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Personal History for Elisabeth Elm

Dedication Chapter

Title of Your Autobiography



born September 24, 1918
Hutchinson, Kansas

Date of completion.

This "REMEMBERING" has been written over several months of the year 2005. It will, perhaps, be somewhat different from the autobiography I recorded in 1988 which was about my life up until the time of my marriage to Howard. At least here are a few more memories! It has been written chiefly for my three children, Joseph Knappenberger, Margaret Rupprecht, and Katherine Eldridge. If there are others who are interested, that is alright too!

Date of Completion: September 16, 2005

This is a tragic day, for we see by means of TV the tragedy following Hurricane Katrina in the states of Texas, Mississippi, Alabama,and Georgia. Even now, three days after the storm, they do not know the extent of the damage and loss of lives! We still do not have any word of Ann Shelley, one of our own here who was visiting in Baton Rouge........ I am recording this two weeks later and am so happy to add that our friend, Ann, after five days of being out of touch and through harrowing experiences, finally returned to our midst. After a week at home, she was able yesterday to give all of us residents an hour long report of what had happened to her. She is a gutsy lady to be able to survive such an ordeal.

Words of wisdom, favorite quote, or words to live by:

When I went to school we were required to learn poetry, which has largely remained in my memory, to my great advantage! I think it was in the 8th grade that we learned lines from William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis". It was the earliest word of wisdom I now recall. It goes like this.

So live that when thy summons come to join
The innumerable caravan that moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Since reaching adulthood and particularly in these latter years of my life increasingly do the Scriptural pomises of God have great meaning and give great comfort to me....."Be not afraid, for I am with you". I find the 23rd Psalm is helpful to be repeated and envisioned in the dark of the night.

Just The Facts

Please enter the date you began answering these questions.

June 8, 2005

What is your name (first, middle, maiden name, last)? Do you like your name? If you could, would you choose another? What name would you choose? Who were you named for?

Elisabeth Kerr Chickering Knappenberger Elm
Yes, I like my name, I never thought about having another! I wish I had asked my parents about my first name for they spelled it with an "s" rather than a "z" which now in the days of computers makes a difference. I can't be "found" if a "z" is used! My middle name was my mother's maiden name, and short which is good with my long other names. The two last names were of my two husbands.

Are you male or female?

I am a female

In what country, state, and city were you born? What hospital?

I was born in the United States, in the Methodist hospital on Main street, between 7th and 8th streets of Hutchinson, Kansas, but that building has since been made into apartments.

What is your birth order?

I am both first and last, being the only child

How old are you today? How old do you feel?

I am 86 years old. Yesterday when I was doing this I felt about 50, Today, having trouble doing this, I feel about 90!

Do you speak any foreign languages?

I took Latin in High School, and French in Jr. College. Later I took private lessons in German, but today I know only a few words in each!

What is your birth date?

My birthdate is September 24, 1918

Are you right-handed or left-handed?

I am right handed

Are you near-sighted or far-sighted?

I am neither, but have astigmatism, and I have had cataracts removed from both eyes.

Your Family and Ancestry

List the names and birthdates of your mother, father, maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, paternal grandfather and other great grandfathers and grandmothers. What did you call them?

My mother, Helen Mae Kerr, b.4-6-1891 d. 4-30-1935
My father, George Abbot Chickering b. 1-12-1886,d.10-27-1974
Mat.g.mother Ida Jane Long b.3-7-1859 d. 1-4-1942
Mat. g.father Wm. Lindsey Kerr B.3-15-1852 d.3-28-1934
Pat.g.mother Amelia Chapman Chickering B. 1868 d. 1956
Pat.g. father Henry Abbot Chickering B. 3-18-1840
Mat.g grandmother, Sara Steel Long b.4-23-1838 d. 1916
Mat g grandfather, Isaac Long B.1832 d.1909 Pat g grandmother, Emeline Jones b. 1-1-1812 d. 9-25-1886
Pat g grandfather, Joseph Chickering b. 1-9-1810
Pat.g grandfather, Edgar Chapman, b. 1839 d. 1918
Pat.g grandmother, Nancy Gary b. 1837 d. 1926
Mat. g grandmother, Janette Gilfillan b. 1-1815
d. 6-16-1895
Mat. g grandfather, Thomas Kerr, b. 1805 d. 5-10-1873
Mat. gg grandfather, Asceal Chapman
Mat. gg grandmother, Nancy Hager Chapman
Pat. gg grandfather, Joseph Chickering b. 1780 d. 1844
Mat. gg grandfather, Joseph Jones, b. 1795 d. 1833
Pat. ggg grandmother, Hannah Balch Chickering
Pat. ggg grandfather, Jabez Chickering b. 1753 d. 1812
Pat. gggg grandfather, Thomas Balch b. 1711 d. 1774
Pat. gggg grandfather, Joseph Chickering b. 5-5-1717
d. 11-28-1754
Pat. ggggg grandfather, Nathaniel II, b. 3-28-1677
d. 1-16-1747
Pat. gggggg grandfather, Nathaniel I, b. 10-8-1647
d. 10-21-1694
Pat. ggggggg grandfather, Simeon, b. 1599 d. 7-8-1674
Pat. gggggggg grandfather, Henry I, b. 1560 d. Will was
proved 7-7-1627
Pat. ggggggggg grandfather, Stephen d. 1-31-1576
Pat. gggggggggg grandfather, Thomas d. before 1538
Pat. ggggggggggg grandfather, Jeffrey de Chickeringe
lived before 1356

Do you have brothers and sisters? What are their names? When were they born? Do you remember the first time you saw them?

I have none.

The House of Your Growing Up

Do you have warm feelings about the childhood home that you remember the most?

Yes,I enjoy thinking about the only house of my childhood that I remember. My parents and I had lived in a bungalow on west 10th street since their moving to Kansas but when I was ready for school they evidently thought they should move to a better school district. We moved to 328 East 17th street in Hutchinson, Kansas when I was four years old and that move is my first memory. I remember walking through the front door, through the "sun room" and into the dining room. There on the window sill was a book, "The Sunbonnet Babies". I loved that book and still have it! I am 86 years old now! I have written a story about that house at 328 East 17th street, Hutchinson, Kansas. It is in the collection called "Great Grandmother's Stories".

What did your home look like? Apartment, walk-up, condominium, or house? What was the color? Was it stone, wood - other? One story or two?

Our house was on the corner of the block. It had quite a large yard with Elm trees in the parking area between the street and the front sidewalk. Sprirea bushes were in front of the house and along the east side, as well as a couple of evergreen trees. I thought it was a pretty house! Since it was the corner lot, there was a "cornerstone", a sizeable construction of bricks perhaps four feet high, capped with cement. It was just the right height for a child to climb on top of it and feel like she were, "King of the Mountain"! It was an English style, stucco and batten--grey and white house. There was no porch, only two steps up to the front door. One walked into the "sunroom", a room with a black and white tile floor, and French windows on either side of the front door, south. Also there were three more windows on the east side of the room. French doors led to the living room on the left. Straight ahead from the front door was another set of French doors to the dining room. A wood-burning fireplace (which I never remember being used for a log fire, was in the center of the living room. A mantle clock which chimed the hour was in the center of the mantle and a large picture of green trees hung above the clock. The gas "grate" which warmed us in addition to the central heating from the furnace in the basement, was the scene of one of my earliest memories. I had an earache one night and mother took me downstairs, put a little warm oil in my ear, and rocked me in front of the gas grate. I remember the rockers "singing" me, squeek squawk, squeek squawk, until I was asleep! At the far end of the living room was a gracious stairway. There were two steps up to a landing. Bookshelves were to the left, two windows straight ahead, and to the right were steps up to a landing, where one either could go down the back stairs to the kitchen, or turn to the right and go up five more steps to the upstairs. My parent's bedroom was first on the right. It was a good sized room with a little alcove where a "Sanitary Cot" took up about all the space. At the end was just room enough for stacked book shelves which had glass fronts. These fronts could be raised and then pushed back into the space above the books--a very convenient way of keeping the books clean. These book shelves Peg has today. Upon that cot was where I had to take my naps! I didn't like to do that, but went to sleep often looking at the picture above the book shelves. It showed pictures of the "Gibson Girl" and her man friend illustrating the senses--sight,smell,feeling,hearing,and taste. I imagine that picture had been a wedding gift to my parents. The "Gibson Girl" was the model, in those days, of what every(?) young woman hoped to look like! Across the hall was a large tile floored bathroom with white ceramic tub, pedestaled lavatory and toilet. There were two windows, one on either side of the lavatory, and a wall of four sizeable closets, plus a clothes' chute which was a wonderful play accessory! My friends and I spent many a happy hour sending messages on a string up and down the clothes chute from bathroom, past the kitchen, to the basement. Two other bedrooms were up the hall from the stairs. The bedroom on the northeast was surrounded on two sides by windows, a sort of "sleeping porch". I remember sitting on the bed there, cutting out baby pictures to paste into a scrapbook when Mother came to the door to tell me that Lindberg had reached Paris safely! Usually the hired girl slept in that room. The other bedroom was mine. It was above the front door where there was a lattice on either side of the door. Honeysuckle bloomed in profusion there in the summertime. What a lovely smell on a summer's evening! We had no air conditioning, so the windows were wide open to let in any small breeze. In the hall a telephone hung on the wall. As I think of it, that was not a very convenient place for the doctor's phone to be! Many times he was called at night, and, of course, would have to get out of bed to answer the phone. Also on that wall hung the picture of a house and street and upon the page was printed the words to the poem which starts:

Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the races of men go by,
The men who are good, and the men who are bad,
As good, and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat
Not hurl the cynic's band,
Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
And be a friend to man.

It was more than coincidental to me that our pastor chose to use that poem as a part of my father's funeral service! He without knowing of my father's history with that poem!

What did you look out onto?

Our house being on the corner of the block we fronted on 17th street, a main street, and Elm street was only a block long there, so there was little traffic. When we first moved there, probably in 1922, it was at the edge of town. Only the block in which we lived, and across the street were completely built up. Across the street, East, there were vacant lots and several blocks to the east ran the railroad tracks which served the State Fair Grounds to the north of our house.

What was your bedroom like?

I had the bedroom down the hall from the stairs. It was facing the main street--17th street and Elm street ran along the east side of our house. Two windows were on the south, one on the east, and one window in the closet. It was a good sized room and I remember tieing string from bed to dresser, to chest of drawers, etc. to make "rooms" while playing with my cat there.

Did you share it with your siblings, or was it cozy by yourself?

Having no siblings, I had to brave sleeping there by myself. I remember looking under the bed at night to make sure there was no boogy-man under the bed!

Can you remember the pictures that hung, wallpaper, carpeting, etc.? Can you remember your telephone number and address?

Yes, I remember well the large picture which hung above the fireplace all my growing up years. It was of eucalyptus trees and sunshine making shaddows along the road. It had been given to my father by a Dr. Sutton of Kansas City. I wish I had asked about that. Perhaps I did, and have forgotten. The picture stayed with us until I moved from the 67th street house in Lincoln into this apartment at "The Landing" where I now live. Having no place for it and since Howard's son, Roger Elm, liked it, I gave it to him. I understand he has given it to his daughter, Elizabeth Clark. Perhaps she is using it. I have already told about the "The House By the Side of the Road". Another picture remains in my mind..quite a large picture of a darling dark haired baby asleep in a pink blanket, framed in a wide mahogany frame and titled, "A Little Bit Of Heaven". How I dreamed, as a child, of having a sweet baby like that one day! It came true, three times! I think there were three or four other pictures in the living room. Two were of my mother's parents when they were young. Ida Jane Long Kerr and William Lindsey Kerr were framed in small unique gold frames, probably 4 inches top to bottom and one half inch deep from glass to the pictures. I think these frames were given to mother by family friends, Cleda and Marie Stewart. I still have these unusual framed pictures.
YES, I can remember our first telephone numbers! I lived at 328 East 17th street, Hutchinson, Kans. When I was a child our home telephone number was 999, the number of my father's office was 99.

What did you do to make your room your own? Did you sleep with a stuffed animal or doll? What was your animal or doll's name?

I think my dolls were in my bedroom, though I can't really remember. I didn't have any stuffed animals. I had no teddy bear until my grandson, Carlos, gave me one! The name of the first doll I can remember is Ruth, the last doll was "Bubbles". That was the brand name for this doll which was about the size of a three month old baby, but looked much older. In fact, the same Christmas I received this doll, I was given a good sized box of baby clothes which probably was a promotional gift to my physician father by the company which made the clothing. The doll and clothing were wonderful gifts for me. I wanted a baby sister so badly! In the mid twenties I was given a Raggety Andy doll with a candy heart which you could feel if you pressed hard in the chest area! Unfortunately I gave that doll, as well as the Santa, which our English friends, the Mathews sisters, had given me to some charity. Hopefully some more appreciative child got it! I have regretted that action!

Can you remember what you daydreamed about in those days?

Yes, I dreamed about having a sister or a baby as sweet as the one in that picture which hung beside my bed! Eventually I had three sweet babies, however they were all blonds!

What time did your mail come? Was it exciting anticipating the mail? Can you remember anything in particular that you received that was special?

When I was a child the mail came twice a day, morning and afternoon. The mailman changed his delivery pattern from time to time. If you received your mail early in the day, you might have a turn at receiveing it late in the morning and afternoon. This gave the mailman a change as well as allowing the late recievers a surprise in getting their mail early! It always was better to be on the first end of his route! Now, one is lucky if you get mail once a day by three or four o'clock in the afternoon! However, I think e-mail is making a big difference these days (in 2005) in the amount of "good" mail that is, personal letters, which is delivered by the postman.

Was security an issue? Did your parents keep the door locked or did family and friends come and go with the door unlocked?

Security wasn't an issue. Our front door was not kept locked except when we went to bed. However I remember mother did have one of her women friends come to stay all night with her when I was gone on a vacation and my dad was in National Guard camp at Ft. Riley, Kansas. This makes me think she was uneasy at being alone! I don't recall anyone outside the three of us who came to our house who just walked in!
How old was I when I was trusted with a key? I don't remember our house being locked when I was a child. When I went to college I lived in a sorority house and we didn't have keys to the house. We just had better be in by the curfew hour or we had to answer to the housemother! I do remember when my husband and I were ready to sell the family home on 48th street in Lincoln and move into the house we had planned and had built on Mockingbird Lane in 1970, we couldn't find the keys to the doors! At last we found them! Of course these days we don't leave our homes, or the apartment where I now live, without locking the door. But back to the question of how old I was when I was first entrusted with a key...It must have been after my graduation from college and had an apartment with two other girls in Kansas City Kansas. We three were in training as laboratory technicians at the University of Kansas Hospitals. I recently received a letter from one of these room now is 64 years later!

How old were you when you were first trusted with a key?

I don't remember our house being locked when I was a child. When I went to college I lived in a sorority house and we didn't have keys to the house. We just had better be in by the curfew hour! I do remember when my husband and I were ready to sell the family home in Lincoln and move into the house we had built, also in Lincoln in 1970, we couldn't find the keys to the doors! At last we found them, and of course these days we don't leave our homes, or rooms without locking the door.


Who were your best friends in your neighborhood? Do you still know them or know what happened to them?

Probably my best friends in the neighborhood were the two older boys next door. They were both younger than I, but they had a baby brother who only wanted to play with us! There were two girls in the block with whom I played, Ellen Young and Janet Rickards. Ellen may have thought she was above us in age and interest. I really was happy to receive a few of her outgrown clothes! Then there was Janet. We played together a lot. I remember she had a small wooden box of block shaped stones. We built castles with turrets and gates--it was a marvelous plaything. Also up the stairs of her garage made a great place for playing house! However, in the long run, it was Bob and Junior Herrman next door that I played with more. We climbed trees, dug caves, explored the new houses being built in the area, took hikes along the railroad tracks, made a circus by sawing animals from the thin wood of orange crates, playing hide and seek with all the neighborhood children, roller skating, bicycling. It was a great childhood, come to think of it! Yes, I am still in touch with one of the boys. Bob is dead now, and Junior, or Scott as he is now called, is living in Wichita and I phone him every once in awhile

Did you play at your home, theirs or mostly in playgrounds, the streets, fields?

When I was playing with the next door boys we played mostly outside. When it was with the girl who lived next door to them I played mostly in the top of their garage which was floored and we could play house up there with our dolls. When the neighborhood kids played together, it was skating on the newly paved street, or games of hide and seek,or "beckon beacon give me a beacon". When I played with my best girl friend, Elizabeth Berry, we usually played at her house--or that is the way I remember it.

What do you remember about your friends' houses and families?

I felt right at home at my friend, Elizabeth Berry's house. She too was an only child and her mother made me feel so welcome. Bess Berry was a wonderful seamstress, she made clothes for Elizabeth and a dress for me when I wanted a dress like every other girl was wearing. She knew that my mother was ill in bed and couldn't sew for me. About the only thing I remember about Janet Rickard's house was that one day after I had been to my music lesson after school I stopped there to see Janet, I guess. When I was ready to go home, Mr. Rickards had my briefcase which held my music and he wouldn't give it to me until I played for him. He scared me and I think I cried. It didn't enter my head that I could go home without my music! Needless to say, I didn't like him! Conversely, it was always fun to be next door at Herrman's. Josephine was loud talking and fun; a wonderful cook and seamstress. Her husband, Scott, was a large, but pleasant man who seldom talked! However he was very pleasant, and I liked the whole family alot!

Did you play house? Were you the mother, father, doctor, etc? Did you play stickball, ice skate, play basketball or baseball (what position did you play)? Did you go to the library?

Yes, I played house with Janet Rickards in the upstairs of her garage. It was a wonderful place to play. We had our dolls, I think we both were "mothers"! It has been about 80 years since then, why can't I remember?! I don't remember the boys next door ever playing "house" with us.

Was there a neighborhood bully? Did that bully ever hurt you?

No, there was no neighborhood bully. There were several children from Crescent Blvd and other streets near-by who gathered occasionally to play together but it was always friendly play, or from this distance it seems so!

Did you have a nickname? How did you get it? Has it stuck with you?

The neighborhood playmates didn't have a nickname for me, but all through my school years I was called, "Chick". Surely every Chickering who ever lived must have had that nickname! Of course, after marriage that didn't apply. I then had a selection of names. Liz, (which should have been, Lis, with the different spelling which my parents gave me), Betty, Lizzie, which my mother would never have countenced, and Libby dear, which a long-time 100 year old friend used to call me! Since my second marriage it has been a question about what to call me. I really like Lis, but that doesn't sound so well with Elm!---Lis Elm!! That is quite a change from Elisabeth Knappenberger!

What sidewalk games did you play? Did you collect anything (bugs, baseball cards, marbles, etc.)?

We played Hop Scotch alot. The boys played marbles, but we girls were never in on that! We all caught lightening bugs, pinched off the legs and wings and stuck the "light" onto our foreheads! Usually we ended up with quite an array of "lights"!

Elementary School Years

What was the name of your school? How big was it? What did it look like? Was it a private or public school?

My elementary school was "Roosevelt", named for Teddy Roosevelt. It was kindergarden through 6th grade and I suppose perhaps there were 300 children enrolled. It was a public school, a square, three story brick building which, with the playground, took up about half of a city block. Each classroom had windows the length of the room. These windows opened for ventilation and I think had venetion blinds for controling the light.

Did you ride a bus to school? If so, did you like riding the bus? Do you remember anything that happened on that bus?

I walked to school, home at noon, and back again. All children walked! I don't recall walking with other children in elementary school, but I do remember especially one winter day when there was lots of snow the teacher determined that I had pink eye! She bundled me up, tying my big red scarf around my neck and mouth and sending me off with the admonition, "Now you go straight home". I remember walking home in the silence of the snow alone. It seemed a long way!

