Eleanor Anderson

Narrator: Eleanor Anderson
Date of Interview: March 5, 1987
Place of Interview: Interviewer’s Home
Interviewer: Yvonne Ryden
Recorded for: Morton Grove Historical Society
Transcribed for: Morton Grove Public Library
Tape Running Time: 55 minutes

Introduction

Anderson

Eleanor Anderson lived for a time in the Yehl house that is now the Haupt-Yehl House, home of the Morton Grove Historical Society. Her sister-in-law is Mrs. Fred Huscher (Doris), whose husband is also Eleanor’s cousin. Eleanor is twice related to the Fred Huschers. Fred’s mother was Clara Haupt. Eleanor is also a cousin to Dorothy Yehl who was living in the homestead when the Historical Society acquired it.

Eleanor had much to relate about the Haupt family and their homes along Lincoln Avenue west of Austin.

Transcript

EA: Eleanor Anderson
Q: Question asked by interviewer, Yvonne Ryden

TAPE ONE, SIDE A

Q: Good morning, Eleanor.

EA: Good morning.

Q: Would you like to start with some of the notes you have there?

EA: Well, I could start with my grandparents, Nicholas Haupt and Magdalena Haupt. Nicholas Haupt was born in Koblenz, Germany, and I believe that Magdalena Haupt was born in the U.S. in Wilmette. Nicholas Haupt came here. He was a farmer and they were looking for farmland. He could have bought anything along Lake Michigan, but that was all sandy so they moved further west where they landed in Morton Grove. He bought property up on Waukegan Road right near where Avon is now located. He built a house there, and the children were born there. Her wife died in her early 30s, and he was heartsick, so he sold that property and he bought on Lincoln Avenue in Morton Grove and built the house which is now the Yehl house.

They all moved there and within two years, he died, which left the eight children alone. They had several aunts over in Wilmette and they wanted to take the children, split them up, but the oldest one was seventeen and I think the youngest was around four or five. The girls decided that they wanted to stay together, and so that’s what they did. The older ones raised the younger ones. My mother at that time was about seven years old. They managed to get along that way.

Q: What was your mother’s name?

EA: My mother’s name was Matilda. Most of them, as they grew up, stayed in Morton Grove. There were two of them that, after they married, moved to Chicago, and I believe one lived in Skokie.

Q: Now these were all children whose last name would have been Haupt then?

EA: Haupt, yes. Then when my mother married, she married Michael Winandy, and he was a greenhouse builder.

Q: How do you spell that name, Eleanor?

EA: W-I-N-A-N-D-Y. They lived in Chicago for a while, and then after Nicholas Haupt had died, and the children were grown, they owned the property from Austin—on the south side of Lincoln—from Austin to Georgiana. They sold off part of that on the west and the rest was divided up among the children. So my mother had her piece of property on the—well, then in the meantime, my sister and I were born. When we were very small, we lived with Mrs. Paroubek. She lived on Lincoln Avenue and that was my mother’s sister.

Q: I see. What was her first name?

EA: Sophie. So we lived with my Aunt Sophie. And, of course, having two children in the house all the time must have probably got on her nerves, because my mother would take us on a Sunday afternoon and we’d go down to Lincoln, Lawrence and Western. We’d ride the bus. There were two bus companies. One was the Niles Center Transit Company, and the other was run by Pete Heinz.

Q: Did these buses come in to Morton Grove?

EA: They came through Morton Grove, and Pete Heinz’s bus was the Morton Grove Company. So when the Niles Transit Company came, we’d stand back and wait for the Morton Grove bus. He also had an open-air bus. It was a great treat to ride all the way down there in the open-air bus. She’d take us to a movie, and after that we’d stop in a place and have ice cream. My sister was sick from the age of three. She had a heart condition, so my mother always kind of babied her, so when we’d get in the ice cream shop, mine was always a chocolate soda for fifteen cents and she always wanted the big banana split which was a quarter. Mother couldn’t very well afford it, but she got her banana split. (laughs)

Q: Was this sister older or younger that you?

EA: She was two years older than I. When she was fourteen years old, she died on her birthday, so that was kind of hard. In the meantime, before this happened, Mother decided that she was going to build a house, which was a great thing n those days for one lady to go and build a house. She had been working in the grocery store and I think they got about 35 cents an hour. So she had the nerve to go ahead. She had Mr. Sonne—he lived on Dempster and School—draw up the plans. Then Fred Huscher dug the basement and so she went on from there and finally got the house settled. The house was just west of the Paroubek house. So we moved into that house.

