In 1978 my father was urged to write the story of his life on this earth. His last paragraph says it all: “Now 78 years old and my better half, 77, …
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In 1978 my father was urged to write the story of his life on this earth.
His last paragraph says it all: “Now 78 years old and my better half, 77, I must say we are in very good health and can only say thanks to the almighty God in heaven. Thanks again to our children for keeping us young and to all the grandchildren for dropping in on us every week. That makes life pleasant living.”
Along the Way
Dad’s life was anything but dull. He came from a German family of 17 brothers and sisters. Several of the children died in infancy.
It was tough when his mother died at 43 leaving Granpa Konrad to raise 11 children.
Dad started school at age 7, and he couldn’t speak a word of English.
He remembers all his teachers and the pranks the kids played — especially the one that involved putting a mouse in the teacher’s desk drawer. In those days, children had to put in 40 days of school each term by law.
The only one of his family to actually finish 8th grade was his brother, Conrad, who started studying for the priesthood in 1901.
He was brilliant and wrote a book on canon law at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. That book is still in use today.
The family lived in a house with 19 big rooms, eight chimneys and a wine cellar. It was built by the Benedictine brothers who owned the 640-acre farm.
Buying the Threshing Machine
In 1913 dad and his brother bought a threshing rig and did what today would be called “custom cutting.”
They always finished up the harvest season at our farm, and we kids would run down the road to get on the engine and blow the whistle.
The engine cost $3,840 plus the freight of $120.70, a lot of money in those days.
What goes around comes around, and Dad remembers 1933 and 1934 as the worst drought years anyone ever saw (shades of today). Lake Osakis, Fairy Lake and Sauk Lake were all down to one or two feet of water. The Depression was in full swing.
After some years of serving on the Sauk Lake Creamery Board, Dad decided to run for the Sauk Centre School Board. He was told by some of the movers and shakers that he’d never win because he was Catholic. He won big and served 17 years on the board. That’s how I began my political quest.
Our farm changed in 1958 when first Standard Oil bought 17 acres for an oil terminal and in 1965 the I-94 freeway cut our farm in half making it difficult to have access.
Mom and Dad then moved into a small home in town, and my brother bought the farm.
Now when I go to visit I look longingly at the home where I was born and spent so many good years with my seven brothers and sisters.
I am so grateful to my sister-in-law Jan who persuaded my dad to write his story.
Today my children also persuaded their dad to write his story. I would urge all families to write their life story. It just completes the family circle, and the children will come to appreciate having this treasure.
Stay well, stay involved and stay tuned.
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