Part 5 - Newspaper Articles

My grandmother wrote a column for the Decorah newspaper for several years.  Here are four that I found among her scrapbooks.

My Views

Weekly Articles Written for the Decorah Newspaper

The following article was written in July, 1955, shortly after her husband, Louis G. Krumm, passed away:

These columns are written so far in advance that there is no regard for their timeliness. If I had foreseen a death in the family there would have been a column suitable to what was inevitable.

Now the "fisherman's" clothes are hanging in a back room where they were hung after his last fishing trip. The fishing rod was bequeathed to his grandson, Danny Price, and fishing days are over.

Many times during the last months I heard him say, "How miserable is man when the foot of the Conqueror is on his neck!"

Now it is all over and the old car - (than which there is no equal) - will go out to the Federal Game Refuge at Martin, S.D. The car was not for sale. It was priceless.

No more will he sit by the window getting his neighbors off to work. Every morning, winter and summer, he would say, "Quarter past eight. Time for Earl Marsh to go to work. Yes, here he comes."

Then would come Adeline Mikesh and he would say, "There she goes!" Next was Gordon Pfister going to work for the State Highway Commission and so on.

These people never dreamed that they were being watched and timed, but he never went about his work until he had them all off to work on the East Side. (A surprising number come from the West Side.)

He had an old saying that he had taken from Shakespeare: "If 'twere well 'twere done, 'twere well 'twere done quickly."

And that was his life's motto. If a debt was made it had to be paid quickly - everything else was the same. And so he wrote his own obituary when he first learned that he had a fatal illness. His lot in the cemetery was ready, his pallbearers chosen, his minister and his church.

After his death it was very touching to receive cards of sympathy from old friends and neighbors and the 5th Avenue people certainly rose to the occasion as they always do when sorrow comes into their midst.

I remember when I was a small child, my father called me to him and said, "I want you to be a stoic." He said, "There are Indians that can be pricked with pins or cut with knives and they will not flinch nor show their feelings in any way."

He must have read about the school of philosophy founded by Zeno about 308 B.C. These stoics were never to be subdued by joy or grief.

So I started very young to be a stoic. This school of philosophy taught that the world reveals itself as the embodiment of a divine mind. All reality is material and the soul is only a kind of sublimated matter doomed to eventual dissolution. (I disagree with this.)

Since the world is the work of divine wisdom, and is governed by divine law, it is man's duty to conform freely to whatever destiny may be his. The wise man should be willingly submissive to divine law.

With the long years of practise that I have had in being a stoic I shall not be overwhelmed by grief. There is strength that is real strength and kindness that is real kindness that comes to us through divine help in times of need.

My father was a doctor and minister combined. He left a strange little book behind that I have pondered over many times, especially the chapter on death.

It says that death has reference only to the body, and quotes the old poem with which we are all familiar:

Life is real, life is earnest,
And the grave is not thy goal,
Dust thou art, to dust returnst,
Was not spoken of the soul.

The following article was written in spring, 1956:

This week I want to express my most sincere appreciation of those things which, before I went to Florida, I have always taken for granted.

You have to live in Florida sand to appreciate Iowa blue grass; have to see huge playgrounds around the school buildings entirely of sand; have to sit in lawn chairs with your feet in the sand while you visit with friends.

You have enjoyed the sunshine of Florida every minute but when you come back to Iowa and scuff your feet through the blue grass you think this is even more enjoyable than the feel of Florida sunshine.

When you visit the Singing Tower at Lake Wales you realize that Decorah also has its Edward Boks working to beautify the parks of Decorah. Edward Bok had a motto taken from his Holland grandmother, "Leave the world a more beautiful place in which to live than when you found it."

Bok's grandparents were sent to live on a barren island where they planted trees, shrubs and flowers until it became a show place and a wonderful sanctuary for birds. This gave Edward Bok his inspiration for his Taj Mahal in America.

So we who take the beautiful parks of Decorah for granted fail to realize that in the late Will Baker, the Honorable Fred Bierman and all those who contribute to the making and upkeep of our parks we have and should appreciate our own Edward Boks. They are leaving Decorah a more beautiful place.

Here is one inscription taken from Bok's sanctuary:

You are nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth, the kiss of the sun for pardon and the songs of the birds for mirth.

