Reinhardt Family History

Memories of Eggs and Chickens

Stories from Neil Reinhardt

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of Eggs & Chickens


Mom was only five feet tall and 100 lbs. She was always busy with her big family, ten kids. For a while, I was the only boy, then Bob was born, then (sister) Pat, then Jim. With seven sisters, I didn't have to wash dishes.

The most vivid memory I have is walking in the door and smelling the home baked bread. When I said "I'm hungry" mom would say 'We've always got bread'. Then she would cut a thick slice of warm bread and I would put lots of butter on it. The butter would melt and then I would put honey on it. That is food for the gods.

Mom did not have a thermometer on the oven. She just fired up the old wood range, turned the damper, and after a few minutes would open the oven door, put her hand in, and if the temperature felt right she put the bread in the oven to bake. Once in a while if the oven was too hot or if the bread was left in several minutes too long, it would burn a little. But that was when it tasted best.

Getting kids ready for school was a very busy time for her. She had to braid my sisters' hair, and see that they were neat and clean. She would inspect me and see if my face was clean and look in my ears. If there was any dirt in them, she would grab a washcloth and give me a good scrubbing. She would say, "Look at the dirt in your ears. My land, you could plant potatoes in them!"

We always had something hot for breakfast: oatmeal, cornmeal, cream of wheat, or pancakes. We always ate in the kitchen. We had a table with drop leaves and we could put more leaves in it. I always sat next to dad. One time after we had remodeled the house, she said we were going to eat dinner and supper in the dining room. We had a long dining room table so we could all sit around. She put a white table cloth on the table and said that we would eat in there after this as we were getting to be too careless eating off the oil cloth on the table in the kitchen, and she was going to teach us some manners. We always ate dinner and supper in the dining room after that.

Mom did a lot of sewing. She could remake dresses for my sisters that anyone would think came from the best stores. But the best were the mittens she made when we were going to school. She would cut them out and with the old treadle sewing machine, soon have a warm mitten. She would piece them together by using a plain color for the palm and a plaid or bright color for the back and cuffs. You could not tell them from the mittens bought in the store. They were much warmer than the jersey gloves that were sold. They sure kept my hands warm walking to school.

Another thing I loved were her pies. She did not make the nine-inch pies they have today. Her pie pans were ten or eleven inches, and she put in plenty of filling. I met a man by the name of Kohlman who worked at Galloway and West Company. He said that when he was a boy, he was at his uncles and they came to our place to help saw wood. He could not get over my mom's pie when she put it on the table. She would just cut the pie into quarters and each man had one-fourth of one of her big pies.

Mom would play cards with us and she liked to read. I will always remember mom lunching on cheese and crackers. She loved cheese and a cup of green tea.