up. And now in Strasburg I can't tell you what years that would have been.

MM: When he played. Now what about the time when Lawrence was surprised, remember that TV show he had, “This Is Your Life”, do you remember that?

EW: I was there.

MM: Oh my, how did you find out about it, did somebody call you?

EW: I was taking care of a sick person and they just wouldn't give up and wouldn't give up. Ralph Edwards, you know, he was the head of it, they called me and they asked me to come out, and they said they would pay your way and we can pay you extra. And I wouldn't give in. You know how stubborn I can be.

MM: I know that.

EW: I wouldn't give in till Fern called me.

MM: Is that right?

EW: And said, "Eva, we need someone from the family." And the rest all had their families so I, I had to get someone in my place to take care of the sick lady and I flew out and you know the poor fellow he was so surprised.

MM: Then you flew out on the plane?

EW: I did.

MM: That wasn't your first airplane flight?

EW: No. I think [on] my first airplane ride I went out to California. My niece's husband in Minneapolis, he said, "You just come to Minneapolis, I'll put you on the plane and see that you get out there OK" It always worked OK going out and back till the last time when I flew back from California. Everything went wrong. And I told Lawrence after I got back, I said, "Now don't look for me anymore, I can't do it alone." Do you want to know what happened?

MM: Yes, yes.

EW: After I got on the plane they announced that the plane would be a little late, it was something with hydraulic or something. And so right away I was wondering if I'd make it in time, and sure enough by the time I got to Denver the plane was gone, to Sioux Falls.

MM: Oh my.

EW: So they are good about paying your expenses, but that isn't the only thing you need. Then I had to sit around all afternoon out there and in the evening they had some more people who had to go to Sioux Falls. They put us on a little plane and it was just up and down, up and down. And then when we got to Sioux Falls I had to call a cab and go to the Holiday Inn, I think it was the Holiday Inn. And I think that can be very dangerous in a strange place to take a cab when you don't know people. Now here when it gets too cold, I don't walk my four blocks, I just call a cab, I know who they are and I'm not afraid to take a cab.

MM: Now when you got out to California for that, “This Is Your Life” show, who picked you up, do you remember?

EW: Yes, he had some people lined up to pick us up. Cause Shirley and Don they were gone at the time. And they had all the arrangements made so that none of the family would be there to pick me up, but we got together. They must be pounding up there.

MM: Umhu.

EW: And then after the show I remember so well the poor fellow, he didn't sleep that night. And then the next morning he got up, I think he went to six o'clock mass and then he took us all out to Disneyland that were on that show.

MM: Oh, Umhu.

EW: What a life.

MM: Of course, you remember vividly that show, when you were on that show that was quite a surprise. Was there a lot of people there, big audience?

EW: Yes, and I can see Ralph Edwards coming towards him, how he surprised him.

MM: And of course he was surprised when he saw you.

EW: Well that was after he saw Ralph Edwards.

MM: Yes.

EW: When he saw his children and everybody else.

MM: So that was a big moment, of course.

EW: And then I saw it after I was home I could see it on the television, came out. Did you see it?

MM: Well I, I've seen a video tape of it since then. But you remember when we talk about TV and radio, when you were on the farm growing up, Eva, was there a radio? Do you remember a radio at that time yet or was that in town already?

EW: I think we got the first radio in town.

MM: So you remember Eva at your folks' house in town, when they would get WNAX down here in Yankton so they could hear Lawrence play on the radio?

EW: Yes, and he sent me a nice- it looked like a phonograph and it was a radio too.

MM: This was in the forties?

EW: No, it was before the forties, it was before the forties.

MM: Is that the radio you gave to Shirley?

EW: Oh no, I didn't give Shirley a radio. That's the phonograph I gave her.

MM: Oh, the phonograph, yes. And that radio you got in the thirties and then you'd listen to Lawrence on the radio, back in Strasburg and then of course down here in Aberdeen.

EW: I think when I first heard him on the radio it was out in the, it wasn't Denver? It was a different place where they played. I would get up at night and listen to it.

MM: Oh really, oh yes. Now you remember of course when Lawrence met his wife, Fern, and they got married, would they come home once in a while?

EW: Yes.

MM: And you were already living at Strasburg at that time? You were still in Strasburg then when they would come home? And then they raised a family, did they bring the children too, then?

EW: Yes.

MM: Do you remember some of those times?

EW: I told Shirley when she was here, when they first brought her home she was about, I would say about [a] few months old, and he said to me, "Eva, did you ever see such a cute baby before?" Isn't it funny how you remember such dumb things.

