Home History Culture Oral History Transcribed Interviews

Interview with Julius and Helen (Dockter) Just (JJ) (HJ)

Interviewed by Carol Just Halvorson (CH)
6 August 1990, Wishek, North Dakota

Transcribed by Amanda Swenson and Marcie Franklund
Edited by Linda Haag


CH: Half the time where Uncle Reynolds was first.

JJ: Okay, and darn luck happened, didn’t keep from moving over here to a little place Carl’s. I wasn’t sure, Carl’s place, and then at the Carl Olson place he had his horses and his plows. Then they brought him to the beer parlor, eventually.

CH: Oh, he and Marion did?

JJ: Yeah.

CH: Oh, they had some money to invest, that was nice.

JJ: Well, I guess they borrowed some from Burtman, he died, she died, and he died a long time ago.

HJ: Alvin Burtman?

JJ: No, no, no. Catholic [?009] Burtman.

CH: So did he live, up there?

JJ: No, no he lived in town.

CH: In Berlin?

JJ: In Edgley.

CH: He was busy in the fields.

JJ: He sort of banked, huh?

Ch: No, it was not a bank, not Burtman. Boardman.

JJ: Boardman.

HJ: That name just came up, he just passed away.

JJ: Boardman, yeah. And it didn’t take long, well to save money, they used to baggant and cartened it off I guess to Liverpool.

CH: So they lived in Edgely?

JJ: Yeah, and Marie was a kit, she was running, you know, that was not a place for her and I guess it was steady and you know Mary behind a bar had a big malt, so that didn’t work out. So they he left and I don’t know what happened to april malt but he got a couple of old cattle and an old plow and started out again.

CH: Started out farming?

JJ: Yeah,

CH: Without Marion?

JJ: No

CH: Oh, they were together, okay

JJ: They went back to do [?021] again and I wonder if he didn’t Boardman probably halved a mule and some horses you know and in time so mortgage, what not to mortgage, he worked down and out and he’d always come up again

CH: He did really have some kind of business sense, didn’t he?
JJ: He did have business sense, he could always make money and Mary would make it.

CH: (Laughs)

JJ: And so all right, and they got a new place again, he moved up to a good farm up in the [Kopper?] place, that’s where...

CH: Tille’s sister

JJ: And then he bought a place over here at a Nest place

CH: Ethan did?

JJ: Yeah

CH: Boy, they moved around a lot

JJ: He got into his feet and he bought the Gabe Alberle place, you know Don Damin and the Gabe Alberle place.

CH: Well he must have been a hard worker?

JJ: Ethan, yeah, he was, kinda. And he’d go to the auction sales when he was over there you know he bought the straggly calves, cattle and take them home and take care of them

CH: So he had a nice way with animals too?

JJ: Yeah, yeah

CH: You always had a good way with animals

JJ: And he even built a silo when we built a silo

CH: Yeah, if their marriage hadn’t fallen apart I’ll bet he would have been a real successful farmer

JJ: And then, the he sold it, no, that was afterwards, he sold the Aberle place to Gabe Kraft.

CH: Is that where August Aberle?

JJ: Yep, but they’re not there anymore

CH: Right but the old August place

JJ: So, I think from there then they first bought the store, the hardware store, yeah in Berlin- no, the bar!

CH: That was during the war

JJ: Yeah, and he bought the bar in Berlin, that’s was before we came over, from Elmer Shotman. I suppose he had to get cross everything mortgage would he had to and everybody else that Jake works, Elmer Shotman, he thought for sure he had the lease and he was going to get that bar back, but he didn’t get it back and he had the bar and he even bough this house from Elmer Shotman.

CH: The very house we’re in. Well must have been good years at the bar.

JJ: Yeah, it was good at that time. People would marry could be all the shut. Soldier boys would come home, they charge twenty dollars for a bottle of whiskey at that time they were the only ones that had money. I guess at night the bar in Berlin was used to be a good night spot for kids from all over kids coming from all over with a dance floor underneath and [?058] but he couldn’t take it too long to be in that business.

CH: Oh, really

JJ: Yeah

CH: Do you think that’s from when he was drinking, that’s it, was worse when he was in the bar?

JJ: No

CH: That’s really when it got its start?

HJ: I really think with Mary all the time, that is where it started.

JJ: Well could be

HJ: He never said

JJ: There it was, Marion had the drinks right there

CH: Medicate himself with a little alcohol

JJ: And then he sold the bar, Schmidt had the bar in Lamoure, a brother to Albert Schmidt, Paul Schmidt.

CH: Schmidt?

JJ: Yeah, Schmidt and when he sold the bar, Al Schmidt

CH: Well, then he bought that other farm

JJ: But then he bought farm, the other farm

CH: The one that Marie and Ken had for awhile, rented for awhile, the one by August Aberle.

HJ: North of August Aberle.

