Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our Visit to Hazelton, March 2008 - Karen Brockway

When my husband Ken and I were planning a long road trip from Kelso to Texas this year, my dad Karl mentioned that we would be going right past the town where he was born--Hazelton, Kansas. When he said that he and Grandma Jansen were both born in the same house, 23 years apart, I knew we would make the visit. Mom and Dad had been to that town 20 years ago and so they had lots of advice to offer. One thing they neglected to tell us was that Hazelton is now nearly a ghost town with only unmarked roads leading to it. Our mission was to find the house or at least discover its former location, but compared to locating the town, that turned out to be a piece of cake.
The town of Hazelton is well preserved but most of the buildings on main street are now vacant. We drove down the wide, wide street looking for the senior center where Dad told us we would find names and historical information. We parked our car and walked down the sidewalk to check out the vacant buildings. I remember how noisy it was. Never had I heard so many birds singing and crickets or cicadas chirping. Only one other car was parked on the street, and that’s how we knew the bank was open. A helpful lady behind the desk told us she would call Ralph to open the senior center for us as it is only open one day a week. While we waited for Ralph, we continued to visit with the bank employee and two bank patrons who were passing time with her. When we told them what we were looking for, they all agreed: "You need to talk to Lucille". Lucille, a 97 year old native of Hazelton, would know about the Prock family. She used to be a beautician with a shop right next to her house in a little red trailer and she knew everything, so they claimed.
We saw Ralph pull up at the senior center. He had driven the block from his house in his big old silver Buick because it was too hot to walk. Ralph was about 90 years old and very kind and friendly. He unlocked the doors and pulled out all the books of names and photos but we weren’t able to find anything that would help us. Nothing. It was time to call Lucille. Ralph reached for a bright red telephone on a table and dialed her number. Lucille was waiting for us, he said, just a walk down the street, brick house on the corner past the bank.
It was hard to imagine anyone allowing two strangers to walk right through your front gate and up to your kitchen door but she did. A voice called “come on in!” I expected it to be a caregiver and that Lucille would be sitting in a wheelchair, but it was Lucille herself. She was bustling around in the kitchen making lunch for her son who also lived in Hazelton. She had beautiful youthful-looking skin, flushed from cooking soup in a big kettle. If this woman is 97, I want to move to Hazelton too. Sitting at her kitchen table we were treated to a story of a booming farm town with several churches, three grocery stores, a hardware store, and a theater. She remembered going horse buying with one of the Prock girls and her husband or boyfriend one time. The family was a very nice family, she recalled. She also remembered going Christmas caroling during her high school years with her church group and singing in front of the Prock family home. It was a pretty two-story white house and the family members came out on an upstairs porch or landing to listen to the carolers. The house was located west of town past the grain storage tanks, across the railroad tracks, and down a dirt road about a quarter of a mile. She said we would be able to see some evergreen trees that used to be right next to the house, although the house had fallen down years ago.
Driving back down the main street, Ken and I met two cars whose occupants waved cheerily at us. The whole town knew who we were, it seemed. We saw the grain co-op towers and turned to cross the tracks. We knew the house location when we saw it from Lucille’s good directions. The photos we took don’t really do it justice, and we regret that we didn’t walk back to the small pile of boards and grab one just for a souvenir, but there was a cattle pen and a windmill next to a grove of old trees.
We found out later that Dad had only lived in the house for a year at the most so he didn’t have any memories of it, but we are hoping Aunt Martha can recognize the setting. Experiencing Hazelton, the town where my Grandmother became a wife and mother, the town where my Dad was born, well, that was worth the trip. I only regret that we didn’t take a picture of Lucille.
Photos: Hazelton Main Street, windmill and cattle pen at right side of house location, Karen at left side of house location with evergreen trees.

How I Met My Wife - Karl Jansen

I remember very clearly how I met Florence.
A couple of my friends and I had pulled into the Weeks' driveway. One of my friends was kinda going with Betty, Florence's older sister. Betty came out of the house and was visiting with us, three 'men' about town, when Florence and her mother drove up and as we had the driveway blocked, they parked in front of their place. There was no walkway to the house from there. A little irrigation ditch and grass lawn. They parked across the ditch and walked to the house. We felt a little guilty about blocking the driveway. so we were watching them. They never looked our way, no critical glances even. I watched Florence step across that ditch so graceful and poised and I told the guys that there was the girl I was going to marry. She was 13/14 at that time. I think Betty told her what I had said so she was forewarned. It took 3 1/2 years to win a consent from her and her parents. The two guys with me are both dead, but I have their proxies and we all vote 'yes' this is a true story.

