Hastedt, Elmer (1)
Elmer Hastedt Written History
Original oral history on file at Bloomfield House Office
EH: I was born on Jan. 6th 1923 in Henry County. My mom (Alma Mahlman Hastedt) always said it was terribly cold snowy day. We lived in the third house on the right on County Rd. 11. It was a dirt road so it was muddy a lot of the times. Her Dr. was Doc Davis from Hamler. Mom was worried he wouldn’t be able to get his big Oldsmobile through the snow. So my dad ( Eddie Hastedt ) got the horses out and met him at the corner of St. Rt. 18 to pull him the half mile to the house.
EH: I was delivered on the kitchen table, that’s how they did it then. No hospitals, the Dr. made house calls.
DH: I was born on March 14th 1924. I was a twin and we were born at home too. My brother ( Delbert Miller ) was born first. After he was born, the Doc said there was another baby in there and mom labored for another 6 hours before I was born. What a shock that must have been to my mother as she never knew there were two babies. I didn’t even weigh 5 lbs, and of course there were no incubators in those days, so they made one. They warmed up some bricks on the wood cook stove and put them in a dresser drawer, wrapped them in blankets and that was my very own incubator. I was born close to Ridgeville Corners, Ohio. My twin Delbert drowned in a fishing accident when he was only 45. Now that was a hard time for me, as we were very close.
EH: I only had one sibling, a younger sister, Norma Hastedt Bostleman. But Dorothy had a big family.
DH: Yes, I had a sister and brother older than Delbert and I and then a sister and 2 brothers younger than I was, so there were 7 of us. I have one sister and one brother besides myself still living.
EH: In the spring of 1927, we moved from the house on Rd. 11 to the house on Rd. H, where my grandson, Chris and his family live now. It was only about 3/4 of a mile from the old house. I remember it well. We had to use the horses with a mud boat to move everything. A mud boat was a sled with wide runners. As I said before the road was all mud, so we traveled a lot with that old mud boat. You know that Rd. 11 stayed a mud road until 1933. And our roads weren’t numbered or lettered until 1978 when Victor Sonnenberg was Commisioner.
EH: I went to Arps School on the corner of Rd. 10 and H. It was torn down not too long ago. And yes, they always tease about walking to school in the snow and rain, but that is exatly what I did. Luckily it was only 1 mile from our house. It was a one room school house and went from grades 1 - 8. They didn’t have kindergarten then and certainy not preschools. I attended 2 years of high school at Hamler, but then had to quit to help my dad farm. My dad’s only brother, Fred Hastedt had died and dad couldn’t handle the farming by himself.
DH: My school was called Davis School and it was on Roads T and 18 in Freedom Township. My school was remodeled into a house and Kevin Gerken and his family live there. It’s pretty nice too. I walked to school too along with all my brothers and sisters. Plus a lot of our neighbors had large families too, so there was always a bunch of us walking together.
EH: Course there was no running water inside our school so we had out houses for bathrooms. We were used to that though because most of us didn’t have inside batrooms at home either. There was a pump outside for drinking water. We would fill a bucket and hang it outside the door and we had a tin cup we all used. I suppose when one of us got sick we all did, but now that would be a huge no-no. My teachers was Kathryn Busch at first. Course she was English and spoke no German, A lot of us spoke nothing but German, so we had to learn English quickly to catch on. Now that is low German or Platt duetch. Later on my teacher was Martha Schweibert and she spoke German. I Ioved reading and soon had read every book in our “library”. Our “library” consisted of a small cabinet with maybe 20 books.
DH: I was always a little slower in the school learning than my brother. In one of the lower grades my teacher decided I needed to stay behind a year. Now a days they just push them through whether they can read or not. Anyway the teacher talked to my folks about it. When I found out I might be held back a year I was very upset. So I cried and cried until they decided not to do it. I was Delbert’s shadow and went where he went and did what he did. I would have been so scared without him. I got caught up in no time though.
EH: We had church school too. We went there from six years old till we were fourteen. That’s when we were confirmed. We would start after regular school was over and would go all summer from 9AM to 3PM. We learned our catechism in High German. So I was baptized and confirmed in High German. Pastor would come to the house to baptize us shortly after we were born. They didn’t do baptizms in church like they do now.
DH: All our kids were even baptized at home yet. Don’t know when they started doing it in church.
EH: You know the old school that sits at the Henry County Fairgrounds. I went to that school for church school. It sat behind my church, Immanuel Lutheran, on the corner of Rd. H and 109. We still go to church there now.
DH: I went to St. Paul’s Lutheran church on Rd. Q and 17. I learned my High German there. We were married there too. But since we lived so close to Elmer’s church, that has been my church since we were married. Two of our kids still go there too, Judy and Bob, but our youngest daughter Mary and her family iive in Baton Rouge, LA.
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