Available in a university library is much reading material and I found nothing better than some of L. Dale Ahern's columns. I wonder if Decorahians appreciate the pen of L. Dale Ahern.

And does the community appreciate the hard working, accommodating men in the Decorah banks? Florida banks that open only for three hours on certain days inconvenience the customers no end. And when they open at 9:30 a.m. there is always a crowd waiting to get inside. They close at 2 p.m. on most days.

This makes one more appreciative of the hours the Decorah banks are open for the convenience of the public.

This ends my words of appreciation for Iowa blue grass, Decorah's parks and editors. There is more to be said but tonight I feel just like a preacher's wife when she has to move her belongings to another parish.

I am moving out of my house. My back aches from tugging, lifting, dragging and packing. This is the life of a preacher's wife.

My disposition is ruined. Next time I go to a church meeting and some one suggests that the preacher resign I am going to rise up and protest in behalf of the preacher's wife.

On my arrival home from Florida when I entered the house I said to myself, "Oh! What has happened here?" The place was so still and the armchair by the radio was so empty. There was no one to ask about the little folks in Florida or to hear about my trip.

But to quote from Bob Crosby in the Saturday Evening Post, "You can't frustrate a musician. As long as he can play he has an outlet - the greatest outlet in the world for his emotions. It puts you in possession of all your faculties. You play the music of the angels and nothing can hurt you so long as you can play that piano, or that horn, or that violin."

Now I have rented my home and expect to go to the Federal Game Refuge at Martin, S.D., where I can stand on the shores of my favorite lake and watch the different moods of the water and find peace and inspiration.

The following article was written during her stay in Mexico City, summer 1960:

It's Easy To Become Involved In Many Things In Mexico City

By Alice Krumm

When I came to Mexico City it was far from my wildest dreams that I would find myself involved in the Cuban Revolution (merely as an observer).

But when I was passing through the lobby of this hotel I saw a Cuban at the desk. His shiny black hair was combed straight back from his forehead, and not a hair was out of place. Here was a man of unusual appearance. His was a magnetic personality, and he displayed the possession of unusual power and influence.

What would such a man be doing in a family hotel filled with average people? I am inclined to believe that he is a political refugee from Cuba, or he could be a secret agent of Castro's searching for a political refugee.

Intrigue on Foot

Anyway it would not be at all surprising to learn before we leave that some intrigue is on foot.

Whenever I meet a newly-arrived guest on the stairway, I give him a quick once-over. Is this a secret agent of Castro's? Of course I could be all wrong.

How quickly one can get involved in strange and unexpected events. Today my picture is on the front page of a Mexican Daily newspaper and people all over the city are reading about the suicides in our hotel with accompanying pictures.

I had taken the children to the George Washington plaza in front of the hotel to play and a newspaper photographer rushed in front of us to take a picture of the hotel in which we live. This shows me sitting on a cement post and one of the children standing on another post beside me.

One picture in the newspaper showed the window of the room where the suicides had taken place. A millionaire from Hong Kong came here to this hotel with his wife shortly after we arrived. They had a baby born in a Mexico City hospital which was perhaps 10 days old.

Received Congratulations

I saw the mother carrying it through the lobby so tenderly and it had a small, round Asiatic face. The father was carrying an immense bouquet of red gladiolas and receiving the congratulations of the management.

Yesterday the maid discovered their bodies which had already disintegrated after 36 hours. Soon the place was swarming with police, detectives and newspapermen.

The man had left a note explaining that he had lost all his money and could not so much as pay his rent. Quite possibly they had been without food for some time.

The mother had placed a crucifix on the baby's body and there was a glass tumbler of deadly poison on the kitchen table, partially gone.

Three ambulances screamed up to the hotel, and stretchers were brought in for the victims. The tiny little Asiatic mother and baby were placed together on one stretcher, and after some time had elapsed, the millionaire was brought to the ambulance. Their many suit cases and boxes were taken by a police car.

They were buried in a lonely spot outside the city, and the hotel became very quiet. The light in our hallway burned brightly all night, and toward morning I heard the policeman's whistle meaning three o'clock and "All's Well."

The following article appeared in 1962:

Quaker Settlement in Early Days Responsible for Many Memories

While living in my igloo in Alaska a caller came - a 10-year-old girl, who asked where I lived when I was a little girl, what church I attended, etcetera.

