Narrator: Art Honemann
Date of Interview: June 6, 1986
Place of Interview: Narrator’s home
Interviewer: Priscilla Godemann
Recorded For: Morton Grove Historical Society
Transcribed For: Morton Grove Public Library
Tape Running Time: 15 minutes
This is a brief interview with Mr. Art Honemann. At the time of the recording, he was 77 years old.
Art Honemann was born in Skokie. He moved to Morton Grove in his grammar school years and then attended Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church. After graduation at the age of 15, Art was employed as a water boy by Poehlmann Brothers Greenhouses.
AH: Art Honemann
Q: Question asked by interviewer, Priscilla Godemann
TAPE ONE, SIDE A
Q: Art, were you born in Morton Grove?
AH: I was born in Skokie.
Q: Can you tell me when you came to Morton Grove and where your parents were from?
AH: In 1920.
Q: Were your parents born in Skokie?
AH: No. They came from Germany.
Q: When you came to Morton Grove, were you going to school at that time?
AH: Yes, I was went to school in Morton Grove. I went one year to public school, and then I went the rest of the time to the Lutheran school.
Q: Can you remember how the public school was? Did you have all the facilities that they have today?
AH: No, I doubt that very much. But that was back in the days when you had outside toilets yet.
Q: Oh, really?
AH: Yes. We didn’t have any sewers or . . .
Q: Now, this is a funny question, but I’m inquisitive. Did you have an outside toilet for boys and an outside toilet for girls?
AH: No. No, there was just one for everybody in there.
Q: When you graduated from the Lutheran school. What did you do? Did you go to work or did you go on to school?
AH: Oh, we went to work.
Q: Where did you work?
AH: Poehlmann Brothers.
Q: What did you do there?
AH: Well, I started out as a water boy. Then I started to work in the carnation section, cutting the flowers in the morning, watering them, and kept them — pruned them, you know.
Q: You were pretty young when you started working.
AH: Yes. I was about fifteen years old.
Q: Do you remember anything about Morton Grove streets? Were they paved or not paved?
AH: Dempster Street was a two-lane highway, and that’s all we had.
Q: And Lincoln Avenue wasn’t paved yet.
AH: Lincoln Avenue was paved, but for just two lanes of concrete.
Q: Do you remember anything about the roadhouses that were out here?
AH: Well, the only one I can remember was the Dells and I think the Lincoln Tavern. Those are the only two I know.
Q: And I understand that the kids used to gather around and go and listen to the music. Were you in that group that did that?
AH: Yes, every once in a while I’d go there with them. We’d sit there and listen to the orchestra play. That was beautiful.
Q: Did you start dating when you were young?
AH: Not necessarily.
Q: Were you ever married?
AH: No, I was never married.
Q: You graduated from the Lutheran Jerusalem School, right?
Q: So then you must have been attending that church.
AH: Yes, I was.
Q: Are you still going to that church?
AH: Not recently.
Q: What kind of newspapers did you get out here?
AH: It could have been the Tribune or the Herald American or something.
Q: The Herald American I remember. Can you tell me about the doctors in Morton Grove — how many were there?
AH: The only doctor we had in Morton Grove years ago was Dr. Drostenfels. He was the only one.
Q: He took care of everything, right?
AH: He took care of everything right out of that little black bag that he carried around.
Q: Did you belong to any social groups or the fire department?
AH: No. Never did.
Q: Do you remember the Morton Grove Days?
AH: Yes, I have a recollection. I mean, I know about them. I worked there for a couple of years, helped them out.
Q: How long did you work for Poehlmann Brothers?
AH: I wouldn’t know exactly how many years I worked there, but it was always in a different job in there. So I may have been there about five years.
Q: What kind of work did your father do?
AH: My dad, as far as I can remember, was a wagon maker for a party in Skokie.
Q: You must have had horses at that time.
AH: Horses. A lot of horses.
Q: Did you have a horse?
AH: No. If you lived in the city, you didn’t have a horse.
Q: Do you remember World War II?
AH: I was in it.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about it?
AH: I was in the Army Air Force as a mechanic. We had good times and we had bad times.
Q: Where were you stationed?
AH: I was stationed in Colorado Springs. Then we moved to Jamaica. Then we came back into Nebraska, and that’s where I was discharged after two years in the Service.
Q: Do you remember before the war — the Depression years? Did it affect you in any way?
AH: There were so many people out of work. I lost my job, sure. Being a young guy, you know, they’d rather keep the fathers and mothers working as long as they can. But then we got different help from the government like W.P.A. I worked on that.
Q: Then when the war came along, I remember we had food stamps. Do you remember things like that in Morton Grove?
AH: I don’t know. I was too young to worry about that.
Q: You were in the Service at that time anyway.
AH: So I wouldn’t know.
Q: You have lived in Morton Grove then for about 66 years, right?
AH: Yes. Sixty-seven years. I’m 77 now.
Q: When you came back form the Service, what did you do?
AH: Well, I was a mechanic before the war at — which is now the Navy base. I worked there. Then when the Navy bought the place out, we moved to Palwaukee. I was a mechanic there and maintenance man.
Q; Can you think of anything else that you want to say or remember? You know, sometimes when you start thinking back, it starts coming a little easier.
AH: Well, I know one thing. Mother had eight kids, and my father was gone. He died before that, so she had to send us around to different relatives to live with them. I lived with an aunt and uncle who never had kids. Of course, I was a little bit on the rough side. Then my sister went out and got into a home where aunts and uncles would take care of them.
Q: Your mother really had it rough.
AH: Oh, she had to walk. She couldn’t drive anyplace because there was no driving around. You had to walk it. In the wintertime, she worked at Swan Nelson’s place up there in Glenview at Glenview Road and Shermer, that Swedish place in there. She worked there, and she had to walk there. There was nobody around to pick her up.
Q: Well, thank you very much, Art. In the event that you have something else that you can think of later on, let me know, and we can add it to this tape, okay?
AH: Okay. I’ll do that.
TAPE ONE, SIDE A ENDS