Dachenhaus, Leonard "Lum"

Interviewed By Russ and Marlene Patterson, March 4, 2009
Bavarian Village, Napolen, Ohio 43545

LD: I am just finishing my lunch here.

MP: What did you eat?

LD: It is chicken over rice. The rice is really nice and done. I got it over here to the new Mexican restaurant. They put a white cheese on it. They melted a white cheese over it and it’s really good. I like it.

RP: We used to have a Spanish lady that helped us when we lived on Washington St. She prepared tacos for us.

MP: It had a real hard corn shell crust.

LD: She should have used the soft shells.

MP: It was hard to get down your throat. She said we might like the soft crust better. I thought they were a little gooshy.

LD: I ate at the Mexican restaurant several times and I like it. My goodness they have a lot of meat in it.

MP: Did they put hamburger in it too?

LD: Yes. The other night I was talking to my son Terry and I said I would like to go over there to the Mexican restaurant. I usually order a taco, either a chicken or a hamburg. They have tacos and enchilados. I know you would like their tacos.

MP: Maybe we should have went there.

LD: Be sure you order the soft shell.

RP: Actually we went to Mr. G’s and I had chicken and dressing.

MP: They had the chicken and dressing on special for $5.25. I tasted Russell’s dressing. I just had a hamburger. It was very good, wasn’t it.

RP: Yes

LD: Their meals are big too. I go up and have breakfast and I am not hungry. Now I will eat this noon but I am not real hungry.

RP: When we go to Mr. G’s on Saturday for breakfast, by the time we get home at noon I am never hungry either.

MP: You know Lum, all of the condos back here in Bavarian Village are the same size, but yours looks bigger than ours.

LD: Same size. My garage is bigger. You have too much junk in yours.

RP: If we didn’t have so much stuff cluttered all over.

MP: You can get rid of it because it is mostly yours.

LD: Mine is getting pretty empty. I told my kids to take what they need.

MP: I am trying to empty it out.

LD: I don’t need all that’s in there. Terry said we’ll get you a house cleaner and I told him I don’t need a house cleaner.

MP: I had one when my kids were little and now it is a different story. The housecleaner would put things away and clean in the basement. I don’t need one now.

LD: I clean and I get tired.

MP: You know I think running a sweeper is hard work. Russell does most of the sweeping for me. Mine is self propelled.

LD: Mine is too and I still can’t do that.

MP: I can’t either. We have another light weight one but I am afraid I will stumble over the cord.

LD: I don’t sweep mine every week. I don’t think it needs it.

MP: Our carpet is the same as yours.

LD: They asked me if I wanted to change mine and I said no. I didn’t want to be tore up.

MP: I don’t want to be tore up either.

LD: I sweep now every other week. Next week I mop the floor.

MP: You see we have carpet in our kitchen. I would rather have linoleum in the kitchen. Is your kitchen carpeted?

LD: Just where we eat at. The linoleum part I can mop real easy. The bathroom is just a small area. I mop that too.

MP: Our bathroom is all carpeted.

LD: Your bathroom is carpeted. Neila had that out on the farm. She always liked that. I never did like it. You’d get water over it. Neila liked it though. We had this inside-outside carpet. The water never hurt it.

MP: Well Lum let’s get started.

LD: Let’s see what you got here.

MP: You tell me first of all tell me your name.

LD: My name is Leonard Dachenhaus. I didn’t have any middle name.

MP: You had no middle name whatsoever. And you go by the name Lum.

LD: Yes.

MP: Why do they call you Lum?

LD: Did you know that guy that lived here?

MP: You mean the Reimund boys?

LD: No. He lived right where Florence Conners lives. I mean Florence Conners Claussen. She was married to Aaron Conners. He had a gas station in Hamler years ago and we were kids in town. Florence is just enough older than me. Dad had a restaurant just across the street

MP: You mean your dad?

LD: Yes and it was just across the street from his gas station. I had a brother two years younger than me. Lum and Abner at that time was on the radio. Aaron would holler across the street well it’s time for Lum and Abner, let’s get with it. We’d all be sitting on a bench in front of that radio and my brother would start imitating him. Then they’d start calling us Lum and Abner. Before long it got to be Big Lum and Little Lum.

MP: And you were Little Lum.

LD: No I was Big Lum. My brother was two years younger.

MP: Okay.

LD: I was 16 and he was 14 and that has stuck ever since. That is where that came from. When Aaron started calling us that he told everybody. First thing I knew everybody in town was calling us Lum and Abner.

MP: It was years before I ever knew what your real name was. I always thought that you were just Lum.

LD: You know when Nela’s dad died. I farmed her farm too. My checks were made out to Lum. Them banks all knew who I was and it didn’t really bother me. So I have been Lum for a very very long time.

MP: What did your dad run?

LD: He ran the Hamler Restaurant.

MP: About what year would that have been.

LD: Let’s see I was 14 when he started out and that was 76 some years ago. What year would that have been. It must have been in the early ‘30’s. I was still in school. It must have been my first year of high school. I only got two years of high school in. I didn’t graduate.

MP: A lot of people didn’t years ago.

LD: My dad couldn’t make enough farming. I had two sisters and a brother at home. After two years and I was 16 I didn’t go anymore. I didn’t think that was so important. I was working half of the time.

MP: What did you do, go help out in the restaurant?

LD: That is the time they built the Hamler School. I made good money.

MP: Do you mean building.

LD: I made fifty cents an hour. That was big money then.

MP: It was years ago. I worked at Murphy’s 5 and 10 and I made fifty cents an hour. I thought that was great. Your money went farther years ago.

LD: I bought a new car.

MP: What kind of car did you buy?

LD: I bought a four door Chevrolet. I bought it from Hamler’s Bichan’s Chevrolet. I bought it for $734.00. Now you can’t buy a piece of junk for that price.

