Biography of Rose Ann (Prokes) Thieme
The following was written by Rose Ann (Prokes) Thieme in 1988.
The Story of my Life, dedicated to my children, granchildren, and great-granchildren. Written by Rose Ann (Prokes) Thieme, January 1988.
Even though my Dad wished for a boy - here I was a 8lb girl, born on a sunny day, June 14th, 1919. In those days people did not always go to the hospital to have a baby, so I was born at my Aunt Mary and Uncle John Koranda's home in Jackson, the second house east of the Catholic school. In fact, it's right across from Dumont Park, from where we lived and raised our family.
I was baptised Rose Ann - the Rose after my father's Mother, the Ann after my Mother. My father did not like the idea of calling me that as I was just three days old, when his Mother passed away. He thought the world of his Mother, and he said, everytime he would hear the name Rose, he would think of his Mother and feel bad. So my Mother turned the name around to Ann Rose, which is the name I used when I entered school. The first two years I went to country school (the Robertson School), then in the third grade I went to the Catholic Parochial School, so I wouild get more religion. The 4th and 5th grades found me back to the country school. Then confirmation was ahead, so back to the Catholic School I went for 6th grade. By that time I decided I wanetd my own real name, so I turned my name back to Rose Ann. I recall so clearly, I was rather shy changing schools like that - so when I went back with a different name, my old classmates said, "Everytime she comes, she has a different name!" Being shy and half scared, this really hurt me.
We lived on a farm two miles west of Jackson. there were five children in our family, Eleanore, Angeline, Ivan, Cecelia and myself. Since I was the youngest, the baby of the family, I was given the nickname "Tootsie." Us kids had many happy times on the farm. Our winters were heavy with snow. Dad would hitch up the horses, with the sleigh, bells on the horses ringing and us wrapped up in heavy blankets, over the fields we would go to town or church. I can almost remember, as if it were now, how we'd go to midnigth Mass at Christmas, in the sleigh, with the cold moon shining overhead!
Summer found us kids busy in the grove making houses - mud pies were our pretend food. We always liked threshing time. We could take the lunch out in the field to the men, hoping they wouldn't eat it all! Mother would put a while cloth in the round dishpan. On one side she'd have meat sandwiches, the other side doughnuts and cookies, and then was my favorite, big pieces of chocolate cake!
Clear Lake was a mile west of our farm. Several times during the summer, with the horses and wagon, Dad would take us there to go swimming. Before we would go home, Mother would have us set on the edge of the wagon and she would pick off any blood-suckers that might be on our legs.
Christmas was a very special time of the year for my folks. They always showed us a great time. On our Christmas tree, we had real wax candles - about 4 inches high, in different colors. I think my Dad invented the outdoor colored bulbs. Before anyone ever heard of them, Dad took electric white bulbs, painting each one separately in different colors and stringing them on a big evergreen tree outside the house. What a beautiful eye-catching sight, no one had ever seen!
My Dad was always the Santa Claus. Us kids did not know this, as he would say he had to go the barn to watch Santa's reindeers. When he would leave, here would come Santa Claus, with a big gunny sack full of gifts on his back, running through the open snow.
My parents were very ambitious, working so hard to get ahead. Dad besides farming, built this beautiful home - making every block by hand. He would also buy old buildings in town, fix them up and resell them. His hobby was collecting and exchanging rocks and minerals to associations allover. I can remember stones being shipped to him in those big, round wooden barrels.
Mother was a real home-maker. There was nothing that she couldn't do. Everything was raised on the farm. The only items we would buy in a grocery store were the staple things, like sugar, flour, coffee, and etc. There was always a huge garden, also raspberries, strawberries and grapes, which were made into jams and jellies. The garden produce was canned, and the beef was butchered, of which Mother would can hundreds of quarts of the meat, as there was no such thing as a freezer or refrigerator in those days. They also prepared their own sausages and a special one called eth-e-nitza, a Bohemian specialty.
Mother was an expert in sewing. There were not patterns, yet she sewed for all of us, even my Father's clothes. All we had to do was look in the Sears Roebuck catalog and pick out what we'd like. She then would take newspapers and cut out her own pattern. This was like a miracle, it fit so perfect! The kindness of my Mother's heart showed allover! In the spring of each year theywould put an incubator in the room off the kitchen. In six weeks there would come peeping from the shell, the baby chicks. Then they would be put outside in the brooder house. Later, they were let loose outside. At times we had some pretty heavy rains - which would almost drown them. After these rains, Mother with her apron on over her dress, would go around the yard, picking up the lifeless little chicks, in her apron. She would bring them in the house, lay them on a cloth, on the over door of the old cookstove that burned cobs and wood. Pretty soon the little chickens would come to life.
Our home was a showplace for travelers. We were the only farm to have electrtic lights. Dad had his own Delco light plan. We also had running water. Dad was very interested in books. He had one room, called his library - with shelves all along the sides and through the middle, filled with all his books. Also in this room was a glass case for bees. They wouild come in from the outside and you could watch them in their cones. With Dad's collection of gems and rocks from the world over it was a "museum for travelers." Our place was known as "The Prokes Hillmount Farm."
Dad always was so accomodating, if it were mealtime, he'd insist they stay and eat with us. One day he came to Mother to announce guests for dinner - Mother not prepared with any meat for the meal, hurried outdoors into the yard, caught two spring chickens, killed and dressed them, preparing them for the frying pan. In an hour she had a meal ready for our guests!
