In my time I’ve known a childhood as a farmer’s daughter, a schooling in a one room rural school, a high school education at La Crosse Central, a two year college education in La Crosse State Teachers College, a happy married life as a wife and mother of three on a farm of our own, twenty-eight and a half years of elementary teaching, many years of summer school extension classes, retirement at age 62 and years of “do as I please” from that day forward.

I’d like to leave a simple account of some of the things I remember and cherish, beginning with December 20, 1920; the day of the beginning of “my time”.

So much of what I was, or would be, was based on what already had been. Those who came before me all came to America as immigrants from Germany. Grandfather William Krause and Grandmother Elizabeth Lepke Krause came to America with their parents. Their families homesteaded land in the same area on or near Brinkman Ridge in the Town of Hamburg, Vernon County. A common faith, German Lutheran, and a common language then known as High German, cemented the community into a tight knit group.

My paternal great grandparents came from Saxony, Germany in 1849. They homesteaded land In North Chipmunk Coulee. Again a common faith, Methodist, and a common language then referred to as Low German, attracted most of the settlers to that valley.

Both were farming communities, near to each other in miles, but separated by natural barriers. My mother, the daughter of Willian and Elizabeth Krause, was raised on the ridge and my father, the son of Rudolph and Armena Herold, grew up in the valley of this coulee region of Western Wisconsin along the Mississippi River. Upon their marriage, Mother and Dad farmed the Herold farm and provided a home for Grandfather Rudolph.

When my mother from this High German speaking, Lutheran community married my father from the Low German speaking Methodist community, the first major influence of my life—the breaking of a hard and fast tradition—was set into motion.

My mother, a quiet, patient, good natured person, soon made friends with her Chipmunk Coulee neighbors. Dad however, never forgave the insults leveled at his religion and ethnic background. He preferred his home and strict attention to his farming rather than expanding his social group.

The farming they engaged is was truly diversified. They cared for a small flock of sheep, an average flock of chickens, some hogs, a small herd of milk cows and a well-trained cow dog. From the field they harvested mostly hay, oats and corn.

Although both parents never appeared to be physically strong, they managed the farm with hard work and the power of two large work horses.

Please welcome Bernice to the Westby Times

Next Week: My Arrival At My Parent’s Farm

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Westby Times editor

Dorothy Robson is editor of the Westby Times. Contact her at 608-637-5625.

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