LINENBERGER CLAN

I am Agnes A. (Ann) Linenberger, the 11th child of John and Lizzie (Elizabeth) Linenberger.  I was born April 28, 1932 at Orion.

All I can remember of the Orion place was one time a neighbor’s (I think Shipley’s) bull came into the yard while Jack, Phil and I (maybe more were outdoors) were playing in the fine dirt blown in from a dust storm, and I saw the bull chase Elmer up on the roof of the lean-to shed and someone yelled to us kids to get in the car rather than to go around the  house to the door.  As I remember it, we were not allowed in the car, but this time we were.

The folks moved from Orion to Peachy Collins’ place in Washington County in the Spring of 1936.  All I remember of the trip to Washington County was that we spent the night with Grandma Kinderknecht and when it was time to go to bed, we went upstairs and the landing did not have a railing around the stairs and I was so scared.

At Collins’, I remember Elmer working for a neighbor and bringing home baby kittens to us and there was a swinging door between the living room and the kitchen and some of them were caught in this door and killed shortly after Elmer brought them home.  Eventually, one didn’t get killed and I think was still with us when we moved from there.

Sometime after we moved to the Collins’ place I went to live with Victor and Katie who lived about ½ mile east of John Shaw.  Victor worked for John Shaw.  This house was a one room house with the kitchen on one end and the rest was dining room, living room and bedroom.  After Katie was pregnant with Francis, she always tried to take a nap and I remember that I was to keep the chicken hawks from stealing the baby chicks she had with a hen.  Also, Katie would bake some of her GOOD bread and put a loaf in a gallon syrup bucket for me to carry down to Shaws.  Ida always had cookies in her cookie jar for me and I would get to stay a while to rest and visit with her.

I got pneumonia the same winter that Betty had it so bad, but I always stayed with Victor and Katie.  At Christmas that year I was still sick and Victor carried me in the folks’ home so I could be there for Santa Claus.  Betty was sick and lying on the couch in the living room and I was laid down beside her.  When it was time to go home, Victor carried me back in their car and I went back home with them.

One time when Victor, Katie and I visited the folks, Jack was running to show me something outside and ran into a hand corn sheller, I think, and split his upper lip open.  As was usual, mother doctored it and today he has a very slight scar.  Another time, I remember being out under the trees in the yard with some of the other kids and one of the goats, maybe the only goat, I don’t remember, tore some clothes off the line.  In those days we didn’t have a closet full of clothes.

Our church was the one north of Morrowville and there were too many of us to fit in the car, so only those who were in communion class or confirmation class usually got to go.  One Sunday, Elmer was left at home with us and mother had put a pot of beans on the old wood range and he was instructed to keep the fire going and to keep water on them as they cooked so they wouldn’t burn.  Elmer always let us have a lot of fun and he made fun for us, anyway, at one point he realized the beans had boiled dry and burned.  He threw them out, but carefully measured how many he threw out so he could put that much back on the stove to cook.  Thank goodness they didn’t have that many more dry beans, but he put on as many as there were and believe me many of the kettles in the house had beans in them when the folks got home from church.  (Some who were there at the time may remember this different than I do, but this taught me at an early age, that you don’t put 4 cups of beans on to cook if you want 4 cups of cooked beans.)

In the fall of 1938, Jack and I started to school at Hawkeye, which was about ½ mile south, 2 miles east and about a ¼ mile south from where we lived.  There was a bunch of us who walked to school, Linenbergers, Brouhards and Morgans, that I can remember.  One night I got hit in the head with a rock shot from a bean (nigger) shooter, I don’t know what they call them today.

In the Spring of 1939, we moved to the Nutsch’s place, west and south of Sunrise Station.  Nutsch’s didn’t move out when they were suppose to, so some of us younger ones were farmed out to married sisters and brothers.  There wasn’t enough desks in Lowe Center School for all of us so Jack and I missed the rest of the school year or at least most of it.  We moved March 1 and school was out usually around April 18.  I stayed with Victor and Katie and then spent the summer with them.  By then they had Francis and Linus.  I remember playing with Francis and Linus more than my brothers  and sisters.  We played with stick horses and bonnicks, or the foot bones of butchered animals, I think they were, those bones were our animals.  I was Poodle Nutsch, the blacksmith east of Sunrise Station.  When folks visited us, Jack and Phil brought their pretend machinery to me to get it fixed.  The ironic thing is that of all the 13, I probably am able to fix less than anyone else, you suppose I got burned out at an early age?  Katie made school clothes for me, so when it was time to go home, to go to school, I had a new dress or 2.  I have fond memories of going to school, learning was easy for me and I really enjoyed studying.  One part of school I didn’t like was recess, because I was always so fat that no one wanted me on their ball team or any other team they may have played.  It did make me feel good that I was usually the first one chosen for the spelling match, geography match or that kind of game played indoors.  We had some very good teachers at Lowe Center.  Mildred Zach was the first to introduce hot lunches to us.  She had each family bring some grocery item so she could make something hot to go with our cold lunch we brought.  We usually had hot chocolate or soup.  She let it simmer on top of the old coal furnace.  She also taught phonics in a story form.  I wish I could find that story, I’ve asked her and she doesn’t even remember that it was written down and she may have just taught it orally.  Mildred was also the teacher that introduced the public library to us.  She would go to Washington and check out a book and tell us how she did it and that it was only on loan for 2 weeks and that it had to be returned at that time in good shape.  The way she used the book was, during the very wintry months she read it as a continuing story at recess and in the noon hour.  One of the books was Lassie Come Home and I think another one was Girl of the Limberlost.