CH: Yeah

JJ: Yeah, and [?071]

CH: That’s where I used to go visit

JJ: Because he, he had moved see from the place where they lived there was another quarter worth of farm, he moved the buildings off of that, and moved on the house he a made a grainery out of it and the barn was with a hip roof barn at August’s place. Then he bought that after that after he sold the bar then he bought this other farm and that he had last, that was the last farm.

CH: And that he did after you moved over here

JJ: Yeah

CH: About that time

JJ: Yeah, then he started the hardware store and then from the hardware store to put in the grocery store, but things didn’t go so hot because they would shop at the Gabart store. You know which one was Gabart store?

CH: Yeah, where the legion is now

JJ: Yeah, so you get that cut potatoes and get it all she bought Gabe out. Gabe had sold out to Vern Minnarna. Vern Minnarna, so she did a good thing for us, said we couldn’t even make it, we would’ve lost it.

CH: Oh, he and Inez were trying to make a living on this grocery store?

JJ: Two, Yeah and he said “Boy that Mary, he never did like Mary or anything, but he said she saved his pants.” So alright we have that then, and you know how everybody started hating Mary, didn’t wanted to go, so that went kaput.

CH: Even though they were the only grocery store, nobody wanted to shop there because of her? Why?

JJ: So [?091] went back and got, they didn’t sell that, I think they just let it go.

HJ: Nobody in it, but they got rid of the grocery though because

CH: Matt [?093] started up after that

HJ: Matt [?093]’s wife started up a café in that place

Ch: Is that right Louise and Veronica ran a café in the same building as the grocery store. Oh, I remember those big display cabinets in that building up there. Then, didn’t Abram have a grocery store after that.

HJ: No, Abram.

CH: Didn’t Abram have a grocery store? Oh, she just had the little restaurant, because I do remember then they had a little restaurant or something right across from the Oasis Bar, where the legion is now.

JJ: So then Abram went out, hardware store didn’t go anymore, they tried to get rid of it, so he sold the stuff out to sell buyers to get rid of most of it and I don’t know I think finally he sold the rest to the Legions. Then he was at the bar for awhile, but Mary wasn’t satisfied, and then they buy a duplex.

CH: Those ones on 4th avenue and 4th street, sure where I lived. Then they bought another one, because they owned two of them there on that block.

HJ: Yeah, they had two, yeah.

JJ: Yeah, it was a duplex they call it

CH: No, it was two buildings. But each building, like the building I lived in had two apartments upstairs, then two apartments downstairs and two apartments in the basement and then the one that they lived in was a duplex. There was one little house and then next to it was another little house but it was one building.

JJ: But that must have been the end of buying.

CH: No, he bought that house up by the college, up by the university.

JJ: Mary did, Abram was dead.

CH: No, no he died in that house up by the university. I remember that.

JJ: Abram died and at the old hotel, where he had a room rented. I think so, and Mary bought that house up there then.

CH: I thought that he and--

JJ: Didn’t she sell the duplex?

CH: Oh, much later because she still owned it when I lived there in 1958.

JJ: Maybe sold part of it first and then sold the other part?

CH: But that house that’s at NDSU, Myron and Abram

JJ: But Abram was not with her when he died

CH: No, he owned that house up by NDSU, and wasn’t he the one who rented it to Myron? Myron had an apartment there.

JJ: Myron was in the co-op house

CH: In the co-op house, but he also had an apartment later on, he didn’t always live in the co-op house

JJ: Well, I’m not familiar with that

CH: I’ll have to ask Myron. Okay well now I know how they got here and then I have questions for both of you and Myron. First of all when you were little did your grandparents ever talk about the old country or talk about the homesteading days?
JJ: No, no

CH: So you never heard any stories about either what life was like in Russia—did you even know they came from Russia?

HJ: I don’t think as a kid I knew.

CH: They never talked about the days when they had to break the sod and live in sod houses

JJ: Oh, a little bit

HJ: Yeah

JJ: Oh, a little bit that my mother talked about it but she was old, they didn’t have a corral and a fence so their milk cows were tied up outside by a piece of machine they had.

HJ: You mean in Russia?

[?151]

CH: I suppose, all they had was a sod house and they couldn’t let the cows go to graze so they would have to tie them up and let them graze around in that area. Did she ever talk about picking buffalo bones?

JJ: No, if she did I wouldn’t know. I didn’t hear nothing.

CH: Well she was born here, so she maybe wouldn’t have remembered any of that. What did you say your grandma talked about the old country, mom.

HJ: about the old summer kitchen. It was a dirt floor.

CH: Who’s that? Your mother or your grandmother?

HJ: It was my mother living with my grandmother and they would white wash it and what did they but on the floor, new dirt?

JJ: Clay, they’d lay it down and let it dry and see it gets hard.

CH: Yeah, and thick walls and real thick windows, maybe one window, maybe two windows

JJ: Yeah, but that summer kitchen was not the dirt house

HJ: It was the [?168]

CH: You mean your mother and living on the Mittinger homestead

HJ: Yea, she talked about that.

