Delores’ Story

I was born at St. Marys, Kansas April 20, 1938. I don’t remember much of my earlier years except that Mom and Dad never had much money, so had to skimp and do without things, make do with what we had.  We lived close to Hanover, Kansas when I started school.  I went to Bismark school (a one room school house).  Dad didn’t have a car.  When we moved from one farm to another one we did it with horse and wagon.  I can remember Daddy putting a chair on a wagon or hay rack for Mom to sit on and hold Janet, she was a baby then.  I always thought it was fun to move to a new farm and investigate the buildings.  The one I remember well was the Goeckel place, it was built by a hill, had an upstairs with 3 bedrooms, one bedroom you went down 2 or 3 steps, was a door to go outdoors from that bedroom.  You could buy fruit in wooden crates.  Mom used one of these crates for a dressing table.  She used feed sack (feed was bought in sacks of cotton material, different colors and patterns) material to make a skirt for it for my bedroom.  She also made me dresses from the feed sacks.  She never used a pattern, made her own, got ideas from catalogs for styles, etc.  On one farm we lived, we, John Al, & I walked 2 ½ miles to school, sometimes Daddy was able to take us with the horse buggy.  At that time we tended school at Bondville, we had a nice bug house on that farm too.  Can remember the boys and I had to go out and watch the cows graze on grass so long and then bring them back to the coral as they didn’t have wire or money to buy wire to put up a fence for the cows.  From that farm we moved to the Krueger place.  Dad went to work for George Krueger.  We were just a mile or so from school then.  From there we moved to the Pannabaker place and went to school at Emmons.  As soon as I got out of grade school I got a job babysitting in Washington with Patti Green (my cousin).  Agnes and Paul ran a café in town so I lived with them and took care of Patti day and night for $10.00 a week.  About a year or so later I went to work as a waitress at Kraemer’s Dairy in Washington.  Got 50 cents an hour.  I stayed with Carrie Montague in town as I didn’t have a way to go back and forth from to work from home, then later on I stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Linenberger when they moved north of town.  I can remember one winter a big snow storm moved in and we couldn’t get home from high school, so had to stay all night with my Uncle and Aunt (Victor & Katie Linenberger) who lived at the North edge of Washington.  The next day when the highway was opened we went to Grandpa and Grandma Linenberger’s south of Washington.  My Uncle Phil took us out on highway 36 east of Washington.  Daddy and George Pannabaker came across fields with horse and wagon to pick us up and take us home.  We used to go to Grandpa and Grandma Linenberger’s quite often on Sunday.  Some of my cousins would usually be there too.  Can remember when Uncle Jack would come home on leave (from Army) would sit in his room and play his guitar and sing.

The Pannabaker place was close to the railroad tracks, we’d have a bum come to the house every now and then to beg for food.  I remember one so well.  He was dirty and terrible looking and when Mom seen him she shut the door & told us kids to get upstairs.  We all went upstairs and watched out the windows to see if we could see him leave.  Never did see him leave.  Finally Al and I decided we were brave we’d get the BB gun and go out and see if he was in the barn!. (We were in grade school).  We never found him, just as well as I’m sure we’d have dropped the gun and made tracks for the house had we seen him.  Sometimes the creek would be way out, had to walk across the railroad bridge in order to get to school.

We used to get together at Ben and Issie Brungardt’s house.  Fred and Barbara & family would be there too.  Fred would play banjo and I believe Ben accordion, the rest of us would dance or sit around and listen.

I can remember going to Grandpa Brungardt’s place when he lived on a farm.  He had a daughter Angela that never married -  she looked after Grandpa and the other kids after Grandma died.  We’d go out in the cow lot and pick up dried cow chips for Angela to burn in the cook stove.  On the farms we lived on, we’d feed ears of corn to the pigs.  After the pigs had eaten the corn, we would pick up the cobs to burn in our cook stove.

When we went to Bismark school we had to walk past a place where Frances Kraemer lived, he’d ask his Mother for snacks.  She was very stern, she gave us apples, one time making it very plain we weren’t to waste any! I ate core and all, except for the seeds so I wouldn’t get in to trouble.

At the Panabaker place we were close to Mill creek, we’d go down by the creek to play, none of us could swim, it’s a wonder none of us didn’t drown as we did some pretty stupid things like crawling out on dead trees and branches that hung out over the water, and one time the trees broke just as I’d gotten off and fell in the water.

