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Wilma Ina Haussermann

July 31, 2021

Wilma Ina Haussermann

MY STORY ‘THE WAY I SEE IT’ Edited and embellished a bit by her family I ,Wilma Ina Haussermann, was born the third of thirteen children to “Mike” Friend Valentine Hadley and Augusta Louise Rebman Hadley on June 8, 1927. I was born at home on a farm in south central Nebraska, near Alma. My family moved to Alma when I was very small. Around 4 years of age my family moved into a big house in north Alma. My two older siblings, Betty, Leon, and younger brother, Dallas and I lived there with our parents, along with my Grandma Hadley, an uncle, a cousin and an aunt, at times. My sister Mildred was born there. The Mulalley house, as it was called, was where I learned NOT to smoke. The house had a big porch that was so high that we could play under it standing up. We swiped some cigarettes out of our uncle’s car, and found matches, somewhere. Leon lit a cigarette for himself and must have done the same for me. Immediately we heard footsteps on the porch. Mom must have had the nose of a bloodhound; she smelled the smoke. We quickly put the cigarettes on the brick foundation and took off running. I could never run worth a darn, so mom caught me first, spanked me, sat me on a bale of hay, and went after Leon who had made it to the barn. She spanked him. Apparently that wasn’t enough so she repeated the process. It’s a blessing that we didn’t set the house on fire. We were around 6 and 4 years old. We must have learned our lesson, as neither of us took up smoking, or maybe we didn’t because we are both allergic to smoke!! Dad worked with the neighbor, across the street. Shorty played guitar and dad played fiddle. My dad got his hand caught in a buzz saw while sawing wood and almost lost his right thumb, almost ending his fiddle playing. Mom put the fiddle away so we could learn it someday. After moving down on the Nebraska-Kansas state line, in a chicken coop, that we always called ‘the shack’, my brothers, Lewis and Howard were born, but in Alma at Grandma and Grandpa Rebman’s home. I started school at the tender age of 5, still living in the ‘shack’. We had to walk 2 miles to Pleasant Hill Rural School in Phillips Co. Ks. We went there for about a year and a half when someone decided that we lived in Nebraska and shouldn’t be going school in Kansas. So, we had to walk through someone’s pasture, near 3 and a half miles to get to Golden Rod Rural School for the next 3 years. At 6 years old, Kansas placed me in 3rd grade, (skipping 2nd), so was put in 3rd grade in Nebraska, when we started there. Sure enough, I flunked!! I was 6 years old and too young, but passed with flying colors the next year. I learned to play the guitar sometime between 7 and 9 years old. I started on an old guitar that we used as a horse. We were lucky we didn’t break the neck off. My dad showed me how to play the G chord and I picked up a lot from the neighbors when they came to strum with dad. On June 8,1935, my 8th birthday, Daddy started to go to Alma with the horses and wagon, our only means of transportation, to buy groceries. He was a long way from the Republican River but he could hear the roar. Upon his return, mom had made Kool Aid and fresh bread and we spent my birthday watching horses and cattle floating down the river with lots of other people on top of the bluffs. The bridge south of Alma was washed out. My brother, Dean was born in Jan. 1936. People remember those years as the dirty thirties. Dust was so bad that when the table was set, we turned the plates over to keep the dirt off. We would have to dust the table again before we ate. Dust drifted like snow on fences and posts would be half buried. My sisters, Jean, Joyce, Joan and brother John were born between the years 1937 and 1942, in Kansas. I was ready for 6th grade when we moved back. I finished the next three years at Pleasant Hill School and went to Phillipsburg, Ks to take my final exam. I started high school in Alma, NE. September 1940. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and we were immediately involved in World War II. The government issued rationing stamps especially which were used for sugar, flour, gas, men’s overalls and car tires. There was a quota as to how much you could buy. We were allowed enough gas stamps to get us to high school. Our family never went without sugar. Betty, Leon, and I milked 11 to14 cows each morning before school started at 9:00 and at night. When I started High School we had a Model T Ford that Leon would park on the hill at night so he wouldn’t have to crank it. We would walk up the hill, load up, he would let the brake go and away we went. After Leon ruined the motor in the Model T, we drove a Hudson-Terraplane. I remember taking sack lunches my freshman year, but later the school served macaroni and tomatoes every day. We ate in the furnace room. Betty and I had a north bedroom upstairs. My brothers had the other room. In the winter we would wake up with snow on the foot of the bed. A jar of very hot water warmed our feet when we went