Mom starts a few of he stories talking about her large family, that she was the 13th of 14 children. In this set of stories, she proceeded to write brief recollections of each of her siblings, all written longhand in a notebook.
In this section, she writes about her two oldest siblings, Sis and Vern. She also writes briefly about her first memory, though she crossed that out, apparently making a false start. I've included it here anyway.
The photo is another from my parents' wedding day, with members of my Mom's large family.
(Loren and Bernice | Bud and Elmer | Hun and Nick | Terry and Dard | Greg, Karon and Mickey)
My first memory is when I was around 2 years old. ... I remember peering in this basket and seeing a baby. There were lots of people around.
Then no memory until later. Seems like everyone left in the morning except my sister Karon, a year and a half older and the baby, who is 2, who we call Mickey. The three of us always play together.
Then the rest come home. I happen to number 13 in the family of 14. Hey, someone has to be 13.
My sister Vera (we call her Darla or Dard) 10, then brother Gary or Gregory, 11. He was always good looking. He is next to Karon, 12.
From Dard, then is Terry, 9, and Nick (who is deaf), 8. My sister Alice is 7 (we also call her Hon). Keep going. Elmer #6, Melvin (we call Bud), 5, Bernice is #4 (we call her Toots). Two more boys, Loren, #3, and Vernon, #2. Dolores #1 (we call Sis) tops the list. There is nearly 20 years from Dolores to Mickey.
First I will write stories about each one.
Dolores, we call Sis, was away at college when I was born. Then she got a teaching job at school for the deaf in Sioux Falls. I truly don't remember distinctly until I was about 3 or 4. She came home on weekends to help clean the house. I just remember her when she made everyone help. I was kind of afraid of her.
In the summer time she traveled with some friends. She would tell us some about her adventures. I remember vaguely some of them. She told us about a church she went to that during the service there was an explosion within the church. Most of the church fell, but Father finished Mass. She was not hurt, but I guess there were several that were. She wasn't talking to me, but several of the family more her age.
She met this young man in Sioux Falls. He was a farmer even though that is where she came from. His name was Henry ... the oldest of 5. He had a brother in the service and my sister Alice began corresponding to Henry's brother. Joseph was home on furlough and they dated. So as he returned to the military, we found out that Sis got a ring from Henry.
She started to plan her wedding when Joseph proposed to Alice by mail. They planned a double wedding. If Joseph didn't make it home, that is OK, as the family on each side is the same. He did make it home and near as I can remember, it was a beautiful wedding.
Years later, Darla (Vera) met the third brother, Bernard, and married. All three have large families.
As everyone gets older, I must have matured because in the past several years, we have had fun together with nice visits. I don't get home as often as I'd like, but I try to write.
I have gotten to be good friends with Dolores, the sister I was a little afraid of. Maybe since I left home and married, I have become on their level of maturity. Even the men talk to me as an adult. Maybe I didn't give them a chance.
Next we have Vern. He was overseas in World War II. While in Berlin, he met and fell in love with a young lady, Hildaguard. She could not believe that Vern's mom had just had a new baby. That was my younger sister, Maxine.
When Vern was discharged and ready to return home, he started proceeding to bring his "wife to be" home. I don't know the details, but when I was helping Mom sort through paperwork in the closet, I came across a cancelled check written for $2,000. Mom said it was for transportation to bring Hilla home. I don't really remember the wedding. I do remember when she came home. She spoke English with a strong German brogue. They moved to a farm north of us.
Connie, July 2011