Each last day of school, there was a picnic and each year I would have my clothes in a box for Victor and Katie to pick me up so I could spend the summer with them.  Katie taught me how to embroidery, I remember I would embroidery the straight lines then if it was to curve, I’d take it to her and she would stitch around the curve and then I would sew again.  She taught me how to iron, how to sort clothes, how to cook and how and when to clean.  The fun thing was when it was rainy, Victor and Katie would do the morning chores, then he would tell Katie, if you want to sew today, the kids and I will make cookies, Francis, Linus and I were great helpers, I’m sure.  I bet I was best at eating them.  Each rainy day, I think of this routine and wish I was home baking cookies.  We had fun and hopefully it did help Katie.

When I was in First Communion Class or was old enough that I went to Summer School at Church, we stayed with Ben and Issie, just south of the church.  I can remember tramps would stop by and beg and that was always scary.  They’d wake us up and even come into the screened in porch on the west side of the house, that was so scary and today I am scared when it gets dark.  I was staying with Ben and Issie when the tornado hit their place I think June 8, 1941.  I was in the house with the kids and Ben and Issie were milking, they barley got to the house and they took all of us to the basement.  When it was over, the barn was gone, a corner of the porch roof was torn and I think other damages, but I remember the kittens and baby pigs crying either from fright, injury or were pinned under boards or things.

One summer was spent with whooping cough, Francis had it, I had it and I don’t remember if Linus got it or not, but Victor and Katie didn’t have a phone and one time I walked to the neighbors to have them call for a doctor.  Francis was so very sick with this.

December 7, 1941 was a terrible night, we went to bed and walked past the radio, where Daddy was listening to the attack on Pearl Harbor.  It was a black out forced by the government for safety precautions and my Daddy was crying.  I had never heard or seen him cry before.  In May of 1942, the folks had a family picture taken so that they would have one before Omer went off to war.  Omer went into the service while we were at Nutsch’s place.  That was such a sad time, but the country was so loyal and patriotic that I knew he went to defend OUR country and that was right to do.

In the Spring of 1943, we moved 2½ miles south of Washington.  We went to Fairview school and before school was out, Mother got Scarlet-tina or Scarlet Fever, but didn’t really break out, and was so very sick.  Jack, Phil and I got Scarlet Fever about the same time, we were quarantined for 3 weeks.  Dad and Elmer lived in the garage and the cars and the only thing they could get from inside the house was boiling water.  Haddie and Edna, who had been with Frances and Joe and Issie and Ben had to come home to help Mother.  I was sick and young and don’t remember their side of this episode, but I do remember that Jack and Phil only had to have their throats swabbed once and I had to have mine swabbed twice.  I also remember that the day before we were going to fumigate so we could get out of our medical prison, Betty came down with it and she was sicker than us kids were, but it was a long time before Jack, Phil and I could forgive her for keeping us locked up another 3 weeks.  I’m sure she planned it that way, right?  While we were quarantined, Omer had gotten a medical discharge and came home.  I don’t think Mother or any of us in the house could give him a hug or even get close to him.  I remember looking out the north window to see him standing in front of the garage with Dad and Elmer.

When Jack and I graduated from the 8th grade, we had to go to Washington to take the County exam.  Mrs. Jackson, our teacher took us and the other 2 8th graders, she took us to the Cafe that Ethel Allen ran, was it Highway Cafe?  She said she would pay for our lunch, to order what we wanted to.  I don’t think any of us had ever seen a menu and after some time, she must have realized that.  So, she said she was going to have a hot beef sandwich, each of us said we would too.  How surprised I was when it came with potatoes and gravy.  Oh, the thrills of living a clean sheltered life.  At least back then we had things to look forward to.  Not so today.