to bed, we had not hot water bottle or hot brick to warm our feet so by morning our jar got pretty cold. For entertainment, daddy played the fiddle, Betty the guitar and I played banjo. Leon played the fiddle when he was around. We began playing for dances and were billed as “The Kansas Ramblers”. The cost of tickets were 10 cents for ladies and 20 cents plus tax for gentlemen. In April of 1943, we lost our brother, Dallas when men were working on a road and it caved in on him coming home from school. The first time I remember seeing Eldin Hausssermann was at a dance in Republican City. He stood out because he was shorter than his friends.He had dark wavy hair and pretty brown eyes. He was a handsome rascal, but I never thought at the time that I would ever marry him, after all I was only 12 or 13. Around this time period we started to play for house dances but in the late 30’s and early 40’s men were enlisting in the service and the young men weren’t there anymore. Mostly older folks attended the dances and the big bands were more popular than we were. When I was a senior, in 1944, my parents moved to a farm near Minden. I stayed with my Grandma Rebman to finish school in Alma. That summer is when I learned to drive a tractor. I tried to plant corn for my dad but couldn’t drive straight enough for him. I hired out that summer to work for a neighbor lady, but I wound up driving a tractor and pulling a darn combine for her husband! I got pretty good at making corners, I could come square around and not have to go back to pick them up. We cut the neighbors’ wheat all around Linden. I was making $6 a day and room and board, which beat $10 a week working for his wife!!! My sister, Sharon, was born in the Minden Hospital while we lived here. I went at home for at least 6 months, as mom was 45 and didn’t recover very well. The family moved to a farm near Axtell in March of 1945. Bethany Lutheran Church was a mile south. I haven’t mentioned church because we were not involved with any. My mom was raised Lutheran and my dad was raised Brethren and as we were growing up, we were never close enough to a church to attend. I remember going to Sunday school when we lived in Alma. We learned to sing “Jesus Loves Me” and “I’ll Be a Sunbeam for Jesus”. Later, when in high school Betty, Jean, and I went to the Lutheran Church in Alma. Bethany Lutheran was close enough to walk to church. On January 13,1946, 11 Hadley kids were baptized. We were baptized at home, the baptismal fount was one of mom’s serving bowls. The pastor wanted to do this at church but mom didn’t want a public show. Mildred, Lewis and I were confirmed on June 9, 1946. I was home when the family made its next move, to a farm north of Republican City, where my mom grew up. The house was really too small for us, so we moved to a farm between Republican City and Naponee. The owner of this farm was my sister Betty’s father-in-law. This was the first time that I probably talked to my husband-to-be. He helped my family move. Brother-in-law, Dexter, had asked Eldin to help us move, in exchange for payment for a tractor that Dexter had fixed for Eldin. During this move was probably the first time he noticed me. I recall how he raved about a roast that I had cooked. I was working for Betty, who had twins at this time, when I had my first date with Eldin. He had written a letter to Deck asking him if he could date his hired girl. I told Deck that I was not going to the dance with Eldin, that he should have asked ME!!! He said he would come Saturday at 8 and pick me up. We were supposed to play for a dance in Alma that night. I asked Deck if I could borrow his car. He told me that I couldn’t have it til after 8. I waited until 8 o’clock and Eldin wasn’t there, so I took off in Deck’s car. There were 3 gates to open and I got through the first two. I didn’t get the last one open yet, and this is where we met for our first date. He said he had a flat tire. I left Deck’s car sit in the pasture and we went on to the dance. I’ll bet he thought that was some date. My brother Leon and sister-in-law, Susian lived in Lincoln, after they married. We were to play at a jam session in a small town near Lincoln. I was getting a taste of the city life, when here comes Eldin Haussermann to take me home! This was the first time I was at the Capitol of Nebraska. Susie took our picture in front of the Capitol and that was as close to a wedding picture we had. On the way home, Eldin pulled off the road behind a windbreak and presented me with a “huge” diamond set in a a pink gold ring. Eldin was pressuring me to get married and I told him that I couldn’t until the corn was picked. The corn was picked by the first week of November, so mom and I drove to Holdrege and got my wedding Dress which was an aqua color.We needed my parents permission because I was not 21.We were married in the parsonage of Bethany Lutheran Church, on Friday evening , November 14, 1947. We took off to Colorado and went to Pikes Peak for the weekend. We made our home on a farm near Mankato, KS, until 1951. We had no electricity, no running