MP: You can’t.

LD: It was brand new. Then when I got married.

MP: What year did you get married?

LD: It was 1941. It was in December so it was almost 1942. Oh yes, I wasn’t going to let that gal get away. It lasted 65 years.

MP: How did you meet Neila?

LD: In Elery at a dance. You guys don’t remember the dance hall there do you?

MP: No

RP: I do half ways.

MP: I can tell you that I was pretty well kept at home.

LD: See Judy and I we talked about that at one time and she asked if I remembered what year that dance hall was tore down. We had the grocery store when they tore it out. She said it was in the late ‘40’s or ‘50’s.

RP: I went with my Grandfather and Grandmother. His mother had been a Germann. They had a Germann reunion there in Elery in that dance hall. They took me along and I was probably about seven or eight years old.

MP: Where was this dance hall located?

LD: Right behind where the bar is. They tore that all out back in there.

MP: Right behind the bar.

LD: That little building out in back now they use that for storage. Do you ever go out the back door? If you open that other door it goes into a garage. That was open and it went into a dance hall. It was all hooked together.

MP: It must have been a pretty popular place.

LD: It was. Daman’s band used to play there.

MP: Do you mean Orville?

LD: No no, his folks. Orville got his start there.

RP: They had a Schutzenfest there.

LD: Orville started there. He was just a young kid when his dad and Schultz.

MP: Who was his dad?

LD: I am trying to think. There were two Schultz boys.

RP: I remember that older Damman.

LD: There were 4 or 5 guys and two of them were Schultz boys. Those boys I knew. They were older than I was. Orville was just a young boy at that time.

MP: Did you go to a one room school with an old pot bellied stove?

LD: Yes and we walked. Dad was bullheaded. All those schools were only two miles apart. The other one was only a mile down the road from me but Dad didn’t like that school. There were no German people that went there and none were any of our relation.

MP: Why did you go to that one?

LD: He wanted me to go to the other one where my relation went. So we walked two miles. My cousin lived right next to us. Do you remember George Badenhop?

RP: Oh yes.

LD: George Badenhop and my mother were brother and sister.

MP: Do you mean the George Badenhop that lived in Freedom Township

LD:No no, the George Badenhop that lived up in town here. Everybody knew him

MP: Did you know him Russell?

RP: Oh yes.

LD: They lived next to our place out in the country. We were not very far apart. His daughter Lorna she started school the year after I did. We would have to go through the field. Then we would start picking up the kids. We had half of the school.

MP: About how many kids were in your class?

LD: I don’t remember exactly.

MP: Maybe ten.

LD: I would say there were about eight. We had eight grades.

MP: And this was in a one room school.

LD: Yes.

RP: Do you remember your teachers name?

LD: I know a couple of them. One was Edna Panning. I didn’t like her. She was strict. She lived in Hamler. Her dad ran the lumber yard. After the schoolhouse was built I went to work for him. Her brother was a banker. His name was Julius Panning. You have probably heard the name. I went to work for his dad at the lumber yard. Her brother and I we unloaded coal and lumber every day. I got $25.00 that first week. I took my check to the bank and in the morning I heard growling through the walls and I thought what is going on. I listened a little while and it was him telling his dad why are you paying that kid so much, that is all the money I have got to put in the bank.

MP: I don’t doubt you.

LD: That was in 1939.

MP: You did physical labor. That would have been right during the Depression.

LD: I worked there then until I went into the service. I was still working there when we got married.

MP: Did you ever get into farming?

LD: When I got home from the service her dad was getting up in years and he wanted me to help him. He said I am going to have to quit farming before long and you might as well help me farm. That was Neila’s dad. We were married by then. That’s when I started farming. I’m doing pretty good right now. I’m living pretty well.

MP: Yes you are living pretty well.

LD: I am getting along up in years. You and Russell have a long ways to go to catch up with me.

MP: That is true.

LD: When you get as old as me then you can say you are getting old.

MP: I am getting old the way it is. You are really lucky because you are mentally real good.

LD: I forget things.

MP: We all forget things.

LD: I have good neighbors. I really appreciate my neighbors.

MP: We have really nice neighbors around here. Now Lum, getting back to this old stuff you one time told me about muskrats. You sold muskrats to Tietke’s up in Toledo. Where did you get these muskrats?

LD: August Yackee, he bought poultry and eggs and skinned furs in the fall.

MP: In town here?

LD: No, in Hamler. People would bring these muskrats in and we’d skin them. About 4 o’clock in the morning he’d tell me to take them up to Tietke’s. I’d get in the truck and drive them up to Tietke’s. They opened their store up at 6 in the morning. People would be standing, this is no joke, in line.

MP: Were they mostly black people?

LD: No, maybe about half were blacks. They were really good looking muskrats. Did you ever see muskrat skins?

MP: No, and I don’t want to.

LD: They have a nice red meat. Everybody would say taste it because it was good. Muskrats clean every bite of food they eat. Did you know that?

MP: I have heard that.

LD: I didn’t know that.

MP: Don’t raccoons wash their food too?

LD: Yes they wash their food too. Coon meat is greasy. I don’t care for coon meat. I have tried muskrat meat but I don’t like it. I have had a pickup load of muskrats. I would get there at 6 o’clock and by 8 o’clock they would be all gone, they were out of them. That is just how fast they sold. See it was only a few weeks in the fall during trapping season was the only time you were allowed to get them.

MP: Do you suppose any restaurants bought them?

LD: That I don’t know. I just knew the people were lined up and and waiting to buy them. We had coon on there too.

MP: Did people buy the coon too?

LD: They didn’t sell like the muskrats did.

MP: Just the thought of it turns me off.

LD: I couldn’t eat them. Coon is not a real bad tasting meat. I just didn’t care for them.

MP: Do organizations still have Coon Suppers around here?

LD: I think they do.