Now Flo has to add a note to this. Jim 'Dub' Banta was one of the guys with him. We remained great friends until Dub died. Every time we saw them he always told me that 'you haven't changed one bit since the day Zeke said 'there's the girl I am going to marry'. Our son Jim is named for that sweet man! The Star guys all had nicknames given to them by another one of their buddies. Karl was given Ezekial Heinovich and that was a name they had seen on a mail box. He was always Zeke to that crew.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chapter 3 - Karl Jansen

Jack had a shoeshine kit that he would take up town on occasion to make a few coins.
We had pruned a few of our trees mostly for fire wood. Jack and Dad had rigged up a sawing gig to cut the branches to stove length and it was my job to drag the limbs to the back of the house where they were. I whined and complained about the cold. Jack says we are not complaining. I said, I have to walk north. Big laugh. What I was referring to was that I had to walk into the north wind and they were on the leeward side of the house. After that any time someone griped about being cold, someone would pipe up, "Oh you had to walk north". Sound in back ground of teeth being gritted.
There was a part basement under the house. Food stuff like ham, bacon, big crocks for salted stuff. I remember the corn kernels in brine. We had a sieve pan for a dipper, scoop out some corn in a bowl then rinse and rinse. The corn still tasted a little salty. Lots of potatoes, apples, shelves of canned stuff.
We had city water only in the kitchen sink. The turnoff was out in the yard. It consisted of a half inch square rod in a small pipe. The rod fit in a little square hole many feet below the ground for non-freezing capabilities. Once in a while some idiot kid would pull up the rod and we had to dig down to the main pipe and put the rod in again. They never did it twice.
We had acquired another dog, his name was Pal. He was a reddish brown, maybe a foot and a half high with mixed genes. He spent the night on Jack's and my bed, but his favorite spot was in a box behind the stove. He had a problem of bad gas. He would cut one loose then he would open one eye and watch everyone. When one of us turned our heads quick and looked at him, he would jump up and run to the door. The door was opened and he got booted out..
We burned wood, cobs, and coal to heat with, the cobs mostly for cooking. Dad and some of his friends would bring in three big cottonwood logs at a time and every night after school it was my job to saw off three chunks and split them, put them in the wood room; misery-whip time. big saw.