I told her that when I was her age I lived in a Quaker settlement and that I went to a Meeting House, not a church.

She was all sympathy and said, "What a dull life you must have lived!" We had more diversions than she realized.

Barnum and Bailey's Circus could not have made more commotion in the Settlement every winter than the two weeks of Revival Meetings - not the meetings so much as the men who conducted them.

Another World

When the evangelist and his singer arrived everyone was on the que vive. It was like two strangers coming into the settlement from another world.

The festal board at the parsonage and the prophet's chamber upstairs were made ready every winter. The festal board was only for the duration.

My father, a physician and surgeon, had relieved himself of the exacting routine of amassing wealth and in exchange had taken a preacher's salary in a Quaker Settlement. He was no camel in a needle's eye.

The most memorable revivalist was Joseph Beane. His singer was Aquilla Moon and it is of Aquilla that I wish to write. Aquilla had a long nose and his face was of a peculiar, pale, yellow color.

Aquilla was like the long-nosed church usher, who on shaving Sunday morning, stopped the end of his nose from bleeding by applying a little round paper from a spool of thread. The paper said, "Warranted 2000 yards," and the fellow wondered why every one was laughing when he passed around with the collection plate.

Tame Life

Aquilla's long nose, his pale yellow complexion, and his solemn looking face gave the lie to a man who had loved wildness but was attempting to live tamely.

One day, wearying of the talk on theology in the living room, Aquilla, wandering about the house and finding my sister, Annie, and me in the kitchen, wearily washing mountains of dishes, pots, pans and kettles, used to pass the time of day.

Dishwashing reminded him of his bride who also disliked dishwashing. They had been married less than a year and she was still too wonderful to be true.

Rudyard Kipling said, "After marriage, a reaction sets in at the end of three years," but Aquilla was far from this stage.

He gave us his autobiography! Up to the time of his conversion he had been a clog dancer and ventriloquist in a sideshow. At one time he had corresponded with 40 girls all at once.

We asked him to demonstrate his ventriloquism. He hesitated. All that had been left behind when he was converted under the preaching of Joseph Beane.

After much coaxing, he went to a small door in the kitchen wall that opened into a woodbox and stuck his head inside. He began the show by calling a dog. His voice went farther and farther down an imaginary road until it died in the distance.

Memory Lives

To this day, I can recall the memory of his long, lank figure half in and half out of the woodbox and hear his voice growing fainter and fainter until it died in the distance. When I hear Edgar Bergan and his imitators on TV I compare them with Aquilla and wonder if they know what real ventriloquism is.

Washing dishes was nothing with Aquilla talking to us. Memories of the sideshow took possession of him. He recalled a parody he had sung on "Home, Sweet, Home." He sang it for us. It was, "When your wife routes you out in the middle of the night, there's no place like home. When you're walking the floor with the baby and step on a tack there's no place like home."

Reeling off his sideshow monologue about pink lemonade and starting to dance a clog, he was suddenly interrupted by the evangelist stepping into the kitchen and saying, "Why Quill!"

"Quill" went back into the living room with him and demurely sat down in a chair. He never came back again and dishwashing in the kitchen again became the same old grind.

Years later I was at a Woman's Meeting and saw a weary woman enter with three small children clinging to her skirts and carrying a baby in her arms. This was none other than Aquilla Moon's wife!

No doubt Kipling had been correct about his three year reaction.

When the women gave their testimonies Aquilla's wife rose and wept. The baby was in her arms and the three children were in the seat beside her. She said, "I do so want to work for the Lord, but it seems like my hands are tied."

Just as Much

The presiding officer said, "Sometimes I think a woman in her home taking care of her children, is doing as much for the Lord as anybody else."

The little children wore clothes that she had made for them and looked starched and ironed and well cared for. The little girl with the red gingham dress and a sash tied in a pretty bow behind, slipped off the seat and grabbed her mother's dress as if to say, "Don't cry, mother, you've got us!"

To the little girl in Alaska, the Quaker Settlement, looked at from the outside, seemed dull, but from the inside, looking backward, it is rich in memories.

The following article appeared in the 1950's:

Current 4th of July Observances Can't Compare With Those of Past

Neither Decoration Day nor Easter Sunday nor Lincoln's birthday nor Washington's birthday nor New Year's day nor Christmas day nor Thanksgiving day nor Labor day nor even July Fourth are what they were at the beginning.

