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June 03, 1941 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1941-06-03

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'PERSPECTIVES

Page Five

I CAN WELL REMEMBER
..By Esther Jewel1

S HF WASA SHAPELESS WOMAN,
heavy with age and sickness. The
sallowness of her face and hands
contrasted with her black hair
and long black smock. She sat bent over
in a straight, hard chair beside the
dining-room table, on which she was
just able to rest her arm. Her stubby
pencil was pushed along persistently
by her swollen fingers. Sometimes the
tablet wc'ld move beneath it, and she
would have to lift her arm ever so little
to fix it. Then she would settle back
again cnd wait a little while before she
went on. The letters she was shaping
were large and wavering, and the lines
wandered across the page.
August 24, 1932
I am seventy years old today.
As this is on my Birthday I want to
make the start on it and add to it as
time goes by. Iwill call it my life Biou-
graph. I was born in Germany and
was a six months old Baby when my
Parents came to America. They came
from Stettin, West Prussia, in 1863 and
landid near Lowell, Wisconsien, where
Father bought a farm and went to
farming, As he ad been an adminstrait-
er over a rich Land Lordes Villige, he
had to learn all over to make a success
of his new Proffession. But he soon
learned how and got to be a successful
Farmer. As my Father was one of the
old Pioneers in the country and it was
rarely settled, they had many hardships
to make. I can well remember how we
could see where the Indiens were in-
camped about half a mile away from
our home, and how they would come
over and beg wheat and corn and all
kinds of eats such as smoked hams and
so on. And how I would walk along
with Father to the Timber and drink
the juce when he sapped the mapple
trees. And how Mother cooked the syur-
rip and made the Mapple Sugar, as he
owned the Timber land with the Timber
on it. And I enjoyed the young dayes
of my life very much. Before I write
any more I will give you my Maiden
name, it is Louise Schiffmann. But at
present it is Mrs. Wm. Knapp ..,.
For njust a moment she had glimpsed
her surroundings with the eyes of Louise
Schiffman, and now a tear had fallen
where the next word should be.
Outdoors it was just past noon, but
here in this room it was twilight. The
heavy furniture seemed to crowd around
and overhang her. Wallpaper, rugs,
cushions, curtains, and all had lost their
own coloring long ago and now mingled
their varying shades of -ray with the
half-light. Through the window at the
woman's right could be seen only a bit
of lawn and a tree, and then a wide,
dusty lot surrounding a brick building
where were housed several families with
noisy children, a store, a restaurant, and
several other sma and dirty establish-
ments. This wasnt like the dream she
had had of a homely little cottage set
far back on a wide lawn. There would
be all sorts of flowers and shrubs and
trees, and somewhere there would be
room for a vegetable garden and a few
fruit trees. She would have liked some
chickens to take care of, too. It would
be quiet and peaceful and beautiful. But
Will liked to be in town, where he could
visit people and enjoy himself and not
have to keep up so much land.
The clock high up on the sideboard
wheezed two. A baby over in the apart-
ment house cried, and a dog barked
in answer. The pencil labored on, avoid-
ing the damp spot on the paper over
which a fly was hovering epersistently.
... So there were about ten years of
my life past. t have many a happy reg-
colection in my memory of these times,
as our farms gave me all the chances
to injoy life. We had apples and nuts
of all descriptions, and I could eat to
my Hearts content, and my oldest sister

and I spent many a happy hour ro-
mancing on this nice farm. I had aunts
and oncles and cousins liveing around
... So I was a happy girl and injoyed
life as the most of us do in our younger
dayes. I have three sisters of whom
are only two liveing at present, Emilie
and Mary, both in the State of Iowa,
and my home at present is in Ann Arbor,
Michigan. But let's go back once more to
my child hood years on our farm at
Columbus, Wisconsien. As we lived on
this place 5 or 6 years I had the time
of my life. As it 'as a fine farm and
a very pretty Place, Fruit of all descrip-
tion. Apples, Plums, Cherries, Grapes,
Black and Red Rass Berries, Currants,
Goos Berries and other Berries. I re-
member one fall Father stored 7 Barrels
of apples in the cellar and said now
children eate to your Hearts content.
And we also had all kinds of trees and
schrubes such as Lilic and the Ramb-
ling Roses in all colors and sizes white
yellow pink and red . .

