For all their differences, Judy’s mother Lucy, my mother Grace, and Jim did have similar roots: the North Dakota prairie and the farm. Being a city kid, I never really understood what life must have been like on those farms. I still don’t.
There was a small taste of it when I’d go with Jim to visit his mother on the farm. I’d get to sleep in the little back room upstairs. It was about as far from the single heating stove as anywhere in the house. There was a little grate in the floor where some warm air came up from downstairs, but not enough to keep the temperature above freezing in the dead of winter.
By the time of my visits, there was indoor plumbing.
It was always called “the old Kuish place,” never the farm, and Kuisch was pronounced “Cush.” At that time in 1948 there was no electricity, no high lines to conduct power, no running water, except what you carried from the wells. But we did have a party line telephone, which meant that five or six farms shared a line and each had their own ring. One ring would be the Larson’s, two rings the Sanne’s and so forth … it was very convenient, at each ring all parties could lift their receivers and listen in on the conversation and even take part! …