We did not survive the winter on a stern and rock bound coast therefore we do not feel the thankfulness that the Pilgrim Fathers felt.

Thanksgiving day is nothing more to us than a day of feasting. As to Christmas, Easter Sunday, Father's day and Mother's day, they are all but smothered out by commercialism.

But what primarily concerns us at this time is July Fourth, with its reminiscences.

Taking a backward look over all the July Fourths of a lifetime there are only a very few that I can remember.

In diary form they would read something like this: July 4th, 1892: Our family celebrated the Fourth by having ice-cream. July 4th, 1893: We celebrated the Fourth by having ice-cream.

The next year we had ice-cream and a coincidence happened. I went to the kitchen door to throw out a cup of water. It hit my father square in the face. It surprised us both.

The next year we had a Fourth of July celebration in Valton, Wisconsin. The celebration was held on the school grounds at the foot of a hill.

The school house was shaped like a shoe box, with an upstairs, a downstairs and a belfry. There was a large, grassy lawn in front.

A man moved a merry-go-round onto this lawn and charged five cents a ride.

All I could do was to enjoy watching the other children ride on the merry-go-round. I had no five cents.

In the afternoon for excitements the men soaked two big balls of carpet rags in kerosene and set them on fire. This was really spectacular when two men stood a long distance apart and threw the fire balls back and forth.

Another celebration was in a secluded Friends' settlement at Friendswood, Wisconsin. In a clearing in the woods stood an old abandoned Friends' Academy.

The presence of students in the far past always came back to mock the stillness and loneliness of the place.

My sister and I saw the older people going upstairs in this building, so out of curiosity we followed.

When we found that they were having religious services we started to leave but our father followed us and said that we had to stay as long as we had come there.

So, we attended services with the elderly people while the rest of the children were having a good time downstairs. (Elevating but unusual).

There comes a memory of a celebration years later in a county seat town. An airplane was to be there as the main attraction. All the farmers in the area took their families with horse and buggies to town to see the airplane.

There was a high wind blowing that day. The pilot refused to fly the plane. When some boys leaned against his plane he was very cross and drove them away.

The big celebrations have given way to small community picnics. At one of the first of these that I attended, only two ladies brought anything to eat.

My fried chicken was grabbed and whisked away so fast that it was gone before I knew it. The other lady and I were obliged to put our food between us and fight for our lives.

One man looked around the empty tables and said impressively, "There isn't anything to eat!"

At one of these picnics where food was always plentiful like at Burr Oak (a land flowing with milk and honey) one old man picked up a dish of food that his daughter-in-law (whom he disliked) had cooked and said, "This is the stuff that killed the devil!"

For lack of more memories this ends July 4th in times past.


The following article appeared in the Mabel, Minnesota newspaper during the time Alice was living at Green Lea Manor:

The ladies at Green Lea Manor visit in the lobby like a bunch of hens. I have stood outside my hen-coop on a warm winter's day, when I was living on a farm, and listened to hens visiting. Finally one hen would raise her voice so that she could make herself heard above all the rest and she would have her say.

The women at Green Lea Manor sound much the same but one thing is worthy of notice. There is no gossip or scandal or jealousy - i.e., comparing oneself with another person to the other person's disadvantage.

As the winter evenings get longer we may expect to hear a great deal more of this pleasant conversation.

To change the subject, a number of us at Manor have been invited to submit poems to be included in a monthly manual.

With apologies I herewith submit my poem to the Record. We were given one week's time to write these poems. The only thing I can say for my poem is that it is original.

For weal or woe away I go
To find my golden pen
I never wrote a poem yet
Just think what might 'a been.
Take off your hat and make a bow
When e'er you meet a poet
For every time he makes a rhyme
He lets the whole world know it.
For weal or woe away I go
To put away my pen
If I should write another line
You'd see what might have been.


Introduction | Personal Memories | Quotes and Notes | Letters | Unfinished Stories | Miscellaneous Notes

Alice Krumm Photo Gallery

Krumm Family Photos | First Settlers in Winneshiek County | 150 years in Winneshiek County | Gottlob Krumm obituary | Gottlob and Regina Krumm | Gottlob and Gottlieb Krumm | genealogy | home
Gleanings of a Lifetime, by Alice Krumm (1879-1987)
Copyright 1998 by Bill Price
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