What did you learn in school that you still use to this day?

I am sure I learned very many things, both intelectually and socially in school. However, the first thing that comes to mind was learned in Miss Moore's trigonometry class. It surely was nothing having to do with math--that subject has always been an enigma to me. However early in the class year she lectured the class saying..."I want you to keep your eyes on me throughout this class period. If you are doing that you are more likely to be hearing what I say and recording it in your brain"----or words to that effect. That has been an invalueable lesson to me. It is true, that real listening and mental recording is much more likely to take place under those circumstances!

Do you remember being afraid to enter first grade? What did you think when you first saw the classroom?

No, I was not afraid to enter kindergarden, and was therefor not afraid to enter first grade. I do have a memory from first grade, however. It finds me in a reading circle in one corner of the class room. I am crying because I can't read the word "the". When very much older a teacher friend told me that was not uncommon. "The" has no visual image connected to it, such as dog, house, mother etc have. I suppose that could not have been explained to me then!

Do remember "getting" a concept? Cursive writing, maybe? Do you remember the moment when you realized you could read? Was school work hard or easy for you?

No, I don't remember any such revelation! My father was not interested in my taking any subject in school which he thought could be learned at home. Hence I only took the required home economics subjects. In retrospect this is a little odd because he too was an only child and was obviously the apple, if not plum, of his mother's eye and there was nothing that George wanted that she wouldn't get for him, if she could possibly provide it! I must admit that he always knew what he "wanted to be" when he grew up, even before he could talk plainly he would happily reply to his mother's friends' question, "George, what do you want to be when you grow up?" To this he always replied, "I 'ant to be a Docity Man!" And a physican he was to his dying day! He enjoyed the learning process and eagerly pursued it. And so, he insisted I take difficult (for me) sujects in school and I worked hard at the learning process.

Did you like physical education / gym class? Did you feel you were good at sports? Were you picked first or last for the teams?

Yes, I liked phys ed and was well coordinated. However, when in grade school teams were picked for soft ball, I was not by any means the first choice! Some of the problem was that I had no one with whom to practice. I did well in volley ball, field hockey, riflery, skating. We didn't have girl's basketball in our high school.

Do you remember shopping for school clothes? Getting excited at what you would wear the first few weeks? Did you ever go to school where you wore a uniform?

Mother made my clothes for the most part, until she became sick and in bed when I was in High School. The only dress I remember clearly that I wanted and couldn't have was one I saw in a store during the several months she was sick in bed. That was in 1934, and she felt we couldn't afford that dress for me! Isn't that the way?! All the clothes I did have, and I dressed as well as any of my friends,those I can't remember except sometimes when I see myself in photographs! But that one I couldn't have, that I can remember!! No, I never wore uniforms.

Did you eat lunch at school or go home? Did you bring your own lunch? Did you have a lunchbox? If so, what did it look like?

I suppose it was nearly a mile to school when I was in Elementary school and we always walked home for lunch. There was no time to fool around. There was a small red, tin, lunchbox around our house for years, but I don't remember ever taking lunch to school in it. Everyone went home for lunch throughout all my schooling. When I was at Kansas State I walked to my sorority house, Delta Delta Delta, for lunch. When I was in Kansas City in Laboratory training, we ate at the hospital cafeteria.

How did you get to school...walk alone, with friends, bus, parent, neighbor?

When in grade school I walked with my friend Elizabeth Berry who lived on Crescent Blvd, the street just north of my street, 17th street. I don't know why Elizabeth and I quit walking to school together. There was a girl, Helen McCrackin, who also lived on the Blvd. The two of them became good friends. There was no ill feeling about it, as I remember. In Jr. High I sometimes stopped by Luella Thorp's house to walk with her. She had black VERY curley hair and in the mornings her mother always had to comb her hair into curls around her finger as Luella sat on a stool in front of her. I guess without this treatment her hair would have been an unmanageable mess! Also in Jr. High School I walked with Ruth Peters. She had a very handsome older cousin, Phil Stratton, who lived in a house we passed enroute to school. I always hoped he would be coming out of his house as we passed so we could say "hello" to him!! I always seemed to live the fartherest away, so I picked up friends enroute! Never did we ride by any means of any transportation!

What did you do in the summertime when there was no school?

Always there was piano practicing. Depending upon how old I was the amount of time I spent--up to two hours a day at the end of my musical training which lasted throughout my Junior College years. Or from this distance that is how I remember it. In view of the practice time I know my daughter spends at the piano, that two hours is a pitence! I always liked to read. From this distance, it is hard to remember how those summer months were spent. Our family didn't take vacations. I remember going to Girl Scout camp one year, but that would have been only a week! One summer I took an American History course at my father's suggestion! This was to get it out of the way for more Chemistry and Physics during the school year, I suppose!!

Life in a Small Town

What was the name, state and population of your town?

I spent all my "growing-up" years in Hutchinson, Kansas. When I was aware of the population it was about 30,000

What was the main source of the town's income?

We were in the midst of the wheat country and during my time in the town Hutchinson boasted of the largest wheat storage elevator in existance, it was a mile long! However salt mines were under the city. Salt was taken out by flushing hot water onto the salt and evaporating the brine. The company was known as "Carey Salt". One branch of the family, Howard's children, went to school with me. They lived in the wealthy suburb, Willowbrook, and the older boy, Jake, drove his sisters into town in his very own car! The horn of his car sounded the first few notes of the song, "Sweet Adoline" and all of us thought that was so "Cool". The older girl, Anna May, sat next to me in several classes. Since we were seated alphabetically, Carey came just before Chickering. I have heard that the salt mines are now used as storage and I heard lately that tapes of the TV shows of Johnny Carson had been stored there! Johnny was a very popular TV night talk-show host who recently died.

Did you have the pride of having a farm or business handed down from generation to generation?

No. My parents came to Kansas in 1916 where my father began a practice of medicine. He had "set up shop" in Kirkwood, Illnois, but a friend had told him of Hutchinson, Kansas and the need of a young doctor there, so my parents moved west.

What types of food were generally considered for dinner time? Have you raised your family with the same types of foods?

We had dinner in the evening, though my father came home from his office for lunch. Our meals were as regular as he could make them since my mother was diabetic and needed to have her insulin and food at regular times. We ate well rounded meals of meat, vegatables, but light on the deserts--having canned fruit--without sugar! We ate all meals together,there were but the three of us, but I remember them pleasantly. Though, I have thought often in the last several years since being here at The Landing where we serve ourselves from a breakfast bar that my mother would be astonished to see how much oatmeal I have eaten willingly! Generally, I fed my family much the same way in which I was fed.

Holidays and Celebrations

Do you like your birthday or dread it? What birthday do you remember the most?

I like my birthday! In these later years since the children have grown I always hear from them with cards and phone calls. Peg who lives nearest always bakes me a beautiful birthday cake, always three layer chocolate with white mountain frosting and surrounded with garden flowers. It is a beautiful sight! There are always little packages to open, but it is the love we share which is the most important part of the celebration. I don't remember any birthdays when I was a child. My mother was of a family of 10 children and I doubt that birthdays were celebrated much with them. My father was an only child, and I imagine it was the same with him. I take it all back, I do remember one birthday--when I was 12. I was allowed to go with the neighbor boys to their grandparents home in Wichita, (60 miles)to spend the day. They lived on a farm and that was a wonderful adventure and was surely an adequate birthday present! However when I returned home I found my parents had exchanged our Chickering upright piano for a Chickering grand piano. I was less than enthused!! I observed to my parent's friend, Grace White, that I thought it was a dumb birthday present!! Of course in a few years I came to appreciate what they had done for me! I am happy to have my younger daughter,who is a fine pianist, have my piano today along with her Steinway grand!

Did you get to choose the meal on your birthday? Were birthdays considered a "big deal" when you were young? Did you raise your children to think they were a big deal?

Probably because birthdays were very low key when I was young the observance for our children was the same. They always had a cake of their choice, a special dinner, and a gift. I think maybe each child had one "party" where we asked guests for it. Otherwise the neighborhood children just came in for ice cream and cake.

Did your family make birthday cakes or did you buy them? What were the favorite flavors? What kind of birthday parties did you give for your children?

We always made the birthday cakes, and chocolate cake with white icing was a favorite. I think Jack liked white or spice cake best. I think the children all preferred chocolate. However my second husband, Howard Elm, didn't like chocolate cake--he preferred white cake with carmel frosting. I think one birthday party, as such, was all any of my children had. However, when they were young we always had cake and icecream for the neighborhood children. Probably the children didn't figure it was a party unless the guests brought gifts!! I remember after Kas' birthday I found her crying in bed and the trouble was that she hadn't had a party. She had had the neighbor children in for ice cream and cake and had gotten a soft toy from us, but I guess that didn't count!

What were the most important religious holidays you celebrated throughout the year? What was the significance of the holiday (i.e., why were you celebrating it)?

Of course, Christmas was the major holiday of the year. However, I have come to realize that Easter should be the main religious holiday. Without Easter, there would be no reason to have Christmas celebrated! We celebrated both, though it never was a big gathering of relatives or friends. We had no relatives near so holiday dinners were celebrated with another family, usually the Warren Whites who had two sons, five years younger and five years older than I. They were very close family friends, close enough that I called them Uncle Warren and Aunt Grace.

How did you celebrate each major holiday?

As I think of it, celebrating holidays was a big deal when we celebrated with Jack's brother's family. There were no relatives on my side of the family, only my father and his wife. It was a 4 hour drive to "Tom and Janie's" house. Jack's brother, Joe, and family of four children (Tom, Janice, Mary, and Don)who lived on a farm near Kansas City which was a wonderful site for holidays. They had a big house and merry hearts! Opal, Joe's wife, was of German descent--hard working and a good cook. Oh, her gooseberry and rhubarb pies were something to dream about! There were two children older than ours and two younger. Both Jack and his brother, Joe, were veterinarians and very good friends. As it worked out, eventually both of them became simultaniously presidents of their respective drug companys. Business was never talked at family gatherings. These were Joseph Knappenberger, president of Haver Lockhart of Kansas City Mo. and Jack Knappenberger president of Norden Laboratories of Lincoln Neb. I remember one Christmas when we all were at Joe and Opal's. This included Hermann Kriedl, the son of the Austrian prisoner of war whom, with his family our family subsequently sponsored to America. But on this occasion, big Joe's family, Kay Meade the brothers' sister and her family of four, Jack and Joe's father,our family of five, seventeen of us spent Christmas there. In later years when Hermann was trying to convince his wife, Clara that she needn't worry about sleeping our family who had been invited to spend Thanksgiving with them. Hermann exclaimed to Clara, "Oh Clara, you needn't worry about where to sleep those Knappenbergers, I have seen them sleep wall to wall on the floor!" Well, it wan't quite like that, but most of the children did sleep together on the living room floor.

What holiday did you especially like? Which holiday was really not much fun for you?

The first Easter I can remember must have been when I was about eight years old, perhaps in 1925 or 26. My father's long time good friend, Clyde Matson,of Chicago Illinois, was our guest for at least Easter eve. Their friendship dated back to the days when both of them were in Monmouth College, a prep school for my dad. Clyde had a beautiful tenor voice and he was to sing the tenor solos in the "Messiah" which is sung each year in the little town of Lindsborg Kansas. I went to hear it last year and it was their 122nd year of performance! It was wonderful for the two friends to be together, I am sure. However the thing that made it memorable for me was that "Uncle Clyde" gave me the first Easter basket I remember ever getting! There was a chocolate bunny and colored candy eggs and that was an EVENT! I might say that a more lasting gift he gave me was the recognition and appreciation of the lovely tenor solos of that wonderful Oratorio. He sang them accompanied by our good friend Marie Stewart in our living room and the memory is refreshed each time I hear that lovely music.
The next memory of Easter is the year I was in High School and I had a new spring coat! All our holidays were pretty low key because of having no relatives nearer than Illinois. We only once celebrated with my relatives on a holiday. My father's mother and her husband came from Illinois one Thanksgiving. Of course, we had friends, chiefly the Whites with their sons, Eugene and Haworth, and the Stewarts, Mrs. Eva, and her daughters, Marie and Cleda with whom we celebrated.

What were some of the best memories from any of the holidays you celebrated?

A recent happy memory was Christmas 2004 when our family was to gather in Athens, Georgia at my son, Joe Ross Knappenberger's. That would include Joe and Ginny Knappenberger; Elise, David, and Ainsley Kish; David's parents; Peg and Paul Rupprecht; Kas and Larry Eldridge, and son Kurt; and myself, Elisabeth Elm. It would be the first time we had been with Joe's family for some time and there was the excitement of seeing my first great grandchild, Ainsley Marie. She had been born in November and we were to be on hand for her baptism. Peg, Paul, and I flew out of Lincoln on the 24th, to arrive in Atlanta in mid afternoon. However, there was a strike of baggage handlers and the flights were late, late,late. We finally reached Atlanta about midnight without bags. Kas and Larry had flown in from Rochester, New York and were waiting for us with a rented car. We drove the hour to Athens, arriving about two o'clock. All the delay didn't dampen the excitement and we had a wonderful time. The bags never did come and we three wore the same clothes the whole vacation--even to church when Ainsley was baptized. You know, our wearing the same travel clothes didn't make a bit of difference to Ainsley and we are sure that God was happy we were there to witness the ceremony in spite of our very casual clothing!

What was served at your holiday dinners? What do you remember about these dinners?

Now the most memorable holiday dinners,a sucsession of them, has been hosted at Mary Elm Willhoft's home. Mary is my husband, Howard Elm's daughter. She lives in Grand Island Nebraska, has a lovely home, and all the space, table ware, and culinary talents to put on a wonderful holiday meal. The meal starts with a glass of wine. Usually two kinds of meat are served; two kinds of potatoes; two or three salads, one usually jello; two or three vegetables. Hot homemade light rolls demand home made jelly. There is stuffing, usually there is turkey,however with hunters in the family sometimes there is wild fowl or deer. There is cranberry sauce, and gravy. The meal finishes with two or three kinds of pie or pie and cake, and coffee. Mary, , has had her family, other friends, relatives and me many years for Thanksgiving and it is a wonderful affair. Her table for twelve or more looks like the Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover showing a huge family seated around a festive table for Thanksgiving dinner. She has all the dishes and table ware to serve a crowd and it always is a very special occasion.

What are some of your memorable birthdays from your life? Were any birthdays particularly difficult because you reached a certain numerical age?

My most memorable birthday was the celebration for my 70th. I had been promised a hot air balloon ride and when the family vacation took place in Colorado I was given my ride! The whole family got up a little after five AM including all the children(!)to get to the field for take-off at six o'clock. The fact that all the grandchildren entered into my joy made the occasion so much better! The ride didn't last long enough, and I was surprised we didn't go higher! But it was so quiet up there and you could see so far---it was just a wonderful experience!
No, birthdays are not difficult--I have enjoyed such good health and getting older hasn't been hard for me to accept.

Is there a holiday present or birthday present that especially sticks out in your mind?

The first one I think of was when I recieved my Chickering grand piano when I was twelve. I was not impressed by it at the time, but in later years I very much appreciated what my parents had done for me. Of course the 70th birthday present of the hot air balloon ride is memorable!

High School

Where did you go to high school? What was your mascot? What were your school colors? Do you remember any of the cheers? What was your favorite song during high school? What type of music was popular?

I went to Hutchinson High School, there was but the one High School, the mascot was the "Salthawk"! This was an immaginery bird, black and like a hawk. Our colors were gold and blue We had a crazy cheer which I am not sure I can "spell"! It was called Allagaroo!

Allagaroo, allagaroo, allagaroo
Wha ,hoo, ba, zoo,
Hiker, piker, dominiker
Sis, boom, bah
Hutchinson High School
Rah, rah, rah.

La shoo, la shoo, la shoo la roo
La shoo rah ishback, ishback, boo
Hutchinson high School, hey roo.

Boom skit a rat tat
See sie boom
niger higger hoe potater
Half past allagator
Rum bum bulligator
Chicka saw daaw
Hutchinson High School
Rah, rah, rah.

La baga, la baga, la baga baga bum
Boom skit a rat tat
Bigger than a cat trap
Boom skit a rat tat
Bigger than a cat trap

Chick a wah
Chick a wah
Hutchinson High School
Rah, rah, rah!

There was an ethnic reference in one of the verses which was in later years removed, as it should have been!, but I don't know how "they" reworded the chant.
The school song was "March Forever On"

Popular music when I was in High School and College was wonderfully singable, memorable, music. Ballroom music was wonderful to dance to, to sing, to listen to. We were a fortunate generation, I think!

Who were your friends? What did you like about them? Who were your favorite teachers?

My friends in High School were Martha Mayfield, Pat Carrol, Harriet Stewart, Elizabeth Berry, Edith Brownlee, Louise Bush, Jean Williamson, Peg Lancaster, Ruth Peters, Ruth Clickner, ..... I liked them because they enjoyed the same things I liked, had the same values. Friends have always been important to me, probably because I had no siblings. Just this summer, 2005, I went to see Martha in Cleveland. It was just like old time week, it was good for the soul! My favorite teachers were Cleda Stewart in the 4th grade in spite of the fact that she kept me after school to learn how to spell "Pacific"! Also, Alice Steele, even though she taught math! She was the sponsor of the girl's Pep club and when I was president of it I met with her often. After Mother died, I invited her to come to dinner at our house, hoping my dad would like her, and she him, but I didn't know she was already sewed up with a fellow in California and was married the next summer! Teressa Olson was a favorite teacher in Jr. High. She was my English teacher for two years, a VERY good one! Much later, Vin White was an exceptional Bible teacher here in Lincoln. Here at The Landing, our pastor, Renae Johnson is a very special pastor and teacher.

What kind of extra-curricular activities did you do in high school? Were you on the school paper? A sports team? Were you a class officer? A cheerleader? A nerd? Were your friends involved in the same activities as you were?

I had parts in plays, played on the field hockey team. I am sorry I didn't get interested in journalism. Ever since being out of school I have continued to keep scrapbooks. In the last thirty years I have done alot of reminicient writing. I could have learned that skill much sooner and been pursueing a profession I liked much better than laboratory work. I was the Women's Pep Club president and treasurer of Girl Reserve

Do you remember any students you felt sorry for because other students made fun of them or took advantage of them?

Yes, Clyde Berger was a spastic boy who rode a tricycle in High School. The kids were quite good to and with him though. He has graduated from Wichita University and done very well, even writing a book about his life.

Were you a diligent student or did you have a more casual approach?

My dad insisted I take difficult subjects and I didn't like school real well. He thought there was no use for a girl to take home economics classes. He thought a girl could learn those skills at home! I took alot of chemistry, math, physics which were hard subjects for me. I studied hard and probably the discipline was very good for me, but I was very happy when those school years were over!

Did you study a foreign language? Did those lessons stick with you? Were you ever able to use that language on vacation or in your community?

Yes, I took two years of Latin and two years of French. I believe both have helped me.The Latin has helped with our own language and every once in awhile in reading books I come across a French phrase and can read it. However, it didn't help in getting along in Paris while vacationing there!

Did science or math come hard to you? Did art or English come easily? Do you remember any long papers you wrote or any special projects?

I took alot of science and math, neither were easy for me. I think I would have enjoyed English much more. I remember however, choosing "Baths" as a topic for a theme in English. It was a poor choice and I have no idea why I chose it. It was hard to find material on it. If I had it to do over again, I would choose to research Hadrian. I have seen so many places where that Roman General had been, and have seen the ruins of his building programs in many countries. What an interesting fellow he would be to research!