MP: Didn’t the Sportsman’s Club in Wauseon have the Coon Suppers?

LD: Yes that is where they were at. See we had them in Elery years ago, those Coon Suppers.

MP: Russell what was Mildred Eberle telling us about? Was it coon meat? You knew Mildred Eberle didn’t you Lum. They called her Midge. She talked a mile a minute. I just loved to visit with her.

LD: Yes, yes I knew Midge. She is gone now.

MP: Yes she is gone now. I really miss her. I think she was telling me how to cook coon.

LD: She was a real nice lady.

MP: I loved to visit with her.

LD: Her boy Bob I liked real well too.

RP: She collected cookie cutters.

MP: She had a big collection of cookie cutters and her son Bob collected marbles. He at one time bought me a gooseberry marble. It looked just like a gooseberry.

LD: I have never seen any of those. I always hunted marbles to make my cats.

MP: What kind of cats did you make?

LD: I make cats like the one I have by the front door.

MP: Did you really make that cat?

LD: That was my pattern. I copied off of that one. I have made close to 500 of those things.

MP: That cat out there is cute.

LD: I got that out of a magazine when I retired from farming. I had a real nice garage out there. I had a band saw. I was piddling around.

MP: Do you still have the band saw.

LD: No, that is why I quit making them. When we had a sale and moved up to here I sold all that stuff. I wished I had it now.

MP: I think you would still be able to sell cats like that.

RP: I like the cat’s eyes.

MP: The eyes are marbles!

LD: It got so I couldn’t find marbles that looked like a cat eye. Some of those marbles I bought over in Hicksville. At that time they still had the cat eye marbles. That was over fifteen years ago.

MP: I have some cat eye marbles.

LD: I just couldn’t fine them anywhere. Those were the last ones that I bought came from Hicksville. I used to enjoy making them. This kind of weather it gave me something to do. I made those and I made spinners, the ones that you hang. I made those too.

RP: About how many years did you take muskrats up to Toledo to sell?

LD: It was at least a couple of years.

MP: Tietke’s isn’t in business anymore either.

LD: I would think of that every time I would drive to Toledo. I would point and say that’s where Tietke’s was.

MP: Especially the downtown area is bad.

RP: Down by the river is where my folks always parked. Down there by Tietke’s parking lot. We would all go shopping and then we would all meet inside Tietke’s.

LD: Before you got to Tietke’s going in was a big hardware

RP: That would have been Bostwick & Braun.

LD: That was next to Tietke’s. I used to turn in behind Tietke’s and unload my muskrats.

MP: That was quite a story.

LD: It was, I had quite the time.

MP: I used to take the kids shopping there

LD: Nowadays everybody runs to Walmart.

MP: Right. Tietke’s was much nicer.

LD: You’re right, It was a nice store.

RP: I remember in the back they had a meat department and they would have fish on display. They had big suckers that you could buy.

LD: My muskrats came in the back door and they would go right out the other end.

MP: I can’t imagine people buying muskrats.

LD: That is true.

MP: Oh I believe you, yes I do.

LD: I did that for two years for him, hauling those muskrats. We sold chickens to them too.

MP: Were they dead or alive?

LD: Oh they were live chickens. We took them to Detroit, Buffalo and to Cleveland.

RP: Tell about your turkeys.

LD: I raised turkeys.

RP: Tell about taking them to market.

MP: You raised turkeys from little pullets on?

LD: Yes I did. They start out as laying hens. Orville Wyse over in Archbold talked me into that. They’d lay eggs. That was good money.

MP: You mean turkey eggs?

LD: Yes, see he had the hatchery. It got kinda bad at last. He was having money problems and we all knew it and we couldn’t get our money out. There was another one back in the late ‘50’s. Money was money then. I had a cousin and we put our money together. Of course he had more turkeys than I did. We both tried to get our money out of Orville. He had 10,000 dollars yet of mine. I was lucky, I only had 5,000 dollars. But I got a new car out of him. He did go under so I got about half of my money out of it.

RP: Didn’t you take turkeys to market too?

LD: I took turkeys to Buffalo.

MP: Do you mean Buffalo, New York?

LD: Yes.

RP: Tell about that

LD: We took them up in train cars.

MP: How did you get them in the train cars?

LD: There were cages inside the train cars. You’ve seen chicken cages, well these were bigger so you could put turkeys in them. They would load a whole train car with these turkeys. In the middle of the train car there was a little room about the size of your bathroom. It had a little stove and a little bitty table and a place to lay down. I would live in that for three days with those turkeys until we got to Buffalo.

MP: So were most of the turkeys still alive when you got to Buffalo.

LD: That was another thing. I had to feed them every day and if you had dead ones you couldn’t throw them out. You would have to pile them up. We usually had maybe five six or seven by the time we got to Buffalo. When we hit the rail yards the colored people would be lined up and holler to us if you have any dead ones throw them out. I had hauled them there for three days. They would grab them and run. They didn’t get sick or die. Nowadays you couldn’t do that. When I came home from the service I don’t think I was home three days and he called and said I was pretty good taking them turkeys to Buffalo and he asked me if I would take a run to Buffalo with some turkeys. Now this was in the Fall. I had just got out of the service in September. He told me he could sell a carload of turkeys in Buffalo, but he needed somebody to take them. I told Neila about this and asked her if she wanted to take a ride to Buffalo. She asked me how we were going to get to Buffalo. I told her we would ride along with the turkeys. She told me I could take the turkeys but you won’t stay married to me.

MP: So she wouldn’t go with you.

LD: No, she wouldn’t go. Denny had said she could go along if she wanted to.

MP: I don’t think I would have enjoyed a train trip with a bunch of turkeys.

LD: Well it was pretty good money for that time.

MP: Where did you take the turkeys to in Buffalo?