Q: Where would that house have been then?

EA: Oh, almost directly opposite School Street.

Q: On the south side of Lincoln.

EA: On the south side of Lincoln.

Q: Is that house still standing?

EA: 6115 and Pat Lempke lives there now.

Q: You mentioned the name Sonne and the name Huscher. They must be the fathers of the men that we know now.

EA: Fred Huscher was the father of the Fred Huscher who’s president of the Historical Society.

Q: Right. I think there’s a third generation now, too, with the same name.

EA: Mr. Sonne was the father of William and Augie and…

Q: Ernie and … yes, all right. Thank you. Now that was an undertaking, because she must have had taken on a big mortgage.

EA: She took on a big mortgage, and in those days, you didn’t have your mortgage set up where you were paying interest and principal. You paid interest and interest and never got the principal down. So we never did get the principal down until I started working, and then eventually we got it paid off. But that took a lot of nerve to have this sick daughter until she was fourteen and still try to keep the house together.

Q: At that time, where was your mother working?

EA: She was working on Lincoln and Fernald. It originally was a Piggly Wiggly, and then it was a National. At that time, everything had to be weighed—cookies, potatoes, rice, everything, butter, lard. Ladies would come in with their long list of groceries, and she had to take that list and run back and forth and pick up all these things and weigh all these things. Then you didn’t have a cash register. You had to add them all up, make sure the addition was right. After she’d get them all packed in bags, she lugged these heavy bags out to the car, and there the man of the house would be sitting, waiting.

Q: (laughs) I remember that. How they would take a big paper bag, like a brown paper grocery bag, and they would add, touch, point, and even tap the different items and put the cost down, and then make sure they had everything on the list. Then they started adding, and, my, they were all good at it.

EA: They would have to be. (laughter)

Q: So your mother took on this mortgage…

EA: Another thing in the grocery store. Poehlmann Brothers, they’d have a lot of hobos working for them. And they’d be shoveling the manure for the plants, so the clerks in the store would be all ready for five o’clock when the hobos come in to quickly wait on them and get them out of the store. (laughter)

Q: I wonder why!

EA: (laughter) Because it smelled to high heaven.

Q: So they came in and bought just the small amounts of whatever it was that they could…

EA: And that’s it. They’d buy just real small amounts, and they’d have to weigh out all these little amounts, and they’d buy their canned heat so that they could go back to their hobo get-together.

Q: What was that?

EA: That was about where Bell and Gossett is now. They had a regular little settlement there. Howard Yehl, from the Yehl house, would go back there and visit with them. Of course, they told him grand stories about all the places they had been. Mrs. Yehl was scared to death that he’d go off with the hobos. (laughter)

Q: How old was he about that time?

EA: Oh, I imagine he was about twelve.

Q: Just really a kid. Now you had mentioned where Bell and Gossett is. Are you talking about over on Austin Avenue?

EA: On Austin.

Q: And you see, I think, railroad tracks back up right along there. If you go down Lehigh you see Austin on the other side.

EA: That was where Poehlmann Brothers used to be and they’d have things hauled in there on the railroad.

Q: Were there homes near there when the hobos lived in town?

EA: No, that was all woods. In fact, that was the Yehl woods. They owned that property.

Q: The Yehl family owned that property. I see. And they permitted the hobos just to make a settlement there?

EA: Nowadays you wouldn’t think of letting someone like that go among all these hobos. And yet, I don’t know, you could go around more then. We’d walk through the forest preserve all the time and never be afraid of anything. Then while we were living—to back up a little—while we were living in the Paroubek house, on Sunday morning when my mother and aunt were to church—they used to go to church in Skokie—a fire broke out in the attic. So my cousin, Helen—she was a little older than we were—she got us out of bed. We didn’t want to get out of bed and go in our nightclothes—there was a prairie between Yehls and Paroubeks, and that’s where my Uncle Peter had cows. He used to keep those cows in that pasture, and you had a path through the pasture there from Paroubeks to Yehls. You’d have to watch where the cows were. If they were way up on the end, you’d have to run through so that they wouldn’t come and chase you. My aunt had a little yellow canary in the house, and it suffocated after this fire. So she had it stuffed, and I remember for years after that, seeing that little canary sitting on a branch in her china cabinet.

Q: Oh, for goodness sake. She was very fond of it then. You mentioned having it stuffed. There used to be a taxidermist on, on…

EA: I think there’s one on Ferris Avenue.