JJ: I never looked at that thing but when we would drive down to Mittinger and we always go through their yard

HJ: I think they [?172]

JJ: They had that big square house and when down to [?174] and you know we always went through them and then Uncle Otto was at the place.

CH: Oh, Otto Mittinger. Well, do you remember your grandparents Adam Mittinger, do you remember their farm? Or do you only remember when they lived in town?

HJ: I just knew grandpa Mittinger just as long as he was living at the farm. But I knew—

CH: Okay, I asking because that photograph of your parent’s wedding, the cooks are standing in front of what I would guess is the summer kitchen and it looks like it was either a sod building or a rammed earth building and it maybe had kind of a adobe or mud coating on it and I’m just guessing that maybe that was their first house.

JJ: I think so

HJ: Probably where they started out but then after they got

JJ: But I can never remember that I ever seen that building down, the summer kitchen, that square house.

CH: Okay only on the Mittinger farm, is that where why Adam lived their?

JJ: Yes

CH: Oh, that was his farm and he raised his family on that farm, but they had a wood frame house, by that time.

HJ: Later on, yes

JJ: That was an old style house too already. I know it was a wood one.

CH: Well it had to be because the house was already built when your parents were married and they were married in 1906, and by that time, they’d have been in America twenty-one years. So I don’t know how long they lived in their sod house but I’m sure that once they built some out buildings and barns and things

JJ: Built the sod house for the summer kitchen

CH: Yeah, even in town, did your grandparents have big gardens and raise chickens and stuff.

HJ: Yes

JJ: They had no lawn, all their ground space was into garden. Then in the back part there was a picket fence too, what ever they had and they had a barn there.

CH: Oh, they did have a barn there?

JJ: A little barn there, and then chickens, and hogs and the cow part were all in one. But the cow barn, it all seemed to have enough room when they cut the team of horses to, big enough room for the cow and team of horses.

CH: And by that time your grandma had died

JJ: Yeah

CH: Your grandpa didn’t remarry he just

JJ: No. I never did get to know grandma.

CH: Yeah, because she died about 1919, so would have only been five. So did he live alone or did he live with one of his daughters or Adam Rittinger?

HJ: Did he remarry? No.

JJ: He remarried, I know when he remarried.

HJ: Oh, wait, you’re thinking of grandpa John

JJ: Mittinger

CH: Oh, did grandpa Mittinger ever get remarried? Who did he marry?

HJ: Adam Mittinger

JJ: Say that’s a long time, because they were saying that Paul and I had a pretty good training and teaching. You know he would have them to teaching German and reading and writing.

CH: Yeah, those were the grandchildren. So he did live with Why Adam for a while and then moved into town?

JJ: Yeah but I don’t know when he moved to town but I think he lived with them for, I don’t know how long. I don’t know if he was in town, I kind of presume he was in town already, had a house in town already, before he got married.

HJ: Remarried.

CH: Oh, before he got remarried. Do you remember who he married?

JJ: Yes, I knew her real well; she was my cousin and was a Raloff, no she was a Hoven.

CH: H-O-V-E-N?

JJ: Yeah-- no, I guess H-O-F-F

CH: You know I don’t have any of that documented; it must not be in the St. Andrew’s records.

JJ: No, I suppose, not. Hoff, yep, she was a Hoff. She stayed for awhile, I don’t know how long, but she stayed after grandpa died and that was the same thing again that she could stay in the house as long as she lived, but she couldn’t inherit the house, and maybe so much money. Now, I don’t know, we didn’t inherit anything from her, from Grandpa Mittinger, see old Grandpa Mittinger would have died after mother would have died too.

CH: That’s right; she died about a year apart.

JJ: Because grandpa Mittinger was out there when something happened, doing some [?246]

CH: When she was farming with you boys.

JJ: Yeah

CH: She died in ‘25 in November and he died in ’26, I think, I don’t have that information in front of me but I think that’s right.

JJ: I remember when both, and grandpa [? 250], he died after that.

CH: Yeah, it wasn’t long after, it was real close together

JJ: Grandpa Mittinger had died of a heart attack, I think, because he had [?254-256]

CH: And then he died. Boy, what a way to go, don’t suffer from cancer, don’t have Alzheimer’s, that’s the way to go. Mom, what were you saying about, was that your grandma Mittinger had a big garden at her house in town.

HJ: Yeah

CH: In Zealand? No, they moved to Wishek

HJ: Oh, yeah, they had a big garden they raised potatoes

CH: That was a long way from your farm by [?264], did you ever get there?

HJ: Oh, yeah, we got to Wishek

JJ: And her son

CH: Yeah, her son Albert lived with her

JJ: Son, Henry

HJ: Henry

JJ: And there was another son… he did stuff. He went and saw his mother and then on the way home they’d come through there and stop in at our place, the stepfather. And Henry Hoff was the first winter or so was hired there and that was a [?278]. He needed to to be told how to do everything. See in the wintertime, our water tank, all the snow would be piled so high by the water tank, then it was covered but there was usually a place, but the land most likely got pushed by a Jeep or something and the land fell in. And he came in and told mother, the land fell in the water tank. Well she told him, don’t you know what to do when the land falls in. You have to go and pick it out of the water tank.

