Now, to use baseball terminology, we're rounding third base.
The preceding pages were a brief biographical sketch of the ancestral
and generational accounts of our family. I will now complete this
Wilken saga by relating some of my own childhood memories; a few
of which are as dear as if they happened yesterday.
At age two I stayed overnight at my sister Annie. She had recently
married John Schwartz. For breakfast they had huge oranges, bigger
than any I had ever seen. Annie peeled me one and I began to eat
it. John, teasingly said, "How about giving me some too?"
I said, "Die sine nicht gut fur dich, die haven wurm. "
(They aren't good for you, there's worms inside.)
One of my first memories of a neighborhood gathering was a
barn dance held in our hay loft. The barn must have been relatively
new and barn dances were the rage of the day. I was perhaps four
years old. Adults love to tease little kids, especially if they
don't appear to be bashful. Johnny's Annie told me of this event
many years later how cleverly I answered the Kelly and Mullen
ladies as they teased me. I failed to write down what Annie said
I had answered, but I do remember running around the hay loft
and having a good time with all the guests.
When I was five, a teacher at our District #72, Madge Nichols,
taught me a song for a program she was putting on at the school.
I came on stage and sat down in a rocker and rocked my dolly.
The song I sang had these words "Hello central, give me heaven
cuz my mommies' there. " After I finished, the crowd burst
out with thunderous applause and I couldn't figure out what all
the fuss was about. I had sung the song several times before at
home, as this wasn't any different. Oh, the innocence of youth!
I suppose I was about the same age when suitors would come
to see my sisters. In those days a young man would come to the
home of the parents on a Sunday afternoon to visit and try to
"make a hit" on their daughter. Well, Joe Hagedorn came
on this particular Sunday afternoon and all he did was sit on
a chair near the outside door and say nary a word. My brothers
and sisters often received a little bag of candy from my parents
after church. I seldom got a treat of my own. However, on this
day, my folks had gotten me a bag of peanuts. My mother instructed
her kids to pass around to the guests and other family members
whatever food given us. Oh, I just loved peanuts, they were very
precious to me. Now I got orders to pass them around and I hated
to waste any on Joe Hagedorn, but I had to comply with ma's command.
He took some, but offered no word of thanks. After a quiet moment
or two he said, "Tony Lorsung's peanuts aren't baked enough.
" That really got my dander up and I snapped back, "You
aren't baked enough either. " Johnny laughed so hard, his
legs stuck straight out and he left out a tremendous hoot. I failed
to see the humor of it. I was too ticked off!
Another barn dance at age nine found me passing around a layer
cake with nut filling. This was fun, something to do and I loved
mixing with people. During the course of the evening, I kept making
the rounds offering refreshments. A Mrs. Rosengren said, "You've
been here once before already. " This hurt my feelings as
I just wished to be a useful hostess.