Mom always made Christmas a special time and often wonder how she did it with no money but she always seen to it that we got new clothes and a toy or two.  When Kenneth was growing up they usually got 1 toy and something his Dad made with wood.

The first time I met Kenneth’s folks was on a Monday, his sister Gladys and husband Harley Cline were home for a visit.  Kenneth took me out to meet them.  His Mother said they wouldn’t be having much for dinner as they were doing laundry and that was an all day job, carrying in water, heating it, putting in washing machine, wash clothes, hang them on the line etc.  I told her that was fine we never had big meals on wash day either.  Come dinner time we had fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, home made bread and pie!!  That was out Sunday dinner (we didn’t always have a lot during the week but always had a special dinner on Sunday).  Our wash day meals were usually fried egg sandwiches and chocolate pudding.

I was in an automobile accident while in high school, Elmer (Kenneth’s brother) was driving a pick up, my girlfriend, my brother Al and I were with him.  He didn’t make a turn and hit an embankment.  I hit the windshield and cut the right side of my face, no one was hurt seriously, just bruised.

I met Kenneth Fritz when I was working at Kraemer’s Dairy Bar in Washington (worked there while I was in high school).  We got married at Greenleaf, Kansas, September 10, 1955.  We went to Monroe, Iowa and stayed with Harley and Gladys until he got a job at the Maytag Plant in Newton.  We then moved to an apartment in Monroe above the theatre.  Kathy was born while we lived there.  From there we moved to a farm west and south of Monroe.  We intended to buy the farm, but trying to buy a farm and machinery-plus some layoffs at the plant, it didn’t work out.  Sharon was born while we were living there.  Ended up selling out and moving to an apartment in Newton.

The Maytag plant had a big layoff again and wasn’t any jobs to be found, so we loaded the car, packed most stuff in the car, didn’t want to use boxes so we could get more in (I remember we left a high chair, don’t remember if we left anything else). Even has stuff packed around my feet in front seat, barely enough room for the four of us, Kathy and Sharon, Kenneth and I.  He got a job on construction building Washington County State Lake.  We lived in an apartment in Washington.  When job was done they went to one in Sabetha.  Kenneth came home on week-ends.  From there they went to Topeka.  We bought a trailer house 38 ft. long and 8 ft. wide, lived at Wilcox trailer park in Topeka.  Mary Lou was born while we were living there. I had started doctoring in Washington, came back and stayed with Kenneth’s folks when my time got close.  From there we went to a job at Pittsburg, Kansas. When Kathy was old enough to start school we came back to Washington.  Kenneth got a job on the county highway department.  We eventually sold the trailer house and rented a 2 story house in the west part of town.  Eventually moved to a 2 bedroom house close to the school.  Kenny was born when we lived there.  He was probably around a year old when we rented a farm house south of Washington and started raising pigs, so Kenneth could quit his part time job working at a filling station nights and week-ends as well as working full time for the county.  Keith Welch was manager of the station.  Donna was born when we lived on the farm (we were trying to save money to buy a farm or acreage, but I had to have surgery for a tubular pregnancy).  So instead of using that money for a down payment on a farm, we paid a hospital bill.  This was about 2 years before Kenny was born, the surgery and close to a months stay in the hospital cost $1000.00. thus we ended up renting a place and started to save again! In 1971 we were able to get a loan for the place where we live now – north of Morrowville.  Donna was around 4 years old when we moved out here.  It took her a couple of weeks to adjust to living out here, kept wanting to “go home”. Around 1972 or 1973 I went to work at Steakhouse Café in Washington as a waitress.  Kenneth still worked for the county and farmed the 80 acres we lived on, also raised pigs so we were all kept plenty busy with chores.  The kids all had their chores to do too.  After 5 years at the steakhouse I went to Kellwood sewing factory.  In fact Swingster expanded and bought the Kellwood building.  Kenneth retired from the county in 1991 at age 59.  Several years before he retired, we rented the farm ground out and quit raising pigs.  The kids were grown by then and moving away from home, by then was a problem to find someone to tend to the chores if we’d want to go spend a week-end with one of the kids.  Kenneth is still working part time, blading roads for two townships, and I’m still working at Swingsters.