HJ: And he didn’t

CH: Sure, yeah he could make decisions or have the capability of figuring out what to do.

JJ: Yeah, I guess so. [?292] told me that not long after we had him, then we all had lice—head lice.

CH: Yeah, well that doesn’t take much for that to happen and I bet your mother wasn’t a happy camper.

HJ: Oh, no

CH: Had to treat all those kids

JJ: But I know when we had head lice I remember that.

CH: Do ya?

JJ: She does.

CH: Well you have to boil the bedding and get the head lice out of your hair with some rough [?299] stuff. What a mess.

HJ: Happens at schools too.

CH: Oh sure, ya my kids have never had it but—

JJ: But I didn’t know but [?302] said that that’s that Henry Hoff.

CH: Well, I have one more question, dad.

JJ: What one more?

CH: Well, I have lots of questions, but about your childhood, your little sisters Eva, Elizabeth and Katherina, there are no pictures of them. What did they look like? I mean did they look like any of your sisters or any of your grandchildren?

JJ: Katie was dark and chubby. Eva was light with light hair and slim. Katie and Eva and

CH: Elizabeth

JJ: And Elizabeth. Which one was the younger one, Katie or Elizabeth? Eva was under me. And I think it was Katie and then Elizabeth. And I cannot imagine little Elizabeth.

CH: You can’t, okay. That’s right she was really little, I think she was 2 or 3. Now Marie never had diphtheria, Marie was the baby.

JJ: I don’t think so.

CH: And Ephraim Adams and Rynall and Alvina, never had it, they had the inoculation.

JJ: Yeah

CH: But you got inoculation, but you already had the diphtheria, so then you got terribly sick, they didn’t think you’d live. So Elizabeth was really a baby

JJ: Then I suppose I got stunt

CH: Stunted your growth, huh?

JJ: Yeah

CH: Yeah, well it could have that effect on your growth. So you don’t remember much in that time. But before that Eva and Katherina you remember what they were like, what was their nature like? Were they cranky and crabby or happy go lucky or – you don’t remember any of that?

JJ: [?335]

CH: Were they cute? Did they like to sing, dance, and play?

JJ: I don’t know.

CH: Did you think your little sisters were a nuisance?

JJ: You know, I don’t know.

CH: I bet it felt like a pretty empty house after all of that.

JJ: But I know I had to rock the cradle a lot for Marie.

CH: Did you? Yeah, your mom was too busy taking care of the other kids.

HJ: I was out milking, like my mom did and I had to stay in and rock the baby.

JJ: And I sang [?347-350] we got that part already.

CH: Yeah

JJ: And there was another one

CH: Yeah, and your mom sang to you and so you would sing it to your little sister.

JJ: And, there was one more I can’t think of it [?357]

CH: Yeah, I think there is one, for angels, I have that songbook at home. That’s a nice melody too for that [?361-363]

JJ: We sung that in Christmas program at one time

CH: Oh, did you? That one too and you said you sang [?366] to your little sister. Did you ever sing to your children?

JJ: No.

CH: Did you sing to your children grandma?

HJ: I don’t think I had any time.

JJ: Yeah, you had time but you {end of side A.} Yeah, that’s right.

JJ: [?101] not that I ever—she had to do it to [?002]

CH: Now, how long did you say you two courted, about 4 years? So about the time you were 15 or 16, you were exclusively dating Julius Just?

JJ: 3 years

HJ: Three years for sure

CH: What did you do for recreation?

HJ: We went to the show.

CH: You went to movies? They had movies? You went all the way to Zealand, in a car, you had a car? You didn’t make her ride that motorcycle?

JJ: No, that was before.

CH: You did some of your early howling on the motorcycle.

JJ: I had a car by that time because old man [?008] was out at [?008].

CH: Oh, so you could buy a car. He had already moved to town.

JJ: We bought uncle Jake’s roadster- no, pick up.

CH: Oh, it’s not that car that you have in that photograph that you have of you two.

JJ: No.

CH: So you would ride the pick up to Zealand and you would go to the movie.

JJ: Right

CH: Was he a generous date?

JJ: We’d go to farm dances.

CH: Oh, on somebody’s farm

JJ: But over Sunday night, over the winter months we would go home.

JJ: Beaker place, Leo Webber was there.

HJ: Until they sent out sheriff [?015] and cleaned that business up.

CH: Oh, is that right?

JJ: That was against the law at that time.

CH: To have a farm there?

JJ: You could have a party dance but if you charged then it wasn’t a party dance.

CH: Oh, so they would hire a band and sell refreshments

JJ: That was out at the… and I think that was the end of it.