Q: I don’t remember if he’s still there, but he was for years. Was he there, do you remember?

EA: No, I don’t remember. I don’t think so.

Q: You mentioned the Yehl house. This is the house now that we call the Haupt-Yehl house because by that time, the Yehls had bought it.

EA: That’s right.

Q: And do you want to just mention how they were related to the Haupts?

EA: Well, Elizabeth Yehl was one of the Haupt daughters, and my mother was a sister. There were eight of them all together, and then she bought the house after she was married, and the others had all moved out or were married at that time. Then I remember one time up at the Haupt-Yehl house, a circus came to town on Lincoln and Austin. On the southwest corner it was located. They had the big elephant that was, well you might say, pastured on the east side of Yehl’s house. So that was quite an excitement, seeing that big elephant there and having the circus in town anyway.

Q: When you talk of the house and where it was located on Lincoln Avenue, was that farm or was that just open pasture? Was it actually farmed as such or was it forest? Was it wooded?

EA: No, it was more of a garden area in the back.

Q: I see. More like a truck garden, vegetable garden?

EA: Yes. More for themselves. The Yehls had their garden and Mrs. Paroubek had her garden in the back, but quite a big one. You know, they’d plant potatoes and everything like that.

Q: The Paroubek house, now I know Mr. Schuetz lives in a big brick bungalow along there. Was that house there at the time?

EA: No. Between the Paroubek house and the Yehl house was all pasture, so the Schuetz house and the other houses west of his weren’t there at all. That was all open. We had no sidewalks. There were just cinder walks along there. You’d walk along there, and there was a metal wire fence. In the winter, if you were hanging on that fence and happened to get your mouth on it, you’d stick to it. (laughter) I started school at the Grove School and my sister went there, too, just the few years that she was able to go. I always remember Miss Katherine Mulvey when she was the principal of the school or when she was teaching.

Q: Now this was the only school in Morton Grove?

EA: Yes. She always said that Margaret Winandy was the smartest girl she ever had in class. I often wish I had some of that now. (laughs) Going back to Katherine Mulvey, she used to ride the train out from Chicago. In the cold, real cold weather, she’s come walking down Lincoln Avenue, and Mrs. Poehlmann would see her. That was quite a mansion in its day on Lincoln Avenue there. Mrs. Poehlmann would call her in and give her a cup of coffee before she went on to school. That developed into a real close friendship. They were very close friends after that.

Q: Now the house, I know it was a beautiful big house. I have seen from pictures that it was a large, square frame house with the porch around maybe on three sides, and I know now you can see basically the size of it because it’s the funeral home. It’s been moved over on Dempster. But at the time that it was located on the Poehlmann property, where would it have been, like at the foot of School Street?

EA: No, no. It would have been opposite between Callie and Fernald on the south side of the street. They had a daughter, Virginia, who was really the belle of the ball. She had a big St. Bernard dog and, you know, they were really the people in town.

Q: Well, they were the wealthiest, weren’t they?

EA: Yes.

Q: And they had the main industry, the main business in town with the greenhouses.

EA: They had the two. It was Plant A on Lincoln and Plant B off of Dempster. Then Matt Yehl was the foreman on the Lincoln Avenue plant.

Q: So he lived close enough to walk to work?

EA: Yes. And then on all holidays, before the holidays, he’d always take us to the greenhouse. Like before Thanksgiving you would see all these beautiful big mums and you’d walk for hours through those greenhouses. Then before Christmas it would be all the poinsettias, and before Easter the lilies. So he’d always take us all through there on those days to see all that. So then I went to Grove School until about the third grade. I remember one of the first days of school we had pegboards where you’d put little pegs in, and I cried because I didn’t want to pass out the pegs. (laughs)

Q: Was that some sort of a seatwork activity?

EA: They were just little square boards and little pegs that you’d stick in holes.

Q: Sounds boring.

EA: Yes, it was. Passing them out was worse. (laughs) then after the third grade, I went over to St. Peter’s School in Skokie, and went through all the grades there.

Q: Well, now, how did you get there?

EA: We’d either walk—most of the time we’d walk, and that’s a long walk. Or there was a bus running, and we’d take the bus once in a while, but we walked. I remember sometimes Howard Yehl would have his bicycle and he’s give me a ride home once in a while.