until Will came down and found her.
There were only a few bruieses and they
could take care of them themselves.
Pain was pain, after all, and a little
more Or less didn't matter any more.
She had to stay in bed for a few days
but she was really very tired.
...Let us go back to where we start-
ed, Lowell, Wis. As my Father was no
Farmer by Proffession he had to learn
all over as over in Germany he wore
a silk hat and a cain in his hand.
He had to start in on hard work here
as the Family increased and wanted
Suport. Both Father and Mother had
beautiefull clothes such as I have not
seen here as they brought them from
Germany. And I remember very well
when sister and I cut Fathers silk hat
up for doll dresses. We begged Mother
untill she said we could for Father
did not have any use of it in this
country as he was a Farmer now. Well
as this is the 12 of Oct., 1932 and it's
our 50 years anavesary. Fifty years since

Editor ... . ..... . . . . . ...... .............. . ....... Jay W. McCormick
Fiction Editor......... . ... . ... . . .. . . .......... . . . ........Gerald Burns
Joanne Cohen, Gilberta Rothstein, Emile Gets, Barbara Richards.
Essay Editor ........... . .... . . . . ............... . .. Richard M. Ludwig
John Baker, Betty Whitehead, Frances Patterson, Laurence
Spingarn, M. M. Lipper, Bruce W. Forbes.
Poetry Editor ............... . . . . . . ..................Irving J. Weiss
Bertha Klein, Joan Clement, Lynne Bell.
Book Review Editor .................................. Dave Stocking
Edwin Burrows, Frank Tinker, Hervie Haufler.
Art Editor . . ......... . ......... . . . ..... . .... . ..........Cliff Graham
Publications Editor..................... . .............Carol Bundy
Joan Dories Jean Mullins, Erath Gutekunst, Rose Ann Kornblume,
Barbara DeFies.
Advisory Board:
Arno L. Bader, Herbert Weisinger, J. L. Davis, Morris Greenhut,
Allan Seager, Emil Weddige.

Walker's work and at Columbus Rev.
Gottschalk was our minister. So time
went by rather too fast it seems, and
we girls were soon gronups and inoyed
our farm life very much as long as
we were farely well . .
Indeed they had. There was not
thought then of sickness. They could
run and jump and climb trees. Why,
they had never even thought about
going upstairs many times in a day. And
now she could barely get upstairs with
two people helping her. She hadn't
been up since last Thanksgiving, and
here it was October again. Well, she
just had to trust to Will to keep things
clean. She never heard him stirring
around up there, though. He slept every
afternoon until time to get dinner. It
made it rather lonely.
. .Well as I have told you before
Father needed help every year in har-
vest. So one time our friend came in
and said to father do you want a man
for harvest and Father ariswered sure
I do. So friend said I have a man who
is loking for a job so Father said send
him over.
So Father hired him for harvest time,
and as we already knew, this young
man was an Illinoie Man, and our choier
master and organist at our church. So
we were glad for a chance to meet him
and found him to be very nice and
Father needed help so he hired him for
a year. This young man took a likeing
to me and now is my Husband and
we are still liveing although he is 80
years and I 70 years old. Well Father
was again one of the first Pioneers in
this new and spairly settled Country
of Iowa and as it was mostly Prarey the
Prarie wolfs were still heard howling
around us and plenty of Prarie chickens
could be heard cooing in the morning
and evening hours. But we after all in-
joyed our young lives and did our best
to make life pleasant and agriebly,
and so time went 'by rather fast.
We lived three miles away from our
church as we called it, but we attendid
regularly and were members in it. When
the young man who worked for Father
had been with us one year Father
asked him if he would not stay for
another year, for he got along fine with
him and so he stayed for the second
year and we got quite well acquainted
with him. He seemed more like a brother
to us than a friend and Father hired
him for a third year and at the end of
that he was anxious to go Home to his
Mother and Father who wanted him to
rent his farm and make this his Home,
and as he asked me to go with him
and get acquainted with his Folks and
meet them so I did, and we were married
on the twelfth day of October in the
year 1882 in Freeport, Ill., and made our
home on Fathers and Mothers Farm and
lived with them nearly two years and
I found his Mother to be one of the
Best old Ladyes I ever meet and so we
were very happy in our first years of
married lifves .. HI
S'HE SAT WITHOUT MOVING. very
quiet. She was cold. She wished
Will would come home and put more
coal on the fire. They had been happy
once. She supposed he still was. There
were times, too, when she was feeling
a little better than usual, that they
would talk about those first years and
she would be contented and cheerful
again. It was hard to talk, though. I
was hard to do anything. She had to
stop and rest after every few words that
she wrote.
... After that my Father back home
in Iowa wrote he was getting tired of
running a large farm and wanted to
know if we could not come back and
take .part of it off from his hands and
so we did and part of my inheritance
was left right in the farm. And so we
(Ceotinued on Page Eight)