We had concrete sidewalks on two sides of our place and the big thing was an orange crate scooter, consisting of a three foot 2 by 4 upright and another one to stand on behind the orange crate. The wheels were one roller-skate bisected, half in front and half behind. A cross bar for hanging on. Seems like every kid had one. Transportation for small grocery orders. We also rolled hoops. An iron ten inch in diameter ring off a wagon hub. We propelled it with a lath.
We lived across the street from the Presbyterian Church. Someone gave me a hand me down suit to wear to Sunday School. That was the only suit I ever owned. I went to church pretty steady until I outgrew the suit. We gave it to someone else to help them walk the straight and narrow.
Another one of our recreations was to hit the country-side and gather stuff. A lot of farms had been abandoned and the people had an auction sale, then left. We would get volunteer stuff from the gardens. Every farm had fruit trees so we got lots of that. We carried a tote sack. Mom would process anything I brought home.
There was one Christmas vacation I didn't enjoy too much. It started out good. I went to Billy Dunn's place just out of town at the foot of the bluff. I wasn't supposed to play with Billy. His family had a bad reputation. His older sister's boyfriend was a boxer. Billy had all the things needed to make a soap box cart. We built a nifty one, even had a steering wheel rigged to the front wheels with ropes. We made a few runs down the bluff. His younger sisters wanted a ride so we all got on, pretty crowded! I drove down the hill weaving a little for fear appeal. The slope was lined with trees. I headed for one to scare the girls, but when I wanted to swerve back, the steering rope broke. I stuck my foot out to stop us. When we hit the tree my foot was between cart and tree. Big Pain! I couldn't walk so Billy pulled me home in a little red coaster wagon. Here is Billy Dunn with me--how do I explain why we are together. I came up with a story about being beyond Billy’s
Place and stepped in a hole. I know I taxed Mom’s ability to keep faith with some of my excuses. I had to come clean the next day when it hurt so bad. Mom called Dr. Hagman and he said the foot was broken pretty badly, not like stepping in a hole. He put a cast on it and the pain stopped. By the time Christmas vacation was over I could hobble to school.
We had a special treat one day when the PallMall cigarette PR car came to our town. The car was an Austen and the man inside was a midget. Barely room for him with all the cigarettes. Carton and cartons of them. He would drive along slow and holler, “Call for Phillip Morris” What a voice. A few of us town kids followed him all over town and as he left town he threw out a carton of cigarettes for us. We smoked pretty fancy for awhile. I think all the boys smoked, but I don’t remember any of the girls smoking. Have to ask Martha.
A few of us city boys hit an occupied farm one night and got a good watermelon, but we also got caught. We had to work two days picking potatoes for the farmer. What happened to the spank them and let them go theory. I think it was about this time that I thought maybe I was the kind of little boy my mom didn’t want me to play with.
I mentioned the floods. We also had dust storms and cyclones. Run for the storm cellar where ever you hear what could be a cyclone. I don’t think anyone locked them. They were pretty much alike. About five feet below ground, pole and sod roof, slanty doorway. Shelves for canned goodies and bench seats. Big enough for six or eight people. Dust storms every year. Yeah, we are still in Kansas.
One of the sad times I can remember was when one of our buddies stepped on something and cut his foot. He got blood poisoning then lockjaw. We took turns sitting in his room with him. He was in coma condition but his mother wanted us to talk to him as if he could hear us. I was with him when he died, not pleasant.
We had good times too. We had a big city park. Big crowd every week-end. All kinds of race competitions and baseball . The surrounding towns had their own town teams. Mom played on the gals team as the catcher. She caught the ball in her right hand, the left hand jerked the glove off her right hand ball and all. She then grabbed the ball from the mitt and threw it. The moves were so smooth and quick you didn’t really see it. Not many gals stole second base. They didn’t replace her so I guess she did O K.
Later in the day we would have boxing matches. There was a ring with a pad on the floor put up in the dance hall by the ball park. We could choose our opponent. We would go three rounds. The winner go fifteen cents and the loser got ten cents. We could go to the movie for a dime and the winner bought the popcorn and split.
A group of actors, ”The Chick Boys Players” would come to the theater fairly often. When they arrived in the afternoon I would be there and volunteer to help set up. Free ticket being the object. I always got the job. I will never forget the night they did Doctor Jeckle and Mister Hyde. All afternoon I watched them put the props together. The cane that was a weapon, how it came apart. The shattering chairs. I knew it was all phony stuff, but that night at the play Mr. Hyde was real. I was in the third row of seats back. I would duck behind the seat in front of me when he was on stage, but I would look up often to be sure he was still up there. I wanted to go home but it was dark and would he stay in the theater.
Sometimes, maybe during the week they would show silent movies with the writing at the bottom of the screen for the dialog. I think silents just cost a nickel. We could look through a back window and see the back of the screen and try to read the words kinda backwards.
The town jail was in a little park by the theater. Some nights we could hear a locked up drinker singing or another calling for help… “Let me outta here!”
We played baseball at school before school and noon hour. The two biggest kids would take turns choosing a player. I was small and not fast so I was nearly always chosen last. I don’t remember feeling bad about that. When the choosing was over we were equal.
I must have been in about the sixth grade when I played in the school pep band. The main reason for this was to get into all the ball games free. One night I went to the band building to get my clarinet and as I pulled it off the shelf the reed clamp hooked on something and came off reed and all. I didn’t notice it until I got to the gym. I told our band teacher my problem and she said the band building was locked, just go through the motions of playing. She played the same clarinet that I did. After the game I was in the restroom and an older fellow I knew said he had never heard me play so good and he gave me two dimes. I never said I was perfect, there is a good reason for that.
Mom made the best cottage cheese in town. I remember it hanging on the clothes line in sacks to drain. I peddled cups of it around town. Fifteen cents a cup. Mom got a dime and I got the nickel. Dr. Hagman was a steady customer, usually asked for two cups. I would go back later and pick up the cups.
In the spring the first plants to come up was lambs quarter. I really liked it and as soon as it started coming up I would bring a big bunch home. Greens for dinner tonight. Mom always made me feel like a real breadwinner when I brought something home for her to cook.
We had lutefisk for Christmas dinner. Most of the people in our area were Swedes or Norwegians. We fit in fairly well being Danes. Lutefisk was what they had for Christmas dinner ..it looked to me like a piece of cardboard in the shape of a flat fish. It was dry and hard as a board. It had to be soaked in water to rejuvenate it, then cooked. Why anyone thought it was a delicacy I don’t know. It didn’t taste good to me.
When a person paid for their groceries the store keeper would fill a small sack of candy and give it to them. For the kiddies.
While we lived in this house in Scandia, dad was gone most of the summer. I think he liked it out west. There was more work for a person. He would write home I don’t know how often and tell about where he was and what he was doing. Idaho seemed to be the place he liked best. I do recall one letter when he was in New Mexico.
Some of us boys would go down to the hobo jungle by the tracks under the railroad bridge about half a mile out of town. We would scavenge a few gardens and take a few things to the camp, quite a few people did that. There was usually quite a lot of guys there. Not the same ones, just passing through. They would pat us on the shoulder and thank us. I probably told them about dad being in Idaho and how much work there was there. Mom really didn’t approve of me going there but she didn’t tell me to stop. I was in the seventh grade. I could take care of myself. I couldn’t fight very well but I could talk my way out of most trouble. I should have used some of that skill talking myself out of getting into it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chapter 2 - Karl Jansen

