|If you have a memory of Pierce County and
would like to share it, please e-mail me
and I will be
happy to include it on this page.
Read "Small Potatoes" by George Foss. A wonderful collection of memories growing up in depression era Pierce County.
October 20, 1998 - Debbie Barrett
As I haven't lived in the Midwest since I was 11 years old, most of my memories center around childhood things and my time was divided between my grandmothers' house in Elmwood and my Aunt Gwen's in Weston in Dunn Co. Shortly after I was born my parents moved onto the Cady Creek Cheese Factory in a little house they rented. The house is gone now, replaced by a larger parking lot for the cheese shop, but every time I have the opportunity to get back there to visit, I stop by and buy cheese, I still think it's the best I've ever tasted.
I remember and miss many things about Pierce County. The rolling hills dotted with turn of the century farm houses and barns, surrounded by acres of pasture and corn. How green everything was in the summer, how white in the winter. The trees on the hills just outside of Elmwood ablaze with color in the fall. The old wooden churches with their bell towers next to cemeteries surrounded by poplar trees. I remember going every Memorial day with my grandmother to the Spring Lake and Poplar Hill cemeteries to place flowers on the graves of people who had been gone years before I was born, perhaps that's part of where my love for history and my sense of family has come from. I remember how large the monuments were then, how they seemed to just loom over me, now they are not so big.
I remember tobogganing down the hills at breakneck speed in the winter, fearless at how fast we would go. Or skating on the same lakes in the winter that we would swim in the summer. And ice fishing, nice and warm in a little shack on the ice. I remember being bundled up with so many clothes that if you fell it was hard to get up again, and dish towels tied around my face to keep the cold out. I remember the little circle of frozen breath that would form as you breathed.
I remember tree houses in big trees next to the house that you could sit in and plot childish little schemes on summer days. Or making snow forts in the snow banks that would form up against the fences. The snow was so tightly packed you could just burrow in like a mole into a mound of snow, tunneling this way and that. Or hanging blankets from the clothesline to make a fort to spend the night in in the summer. We would sit there in the dark telling those silly, scary stories that all children know, frightening ourselves half to death. Then one by one we would all make some excuse to go back into the house until the last one was sitting there all alone in the dark, but only until they realized that no one else was coming back and they would come sneaking back in as well.
The little towns where everyone knew everyone else. When I went back to visit my grandmother in 1980 it actually was in the newspaper in their gossip column. The little tavern/cafe in Elmwood where we would go and play the jukebox, Chubby Checkers and Twisting our hearts out. Reta Sanford reminded me of the ice-cream socials the Rock Elm Methodist Church ladies still hold, my grandma Britton was part of that group. My mother still has a cookbook they published from sometime in the 1960s with one of her recipes in it.
These are all things that I wish my own children could experience. How I never wore shoes in the summer, my feet toughened by the gravel roads we would walk down. We were never at a loss for something to do there, never spent hours in front of a television or a video game or cruising a mall. And everyone in town knew who we were and had a smile for our hi-jinks and they were many. These are the memories that I have and will always cherish, and I am glad to see that although it has grown and some of the faces have changed, just like everything else, you can still go there and find a little piece of home.
December 29, 1998- Julie (Munsen) Seeley
I have fond memories in Ellsworth, WI of the little shoe shop my father, Milo Munsen used to have when I was born and I can remember being there with him, sometimes just watching him repairing the shoes. It was the little building still standing behind what used to be Hageman's grocery store on the corner of Main St. Our Uncle August Hageman used to operate the grocery store and we spent many hours there also. We always used to get a hotdog ('em so good) out of the meat case when we down to meet our Uncle August with our Aunt Jeanette.
I can remember the ice rink that our Grandfather Barney Dunn used to take care of. It was located where the mortuary is now standing. We used to skate around until our toes got cold and then we would go in and sit by the big old pot belly stove and try to thaw them out. Grandpa would always tell us to be careful not to get burned.
I can remember the old elementary school which stood along side the high school for years. I started kindergarten there in about 1950 and can still see the old worn out wood floors, which were worn then already. When you first walked in the front door there was a small hallway and then you would go to the cubby hole and put your things in the one marked with your name. Well, when my mom was ready to leave me, I ran to the cubby hole and sat and cried as I was scared to death and didn't want to stay. I can remember my mom and the teacher trying to tell me how much fun we would have in the classroom if I would come in. No way, I wouldn't go in and I was left sitting there for the duration of school and the teacher would come and try to coax me out in every once in a while. As I remember the first week was the longest days of my life. I didn't want to be there will all those strangers.
Every summer we would have a birthday picnic in the old park down east end as my Grandma Dunn's and my birthday were the same day, the 29th of July, and my older brothers was the 30th, so we would have them all together with aunts, uncles, cousins and some friends. We always enjoyed going down in the deep water run which was there. Of course we weren't supposed to go down in it, but we did until someone caught us. Then we would play hide and seek, or ball or something else we could think of doing.
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