MM: It's just (171) again, just like it is today. You can remember just little incidents like that.

EW: Well, I think I must have said, "Well she is cute", but I didn't think she was that cute. Because I'll tell you who was cute, Jimmy's wife, Edna. They already had a [baby], cause Mike got married in twenty-eight [1928] and Lawrence got married in thirty-one [1931] so I had a lot of little nieces already. And she was cute, and she's such a good hearted girl to this day.

MM: They’re wonderful girls, yes, all the family. I of course went to school with Diane.

EW: With Diane.

MM: Yes, she's gone now but I graduated from high school with Diane, so you know about, she graduated in sixty-one [1961] from high school.

EW: Jimmy was always good when they played in Aberdeen to call me and we would have a nice little visit. Now Larry wouldn't call. But yeah, I think he lived to (185) he was.

MM: So when Lawrence got married and then they lived in Chicago for a while and from Chicago they went to California.

EW: No, they lived in Yankton for a while.

MM: Oh, Yankton and then they moved from there.

EW: And I was down in Yankton, I went down with someone when Fern lived there and he was gone quite a lot.

MM: Did you ever hear him play down in Yankton? Hear Lawrence play down there, any dances on the [radio]?

EW: No, I can't remember that I ever went any place where he played down there.

MM: Or what about here in Aberdeen? Did he ever come up here and play in Aberdeen?

EW: Well I can't tell you what year it was.

MM: Well anyway, it was after you had come down here?

EW: But I know one time when he was here he had supper with me. Where I worked, they told me to invite him, that's OK. And before he took me where I stayed, and before he left that evening he said, "Eva, would you take a quart of milk along?" And I thought, "Now why would you want a quart of milk?" He said, "Well I get so awful thirsty after the dance," and he can't, and he wanted to go to communion in the morning, so he made me take it, and I think he must have drank the whole quart or maybe had it a few times. But that was his way of doing and I think that's what kept him the right way.

MM: So through all those years Lawrence of course led a good Christian life too, just like you did.

EW: And he had, he must have had a lot of temptation with his work, more than I have had to fight. But he made it.

MM: And then as he went to California and started on TV, do you remember the first show when he was on TV?

EW: Yes, I remember it.

MM: You had your own TV by then?

EW: No, we didn't have our own TV but the neighbor I took care of, she wanted me to go and see it and have someone else in my place, and I did. I saw his first show.

MM: And during those years when he was starting on television and so forth would he call once in awhile just to say hello?

EW: You mean um...?

MM: Lawrence.

EW: Oh yes. Yes he kept track how everybody was getting along.

MM: And then he'd come back to Aberdeen here once in awhile for a visit?

EW: Yes and the funny part even when he was at home he and Buster (223), you know who Buster (223) was, he's in Fargo now, they would always come down to play golf after he would get through up there then they would come down to Aberdeen. And you, did you see that set of dishes that they gave to my mother?

MM: It's in the house there in that corner, yes.

EW: And one time when he came down with Buster (229) I had breakfast fixed for them and I used those dishes. They were only used a couple times I think while I had 'em.

MM: Well, who got those dishes first of all?

EW: Huh?

MM: Those dishes were given by Lawrence to your mother?

EW: To my mother and I saved them.

MM: You took those from the house and brought them down here?

EW: Yes and I didn't bring 'em down right away, I saved them at Anna Mary's place. And then one time I thought I have to save them and if anything happens or so I think it should go back to Lawrence's family again. So one morning when I fixed breakfast for Buster (236) and him and myself, we sat all around, I had the table set for three. I said, "Lawrence, did you ever see dishes like that before?" And he looked so serious and said, "I can't recall." And you know that was so many years before when he gave the dishes to my mother. And I told him, I said, "You gave them to mother when you first started out." "Oh, did I really?" he said.

MM: So then, you had to remind him of that?

EW: Huh?

MM: You reminded him of those dishes, that beautiful dishes set I've seen that, it's gorgeous.

EW: And I think I was more proud of those dishes than she was.

MM: Oh, when he gave them to your mother?

EW: We still lived on the farm.

MM: Oh, when he gave those dishes to your mother you were still on the farm, oh.

EW: And then of course we were packed and I took them to town.

MM: Is there anything else you kept of your mother and your folks'? Did you keep anything else from the old house that you brought down to Aberdeen?

EW: Not to Aberdeen, this is all. Do you know those (256)?

MM: Yes.

EW: I think Shirley must have liked them. And one time he sat here in the chair, where I sit now.

MM: Lawrence sat there.