HJ: [?020] was selling homemade [?020]

CH: Homemade Snapps, I suppose.

JJ: Yeah, I know Webber had rock and rye, port wine and

CH: What is rock and rye?

JJ: That’s a pretty good drink, you don’t see it often.

CH: You mean it was an alcohol, a liquor you buy in a bottle?

JJ: It was a whiskey made out of rye. We didn’t have all those brands they have now.

CH: So would you buy it by the little shot glass or would you get a drink from a glass?

JJ: Well, he had two kinds

CH: Oh, you would buy the whole bottle

JJ: But a lot of the time, we could buy a shot too.

CH: Oh, you would do that? Did you drink all of them?

JJ: Oh, yes.

CH: You would take her out and quiet her with liquor?

JJ: And at that time they only had one mix, I think, it was grapefruit juice.

HJ: Oh, yuck.

JJ: It was a good sour grape.

CH: Well sure, it would be a whiskey sour, right, I suppose. You know that she was a minor.

JJ: There was no minor deal.

HJ: People got by with it

CH: Did she ever get out of hand?

JJ: No.

CH: She never drank that much, she was always good.

JJ: Never drank that much, neither did I. We didn’t drink that much.

CH: What would it cost you for a drink?

JJ: I don’t know, a quarter? A beer, a nickel.

CH: That’s a lot. A beer a nickel and a quarter for a drink. I mean, you buy her a drink and you a drink, there’s fifty cents plus you had to pay to get into the dance.

JJ: Yeah, that was only fifty cents or a dollar. Say, my book, you have to get that.

CH: That’s right, this is all documented in your book, that’s right.

HJ: Yeah, but I don’t think that kind of stuff is in the book.

JJ: I just put in how much I spent at the dance.

CH: Oh, so you didn’t itemize. That’s right.

JJ: No. Now what did it say? I spent a dollar and a half at the dance.

CH: So that means you probably paid to get in and you each had a couple of drinks.

JJ: Yeah, well, I suppose we had about two drinks, earlier and then later during the dance.

CH: So that’s what you did for recreation you went to dances and you went to a movie. What else did you do?

JJ: Party, house party. One time we went, I took mama and over to the dancing and over to the rodeo and yeah, I was scared that time. We didn’t go home, lasted, it lasted. By the time I got you home your folks were gone already

CH: They were gone already?

JJ: Yeah. I didn’t stay too long; I thought I’d better get out of there.

CH: What do you mean, they were gone already?

JJ: Well

CH: Oh, they had already gone out for the evening, I thought maybe they had already got up for chores.

JJ: So I dropped her off and [?054]

CH: Gee, grandma did you think very seriously about who do you want to spend the rest of your life with?

JJ: And next time when I come I asked her if she got a big bawling out from for not being home for supper. I guess they didn’t say nothing, anything, I think that’s what you said.

HJ: They probably were gone. I can’t remember.

CH: Did he keep you out late at night?

JJ: No, I always I was always home before her brothers got home, I was so afraid to stay out all night.

CH: Well who were you with the night when your grandma was staying there, remember aunt Viola told the story, your grandma was staying there and you came walking up the stairs and she thought, she was out there visiting, and she woke up and she thought maybe you were already getting up to go out and do chores.

JJ: [?062]

CH: Yep, that’s right, who were you with that night?

JJ: With me.

CH: Ah ha, sure you didn’t take her out very late

HJ: We had just gone to Wishek or someplace. Where was that place where they had that dance?

JJ: [?065]

HJ: Where Rod had the party?

JJ: Way up by Rod’s there. But I don’t know if you have been up there.

HJ: Na that was the night.

CH: So that was the night, you remember it that well?

HJ: Were Elmer and Agnes with us, or was there somebody with us?

CH: I was going to ask, did you double date? Did you go out by yourself?

JJ: That’s where Myer, we double date there.

HJ: Maybe we were suppose to.

JJ: Well, could have been. Yeah! But that’s when we were working at Fred Myer’s.

CH: Now you two didn’t go to the same church and you didn’t go to the same school, how did you meet?

JJ: I was down and around, here and there and I was all over and where was the bridge, by John Myer? No, yes it was.

HJ: By John Hasses.

JJ: By John Hasses was a birthday party.

CH: Oh, that was your neighbor, the Hasses, mom.

HJ: That was my neighbor.

JJ: And I was there too and I just happened to had to quit Frieda.

CH: Oh, you broke up with Frieda, huh.

JJ: I had to.

CH: Why, well she was your cousin.

JJ: Yeah, well, Feida didn’t think about that, but the folks did.

CH: So her folks and your stepfather said

JJ: Not our stepfather, but her folks said, I said the reason, she said, Frieda didn’t say any reason.

CH: Oh, they just said you had to break up.

JJ: Yeah!

CH: Mm! You didn’t take it personally, did you?

JJ: What?

Ch: You didn’t take it personally, did you?