Who did you go to your prom with? What did you wear? Did you dance much?

I had a date with a fellow who lives in the same city I live in now! We had grown up in the same church together and always had been friends, but when I REALLY liked him , I was just another girl to him! If he ever really liked me, I didn't know it! We grew up in the same church and dated a few times. In Junior College I was voted May Queen and he,being president of the student council,was my Cosort. They must have been short of news in the local paper that day, for our picture in regal procession with attendents who had been the other candidates for Queen was given a whole page! I think I wore the same formal to both the prom and as May Queen--a white taffeta with small bouquets of flowers, and puff sleeves. I had that formal until a few Christmases ago when my grand daughters were at my house for Christmas. They were trying on all the old clothes--formals, hats, favorite dresses, a long formal wrap, their grandfather's army jacket and cap-- and took them home with them!

Were you a beatnik, hippie or rebel?

I lived before all those rebels! In my youth, kids did not rebel, by and large. I think I grew up in a very advantageous era. It was, as the popular song says, "A very good year"--depression and all! Isn't that interesting! We surely would not have thought then that we were living in a very good era! I wonder what will be thought of this era in 2070!


If you went to college, where did you go? Why did you choose that school? How much was tuition? Was it difficult to afford? Did you receive financial assistance or a scholarship? A loan? Was your school large or small? What was it known for?

I was ready for college in 1936, the economy was not strong and since we had a good Jr. College in my town, I went there for two years. This was a good thing, really, for here I could be a bigger frog in the pool! I was May Queen in my second year, I ran around with a group of girls with whom I still keep in touch--those who are still living! Upon graduation I entered the school of my father's choice, I believe(!), Kansas State College, as it was known then, and joined a sorority, Delta Delta Delta which was a wonderful experience for me. Yes, it was difficult to afford and I didn't realize at the time just what a gift my father was giving me, for I didn't have a job during that time. It was a large state school, over 6,000 students at that time. It was mostly known as an agricultural college. I earned a Batchelor of Science degree and then attended the University of Kansas Hospitals in Kansas City, Kansas for a year, earning a degree as a laboratory technician. I never did use that knowledge in earning a living. I am of the last generation of women who were never in the work place.

What was your living situation? Did you live in a dorm or a room off campus? Who was your roommate? Did you get along? How did you decorate your place? Were you comfortable there?

My first two years of college I lived at home. The last two years I lived in the Tri Delta sorority house a few blocks from the campus. I had a number of room mates and that was a wonderful experience for me, an only child. The only room mate now living is June Light, a year younger than I who also married a veterinarian. I have seen her but once since college, but we keep in touch at Christmas time. I enjoyed all my room mates. We didn't do much to decorate our rooms in those days. A colorful bed spread was about the extent of the decoration! We did provide our own bedding, but no radios, computers, iceboxes! I enjoyed life in the sorority house very, very much!

What was your major? Why did you pick it? Were you ever able to use anything you learned in college in real life? Did you change colleges or majors partway through? Why?

Science was my major. I had always thought I wanted to be a nurse like my mother. However both my parents talked against that, recommending that I take laboratory science, because the work was easier and the pay better! It would have been better for me to have become a nurse, it would have been helpful in raising my family. I really didn't use directly any of the courses I took in college, the best result was that I learned to study and probably have benifited in ways I don't realize!

Did you join a sorority or fraternity? Was it important to you?

Yes, I joined the Delta Delta Delta sorority and enjoyed that life very much and I have appreciated the friendships I made there for all the 65 years since college! For an only child, it probably was the best aspect of college for me!!!

When you first got to college, were you thrilled to be away from home? If you were homesick, what did you do about it? Write letters? Cry? Confide in someone? Or try to hide your feelings? If you were thrilled to be at college, were you quick at making friends? Who was your first friend there? Did you remain close through the years?

I was very happy to go away to college. I had attended two years of Junior College at home, I had a new step-mother, and I was ready to try my wings! However, when school got underway, I was homesick! Finally, I went to see the Dean of my division of General Science, Dean Babcock. He let me tell him my problem and then gave me a piece of advice which seemed absolutely rediculous---"Just enjoy it! This is the only time in your life when you will feel quite this way!" I do think he could have given me better advice! It was such a strange answer, I have never forgotten it! My first friends were my sorority sisters, particularly those in my pledge class. After 65 years, I am still in touch with several of them with "catch-up" letters at Christmas time.

Were you on any sports teams? If not, did you follow them? Were any of your teams champions or near-champs?

I was on the riflery team in Jr. College! I was a good shot too! I don't remember what kind of a rifle we shot, but I remember it was prone shooting! The rifles were so heavy I don't think we could have held it and come any way near to hitting the target!

Was there any professor who made a special impression on you? Good or bad? What subject did he or she teach? Were you able to take more than one class from this person? Did he or she ever make a comment about your work that stuck in your memory?

It seems like I have answered this question before--maybe I forgot to "save" it! I suppose Helen Moore in Jr. College made the biggest difference in my life. We used to call her "More Hell an' Algebra"! Math is definitely not my preferred subject! In fact it is the LEAST preferred. Miss Moore insisted we keep our eyes on her throughout the class period. She maintained we would get more from the class if that were the case. How true she was! Not that the math she taught ever soaked into my brain, but the practice of giving her my full attention has been of more benefit to me than any book learning I can think of. She later became the Dean of Women at Kansas State College when I was a student there and in spite of my being a poor math student, we were good friends. The other teacher I recall was my Abnormal Psychology teacher. He had a "tic". First he stamped his left foot,then flicked his right ear with the fore finger of his right hand! This routine took place several times during a class period, much to the amusement of all students! Happily, I have forgotten his name!

Why was it important for you to go to college? Was it an expected step in your community, or were you the first in your family to go for a degree? What motivated you most? Love of learning, or just getting through?

Because my parents had gone on to higher learning I suppose it was assumed I would do that. I don't remember there being any question about that. Yes, it was an expected step in the group of young people I knew. All my friends, in fact all the youth I knew at all went on at least to Jr. College, which was housed in the top of the High School building. In fact I was in the last college class which occupied the high school. The next year the campus for the Jr. College was ready for occupancy and many of the buildings have been named for professors I had in Jr. College! I was very happy when my fifth year of college had been accomplished.

Were you able to get home for the holidays? What do you remember about going home once you began college?

Yes, Manhattan, Kansas was not very far--maybe less than 100 miles from Hutchinson. However few students had cars in those days, and it was a matter of finding a ride home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I enjoyed going home, but was always happy to return to school.


Were you married to a serviceman or servicewoman or did you have a sweetheart in the service? In what year did this person serve and where?

After graduation as a Laboratory Technician in Kansas City Kansas in June I returned to Hutchinson, my home, and was married July 19, 1941. My husband, Jack Knappenberger, was a veterinarian, as was his older brother,Joe, and since war had seemed likely, it was certain that one of them would have to be drafted. Joe had a family, and Jack was not married, so it seemed feasible that Jack should volunteer for army service. Jack was called into service and was stationed at Ft. Robinson, Nebraska, a Remount Depot in the northwest corner of Nebraska. His duties there were to care for the horses and mules which the army had purchased and prepare them for army service.He obtained leave for 18 days in which to get married. He served in various branches of the service for 5 years, never out of the USA, however!

Where were you when he or she received their orders? How did he or she break the news to you? How did you react outwardly? Inwardly? Was separation like that a common occurrence for your friends during the war years?

When Jack and I returned from our honeymoon in Colorado we learned he was to leave the next morning on the train with the rest of his Troop. "Troop B" was comprised of 5 officers and I don't know how many enlisted men. They were to be in Lousiana for two months' manuevers! That was a terrible shock!!! There was some comfort in knowing, slightly, the other women who were affected. We saw our husbands off the next day, Jack taking with him his Airdale dog, Singapore Pete. Pete was a good and faithful friend who remained with our family for the next 12 years! Of course, as a brand new bride, I was devastated to have my new husband leave so unexpectedly! Several of my crowd of girl friends had the same experience, but I wasn't in town to commiserate with them.

Did you stay near a stateside base? Who were your friends when your mate was in the service? Where did you live? Did you go back and stay with your parents? Did you keep up the household by yourself?

After Jack had left for Lousiana I went with another wife to a resort in South Dakota where still another wife, Violet Christensen, was spending the summer with her three children. This friendship with Violet and her family lasted throughout her and her husband's lifetime! She had hayfever very badly when at Ft Robinson, and had gone north for relief. I had Jack's car with all of our wedding gifts packed in the trunk as transportation. After a couple of weeks with Violet I drove home to Hutchinson. That was an unsatisfactory situation!! I returned to Kansas City where I did summer relief work in the hospital laboratory until, hearing from Jack that he would rent a room in a near-by town and I could be there for a week or so with him. I then could drive on to El Paso, Texas where we would be stationed. I gladly went on my way. After becoming a parent, I have thought how my father must have felt in learning that I, his only child, planned to set out for "some place" in Lousiana to find my husband "somewhere" amid the thousands of soldiers bivwacked in a huge area! I found him without much trouble! The men eventually came to El Paso, where I had rented an upstairs apartment about twenty feet from the main line of the Santa Fe Railroad! We lived there for several months before renting a small duplex in a new area of the desert around El Paso which became available for army personel. We became close friends with the four other families in Troop "B". At this time in 2005 there is only one other couple and I who are living to remember those days. They are Myrtle and Ed Taysom of Tempe Arizona. I was able to stay with Jack throughout his years of service and during that time we added to our family a son and daughter!

Did you work? What jobs did you do? Were many of the people in the workplace women with men overseas?

I worked at home, taking care of our children! I was with Jack all five years he was in the service.

Were your children born at the time? Were they old enough to miss their daddy or mommy?

Our first two children were born during the five years that Jack was in the army. We were with him most of that time so I would say they did not miss their father.

How often did you write or did you e-mail? Can you remember what those messages said?

I have saved a few letters which Jack wrote me through the years. The first ones were written while I still was at Kansas State where we met. I have the first note he sent me which was the offer for me to use his car, where it was parked, and where to get gas and put it on his account! I still can feel the flutter of heart beat when I opened that envelope and found his car key there! Another love letter was written when he stopped enroute home having been a couple of days in Manhattan with me for some special affair. He stopped to write this in a hotel lobby! I also have several letters written "on the road". They are love letters, but in a different vein--more teasing and funny. I have read them rather recently as I have been going through possessions getting ready to move. They make me very lonesome for him.
I would have to add that Howard too was a loving man. I have saved "Hurry home" notes he hid in my suitcase when I left him to help with Kas' new baby, or for other short times. He gave me many beautiful Valentines which I have saved in my scrapbooks. I have been a fortunate woman!


What was your favorite radio or television show growing up?

Radio was in it's infancy when I grew up. I remember the shape of our first radio. It was in a beautiful wooden box, about 30 inches long, and about 10 inches wide. That was a marvel! The speaker was separate. It was round and fat, sort of looking like a pillow mounted on a short stand! I listened to Saturday afternoon youth concerts directed by Leonard Bernstein. We didn't listen to much radio, or TV in those early days. My children were nearly teen-agers when we had our first TV. It was not often on, as I remember!

Did you ever go to see your favorite performers in concert when you were young? Who were they?

Yes, I was taken to see Madam Schuman-Heink, the German opra singer before I was a teen-ager. Later I saw and heard Fritz Kreisler...was driven to a neighboring town (70 miles)for that! I saw Katherine Cornell and Helen Hayes, actresses on the stage.

What radio stations do you listen to now? What talk radio shows do you like? Have you ever called a talk-radio host and had your voice go on the air?

My kitchen radio is tuned to Public Radio and I leave it there! My favorite songs are many! I like the opera arias which I heard on our phonograph when I was a child, I like to hear the anthems I have learned in more than 45 years of singing in church choirs, and I like the many popular songs of the 1930's, 40's, and 50's. Music is a real treasure to me. Once it was my great pleasure to sing and to a lesser degree play the piano, but now, for the most part, my pleasure is in hearing it.
Only once have I called in and heard my voice on the radio. The public radio station asked for questions to be asked of a famous violinist who was in town. I called in with some question!

What television programs do you watch now? What are the shows that you really enjoyed through the years?

I watch public TV almost exclusively, sometimes the Larry King show, which is Larry interviewing famous people, and some Saturdays and Sundays I enjoy hearing and seeing famous writers interviewed by Brian Lamb and others on the book channel. I have enjoyed a few movies, The Boston Pops, and famous orchestras.

Have your tastes in entertainment been fairly mainstream, or have you gone for more unusual music or cinema? Do you like jazz or foreign films? Do you go to poetry readings?

for the most part I enjoy classical music and I see almost no movies. I have never gone to poetry readings, but I am very fond of poetry and in preparing for probably the last move of my life, I am taking along with me about a third poetry, and two thirds books to strengthen my spiritual life.

What kinds of artistic outlets have your undertaken in your life? Poetry writing? Photography? Painting? Piano playing? Ballet?

I have taken lots of camera pictures ever since my father gave me a Brownie camera when I was about 12. I think that Eastman Kodak company gave away Brownie cameras to children who were born in 1918. When I was about 12, my father got one of those cameras and gave it to me for memorizing, for me then, a difficult piece, "A la Bein Amie". Since then I have taken many, many pictures and so have a picture documentation of my life. All together I have, to date, 50 large scrapbooks, plus one each for my mother's and father's genealogy. I took many piano lessons--from the age of 6 to 18 and developed some skill, but never came close to being the musician my younger daughter is. I have done a lot of reminicient writing. I have written memories of my mother, father, the unique farm house we lived in for a couple of years, various vacations, and a fat volume of "Great Grandmother's Stories". This was so named because it contains stories about my life similar to those which I wish my great grandfather had written concerning his life.

If you could be anything having to do with the cultural arts or entertainment, what would you have done? Have you ever appeared in theater or in a civic organization's show?

It would have been satisfying to perform as well as my daughter, but obviously I was not motivated enough. I was in plays when in High School. I have given talks about the trips abroad which I have taken, particularly the trip to the Holy Land which was taken with the students of Hastings College. One of the scrapbooks is about this trip, and it is quite a complete documentation.

What is your preference in music? Do you follow current music or do you prefer the old? Do you like music on in the house or silence? What are your most favorite songs? Make the list as long or as short as you would like!

I like the popular tunes of the 40's and I, at other times, like classical music. I have not developed a likeing for the current classical music, but those of Beethoven's time didn't like his music either! I usually have Public Radio on when I am home. My favorite songs! The first ones which come to mind are the popular songs, "I'll Be Seeing You", and "Deep Purple", This is no doubt indicative of where I am in life now. These were popular songs when Jack and I were courting and I miss him very much. It is hard to think up names of songs, but when very many are played on the radio or on tapes, they bring back memories of people and places and happenings. My life can almost be relived by the playing of an assortment of songs. "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" brings back the memory of my mother in the kitchen, she singing that popular song as she worked. Certain hymns remind me of my father playing hymns as he waited for his women to dress for church. The popular song, "Those Far Away Places" remind me of a program I gave for the Women's Society at our church in Westerville, "A Tisket, A Tasket, My Green and Yellow Basket", sends me back to the day my father drove my friend, Anita Adams, and me to Manhattan, Kansas to attend rush week. She and I sang that for miles! The adults in the car must have about gone crazy putting up with us! "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth" reminds me of my mother's funeral. It was one of her favorite arias from "The Messiah" and she requested that it be used. "The Hallelujah Chorus" was a favorite of my father's and I had it played on full organ at his funeral....and so on it goes!

When did you get your first television? Was it bought so your family could view a special show or event? What room did you put it in? How much did it cost? Was your family one of the first in your neighborhood to have a TV?

We bought our first TV set when we lived on 48th street, probably in the early 50's. It was set up in the converted garage, which became an all purpose room--- guest room, ironing, TV room. I don't remember that our set was bought to see a special program. No, we weren't one of the first to have such a machine! My children now tell me they used to go to the neighbors in Westerville to watch kid shows!

Have you bought any new home entertainment gadgets lately? Do you own a VCR? A CD and / or DVD player? iPod? Tivo?

No, I haven't bought any equipment lately, but we have had a VCR, and a CD player. I have bought three computers, maybe they can be considered entertainment gadgets! It is essential to me now, though I don't know very much about useing it!


What was your first real job? Did you start out in an after-school job that had any relation to what you ended up doing?

I never had a real job outside the home! I think my generation was the last to have a college degree and in some cases a further degree, as in my case, and yet work in the home was their only job! In my college sorority class of seniors, there were probably 15 of us, there was only one who had a job after graduation. She was also the only one to be divorced. I have done volunteer jobs, but none for pay. The same is true of the girls I ran around with in high school and Jr. College. Only one of the probably fifteen had a job.

Describe your career.

My career has been home making. I think mine was the last generation which earned graduate degrees and did not use the knowledge outside of the home. I have done alot of volunteering but nothing for pay since I was a teenager. Another girl and I had a group of little children whom we baby sat during one summer. I would say my career was in raising, with the help of my husband, our three "potlickers", as their father called them. They are all productive members of society, of whom I am very proud!

Gallup Organization Questions on Leadership

Let's identify some early role models of yours. How would you describe the parenting style of your mother (father)?

My father was a doctor, earning his M.D. in 1916. This meant he was before the days of group medicine, so he was on duty twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. I don't recall his being home much except for meals. I don't recall spending much time with him as a child. My mother was one of ten children. I am sure she had wanted to have several children but the onset of diabetes not only precluded having more children, but was quite litterally a death sentence. I believe she paid particular attention to teaching me the art of housekeeping, and caring for myself, knowing she had a limited time in which to do this. She died when I was 16, which meant she had been granted her wish, for if a child is not trained by the that time, more learning is likely to be given by LIFE rather than parents.
From the distance of at least 80 years, I see her as loving, fair, consistent, fun loving, patient, and kind. She suffered her long illness bravely and uncomplainingly. She died at the age of 44

While growing up, who did you consider your role model in terms of your family? What impact did your role model have on your development?

I suppose my mother was my role model, since there was no other female close to me for the first 16 years of my life. She had a great influence on me, indicated, I believe, by periods even now when I am nearing 90 years old when I miss her very much and long to see her. She loved poetry, and I enjoy reading aloud poems in a couple of her books. Somehow it seems to bring her near.

While growing up, who did you consider your role model in terms of individuals outside your family? What impact did your role model have on your development?

Perhaps a role model in my early years was Teressa Olson, my English teacher for two years in Jr. High School. I admired her very much--her erect and purposeful walk from the doorway where she stood between classes, her attractive clothing, her long,luxurient, blond hair done up in a tidy bun on the back of her neck, her lovely smelling perfume as she walked by my desk Ah-h-h !!! Her class was well planned and effective! We diagramed sentences until we were blue in the face. Even yet, in my mind's eye, I can see a straight horizontal line with a straight line drawn perpendicular through the middle. The subject of the sentence, a noun, was written on the left side of the perpendicular line, the verb, or action word, was written on the right side of that line. Further words in the sentence were placed under the word they modified, noun or verb! My friend, Elizabeth Berry, also admired her. One Saturday we decided we would walk to her apartment several blocks away and see her! We did that, knocking on her door unanounced! She came to the door, was surprised of course, but welcomed us inside. We were appalled to see that she was smoking a cigarette! That was taboo in our day in Hutchinson Kansas! We continued to love her, never-the-less! When I attended Kansas State College, as a junior, we had a room in the basement where the girls were to go to smoke. I went there sometimes to "chew the fat" with my sorority sisters, but I never smoked after trying it! One deterent was that I couldn't afford it. My father sent me 50 dollars a month which covered the house bill of $47.50. The rest I could use for hose replacement, any other needs, a show, or whatever! In view of the known hazzard today of smoking cigarettes, I was lucky never to start!