EW: And he looked at 'em and said, "I think I like your arrangement better then the way some have put them up." Well I put 'em up the way the directions told you. And everybody would admire them.

MM: Champaign glasses, bubbles are beautiful.

EW: And that Champaign bottle...

MM: Yes.

EW: That's another thing I think Shirley might have liked. But we didn't have enough time. They came down just in time for lunch and we went out that day ahead, I wasn't very hungry but I ate a little. And we didn't really have enough time by the time we had pictures and everything picked up for them to take along and then all the albums and the phonograph and everything.

MM: It all takes time. Well she'll keep in touch, I know that Shirley was so pleased to come down here and I think you enjoyed the visit, too? It was a nice visit, nice to see her husband?

EW: He's such a nice man but I think he was a little in a hurry, there was so much (274) business at the time.

MM: Yes.

EW: And I think he was afraid it might rain again that day, it looked like rain and he was kinda anxious to get going, I think.

MM: But we're real appreciative of Shirley, you know, Shirley and Larry and Donna too. Now, they're all real interested in what we're doing.

EW: Do you know that Larry almost lost his home.

MM: Oh, in this terrible fire?

EW: His home was left across the street. But they say it smells awful from smoke. And he and his wife they were on a trip. I don't know where, I didn't ask.

MM: Well, thank God that they're safe. Eva, I want to ask you, too. I forgot to ask you earlier, but your mom and dad, of course your mom was a Schwan and your dad of course was a Welk. And did they ever talk much about the old country, once in a while something would come up?

EW: Well, they didn't have so much time to talk about things as now days. But they told me how, about the main business where they would, how they would do their harvesting. I couldn't even understand it.

MM: You were pretty young yet then? And they talked.

EW: Now, did I give you enough information?

MM: Yes, we've visited beautiful information. There's a lot to talk about, you and I could talk all day. The life in the Welk home when you reminisce about back on the farm, we're going to close our conversation soon, but when you reminisce and when you look back and you think about that farm back near Strasburg, what kind of highlights in your memories when you look at that farm and with your mom and dad, Ludwig and Christina, and then raising such a large family, what do you think about some times?

EW: Well, it makes me wonder how they used to do it.

MM: Raise a family like that in such a small house.

EW: But they never complained, my mother never complained that it wasn't large enough.

MM: They always made do with what they had, right?

EW: Right.

MM: They were always satisfied. And same with the neighbors and they always found time to have a little entertainment, a little music, it's wonderful you had music in the home. And they'd always find time to go to church, and you'd go to church on Sundays of course into Strasburg?

EW: Yeah, when it was possible, I'm sure they never missed.

MM: And then they wanted to make sure for their children, especially for you and Mike and Lawrence. You went into Strasburg and stayed with the sisters, Eursiline Sisters. And that was good training, I think for Lawrence too. Cause he always mentioned you know.

EW: And he married a good Catholic wife.

MM: She's a real wonderful person.

EW: Yes she is.

MM: Yes, I had a nice visit with her last year.

EW: And she's ninety years old.

MM: She was just ninety. So she's older than you are.

EW: Huh?

MM: She's older than you, Eva.

EW: Oh yes, quite a bit older.

MM: I forgot to ask about the holidays. Now on the farm, you know when you were growing up as a child you know and growing up and so forth, what was Christmas like? When Christmas came to the Welk home on the farm, what was kind of the memories of that?

EW: Well, we didn't buy so many presents like they do now days. The only thing when we lived on the farm I can remember, my father bought a couple things for me one time and he wrapped it up and they didn't want me to find it. He bought, that there he bought it in the store, but I think I found it anyway.

MM: What was it?

EW: Well it seems to me it was stockings and something else for a kid about my age.

MM: Hum, that's interesting.

EW: But, what we got, you know they used to call (336)?

MM: Yes, (336).

EW: And they would bring us things in a basket. I suppose they had it already filled up outside, I don't know how they got it, got hold of it. And they gave it to us and you know a few little things meant more then when they get all the different gifts nowadays.

MM: And then everybody in the family, all the children would get something?

EW: Not for all the children, they didn't want anything from (346).

MM: Aha, but they'd get a little gift anyway. Did your mom make some things for Christmas? Make some craft work or make any clothes or anything for the children or the older ones?

EW: Well, I don't know if it was just for Christmas but she would knit stockings and she would knit mittens.

MM: For the winter?

EW: But I don't know when they got them, whether she gave them for Christmas. Anyway I know she used to make things like that. And I thought, "Well I'm not going to start that."

MM: That's cute.