Going back to the Grove School, every year we’d have this festival where all the schools gathered at Harms Woods. We’d have, oh, regular picnics and everybody would go—the parents and the kids and some would ride over in trucks. But it was a great big group of people. They’d have races. I remember running the three-legged race with Peggy French. Peggy French used to live up on where the telephone company building is now just west of the railroad tracks on Dempster. We won the three-legged race, and I still remember I got a green purse with a red windmill on it.

Then we’d have summer entertainments. They had a big pavilion in St. Paul’s Woods. That was before they went over to the one north of Dempster. I remember we’d have little dances—Japanese dances and Dutch dances. I still know the Dutch song. Harold Haupt was in a little skit about shoemakers, and ever since that he was always, until the day that he died; he was called Shoey from that particular thing.

Q: That became his nickname.

EA: Then I went to St. Peter’s until I graduated. We went to St. Martha’s Church in Morton Grove. There was no church there originally. We’d go to St. Peter’s. Then finally they got this little place—it was a saloon on Lincoln Avenue just west of Bringer Inn.

Q: Which was sort of a saloon at that time.

EA: It was a saloon at that time, and then they’d get in there and straighten up for Sunday morning. Father Schmidt from Glenview would come out and have the Mass. I made my First Communion in the saloon. (laughter) Then we finally built the church over on Georgiana Avenue. When Father Wand was here we put on plays which really went over very big. Everybody would turn out for the plays.

Q: By everybody, you mean the whole town whether they were Catholic. They supported everything from each church. Was that true of other churches, too?

EA: I think so. We had a girls’ softball team, and the Lutheran Church has a softball team, so that when the different political groups in town—the Citizens Club and the Progressive Club—had picnics, then we’d have the ball game. (pause) Then I finally went to Alvernia High School which was on Ridgeway near Irving Park. I’d have to take a bus and then a…

Q: Just how would you go?

EA: I’d take the bus into Lincoln, Lawrence and Western, and take the Western Avenue streetcar to Irving Park, and the Irving Park streetcar over to Ridgeway.

Q: Okay, so you’d have to go back west again. You would go east to Western Avenue, then south on Western, then you would have to go back west again to Ridgeway. That was a long trip.

EA: It was a long trip every day. So because of that, you didn’t have too much communication with the students, because you’re constantly on the road. (laughter)

Q: That’s the way to put it. So you graduated from Alvernia in what year did you say? 19–?

EA: Thirty-two.

Q: 1932. That must be right about the height of the Depression.

EA: Yes.

Q: Did that affect your life much?

EA: Very much because my mother was working and, you know, that meant car fare going back and forth. We had to watch very close.

Q: And she was paying for the house at this point?

EA: Yes.

Q: And your sister had passed away?

EA: Yes.

Q: So there wasn’t a lot of money to do extra things with.

EA: No, as far as recreation is concerned, we didn’t do much. In the first place, we didn’t go downtown much. Once in a while, even as kids, my Aunt Sophie Paroubek would take us downtown. Mother was working; she didn’t get a chance too often. But Aunt Sophie’s take us downtown and we’d either go shopping or we’d go to the Chicago Theater when they had films and vaudeville. That was something great. Then we’d go to a restaurant and have lunch. That was a great treat for us.

Q: Well, now this Aunt Sophie was your mother’s sister. What did her husband do?

EA: Her husband died very young. He was a diabetic, and, of course, they didn’t handle diabetes like they do now, so he died very young. She managed to keep up a house, too.

Q: She wasn’t working? On money he left her?

EA: It must have been on money he left her.

Q: Great.

EA: She did real good. He was….

Q: Well, he must have been related to the Paroubeks that we know in Skokie.

EA: Yes.

Q: I think I read that they owned a saddle shop of some sort and then eventually they started the bakery.

EA: Oh, the bakery, yes. When we went to St. Peter’s School, once in a while we’d have a great treat. Instead of bringing our lunch, we’d go to the bakery and get two sweet rolls for a nickel. That would be our lunch. That was a great treat. But he probably was in one of those businesses over there. I don’t recall.

Q: When you graduated from high school then, had you taken the business course at Alvernia? They were great for producing wonderful secretaries.

EA: Yes. I was never a secretary; I was a bookkeeper. But at that time, it was very difficult to get a job. You couldn’t find a job at all. I remember going down on the el and practically being in tears on the way home, because there just was nothing. Then for a while, I did work over at the Lincoln Tavern roadhouse on Dempster. It was—no, it was Georgiana Avenue.

Q: Just south of Dempster was it? Or was it actually on Dempster?

