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Haag, Rita / If you look back, it's not that far: memories of Mary Stella Sutter Haag recorded at age 103

Part I: Growing up in Perry,   pp. [2]-30 PDF (9.0 MB)

Page 16

"I says, 'I don't want anymore.' So that's the only beer I
ever had. I never cared for it. Well, my mother always said,
when we were growing up, 'Beer is not for children, that's for
old people.' That's why all the boys never learned to drink
much, my brothers. They never cared much for beer. Well, I
don't know if they cared (for wine). Of course, they didn't get
much of that either, dad didn't have much of it, he just made--
that was the time when nobody would go to saloons, you know."
Although she never had any, she remembers how he used to
make it. "Oh yah, he ground it good, then put it in the press.
The juice would go down there, then he'd put it in a barrel, left
it. Oh, the older it got the stronger it got. They covered it
up 'til it was cured, then they drank it." When the wine was
ready, her father would pound a spigot into the side of the
barrel and pour it out as he needed it.
Homemade Soap
As Mary said, they didn't buy anything they could make. "We
made soap, my dad made soap. He had them big black kettles.
Lard and lye, mix that together and he stood and boiled and
boiled and boiled it, mixing it. Sometimes it'd get real nice
and strong and sometimes it wasn't too strong, but that was good
Her dad made the soap into bars and it was used for the
laundry. "We never bought any laundry soap--we'd use lye soap.
It was hard on your hands if you used too much. We had to rub
overalls on the washboard, and you put the soap on it and rub
awhile. Lye--it was a strong smell but it was a clean smell."
Lye soap wasn't used for bathing. "Toilet soap we bought
and that was big black bars. That was pretty strong soap too.
For toothpaste, we just brushed, some used soda. Soda's still
the best."

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