Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Here are a few of my favorite flowers, starting at the top left.
This dandelion makes me smile. It means Teeth of the Lion in French.
The native columbine is very prolific and looks like a pretty dress.
Butterfly Weed is a milkweed, and a great feeder.
Row 2: Blackberry flower.
an early Spring Beauty
Close up of Lily of the Valley
Bees enjoying a sunflower
Canadian Violet- yellow
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Above: This is how the old Rust farm in Sibley, Illinois looks now. We visit every year, even though it belongs to a nice young man now. It was originally owned by the Hiram Sibley Estate. Sibley also started the Western Union Telegraph Company in the 1800's. He required all the houses painted yellow and the barns red. The renters paid their rent in corn from their harvests.
Louis managed all the hybrid seed corn for the 22,000 acres of the estate. Each farmer rented their land, a house, a barn, and some other essential buildings. They would share a lot of equipment and labor, and even shared bulls!
The farmers on the Sibley Estate had a wide variety of animals compared to now. They would have had a team of horses, chickens, cows, some sheep and pigs. Their crops were a bit more diversified than now. They would throw things in like oats and clover, fruit trees and made sure they did contour farming.
Above: This is one of my favorite photos of Louis. He is flying off to Germany to interview displaced persons in 1951. The State Department asked him to interview families to see if they could do well on farms in America. The immigrants would be sponsored by a family until they could get on their own feet. He earned more in 3 months doing this, than a farmer earned in a year.
Above: I love this photo of Ruth and Loretta Rust in front of the Rust farm truck. Dan's father, Mervyn, married Myra in 1950, and she is sitting in the truck. Mervyn and Louis were in business together on the new farm in Paxton. 1950-1951 was a busy time for them... Mervyn got married, went to serve in Korea, and Louis served the state department in the spring of 1951.
Above: Pitching hay in Sibley, Illinois...Louis is on the right, circa 1912.
Julius, his foster parent, is in the window of the barn. This is a messy job. Dan's least favorite job on the farm.
He was visiting the Julius Wisthuff farm in Sibley with a crew and two Jackson cars, around 1912. They look like they are about to race. Where they were going and why---I could never figure out.
Below: This is a picture I took before I was married in 1986. It is a picture of Louis's son, Mervyn. Pigs were in open pens around the farm running around in the sunshine. I never felt sorry for those pigs, until they were sent away.
Somehow back then, a couple-hundred acres of corn and soybeans, and some pigs were enough to have a good life. Maybe with this pandemic, we can see the value of the family farm, and the community it builds. That is a hope I had while making this book.
Saturday, May 16, 2020
Canadian Pacific Railroad was happy to have them come as well, as they wanted people to settle in the central part of Canada.
When they got off the train in Winnipeg, in the spring of 1917, the 250 students were served a luncheon at the Cafe Royal, at the Alexandra Hotel, before they were shipped out to the the western Canadian farms. Louis was one of them.
His daughter, Ruth, thought he went to Canada to avoid fighting in the war. She thought that for 85 years! I was able to tell her of this noble cause! America entered the war soon after, and Louis was in the Army Air Corps by November of the same year, serving the country he came to 14 years earlier.
Above: While doing research for Love, Louis, we went to Chicago many times, especially the Newberry Library. My favorite find was a large handmade map of Chicago, in 1903. It came in many pieces and each piece filled my big table at the Newberry.
Below: Louis lived on Fletcher Street when the family arrived from Germany in October, 1903, at the age of ten. Fletcher St. is one block east of Belmont Street. The home is still there, and has been turned into a very expensive one-family home, instead of being a flat. It is not far from Wrigley Field.
Edith Wisthuff, went to University of Illinois in the fall of 1919. Louis encouraged her father to send her to school. She studied Home Economics, as did many women of her time. Home Economics is science!
In her senior year, 1923, Louis asked her to marry him. She said yes, and they lived on the farm her family had farmed for two generations previous.
The picture under that one is my son, sitting in the same spot as his grandmother Edith! that is one of my favorite things to do...to take a new photo in the same spot as an old photo!
(It is not called McKinley Hall anymore.)
Louis became a half-orphan, and his father dropped him off at the Chicago Nursery and Half Orphan Asylum, along with his two brothers. This was one of the many orphanages in Chicago at the time. This orphanage has been turned into a mansion in the Lakeview area of Chicago....175 Burling Street.
(To make research even more difficult, Chicago changed its numbering systems for homes and businesses after this period.)
Below: A postcard titled The children of the ghetto and the ice-cream man, Chicago, Ill.
Sometimes these Italian ice cream vendors were call the Hokey Pokey Man! They would take left over ice cream and serve it to the children from a cart.
Orphan records are still hard to find because of privacy laws.
Below: Wealthy men and women in the city would often do charity work and make large donations to the children of the orphanages. They often were on the boards of the orphanages.
They liked the fountains and flowers the best!