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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 8

brought them up and then the cows, they followed us. We called
them, and they knew, after they got water once, they followed us.
We done that for two days. We had to haul water for that whole
bunch.   We had a wash tub, and we filled it with the pails, and
they were just standing around and one pushed the other, and we
put so much, enough water so they all had enough. And ma thought
often if only dad were home. He always had to come home in the
evening, but at night you know you couldn't do that, you had to
do that in the day, that work."
Mary remembers that her parents worked especially hard, but
every once in awhile, something made them laugh.  "Sometimes
things happened at the dinner table--they had fun, you know. One
time they had a bunch eating at the dinner table (during
thrashing--when neighboring farmers were helping). And as they
unloaded the wagons, they ate and the rest of them went out again
(ate in shifts). They were all sitting at the table and one of
them had put gravy on his potatoes and set it down on the next
plate, (since at the time) there was nobody sitting there. All
at once a guy came in, saw that gravy on his plate and started
eating the gravy. He thought it was soup. The rest looked at
each other. Nobody said anything. The ladies they didn't even
say nothing. They were going to bring the warm stuff in as each
group came."
Mary says that afterwards they talked about it and decided
he must have thought it was soup. "Maybe he thought there wasn't
much in there--no vegetables. Ya, we used to laugh about that.
They all got a big kick out of it. He was a foreigner. He was
from Norway. He was a hired man. We didn't know much of him,
but he was a foreigner." Mary says this with tongue in cheek,
apparently amused that as the first- and second-generation
Americans born in this country, they already felt established
enough to refer to this Norwegian as a foreigner.
Because farm horses needed their rest on the weekends, trips
to town were few and far between. However, the day their father
went to town to get the feed ground was a special day for Mary
and her brothers and sisters. "We was glad when we used to go to
Mt. Horeb when we was kids, I know that.. .that was a treat. Dad
just took one along when he'd go. Mother used to dress us

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