water in the house and no indoor bathroom, and the water was terrible. When it got warm it smelled like sulfur. Dale was born, July 27, 1950, two month prematurely. He weighed 3 lbs. and 3-1/2 oz. He was 3 days old when I got to see him, and was in the hospital nursery for 31 days before we brought him home. We moved to Arapahoe on April 15, 1951, when Dale was 9 mo. old. We moved on a very windy day. The dirt and sand was blowing so hard, I wondered what we were getting into. I surely appreciated the electric lights. The propane wall furnace was wonderful, as was the floor furnace in the bedroom. We had wonderful neighbors up and down the road. Nancy was born December 16, 1953. I was worried about the weather, but I got to the hospital ok. However, the doctor was in the process of moving and was out of the hospital. I was wheeled into the delivery room hearing the words “Where is the doctor?” Dr. Bentley delivered Nancy, so I was told. But Dr. Christensen’s name is on the birth certificate as the physician. Before Ruth was born I went to the hospital twice before she made her arrival on September 30, 1955. After we came home, I woke up one morning and looked like a toad. A friend took me to Dr. Bentley. He gave me a shot for eclampsia and I was back to ‘normal’ in no time. Eldin and I started out with a John Deere tricycle tractor and a disc that you couldn’t pull out of the ground. I got stuck numerous times in the sand and the neighbor, Dick Lewis, had to pull me out. I finally learned to avoid those spots. We had a 3020 that had a starting motor, but you had to make sure you didn’t start it backwards. Then it had to warm up before the big motor could be started. I farmed with Eldin and drove numerous tractors through the years. The last one being a 4440 John Deere, purchased for me, for my birthday, with a cab with a heater and air conditioning. We farmed together until his accidental tractor death on December 15, 1984. I moved to Arapahoe 10 years later. We have been members of Trinity Lutheran Church since moving to Arapahoe. (This is as far as mom got with her story.) Mom’s love for music carried on until her death. She jammed with family members. She started out playing with her family as the Hadley Kansas Ramblers. Then after moving to Arapahoe, she played guitar and banjo with Marna Hermes with comedy gigs performing at locaI events and the nursing home. They started as the Valley Plow girls. Name changes were made as new members joined. The Swingin' Grannies were formed and most current, Whipples Cripples. Mom was active throughout the years as a 4-H leader, Sunday school teacher, LWML member and leader, Mission Mall board member, Home Extension member, and faithful follower of the Lord. Mom’s good-natured and often ornery humor remained up until the end. Mom was preceded in death by her husband, Eldin Haussermann; parents Friend Valentine(Mike) Hadley, Augusta Louise Hadley; brothers-Lewis (Carol), Dean, Howard, Dallas; sisters-Betty(Dexter), Mildred (Forrest), Joyce(Francis Crouse, Ed Albers) and Sharon(Gayle Newbury and Bob Hayter) and brother-inlaw Pat Patterson. Left to mourn her are her son, Dale Haussemann; daughters Nancy Tarkington and husband Kurt; Ruth Christensen and husband Melvin. Grandchildren-Travis Tarkington (Valerie), Lindsey Williams (Jesse), Tyler Tarkington; Brent Christensen, Kendall Chrisensen (Joni), Dallas Christensen, (Kylie), Elizabeth Martin (Andrew), Sebastian Edwards (Emma). Mom’s great-grandchildren are; Travis’s family-Garrett Hamilton (Keithen); Sean Skiles; Haley Skiles; Ashton Kirkendall. Lindsey’s family-Hadley, Jameson. Brent’s family- Parker, Breckyn, Kyler. Kendall’s family- Landon, Bryer. Dallas’s family- Kinley, Paisley. Elizabeth’s family- Ethan, Isabella. Sebastian’s familyHenry, Stella. Mom’s great-great grandchildren are; Xavier, Ezekiel, Malachi and Sebastian Hamilton. Also left to mourn mom are her brothers Leon (Susian); John (Linda). Sisters Jean Patterson and Joan (Lee) Kruschke; Sisters-in-law Ellen Hadley and Carol Hadley, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, younger friends and “adopted” family. Wilma Ina Haussermann, age 94, of Arapahoe, Nebraska passed away on Sunday, July 31, 2021, after being in Phelps Memorial Hospital, Holdrege, Nebraska from congestive heart failure and her body just wore out. Visitation is August 2, 2021, at Wenburg Funeral Chapel in Arapahoe from 5-7 P.M. Family will greet from 6 to 7 P.M. Services for mom are August. 3, 2021, at 10:30 A.M. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Arapahoe with Pastor James Moshier officiating. Burial is in Arapahoe Cemetery. Pall bearers for mom are Travis Tarkington, Tyler Tarkington, Jesse Williams, Brent Christensen, Kendall Christensen, Dallas Christensen, Sebastian Edwards and Andrew Martin. Honorary pall bearers are Lindsey Williams, Valerie Tarkington, Joni Christensen, Kylie Christensen, Elizabeth Christensen and Emma Edwards. Memorials are yet to be determined or can be designated to Trinity Luthera Church in memory of mom.

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