JJ: Oh yes, I took it personally.

CH: Did, ya?

JJ: Well, I can tell you what that was before [?086], we broke up personally and no ending, no anger. She even said that is not that you can’t come down, visit and see ya. She said, oh probably in a month or two or three or in the winter time. Well, I go down and see, not just Frieda and Aaron are there too; Loretta, we were all three real good buddies. Frieda, that afternoon, and I seen it too, when I come in the house and he just was shot. He told me afterwards.

CH: Oh, John Myer was shot?

JJ: No

CH: Oh, who was shot?

JJ: No, Frieda.

CH: Oh!

JJ: Frieda said she was shocked and she don’t know why. I don’t know, she said that we better not make out on the coach.

CH: So, you were still attracted to her.

JJ: Oh, yeah

CH: But out of respect for her parents, she said no.

JJ: Yeah, and that’s the way she put it. She had respect. But I was hurt.

CH: Yeah, I bet you felt rejected, I bet?

JJ: And she said too you know with Loretta, I was seeing. But I didn’t care for Loretta. But she said thought it would end because I was seeing Loretta. They didn’t say nothing.

CH: Well, Frieda ended up marrying that

JJ: Bender

CH: Bender, yeah

JJ: See Frieda was a little bit handicapped, ah! Loretta.

CH: Oh, Loretta was, that’s right. They probably figured Loretta couldn’t do all that well anyway.

JJ: Loretta, it wasn’t that she wasn’t as good looking as we, but I didn’t like her. I didn’t like her ways, she was much louder and bragging.

CH: Oh, Frieda was quieter

JJ: Yeah, Frieda was quieter.

CH: Well you two developed a friendship with Frieda and [?106] later on.

JJ: And I still think Frieda, you know after she was gone that we were meant for each other. And she said this time I won’t break up, but she didn’t break up. I was there one time and was something and they had broke up and I heard there was something… I guess Aaron was dropping cattle and he wasn’t home. But I went up and Aaron was sitting there on the porch and Aaron I told him so. And he came up there, and I told him what ever it was. He said what is this? Randy Bender was there. She told him, Randy Bender. And he think he [?117] I suppose.

CH: What does that mean?

JJ: Get rid of him.

CH: Get rid of Randy Bender?

JJ: Yeah, he

CH: Oh, he’s telling you to get rid of Randy Bender?

JJ: No, no but he thinks he should [?119], get him out of the yard. But I think he tried to but Frieda said you get and I’ll go along.

CH: So then you went to this birthday party at John Haas’s and you saw mom, you hadn’t seen her before, what did you think?

JJ: Well, I was at Brentner’s.

CH: You were where?

JJ: At the Brentner’s, too. There was food and punch, I was the kind of guy who could stay. I had to walk around; I had too much gumption, too much excitement.

CH: Yep, you were too bored to stay home, you had to get out and be around people. But mom was so shy, what attracted her to you?

JJ: [?130] (whispering)

CH: (Laughs) I don’t know, I think you fell flat on your face, you were just taken with her, I’m sure.

JJ: She was so pretty, but shy.

CH: But, shy, yeah.

JJ: We had too much fun.

Ch: Well, you know maybe not fun in the way that you call fun, like maybe Frieda, or even Marion Senger, who you dated first.

JJ: Well, I just had to date, at the dance with her. Ephraim went, took Leah Haus to the dance and I think Rueben was with us, and I think Leah, and Ephraim. I had [?140-141], Mary was special, the more we got acquainted and I had an agreement I would take her home.

CH: I see so you took her home.

JJ: And Ephraim got mad that night because Leah Haus, I don’t think she wanted to be ditched, because Leah told afterwards, she felt awful bad. She said, I liked him.

CH: But she ditched him?

JJ: No

CH: What happened?

JJ: She when out with a couple of guys and had a drink, it was horse hay barn dance. See [?149] out in the car, had a drink and Ephraim took it seriously. So he asked me if he could take Mary home and give her a dose and ever since that time they...

CH: So he was going to teach Leah a lesson.

JJ: Yeah!

CH: So he ended up spending a lifetime with Marian.

JJ: Leah, she said she wondered, why? And I said, well I don’t know, I was at the dance too. But Ephraim said she was stepping out about twice and having drinks. And she kind of denied that.

CH: Well you wouldn’t want that kind of girl, you’d rather have someone like mom who has strong principles and was shy, and wouldn’t do anything

JJ: Well, I guess mom wouldn’t have much of that, for what, a couple of weeks or a month, a short couple of weeks, half the time he would come up to see her and would want to go to a dance or something and she wouldn’t go along.

CH: Oh, is that right?

HJ: I could have gone out with others.

CH: Yeah, she could have had other boys and she decided if she couldn’t go out with you, you were out in Minnesota topping beats, that she wouldn’t go out with anybody.

JJ: She must have had a really a crush on me.

CH: She must have had. Well there’s well let’s see there’s a five year difference, so you were an older man, you must have made a big impression.