Think back during high school or before and describe someone who had a profoundly positive impact on your development? What did that person do? Who was that person?

Helen Walker, the daughter of United Presbyterian missionaries to Egypt lived with us about a year when I was about 12. I have written about her elsewhere in this autobiography, what she did with me as a child. However, her influence was much more lasting than during that year. She returned to Egypt to teach in a girl's school and I kept in touch with her off and on all the years she was there. This gave me an open window into life outside our country. After the American missionaries had been ousted from Egypt she went to teach in a boy's school in Djibouti. Following that she returned to a Methodist retirement home in Ohio where I visited her. We planned then that we would together go to Egypt for a visit. This happened and it was a wonderfully profitable trip for me, for she knew many people there, both American and Egyptian whom I met and enjoyed.

Which famous leaders did you look up to while growing up? Describe why you looked up to them in terms of the characteristics, behavior, accomplishments, etc.

Franklin Roosevelt is the first president I was really aware of. He was the president who brought us, as a country, out of the depression. His famous lines spoken over the radio to the country, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" had a terrific impact upon the country. His undaunting character in spite of being so crippled with polio was an inspiration to the country and his cocky attitude, and upbeat outlook were good medicine for a frightened and desperate nation.
Then there was Dwight Eisenhower from Kansas!!! My own home state! He was the commander of the Allied forces in Europe in WW2. He with the help of the English was able to defeat Hitler and bring an end to the war. He became president following that during a time of peace and prosperity--a very good era.

How would you describe your mother (or guardian) as your leader?

As I have stated before, Mother was from a family of ten and I think she probably had thought she would have several children. It must have been a terrible dissapointment when diabetes made having more children too risky, and my parents had only me. I never felt that, however. I may have been their "darling", but instead of feeling I could get away with anything, I felt that I never quite measured up to what my father expected. I didn't feel that way about Mother, I felt loved though not adored! In retrospect, I had a very good childhood!

How would you describe your father (or guardian) as your leader?

As I have stated before somewhere in these questions. My father was not home much. He was there at meal times. He sometimes prepared breakfast--making such good pancakes! I thought he made the best pancakes of any I ever tasted. The laugh was that when you washed up his dishes, there always was unstirred flour in the bottom of his bowl! How did he know how much to stir to get the right consistency? He was usually home on Sundays and we always went to church as a family--except when he was called out. He set a good example for me. One of his "sayings" was, "Change of work is rest". I didn't cotton to that much as a child, but I now see the truth of it. He had a real passion for being a physician. It had been his goal since early childhood--before he could talk plainly. His mother reported that he used to say, "I 'ant to be a "Docity-man". I think he was fortunate to know from such an early age what he wanted his life's work to be. It was his great pleasure to minister to the needs of his patients---and they loved him for it!

Who has had the most profound impact on shaping your values and moral perspective prior to leaving home? What did he or she do to shape your values and moral perspective?

Perhaps my father has had the most profound influence because I had him longer. However, I think I would have to say that both my parents lived what they taught, and their standards were high! And they expected me to toe the line!

Where does your philosophy of life stem from in terms of the people who have had the greatest impact on it? What is your life philosophy?

I guess the best I can think of is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

Romance and Relationships

Do you remember your first kiss?

Yes! The memory of my first kiss is a very unpleasant memory! Perhaps it was his first attempt too, or perhaps he was just trying out "a French kiss"!. That ended my dating him! I surely remember the first kiss with the man I married! I remember where it was, the lovely night scene from the car, the fake question as to the color of my eyes, which was asked to give him an excuse to get close enough to theoretically determin the color, and the execution, which was lovely!

What kind of dating did you do in high school? What is your favorite kind of date - even now?

I didn't date alot in High School. When I did it was to school functions, plays, games etc. My first date was with the brother of one of my high school friends. I loved to dance, but that mostly took place the year I was in training as a laboratory technician at the Kansas University Hospitals. The nurses and interns had dances which we technicions could attend. The man I chose to marry had not learned to dance when young, so was not fond of that activity. What a shame! There is no one now with whom to dance! Hence I like to go to concerts, shows, plays, or even just "talking".

Were you always attracted to the same type of person? Did you like the strong, silent type, the bouncy blonde?

I suppose I have always been attracted to the same type of person. One who had the same values as I, one who was honest, inteligent,had a sense of humor and love of adventure; one to whom the Christian church was important, was industrious and clean in person and thought. It is nice to have him thoughtful too!

Who was your first love? Did you think it was going to last? Who broke whose heart?

My first love was a boy who attended the same church as I and we were classmates through Jr.High School, High School, and Jr. College. However, early on when I was daydreaming about him, he hardly knew I existed! We were class mates and dated when we were in Junior College. I was May Queen and he was Prince Consort when we were sophmores. We dated to the Senior Prom, but it was just a very good friendship which didn't extend into college when we both went to Kansas State. I pledged a sorority and he lived in a private home. Whether that discouraged him or whether he just lost interest, I don't know, but we lost track of each other for years. It was early in the 1950's after our family moved to Lincoln, NE that I learned that he and his family were living in Lincoln and our friendship became viable again. Our two families have enjoyed the friendship for more than fifty years, having diners at each other's homes and keeping contact in one way or another. His friendship is particularly valuable to me in these years, because he is one of two people now living who knew my parents and shared my early past. When I hear news of High School friends, chiefly dying now(!), he is the only one I know with whom to comiserate! As to the last part of the question, as far as I know, neither of us suffered a broken heart, and the love which was probably more attraction has deepened into a respect for and appreciation of the long time friendship we enjoy.

Do you believe you can be in love more than once?

This is an interesting question! What is the difference between "love" and "in love"? This would be a good question to discuss among good friends. I wonder if one can be "in love" more than once. I suppose the question assumes this is partnership love, most usually between male and female, though not exclusively. Having been married again after the death of the father of my children, I would say that I have loved more than once, but I am not sure that I have been "in love" more than once! And there have been other men in my life whom I "have loved". Not "going to bed" with them doesn't indicate lack of love, but perhaps more!

Did you know when you very first met your mate that this would be your life's partner? Did he/she know it?

No, I thought Jack had alot going for him, but it took some time before the conviction that "he was the one" became evident. Maybe that also had to do with the fact that he wasn't exactly knocking my door down in pursuit! I think it took Jack some time to decide I was the girl he was really interested in. Maybe he was just so busy in launching his career that he didn't have time to pursue a possible wife cannidate! I think my second husband was more convinced that I was "the one" and I was less eager to be convinced! Both however proved to be good marriages.

Describe your wedding, your outfit, your spouse's, your Mom's, your Dad's, the bridal party, the church or hall, the reception, the food. If more than one wedding - tell all!

Jack and I were married at nine o'clock July 19, 1941 in the sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church in Hutchinson Kansas with fifty invited guests present. We each had one attendent, Peg Lancaster, and John Jackson. Mrs. Ghormley played the organ and my good friend, Martha Mayfield played her harp. I wore a white linen dress and three quarter sleeved jacket and a white pique hat. Fortunately my father wrote a detailed letter about the wedding to both my grandmothers and I still have a copy of that letter. Following the wedding everyone adjourned to the near-by Bisonte Hotel for a sit-down breakfast. Following that I returned to my home to change into a red and white pique dress-suit. Friends and Jack's brother managed to tie strings of cans to our car when we departed for our honeymoon in Colorado.
Howard and I were married at two o'clock November 15,1980 in the sanctuary of Eastridge Presbyterian Church, Lincoln Nebraska. We had no attendants, but had the grandchildren assist. When I had called James Elm to ask if he would light the candles for us, he replied "Oh, I'd like to do that, I'm good with matches!" Carlos held the ring and Lori held a basket of flowers. Kurt slept in his grandfather Eldridge's arms! A reception of cake and punch, candies and nuts was held in the church parlor. Following a shower of rice we drove to St. Joseph, Missouri, then on to the Ozarks for several days.

Was there anything unusual in your wedding vows? Were your knees knocking? Who performed the ceremony?

We made the conventional vows, "I Elisabeth, take thee Jack,(Howard) to be my wedded husband, And I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be your wedded wife---In plenty and in want, in joy and sorrow, in sickness and health as long as we both shall live". No, my knees were not knocking, but Jack said that never before had his knees knocked, but they did during that service! Both ministers were very close friends. Arthur Miller married Jack and me in Hutchinson and we were corresponding friends until his death. Tom Huxtable married Howard and me in Lincoln. Tom's family had been our very close friends--our two families had founded a church together! We were close enough to agree that if Tom and Mary Jane were killed we would be responsible for their children! Tom had been a very close friend of Jack's and I suppose this service was hard for him.

What do/did you like best about your mate? (A physical attribute, his/her being, his/her laughter, his/her smile, his/her mind.) What term of endearment do/did you call your mate?

What did I like best about Jack?! He always looked well groomed, he had good manners, a great sense of humor, a quick and apt mind, he was a practicing Christian,and had a great sense of responsibility, and integrity. His term of endearment for me was,"you are my woman!" Jack was only a couple of inches taller than I, 5'10", of lean build. He was regular in his efforts to keep "fit". After he had become president of his worldwide pharmaceutical company his top salesmen gave him an Atmos Clock with this inscription on it. "Veterinarian, Executive, Educator, Humanitarian, Salesman extraordinary". He was very well liked, even loved, from the "top brass" to the people on the bottom of the wage scale. After more than thirty years after his death people still remark about the quality of his life.
What did I like about Howard? He was a tall, 6'2", commanding figure, well groomed and capable. I knew him only after he had retired from his life's work. We thought if we could have 5 years together it would be worth the trauma of loss, and we were fortunate enough to have nearly 20! Howard was head of three Agricultural Associations and published a monthly magazine for each...The Grain and Feed Association, Agricultural Chemicals, and Alfalfa Dehydrators. He had retired from the Grain and Feed and Ag Chemical Associations when we were married, so he was in partial retirement. He too had been married before and had two children, Roger Elm and Mary Hulinsky. I was unusually fortunate in having two very good marriages.

What were the hardest times of your relationship? Was there ever a time that you thought it might really be over?

The hardest year with Jack was the year we lived on the Forche Ranch, 15 miles south of Hutchinson after he had been discharged from the army and was practicing Veterinary Medicine with his brother. He was anxious to "keep up his end" in the practice and that took him from home all day and much of the night. I was pregnant and sick with a sinus infection, living with my father-in-law, in the country without means to get into town. But I suppose it was a very hard time for him as well, but I don't believe I was thinking of that! The hardest time with Howard was the last year or so of his illness. He had cancer of the spine which was undiagnosed until the last months. Jack died instantly of a heart attack when he was 57 and Howard died a lingering illness when he was all but 92. I never had thoughts of leaving Howard. I don't suppose I ever really thought of leaving Jack, but I was terribly unhappy.


As a woman, do you remember telling your mate that you were pregnant? As a man, what did you think when she told you she was pregnant? Was it a surprise, or a long-planned for event? Do you remember telling your parents?

No, I don't think I had to tell my husband. War had been declared five months after we were married. Jack was in the army, we were on an army post, and we both wanted a child before he was sent overseas. When I began to have morning sickness, I think he knew as soon as I! Since we were away from our homes, letters had to convey the news, I do not remember writing it to our parents. Later, I do remember telling my doctor father, an only child himself, that I, being an only child, I wanted to have a second child. He protested that he didn't think it was wise to have two children in diapers at the same time! We went ahead, asking for another child!, and were successful!

Question for the women: What did your maternity clothes look like? Did you share with your friends? Did you suffer from morning sickness or have other problems?

Maternity clothes looked like sacks! That was before the days of women wearing slacks, or jeans, The dresses were made to expand around the waist, and tied in the back. I don't recall sharing clothes with our few new friends, though the wife of one of the other four officers in our small troop was also pregnant and we delivered about the same time. However, by that time, Jack had transfered to the Air Corps, we had moved to California and the births were announced by telegram. Theirs read, "We got a boy too!" It is interesting that 62 years from that time, that couple and I are the only ones living of the ten of us of those days! Yes, I had morning sickness from the beginning of pregnancy with all three children. However, all went well. Labor with all three went well, though Joe, our first child was a "face up" presentation which took longer.

What are the names and birthdates of your children? What are the names and birthdates of your grandchildren and their parents? Name some of their idiosyncrasies.

My children's birthdates:
Joseph Ross Knappenberger 9/19/1942
Margaret Rupprecht 11/1/1944
Katherine Eldridge 5/9/1947

My grandchildren's birthdates and death
Carlos Joaquin Camacho 9/17/1973 Died 10/8/1998
Elise Kay Knappenberger Kish 6/24/1974
Lori Elisabeth Eldridge Olza 2/28/76
Kurt Franklin Eldridge 8/16/1978

My great grandchildren:
Ainsley Marie Kish 11/18/2004

Why did you name your children what you named them?

We named our firstborn, Joseph Ross, after Jack's brother Joseph for the first name, and the middle name to be the same as his father's and Grandfather's. Hence there then became three generations of J.R. Knappenbergers. It wasn't until many years later and I was aware of my family's history that I learned there had been many Josephs in the Chickering family. I was happy that we chose a name which was significant to both families. I guess I chose the names for our daughters. Margaret was the first daughter. My very close friend in college had been Peg Lancaster and her's being a short nick-name for Margaret, I thought it went well with Knappenberger. I was wrong in assuming that my friend Peg's name was Margaret. It was Annie Gertrude, a name she hated! She didn't let it be known what her "given" name was! As to our second daughter, I liked the name "Katherine" and thought Kathy would go well with her long last name. However, it turned out that Peg gave her sister her nick-name. When friends came to see the new baby, Peg with excitement would meet them with, "Come see Kassy-baby!" So the new baby came to be known as "Kassy". When she left for college she decided that was a childish name and shortened it to "Kas" and that is what she is informally called today.

Which hospital did you deliver in? Do you remember the ride there?

Yes, I remember going to the hospital to deliver Joe. We had to stop along the street enroute for I still had morning sickness! This was in Orange, California amid the orange groves of that day! The trees seemed almost near enough to pick oranges out of the window of my room! Every day the nurse brought a large pitcher of orange juice into me to be consumed. When I was a child my father had thought castor oil was the remedy for most any ill and the large tablespoon of oil always had a small glass of orange juice as a chaser! I couldn't stand the thought of drinking a pitcher full of that fresh juice! Jack, was happy to oblige and drink it for me!
I remember leaving our home in Hutchinson that sunny morning in May, driving away from the house where the hired girl stood with Joe and Peg at her side waving good-bye to us as we headed for the hospital where labor was to be induced. I also remember coming home, without the baby, for Kas had "thrush", a common malady of new-born infants. I tried to encourage myself by thinking, "Cheer up, what if I weren't going to EVER bring our baby home!" But it was a very sad day!

How much weight did you gain each time? Was it difficult getting back in shape?

I don't remember how much I gained, not an undue amount. I was heaviest when Kas was about three, when we lived in Westerville, Ohio. Jack and our friend Millard Miller teased me about my weight, as Jack did nearly all our married life, calling me "chub". Jack had warned me when we were first married that food wasn't a great treat for him, he ate to live. In contrast, my father enjoyed food, though he was never "heavy". However, he had cautioned me about gaining weight because of the history of my mother's family having diabetes. I now weigh about what I did in college, 136-138

Were you afraid to become a parent? Why, or why not?

I was anxious to become a parent. Even as a child I said I wanted to get married and have children. Of course, one couldn't be so unsophisticated in high school to say such a thing, but that was my wish. Jack and I were married in July 1941, Pearl Harbor came in December and since it seemed that Jack would leave soon for the "front" because we were already in the army stationed at Ft. Bliss, Texas, we were anxious to start our family. I became pregnant in January!

Whom did you call first to say "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!"? Can you remember what you said or thought when the doctor or nurse first handed you your baby? Can you remember what your mate said?

We called Jack's brother to say we had a boy. It had been a few months earlier when Jack turned away from our phone from talking to his older brother to say to me, "That lucky fellow, they have a boy, and now they got a girl!" I know that Jack sent a telegram to the Ed Taysoms in El Paso that we had had a son, because I still have the telegram in my scrapbook from Ed saying, "We got a boy too". Of course, we had called my parents in Hutchinson, Kansas. This was a big event to them, I being the only child, my father being a doctor, and our being so far from them.

Did you send birth announcements when your babies were born? Did you have help in the house? A nurse or nanny? Did you have a separate nursery all fixed up? How was it papered and painted? What did the crib look like?

Yes, I sent birth announcements. Joe was born in Anaheim, California. We lived in a little duplex and one of Jack's aunts, Grace Barnes, who lived in Los Angles, came to help us. She had never had children, but she said, "You take care of the baby and I will do the housework". That suited me fine. I don't know how I knew what to do, for I had never been around babies, but it seemed easy and all went well with our household! When Peg arrived we lived in Warren, Arizona, 1155 Zyn, I believe the address was. Jack was in some kind of school in San Antonio, Texas. My stepmother, Zola, came to be with me. She had never had children, but she did the meals and laundry and I appreciated her help very much. Jack returned in time to bring us home from the hospital. Preparing for a baby in wartime years was different, I am sure. Things were much more simple! When Kas was born we were home from the war, living in Hutchinson, my home town. I asked my father if he were going to deliver my child, to which he replied, I don't want to do it, and I don't want anyone else to do it!" It was unique in the way it turned out. My father asked a fellow physician, who agreed. He then thought he was going to have to be out of town. He asked his collegue, a good friend of us all, and he agreed to be on hand. As it happened, since labor was induced and there was plenty of time, the aforementioned two doctors were on hand, plus my father, and the veterinarian father of the child!
The same crib was used for all three children, surely not the recommended type parents seem to have tohave today. One side let down to more easily care for the baby, but no playthings hung over the child with which to play. Joe especially found he could make a wonderful sound by lying on his tummy, rising on his elbows and knees and rocking the crib back and forth on the hard woood floor. He always has been inventive!

What were some of the greatest joys of being a new parent? What were some of the greatest difficulties?

I realize time has a way of smoothing things out, but having a family is the greatest blessing of my life! I loved and appreciated the children always, they were what I always thought I wanted in life, but during their growing up years I couldn't have imagined the great blessing they would be to me in these last years of my life! To interact as adults is a pleasure beyond words to tell. I feel myself becoming more dependent upon them and have just made the decision to move nearer to one of them, to Kas in Rochester, New York. It is a blessing beyond measure that all of them would have been willing to undertake the responsiblilty of my care. I will attempt to make it as less burdensome as possible!

The House You Raised Your Family In

Was the house you raised your family in big enough for all of you? Did your kids share a room?

It was during World War 2 that we started our family. Joe was born while his father was in pilot training in Santa Anna California, Peg in Bisbee Arizona. When the war was over we moved back to Hutchinson Kansas where Kas was born all within 6 years. We lived five years in Westerville Ohio, at 99 East Broadway. Those were significant years of our lives. We made friendships then which still exist. We all became active in a church and life was predictable and good! Jack's job was being salesman for Norden Veterinary products throughout the state of Ohio. While he was gone from home from Monday morning to Friday afternoon it was so much better for the family than when he was a practicing veterinarian. We lived the longest, nearly 20 years, at 1230 South 48th, Lincoln Nebraska. This was a Cape Cod cottage on a double lot which gave space for Jack to care for his many gardens of flowers. We had three bedrooms, the girls slept in bunk beds in the room over the garage, Joe had his room next to ours. Later when Hermann, the Austrian boy was living with us the two boys slept in that room. Jack and I had a large bedroom and bath which overlooked the gardens--lovely! We built on a large screened-in porch on the east side of the house which looked out onto flower gardens--it was a lovely place to eat and relax during the summer months. We enjoyed this feature so much that when we built our "dream house" out on Mockingbird Lane we duplicated that feature. The children all finished high school while we lived here on 48th, and all three graduated from Hastings College in Hastings NE. In retrospect, they were children such a short time! Peg and Joe were both married while we lived on 48th, Kas was married when we lived in the Mockingbird Lane home.