When we left Norway, Kansas we moved back to Scandia, Kansas, about six miles. The house that we rented had a concrete walkway to the graveled road, some five yard or so. One day our dog Bounce was laying on the walk and was pretty badly chewed up from fighting the neighborhood dogs. This little gal about fourteen or so ran over his legs and he jumped up and scratched her leg. She told her dad who owned the store, she was spreading flyers for, that Bounce had bit her. He called the Town Marshall and had Bounce shot. I didn't like her before and I remember the animosity I felt towards June Freed after that.
Still second grade for me.. Dad got some plans for building a kite out of newspapers and little sticks, lots of paste. It was a pretty elaborate affair about six feet long and four foot wings in the shape of an airplane. Fuselage about eight inches in diameter. All the neighborhood kids had watched the construction and were on hand for the maiden flight. Dad was understandably proud of his comic strip kite. Very pretty. Someone held the kite, Dad took the tether string and ran. The kite might have reached twenty feet altitude then nosed dived to destruction. I don't remember Dad ever flying a kite again.
On a happier note about the same time, Mom was not home and Dad cooked supper for us. A big kettle of chocolate pudding. Nothing else. What else do you need? We moved after a year or so to a bigger house just out of town.
We must have lived there for a couple of years. but pretty dull time, O.K. duller. We had a big garden. All I can think of in it was melons and peanuts. We roasted the peanuts in the oven. I don't know how we stored them. One day we were playing baseball with a few friends. The only ball we had was a golf ball. We had played three innings in a tie and then someone hit the ball and we couldn't find it. Game over. Life is pretty dull when you remember stuff like that.
We were having a clod fight with the neighbors one night and I got in a better than average throw and hit the Hugas girl in the eye. They called the doctor and he put a flax seed in her eye. The next morning it was free of dirt. I was low man on the popularity totem pole.
Then after that two year stint we moved to another house in the same town, but up on main street. The house was bigger than the last and we learned that it had once been like an inn type affair. The big front yard had a few concrete structures that had been miniature golf obstacles. The house was laid out the same upstairs as it was downstairs. Bedrooms on one end and kitchen on the other end with a large house wide room in the center. Jack and my bedroom was in the big room upstairs. The center room had a big potbellied wood stove and the stove pipe ran up through our room. Dad put a fifty gallon metal barrel on a framework and the chimney ran through it. When there was a fire downstairs we had heat in our room. I recall we had a few red spots from getting too close. Kansas winters were cold. Some mornings after a hard snow blowing wind had hit we would have a little snow drift across our bed. Windows not too tight. We had the bed close to the window for light to read by..I don't remember any other furniture in the room besides the bed and barrel. Closet for hanging stuff. There was an addition on the back of the house for a washroom and three little rooms along the hall that led out the back door. The rooms were for wood, cobs, and coal. Beyond the door was a path between the clothes line and the chicken pen to the outhouse. Just outside the washroom was a deep concrete cistern that all the eaves ran into. We used the water to wash clothes and our hair. To get the water out I had to turn a big crank to activate an endless cup chain. Three tubs of water on wash day. Yes I did.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Martha's Additions

We stopped over at the Beckers today and we were telling Martha a little about writing my memoirs. She asked, ‘did you tell about you whining and puling on the way home from school one day and the Hammer twins, Harvey and Harold took turns carrying you home.’ I ask her why I would mention that, it was only two miles, not like they were heroes or something. Turns out I had the mumps.

She also remembered how dad brought home some runt pigs and she, Jack and I would get in the pen and grab them by their hind legs and make a wheelbarrow out of them. They would rapid fire kick and really squeal. Kids just don't have fun like that anymore.

Memory Jogging by Sondra Jansen/Erbe/Appel

It seems as though the stories you see here, jog the memory so another story is born. I love the stories that Uncle Karl and Aunt Florence have told here. They are stories that I have not heard before and I am so interested in how my relatives saw life as they were growing up. I really do not think I am the only one who is interested. So I hope to see others giving us their memories as they come to mind. I know each of us has a story and I know there are others who would like to read them. Good job Uncle karl and Aunt Florence and thanks for the memories.

Aunt Florence jogged a memory of mine about Grandma dropping everything to come to help her when little Chuckie was born!