HJ: It was that Alfred Hinne was even younger than.

JJ: No Alfred Hinne was older than me. August was my age.

CH: Did your parents ever talk about, what do you see in that Julius Just or anything like that?

JJ: She said one time, your mom said [?172]

HJ: [?173]

CH: Oh, what do you want with that older guy?

HJ: Yeah.

CH: Even though your mother was her first cousin. Well she was much older too.

JJ: She thought about that too

HJ: [?176] even years ago they didn’t want those things

CH: Then you asked grandpa to marry grandma—you didn’t say that in the story, did he say no, or… you said he wanted to know when and you said soon and that was the end of the conversation?

JJ: Well…

CH: Then who set the dates and all that?

JJ: Well, we did.

CH: Oh, okay

JJ: We set the date and then we went to the pastor and had our lessons, well, I don’t think they needed them because people were poor. And we told them when it was time—and then we had to hold it off. {Counter at 185}

{Counter at 0}

CH: Why?

JJ: Melvin had a big accident.

HJ: Yeah, Melvin.

CH: Oh, that’s what it was. Now, he got kicked in the head by a horse and--

JJ: No

CH: That’s not that time?

JJ: He—

HJ: He had a pinched nerve

JJ: He was chasing cattle and a horse stomped on him

CH: So it’s still the same incident, I just thought the horse kicked him in the head—

JJ: No, no.

CH: So then…

JJ: So I don’t know, her folks didn’t say anything, but we thought well, he’s laying there unconscious in a hospital there in Eureka, we didn’t think it was the best thing to do.

CH: Well, that was thoughtful. So you had already gone to Ashley and got your blood tested and got your license, and you were just waiting until he got better, to get married?

JJ: Yeah

CH: Who were your witnesses?

JJ: David and

HJ: Uncle Albert, wasn’t it?

JJ: No, your uncle Otto was with us

CH: Were you both at this wedding?

JJ: Yeah, uncle Otto’s [?015]

HJ: Yeah

CH: But who went with you to the Parsonage to get married? Who were your witnesses?

JJ: Her brother.

CH: He was the only one? Didn’t you have two?

JJ: No, and her mother and her dad

CH: Oh, they all went along, of course.

JJ: Yeah, and with concern and I thought [?018] because they were at your place, we didn’t want to go home that night and they went along, Otto and Martha, yep, we all went.

CH: Were you a little nervous, mom?

HJ: Oh, yeah, who wouldn’t be?

CH: Did you already have a little house fixed up for her?

JJ: Bashful, a pretty little girl like that

CH: Pretty shy?

JJ: Very shy, yeah. Not only that, but her mother she made sausage and potatoes and red potatoes and we had a supper and

CH: So back at your house then, there was a supper

JJ: Yeah, back at their house and [?028] and had a gallon of wine and that was passed around more—and you know she didn’t even go along home with me that night.

CH: Are you serious?

HJ: I don’t know why, but I guess I didn’t.

JJ: You didn’t. That kind of hurt me.

CH: Well, you mean you said, Helen it’s time to go home and she said no I want to stay here tonight?

JJ: She said I have to do some sewing or something.

HJ: Well, I had to get my clothes together and things

CH: Ah, huh. We’ll you’d probably never had spent a night away from home.

JJ: She had, she did

HJ: Not very often

JJ: You were working for Julius Baerits in Zealand and you were working for Fred Mittingers taking care of the old lady.

CH: What Fred Mittingers?

JJ: [?041] she was an invalid, she had arthritis, she was all crippled up

CH: You could have been a nurse Grandma!

JJ: So I don’t know why she was afraid to get married, they let her go out working and she didn’t go along when she got married. I think she was just too scared.

CH: Yeah. Did you get any gifts, did anyone give you any presents?

JJ: No

CH: So when you moved over to the house what did you have to start housekeeping with?

HJ: Well, they had housekeeping there.

CH: You and Adam, you mean

JJ: Before we were going together, seening each other, [?052] moved out and they took our kitchen stove along too. Well they had a kitchen stove for [?054] down in the basement where they used to go and butcher. So I went and asked, and bought it for fifteen dollars.

CH: Bought it from whom?

JJ: Her folks.

CH: Henry Dockter, how did you know he had a kitchen stove?

JJ: I don’t know how I found out but, I bought it. So that day I come down with my team of horses and wagon to get that stove.

CH: Were you dating already?

JJ: No, we weren’t dating yet.

CH: Oh, well I wasn’t there so I wouldn’t know.

JJ: So Henry Dockter says, [?062-064] were butchering, we need that stove today.

CH: So you couldn’t get it that day because they needed it?

JJ: No, so what did I have to do, I had to help butcher.

CH: How about that. Well she was just a little thing then, was she as cute then as she was when—

JJ: She was cute, but she wasn’t that little

CH: Well, 14, 15 I suppose.

