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Minnie Meyer


Delores Giffen


My grandmother, Minnie Meyer, was born in Hampton, Iowa,in the year 1914. Her family consisted of five boys: Tony, Harm, Sam, George,Aldrich (A.J.), and six girls: Lena, Mary, Pearl, Esther, Hannah, and Minnie.

As a young girl, she helped with the many farm chores,such as, cultivating corn, shocking, and threshing.

One time, when she was cultivating with a horse out inthe field, the heat of the day caused the horse to become overheated andit finally fell flat to the ground and couldn't get up. Minnie then hurriedto the house for help. It took twenty gallons of water during the nightto keep that horse alive. Minnie has also had other experiences with horsesin her childhood such as when one kicked her. She was visiting with herfamily at some neighbors one afternoon. These people always made ice creamso it didn't take much to get the kids enthused about going. Anyway, allthe kids were playing hide-go-seek in the barn when Minnie somehow got behinda string of about ten to twelve horses in stalls and one kicked her rightup against the wall and made a footprint in her side. As you might guess,she wasn't much in the mood for ice cream after that.

Minnie stayed in Iowa until she was about eighteen. Then,she married Ted Meyer. Ted had lived in Iowa but had moved up north withhis parents. He came back to Iowa for a while and was reacquainted withMinnie. They decided to get married and move up north for the summer. The following winter they went back to Iowa and continued in this way forthree years. When they moved permanently up north they homesteaded nearHumboldt, Minnesota, at the Gordon Johnson farm. Minnie and Ted had threechildren: Dorothy Gloria, born in 1933; Jean Marie, born in 1935; and LydiaCarol, born in 1942.

Minnie was unaccustomed to the severe winters and cool,wet summers, but she became used to it after a while. Minnie grew a hugegarden and she canned quite a few vegetables, also beef, pork, and chickensince there were no freezers.

Mice were also quite common in the little house on theprairie. Early one morning, Minnie woke up to find Ted kicking away. Sheasked him what was the matter and suddenly she realized there was a mousein the bed. Since they slept on a low studio couch, it was possible forthe mice to crawl up the covers on to the bed. Minnie jumped out of thebed and Ted managed to kill the mouse.

Another incident involved a round table. It had lost thetwo screws which attached it to the legs. The table was very tippy anda person had to see that it was balanced just right. One day, Minnie seta full dishpan of water and dishes on the table and it fell apart. Dishesand water were all over the floor! Minnie was so angry she just took theround table top and rolled it right out the door.

In 1948, a big flood came and the family had to move intoSt. Vincent for about two weeks since there was two feet of water in thehouse. When they moved back, the hardwood floor had to be replaced sinceit had buckled.

About 1946, they had gotten their first electric lightsin the house, (Garth Symington's farm now). They were about thirty-twovolts so they had to be charged with a gas engine for a couple of hourseach day. On days when Minnie washed clothes, the engine would have torun continually.

From that house, Minnie and her family moved to the Theodorfplace, or the Albert Clow farm and lived there two years. Then they movedto St. Vincent for one year and then they had the house moved to Noyes,Minnesota. Meanwhile, Dorothy, the oldest, had been married and Jean hadgraduated in 1954. In 1955, Ted died so it was just Minnie and Lydia leftat home. At the time, Lydia was still in high school.

Minnie couldn't seem to find a job around the area so shedecided to move to St. Paul where she had relatives and a better job opportunity. She found a job cooking for the Y.M.C.A. After automatic food machinescame into the Y.M.C.A., she found employment in the Mutual Service InsuranceCompany and that is where she is working now. She still gets up at sixo'clock every morning to be at work at 7:30 a.m. My grandmother has workedhard all her life and she thinks she will be very happy when she retires. Recently, she took a trip to the Caribbean with her sister-in-law and shehad a very enjoyable time. She took a plane to Florida and from their wentaboard a cruise ship to the islands along the Caribbean. The trip tooka week in all. I think she plans on doing more traveling when she retires.


Meyer, Minnie, Interview in 1974, Subject: Life history,St. Paul, Minnesota

Giffen, Mrs. Don, Interview in 1974, Subject: Her mother,St. Vincent, Minnesota

iffen, Mrs. Don, Interview in 1974, Subject: Her mother,St. Vincent, Minnesota