Did you ever move? Was that particularly hard on anyone?

We moved many times in the army and then back to Hutchinson where Jack was practicing Veterinary Medicine with his brother, Joe. We lived two places in Hutchinson--in the huge farmhouse on the Forche Ranch and in a small bungalow on east 10th street. In 1948 we moved to Westerville Ohio and were there 5 years. The move from there to Lincoln Nebraska was particularly hard for me. I think Jack was happy with the job move, the children settled into new schools, seemingly easily, at least from my view 52 years later! However I left good friends in Ohio and it took awhile for me to make new friends in Lincoln. One factor that helped was the fact that Jack needed to attend the Ohio State Veterinary meeting in Columbus in January and for several years it was my pleasure to go with him and bask in the warmth of our previous friendships!

What was your address? What was your phone number? What color was the house? Was your house a one-story or two-story, stone, wood or brick? Did you have a garage? What was the floor plan? Can you envision each room and certain things that went on there? What was the view out your front window?

The house we raised our family in was 1230 South 48th Street in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1952 when we moved to Lincoln, there were only three blocks more of Lincoln on the east end of town! This included the then fashionable area along Cotner Blvd. Our house was a brick fronted Cape Cod three bedroom home. It had an attached garage which we converted to an all-purpose room. A carport was added to the front which architect purists thought was an abomination! Two lots went with the house, the second being a side yard where Jack grew his beautiful flowers. In this side yard also was a large cement slab where the children played all sorts of games and where Jack piled snow in the wintertime for the children to make a small hill for sledding. Sometimes he sprayed it with water to make ice for skating. Mostly, however, the side yard was for his cultivation of many kinds of flowers. There was a large Elm tree which succummed to Dutch Elm disease, two Chinese elms, and a Ginko tree. This was of particular interest because of the odd shape of the leaves. Also in the fall it turned bright yellow and seemingly in one day it would drop all of it's leaves in a circle around the base of the tree, much like a girl dropping her skirt in a circle around her feet! One of the busiest streets of the city ran in front of our house, 48th Street. The house faced west and as you entered the front door you were in the living room, a pleasant room with three large windows facing west and smaller windows, one on either side of the open fireplace on the South. A large arch led to the dining room where we ate all our meals. This room had channel lighting on both the east and west sides of the room and French doors opened to the east. Soon we added a large porch on the east side of the house. The porch was large enough to accomodate a table for 6 and "living room" porch furniture of couch, two chairs and two coffee tables. It was a wonderful place to spend summer evenings in that screened in "living room". From the dining room one walked straight through a small kitchen which had two windows on the east above the kitchen sink and dishwasher. Attached to these window ledges was a long shelf which made passing table ware and food from the kitchen to those eating on the porch. As one passed through the kitchen down a couple of steps there was a landing which to the right entered a half bath with shower, straight ahead to the former garage or now all-purpose room, or left down the stairs to a full basement. It was said to have been built of "Fornwall" bricks which were special in some way! About two-thirds of the basement area was a large room with wood burning fireplace. Here chiefly was a ping-pong table which sometimes served that purpose, but also was the layout for Joe (and Jack's) electric train! They spent many a happy hour building the scene and running the train. I am sure the children will remember also playing certain records on the large record player while they skated round and round the ping pong table! The remaining third of the basement was entered through a normal sized door and here was the furnace, my washer and dryer, and Jack's shop. Many an hour was spent here by both Jack and I! If we go back upstairs we would, from the front door go left and mount the stairs first to a landing and turn left to the bedroom over the garage. The girls slept in bunk beds here. Up the few stairs to the other two bedrooms and a bathroom. Joe slept in the small room opposite the bathroom, and further down the hall was the master bedroom and bathroom. This was a very pleasant room with windows on three sides. One set of windows looked out over the side yard and by placing the headless bed in front of the windows one could look out onto the side yard which was especially lovely on the nights of the full moon in summer! Summer or winter, it was always a lovely view out there! Kas, our youngest, was in college when we told her we were leaving the 48th street house and building a house on the outskirts of town. She threw herself on her bed, crying at the thought of leaving this scene of her childhood! Yes, it had been happy years we had spent there and we all have happy memories of their childhood there.

Was your neighborhood that of single family homes, apartments or rural? Were you friendly with your neighbors? Did you ever have a quirky neighbor? Explain.

Yes, it was single family homes and three houses away was a large empty field upon which was built a Junior High School. This proved to be a wonderful development for the boys of the neighborhood for they asked permission, and got it, to bring home the empty wooden packing boxes. They dismantled them in our driveway, being careful not to loose any of the nails, and used the lumber for making all sorts of interesting projects. We had a good neighborhood. Four of the families near-by had children who grew up together, but by this time they have lost track of each other. This, in contrast to my experience of still being in contact with my only living playmate! We knew our neighbors well, however. My daughters remember with real affection Carolyn Geddes, our Irish neighbor to the north. She and her husband were a unique pair, we enjoyed them until their deaths. My very close friend across the street, Phylis Harrington, and her son who was Kas' age were special friends. However Phylis committed suicide by running her car in the closed garage which shocked us all terribly. I would say ours was a very close knit neighborhood. We were diverse in our interests, ways of life, religion, but good friends whom I would love to see today!

Was everyone in and out of each others' homes? How did you pick the neighborhood? Was this your or your spouse's childhood community?

Of the eight houses nearest to us, I would say that three were very close friends, in and out of each other's houses,
five were good friends, and about four others just a nodding acquaintence. I don't know how Jack picked the neighborhood, for he bought the house while the rest of us were in Ohio. The realator from whom he bought it lived across the street from us and we were very close friends with his wife and son. This was an unknown community to our family. In fact an unknown state for us all. We moved here from Ohio.

Did anyone, except you, do chores for the upkeep of the household? Did you insist everyone make their own beds everyday?

We never had hired help at our house except for a short time after Kas was born. It was Jack's pleasure to do the yard work. I wouldn't say it was exactly my pleasure always do house work, but I always did my own work, except for the short time after Kas was born. Yes, everyone had to help in some way. It was quite a crises in the house when Hermann, the Austrian, came to live with us and he considered that carrying his dishes from the dining room to the kitchen was "woman's work" and he was not about to do that! Joe then thought that was a very good idea and he thought he didn't have to help! He learned differently! Hermann, of his own volition, decided otherwise eventually! I believe now if I asked him for some green cheese on the moon, he would try to get it for me! Yes, all the children had to make their own beds everyday. They also had to keep their rooms tidy!

Did anyone, other than family members, live with you? Where did you all go to relax?

Yes we had two foreign young people who lived with us. Hermann, the son of the Austrian prisoner of war who worked for my father-in-law came when Joe was in High School to live a year with us. His parents wanted to immigrate to the States and when, after five years, their names came up on the quota system of the USA, the mother of the family didn't know whether she wanted to come or not. Her husband had been a prisoner here during the WW2 and he wanted very badly to come. In the end they sent their son to see if he thought his mother could be happy here. Hermann liked it here very much and sent for his parents. They lived here, we sponsoring them, for 15 years afterwhich they returned to Austria. Their son has continued to live here, being a contributing soldier in the draft and a very fine citizen. The other foreigner living with us was Silvia Nieto, an AFS student from Argentina who lived with us just short of a year. Both ventures were very productive for all members of the family.
As to the question of where we relaxed, I guess we relaxed at home! However, we took both Hermann and Silvia with us at different times to Colorado to vacation in the mountains. I remember I was so dissapointed that Hermann didn't have anything to say about the mountains of Colorado which, to me, are so spectacular, particularly the Big Thompson Canyon! He had always lived in the Alps, so I knew he had been in mountains before--there was no comment! However, I must say that his use of the English language was very limited, and maybe he couldn't find the words to describe how he felt.

Where did the homework take place? Did you help any child with big projects?

Homework usually was done in the all-purpose room--the made over garage. Very seldom did I help the children with home work. I was no good at helping them with math!!! I had been burned out with my dad insisting on his going over homework with me. I vowed I would never do that with my children. Come to think of it--perhaps he wished someone would or could have helped him! I remember only once of helping one of the girls with some big project which was spread out on the dining room table.

What were the rules of the house?

I suppose there was a cerfew time, though none of the children dated enough when in High School to be concerned about that! Actually, it has been so long since those days--more than 45 years!--how can I remember what I required of the chldren? ' Pick up your clothes, don't leave a mess, clean up your plate, don't track in snow, clean your teeth, tell me when you expect to be late or gone, call home if you're delayed--------

Did you ever have a break-in? Did you ever have a fire?

Fortunately, we didn't have either a break-in or a fire!


What is your favorite candy bar? Where do you usually buy it? Grocery? Drug store? Gas station? Airport?

Everything is much more expensive today than when I was a child but then, my income is more than it was in earlier days. I wouldn't want to go back to those days. I am among the fortunate ones of this world and it behooves me to be grateful!

What is your favorite birthday cake? Do you buy it in a store or does some you love bake it? What ice cream do you like? Do you get it at an ice cream parlor or in the freezer section of a store?

My favorite cake is a three layer chocolate cake with white mountain filling and frosting.. My daughter, Peg, has made my cake for years because we have lived in the same town, or near by. She usually surrounds the cake, which sits on a large Fostoria glass cake plate, with flowers and greenery from her garden. They are beautiful creations! Of course it is topped with appropriate candles! Since there would be too many candles to fit on the top of a cake these days, candles in the form of numbers can be bought with which you can make the correct year, "86".

What's your favorite dessert? Can you prepare it yourself?

Chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream is my favorite dessert and I can prepare the cake, but almost no one makes ice has to be bought. I have made "snow ice-cream", and that is good too. However the main ingredient, snow, is not always available!

Where is your favorite beach? How far did you have to drive or bicycle to get there?

Since I lived in Kansas, I never knew what "beach time" was! We did have a couple of swimming pools in my town. Part of the water for the municipal pool was water from the salt mines under the city. It was very easy to swim in that pool, for the salty water tended to hold you up. I lived clear across town from the pools, so I had to be taken there in the car.

What is your favorite cartoon character or comic strip? Which comics do you remember reading when you were growing up?

The only "saying" I can think of now and I use often. It dates from the trip my dad gave me when I graduated from High School in 1936. I was visiting the home of my relatives in Pennsylvania, and Bob Cochran, the good looking friend of my cousin, Walter Jewell,was visiting and at some time he said, "Don't think it hasn't been nice!" Obviously I was impressed by him and the saying and it has stuck in my brain for many years. I have found it useful!

What is your favorite perfume or cologne? What fragrance gives you the nicest childhood memories and which one gives you the best adult memories?

I don't use perfume. I never knew the fragrance which my 7th and 8th grade English teacher, Teresa Olson, used, but for years I could identify that fragrance--not by name, but used by her! She was a beautiful tall Swede, an excellent teacher, and very well liked by her students. When she passed by my desk breathing was pure pleasure for me! My favorite fragrance as an adult is that of the fresh air and pine trees in Colorado! This means to me wonderful times with the family in the mountains.

Name your favorite books.

I like books by Tony Hillerman. He wrote mysteries about life in the Southwest--indians!
I recently reread Heidi, the children's book which I remember my mother reading to me as a child. I am amazed at the words which a child hopefully could understand. They must not have daunted me when I was 8 years old, for I loved that book then!
I enjoyed "Hitty, Her First Hundred Years", a prize winning children's book which I have read several times.
I enjoy biographies, Andrew Wyeth, Grant and Twain, Georgia O'Keeffe, Richard Nixon....
Sea of Glory by David Poling was of particular interest because I lived through the time he told about and knew about the Poling family.
etc. etc. etc. I love to read!

What is your favorite rock group?

I have absolutely no interest in rock groups!

What are your all-time favorite movies?

I believe my favorite movie has been "Out of Africa". The scenery is so beautiful, the love story so compelling, the music memorable!

What's your favorite beverage?

Probably my favorite beverage is cold water or hot water, or milk! Let it not be luke-warm though!


What do you prefer for breakfast on a weekend as opposed to during the week?

The breakfast on week-ends of former years was usually nearly the same as any other day. However now I am living in a very nice retirement home and brunch is the only meal served here on Sunday and so I have no breakfast.

What are your favorite restaurants?

I enjoy "Windchimes" a very nice Chinese resturant near my dwelling. The food is good and different, the ambience is very pleasant, the price is right!

What recipe are you famous for? Did anyone ever insult you regarding your cooking skills? What dish you usually bring to a pot luck or picnic?

My three layer chocolate cake made "from scratch" put together with white mountain frosting on a large glass cake plate. It is always nice too if flowers and greenery or autumn leaves are available to place around the cake.

When were you first introduced to coffee? How do you take your coffee? Do you have a favorite mug?

No, I didn't like coffee when I started drinking it, and I don't care very much for it now. It tastes best with desert. Actually hot water is my favorite hot drink!

What is your favorite Campbell's soup?

Of all homemade soups, I find it a toss-up between tomato and vegetable!

Do you follow any nutritional "rules" such as strictly vegetarian, kosher, organic, etc.?


Have you ever had breakfast in bed?

I have had breakfast in bed a few times. The most times were when I was in the hospital, another time was on Mother's day, I believe.

Have you ever been on a successful diet? If so, how many pounds did you lose?

Since my mother had diabetes, my physician father warned me about gaining weight. My normal weight since college days has been about 135 lbs. There was a time when we lived in Westerville Ohio when I weighed 150! This was eventually taken off and I continue to weigh about 138-140 now.

What's the water like in your town? Is it drinkable? Do you drink bottled water by choice?

I grew up in Kansas and have lived in Nebraska for over 50 years. We are fortunate to be over the Oglala Aquafer which contains good quality water. I have never felt the need to drink bottled water.

What personal staples are always and always in your kitchen or refrigerator?

I always have cereal, milk, bread, butter, peanut butter, eggs, soup, soda crackers, graham crackers, sugar, fruit.

Moments From Your Adult Life

Did you and your mate often go dancing? Where? What music did you dance to? Did you and your mate have "our song"? Which dances were popular?

No, the father of my children, Jack, didn't learn how to dance and never really wanted to learn. Howard had belonged to two dance clubs, but I think that was because his wife, Elma, liked to dance. He and I were asked to belong to a dance club but he didn't want to do that and I didn't want to join enough to push it! The popular music of the 40's was very singable and romantic to dance to! I can sing many of the songs even today. Yes, Jack and my song was "Deep Purple", Howard's and my song was "Lara's Tune" from the movie, Dr. Zhivalgo. Not too many men knew how to waltz but that was a neat step! I don't know what we called "ballroom dancing" other than that, but it was varied in steps and could be romantic in embrace!

When you and your friends got together, what did you do? Whose home did you go to most often? Did your children become friends with your friends' children? How did you meet the friends you are most comfortable with now?

I think for two reasons, Jack and I didn't have a big social life. After a working day, either at the office or when he was traveling 5 days a week, he was happy to be at home just with the family. Being an only child, I am content to do my own thing, only at times craving fellowship. We did have friends, had them over for dinner and an evening of talking, but in no way did we need lots of interaction with others. Howard too was content to be at home, and more so as he grew older

What kind of movies do you find yourself drawn to....adventure, epic, violent, comedy? Do you go to movies now as much as you used to? Why or why not?

I don't attend movies much, I never did! I have seen a few I liked very much. I think I go mostly when someone asks me to go with them, not the other way around.

What books do you like to read? Novels, biographies, romance, science fiction? Do you have a specific part of the house for books? What is the last book you read? Why did you choose that one? Where were you sitting when you read it?

I like biographies best, sometimes a mystery. Yes, I had a library and had to give most of the books away when I made the move to my present abode. I am again moving, this time to New York state and have had to downsize again, much to my sorrow. Those books which are left are by my favorite authors, poetry, and devotional materials. The last book I read was an autobiography by Madaeline Albright. I was impressed by what I saw of her on TV and wanted to know more about her. I always sit in an easy chair to read.

Are you friendly with your neighbors? Do you sit down for an evening together on the porch or patio or are you merely cordial with them, nodding acquaintances? Have you ever had a neighbor whom you've loved and lost? Were you close to a family that later moved away?

Yes, I am friendly with my neighbors. I really do enjoy them and keep friends a long, long time. I still keep in touch with friends I had in High School and college. One of the joys of Christmas is hearing from friends far and wide. Yes, I have lost friends because of death--my close friend, Phyllis Harrington who lived across the street. Also Marian Stubbs was two houses away on the corner. Mrs. Jones, my husband's boss' mother lived several blocks away, but I visited her often and only because of needing to prepare dinner for my family did I miss being with her when she died. My good friend, Beth Harrod, my daughter's piano teacher, was in a comma when I last saw her. Friends are very important to me, I really treasure them!!!

Are you a member of any club or social group? Have you ever spent time doing charitable work? If so, why was the charity important to you?

I am not really a "club" person! I have belonged to church choirs all my life until the last four years, for I can't sing well any more. I belong to a book club which meets monthly. The weekly Bible study group I have belonged to for nearly 30 years has disbanded because so many of us have died! I did volunteer work at a local hospital for several years and did it because it is important to serve one's community and I enjoyed it.

Is there anything you need that you don't have?

There is nothing that I can think of that I need. Right now as I am preparing to move to New York State to be near my daughter in the last years of my life, I have more than I need and am having to get rid of a good many possessions, for I have too much to get into the rooms I will have. Besides, I can't ultimately "take it with me"!! I have three thoughtful, loving children and their spouses, reasonably good health, hopefully enough money to "see me through", and most of all a God who has promised to be with me to help me in whatever lies ahead!

Do you take a little respite for yourself everyday? For example, a drink before dinner, a walk before dark, or a quiet moment in a spot where you're all alone to collect your thoughts?

I am in my apartment by myself alot of the time and I like that. I like people, but I also enjoy being alone.

How do / did you exercise?

Here where I live we have a period of exercise every morning for 20 minutes, and I usually do that. I find I don't do well walking outside as I did for many years. It is something about the way my heart pumps! I walk in the long halls, but not any length of time. I credit water exercise with cureing me of Fibro Myalgia which I had 15 years ago.

What do / did you do for fun?

Most of life is fun! I enjoy talking with friends, keeping my scrapbook up to date, reading, even answering these questions except for the times I write out a long answer and then I don't remember to save it!!!

Politics and History

Who was the best president of any country ever? Who was the worst president? Which president of the United States did you admire most? Did you ever meet a famous politician? What happened?

I think our best president was Lincoln, though he probably was not considered to be that in his time. How can one judge who was the worst? I just hope it is not the one we have now! He is George W. Bush. He surely seems to have gotten us into a mess by declaring war in Iraq! I guess I admire Lincoln the most. Dwight Eisenhower was a very popular president during my lifetime, largely because he was a good general and brought about victory for the USA in WW2. I have never met a famous politician, but I do have a personal letter from Mrs. Mamie Eisenhower, written to me in answer to one of congratulation and satisfaction which I wrote to them after his election as president. That was exciting!

Do you have a strong political party alliance? Have you ever worked on a campaign? Have you ever worked at a polling place?

I grew up in Kansas, which has been a Republican state forever, and so I am a republican. I don't vote a straight ticket always, trying to choose the best candidate for the job. No, I have not ever worked on a campaign but I have worked at a polling place.

Which domestic problems are most important in your town today? In your country? In the world?