JJ: 15 or 16, yeah. And I said, I need a cook, is she going along as a cook? No, no, no they said.

CH: (Laughs) So you didn’t get any gifts, not even your aunts and uncles?

HJ: Aunt Alvena Dena bought us a lamp.

CH: That lamp that’s upstairs?

HJ: Yeah.

CH: That was a wedding gift from Alvena? That green one that you turned into an electric one? What about bedding and stuff, didn’t your mom and dad give you—

HJ: [?078]

JJ: And then, we were barely up there and here comes her dad with the big Buick, load us up and took us to Linton. And he bought a sewing machine, he bought a bed with mattresses, and four chairs but I guess no table… we had a table put together somehow.

CH: Did you get to pick these things out or did Henry Dockter pick them out?

HJ: Oh, I think we got to pick them out

CH: And did he come to the house first to see what you needed?

JJ: No, I don’t know. He wouldn’t ask me.

HJ: Many years ago they always did that.

CH: So this was sort of your dowry?

JJ: Yeah, right.

CH: He took you to town and he bought your

JJ: How many cows did you get?

HJ: About four of them I think.

CH: Oh, we got livestock in this deal. You know, I didn’t get a dowry when I got married.

JJ: I don’t remember how we brought those cows over or what.

CH: No horses though, you got four cows, any chickens?

JJ: No. Well why not are you [?097] that stuff.

CH: What does that mean?

HJ: See Alvena was—

JJ: Julius had everything already; he had been farming already four years.

HJ: And Alvena was there and Adam was there

JJ: I don’t think it was [?101]

CH: Now by this time was that house pretty modern, I mean did you move into a pretty modern house?

JJ: Well, like an ordinary house of that time. But it was a big house. Four room house, three house upstairs and a basement and a furnace. There wasn’t too many homes at that time that had furnaces in the basements.

CH: Now, Adam and Pauline were living there too.

HJ: Well later on, about a year afterwards, they got married too.

CH: Oh, so Adam was there. So he took you to Uncle Valentine and then I suppose uncle valentine gave him a little break, a little price break and you got out.

HJ: Oh, we got a set of dishes from Uncle Valentine.

CH: You got a set of dishes from Uncle Valentine?

HJ: Yes.

CH: Oh, well, how nice. Your grandma was still living?

JJ: Yeah

HJ: Yes and my grandma gave me some money and I went out and bought a little stuff.

CH: Your grandma Docktor gave you some money. Do you remember what she gave you?

HJ: No, but it bought a lot of stuff, I know I baked, I bought loaf pans for bread and I bought some silverware or something.

JJ: Because the silverware we had, was just odds and ends.

CH: Well, my mother liked pretty things so I would guess she would want some nice—what were those dishes like? Did I ever see them?

HJ: They were a nice set but I used them [?127], they were a nice set.

CH: So your kids probably dropped them and broke them all.

HJ: Probably or I had too many kids

CH: So this time you are living on the Christoph- Thurn house

JJ: well I know what I bought.

CH: What did you buy?

JJ: Here comes the baby.

CH: Yeah.

JJ: And I went to town—

CH: And you bought a crib.

JJ: Not a crib, I bought bathing pans and what all else for the baby.

CH: Ah, huh. You didn’t have a crib, I suppose.

JJ: Nope, not to start out with.

CH: A little bassinet or anything? A drawer? What did you do, put them in a drawer?

JJ: I don’t know.

HJ: When they’re little you don’t need a crib, they don’t crawl.

CH: Not when they’re tiny, that’s right. Did your mom and dad, well this was the first grandchild, did your mom and dad kind of get excited about this new baby? Or aunt Alvena? I mean it’s the first grandchild that aunt Alvena, the first nephew that aunt Alvena gets to be around. The others are way over here in Berlin.

JJ: Well, I guess Adam said that your mother said that, Adam went down to get your mother; you know the baby was born.

HJ: [?152]

JJ: Yeah, yeah and—

CH: Well, somebody went to get Mrs. Schmidt, because she had to—

JJ: Yeah, but the people would stay a day or two after so.

CH: Oh, I see.

JJ: Then Adam said too that her mother said she knew that it was with child when she didn’t know it was that far along.

CH: Oh, sure, she wasn’t ready to be a grandma just yet, nope nobody’s ever ready. Well, how about that, so your mom came and helped you for a few days. I would think Viola or somebody could come over and help

JJ: I think she probably brought diapers and [?164] and baby blankets and stuff like that.

CH: Yeah, well her youngest was only four years old, so I suppose she had some of those things still around. Okay then you’re living on the Carl Just place, when did you move

HJ: Well near Carl’s

CH: So Don was born there, and then was Myron born there or by that time you went to the Christophn-Thurn farm, you rented his farm and was {End of tape}


Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Libraries
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
Libraries
NDSU Dept #2080
PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Tel: 701-231-8416
Fax: 701-231-6128
Last Updated:
Director: Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Library North Dakota State University North Dakota State University GRHC Home