EA: It was on Dempster, but I believe it came in around Georgiana Avenue. I’d just answer the phone, take reservations, and I’d have to mark down the dinners from the night before—who had frog legs and who had steak, how many. That was at the time that Faith Bacon was there. She was, oh, almost like you’d call a stripper nowadays, but it wasn’t quite that bad in those days.

Q: Was she a popular entertainer?

EA: She was quite popular. They had well-known orchestras there at the time.

Q: But did they have a floor show? Was Faith Bacon—she actually performed?

EA: Yes.

Q: She wasn’t like a hostess?

EA: No, they had a regular floor show there. It was one of the better places out this way, and then the Dells was on the north side of Dempster. That was at Austin and Dempster. That was originally the Huscher home.

Q: Is that the one that later became a restaurant?

EA: No.

Q: Where are we talking on Dempster?

EA: We’re talking on Dempster, the northwest corner, but it was a woodsy area, and it was a building set way back. It covered quite a bit. The one you’re thinking of was…

Q: On the east side, right?

EA: …on the east side, which was Murphy’s.

Q: Yes, that’s right. That was not so much of a nightclub as a steak house.

EA: That’s right. The other ones were real nightclubs—those on the west die. For recreation, once in a while we’d go to Riverview. My Uncle Peter Haupt, he had a butcher shop on Roscoe Street in Chicago. So during the summer, his kids and I would go along with him in the morning and we’d poke around the butcher shop in the morning, and in the afternoon—Riverview wasn’t too far down the road from there, so we’d go to Riverview in the afternoon.

Q: Yes, I remember Riverview had what they called “two-cents” day.

EA: That’s it, yes.

Q: And you could go for very little money. Each ride was about two cents.

EA: And all that helped a little bit, because you just didn’t have money. People don’t understand that now. They can’t believe that. Just the other day I ran into a hockey program that we had, and checking through it, the hockey game tickets were two dollars and one dollar. The ads in the program showed the hotels. They were $2.50 for a room, and the meals in the hotels were a dollar and a half and $2.50. I gave the program to the historical society.

Q: Great. I’m sure they were glad to have it.

EA: So then in 1950, I was married to Roy Anderson. His folks lived on Kirk Street south of Oakton Street at Lehigh.

Q: Actually on Lehigh.

EA: No, it’s on Kirk Street, just west of Lehigh. Their names was Ernest and Helga, and they both came from Sweden. They were one of the first couples to join the Senior Citizens when it started in Morton Grove, and they stuck with it all the years that they lived.

Q: Where had Roy gone to school?

EA: Roy went to school at Schurz.[1] He remembers when he and one of the neighbor boys used to walk all the way to Skokie from there to get an ice cream cone.

Q: Well, I think they went to Schurz as tuition students. Wasn’t that it? There was no high school here?

EA: There was no high school, and all the public school children from the whole area went to Schurz. Later on, they went up to Maine, I guess, when that started, but that wasn’t there at the time we were. So he became a machine designer. He had a sailboat on Lake Michigan, and the night he gave me my ring, we were out on the sailboat in July on a beautiful moonlight night. That was a real nice way to get an engagement ring.

Q: It certainly was. How long had you known him?

EA: Oh, for quite a few years, through the Huschers. Fred Huscher married Doris Anderson, and Doris is Roy’s sister.

Q: I see, so she is your sister-in-law.

EA: She’s my sister-in-law, and Fred is my brother-in-law and also my cousin. (laughter)

Q: As I learn more about Morton Grove, I find that there are often several threads of connection.

EA: Well, connections like another thing we had—getting back to when we started our Chiquita Club, we called it. I don’t know where we came up with that name. (laughs) But anyway at the time we called it Chiquita Club. That was Bernice Yehl, at the time, and Alice Hepner and Maida Siegel and Carol Hampton, and in the meantime, Carol married Maida’s brother and Maida married Carol’s brother. (laughter) And Ruth Riha, who is Ruth Taggert now. Who am I missing? Marion Haupt. So we’ve been together for, I think it’s 55 years. That’s a long time for women to stay together. Oh, Agnes Theobald I forgot on that list and Florence Huscher Raft. All the girls, the ladies, are still around here except Florence Raft and Maida Hampton.

Q: Where does she live?

EA: She lives in Florida. Florence lives in California. Then during the summer every year them seem to get up here and we have a little get-together.

Q: Did this club start out after high school?

EA: I think maybe we were in high school yet.