I don’t remember the year, but Elmer went off to war and us kids even got to go to the bus station to see him off.  Mother and Dad always cried when the boys went off to war and it was such a sad time while they were gone.  I remember when we got a letter, it was idolized, “because it may be the last”, and if something was blacked out or cut out, we worried so because Mother knew Elmer was trying to tell her something they needed to know and it meant that it was very dangerous where he was, but he couldn’t tell us.  When he came home on furlough and I would clean the room, he had been in, I would put the cigarette butts in a rag or envelope to save it because that might be the last thing I would have that he had touched.  Then when Al had to go in the Army and he got a furlough and he, Josephine and Mary came to spend time with us, I would do the same thing when I cleaned his ash tray.  Josephine and Mary visited us, overnights while Al was gone.  It was here that Omer taught me how to drive a car.  By the time I had learned, , the state made you take a driver’s test to get your license.  Omer was so patient and did a good job of teaching, I passed the test.  I was really frightened taking that test, I just knew I would wreck the trooper and myself or just do something stupid and wouldn’t get my license

The fun I had in High School was academic.  Mr. Darby taught me some valuable lessons besides what was in the book.  Next to my parents he influenced my life as to working up to one’s ability more than any other person.  My folks taught me to be very humble and Mr. Darby taught me a bit of confidence.  I should have continued taking lessons on that, but I didn’t.  I did take music and that was really the only extra subject I took.  I truly enjoyed the classroom work in High School.  Because the boys went out for sports, I did get to go to a few of the games, but not many.  Once in a while I would get to stay with Elmer and Alvena who lived in Washington, so I could attend a Science Club meeting, but not on a regular basis.  I grew up with very little ability, but I did manage to be Valedictorian when we graduated in 1950.

While I was in High School, mother was going through some of her hardest years of menopause and was bedfast most of those 4 years.  On wash day, dad would get up at about 5 and get the water hot out in the old iron kettle and I would get up early to do the washing.  He would tell me that if I would hang out those “damn” bobby socks he would hang out the rest.  Do your remember those bobby socks all of us wore in those days.  They were great compared to those long heavy socks and long underwear we wore in grade school.  The boys did most of the outside work with Omer coming out to help and daddy stayed in a lot to look after mother.  It was these 4 years working closely with daddy that I really learned to know him and grew even closer to him.  It was sad to see mother so ill, but it was a happy time when I would get to do things with daddy.

During High School I began working after school while the boys were in sports and on Saturdays in a clothing store.  In September of 1950 I married Paul H. Green, who was manager of the store.  In the Spring of 1951, I think, we ran the Colonial Cafe, which was a cafeteria at noon and quite a hub for social gatherings at that time.  November 22, 1951 our first little baby girl was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Concordia.  We had live-in baby sitters for her, after I had to be the morning cook at the cafe.  Many days, I didn’t see my baby awake, we opened at 5 am and closed after the late show which was usually 10 or 11, or if any gathering was in town, it was usually in our basement or our balcony, and we didn’t close until they left.  In 1961 we opened the ice cream place on the highway in Washington and soon closed the Colonial Cafe and only operated the “White House” on the highway.  It wasn’t long until Paul went on the road for a restaurant supply company and he began to find woman interests elsewhere, therefore, our marriage was falling apart.  When he came home he had a near empty suitcase, but wanted me to send clothes for the next week, he basically moved himself out a suitcase full at a time.  I was pregnant with our second child.  This was not a good time in my life.  If it hadn’t been for the help of Issie and Ben and the support of Victor and Katie, and encouragement of Dr. Bitzer, I would have been in the mental hospital, I sincerely believe.  We had no money, Paul saw to that with all his phone calls to many women and of course his business calls, too.  Finally on September 20, 1959. Michael was born in the Washington Hospital.  This baby gave Patti and I something sweet and fun to think about and to play with.  Most days those 2 kids were the only good there was.  The folks, Victor, Katie, Ben and Issie, John and Eddie helped me with hand-on help that was needed so I could keep my little family together.  I finally got enough nerve to go through with a divorce in September, 1961.  My attorney, Andy Boelman, and my doctor, Dr. Bitzer, as well as Mr. Darby, kept encouraging me to apply for an office job.  Finally, February of 1962. I got the job at the elevator where Mrs. Darby was retiring, as she said to me, “Agnes, my forgetter works better than my rememberer, so I know I need to quit.”  This was the first job I had since I was in High School.  It was different to have a boss instead of being the boss.  Earl Hill was manager and Ivan Wieters was office manager, both in the main office in Greenleaf.  They were very good at their jobs and I feel I really learned a lot from them.  Earl was a good grain man and that is an interesting field.  It was a custom that when a farmer sold hay, grain or such to another farmer, they would come to the elevator to have us weigh the commodity.  It was this service that brought Stewart E. Earhart to the Washington elevator.  He has told me that my smile is what attracted him.  It wasn’t long until he called for a date.  He was always so clean when he came to the elevator, I wasn’t sure if he was married or not.  I accepted and decided that if I found out that he was another of those darn married men that wanted a night with me, the kids and I would simply be out of town.  I found out that he was not married and had never been married.  This date developed into a good friendship and became a love affair.  We were married in the Baptist Church on May 8, 1965 by Rev. Thomas Mustain. After our wedding trip the kids and us moved to his farm 17 miles north of Washington.  For 10 years, I did not work outside the home.  Stewart introduced me to organizations and volunteer work.  Since then I have been and still am active in churches, community and service organizations.  I thrive on this work that I feel is helping others.  In September of 1967, Patti had a seizure on the school bus and from that day until August 3 or 4 of 1968, she had seizures.  We took her frequently to a neurosurgeon in Omaha, but didn’t know what the problem was.  August 3 or 4, she was admitted to Methodist Hospital in Omaha because of paralysis that continued to worsen.  I think it was on September 2, she had exploratory brain surgery and found an anomaly of the right temporal lobe.  This surgery saved her life, but left her crippled on the left side.  Her recovery was slow and painful, but she was determined to get back all the abilities she could, she never complained, which saved our sanity.  With consideration from the school teachers and administration, I brought her for her classes starting in October and took her home immediately after and she was able to walk down the aisle to graduate with her class in 1969.  November 29, 1969, she married Larry Milius from Fairbury and July 16, 1977 they had a son, Scott David.  They moved to Indianapolis in summer of 1970 and have lived there ever since.  Patti works for MCI and Larry is a field man for Marion Automotive.