While at the funeral of G'ma Zoe Jansen I was talking with G'pa Charlie Jansen and Mrs Sweet, who was a good friend from when they lived at Summit Lake, WA. He was telling us the story about G'ma pawning her wedding ring so she could have the money to go to Bremerton, WA to pick up my brother and I, so we would not have to stay with strangers when we were removed from the home by children services. Of course this was not acceptable to them because G'pa was put in an orphanage when he was a wee small child and was place in a farm home family when he was old enough to work on a farm. They did not want this to happen to any of their grandchildren, so they took us in. She dropped what she was doing and came to get us. She met our Grandmother Hoffman who took G'ma Zoe to the judge and had "custody" of us transferred to G'ma Zoe so she could take us back to their home in Star, ID. where we lived until my Dad and our new mother were out of the Navy and able to come take care of us. This all was taking place during WWII and when the war was over they were married and discharged from the service and on their way to Idaho. After we had been in Washington for some time, my Dad and G'pa went back to Idaho to retrieve the wedding rings. I'm sure that was probably something that G'pa insisted that my Dad do when he was able to raise enough money to get those rings back so G'ma could have them. It certainly was the right thing to do for her, since she was so giving and no one should take advantage of that. The story that G'pa told us was one that I had never heard before. Would have been nice to have known it BEFORE G'ma had passed so we could have thanked her. They were two very special people and will always live in my heart.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First Grade Time by Karl W. Jansen

Seems like my memory starts at about this time, but I have lots of little items of that year.
We lived close to Norway, Kansas in an old farm house for about one year. Not our farm. We were about 2 miles from town by the short cut lane and three and a half miles by road. We walked to school most of the time. Dad came home one day with a car, so we got to ride some. When the car would run the Hammer twin boys would walk to our house and drive the car. They were high school guys. We would pick up other kids along the way. We didn't have the car very long. I don't know whether Dad was buying it or won it in a crap game. He won a neat twenty gauge shot gun once. He worked for a Doctor on his farm. One day he towed 2 old cars from the dump by a team of horses. He had picked these two because they were the same make and model and the idea was to make one out of two. This is when my cussing vocabulary just exploded! I spent a lot of time watching Dad work on those cars. I think they were Baby Overlands. After a considerable time the united car ran. Not fast, but it did run.

Dad made home brew in the basement. The house was built on a hillside and the door to the basement was on the south side and you entered from the outside as a walk in. One time Dad experimented in wine making. He capped the bottles with his beer capper. After a few days they began to explode. We would be sitting upstairs and hear a loud bang, 'there goes another one'. I think we counted all of them. I only remember having one toy; it was a cast iron roadster about a foot long. Steel wheels that turned. The hood had a knob on it, probably the water filler. I had a string tied to that and pulled over a network of roads around the yard and through the trees. We didn't have any grass. What ground cover we had was goat-head stickers. We got a new bicycle, but I wasn't allowed to get on it. Dad brought home an old bike frame, no handle bars or seat. He had some baby buggy wheels for it and a piece of a broom stick for steering. I coasted from the upper front yard down and around the house and ended up at the basement door.

When anyone wanted to go to the basement they had to come out the kitchen door down a walkway of rock slabs. Better than mud. One day Jack took a short cut. He jumped off the top step towards the lower end of the house into the clothes line area. One of the line ends, number 9 wire, was sticking up and stabbed him in the belly. It looked like a lot of stuff was about to fall out, but I guess it didn't. I wonder how many remember the scar across his belly. It looked like a big long night-crawler.
This is the place where we lived when Jack and I 'hanged' Martha. All I really did was hold the chair and then hide it. Jack was the sheriff. (This is covered in another blog.)

One of the things all the guys had was a slingshot. Not just a toy, a real meat-getter! Doves were pretty easy game and tasty, too. We wasted a lot of rocks on squirrels. I don't think we hurt their population much. I don't know though, that was the year Jack got the single-shot twenty two.