I believe the use of drugs and declining social morals are the greatest worry in our world. Now, in the beginning of the 21st century we are at war with the Muslim world, or with dissonants of that world, with mass killings, beginning with bombings in New York City and the distruction of the World Trade Center there. Now there seem to be Al-Kida (? spelling) units all over the world carrying out mass killings. I think our economy is in trouble and surely the cost of Medicare to all seniors is a load the economy can't handle forever. Starvation in Africa is another tragedy we can't continue to do little about. The imbalance of wealth is a crime with a few people having so much. Happily, some wealthy people do very much good with their wealth.

What have been your causes over the years? What did you do about issues that bother you?

I am embarassed to say that I have done little actively about the causes I am worried about besides giving at least a tenth percent of my income to charitable causes and my church.

Which campaign slogans stick in your mind? Why?

"Tippicanoo and Tyler too" sticks in my mind, though it certainly was used long before I was born. It rhymes so well! Another one, "I like Ike" is one I remember. He was a Kansan, as am I. He was a successful WW2 general and a man whose demeaner I admired.

Have you ever gone against popular opinion or beliefs and, if so, has this caused any problems?

No, I have not been suffiently excercised about any circumstance to rise up and fight!

Have you seen racial injustice first hand? Have you ever been the target of prejudice?

No, I have not seen racial injustice. My family was always tolerant of other races. We had only one black girl in my grade school classes, and while I didn't shun her, I don't remember particularly chumming with her. I remember as payment for doctor's care a black man, "Mr. Thomas", cut the grass of our lawn when I was a child. I used to follow him around the yard as he mowed and I suppose I bombarded him with questions, for I remember him saying to me, "Don't you know little girl, don't you know?" I have never been the object of prejudice.

Is there a government policy that you strongly disagree with? Did you ever demonstrate about it?


How do you feel about the United Nations?

I think it is limited in it's ability to function, but it is better to have a place where the object is to discuss matters of world import and hopefully arrive at a wise decision and action.

Do you think the welfare system is run correctly?

With such a huge operation it is very difficult to avoid misuse. Having never been personally acquainted with that program I don't know the real pros and cons. I hear about the abuse of the program,and of course, those who need it and benefit probably are not voicing their opinions.

Your Community

Some people prefer to describe the community in which they lived most of their years rather than where they are living now. What is the name of the community you would like to describe in the following series of questions? In what city, state and country is it located? What are the dates you lived there?

I have lived over 50 years in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. We moved to Lincoln in 1953 and I expect to move to Rochester, New York the last of September 2005.

What were the big businesses? Did you know any of the community leaders? Did you become one?

Lincoln, Nebraska is one of the prairie states, in central USA, it is agricultural in it's business. Lincoln is the capitol city of Nebraska, is the home of the "University of Nebraska" at Lincoln. There are three other schools of higher learning here. Two world-wide pharmaceutical companies have home offices here as well as the Kawasaki motors plant. My husband was president of "Norden Laboratories", one of the pharmaceutical companies, the producer of products for the Veterinary profession which shipped products world-wide. I was not a community leader, but married to one!

Were there major highways going through your town? What and how far is the next largest city? What is the nearest airport? How do people get to the airport in your town? Cab? Shuttle? Good friends?

Yes, one of the major East-West highways of the nation, US 80, runs through the outskirts of Lincoln. Omaha, Nebraska is larger than Lincoln and is 60 miles east by highway. Lincoln has it's own airport and is reached by car.

Which public buildings do you use? The library? The municipal swimming pool? Town tennis courts? What is your local newspaper? Has you name ever been mentioned in one? Has your picture ever appeared?

I make frequent use of the libraries which are unusually fine here. I have been to the swimming pools, but not for some time. The Lied Center for Performing Arts is a wonderful site for educational programs of all sorts. The University of Nebraska campus provides sites for all sorts of educational programs. The Lincoln Journal is the one city newspaper and I have always been a subscriber. I think you would consider churches as buildings open to all. My husband and I were charter members of Eastridge Presbyterian Church. This was a wonderfully significant endeavor. It grew to have more than a thousand members in it's first 50 years. I also was among the first to sign up for the new very fine retirement housing which was being built in the south part of town. This residence, "The Landing at Williamsburg", is a wonderful facility which offers opportunities for learning as well as entertainment. I have enjoyed living here so very much.

Was there a heavily delineated rich side of town and poor side of town? Did they have specific names? Did you spend much time in either?

There was some distinction when we moved to Lincoln of rich and poor areas, but in the last five years this has surely expanded. I didn't know it if these areas had names. Apparently Lincoln has became known as the place where you could get ALOT for your money in the housing field. Huge houses have been built to the east and south of the city on acreages--the years of early 2000 have shown huge growth in the city. We built a house on an acreage in 1970, our dream house, but it was far from a mansion in comparison with those being built now!

Do you use public transportation? Is it decent and fairly easy to use? Is it safe? How much does it cost? Where do you catch it?

No, I do not use public transportation since I still drive my own car. That transportation is available in Lincoln, however I think the bus system is little used.

Have you ever had any dealings with the local police or firefighters? Have you had friends or relatives on the force?

No, I have had no professional dealings with either of these services, however we have friends in the church who are on the police force. From knowing them and reading of the activity of these two services in the newspaper, I think it is a very fine group of men and women, doing a very good job in our city.

Is there a local parade every year? Annual festival? Tourist draws?

Yes, there are a couple of yearly parades which draws the local people here in Lincoln. However, a neighboring town, Wilber, which has a "Czech Republic" Festival each year draws tourists for miles around.

Which buildings come to mind when you think of your downtown? How would you describe your skyline?

The first building which comes to mind is our state capitol building which is unique in beauty and is featured in books of buildings of outstanding architectural merrit. The "Lied Center of Performing Arts" on the University of Nebraska campus is a lovely building as well as the little jewel of the "Sheldon Art Gallery".

Where do you shop? What is the big department store in town? Do you prefer small boutiques? Is there a mall in your town? Is there a farmers' market nearby?

I am not impressed by the big stores which have bought out the former locally owned stores of earlier days. They have so much merchandise jammed together and no clerks to help you, so I prefer to use a Knight's women's apparel shop usually. Yes, there are a couple of malls which I dislike using, there also is a Farmer's Market which used to be fun to attend. However, I haven't been there for several years. Do I sound like an octogenerian?!

Your House Now

Some people prefer to describe the home in which they lived most of their years rather than the home in which they are living now. What is the address of the home you would like to describe in the following series of questions? What are the dates you lived there?

I have lived in 17 homes in my lifetime, and while the # 3 Mockingbird Lane home was not the house I lived in the longest, nor the one I live in now, I choose it because it is the one Jack and I planned and built and enjoyed for only three years together before his death. However, I lived there 7 more years. We bought an acreage south of Lincoln, three lots, and built our dream house. There were two vacant lots with trees and wild plums growing there, one on either side of the house lot. Jack planted a small orchard on one side of the front yard; a winding drive led from the main circle drive to our house. He mowed paths through the side lots and we enjoyed walking through these paths observing the wild life there. The house we planned was two story with dormers and attached garage. The garage had a large attic where we stored my parent's furniture and other unused items. There was an outside back stairs to the attic of the garage Another entry was through the closet of one of the three bedrooms. The house had three bathrooms. Two baths were upstairs and downstairs there was a toilet and shower next to a small all purpose room which could serve as a guest bedroom. The front entry had only three steps up into the house and inside, the front hall was tiled. To the left was a large den with fireplace and room for a large desk, TV, other seating and an open kitchen. The stairs leading up to the bedrooms were nearly opposite the front door. Straight ahead were the hall closet,and wooden half-doors which swung open, half to either side, where one entered the dining room. The living room was to the right of the front door and ran the width of the house. It too had a fireplace. An open doorway led from living room to dinning room. French doors opened from the dining room onto a very large screened in porch where we had table and chairs for eating, and at the other end porch furniture for enjoying a "living room" out of doors! In the summertime it was delightful to use the "pass through" windows above the kitchen sink to put dishes, and food on the shelf, which were then put onto the porch table. Jack had built two long curved terrace retaining walls and beyond those were his flower and vegetable gardens. The sight of all this could be enjoyed from the porch. A full unfinished basement held storage space, Jack's work shop, and a large room with a ping pong table in the center. Here we had dinners when there were too many guests to be seated in the dining room. This room could be acsessed from the outside by stairs which led up to the large back porch and on outside through the screen door.
Mockingbird Lane was in the shape of a race track. Ten or twelve houses were all that were there when we built in 1970. There were several lots besides our two which were were not built upon. Along our south boarder was a row of wild plumb bushes which were so fragrant when in bloom. Many kinds of birds frequented those bushes and deer from Wilderness Park, a city undeveloped park near-by, was home to many kinds of wild animals.
There was lots of sky visible and a star-studded sky was a treat to enjoy while taking a strole around Mockingbird circle, or a breath-takingly beautiful sunset admired from an upstairs window. It was indeed our dream home!

Why do you like your home? What do you dislike about your home? Do you have an attic? If so, what is in it?

We didn't have an attic, as such, in our Mockingbird Lane home, the attic of the larger than double garage served that purpose. It was neither heated nor cooled. It could be reached by means of an outside stairway, or through a long closet which served one of the bedrooms. I remember one day when our daughters, now grown, opened the huge box holding the soft toys from their childhood days. Neither girl had played with dolls much, but each had many soft toys, even to a thin strip of carpet to which a button had been sewn at one end. The name, "Ruggie" had been given to this "toy"! How they laughed in remembering! I also remember that when the house was being built Jack and I, Tom and Mary Jane Huxtable, and my 85 year old father went out to the house-site with provisions for a picnic. We all, including my dad, climbed a ladder to reach the upstairs "door opening" of this "attic", pulled saw horses together, placed boards across them for a table and sat on boxes while we ate. The view was wonderful from up there!

What is the most comfortable room in your home? What is your favorite chair? Favorite place to read? Where do you usually sit to talk on the phone? Where do you usually do your computer work?

We spent most of our time in the den which was separated from the kitchen by a partial dividing wall. This allowed seeing into the kitchen from the den. Jack's large office desk sat against that wall, the desk which Joe has now. The phone was on the desk. I recall at the time Peg and Carlos lived with me, two or three year old Carlos loved to get the pots and pans from the kitchen cupboards and bring them around the corner to put them up as high as he could reach onto the desk. The adult on the phone was tied up in conversation and by the time the phone conversation was over he would have a whole line up of pans on the desk! Ordinary people didn't have computers in those days! Jack had a recliner, I had a swivel rocker placed in favorable positions to view the TV.

Do you have the same furniture as when you were raising your children? Do you have the kitchen you want? How would you change it? Enough room for books? How would you change your current home if you decided not to move? What addition would you make to your house now if you could?

Yes, we had, and I do have, some of the same furniture, except for an update on the TV set, washer and dryer. The wall across from the fireplace was in shelves. These held our books, shelves for art objects, and a large open space where a favorite picture was hung. That was the largest house we ever had. After Jack's death it has been a series of down-sizeing until now, when I am planning to be in two rooms plus kitchen and bath. I am in this process now and trying to finish this writing project before the move! It is difficult to pare down one's belongings, especially when a good deal of it is inheritence. I am the third generation to recieve the Chickering inheritance--this includes an 1835 ornate beautiful walnut bed and dresser made by my great grandfather, many pictures, several Bibles!!, a few books, two scrapbooks, several copies of ancient newspapers and a small wooden box of assorted keepsakes! It is an interesting and treasured collection and I hope it will be treasured by the next generations. But now, back to the questions!

What type of trees grow on your property? Describe what your garden looks like each year and what is in it.

The Mockingbird Lane home had been a cultivated field in days gone by. Scrub trees and bushes had grown up, some of which had to be removed before our house was built. Pine and Spruce trees had been left in what would be the front yard, and also Elm and Hackberry trees. Jack's gardens on the upper level terrace were a profusion of color in summer. He had peonies, penstamon, daisies---onions, radishes, corn, watermelon, cantalope---goodness, it is hard to remember back nearly 40 years! He was a great gardner and had a profusion of flowers as well as vegetables. When he was a youth it had been his great pleasure to help his mother garden on their farm. I am sure it was satisfaction for him to remember those days as he was working in his garden for she had died when he was in college.

What do you see from your kitchen window?

It was my pleasure to look from the kitchen window, through the screens of the large back porch, to the riot of color on the upper terrace where Jack was working. In those days a largely unused 14th street was east of our house lot,and Jack's flower and vegetable gardens. East of 14th street were the large pine trees of Memorial Park Cemetery. One morning I made a recording of "morning sounds" from my upstairs bedroom window. Morning Doves, Brown Thrashers, Sparrows, Meadow Larks, and there were two owls atop the TV antennae who announced the morning! Only a very occasional car passed by on the street! Now 14th street has been widened and a new High School built a block away----gone are those morning sounds!

What is your decorating style now compared to the decorating style with which you were raised?

I think my decorating style nowadays is quite similar, though I have much more household goods! The pictures of those early days show 9 by 12 foot rugs on hardwood floors in contrast to complete carpeting. However, hardwood floors are returning to "fashion" these days! Of course, I have now, being the only child of my parents, the treasures my parents had plus treasures I have accumulated!

Have you ever had a feud with your neighbors? What happened? Is it resolved?

I have NEVER had any disagreement with neighbors!

Tell us about your dream home. Where is it located? What does it look like? What is special about it?

My dream home is the home I have told about on Mockingbird Lane in Lincoln, Nebraska. We planned and had it built, watching it go up room by room. This was Jack's great pleasure to plan and see our home come into being. Our friends at the church surprised us with a housewarming party and later we had a dinner, inviting our minister and wife,Tom and Mary Jane Huxtable; our best friends, Ed and Helen McConnell; and Winston and Teressa Ho, our foreign students. After dinner we had a short dedication service, giving thanks for our new home. What great pleasure we had living in our "dream home".We had moved into the house in November 1970 and Jack died September 4. 1973. He was "working out" at the YMCA, as usual, playing a game of racketball with three of his Norden friends, when he made a wonderful return, everyone was cheering, when he dropped dead on the floor. He had passed from "life" to "LIFE" !
I continued to live there until 1980. One of my saddest and most memorable memories is of finishing the final cleaning of the house before turning it over to the new owners. I had washed and polished every room, upstairs and down, working my way out the back door and through the garage. It was night and after finishing cleaning the garage I pushed the garage button to lower the door,then standing outside I watched the door slowly close. The light grew less and less until I was standing in the darkness. I cry now, to think of how I felt. I drove to my daughter, Peg's house, and we mourned together.

Everyday Life

What have been your personal landmarks in your life? (e.g., restaurant in your neighborhood, gas station, museum, barn)

The earliest landmark I can remember is the small trianglar park where 17th street and Crescent Blvd met at the top of the triangle at Main Street in my hometown of Hutchinson, Kansas. In this park were several "different" trees from the usual Elm and Cottonwood trees of Kansas. They had shiney green leaves on one side, the other side of the leaf was white and had the texture of leather. I thought they were so strange and different. I walked past this park on the way to school from Kindergarden through 9th grade. The most recent landmark I tell others about when they come to see me. I say, "come south on 40th past Old Cheney Road, and on through the stop light to the next street where you can turn right. You will see two American flags, one on either side of the street, turn right into the parking lot of The Landing!"

What grocery store do you use? How much do you usually spend each trip?

I now live in a large retirement establishment where meals are provided, hence I buy few groceries. However there is a large lovely grocery store a block away. I usually spend about thirty dollars about twice a month on incidentals.

Favorite drug store? Know your pharmacist by name? Favorite drycleaner? What's your favorite book store, hardware store, cookwares store?

A Walgreen Pharmacy is near-by where I buy non drugs, I order my drugs by phone and they are delivered to my door! I do not know the name of the man who delivers my drugs each month. My favorite book store is "Lee Booksellers" which is owned and run by a couple whom I have known since they were in Jr. High School. I buy very little hardware or cookware!

Are there birds or squirrels in your yard? Raccoons or deer?

This being a retirement facility and previous to that farm land, we have no sizeable trees for birds or squirrls, or other wild animals. However, let me tell you about some animals I have loved. Animals have always been very much a part of my family. As an only child Bootsie, my tri colored cat, was my playmate and companion for 12 years of my life. We had dogs too, but none were of great note! Jack's brother's airdale had 12 pups and Jack was given his choice of the litter. He chose Singapore Pete which became his companion, not only in the work place, but also to the parties on the Fort Robinson army post! Not only that, the commanding officer of the post asked that Pete might stay with his family while Jack and I were on our honeymoon! Pete lived for 11 years, accepting all three children and seemed to feel they were part of his responsibility. In old age life became a burden for him and his personal veterinarian finally decided he would have to "put him out of his misery". He put Pete to "sleep" one Saturday morning and buried him in our back yard garden. Our neighbors said later that the next time we were going to have a funeral we should let them know and they would arrange to be gone. It was just too sad a sight! If a headstone were to be put over his grave it would surely carry Jack's favorite description of Pete---"Singapore Pete, Gentleman and Scholar". Of course Peg's english teacher, after reading a "paper" Peg wrote about Pete, using that discription, noted in red ink that those were not qualities of a dog! He just didn't know Pete!
Sam, our last dog, was a real entertainer. Kas made caps and coats for him to wear when he did his tricks. She worked with him, teaching him to jump through a hoop which was covered with tissue paper. He loved to play "hide and seek". We would say, "Sam, go to the kitchen!" Sam would hurry out there and remain until you called, "OK Sam" wherewith he would run into the living room to find the ball which someone had hidden . He always "smelled" it out and the act delighted everyone. His best trick, however, was in catching the correct colored ball. Jack would hold two balls of different colors in his hand and say to our dinner guests, "Which ball do you want him to catch?" Someone would say, "The red one". Jack then said to Sam, "Sam, you are to catch the red one, OK?" Then he, holding both balls together in one hand, would throw them toward Sam. Every time Sam caught the correct one. The guest would say, "Now have Sam stand by you and you throw it out." He caught the desired one every time! It always remained a deep mystery and Sam was considered to be a very smart dog! The answer was never told until after Jack's death, but Jack had discovered that Sam always caught the ball on his left, and so, in throwing it, always managed to throw it to Sam so that the desired ball would be on Sam's left! What a great "parlor trick"!
My last cat was Jezabel, a beautiful tri color, long haired feline! She always was sitting on the window sill waiting for me to come home, which was really nice those years when there was no one else to greet me! One winter I went on a tour with Hastings College students to Great Briton. Not wanting her water to freeze I set it on my hot pad, turned to "low". I knew she had plenty of dry food, but Ginny, Joe's wife, said she would check on her every now and then. I recieved a letter in London from Ginny saying, "You don't need to worry about Jezabel being cold, when I checked on her she had pushed her water dish off of the hot pad and was sitting on it! I miss her, and the five china cats I now have don't replace her!

What time do you get up in the morning?

I don't sleep very well these days. I often am awake at 3:30, or 4:00. I took a muscle relaxant for several years during the time I had fibro myalgia and continued to take a very small amount of that. Eventually the doctor thought I should go off of that, and I have had a hard time sleeping ever since. It is exasperating to have to lie awake! Sometimes I get up and read awhile and can then get back to sleep, but I always wake up by 6:30 and go to breakfast at 7:30.

What part of housework do you dislike the most? Do you have a housekeeper or a handyman?

I think it is dusting. It is very nice to have my rooms cleaned every two weeks here where I live. She doesn't do a very good job at the dusting, but once in awhile I dust what she has missed. I never had a maid until I moved into this retirement home.

What's your daily routine?

