28 April 2015

Fredricks Family Memories

Left to Right: Uncle John, Uncle Richard, Aunt Lola, Aunt Jeannie, Audrey, my mom

My research has taken a different direction lately and instead of wanting to collect names and add facts to my database, I want to hear stories.  The best way to hear stories is to visit your relatives.  I wanted to hear these stories when there was about two feet of snow on the ground and traveling was out of the question.  I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity as my aunts and uncles are getting older. I wasn't sure how this project would be received so I opted to mail my aunts and uncles instead of calling them.

My mother, Audrey, was one of twelve children born to Otto and Daisy (Graf) Fredricks.  She has two brothers and two sisters living.  The Fredricks family has a reunion every year in July and I try to go, but this year I won't be able to because of other plans.  The reunion is a great time to catch up with people but it is hard to spend a lot of time with any one person.

A couple of months ago, I decided I was going to write my mom and my aunts and uncles asking for Fredricks family memories.  I typed up eight questions and asked them to answer them.  I included a self-addressed stamped envelope so they could mail them back to me.  I heard from four of the five I sent.  I can't wait to see my aunts and uncles again because their answers left me with many more questions about their memories.

I plan on sharing their stories on my blog, one question at  time.  If you haven't heard the stories of your family, don't wait any longer.  Step away from your database and ask questions. I am so happy I did.

Question 1: What is your earliest childhood memory?

  • Aunt Lola: I remember my mother churning butter.
  • Uncle Richard: During the depression, in 1929, you couldn't get any decent flour.  It was always mixed with vetch or mouse droppings or who knew what else.  Every loaf of bread you tried to make was like a brick.  My mother (Daisy Graf Fredricks) was always complaining about her dull kitchen knives. "You could ride to Germany on them and never feel it." she said.  Pa (Otto August Fredricks) always kept his knives very, very sharp for the pig butchering.
  • Audrey, my mother: I remember going to school my first day and walking down a sandy lane to get on the bus, crying.
  • Aunt Jeannie: I remember swimming at Bear Creek and Don Joswick saved me.
What wonderful memories!  I didn't know my Uncle Richard was such a great storyteller. I had to look the word 'vetch' up as I hadn't heard that before. It is a plant that is used to feed farm animals.  I can see my Grandma standing in her kitchen in her apron, she always wore one, and saying that about her knives. I can hear her laugh, she had a great laugh. I can see her churning butter on the family farm, that has been in the family for over a hundred years.  I know of the sandy lane and creek that my mother and Aunt wrote about. I have swam in that same creek, it runs behind the farm.  These stories have triggered memories of my own and that was something I wasn't expecting.

There is nothing better than family stories.  Don't you agree? 

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