When I had to put new rubbers on my sling shot, I would wrap the end of the rubber around the wood crotch or leather rock pocket and Mother would wrap the string around and around and tie it. I don't remember her hand as a hindrance. The ties stayed until the rubber broke. She told me the reason that she bought my bib overalls so long in the legs was so she could then fit them to me, cut off the excess leg material and save it for patching. We were all marble players so knees wore out. She also taught me how to patch. Turn the rough edges for neatness.
It was about here that I got my first high top boots. Mother's brother, Fred, gave them to me for Christmas. One boot had a pocket for a knife. My first knife, too. Another thing I shared with Mom was the taste of clabbered milk. I think Mom and I got it all. No fridge so we had lots. We didn't have electricity.
Sometimes when I brought in the eggs one would be cracked and Mom would hold it on end and make a hole in it. Then stand it in the hole on top of the stove, where the lifter stuck in to lift the lid, and cook it. I think she always split with me. Good, a little salt and pepper.
I said we had no fridge, but we had a sort of one. It consisted of an orange crate wrapped in lots of burlap sacks. It was attached over a kitchen window outside. You opened the window by sliding it up to the top and it would lock on pins in the side. Then you could open the orange crate drop door and reach in and get the milk, eggs, and butter. The burlap had to be kept damp for it to work. The only source of water that we had was the stock tank by the windmill. The wind blew most of the time so the water was good. The tank was around a hundred feet from the house connected by a dirt path with goat-head stickers. Beside the windmill was the barn and corncrib. The only time we had running water in the house was when we were out the door on the way to school and Mom would holler, "I need water for the house." The three of us would grab our pails and rush to the tank, dunk the pails and run back. Then drop off the pails on the front stoop and run some of the two miles school to make up for lost time.
I don't know who owned the corn crib, but we used a lot of the corn. There was a 'one ear at a time' sheller by the crib that we used a lot. One person cranked it, one put the ear in the top and the other held the tote sack over the outlet spout. Then we carried a tote sack of corn and a tote pack of cobs for cooking, a quick hot fire. Our 'three-kid-team'. I don't remember how we ground the corn but Mom would make a big slug of cornmeal mush for breakfast and what was left over she molded into a long round loaf. She would cut it into one inch slices and fry them in butter or bacon grease for dinner. There was always a little can of bacon grease on the cook stove. A little cloth on a short stick stuck in the bacon grease can was a swab to grease the pan.
Another thing the corn crop was used for was filling a big sack with the husks. That was our mattress. It had to be renewed occasionally as the husks would flatten and get hard.
Little things come to mind like when Jack talked Martha into sticking her hand in a hole in a tree we had seen a squirrel go into. 'Catch him Mart'. The squirrel objected and I think that was a one time happening. And the time Jack rode the neighbor's horse home and went in the house to get a snack. I snuck around the house, got on the horse and rode down the lane. I knew Jack would not appreciate this so I urged the old horse to hurry back. Jack stepped out from behind a tree and threw his hands up and hollered! Scared the horse, he jumped to one side and slammed on his brakes. I sailed off and lit on my head. Life has been funny ever since.

Getting the second coal oil lamp was great. We could sit around the dining room table and read or put jigsaw puzzles together at night while Mom worked in the kitchen.

It was possibly the first radio that Dad got while we lived there. It was battery powered. About all I remember of it was some squealing and static.

We had a dog named Bounce. A real bulldog, he had a talent for fighting. Any dog he tangled with was lucky to live. He was real protective of us kids. If Dad wanted to give one of us a spanking, he had to shut Bounce in the bedroom. Once Jack, Martha and I caught a big bull snake and we wrapped it around Bounce's neck. We thought the snake would try to get away, but he tightened his curl and we about panicked. We got the snake by the head and tail and unwound him. We were taught not to kill bull snakes. They were rodent hunters. They would also get in a hen's nest and swallow an egg.
Mom used to give me advice, like, don't drink anything while you are eating, especially cold liquids. She told us not to eavesdrop on the party-line phone. Yep, we had a telephone. Our identification ring was one long and two short rings.

Mom always baked bread on Monday. She also washed clothes that day. The reason for the double task was to utilize the top of stove heat for water and the oven heat for baking bread. She made enough bread for the week, and the treat was the three or four dozen buns. Better than cake when topped with butter and honey.
Saturday night was bath night. We took turns using the wash tub and the water. I remember that ring around the top of the tub was murder on the back bone. We took our baths in the kitchen by the stove when the weather was cold. It was easy to conserve on water when we had to carry it in pails from the stock tank barefooted. I never did like going barefooted on rocky paths with goat-head stickers.

I'm going to wind this up with a little peek at our play time. Hammers down the lane had a better hill in their pasture than we did. It was great for tire fun. As I was the smallest they would hold the tire up and I would curl up in the center. They would give me a quick push down the hill. The pasture fence was barbed wire with big cottonwoods for posts. Always felt lucky when I didn't hit a tree instead of the fence. It was a little hard on the fence.

It must have been summer when cholera went into the pig population and the farmers had to kill all of them and bury them. Hammers didn't bury theirs very deep, they were enormous pigs. They got a little uncovered and we used them for trampolines. We would jump from one to the other down the line. I don't remember any of them bursting.

I'll leave you with that glimpse of a kid's life in rural Kansas.