Q: But you might have known each other as children. Did any of the others go to Alvernia with you?

EA: No. Now what else about that? Well, then during World War II, they started the—oh, what was it?

Q: Was that the PALS?

EA: PALS Club.

Q: Was that the same group or a different group?

EA: The PALS Club was started by, I believe, Art Loutsch and it took in the whole village. But the Chiquita Club took over the letter writing. So all the letters that they would get, they would pass over to us, and we’d divide them among the girls and we’d answer the letters, signing them “PALS Letter Gals” with our initial on. They never knew who were. Off and on, we’d send them different things. I know one time we all put masks on and we sent them a picture with masks on. We wrote poems and things like that.

Q: Were you married during that time?

EA: No.

Q: You mentioned being engaged. What year were you…

EA: 1950.

Q: You were married in 1950.

EA: Then we had two boys and we always say two in ’52, because one was born in January and the other was born on Christmas Day. Tom was the oldest, and he is married. He has two little girls, and he lives in North Carolina. He’s an entomologist, doctor of entomology. Bob is a bachelor. He has his own condominium in Park Ridge, and he works for the government, the F.D.I.C.

Q: What does F.D.I.C. stand for?

EA: I don’t really know. It has to do with the banking. If they close a bank, then they have to check on all the mortgages and things like that.

Q: When did you say they were born? Repeat that.

EA: In ’52, two in ’52. They tell me they call them Irish twins. It was almost like raising twins. I remember one Thanksgiving we had over at the Andersons—she always had Thanksgiving dinner—and we had three high chairs around the table. Our two, and Doris and Ike Huscher had their Steve.

Q: You know, before we started, you mentioned the neighborhood where your husband grew up. You gave it a name.

EA: It seems to me they called it Swedishtown, because Mrs. Berglund lived there…

Q: Now we’re talking about Lehigh—well, not Lehigh, Kirk Street.

EA: It’s Kirk Street, which is a block south of Oakton.

Q: But west of Lehigh.

EA: West of Lehigh, yes.

Q: And the railroad, of course, was there. Was Lehigh a main street like it is now?

EA: Not that busy, no. That was way out in the country there.

Q: Who were some of the other people that lived in that area? Mrs. Bergland and…?

EA: Mrs. Bergland and then the Andersons were the next house. And Axel Erickson—I’m not sure the relation. Harry Erickson was Axel’s son. He used to live on Grove Street—Harry and Alice—and he owned a little factory on Austin Avenue. They’re retired in Florida now.

Q: Was there a Gunderson, a family named Gunderson in that area?

EA: Yes, they lived right in that area, too. I don’t know exactly where. It was probably right around the corner there.

Q: So there were several homes in there where it must be industry now. They’re all factories now.

EA: Well, the Dole Valve Company bought it out originally.

Q: That would have been out of the mainstream of Morton Grove, wouldn’t it? It wouldn’t have been part of the village.

EA: More or less, yes. I don’t think it was really considered Morton Grove.

Q: It might not have been. It might have been Skokie. The boundary lines go in and out very unevenly.

EA: I don’t think it was. It must have been an unincorporated area.

Q: Were they actually lots, like one house after another or were they on big lots? Did they have gardening?

EA: They were different; they were spaced different. There weren’t really any lots, and they had their gardens, like…

Q: Sort of spread out?

EA: …Ernest had his garden and his raspberries and chickens.

Q: All right. You’re the first one that’s ever mentioned that, and I find that interesting.

EA: I’m not sure enough about all the connections there, but I think Mrs. Bergland originally was married to an Erickson, too.

Q: I see. So there may have been some sort of tie between the families?

EA: Yes, relatives, some of them. That’s about it.

Q: You know, Eleanor, you’ve told me a lot of interesting things, but let’s go back and pick up on some of these. Let’s go back to the time of the Depression when you said your mother had the courage to get a house for herself.

EA: She was only earning 35 cents an hour. She had all the mortgage payments where she’d be only paying the interest and never the principal. During the Depression it got so bad that she wasn’t able to keep it up. So my aunt, Mrs. Yehl, was good enough to take us in. she didn’t have that much room, but she said we should come and live with her. So we did go to the Haupt-Yehl house and ..

Q: Now at this point was your sister still alive?

EA: No.

Q: So it was the two of you—you and your mother. You moved east about a block to the Yehl house.

EA: Yes, we lived with her for quite a long time. I was working at the time, but still we weren’t able to keep up the house, and we rented out the house for a number of years.