I get up at 6 or 6:30, sometimes take a shower, dress and make the bed, take my medicine and go to breakfast and enjoy eating with the group of people who, like me are early risers. I read the paper and go to "Stretch" for 15 or 20 minutes. Morning group devotions and announcements come next. Then at 10:00 are classes, study, writing class, a talk sometimes, I usually return to my room then and do sometihing until it is time to fix myself some lunch. I check my e-mail, work on this Remembering program, or write e-mails to friends. Sometimes I read in the afternoon, wash or iron, or do errands or go to book club or whatever. Dinner is at 5:15 and I usually just walk down to the dining room and eat with whomever shows up. Often we have a program in the evening and after that I usually watch TV. Bedtime is about 11 o'clock when I have a time for my devotions.

Is there someone you talk with everyday?

No, I often talk with one of my daughters, but certainly not every day. Maybe that happens once a week.

Talk about getting older. Do you ever feel slowed by age? When did you start feeling this?

Well, I have been slowed down by age!! I guess it was maybe five years ago. That was when I was in my early 80's. The last 2 or 3 years have made quite a difference.


Are you usually late or early?

I am usually early, I don't like to keep others waiting for me!

Are you more comfortable speaking or writing? Do you enjoy talking on the phone more than writing letters?

Whether I am more comfortable speaking or writing depends on the situation. I usually find speaking easy to do, though not public speaking. This gets more difficult as I get older. My mind just does not function well and remembering names is pure torture! However, I write very many notes to people. I write a few long letters to relatives and feel in this day of e-mail communication, a hand written letter is a real gift which I love to receive. I value letters a great deal, but phone is a great way of communication.

Do you have any superstitions?

No, I have no superstitions.

Do you have certain days of the week you do certain chores?

No, not any more, I haven't any certain day for certain chores. The only day which is invariably set is Sunday, a time for worship in a church sanctuary. It has been a long time since I had certain days for wash day, ironing day, shopping, cleaning etc.

Do you eat your meals at the same time everyday? What do you most often eat?

Yes, meal time is pretty regular. For the last four years in this retirement home, I have gone to the dining room to eat breakfast with the first "eaters" at 7:30. A snack is my lunch about noon, and I eat with friends about 5:30. Breakfast is hot cereal, fresh or canned fruit, yogurt, fruit juice, milk, and sometimes toast or sweet roll. For lunch I have a sandwich and fruit, or a bowl of soup and milk and cookie. Dinner is in the large dining room with the residents. This is a full meal of appetizer, salad or soup, meat and a couple of vegetables, and desert.

Do you sing in the shower?

No, I don't sing in the shower!

Do you garden? Vegetable, flower, herbs?

No, I have never gardened. Both of my husbands liked to garden. I liked picking the flowers, arranging them and enjoying them!

What is the first thing you usually do when you come home from work?

Being a housewife in the years when my full job was in the home, I was usually home! Now when I come home from eating dinner I often change into my housecoat for reading or watching TV.

Do you play the lottery? Have you ever won?

No, I have never played the lottery, and am very much against doing that. The odds are too great for me losing my money!

Have you ever been addicted to anything?

I wonder what my addictions are! I think they are clean air, fresh water, comfortable bed, comfortable temperature, some food. I miss the manifestations of the love of my husbands. I guess one could say that I have been addicted to all of the above, but addicted to drugs or cigarettes---no!


Describe what you look like now. Have you been happy with the way you look? What did you look like as a teenager? As a young child? If you had to name a famous person whom you looked like, who would it be? Who would you most like to look like?

At 86 years of age I am told I am unusually healthy. I am short from my seat to my head which is apparent when I sit at a dining room table. My chin is perhaps 8 inches above the table top. It is better for me to be sitting on a pillow! I am probably 5'4" and weigh 134 pounds--at this age too much weight seems to be in my my abdomen! My hair, which used to be very thick and curley is now thin, is neither brown or grey, but a mixture. My eyes are blue, with heavy greying eyebrows. My ears used to be small, but now have gotten large! The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers of my right hand are crooked due to my shutting my hand in the revolving door in the 1960s. The problem wasn't apparent until a few years ago. This makes quilting and other actions difficult. I have played the piano nearly all my life and now it is difficult to reach over an octive, which is required in playing, "To A Wild Rose", my signature piece! I still have almost all my teeth, I hear well, and am still driving my car. I am a fortunate woman!

Has your appearance played an important part in your getting along in the world? Do you think it's been detrimental or beneficial?

I don't think it has made much difference.

What is your best feature? Your worst? Do you have any birthmarks or scars that differentiate your looks absolutely from anyone else?

I don't know that I have any best or worst feature. I guess someone else would have to say what that is. Since adolescence I have been pretty well satisfied with what I was given, a female facsimile of my father! I have a mole about 6 inches above my right knee which I noticed my Aunt Sara Wolf also had a similar one.

Have you ever considered plastic surgery? If so, did you end up doing it? If not, why not? In all truth, are you vain?

No, I surely have not considered that! I guess I must have been taught that it is what you are to other people and the quality of your own life that is more important than the physical appearence. No, I don't think I am vain!

What would you change about your appearance? Do you wish you were taller or shorter?

It would be handy to be a little taller, but I manage!

Do you remember getting your first suit and tie? Your first pair of nylons and heels?

I was busy raising children in the '60's. I don't think I had it nearly as hard in raising children in the 60's as parents have now in the early 21st century. As I look back now, I think we had a very fine life in the 60's. My husband had a job he loved with a company he was very proud of. It was doing well and he was a part of that success. The children were doing well in college and high school, we had an Argentine student living with us for a year which was beneficial and interesting, also we sponsored an Austrian family to the states and that was an interesting challenge. As I look back on that time, I would say it was a stimulating time of growth for us all. The fact that we lived in Mid America probably was a factor it being easier to raise children during that time.

What is your family look?

I resemble my father very much. My children resemble their father so much that when my father entered my hospital room after the birth of our third child he remarked, "It looks like you could have had one Chickering!" Through the years however, the "Knappenberger" looks have been combined with the "Chickering" to a small degree! Since their father died at age 57 it is both a pleasure and haunting to have, particularly our son, resemble his father so much.

Have you ever had any facial hair? Did you try different styles of mustaches and beards? What is the natural color of your hair?

This question probably was meant for the men, however women also have problems with facial hair, and more so as years pass! I must say, I have never tried to "style" the growth! I have that problem, mostly on my chin, and dread the time in my dotage when I may not be aware or am unable to take care of the removal! The natural color of my hair was brown, now is "muckle dun" with white!

Is there something you remember particularly well that you wore in high school or college?

Yes, my step-mother bought and sent to me in college a dress I always loved wearing. She and I wore the same size, so she could buy clothes and send them to me and they fit! She sent me two favorite dresses. The first one was a blue crepe trimmed in dubonnet. The skirt had an attached slip of blue taffeta with a small dubonnet ruffle at the bottom. The neckline was square and the slightly puffed sleeves had a dubonnet quarter inch gro-grain ribbon around the bottom of the short sleeve finished with a bow. The bodice had small embroidered flowers every now and then. Oh so pretty! It ended in the "dress-up box" of my daughters and I think their father finally disposed of it with the other "dress-up clothes". The other dress Zola sent to me at college was a citron taffeta formal. It arrived the afternoon of the dance, I put it on and it fit perfectly! She did several lovely things for me when I was in college! Among others, she sent me apricot bars, which were my delight. My favorite friends liked them too!

What fashion trends have you seen come and go? Do you prefer traditional clothing or eccentric dress? Did you have long hair in the sixties?

I don't pay too much to fashion trends. I prefer traditional clothing, and try to dress attractively for my age!


Where were you when your child told you that you were going to be a grandparent? What were your first words?

That is nearly 33 years ago! I know I was delighted, but what was said I do not know. Peg's husband called from Milwaukee to tell me that Carlos had been born. Joe called from Tokyo to tell me of Elise's birth. I remember very well where I was when I learned I was to become a great grandmother! I was visiting my son and his family in Athens, Georgia. It was just before Easter and all of us adults were coloring Easter eggs. My grand daughter was busy painting her egg when she casually said she was pregnant! Some of us wept for joy!

Who called you from the hospital to tell you your first grandchild was born? What time was it? Who was the first person you called?

I don't remember the answer to any of these questions.

What did you think the first time you held your grandchild?

I thought he looked like his grandfather Jack who had died two weeks previously.

Were you able to go over to the house much and help out with the new baby? Did you cook dinner for the new family for awhile or bathe the baby? Did you stay over or come and go in the mornings and evenings? When did your grandchild first say your name? Were you at your house or at the child's house? What do you grandchildren call you?

My first grandchild was Carlos Joaquin Camacho who lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and I lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. His grandfather had died just two weeks previously and I was in the middle of very many responsibilities. I finished them as soon as possible and was happy to leave Lincoln and go to where there was new life! I think I was there for a couple of weeks before returning to responsibilities here at home. I have no idea when he first said "Grama", which is the name all four grandchildren called me.

Did you ever make anything by hand for your grandchild? A needlepoint pillow? A wooden toy? A quilt?

I don't remember making anything for Carlos. I remember making a quilt for the third grandchild. It was for Lori Elisabeth. I put together blocks made by Peg, Kas, Alicia Kreidl, and me following a vacation we females had enjoyed in the Estes Park area of Colorado. Each person drew on a block of white muslin a picture of something we had done during that week and embroidered it. I put them together with clever printed material which celebrated two hundred years since our country became the United States. This was a gift for Kas' first child, Lori Elisabeth who was "in basket" when we were Colorado vacationing and born February 28, 1976.

Did you buy things for the baby often? Did you baby-sit often? What toys do/did you keep for the grandchild in your own home? Do you enjoy taking your grandchildren out for dinner? Were they monsters or angels?

I didn't buy things for the baby often. They lived in Milwaukee and I didn't see much of them until Peg came home, when getting a divorce from Franc when Carlos was about 18 months old. They then were in the same town with me until Carlos was in the fifth grade, I believe, when they moved to Omaha where Peg had a good teaching job. We kept games, puzzles, and a kite at our house. We didn't eat out often. It was cheaper to eat at home. That is one thing I have regreted, that we didn't eat out more when my children were small. Jack traveled and ate out all week and was not interested in doing that while at home. I hadn't eaten out when I was a child either, very different from today's families! Hence, I am uncomfortable in ordering and paying for resturant eating now! I have no background for experiencing interaction with grandparents, since almost never having been with mine. I am afraid I haven't been a very good one to my grandchildren.

Have you ever taken your grandchild on a trip with you? Were you satisfied with the way this trip turned out? Do you bring souvenirs to your grandchildren when you travel without them?

Yes, when Carlos was 12 I took him on a bus trip to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. It was a very good experience and I think we both enjoyed it alot. The trip was an interim trip with college students from Chadron State College.

How would you discipline your grandchildren differently from the way their parents do? What do they do that drives you crazy? How will / would you have fixed that?

I probably would have disciplined them somewhat differently, but I think it is a good thing to let the parents do their "thing". I had my chance with them and now it is their business to deal with their children! All the grandchildren are grown now and are very fine adults, I am very proud of all of them.
This section about grandchildren would not be complete without my speaking of the death of my first grandchild, Carlos. He was so dear to me because he was the first. He came two weeks after his grandfather's death, and he lived in Lincoln for several years when he was small. He was exceptionally bright, had a wonderful sense of humor, and was developing into a fine adult. He worked at "Runza", a fast food place for several years, demonstrating his dependability, and capability. However, there most of the workers smoked cigarettes. In spite of the fact that he tried many times to quit the habit, he returned to it. He was a great reader and one night while reading and smoking he went to sleep and was killed by smoke inhalation. It was unspeakable sorrow and loss for his mother and for me. I grieved for both of them. I am so impressed by the fortitude of my child, how I love and admire her for what she is as a mature woman!

Do your grandchildren ever come to spend the night with you? How do you spend those evenings?

Carlos spent the night with my second husband and me a few times. We played "Uno" and star checkers with him. It has been so long ago since they were small, I have forgotten how it used to be! Now my son is a grandfather and he enjoyed having a baby near at hand for eight months before his daughter moved to Colorado, which is a long way from Georgia! That is the trouble with life today, dear ones live so far away. The good part is that it is easier to go visit them than it was when I was a child. Distance, responsibility and lack of money kept me from seeing my grandparents more than four or five times in their lifetime. As I write this I am expecting my grand daughter, Elise, her husband, and daughter Ainsley to visit me before I leave for New York. It is thoughtful of her to be willing to drive from Denver to Lincoln, Nebraska so that I can see them. We plan to drive to Peg and Paul Rupprecht's home in Columbus Nebraska to spend part of the time. Since Peg and Carlos lived in Lincoln during the time Joe, Ginny, and Elise lived in Lincoln the two families were close in heart.-----As I write this I am receiving reports on TV on the unbelievable devastation following the Katrina Hurricane. We have one of our residents here at "The Landing" who went to New Orleans to visit her family. She has not been heard from and of course all of us are much concerned and praying for her safety.

Do your grandchildren look like your own children did as babies? Is their temperament similar?

It seems to me they all are their own persons. One thing sure, I love them dearly and am so pleased when I can see them.

Travels and Leisure Time

What did you always like best about the weekends? Did you have a usual routine?

When Jack was in private veterinary practice, Sundays often were not much different from weekdays. When a call came in, he had to go see what he could do for large animals particularly. However, when he took the job of traveling for Norden Laboratory, he had the weekend at home and that was wonderful. Saturday was a day of household work and Sunday was a day for worship in the morning and leisure in the afternoon. It was wonderful to have him home to help with the three children and work and play with us.

What do you like about weekends now? What do you like least?

Weekends now are for relaxed activities of my choosing. Here in the retirement dwelling where I live there are very many activities and options for us to take advantage of through the week. Saturdays and Sundays are days for us to fill as we wish. I like everything about this opportunity, never feeling bored or at loss for something to do.

To what cities in the United States have you traveled? Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

No way could I list the cities I have traveled through in the United States. I have been in all 50 states and in more foreign countries than I could have ever imagined when I was in school! I have been on all continents except Anartica. Our family has a favorite vacation spot---in the Rockies Mountains of Colorado. We have been north, south, east, and west in that state, but my favorite vacation spot is in the Estes Park area. I have visited there since I was in the 5th grade--there is no place quite like it!!

To what foreign countries have you traveled? What cities? What were some of your favorite cities and why?

My, I will have to get out the map to do this! I have been in: Sweden, Finland, Russia, Austria, Belgium,Germany, Leichtenstein, Luxembourg, Holland, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Vatican City,Greece,Turkey, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan,Lebanon, Nepal,Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Egypt, Austrailia, New Zealand, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chili, Argentina, Hawaii. Canada, Mexico.
One of the most interesting cities we visited was Kathmandau, Nepal. I had wanted to go there because it seemed to me to be the farthest further!!! The setting was so spectacular among the Himalaya mountains, the means of getting there so primative (in a very small plane which landed in a field)! The architecture so different, the people living and dressing so differently. I was glad to go to Paris too though they were not nice to American tourists. There were so many interesting and beautiful buildings, Notre Dame and the Eifel Tower, to see there. Amsterdam was very special because it was the first foreign city I saw from the air. It was so clean and the architecture so different from ours, and canals! We had ordered a Citroen car and took delivery of it just outside Paris. This we drove throughout Europe, and had it shipped to Chicago at the end of our tour.

Do you vacation with certain people or is every vacation different?

When Jack and I traveled abroad we never went with others, we always scouted out new places alone. Jack loved maps. He had read alot about places he wanted to see--It had been his dream since childhood to travel. We probably didn't see as many famous places as those on tours, but we saw and did things which those on a large tour could never see or do. However after Jack's death I went on two Hastings College interim tours, one to Italy, Greece, Jordan, Israel and another to England. These were wonderful tours because we all took a topic to research and gave our report the night before seeing the assigned place. I felt it was a wonderful learning opportunity. I traveled three times with personal friends' tour group. These were all in the USA. There were four tours with The Friendship Force, a world wide travel program where we stayed in family homes in foreign countries. I had three Elderhostel tours, a world-wide group experience which usually takes place on a university campus, and once to Egypt with a personal friend who had lived with my family when I was a child. This was a unique and wonderful opportunity. When the children were young we took them with us on a vacation each summer, usually west to Colorado, California, northern Nebraska, the Bad Lands, the Southwest....

When your children were growing up was there a favorite spot? Tell about a typical family vacation or two.

Yes, Colorado has been for me a favorite vacation spot ever since I was in the 5th grade and my family (the 3 of us)used the cottage of a family friend in Glen Haven, which is near Estes Park. When Kas was about nine or ten she started, during the summer, going to Rocky Ridge Music Camp which is just south of Estes Park. The camp concluded with "Festival Week, which was the time the students performed the music they had perfected during the summer. Our family often went for that week to hear the music and to bring her home. I don't remember how we got acquainted with the Zumwinkles who had a group of cottages near the camp, but we stayed in many of their cottages through the years, both before and after Kas' days at Rocky Ridge. One summer our family went to those cottages taking along with us Howard Elm, whom I had been dating. We later were married. I didn't know at the time how very extra ordinary it was for him to vacation in Colorado. It seems, no one in their family likes the mountains at all. No wonder at the height of our climb where there was snow he wanted someone to take his picture there because, he said, without it none of his family or friends would believe he had actually been there!
When the children were young we took other family vacations, chiefly west. We drove to the Black Hills to see the faces of the four presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, carved on the face of a mountain. We camped at Sylvan Lake, and enjoyed the Bad Lands. Another time we drove to California, stopping at the Great Salt Lake so we could go swimming there. We continued on to California to visit Jack's aunts who lived in the Los Angles area and went wading in the Pacific. In Orange County, California where Joe had been born all the orange groves had been cut down to make room for "people"! Seeing his birth area wasn't nearly as memorable as seeing Peg's. This was when we went to Carlsbad Caverans and White Sands, over the line into Mexico. Next into Arizona to show Peg where she had been born, in Bisbee, Arizona in the Copper Queen Hospital. Now, in my mid 80's all this seems very long ago, how good it all seems!

Have you ever camped?

One fall when the children were about 6, 9, and 11 we took a camping trip in early September to the Bad Lands, Black Hills, Devil's Tower, the Big Horn mountains, and home through the Medicine Bow mountains. This was our only camping trip, and memorable it was! There was a full moon the night we camped in the Bad Lands in South Dakota. The moonlight created grotesque shadows of the Toadstools, and crags of that area. We understood why the Indians were lothe to be in that region at night. We were not afraid, but we all do remember that night. We camped just where the visitor's center is now, how different it is! This also was the trip where we spent a night in a double cottage in Wyoming where there were oil lamps to be lit(though there were electric lights), a wood burning stove, and also three or four kittens with which the children were delighted to play!

Is sitting around a fire one of your favorite things?

I remember only once of being around a campfire with the children. It was on our family vacation at Crooked Lake in Michigan. We had two cottages, a large one for my three children and their children--nine of them, and a cottage for Howard and me. The grand children were 13,12,11, and 8. the children enjoyed the water which was almost at our doorstep. We had planned to celebrate Kurt's 9th birthday while there. I brought a boxed cake to make, frosting and candles and a gift. It was a wall hanging of boys playing soccer. This was for his new bedroom. We ate our dinner on a picnic table in the back yard, he blew out all his candles with one mighty blow and we ate the cake! Some of us took a boat ride while Kurt and his dad gathered wood so we could have a bonfire to roast marshmallows and make "some-mores" These are two squares of graham crackers with four little Hershey bar squares and a soft, gooey, roasted marshmallow between the crackers. This is a favorite food whenever anyone goes camping! That night we sat around the fire talking, singing all the songs we could remember--all kinds of songs--camp, patriotic, hymns, popular--most of us have sung all our lives so the selection is LARGE. Bats joined our party but their radar was working so they didn't fly too close to us. The sounds of the night-- the hissing and popping of the fire, the waves lapping on the beach near-by, the harmony of both song and feeling among us has been memorable. It was another wonderful FAMILY vacation!