Friday, May 9, 2008

1948 Idaho by Florence A. Jansen

In 1948, after the rest of the Jansen family had moved to Washington State, Karl and I began building a house on property my parents deeded over to us. Karl worked for the railroad and there were always rumors of lay-offs. So we paid for everything as we got it . . a slow process.
We finally were able to move in and it seemed great, except we had no bathroom, yet. Then we had our 3rd child, Charles Reuben, named for his 2 grandfathers, Charles Jansen and Reuben Weeks. As soon as I went into labor G'ma Zoe hopped a bus in Kalama and headed for Nampa, Idaho. She was a lot of help to us as Susie was just past her 3rd year and Karen was a year and a half old.
When I started to give Chuckie his first bath G'ma Zoe said for me to sit down and she would do that. I was so nervous about her handling my precious son with her crippled hand and she knew it. She looked at me and said, "I have had 9 children and numerous grandchildren and have bathed them all and haven't dropped one, yet!". So, I settled down and she did a super job! She became more than a mother-in-law at that time. A very precious and wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.

Some history

I'm a bit young for good memories, unless they are about my own grandparents and my mom's family. So I can only really add some history.

This may be why the Jansen's left Denmark:

Without a navy and crippled by huge debts and a loss of much of its prestige, Denmark sank into poverty. In 1813, the national treasury went bankrupt. Several years later, especially between 1818 and 1824, the price of grain virtually collapsed, which culminated in many farm failures and a massive exodus from Denmark to the New World. The country's precarious financial and military position also put a virtual end to any hope of liberal reforms.

And a marriage record:

Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society has a number of Sedgwick County, KS marriage affidavits in their library...
Jansen, Albert J. Mies, Mary A. November 20, 1906 K440
Jansen, Anna Holmes, R.B. October 26, 1910 N417
Jansen, Anna Dora Behner, G.B. McClellen January 1, 1888 D189
Jansen, B.A. Beaver, H.E. June 12, 1912 P275
Jansen, Charles Prock, Zoela May 1, 1918 V126
Jansen, Edward O. Tomford, Lulu January 29, 1906 K189
Jansen, Elizabeth L. Evertz, Adam November 26, 1891 E426
Jansen, Elizabeth L. Ewertz, Adam November 26, 1891 E426
Jansen, Etta K. Mahlandt, A.W. August 8, 1900 H375
Jansen, Frances Jaax, Edward April 18, 1893 F114
Jansen, Harman H. Allen, Bertha R. October 25, 1910 N410
Jansen, Helen Neville, Edward L. January 15, 1903 I465
Jansen, Ida M. Bock, Valentine April 15, 1890 E116
Jansen, J. Pollock, Opal December 2, 1907 L222
Jansen, Manda(Amanda) Baldwin, A.E. April 25, 1895 F531
Jansen, Mary C. Kessler, Loren L.
Jansen, Minnie Marnane, Joseph April 30, 1912 P211
Jansen, R.L. Harpstrite, Florence M. March 2, 1910 N034
Jansen, Susanna(soma) Springob, Peter June 5, 1900 H331
Janson, Maud Cordella Myers, Clarence Arthur May 20, 1908 L407
Janssen, Anna Seiler, Peter January 16, 1883 B338
Daily, Charles E. Prock, May E. January 20, 1900 H259
Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society Wichita, Kansas

This isn't all that I have, but some of the more interesting tidbits on G'pa's family that hasn't already been said. I have a lot on G'ma's family too.

We'll just end with a picture of some happy people. :-) They are just too cute!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sondra's first blog

Well, you can see that I finally figured out how to post on this blog. I needed to get on Internet Explorer to do it.

Anyhow I like this idea of being able to share things about the family. I see both Karla and Renie have shared some memories of Grandma and Grandpa Jansen.

When my brother and I were very little we lived with Grandma and Grandpa Jansen for a year or so, until my dad got out of the Navy in Star, Idaho. We moved to Longview and it wasn't long after that the rest of the family came trickling into the Kalama area. We would visit Grandma and Grandpa often. One of my fondest memories were when we would spend the night and we would wake up in the morning to Grandma whistling in the kitchen. That meant that she was making her pancakes! I will never forget that big ole iron skillet that she cooked in. Her hand was at a 90 degree angle to her arm, but she could lift that fry pan to dish out the pancakes, one at a time to each person as they got up.

One of the things I remember about taking my children to visit their Great Grandmother and Grandfather was when we got on the north side of Portland my son, Howard, told his two sisters, Janet and Kathi, that we were going to have to give Grandma and Grandpa a kiss when we got there. That is what he remembered about them from a trip he had taken up there before. He was right, every time you went to visit them, they would be waiting at the door and everyone would line up and get a hug and a kiss when you walked through the door.

