These stories were sent to me by Margaret's daughter for inclusion in the Marathon County Web page.
Margaret Helen Meuret born March 1, 1905 Town of Weston, died March 5, 1992 in Schofield, graduated in 1922 with a Teaching Credential from The Normal School, a teacher training facility housed near Marathon Park in Wausau where the U of WI Extension is located today. Margaret Helen was often called upon to recite poetry and had a variety of some 100 poems and verses she could recall and execute perfectly on demand. Margaret not only recited the poetry of others, but did some prose writing of her own. This is the first piece of her work that I am submitting which she wrote for her students, date unknown. May be as early as 1923.
By MH Meuret
Come with me to visit the old homestead that my grandpa selected as the habitat of all the future generations of the MEURET CLAN in this fair land of ours.
Off the beaten track, on a road all its own, The Farm lies sunning itself along both banks of the Eau Claire River, which empties into Lake Wausau two miles downstream.
Standing on the screened-in porch, we will be able to see the greater part of the half-section homesteaded by Grandpere way back in 1855. The clear blue waters of the river reflect the trees, the clouds, and the high railroad trestle that spans the river. To the west is Rib Mountain behind which the sun sinks at dusk.
Here, in this secluded nook in Marathon County, rest, contentment, peace, and quiet await all who come to gaze upon it.
Prose of Margaret Helen Meuret Tidd 1905-1992
Written August 26, 1984
An Historical Account
I was born on the Meuret homestead the tenth child of Henry and Emma (Koepp) Meuret on March 1, 1905. I cant remember much of my early years of growing up. Ill try and record for my grandchildren some of the things Mother told me and some I do remember.
I was toddling when Granpa Koepp, my Mothers father, was still living with us. He came to live with Emma and Henry right after they were married in 1887. I guess I wore my dear grandpa out. I called him Grossfodder (grandfather in German). I'd get his slippers and his cane and say. " Mon Grossfodder, go walk." So, wed go to the garden or the barn and back. Then Id put his cane in the corner and help him take off his shoes. In a few minutes Id get his cane and say again, "Mon Grossfodder...." and away wed go again. The only way he got any rest was when he went and laid down on his bed. Poor Grossfodder!
He knitted our mittens, stockings, and long scarfs for the cold wintery days. He died when I was about 2, I think.
(Charles John Meuret born 1903)
Charlie and I were good friends and pals. I was his slave, he was my champion. We went fishing everyday down on the Eau Claire River which divided our farm.
Hed dig angle worms. Hed dig and Id pick them up and carry the bait can to the river. He, master of all, carried the fish poles. Returning from our fishing spree, he carried the string of small sunfish and I carried the poles.
One sunny March day we were going to go fishing. On the sunny side of the chicken coop the snow had melted, so here we dug for worms. Charlie had a heart shaped hoe with which he dug the ground. I was picking up the wriggly things. He said, "Get out of the way, Baby." So I got behind him. When, banb, back heswung the hoe and hit me right above my right eye brow! It knocked me out! Charlie got scared and ran and hid. Luckily Mother came to the coop for eggs and found me all bloody and muddy. She brought me in the house and washed me up and Celia put salt(underlined) on the cut. When Charlie came in later, he said, "I couldnt know Baby was behind me!" so Mother knew he hadnt done it on purpose. I still have that scar.
Every Saturday Mother drove the horse and buggy to town. The buggy had red spoke wheels. The boys had to keep the driving harness and the buggy looking "spiffy" for Mother. Each Saturday Mother bought Charlie and me some fish hooks. By Tuesday or Wednesday all of our hooks would be lost on the stumps and snags in the river. So, Charlie made me stand by the railroad fence and call to the fishermen walking along the tracks: "Hey, Man, you got any hooks to spare?" Some always had extra ones for us.
When Charlie and I got into a quarrel, as young ones do, and one would run to tattle to Mother, shed say, "Wait til the "Injun Man" comes and well sell her/him" That always pacified us until once when Id done something quite bad to him. After Mother said this to him, he wasnt satisfied so Charlie went to the railroad fence and yelled to a man walking along the track, "Hey Man, you wanna buy a baby?" Boy, hed have sold me that time.
The older brothers fixed a swing in the haybarn with the hayfork rope. Oh, how far out we could swing on that!