EW: But now it isn't old fashioned anymore.
MM: No, now they're making all those kinds of things. And did they do a little singing then Christmas Eve?

EW: Ah.

MM: Did your dad play the accordion?

EW: I think we were all so afraid when I was little to sing.

MM: But later on when you were getting a little bigger then there was a little singing on the farm, for Christmas. Your dad would play the accordion a little bit, I suppose?

EW: That I can't tell you for sure, if we sang alone or if he played with us, if he played the accordion.

MM: Would they then go into Strasburg for midnight mass?

EW: Yes, just a minute. I don't know if they went to midnight mass or if they went early in the morning. I know we children didn't.

MM: You didn't go in. But then of course on Christmas Day.

EW: Do you have a tape for Shirley?

MM: Did I make a tape for Shirley? I can make her one if you want.

EW: No, that's OK. There's so many things I just don't, I'm not sure about.

MM: Now on Christmas Day of course they'd have a nice meal. Your mom would make special foods? They made a lot of (378) I suppose and cookies and things like that.

EW: Oh, I was going to give you some cookies and coffee.

MM: We'll do that afterwards, we’re almost done now, then we'll have some coffee and cookies. What about Easter time, was there anything, was Easter important?

EW: Yes, yes, and Easter time we made nests and I think the boys just made their nests to make me believe more in it. I was always the first one to be up and out and bring it in and I can remember one time it had a basket, a nice Easter basket in my nest, and when I came in, in the morning, I went in, in front of my parents bed, and I thought to myself, "Now how in the world can he lay a basket?"

MM: The egg is OK, but the basket too, huh.

EW: I went in and showed them, I was dumb enough in those days to show 'em what I had in my nest.

MM: Cute.

EW: And it was a nice Easter basket that they bought in town and they didn't let on that they had it around the place. Where they had it I don't know.

MM: So you always got along good with the other children, the older boys? And your older sisters, you always had a nice family life, everybody got along good?

EW: Yes, they wouldn't allow us to fight like the kids fight here.

MM: Aha.

EW: And of course they were all so much older except Mike and Lawrence. They were good to me, both of them.

MM: And so Lawrence and Mike you got to know the best then?

EW: Yes, because some of the older ones they were gone by the time I was a few years old.

MM: We talked a little bit about Fourth of July, but that was always big too?

EW: I told you, that's the only time we got a little money, but not very much.

MM: And then you'd go to town?

EW: We would go to town.

MM: There was a parade I suppose, and a little music in town. A band would play. Who were the neighbors there by the Welk farm; do you remember the neighbors?

EW: Yes, I think their best, the ones they missed the most were Ben Fickes, Ficks.

MM: Ben Ficks.

EW: And then they had some more, but they were just about half a mile over. That farm isn't there anymore. And then Scherrs.

MM: Do you remember the first name, Eva?

EW: Yes, I think Valentine Scherr lived there last and Carl Scherr. And the father's name was Mike Scherr, they had the farm and that was left to the boys. Do you think my memory is pretty good yet?

MM: It certainly is if you can remember who the neighbors were and who the father, Mike Scherr, and so forth your memory is very good. It's very good, your memory. Especially I think today, your memory is very good, I'm real sure. You remember exactly what happened with the sisters when you went to school, the first grade, you know that's a long time ago. You talk about years; you were born in 1909 right? So that was nineteen, lets see once, six, 1915 when you went into town to school. You know that goes back in years. So the Forth of July....

EW: I'm going to put on some water.

MM: We'll have our coffee in just a minute, but on the farm I want to ask you too, like you'd go in on the Forth of July in the morning and come back at night of the forth? And did they have these church holidays too, like Catholic days or a Sention day where they'd have these important church days, too, where they'd go into town for different services, wouldn't they?

EW: Yes, right.

MM: What were some of those days, do you remember?

EW: Well like, Sention day and then, well that isn't so important now but I know we would always take time off when there was a holy day coming along.

MM: There was still work that day on the farm.

EW: Know one time while we were getting ready for church some farmer went out. I guess they forgot it was a holy day and they were going, I don't know who told them then that it wasn't a workday, that I don't remember.

MM: Oh, but they were out in the fields working and they weren't supposed to be. Did you ever remember, Eva, when you were growing up, a little girl and so forth, when your dad did some blacksmith work. And he'd maybe even make some of those iron crosses. Did he ever make any of those iron crosses?

EW: I don't remember that, the crosses that they made but I remember the plow shares that he would have for us on the farm, so that didn't cost him anything.

MM: Did he do some work for other people too then?

EW: I can't tell you for sure.