Have you always been glad to get home?

Yes, it has always been good to get home. Since many of our vacations were to Colorado and living in cabins, home always seemed very luxurious! Only once did I not want to come home. That was when I had been in Japan, helping Joe and Ginny when Elise was born. My dad had suffered a stroke which made his whole right side useless. He had been admitted to a fine health care facility in Lincoln, NE but the concern for him and the care of my home and business after the sudden death of the children's father combined to be a heavy burden. I was very reluctant to return home to responsibilities.

Have you ever taken a trip alone? Did you like that?

It always was fun to travel with Jack. He loved maps, loved exploring. We didn't go on guided tours either in the USA or abroad with others. Perhaps we didn't see as much, but we expereienced things which couldn't ever have happened with a large group. Our first trip abroad was to Europe in 1962. We had five more trips abroad before his death in 1973. In 1974 I went alone to Japan to help when Elise was born and had eight more trips abroad alone before marrying Howard. Of course these were with tours, two with students of Hastings College, six of them with Friendship Force where we stayed in homes, or, as in the case of New Zealand we traveled the second week out. These travels took me to Europe, Alaska, 6 countries in South America, around the world in '68, Japan, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Russia, Portugal. It was a wonderful opportunity and I particularly enjoyed the Friendship Force program of being in homes abroad as well as having guests in our home.


What are you driving now? How many years have you had this vehicle?

I am driving a Toyota Camry, It is a 1999 model. I have had it now 5 years.

When did you get your first car? Did you buy it yourself or did your parents help you?

Jack bought our cars. Our first one after marriage was bought in Las Cruces, New Mexico when he was stationed at Ft.Bliss, Texas. After Jack's death, I bought a two door Nash. Never again a two door! The doors are too big for me to manage! However I liked that car alot. It had a tape deck which I really enjoyed! I bought the car with money my dad left me at his death and it always pleasured me to think that he had bought that car for me! It would have been unthinkable that my parents would have bought me a car before I was married, or even when I was married! We didn't have that kind of money!

If you paid for your first car yourself, how did you earn the money? Were you in love with the car?

This was answered in the previous question.

What was your absolute most favorite vehicle purchase?

The most fun, different car was the Citroen, which has been discussed elsewhere.

How much did gas cost when you got your first car?

I don't remember that, but I remember when gas was 32 cents a gallon. This was in Hutchinson, Kansas. There were oil and gas fields near, whether that made a difference or not, I don't know--probably not--it was cheap everywhere. Now it is $1.35 a gallon and has been here in Nebraska in 2005 $2.04 a gallon. Now after the devastating hurricane, Katrina, gas will probably cost much more--like over $3.00 a gallon!

What color was your first bike? When did you get it? Who taught you to ride a bike?

I never was allowed to have a bike. I guess, since I was an only child, my parents were afraid I would get killed as a result of riding it. I learned to ride on the neighbor boys' bicycles and can ride one even today! The two older neighbor boys, Scott and Bob Herrman taught me to ride.

Did you ever have a motorcycle?


Have you ever had a vanity plate? If so, what did it say? Why?

I have never had a vanity plate.

What is your dream car? Did you ever own one? If money were not an issue, would you still buy it?

I have always thought that cars are a means of transportation and I like to have a car to get me around. I like to have it running well, and looking clean, but having a special car is not important to me.

Who taught you to drive? Did you learn on a stick shift?

My father taught me to drive and I was pleased as punch to be learning. He must have at least suggested that it was important for me to learn because sometime I might need to know how to drive in order to help someone! That was my valiant thought as I was learning! Yes, I learned on a stick shift and even bought stick shift models of foreign cars, because I liked them. However I now have an automatic transmission Camry and like it very much.

Moods, Attitudes and Philosophies

Do you like rainy days? What do you do on them?

Yes, living in Kansas and Nebraska we have too few days of rain and are very happy to have it when it falls. A rainy day is perfect for reading, and I love to do that.

As an old dog, have you learned new tricks?

I can't read what the question is, but I hope I can learn new tricks. However, at my age it is easier to go along with what I have always done, and I'd have to say that is probably the way I operate!

What heroic attributes do you have? What not-so-heroic-at-all attitudes do you have?

Probably I don't have many heroic attitudes--except that I am not afraid of death, in fact I can easily imagine welcoming it!

Would you say you're a doer or a procrastinator?

I think maybe I am a doer in most things.

Would you say you're blessed? How so?

I certainly am!!! I was born of parents who came from a line of healthy, loving, talented, industrious, God fearing people. While our immediate family was very small, just the 3 of us, we had all the necessary things for living even in depression years. I was loved and taught what was necessary to live a productive life when I was young, my mother looking ahead to the time when she wouldn't be living to teach or help me. Books and "learning" were important in our household. I was given the advantage of higher education, piano lessons for many years, a trip when I graduated from High School to spend the summer with my mother's relatives in New York and Pennsylvania. Elocution lessons one summer no doubt helped me be more at ease before an audience.

Did you ever follow instinct instead of logic or judgment?

I don't remember if I have.

Have you been able to trust your instincts? What do your instincts tell you?


Are you afraid to cry?

No, but I'd rather not expose my vulnerability!

Are you a pretty good fighter? Physically, with words, or something else?

No, I don't like to argue or protest.

What makes you angry? How do you handle being deeply upset? What behavior can you simply not tolerate?

It makes me angry to see someone take advantage of another.
When I am deeply upset I withdraw into myself, leave the scene. I cannot tolerate a braggert.

Looking Back or 20/20 Hindsight

What were your favorite years? What were your favorite ages?

This is a hard question to answer. What, in retrospect should have been my favorite year could have been my first year of marriage--but there was all the anxiety of Jack's being sent overseas and my nausea of pregnancy. It could have been the year when all the children were married and doing well, a grandchild on the way, Jack was happy and productive in his job--but he died instantly having won a game spectactularly amid the cheers of his fellow players! All of life has its great joys and deep sorrows. My life has been very good. My life now in my mid eighties is very, very good. I live in a lovely retirement home with lots of new friends, and am in touch with many, many old friends. My children are well and are doing well, they are loving and very attentive to me. I feel quite well. It is a mellow time of my life. Perhaps in spite of the losses, this is my happiest time of life! I have had some sorrow and many joys and satisfactions--a very good life, I would say. Perhaps this is my favorite year and age! How many of us are astute enough to know which was our favorite year or age?!

What are the important dates in your personal history?

July 19,1941 My wedding date to Jack. Well, I guess I could say September 24, 1918, the year I was born! With marriage came the fullfillment of my youthful dreams of being married and having a family. I enjoyed that role and while the children were growing up I could not have imagined the joy, comfort, and help they would be to me in these years of my eighties. For many years I have said that when I or any of my children felt it was time for me to move nearer to one of them, I would do that, and I WOULD be happy! The time seems to have come, and I have put money down for an apartment in a retirement home in Rochester, New York, near to Kas with plans to move in September 2005.

What do you think other people think of you? Do you think they see you the way you really are?

I think by and large they like me---I like people and I think that is apparent to them. I think they see me more self assured than I am.

What was the hardest thing that you ever had to do?

The hardest thing was to try to comfort my child after the death of her only child and to accept that loss myself. That along with dealing with the instant unexpected death of the father of my children.

What has been the angriest that you've ever been? What did you do about it?

I can't remember this incident!

How have you seen prices change over the years? Have you had a struggle being able to afford the things you want and need? Have you ever felt wealthy?

Of course, I who have lived through the great depression into these years of the new millenium, have seen great changes in the cost of things. Fortunately, I have always had enough and more, to afford what I needed and my wants have been minimal. I don't feel wealthy, but by many, many people's standards I know I am.

What was the first funeral you attended? How did it affect you? What was the last one you went to? Are they getting easier or harder?

The first funeral I ever attended was my mother's at age 16. The last one was for a famous neuro surgeon who was a member of our church. How different they are! I had no idea in 1935 what I had lost in the death of my mother. She had been sick most of my life, I was a teenager wrapped up in my own world and relieved that mother was out of her pain and that the trauma of her illness on all of us was over. Since her death I have matured a great deal in my beliefs about what happens at one's death for the Christian and I expect to recognize her in some way in our "life after death". So funerals, by and large, are a celebration of life to me.

When do you first remember feeling like an adult? Did it come early or late in life?

Sometimes I wonder even yet,if I am an adult!

What fads have you seen come and go? What do you like about how society has changed since you were a child? What don't you like about how society has changed?

Skirt lengths go up and down, hair is worn long and short, body fat is contained within tight clothing and exposed almost entirely, people have gone from not talking about personal body functions even within the family to discussing everything personal on TV. I think our society is in trouble, but perhaps this is an old lady talking!! I think, by and large, in taking the majority of mothers away from the raising of their children that we are seeing and will see more problems in society. Bigger houses, more cars, more "things", fancier vacations are not worth what society is paying for them.

Hard Questions

Who did you trust and / or respect most in your life?

I trusted my father, he lived to be 88, living a good and worthwhile life, most of it as a practicing physician.

Did you have any real vices / bad habits?


Would you prefer a burial, cremation, mausoleum, Viking funeral, or something else?

I seem to have written the following in answer to a question which is not here. I am going to enter it here since perhaps it would be of interest.

Since I have been interested in genealogy and have had satisfaction in seeing where my relatives several generations before me have been buried, I have been interested in having a "place" where future generations could visit my grave, if they so desired. And so my plot is in Memeorial Park Cememtery on South 14th Street in Lincoln, Nebraska. The dream house which Jack and I built in 1970 (*3 Mockingbird Lane) is just west across 14th street from the chapel-like building which is used as an office. Ours was the corner lot with vacnt lots on either side of the house. Since I believe that the body, as we know it, is not important, it doesn't matter to me whether it is creamated or not. Jack was not creamated, I will be, but I expect there to be recognition in some way in heaven!
I have arranged for cremation and the ashes are to be buried in a marked plot next to the father of my children. My second husband said he had several spaces in his plot, he would like to have me buried with him there, along with his first wife! It seems right for me to be next to the father of our children. Since at least four containers of cremins can be buried in one plot, and since I had my plot already purchased years ago, it was my pleasure to have my grandson Carlos' cremins placed in my plot. If his mother wishes to be placed there as well, that will be a pleasure to me.

What do you want said about you at your eulogy?

That is up to those who survive me--what's lived is what's lived!!

Write your obituary.

Yes, I have written the facts of my life and along with some suggestions of favorite Bible verses, hymns, and music which my children can use if they wish. After all, a funeral is a way of tieing up the package of a life for those who remain. Whatever is helpful for them would be fine with me.

Do you feel that you put enough energy into parenting as you should have? Did you have energy left to take care of your parents in their later years?

Since I have been interested in genealogy and have had satisfaction in seeing where my relatives several generations before me have been buried, I have been interested in having a "place" where future generations could visit my grave, if they so desired. And so my plot is in Memorial Park Cemetery on South 14th street in Lincoln, Nebraska. The dream house which Jack and I built in 1970 ( #3 Mockingbird Lane )is just west across 14th street from the chapel-like building which is used as an office. Ours was the corner lot with vacant lots on either side of the house. Since I believe that the body, as we know it, is not important, it doesn't matter to me whether it is creamated or not. Jack was not creamated, I will be, but I expect there to be recognition in some way in heaven!

Is there anyone you envied in life? Why?

I suppose at every age there have been those whose capabilities I envied--those who can talk easily before a group, those who play the piano beautifully, those who have great skill in seeing the needs of others and helping them...nurses, doctors, ministers, teachers... Why?...Just because I would like to be able to do that!

What big things do you regret? Was there a turn in the road you should have taken? What small things do you regret?

I have no big regret! I have had a very good life, many privileges. I regreted that I didn't have siblings, but probably there are those who wish they had been an only child! I guess I regret I didn't take nurses' training instead of Laboratory Technician's, but how do I know that I would have been good at that?! I guess I don't spend time regreting!!!

Do you have a character trait that you'd like to give up? Are you selfish? Are you timid?

Probably someone else could tell what character trait I should give up! No doubt every only child is selfish to some degree! I am comfortable to be alone, yet I like people and enjoy being with them. Perhaps it would be surprising to others, I feel timid!

Do you have any fears or phobias? Have they changed during your lifetime? How much have they affected you?

I "fear" getting to the moment of dying. Maybe a better word would be "apprehensive". I don't dread dying at all, but it is getting there I wish I could avoid, if it is to be terribly stressful. My husband seemed to have it so good. He was playing a game and made a wonderful return of the ball to the cheers of others, and he then passed from this life! Of course, I don't know how much stress he experienced before that, but what a way to exit! No doubt I had many fears through the years, I was afraid my new husband would have to go overseas and be killed during WW2, for instance, but I have forgotten what my other fears were!

Heavy Questions

What was the happiest moment of your life? The saddest?

The happiest moment, event, was the day I married Jack...
The saddest moment was when they allowed me into the room at the hospital when they had done all they could to try to bring him back to life. When I walked into the room and saw him on the gerney, I knew he "was not there". Such unspeakable sadness!!!

What are the most important lessons you've learned?

One thing I learned when I was first married, and been able to follw to a pretty good degree...."don't worry until you know what you have to worry about". This was learned when we were first married and were stationed at Ft. Bliss in Texas, after war was declared. Rumors were a dime a dozen as to when the men were to shipped out, where they were going, how bad the situation was! Soon I found I was worrying uselessly, so many fears were in vain! That lesson has been helpful! Also I have discovered that by and large, people are very good hearted and are very helpful, and that all people have suffered deep sorrows.

Are there any words of wisdom you'd like to pass along to particular family members or friends?


How has your life been different than what you'd imagined?

Life in the 1930s when I was beginning to think about my future was so frugal in comparison to life today. It seems to me that my generation has seen more advancement in technology, hence, in the opportunities in living. I NEVER imagined I would travel to see so much of the world--specifically the Pyramids, Red Square, London Bridge, Machu Pichu, The Lourve in Paris, Hadrian's Wall, but most of all Nepal--that seemed to me the fartherest place anyone could go! My life has been immeasureably good, better than I could ever have imagined in health, loving and good family, plenty of this world's goods, a wonderful country in which to live---Oh, I have been so blessed!

How would you like to be remembered?

As a God-fearing woman of integrity.

What does your future hold?

Only God knows that! At 87 I am on the brink of making my, I think, last move before the cemetery! In a month I expect to move to New York State to live in Kas' city of Rochester. What this means to me, I don't know. I am in the process of down-sizing again, maybe not for the last time. Maybe the last time will be to a hospital bed, but who knows! I know I have three loving children and their spouses who care about me, but more than that, I am sure that God's promise "I will be with you in trouble.....", is valid, and I can depend upon that. There are many promising aspects with this move and I look forward to making it.

Is there anything that you've never told someone but want to tell this person now?


Is there something about someone that you've always wanted to know but have never asked?

If there ever was something, I can't think of it now!

Any secrets that you don't mind sharing now?

I think my life has been pretty much an open book! My life-long hobby of keeping scrapbooks pretty much tells about my life--those people who were important to me, those things in which I was interested. I doubt that my children will be surprised at anything they will learn from the scrapbooks or journals I have kept.

What do you like about yourself? What don't you like so much?

I have had a healthy body, and happy nature. I have little apptitude in Math and am a little shorter than is convenient, and of recent years have even MORE trouble in remembering names!!!

Add Questions and Family Documents

Please include the questions we didn't ask, or add some family documents. Letters from your grandmother, perhaps, or a family history written by another family member.

As it happens, I am the keeper of the memoribilia of my branch of the Chickering family. I am the only child of an only child, George. George was a physician in Hutchinson, Kansas. George's father, Joseph, was a merchant in Oquawka, Ill. He was one of two surviving sons, he and John, of Joseph Chickering and Betsy White Chickering. He had come to Illinois in 1835. Betsy died young in Woburn, Mass. of TB, but a number of her letters had been saved which I deciphered and have saved in plastic sleeves along with the deciphering. The earliest letter which had been saved was one sent to an Elizabeth Chickering in the 1700's telling of her husband's death at sea as he was enroute from Spain to Boston. It tells of where he was buried, Longitude and Latitude! I would tell more of this, but at present I am in the process of preparing to move to Rochester, New York to be near my daughter and much of the documentation has been packed and is unavailable for referance! All of this family history is interesting, but is somewhat of a burden in these years of my continual downsizing! I am at present 87 years old. Perhaps there will be time to augment this ancient history (!)when I am settled. There are so few Chickerings, I know I would be happy to learn of others. I have written small biographies about my father George Abbot, mother Helen Mae Kerr, and the father of my children, Jack Knappenberger. Perhaps they will be added to this "Remembering" at some time.

Special Community Chapter on Surviving Cancer

In what month and year were you first diagnosed with cancer?

I was first diagnosed with cancer of the breast in 1995 and melanoma on my forehead in 2001.
It was on a Friday night when I was in bed examining my breast like we women are told to do, lying on my back with my right arm above my head, feeling my breast. I thought there was a small lump there and of course wanted to get right to my doctor to see if it indeed was a lump. But doctors are not in their offices on the weekend, and I knew this would not be considered an emergency! My husband and I were to drive to Columbus, Nebraska on Saturday to have dinner with my older daughter,Peg. I decided I would not tell Howard of my finding until later. His wife, the mother of his children, had died as a result of breast cancer and I knew he would be terribly worried all weekend, which would ruin his visit. I waited until we returned and called the doctor for an appointment before telling him.

With the melanoma, I had gone to see the dermatologist in 2001 for a routine check up. He checked a place on my forehead which I hadn't considered at all about being questionable. He took a biopsy and sent it to Florida for examination! They said it was melanoma and he said it should be removed. A date was set and I went in to the hospital one snowy cold morning for the surgery. There wasn't much to it. It didn't hurt much and all went well. About a month later the dermatologist called to say that it seemed the surgeon had not gotten it all and I would have to have more removed from my forehead. This turned out to be a bear!! The scar does not amount to much, but the nerves were affected and it hurts at times even yet, four years later.

How has living with cancer changed your life?

Of course, it was a shock to learn that I had cancer! The ride on the gurney to the operating room was significant. I had left my husband, daughter and grandson in my hospital room not knowing how much of my breast they would take, or what this meant for my future. It was at this time that the scripture passages which I have learned through the years, those which I have memorized, came to mind and kept me company...."Fear not, I am with thee", "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...", "Because she cleaves to me in love, I will deliver her, I will protect her because she knows my Name. When she calls to me, I will answer her, I will be with her in trouble...." These have great meaning for me and I could enter the operating room unafraid. The older I get the more I realize I have had a very good life. It has been exceedingly good following this last move that I have made to New York. I don't know what is ahead, but I know Him whom I can trust, and He will be with me whatever comes. I think it perhaps was the cancer I had to face up to which brought about this certainty which I feel...and that is a real blessing!

Do people treat you differently if they know you have cancer?

I don't think people know that I have had cancer. Apparently the scar on my forehead is not apparent, no one ever asks me about it. They don't see the scar on my breast!! I have never joined a post cancer group, it seems important to get on with life!

Do you tell people you have cancer?

Yes, I tell people I have cancer when the subject comes up naturally. I am neither ashamed of the fact nor waving a banner that I am a cancer "victim"!

How did you choose your doctor?

In both cases the surgeons were recommended by my general practioner and I felt they were very competent.