Q: Well, either that or you would have lost what you had invested in it, so this way you were able to keep your house. And you and your mother lived in the Yehl house how long?

EA: It was probably a good year or so that we were there.

Q: During this time you were working and your mother was still working at the grocery store, which was probably a National Tea at that time?

EA: Yes.

Q: When you moved to the Yehl house, how many people were living in that house?

EA: There were about four…(pauses)…four of the Yehls and then my mother and I.

Q: I see. So you have a memory of actually living in a museum.

EA: Yes. (laughter)

Q: Now, about the house itself. It was on—I forget. What’s that north-south street?

EA: The Yehl house was near Morton Avenue.

Q: I guess that street wouldn’t have been in, though there is a street now. Starting at Austin Avenue and coming west, what would the land have been like along Lincoln Avenue? On the south side?

EA: Well, before Dr. Graff’s place that was all woods in there. All along, all along Austin Street, even towards Dempster. A lot of those houses weren’t there. That was all woods. Across from the Yehl house, that was all woods.

Q: And the streets were not—well, the streets on the north side were in, weren’t they. School Street and Georgiana?

EA: I don’t know when those were paved, but a lot of those were paved later than Lincoln Avenue.

Q: Were there homes built along there?

EA: (pauses) I really don’t know when those went in.

Q: Now, you mentioned that you were working at this time during the Depression. You had started, you said, trying to find a job and when you couldn’t, you worked at the Lincoln Club? Is that what you said?

EA: Lincoln Tavern. For a short time.

Q: Then did you find a job—a real one?

EA: Then I finally found a job at a medical supply place down in Chicago on Rush Street. It was what they called the Methodist Publishing House. That was really the only job I had. I worked there until I was married. Then I didn’t work after I was married.

Q: So you worked from high school graduation to when you got married.

EA: Yes.

Q: Is there anything else you can think of that we could talk about as far as the house itself—the museum now? At that time, one downstairs bedroom would have been made into a bathroom. It had indoor plumbing and everything.

EA: Yes, they had the indoor plumbing.

Q: Did you have one of the upstairs bedrooms with your mother?

EA: It seems to me we had the upstairs for a while. I don’t know which room it would have been, but eventually we had the downstairs room off of the dining room. It was very small.

Q: That’s the room that’s the office now.

EA: I think so. It was very small, but we were thankful that she took us in and we had a place. So we managed nicely.

TAPE ONE, SIDE A ENDS

TAPE ONE, SIDE B

Q: …(conversation joined in progress) …your sister was ill, and we haven’t talked at all about what kind of medical care you got during those days.

EA: It was so different than it is now. I don’t ever recall anyone going to a hospital. She had a serious heart condition from the age of three and she died at fourteen, and yet she was always home. The doctor was Dr. Sintzel, who was in Niles Center or what is Skokie now. He had his office in his home right on Lincoln Avenue. He just took care…

Q: Where on Lincoln Avenue?

EA: Oh, almost across from the St. Peter’s Church.

Q: I see. Where there are stores now.

EA: I remember breaking my arm one time. You just went over to the doctor. They never put a cast on or anything. It was just a bandage that held it in place.

Q: Like a sling?

EA: Yes. But nowadays you’re always going to hospitals or for check-ups and things, and no one ever had check-ups. You went to a doctor when you were sick, and then you didn’t even go. You kind of used the home remedies.

Q: Yes, because a doctor cost money. You mentioned that though your mother worked in a grocery store, you bought your meat at a meat market. Was there no meat at the National?

EA: No, they had no meat in the stores. Loutsch’s—this was the butcher shop owned by Henry Loutsch, the father of Art Loutsch in town now—we used to go in there. As kids, when we’d come in, he’d give us a hot dog, and that was a great treat. Henry Loutsch was always concerned about my sister being sick, so he would wrap us a T-bone steak, which is out of this world nowadays, and he’d say, “Now you take this home and give it to Margaret. It’s good for her.”

Q: How kind. But people were kind at that time.

EA: A little different, I guess.

Q: Now, what would you like to talk about?

EA: In the early days, we had no police force. We had one old man who lived on Georgiana Avenue. I can’t recall his name. He used to walk the beat all day long, and that was the height of our law and order in town. Then as the town grew, we had maybe one or two and never had a car. They rode motorcycles at that time. I recall one day getting a ride on the policeman’s motorcycle, which was quite a thrill. It was Buck Frederick’s—everybody thought Buck Fredericks was the greatest. (laughter)

Q: Was he attractive or just because he was the police?