LD: The guys that bought them would come to the rail yard with their trucks and they would have to unload them there. I don’t remember their names.

MP: Maybe it was like a grocery chain or something.

LD: Yes it was a big outfit. At that time you weren’t able to go into a grocery store and buy turkeys year round.

MP: That is so true.

LD: You would buy a turkey just for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The turkeys sold like crazy.

MP: You know Chief had turkeys on sale last week and I think the whole big turkey you could buy it like for six dollars. They were frozen.

LD: The turkey breast is the only part I like.

MP: Same here.

LD: I don’t like the legs at all. There is too many fine bones in there.

MP: I love turkey.

LD: I love the turkey breasts too. I like to buy it sliced too. Did you ever eat smoked turkey? I like that too.

MP: Yes.

LD: We would take our biggest tom turkeys when we were done breeding them and we’d smoke the breast. That was so good.

RP: We used to go to Wauseon and buy smoked turkey. Was that at Snyder’s?

MP: No that was Figy’s just north of Wauseon on Rt. 2.

LD: Yes they smoked our turkeys a few times.

MP: You would pull up in their lane and they had this big old German Shepherd dog. It scared our boys and us. I was afraid to get out of the car.

RP: Marlene and I got out of the car. They had a high counter in their office where you bought the turkey and there was another German Shepherd that jumped right up over this counter. He started barking at us.

MP: Did we get turkey that time or did we leave?

RP: Yes we got some smoked turkey.

LD: He did have real good smoked turkey.

MP: That makes for real good sandwiches.

RP: We got a catalog in the mail from some company, I forget who, and they advertised smoked turkey. I ordered one and when we got it , why it was a smoked duck and not a turkey.

LD: You mean you got a whole duck?

RP: We ate it anyway.

LD: I never had smoked duck.

MP: Yes you and Dan ate it. Marlene didn’t want any.

LD: I like duck, but I don’t like to clean it.

MP: Do they have a lot of pinfeathers?

LD: Oh yes, they are full of them. If you get them at the wrong time they are just loaded with pinfeathers. I like duck but I don’t care for goose.

RP: Goose is too greasy.

LD: Oh yes.

RP: We went up one time to a restaurant in Marshall, Michigan with some friends and they ordered the restaurant special which was goose. They said too that it was real greasy.

LD: Goose is really greasy. That place in Marshall that is close to that place called Turkeyville.

MP: You mean up in Michigan?

LD: Yes, up in Marshall there is a place called Turkeyville Restaurant. It was still there when I was there. They have plays there. They would put on plays and things like that there. All you could get there were turkey meals. They had all different kinds of turkey meals.

MP: That sounds good. Is it still in business?

LD: Oh yes, I think Sturdevants still go up there.

RP: I got a kick out it. They ordered the goose because it was so cheap. Then they hollered it wasn’t good because it was so greasy.

LD: Muskrat is not greasy. It tastes good but I just can’t bring myself to eat it.

MP: Is it more like beef?

LD: I don’t know. I did taste coon. I don’t know how I did it, but I guess I might have had one too many beers.

MP: That will do it. Did you run a grocery store in Elery?

LD: Yes, it was right next to the bar and the elevator.

MP: There was another building that was torn down.

LD: Yes we had the store in there.

MP: Elery must have been a booming town at one time.

LD: Yes it was. We had two gas stations, two bars, a grocery store, an elevator. The beet dump was back in there.

MP: Did you raise beets?

LD: Yes. Neila’s dad was raising beets when I came home from the service.

MP: Was that profitable?

LD: Oh, it was fair. We’d get a good year. It was just like tomatoes. Tomatoes are good in a growing season of good weather. Profit is good when the weather cooperates. We had some of our sugar beets get wet one year and that was enough.

MP: Did they rot in the ground for you?

LD: No, we couldn’t get them out of the field it was so muddy. We had to throw them on a wagon and then haul them to the road and then haul them on trucks.

MP: Did you use, what we used to call them, beet hunkies? Those people from Belgium?

LD: No, we hired Jamaicans. They were worse than the Belgiums. The Belgiums were good.

MP: That would have been very hard work.

LD: The Belgiums were good people. Those Jamaicans you just couldn’t teach them anything. Neila’s dad would get so disgusted with those Jamaicans. He would start them on a row of beets and they would wind up in another row. They just couldn’t understand how to do it. He got mad and run them out. He said he’d let the beets rot out in the field before he would hire another Jamaican. Then he hired the Jamaicans. So after that we went and raised tomatoes. That was a better deal. We had 40 acres of them at last.

MP: Were all 40 acres planted in tomatoes?

LD:Yes, in two different places. We upset a load once and that ended up a disaster.

MP: That would have been a big loss.

LD: Not such a big loss as it was such a big job. I called my sister and her husband and two other couples and we sat out there till midnight getting the tomatoes reloaded.

MP: Were you using the hampers at that time?

LD: Yes. We had to stack a layer and then stack another layer. We couldn’t get them all on. Do you remember Orville Rettig?

RP: Oh yes.

LD: He said I will put on another layer if you put on another layer. We did finally get them all on. I got mine out on the road and he didn’t. His front wheels come up and the front of his truck come up and his whole works got dumped. So that was the last picking of the tomatoes. I quit that deal.

RP: What year did you take over the grocery store?

LD: That was in 1957.

MP: That would have been rather late for a grocery store to be in a small town like Elery.

LD: Rosie Hoffman’s dad had it.

MP: You mean the grocery store in Elery.

LD: Yes he had the grocery store. It was a Hoffman. What was her name. She was a nice lady.

RP: I can still remember him coming in the drug store. He was always laughing.

MP: Was it Harvey?

RP: Yes it was Harvey.

LD: What was her name anymore? He always worked the dance floor when Neila’s folks were there. That’s how I got to know them. When they sold it they sold it to Larry Myles’s folks. They had it maybe three or four years. Then we bought it from them. That was in ‘57.