The kids from Schofield would come to The Farm and wed play tag - up the ladder of the silo, onto the barn roof, and slide down to the straw stack and from there wed slide to the ground. Over and over wed do this - Like little squirrels or monkeys, climbing and never falling.
My Mother loved flowers. On Saturdays in the summer it was my job to go to the fields and pasture and pick bouquets for the house. One bouquet for Mothers bedroom as well as for dining room table and parlor. Also two big jardiners on the porch had to be filled. I filled the lamps and the lanterns with kerosene so all were ready when it grew dark.
Evelyn and Lillian had to scrub the toilet. It was a two seater with a small lower seat for the little ones out behind the ice house. Plum trees grew behind the toilet - lovely sweet plums - Yummy!
In the summer the Eau Claire River was our bath tub. Oh, the fun we had on the old ferry boat. Wed rigged a spring board over the side and 1 - 2 - 3 - away wed go.
Dad used the ferry boat to haul the grain across from the eighty acre field to the side where the house and barn were. The men pushed this big ferry boat with pike poles. The horses and wagon rode high and dry across the water. We kids jumped in the water and swam alongside sometimes.
In the winter, when the river was frozen over, the hay that was stored in the haybarn across the river was hauled home on the horse drawn sleigh. My dad cut ice on the river, too, and stored it in an icehouse behind the house to cool the milk during hot weather. All the neighbors who wanted ice, would come with their teams after chores were done in the morning and help harvest ice. My dad had all the tools for ice-cutting. Each farmer hauled a load of ice to our house in the A.M.; then loaded up again and drove home for dinner and noon feeding etc - then come back for another round of hauling. Thats how all of us got our ice for the next summer. A foot or so of sawdust was packed on sides and on top of the ice for insulation. These large cakes of ice stayed safe in the heat.
The kids had to ride the horse for cultivating the corn and potatoes in the summer. I rode that horse till my feet swelled and prickled - I held the reins of the bridle and kept the horse in the row so he didnt step on the plants and mash them. We had to pick potato bugs, too. These bugs were the hard-shelled beetle type that would lay eggs under the leaves of the potato plant. Mother would spray the plants with Pine Green. Shed use a pail with the Paris Green flavored water and dip a whisk broom in and shake the broom over the plants, We only planted enough spuds for our own use. These were dug in the fall and stored in two large bins in the cellar. The cellar was reached by lifting a trap door in the kitchen floor in the winter. The outside cellar door was sealed up for the cold weather so no frost would enter.
We played Hide-and-Go-Seek in the cowbarn. Wed hide in the cows managers or between the cows. The feed aisle was in the center of the barn. The cows all faced this - two rows one on each side. The silo was at one end.
Wed go to the pasture and look for the first Mayflowers. May Day on May First was a big day when I was young. Wed pick flowers the night before and take then to school and hide them with the janitor. Then, during the A.M. Id ask to go to the bathroom - Id go down, fix a May Basket and hang it on my teachers door - enter while she was at the front (hall) door. All the kids knew what I was up to. Fun!!!
Birthdays and Holidays were big days in our family. Always a special meal and special things for the Birthday Child.
When we were young we girls sewed for dolls. We looked in catalogs and made patterns from newspapers to resemble the dresses in the catalog. Then we carefully cut, fitted, and sewed the stuff all by hand. We even sewed beads on the dresses. We had Sewing Clubs with the Swanson family. Ethel Swanson, Anne and I. The four of us. Wed meet at each others home like adults did. Lunch was served, too. Ah, for those good old days.
Sept. 27, 1988
My Story Continues.........
I am now 83 years of age, Many things have changed in my family and in my life time.
I have lived through several wars - World War I, World War II, Korean War, Viet Nam War, and who knows what next?
Only three of the original fourteen Meuret children my father and mother had are still living. Number 10, thats me; Number 12, thats Lillian, and Number 14, thats Arlene. Both Lillian and Arlene are Registered Nurses and live in Southern California. I was a teacher.
I married a wonderful man! We had 4 lovely children - 3 girls and a boy. They all grew up to become parents, too. Dad and I enjoyed our 16 grandchildren!!
Now Im living in Housing for the Elderly on Grand Avenue in Wausau. I have a cozy apartment. My children come to see me and some of my grandchildren call their Nana to see how she is getting along.
Margaret Helen Meuret Tidd had been a member of St. Marys and St. James Catholic Churches all her life. Margaret Helen Meuret Tidd passed away in Schofield on March 5, 1992 at 87 years of age.