Spring of 1968, Stewart offered to adopt both Patti and Michael since there had been no child support paid, it was no big deal.  Patti chose to keep her father, which we have never blamed her for, she knew him, and was always close to him when he was around.  Michael was old enough to speak for himself, too, so Michael was adopted and changed his middle name, so that his name of record now is Michael Edward Earhart.  Those 10 years Stewart gave me to be a mother to my kids were wonderful.  Stewart’s mother, Anna died February 15, 1974 and in order to settle with his sisters on a farm they inherited together, I needed to go back to work.  I right away went to the elevator and I worked there during the summer and the fall harvest and I really think I could have worked almost full time, but they kept me on a part time status, so when a new Probate Judge was selected, Mrs. Huntley suggested to me that I apply for the job.  I got that job and he and I were sworn in as Judge and me as Deputy January, 1975.  I worked for him until November of 1976, when I quite to learn the abstract work from Mary Alice Lobaugh-Pacey.  I studied hard because the contract I had with them was that I got no pay, but when I passed my exam and go my license she would quit and the purchase contract began so that I bought the business on contract.  The first time they gave the exam was in March of 1977 and attorney Andy Bokelman and a young attorney, Paul Monty, said go take it, even if you are not ready so you will know what you need to study most and they would help me with the legal portion if I needed extra help to pass.  On March 26, 1977, I got notice that I passed and got my license, I am still in the abstract business.  It is a good small business and I do like being my own boss, even with all the headaches of running a business and no retirement plan, but I guess I like the independence.

Michael graduated in 1977 and worked at numerous jobs, but with no future to them.  So, 1984, I think, I helped him and his girlfriend, Beth move to Indianapolis, where Michael still lives.  They had a baby girl, Holly Rhiannon on January 15, 1986.  They were married February 14, 1987.  They had a son, Jacob Russell.  Beth and Holly and Jacob are living in Washington today.  Michael continues to live in Indianapolis and on September 29, 1992, he married Nora Schafer and on December 15, 1992, they had a son, Zachary Stewart.  In February, 1993, they moved to a new housing development in northeast Indianapolis and both work at Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Stewart had one hip replaced October, 1983 and the other one May, 1984 and was partially retired until January 1987, when he moved to Washington at 112 East First.  He still goes out to the farm each day to look after his cats and his small cow/calf herd he kept and I abstract each day.  To keep us “young”, we have Holly and Jake with us a great deal of the time.  In 1987, Stewart had cancer surgery, he has full recovery.

June of 1956, I took mother over to the Gelvin Medical Clinic to pick up daddy, who had been referred there by Dr. Huntley of Washington for numerous tests  When we got there, Dr. Foxhole Thornton took us to a private room and told us daddy had cancer and had only 3 weeks to 3 months to live, but he would not tell daddy and would send the information to Dr. Huntley, who would tell John.  That was a long trip home from Concordia.  One time when I was up to visit him, he said how bad he felt that he didn’t leave mother with anything.  I told him I thought he left her with more than any money could buy and that was the 13 children he and mother had raised and instilled in us a realization that hard work, look to the future and to obey the law of this land of the Lord, was quite a bit to leave anyone.

With this gratefulness of the 13, their spouses and extended families, I feel very rich.  Way beyond what a large bank account could possibly give me.

Dated this 24th day of August, 1993.