RP: I can remember Eldor’s mother. She used to come in and get prescriptions.

LD: Eldor’s mother.

RP: Yes.

LD: You know where the Henry County Bank is here on this south side.

RP: She lived right next door to it. Is she still alive?

LD: No she has been dead for quite some time now. Eldor isn’t real good either. I should go see them. I just can’t bring myself to go see these people. We ran around with them all the time.

MP: I know just how you feel.

LD: I see Betty every once in a while.

MP: We saw Betty at the Legion over in Ridgeville.

LD: You mean the fish fry?

MP: No it was the Legion’s Chicken Pot Pie dinner.

LD: Neila and I used to always go over there for their fish fry.

MP: St. Augustine’s Catholic Church has a good fish fry too.

LD: I go to Alpine on Tuesdays to eat and I go to Elery on Thursdays to eat, and when my renters call me I go out to eat with them. That is about all. Of course I go out to eat on Sundays.

MP: You go to Hill’s for breakfast.

LD: I had swiss steak Sunday there.

MP: Was it good?

LD: It was real good.

MP:Was it tender.

LD: Yes, I ate it with a fork. I had potatoes and gravy and steak, string beans, and a tossed salad. By Sunday night I didn’t have to eat.

RP: How many years did you run the grocery store in Elery?

LD: Four years. In 1961 Larry Miles wrote me that he wanted that. So I told him I would sell it to him. She did most of it. So they bought it from me. They ran it for three to four years. That is just when the supermarkets started coming to town. We did pretty well there from ‘57 to ‘60.

RP: We had the same thing happening in the drug store business.

LD: When Chief first opened up they would have these big specials and things sold pretty good. We would go buy a bunch of the specials and sell them in our store.

MP: We had the same thing.

LD: We made money at the store. We didn’t make just too much money. In fact from the time we bought it from Franz’s and sold it to Myles we made a little bit of money.

MP: People think these small businesses are a gold mine.

LD: You can’t tell me that.

RP: Every once in a while we would sell some Clorox. I went down to the Defiance Grocery when they were still wholesaling and I went out to Chief to see what they were selling their Clorox for. Here I could have bought it cheaper at Chief than I bought it from the Defiance Grocery Wholesale Co.

MP: You have all these big chains and naturally they buy in quantity. Then you have Walmart and they kill everybody. Small businesses can’t survive.

RP: One thing I can remember my folks eating is liver pudding.

MP: Is that the same thing?

LD: Oh no. My dad used to make that when he butchered. I like liver pudding. That is kind of greasy.

MP: Did you get a $5.00 coupon from Dollar General. Did you use it. I gave mine to somebody.

LD: I threw mine out. You had to spend I think $25.00 before you could use it.

MP: It was a good buy if you used a lot of soap or something like that.

LD: I could see for a family it would pay out. I watch when I see something like that on special. I don’t use that much and I think my clothes look clean.

MP: You never smell so you must be clean. That’s the main thing.

RP: When you had your grocery store Lum, did you have medicines in there too?

LD: Well just the ones you can buy over the counter like aspirins, Vicks and stuff like that. That was pretty good money.

RP: Who supplied you. Do you remember.

LD: The Defiance Grocery Co. did. I bought all my stuff there. That’s how I got to know

RP: Did you know Clarence Cummings? He was a salesman for Defiance Grocery.

MP: He came over to visit us during the blizzard and got stuck at our house in the drive. The boys had to push him out. He shouldn’t have even been on the highway. He was 90 some years old.

LD: I am trying to think of this guy that started Chief Supermarkets. He was back there in the Home for a while.

RP: Do you mean Florian Saur?

LD: Yes. He was in the Defiance Grocery at that time.

MP: He always worked real hard.

RP: Didn’t he originally have a store in Holgate?

MP: Did he have a store in Liberty Center too?

LD: I can’t remember. When he started that Dad still had the restaurant. He was real young yet. When he first started out he came there to the restaurant. He had a huckster wagon and he told me you are old enough to drive. Would you like to drive a huckster wagon? I didn’t know. He said come with me for a day and see what you think. Maybe you would enjoy that. It was fun. You would buy eggs if the ladies didn’t have any money to buy groceries with.

MP: So they would pay you in eggs. So basically those eggs would not have been refrigerated.

LD: You would either put them in your basement or wherever you could.

MP: Isn’t that something.

LD: And nobody ever died because the eggs weren’t refrigerated.

MP: And nobody ever got sick.

LD: Florian was a real nice guy. I didn’t work for him that long. I had the huckster wagon on the road.

RP: I remember when he came to Napoleon then and he had a grocery store here on Washington Street. I think the bought out Dirr and Beck.

LD: Florian did. I think you are right.

RP: See that Beck, his wife was a Dirr. That Dirr had quite a bit of money over at New Bavaria.

LD: He did. That Oliver Dirr he was older than Florian.

RP: It was Pete Dirr that was the big money man.

LD: Those names come back to me when you say them. I knew who they were. I even knew who all the whisky makers were in the county.

MP: Did you really?

LD: I knew who they were and they had money.

RP: About how many of them were there in the county?

LD: Oh goodness. I knew at least four or five of them.

MP: New Bavaria was noted for making whisky.

LD: They had a guy in Hamler that made whisky too.

MP: Where did they make whisky at. Was it made in their kitchen?

LD: That guy in Hamler he was just a small operator. The young guys would go there and get their whisky. He knew my dad real well so I couldn’t take the chance of buying any whisky from him.

MP: He’d tell.

RP: One of the Shaff boys, George, he died real young. He would have my dad drive his car and take him to New Bavaria to buy whisky. My mother was always so mad that my dad had to drive him. She’d tell him you are going to get into trouble buying whisky down there.

LD: My dad never had a car until I was 8 years old. It was in 1928.