There were roses out behind the house,
too, and she liked to go out and look at
them. Some days when the sun was very
warm she would have Will put a shawl
over her shoulders and she would toil
down the side steps and along the nar-
row sidewalk. across a strip of worn lawn,
to stand beside the trellis and murmur
to them, touching a petal now and
then. She could never stay very long,
though, because she would get tired and
cold even with the sun beating down .on
the garden.
The garden had three plum trees and
a grape arbor in it too. The fruit from
these was plentiful and refreshing in
the summer, but she and Will' ate very
little of it themselves. Will always took
basketsfull to their friends, and most of
what was left she would put in cans for
the next winter. Even then they didn't
eat it all, and Will often brought up a
jar that had been filled eight or ten
years ago. He couldn't be convinced that
some of it was spoiled either; and he ate
good and bad alike. She went without
then, because she couldn't eat the bad
and couldn't get the good. It didn't mat-
ter, though, because she was never very
hungry anyway.
THE FLY buzzed on and on, now far
off in a dark corner, now loud and
rasping in the spots of sunlight on the
table. The clock ticked away another
slow half hour. The woman had gone to
sleep and was gradually leaning farther
and farther away from the table's sup-
port.
When she fil there was no 'actual
sound. She. lay there limp and heavy

Mr. Knapp and I were married in
Free Port, Ill. So we are celebrating
the day as it's not many who have the
privelege see have for wich I thank our
heavenly Father who so mersifull stood
by us, and helped us, through all trials
and troubles, unto this day and trust
He will be with us in the Futhure
till the end of our life. Nim Easus meine
hands und fuhre mich biss onn mein
selig ende und ewiglich ich kann alein
nich gehen nicht einen Schritt wodre
wirst gehen und Stehen da nim mich
Mitt . .
Yes, it had been a long time. There
were many, many years that she couldn't
remember at all, but she could reckon
their number in terms of work and pain
and worry and privation. It wouldn't do
to write those things down, though. She
would rather think about the happy
times. She liked to read through all that
she had written about them. She had
done it so many times in the last few
weeks that the leaves were falling out
of the tablet. She would have to paste
them back in so they wouldn't get
lost.
She must go on writing, though, while
she was able, because she knew it was
getting harder to do every day.
... As Father has no boyes, he had to
hire help every summer for haying, and
harvesting, and the Iowa climet was
quite rough. So life was not so easy
for us and father's health began to fail
him. We were members of the German
Methodist church our life time - that
is, Father and Mother. They joined
the church at Lowell, Wis., under Rev.

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