Today I thought I’d share some memories my mother had of my Grandmother Rosalia Anna Meyer. She was born September 6, 1891 in Auburn township, Fond Du Lac County, Wisconsin on her parent’s farm. When she was around 10 she moved to the house and farm that is featured on the opening of this blog. She spent most of the remainder of her life there. The memories below were written by my mother Jeannette in 1996.
“> I always thought she was pretty.She had brown hair and stood about 5’4” tall. She had blue eyes and was quite buxom. She grew up in a time women wore long dresses with small waists and big bosoms and beautiful hats.
Her hair must have been long and in a bun when I was very little. One of my first memories was being in my grandmother Meyer’s house in Cascade, WI. My mother had gone to the barbershop. Dad and the other relatives were sitting in the kitchen.The door opened and in walked a lady with short hair. She came towards me. I remember running from her. I didn’t recognize her. She had had her hair bobbed. She picked me up and spoke to me and I realized it was my Mother.
She was kind, sweet and loving mother. We always knew we would be cared for. If she wasn’t at home when I returned from school it seemed as if nothing else was quite right until she got home.
Times I remember are when we’d be sick in bed with a contagious disease and were finally on the mend, we three girls (Edith hadn’t been born yet) would gather in her bed and she would read us a number of chapters every night from books like HEIDI, LITTLE WOMEN, LITTLE MEN etc. She could was good at making up stories too.
She also knew how to stand up for herself and live according to her principles she believed in. She very much valued her Catholic faith and lived according to its tenets. She believed in the ten commandments. She also held education in in high esteem.
Mother did not like gossip. When I reported some gossip I’d heard she say, “I don’t believe it! You should believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear.”
She could bake, sew beautiful clothes from other’s cast-offs and make beautiful hooked rugs and quilts and other crafty things. She had a good eye for design. She always told us girls to be a little different and not look like everyone else. She could tailor suits and sew with fur. She made some of me some of the most beautiful clothes I ever owned. She also liked to write poetry.
She kept a big garden where she planted lots of flowers along with the vegetables. I think she liked all kinds of flowers but I know she liked lilacs.
Mother and Dad loved to dance and went to the local dances. Children were brought along and when they fell asleep they were laid on the benches that lined the dance hall. Everyone watched out for everyone else’s children. In our area people did a lot of card playing, visited back and forth with each other.
Since I have grown up I’ve often thought my Mothers was a generation ahead of herself. She had been a teacher before her marriage and must have been well liked by her students because when she and Dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary she got cards from some of them. She was always encouraging us to learn and to educate ourselves about things. Getting a higher education was high on her list for her children. She knew it was a must for a better life.
She suffered a lot of heartache during the Great Depression. I know it broke her heart she could not find a way to get my brother John beyond a year of high school because of the scarcity of money and opportunity. Later she showed great ingenuity in getting her 3 girls four years of high school.
She would have liked to have learned to play the piano. She was supposed to take lessons but her younger sister Matie cried so much because she wanted to do that, too. Her parents gave in to Matie and Mother stayed home. I think that was one of her greatest disappointments as a child.
Her best friend was Gladys Cober Mead. They knew each other as little children. The lived in the same farming community and went to school together. From my recollection of the stories Mother told us about their friendship they must have shared their fondest wishes and bitter disappointments. When Gladys was in her early teens her parents decided to move to NY state. Gladys and mother corresponded regularly until she died. Gertrude continued the correspondence a few times each year until Gladys became to0 old and senile. Then Gladys’ older daughter, Millie and Gert corresponded.
Mother’s special place was going down to the swamp where the tamarack trees grew. In the spring there were yellow cowslips, violets and if one were lucky you could find a jack-in-the-pulpit or lady-slipper flowers. It was about 1/3 of a mile from our house. When Mother walked down there we were not allowed to follow. I believe she went there when she was very troubled and somehow found comfort to her heart in that place. In later life she wrote a poem about it.”
MY TRYSTING PLACE
by Rose Uelmen Meyer
Each day brings me more problems to be resolved
The more I think about them
The larger they evolve
So I think about my troubles
And no answer do I find
So I plan a tryst with nature
Where only beauty does abide
It is down in the lowlands
Where the river winds it way
And all along its banks and bays
Grow flowers in great array
The same each I’ve live there
No changes there at all
The birds sang as they always did
In tamarack trees so tall
To sit in this glorious paradise
One forgets the sting of sword
To contemplate with nature
Is like talking to our Lord
It is time to forget my worries
That brought me to this place
And all the world is beautiful
In our Lords embrace