RP: Did you guys use horses, a buggy, and a wagon?

LD: Yes. That’s another thing I got to do. When I was little we lived on the farm with Grampa and Grandma. Grampa would have to drive to Hamler just once a week to get the groceries. She’s say let him go along. I was just 6 years old. My brother would cry. He couldn’t go along because he was only 4. He’d say I can’t take them both. You’d get up in the old buggy, put a brick down there to put my feet on and away we’d go to town. I can remember a lot of that stuff.

MP: Did you farm with horses then?

LD: I didn’t farm for myself. I farmed for my uncle. We had tractors by then. When I got back from the service in 1945 we had tractors.

RP: I remember that Arnold Huener, his in-laws had that farm out on old Route 6. They still had horses into the ‘50’s.

MP: They were still using them after we got married. That would have been in the ‘60’s.

LD: I worked for Fred Badenhop when I was 14 years old. I helped him plow with the horses in the summer. I kind of like horses. That’s why I enjoy going down to Kentucky.

MP: There are a lot of pretty horses down there.

LD: My granddaughter lives right there in that horse country. It’s pretty to go down there in the springtime and see the new colts out in the pasture. The mares just have their colts out there in the fields.

RP: Was Albert Fahr one of your customers?

LD: Yes. If you had a woman around he was a customer. He could tell more stories.

MP: Was he married?

LD: Oh yes a couple of times. Neila knew his family. We only lived a mile from them. That’s where these kids are from, the first wife. Then she died.

MP:You mean his first wife?

LD: Yes. Those kids were all pretty small when she died. He’d be outside and Neila would go down there and visit with him. We’d be sitting out there. Ethel, which was Neila’s mothers name. She’d say I don’t know who can talk the most, but they’re both pretty good at it. All the stuff that Albert could come up with. The best one I heard was the time he come home from hunting in Pennsylvania. There weren’t many deer around here then. He’d come home from Pennsylvania and he had this deer tied to his car. He said boy I got a good one this year. I told him that’s the biggest jersey calf I ever saw.

MP: Was it a cow that was tied on his car?

LD: Yes it was a calf.

MP: Didn’t he know the difference.

LD: I think he knew he was just lying again.


RP: I remember him telling me how he would take a bag of apples and string them along on the ground. Then he would sit by a tree and watch for the deer to come along and eat the apples. He said the deer would walk right up to you and then he would shoot it.

MP: It would probably work.

LD: We sat there one night. There used to be a lot of hawks around.They would sit on the power lines. He’d be sitting there and he said for me to take a look at the new rife he had just got. I have a scope on it. He told me he’d shot one off a post from 80 rods.

MP: What was Clem’s last name.

LD: Clem Eberle.

RP:Was that Eberle related to Don Eberle’s folks?

LD: Ray, who was Don’s dad were first cousins.

RP: That Don has all kinds of Indian artifacts.

LD: That is the second generation down. His dad’s name was Don too.

MP: So that would have been Don’s grandfather.

LD: Here is another one. Don’s mother died fairly young. Don’s father remarried.

MP: So Don would have been raised by his stepmother.

LD: I think Don was pretty well raised but I think some of the younger ones were raised by the stepmother. I think his second wife was a Rauch. She had a brother in Deshler too I think. No Toledo has really changed from the ‘50’s on.

MP: Yes it has and now with all these big department stores going belly up. More and more.

LD: Did you see the new skating rink and stuff that they have built.

MP: Do you mean like the Sports Arena?

LD: Terry’s office is right across the street.

MP: Who does he work for?

LD: Seagate.

MP: Now Terry is your only son.

LD: I have one son, one granddaughter and one great granddaughter. We are not a big family.

MP: We aren’t either.

LD: So Neila and I could never get into many big arguments that way. That is one thing you gain.

MP: No fights.

LD: No Terry has retired now. A week ago Sunday he said “This is my last day”. I talked to him on the phone last night and I asked him how his retirement was going. He told me he was bored. He told them last October that he was quitting the first of March. I’m giving you plenty of time to find someone to do my job. Anyway it came retirement time and they still didn’t have anybody to do his job. He had a guy working with him, under him. He said I’ll tell you what I am going to do. He told me that guy can’t handle the job alone and I had given them plenty of time to find someone. They came begging for Terry to keep on the job. He told them that he would work three days a week which would have been twenty hours a week and that would be on my time. Only when I want to work. He told them you have got to have somebody here that can take over my job here.

MP: He was the main man.

LD: He was. He gave them two weeks and asked them if they were looking and they said no, not yet. He had told them that he wasn’t going to stay. Last night I talked to him and I asked him if he has his twenty hours in and he told me that he ended up with thirty six hours.

MP: Terry and my sister Karen are the same age.

LD: They were the 4H king and queen together. When I saw that in the paper I thought I knew that girl. I can’t believe they are retired already.

MP: To me that is the scairy part. When my oldest boy Dan turned 50 I thought Oh my gosh!

LD: Wait till he turns 62 and comes and tells you Mom I am going to retire. That really hits you.

MP: I hope there is still Social Security so these kids can retire.

LD: I’m telling you that you just don’t know what is going to happen. People have lost a lot of money with this deal going on now.

RP: The stock deals are no good now.

LD: I have no idea what a 401 is.

MP: Isn’t that where the company you work for puts some of your wages in some type of savings account.

RP: Right.

LD: He said he really lost in that.

MP: I know Sam had one and he lost money in that too.

RP: Marlene had money in National City and that’s no good now either.

MP: I lost all of that too. It just didn’t pay a thing.

LD: So far I have been lucky. I haven’t lost too much in there. Nobody is making anything either now. Just so I have enough food to eat.

MP: You’re just like me. I don’t care any more. Just so there is food on the table.

LD: How do you like your new car?