Family was the most important thing to Grandma. She loved sharing stories about the family and was overjoyed when a new grandchild or great grandchild was on the way. I'm sure she felt the same when she was having her own children. She did love babies. I remember her advice to me for my new baby was when giving a baby a bath, you start at the head and wash down the body. You never start at the bottom and wash up!! As far as I can remember, that was the only advice she gave me! The rest was up to me, I guess.

I remember the one and only spanking I got from grandma. I was playing out in the back yard and had to go to the bathroom. I knew that I would not be able to make it up to the house and then up the steps to the bathroom with the toilet that set up on a pedestal with the water closet up by the ceiling with a long chain to pull to flush it. So I decided to pull down my pants in the back yard and go right there. Certainly did not want to wet my pants!! Well grandma saw me and she rushed out that door and gave me a swat on the bottom and rushed me into the house telling me that I was not to be doing that outside so the neighbors could see. She sat me in this big chair that had leather seat and back and wide wooden arms. I was so little and the chair was so big. I sat there and sniffled for quite a while. Not because the spanking hurt me, but because I had done something that grandma did not approve of and I really felt bad for doing that.

Once when Kalama was having the Strawberry Festival they had a mustache growing contest. Grandpa grew one for the contest. He liked to kid us kids with it and give us fuzzy kisses. He drank some buttermilk and got it in his mustache, on purpose I think, to tease us kids. He was trying to kiss us with buttermilk in it!!

One thing I was wondering. One Christmas grandma and grandpa gave me a couple pairs of panties that had ants printed all over them. They said I could tell people I had ants in my pants! Now did any other of my cousins get ants in their pants? Or was I just special that way?? They had a way of making us all feel special in one way or another. Some sort of special attention. That year it was ants in my pants. Maybe it was so I would not wet my pants!!

There are tons of memories. Would like to hear some from all of you.

Love to all, Sondra (Sondi for short)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Great Idea

Thank you for including me in the family memories. I always enjoy reading about everyone, especially Grandma and Grandpa Jansen. My memories are mostly of their house in Kalama, the one up the hill from where Aunt Shirley lived. Their basement was both wondrous and spooky. There was an old fireplace, lots of spooky rooms and a deer or moose head on the wall. It gave me shivers to walk down there. I remember Grandma's pancakes and Grandpa's whiskery kisses. They had an ornery dog named Casey, too. Coincidentally that is my daughter's name but spelled Kacy. Hmmmm. Love to all. Reni

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Scandia, Kansas

A few days after Shirley's funeral, I had a memory come and I had a visit back in time. I was only about five at the time of this little happening. I had been recovering from a sickness that left me unable to walk. I pulled myself around with my arms, dragging my legs. As time went by I improved up to a crawl. Needless to say, I got preferential treatment from everyone. Probably spoiled a little. I remember Martha swatting me then running. I did my best to catch her, but couldn't. I worked and worked and got to where I could get up on my feet and run a few steps before falling and finally actually staying on my feet, still trying to catch Martha . . unintentional therapy. When Martha was in school at Paul, Idaho, she was the fastest girl in the whole school. I always thought I should get a little credit for her training. I put the pressure on her.
Back at Scandia, I'm still the spoiled little kid in the family. And then Whammo, Shirley is born! Everyone thinks she is pretty neat. All eyes are on her. I am five years old and my prestige has taken a fall. A few days later the neighbors acrosst the street, Bertha & Ed Wiers who owned the drug store up on Main street, came over to our house and possibly thinking that we had enough kids and as they had none and wanted a sweet little baby like we had, that we would consider letting them adopt Shirley. This is in all seriousness. As a five year old spoiled kid, I thought, WOW, things could get back to normal. What a good deal, Shirley would have money and everything and I could still have my place back. I don't know if this decision came to a vote or not. I was just five. Anyway we kept her.
She probably is still saying, Ha, Ha, Ha!
~Karl Jansen, April 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sticking a toe in the water . . .

I may end up removing this post later on, but decided that perhaps someone needed to go first.

My first "Jansen" memory, is a visit to see G'ma and G'pa Jansen. I remember sitting on their short, cold, armless couch and being given a saucer with 4 or 5 potato chips. When I was done, I was shown the basement door and told I could go downstairs to play. All I remember of the downstairs were the seemingly endless rooms, the painted cement floor and the big fireplace.
Another visit comes to mind now. I can see G'ma Jansen sitting with me, Mom and someone else, at her kitchen table. Her permanently curved hand fit perfectly around her tea cup. She told me the story of how her wrist was broken.

I will add more links to family blogs/websites as they are sent to me.