MM: About that. You don't by chance recall ever any of the Indians coming over from Fort Yates to the farm?

EW: No, but I think they were telling us that years ago they were very much afraid of them.

MM: Maybe that was the first year so when they came over, when they landed and homesteaded you know so. So that was important. I think were going to close our visit so we can have some coffee and cookies.


MM: And I want to thank you, Eva, so much for our visit today and, I know the Welks, Shirley, Larry, and Donna will be happy too that we talked about your life on the farm, down here in Aberdeen and a little about good old Lawrence. We all appreciated him and we’re so happy that he's still on TV so we can all still watch him, right?

EW: And I enjoyed that show so much, when Larry was on and that's only about three weeks ago.

MM: That was a wonderful show and you remember they even showed the homestead and the church in Strasburg. And that brought memories for you.

EW: It was so nice to see everything and then he said, "I think that's what made my father get up where he was." He enjoyed that choir so much.

MM: Do you think that work ethic and that family life back on the farm, for you too and for Lawrence and the other members of the family, [do you think] that had a lot to do with his success and his hard work in his life?

EW: Well I know it had a lot to do with mine. Oh I have to tell you something else. You know, everything is so different nowadays; when Lawrence died, the news called me right away and they wanted to know if they could come over that evening. They had a man that was real handy about taking pictures, and I didn't have to give him any
picture[s]. He walked in here, he had a lady with him that interviewed me a little bit, and he just went around. He said, "Do you have a picture of you and Lawrence together?" I said, "No, I have one that's real old, a small snapshot." I showed it to him, he put it over there, and the first thing I knew he took that picture there and then he took a picture of where we were both together and then he walked over here and took a picture over here.

MM: Right here?

EW: Right here.

MM: Imagine that, huh.

EW: I didn't have to take a picture down. And then by that time they could tell the phone was ringing all the time.

MM: So of course they wanted to ask you and so forth. I forgot to ask you, Eva, when Lawrence died you know he was quite sick and so forth, did you have communication with anyone in the family, who would keep you informed about Lawrence and who called you when he died?

EW: Shirley.

MM: Shirley called.

EW: Shirley called. The same day. And it was a good thing she called when she did because it was on a Monday and I was busy, I washed that morning and what little cleaning I can do. It isn't like it should be but when I watch people, how they put in time without doing any work. You know they start to shingle this place over here about two, three weeks ago and they still have a lot to do.

MM: Say I forgot to ask you, Eva, is that a radio, that big Champaign bottle, over there? What is that?

EW: You mean when he sent it to me?

MM: Yes.

EW: Oh, it was in, I think it was in the forties. And everybody tells me when you get through with it give it to us and I said, "No, I think I'll just let 'em fight over it."

MM: Well that's something you should maybe consider giving to Shirley.

EW: Yes.

MM: Because that should go in the collection you know, for exhibit, for the future. But that's a beauty, you sure kept that in good shape.

EW: And I showed Shirley something else that her father gave me when I was fourteen years old.

MM: What was that?

EW: It was a wristwatch, a beautiful wristwatch. And in those days I thought they was all diamonds. Would you like to see it?

MM: Yes I would, yes.

EW: To me when I was fourteen years old.

MM: This wristwatch? Oh my, isn't that beautiful.

EW: You know they used to wear those long wristwatches.

MM: Is it still working?

EW: Well you know what I did? One time when he had, when we had a reunion at home, I put it on but I took it down to the jewelry store. I had it cleaned inside and outside before I put it on. And I put it on and I said, "Lawrence, how do you like my new wristwatch?" And he looked at it and he said, "Here she's still wearing my wristwatch." Now he remembered that but he wouldn't remember his dishes.

MM: But that, at fourteen he gave that to you, huh. You were in town already by then?

EW: No, I wasn't in town, I was on the farm.

MM: Oh, I see.

EW: And I was never so proud of anything that I had as I was with this thing.

MM: You wore it a lot then?

EW: Huh?

MM: Did you wear it quite a bit?

EW: I wore it till I thought I'd better get a smaller one.

MM: It’s beautiful, still in good shape yet.

EW: Huh?

MM: I said it's still in good shape; the diamonds are all still there.

EW: But isn't it funny that you can have something that stays as nice. I think one time I lost a blue and I took it to the jewelry store and they put something in.

MM: Real nice, that's a treasure; put that piece of paper inside also. You've got this yet. We're going to close our conversation with Eva Welk. It's Veteran's Day, November 11, 1993, and I'm in Aberdeen, South Dakota. This is Michael Miller from North Dakota State University.


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