MP: Well we got that with Obama’s stimulus money. You’ll be getting a new car too.

RP: There are several countries in Europe where you reach the age of 80 that you can no longer get a drivers license.

LD: I know that. They won’t even let you drive then.

RP: I think one of them is Germany.

LD: That’s what some people have told me. If I was in Germany I wouldn’t be even allowed to drive.

MP: Maybe that is not such a bad idea.

LD: I don’t know whether it is or not. You look in the paper and how many people do you see that get killed driving. Not very many.

MP: It’s the young kids. I just saw another 14 year old girl got killed. I don’t know what happened to her.

RP: When we went to look at that one house over on Welstead where they had a big fire.

MP: You couldn’t see where anything had been burned, unless it was all on the inside. They said the roof was burned. Maybe we looked at the wrong house. Of course you have to go see.

LD: I tell you I live different from when we first moved here.

MP: I noticed.

LD: Well see I go to Perrysburg where Terry lives. When I get to Perrysburg the first thing they will ask is which way did I come. I tell them that I don’t know. I use all the back roads.

RP: A lot of times we will use Poe Road to go to Bowling Green.

LD: When I go to Bowling Green I will use Poe Road and then come back on Route 6. I like Poe Road but you need to make quite a few stops on that. I’m never in a hurry and it’s a good road now. That comes out right behind the hospital there. I don’t have to go back there until May.

MP: That’s only a couple of months away.

LD: It used to always be six months. At first it was four. I asked him why four. He said you dang bullhead make it six. If you don’t feel good call me. I was in there the other day and he said I think we have your medicine finally straightened out. Do as I told you but I would like to see you in three months. Now he wants me every three months. I like that guy. He used to be here in Napoleon.

RP: Yes our doctor had us coming every three months. Now we go every six months.

LD: That’s where I was too, but he wants to see whether my heart is still beating. If I’m not around so what, you won’t have to know. I get along real good with him. When I was in the hospital one day, you didn’t know that I was in the hospital did you.

MP: You were!

LD: Yes I was, I got so sick I called I called my niece.

MP: When was that?

LD: It was a year ago in April. I called my niece and told her I was feeling real bad and I asked her how to get to the emergency room. She told me the way you sound right now I am going to come over and pick you up. I could hardly get to my car.

MP: What was wrong with you?

LD: My darn heart didn’t want to run right. Now they got it straightened out. My doctor told them to stomp on him to get that heart going. He’s pretty bullheaded and won’t listen to you. When I got back I told my doctor I didn’t know I was bullheaded. He’s a real good guy. He was here in town and when he left we just followed him to Bowling Green. I like him, that’s Dr. Miller. As long as I can drive I will drive up there.

MP: Bowling Green isn’t that far away.

LD: If I can’t drive it, I will just go up here. I do all my blood test work up here. They do things so quick. I get my blood tested in the morning and before I get home they have called and tell me the results. I am so glad I am up here at Bavarian Village living rather than back at the farm. Of course I can’t go back down there anymore. I sold the house and buildings and turned the farm over. Terry said we are all going to move out there and you’re going to grow tomatoes and beans. I told him there is enough out there for you guys to do that. I hope the economy doesn’t get as bad as it did in the ‘30’s. I don’t think these young people can handle it. We didn’t know any better. We grew up that way.

MP: We grew up that way. We always had plenty to eat. We had a big garden, my mother canned and froze vegetables, and we’d always butcher our beef. We didn’t suffer.

RP: My boy Sam, he got laid off from Arrow True Line over in Archbold. They are connected to the housing and building industry. It doesn’t look good there either. He’s supposed to go back in six weeks but it doesn’t look good for that to even happen.

LD: These places can’t sell anything, nobody is buying, nobody is building like they used to. You see my renters run the lumber yard in Holgate and they keep saying that they have plenty of work. They have three gangs going right now.

MP: Are they Buckeye Lumber Co.?

LD: Yes their office is up here. Their boy works up here.

MP: That’s the Buckeye Building Supply, that is the Holgate Lumber. They did some work for the Historical Sociey. They remodeled the Bloomfield House, the Carriage House part.

LD: Yes, he told me. See they built that new building out there on the fairgrounds too. I get to go with them and they go out to eat and take me along. They show me different jobs that they are doing.

MP: That way you get to know what’s going on.

RP: When we were still running the store, we had those big old wood doors for the opening of our outdoor cellar, this kid came along and set a fire back there, and the fire burned those doors. I called up Mel Lanzer and I wanted new doors put on and of course I asked him for an estimate. He gave me an estimate of five thousand dollars. I thought I had better check somewhere else. Holgate Lumber keeps advertising so I called them up and they wanted only five hundred dollars. So they didn’t come and they didn’t come and it got to be almost a year and it still wasn’t repaired. They said they were so busy. So I called Mike Austermiller and asked him to fix it and he came right away and only charged me $150.00.

LD: You just had to wait a little while. I don’t know, they just seem to be busy all the time.

RP: I was going to let Holgate do it, but they never got around to it.

MP:How did Neila start getting in the beauty shop business?

LD: She went to beauty school right after high school. She went to Ft. Wayne.

MP: Did she ever fix hair in Ft. Wayne or did she come right back home.

LD: She came back home here. When I went into the service she was working for Helen Yackee here. When I came home she opened her own shop right here in the summer kitchen.

MP: You mean out on the farm?

LD: Yes. She did that for a couple of years. All the women she got was people she knew. She did them for a lot less. Then it got to the point where they would bring their own home style permanent from home and want Neila to do it for them. Then they would just give her a dollar. I told her you can’t expect to make much money, you had better go to work. So when Terry went off to college she went to work at Campbell’s. So she never got rich running the beauty shop.

MP: I think they do now at this time.

LD: I think they make pretty good now. What do they get now 40 to 50 bucks just for a perm?

MP: It runs around $35.00 more or less.