EA: Well, both. People liked him.

Q: How about the volunteer fire department? You mentioned there had been a fire when you were living at your Aunt Sophie’s. Did a bell ring and did the firemen come and put out that fire?

EA: I don’t recall how. Well, one of the things, Mrs. Paroubek had the telephone exchange in her house.

Q: That might have been one of the ways that she supported herself after her husband died.

EA: Yes, now that you mention it. She had it in the front bedroom of her house. She ran the telephone exchange. So probably that’s how they got in contact with them. I really don’t recall. I was too little. All my cousin was interested in was getting us out of the house, because I didn’t want to. I crawled back in bed and didn’t want to go. (laughter)

Q: Do you remember that they had any—it says on the outline, “social events.” Did this fire department have any parties or anything?

EA: Yes.

Q: Benefits maybe.

EA: They had dances and parties that were held in the Dilg building down on Ferris and Lincoln. That was always the place where they’d have get-togethers. Different political organizations would have victory balls. Everybody would gather. Whether it was the Progressive or the Citizens that won, they’d all gather. Then the one who was elected mayor would have his broom and he was going to sweep out all the …

Q: Sweep clean, huh?

EA: Sweep clean.

Q: In that Dilg building on the inside, was the downstairs divided into like a bar and a social room? Or was there any kind of a large room?

EA: There was the post office. Lillian Dilg had the post office in the west end of the building, and then there was like a bar and probably like a little restaurant there, too. I don’t recall.

Q: And when you said you had parties there, was there a ballroom or a large room?

EA: That was upstairs—a great big place. St. Martha’s used to have their bazaars there. It was just a gathering place there for any occasion.

Q: But it was a large room?

EA: Yes, a large place.

Q: At one point where Villa Toscana is now, the Luxembourgers had a hall there, too.

EA: Yes, and they’d have their big picnics there, too, every summer.

Q: There was a grove of some sort near there?

EA: it as a grove in connection there right in the back. It was quite a big place.

Q: So there were plenty of places to go and have a good time. Did you go to movies?

EA: Not too much. I don’t know how long it was there, but when we were very small, there was a movie on…(pauses)…Capulina and Ferris.

Q: I think the building is still there.

EA: The building is still there and that was a movie for a time.

Q: You mentioned what the Chiquitas did during the war.

EA: We wrote the letters, and then we had a board set up on Lincoln Avenue right where the library is. We’d display the pictures that we’d get of the boys, and on any special occasions, we’d have decorations there like for Easter or Christmas. The one time when we really had to scurry around was when Roosevelt died, and we had to hustle around to get a picture of him and had the board set up for him.

Q: You mentioned how you got your engagement ring. How long were you engaged? Let’s talk personally.

EA: I don’t remember (laughs) how long. Probably—I think it was July and we were married in October.

Q: Oh, that’s fine. And did you have a wedding at St. Martha’s?

EA: Not a wedding. We went and had a Mass there, and we went to the Smokey Mountains.

Q: On your honeymoon?

EA: Yes.

Q: How nice. That’s such a pretty area, and it wouldn’t have been as well developed ass it is now.

EA: No, it was nicer at that time.

Q: (Laughs) Pretty, and in October that would have been a lovely time. Then as a young married woman, did you live right in Morton Grove?

EA: We lived with my mother in her house. Of course, the two boys were born there, so it kept us both hopping. The little ones…

Q: Was your mother still working at this point or had she retired?

EA: She had retired at that time. We had a lot of nice times together until we moved over on McVicker Avenue. Then about once a week, she’s come walking over there, and I can just see my two little ones running down the street to meet Grandma.

Q: How nice. So she kept it, stayed in the house as long as she…

EA: She stayed in the house, and sometimes she wasn’t able to keep going. She wasn’t well, but she wanted to be independent, and she was.

Q: Good for her. Did she die in the house or did she have to go to a ….?

EA: No, she finally was too sick to stay there, so she came to our place. She was in the hospital off and on. Then she came to our house, and we had to sell her house, which wasn’t too nice.

Q: No, that’s heart breaking.

EA: Yes, but that was life, I guess.

Q: And that house is still there. Would you repeat the address for me?

EA: 6115 Lincoln Avenue.

Q: Thank you. Thank you very much, Eleanor, for sharing all these memories of Morton Grove with us.

TAPE ONE, SIDE B ENDS

[1] Schurz was a Chicago Public High School.

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