Friday, November 12, 2010

I Recall
by Marie Pierce

I remember the day Mother was raking hay and the horses run away and she came with hair hanging down clothes all ragged.  Had been drug behind the rake sometime before she got loose.  Was barefoot. Lost her shoes.  Was all black and blue and how scared we were and cried.

Also remember the prairie fires.  How Dad would have to plow furrow guards.  No wonder I have nightmares.

Grandma Mossinger

This is what stands out in my mind most of all.  We were getting dinner.  Had put a big granite pan of potatoes on the stove to cook.  It was one of those which was smaller at the bottom then and big around at the top, and didn't set on the stove very good as we always took off the lid and set them down next to it so to get done faster.  She no doubt went to check to see if they were done and the kettle tipped and hot water poured out onto her leg.  Don't remember if both legs or just one and she was bedfast for some time.  It just didn't heal so someone said lamb manure poultice should be good.  Talbotts had lambs so we got some manure from them and tried it, but she then had a stroke and was sometime before she passed away.

Ida postponed her wedding until after she passed away.  It seems Ernest was home.  Maybe he was going to Taxidermist School in Omaha then and was just home a few days.  It seems it was he who told of her being delirious trying to climb the walls.

I just don't seem to remember much about her prior to that.  Have been trying to bring something back.  That was such a tragic thing.  I would have been 10 years old.

We were bed pals.

Ich bin klein
Mein Herz ist rein
Soll Niemand darin wohnen
Als Jesus allein Amen
I am small or little
my heart is clean or pure
shall none therin dwell or live
Save Jesus Alone

And we always said the Lord's Prayer in German and I still do to this day.

Notes on the above:
White Lake, South Dakota circa 1895-1900.  Marie Blum Pierce was approximately 3 to 5 years of age.

From this time period, Marie also remember sheep shearing.  She recalls "great big long sacks", each filled with approximately 100 lbs. of wool, being "placed in a shed."  Her job was to walk out to where the men were working and to "call them for dinner."

In 1900 Marie's family moved form White Lake, South Dakota to a homestead near South Bend, Nebraska.  She remembers taking the train to Nebraska with her father, Andrew Blum.  Marie, and impressionable 5 yr. old at the time, enjoyed the popcorn and peanuts which her father generously bought for her from the train's porters.

The Nebraska homestead near South Bend was purchased from the Sweeney family who was related to Minnie Mossinger Huber's husband.  Minnie was Marie's Aunt.  When the Sweeneys left the South Bend homestead for California, they were unable to take their two large dogs with them.  Until the Sweeny family sent for the dogs, the pets occupied the small frame house on the homestead along with the entire Blum family.

Marie remembers that the 4 room house had and "all occasion-dining room",  a parlor with "green wall paper with big white figures", a 'built-on kitchen with a cupboard between the kitchen and dining room", and one big sleeping room.  Marie recalls, "We all slept in one room."  She remembers "a porch facing the east", and a fenced yard with flowers and a "big garden."

A rock house was also on the property.  It was larger than the frame house and in need of repairs.  Some time later, after repairs were completed, the Blum family moved into the rock house.

Marie says, "My Dad moved to Nebraska because of the spring and the pond on the homestead.  In South Dakota we didn't have a spring." The South Bend Homestead spring had a "ramp that pumped the water into the tank." From the tank it was "pushed into pipes" to water various areas of the homestead.

A variety of fruit trees grew on the 80 acre homestead near South Bend.  Marie recalls peach, pear, and apple trees.  Later her father also planted 5 acres of grapes.  She also remember timothy grass growing on the property.  This was a "tall grass with a solid stem like foxtail."

Prior to the birth of the youngest child, Martin Blum on March 8, 1905: the Blum Homestead was occupied by Marie's Grandma, Caroline Mossinger: Marie's mother and father, Louise and Andrew Blum; and 7 children including Ida, Ernest, Albert, Louise, Marie, Bill and Andrew.

By this time, the Blum family had moved into the larger rock house on their homestead.  This house was built into the ground with a large living room and kitchen accommodation on the basement level with an entrance from the south.  The south wall was fully exposed. The west wall was partially exposed to the outside while the north wall had dirt all around it.  The east wall was the ground level for the second floor.  There was a large stone fireplace in the southeast corner of the building which extended to the second story.  The living room-kitchen accommodation was approximately 12'x16'.  From the living room, there was and entrance to a full length pantry, approximately 6'x16', which was filled with canned and fresh vegetables.  At the back of the pantry was and entrance which led to the cellar containing fruit, potatoes and wine stored in barrels.  In the winter, a cake of salted herring was kept in the kitchen accommodation because it was one of Andrew Blum Sr.'s favorite foods.  A sharply angled staircase led to the second story of the house.  Three bedrooms were found on this floor.  Marie and her Grandma shared the small bedroom immediately to the right at the top of the stairs.  The bedroom to the left of the stairs was a large room with a fireplace and an exit to the outside.

The stove burned wood or cobs.  The burner-lid on the stove was removed so that the pan could be placed directly on the burning cobs or wood.

Grandma Mossinger's accident occurred several months before the birth of Martin on  March 8, 1905.

Caroline Mossinger, Marie's Grandma, passed away June 4, 1905.

Marie remembers her Grandma teaching her this prayer.

Translation by Martin Blum

*A stirring memento of pioneer days to a generation blessed with affluence and to unmindful of our responsibilities to succeeding generations, love of God, and neighbor.  Martin Blum

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