LD: She always set her own hair. We never had to pay for that.

MP: You were lucky.

MP: So did she do it with pin curls?

LD: I don’t know. She had all kinds of stuff in there. I had boxes of that stuff. I didn’t know what to do with it so I threw it out. I gave some of it away. I have it all pretty well cleaned out. I told the family to take what they want and they said we have all we want. I am going to get rid of it. I said I am done.

MP: Those were the good old days.

LD: Yep. We have lived through the best years. You stop and think I came from horse and buggies to cars and now we fly everywhere.

MP: That is what I always told about my dad. He started with the horse and buggies, the the automobile, and then he went to the airplanes and from there we now have the space ships. Now they are going to the moon and back. It blows your mind.

LD: Then I keep thinking what else can they do. They always come up with something new.

MP: They will think of something else. Next they will go to Mars.

LD: And people will live on the moon. Not in my time and not in yours, but they will do it. Your kids or your grandkids might see that.

MP: It’s a different world out there. Well Pops do you think we should wrap it up

RP: Do you have any more questions for Lum?

MP: I think we have covered quite a bit of territory and some maybe we shouldn’t have.

LD: You got the muskrat story.

MP: I still think the muskrats is the best part. I could listen to you tell that story over and over. I just can’t imagine people eating muskrats.

LD: That is a true story.

MP: I believe it.

LD:The turkeys was another story. At that time we could put them on a train cheaper than we could truck them to Buffalo. We could get 3 to 4 truckloads on just one train car you know.

MP: Were you drafted in the Army?

LD: Yes.

MP:Where did you end up serving?

LD: I went overseas with the boys and got hit twice. Do you remember Eldon Koppenhoffer?

MP: The name is familiar. What was his wife’s name?

LD: It was Elnora.

MP: Elnora was one of Alvin Miller’s daughters from Gerald.

LD: Yep. Him and I went into the service on the same day. Hy Travis was in that. There was a big bunch of us. Him and I we stayed together. We went to Camp Perry. We were in the same company. I was in the infantry and I didn’t like all the walking we had to do. Eldon was a little timid and he knew a sergeant , well it was Helen Shiarla’s husband. So Eldon and I we had a chance to get out and we joined the light artillary. That guy drove company commanders all over and he never got hit. I never saw him after we hit the beach. I got hit 70 days in. I am not going to tell you but it hurt. But in ten days I was back with my company. Then in the Battle of the Bulge I got hit and I got shipped back to England. Then they lost my papers. I could have come home because nobody knew where I was. I didn’t have any money, I couldn’t even go across the street.

MP: Did they lose anybody elses papers?

LD: So they shipped me here and there and they finally got me shipped back to Germany. Most of the time I was waiting for my papers to show up. I couldn’t get paid. This went on for over a month. I couldn’t get paid. The pay wasn’t much the way it was. I couldn’t even buy a pack of cigarettes and I was still smoking then. Finally I went to the Red Cross. They gave me $20.00. Then when it came time to get paid I had used up my 20.00. I didn’t get paid and I still didn’t have any money. Finally they found my papers and they shipped me back and do you know when I got back to my company it was the day the war ended. I hadn’t seen Eldon all this time from the beach. They told me there would be a Jeep to pick me up and take me back to my company. The Jeep pulls up here it is Eldon that is doing the driving. I hadn’t seen him from the day we were at the beach. Him and I we were always pretty close.

MP: What was he doing like driving the generals around?

LD: He was driving the company commanders around. He was a captain and I guess it kept us all alive. He’d get lost every now and then. I was just lucky I transferred. I was using these little stubby Howitzer’s We were always about a mile to a mile and a half behind the front lines. One night orders came down that we were pulling out. The next morning we wind up and we are lost. He had made the wrong turn. We made it back. I had a little pickup truck. I was the gun commander. I had three different guns. The reason I got hit I got foolish. We couldn’t did a hole so we moved the people out of their houses and we moved in. The Germans blew up their own houses.

MP: You mean you moved the Germans out of their houses.

LD: No, they were the Belgiums we moved out.

MP: Where did they go then?

LD: I don’t know.

RP: Do you remember this Wally Praet from town here? He got in the Army. His folks were from Belgium.

MP: Was Wally born in Belgium?

RP: Yes he was born in Belgium. He served in the Battle of the Bulge and he reocognized his aunts house. He went and hid in her house.

LD: I still have a hole in my shoulder from that.

MP: Did you get hit in your shoulder?

LD: That one don’t hurt. The other one is where I got Arthur in.

MP: Did you get hit in both of your shoulders? Where did you get hit at was it in your butt.

LD: Worse than that. No, I just got some shrapnel down between my legs.

MP: That would have been ouchy.

LD: No that wasn’t just too bad. I was gone for two days. The other one they sent me clear back to England.

RP: I had a great uncle who served in World War I and he said he was holding horses and a shell hit this one horse and it blew the head off the horse and he got splattered with blood all over him. Then later on he got gassed. He always suffered from that.

LD: There was a ot of gas in the First World War. I guess that’s why I am a little hard headed. We’ve lost 4,000 troops by now. We lost that many that first day.

MP: You mean in Iraq?

LD: In Iraq we have lost 4.000. We lost 4,000 the first day we hit the beach.

MP: You just wonder. I always trusted Bush, but I don’t know.

LD: Right or wrong I don’t know either.’

MP: I have mixed feelings.

LD: That’s what always get me. We lost 4,000 in just one day. We are fighting ourselves.

MP: Of course those people have been fighting wars of some sort for years and years.

RP: Those people over there it has become their way of life.

LD: I keep telling Terry this stuff and he tells me to shut up. You are too old to worry about that stuff. I tell him you guys are going to have to live in this world too.

MP: It’s going to effect your granddaughter’s generation.

LD: I can’t worry about it anymore.


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