Besides the housework, outside chores, Mother helped Dad in the fields. She was an expert at making hay stacks. In the fall, corn picking was done by hand. Since Mother was scared to leave us kids home alone, we would have to go along. Brisk November days found us sitting in the back of the wagon among warm bricks and blankets. The wagon had big board siding, so when they threw the corn in, it would hit the side and tumble in. Now when I sit and think of it, I can almost hear those ears of corn hit!
One day some of the girls from school and from Dunwoodys (14 all together) decided we would take a street car to Fort Snelling, for their Monday night dance. That's were my roommate swung me around to meet my new dancing partner, Lyman. I didn't really take him seriously, but he said he would call me the next night at 7, I hoped so! I told everyone he looks like the movie star Gene Raymond. The next evening, us girls were waiting and sure enough at 7, the buzzer rings, for me a telephone call! My dream came true. The day we met was February 2, 1937 - Ground Hog's day. I had never heard the name Lyman, so I just nicknamed him Lyle, which now most everyone knows him by. Lyle originally came from Elkton, S.D.. We were married January 3, 1939. I did a little beauty work, but mostly in my home, as I had trouble with my back. In younger days my cousin Connie (Egge) Sourbeck and I did a lot of horseback riding. One day while looking for her pet crow, my horse got scared and started running and I fell off and rolled down an embankment. I was knocked out and ever since that time I have had trouble with my back.
Our Gary Gene was born on my birthday, June 14, 1939, at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon. An 8 lb, 4 oz. birthday present. He was 5 years old when I had major back surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The 2nd World's War was on, and shortly after I returned home from the hospital, Lyle was called to service. He entered the Navy. His Boot Service was at Great Lakes Naval Base, then he was shipped overseas to the Philippine Islands. On the way V.J. Day (Victory with Japan) was declared but he still was sent on. He served 8 months overseas. Coming home his ship was a water-tender, a very slow moving vessel, taking 45 days from Luzon in the Philippines to the canal zone - then another week to get back home.
Lyle was overseas when our Joan Marie was born. She made her entry into the world at 10:00 o'clock at night, November 7, 1945. Lyle did not arrive home until the following March to see her for the first time - a 4 month old baby daughter - Joanie.
Mary Jo was born at 10 minutes to 8 the evening of October 22, 1952. Our daughter Joanie was sitting on the front steps of the hospital and when one of the Sisters who worked in the hospital walked by, she said to them "please give my Mom a baby girl." My mother asked that we name her after her sister Mary, so that we did, so the Jo after my father Joseph.
When Mary Jo was a Jr. in High School, she put our name in the A.F.S. (American Field Services) committee for a foreign student, to live with us for a year. We were chosen and Helen Terjoudis from Larissa, Greece, came to live with us. That was a wonderful experience learning from each other. We got so attached to her, that Lyle and I went twice to Greece to visit her and her family.
After being a full-time housewife for 31 years, I had an offer for a morning job at the S.T.I. Vocational School, as a supervisor in the Student Lounge. That was quite an experience. It was such a happy environment, I loved it. The 17 years I spent there, with thousands of students from all over the States, brought a lot of acquaintances. I still keep in contact and write to some of them. I retired in 1987. Lyle retired from his work at Sathe's Funiture in 1980.
As time goes by, things change - our family spread out! Gary Gene married Arlene Nyborg of Estherville, Iowa. They have two children, Pamela Jo and Nancy Lee. Nancy was adopted from the Catholic Charities in Winona. She was just 10 months old when they put her in Arlene's arms and said, "Here's your new little daughter!" What an exciting day and the day before Thanksgiving - so very much to be thankfull for!
Joanie married Wayne Wendel of Lakefield. They have two children, Randy Gene and Paula Marie. Mary Jo married Peter Durand from California. the had one daughter, Alysia. Most of their married life, they have been living in Maui, Hawaii.
As I am writing this, we are thinking next January 3, 1989, we will be celebrating our Golden 50th Wedding Anniversary. Like all other people, we've had good and bad times. When we were first married, those were the Depression years. We didn't even have a car for the first 9 years. Lyle was offered a job at Sathe's Furniture, starting at $50.00 a month. We thought that was great. Course then you could buy a sack of groceries for a dollar or two. then through the years, times were gradually changing. We built our home and things got better. We've done alot of traveling - covering most of the States, a little of Canada and Mexico. With Mary Jo living in Hawaii, we have gone there so far twice. When we would go to Greece to visit Helen, we'd go on to Europe, usually covering ten countries. We did this twice. The last time, we went into Czeckoslavakia, to see if we could find any of my father's relatives. We had a picture of my father's birthplace. In Europe, they preserve the bildings, as they like the old architecture. during the war when they bombed the buildings, they built them right back, using the same bricks, when possible, so they looked just like they did before. We did find some of my father's relatives who lived there, so far away but the Prokes name still carries on.
We have corresponded with them, ever since. Also at Christmas and during the year, we send them clothing, garden seeds, school supplies, or what ever they may need. Under the Communist rule they are leading a very sad life and barest of necessities.
While in Bergen, Norway, we visited Lyle's relatives - people he had never seen. His own Aunt, when she opened the door, we felt it was Lyle's Mother standing there. they looked so much alike. His Uncle, again looked so much like Lyle. It is strange how characteristics and looks pass through the generations. Lyle has always been interested in heritage. Through the years he has spent alot of time tracing way back through the years, on both his and my relatives. The family roots are very interesting and important.
Modern science and technology have changed the World a great deal, since I was a small child. Here is a listing of a few I can think of -
Everything is changing very fast. I feel now that we're retired, our work days are over. Now we look at our grandchildren, they are starting where we started so many years ago. Our living then and now is so different, that is why I wanted to write this - to capture the times in each generation. But one thing that never changes is we all live in God's world, filled with love......
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