A JOURNAL OF MY LIFE - SO FAR
By ELEAMAE PAULA WENDT KRAUSS
With Footnotes by her Daughter Tamaria Krauss
I was born May 6, 1922, on a farm near Herington, Kansas to Amelia Louise Schlesener and August Fred Wendt. My earliest memory was probably four years old, looking forward to going to school. School was two miles south of our home. My two older brothers, Hugo and Percy1, were excited for me. They would lift up the fences so I could crawl through. In those days, if you didn't make it through the eighth grade, you had to go until you were sixteen years old.
During recess one day I was playing with this sixteen-year-old. I fell, and as I was getting up, he stepped on my right arm and broke it below the elbow. I was taken home and "get this", all my parents did was put it in a sling and let it heal.
After that, I noticed that I was left-handed. My teacher, however, forced me to be right-handed. To this day, I deal cards left-handed and iron left-handed.
If the weather were bad, Dad would never pick us up, even though other parents did. There was a house a mile away where the Kiekhefers lived. They didn't have any children. Lena Kiekhefer would see us walking and would always tell us to come in and warm up. She would have cookies and hot chocolate. One thing she would make is soda crackers with meringue toasted in the oven.
Mom would make a one-egg cake (warm). She also would make rice cooked with prunes for us when we would get home.
We got the usual childhood diseases, chicken pox and measles. The scariest was when we got scarlet fever. We were in quarantine for six weeks. Our teacher would leave our lessons in the mailbox. There was even a sign on the door. Mom kept the rooms dark. Afterwards, you burned sulfa to fumigate the house. I think it affected all our eyes, because we all wear glasses. We did have kerosene lamps and later carbide lamps that were much better.
In the late 20's and early 30's was the Great Depression. We didn't realize it was happening. The farmers in our area were better off than the people in town. We always had food on the table. Mom had a garden and we had beef and pigs. In the fall, Dad would butcher and Mom would "fry it down" as they called it. She would put the meat in 10-gallon crocks in the basement and pour grease over it. That would keep it through the winter. Whenever we needed some meat, we would dig it out and put it in the oven to heat it up. That would be our dinner. We didn't have a refrigerator.
In the summer, we would have fried chicken every day for the noon meal and milk and crackers for dinner. To this day, I still like chicken.
Trula and I would do babysitting. Mom would make us. We babysat for farmers that both husband and wife worked the fields at harvest time. This was for no money.
1There were a total of eight children, Lila, Hugo, Percy, Mom, Trula, Cecil, Twila and Barbara