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Bernie's memories of the 'cash cup'

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Wadena, 56482

Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

Again, it was my pleasure to do the story of a friend since years back in the Hewitt High School. Her name is Bernice (Bernie) Rach and she was born in 1922 in Long Prairie. Her parents were Bernard and Francis Baumgartner, who were farmers.

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The Baumgartner farm was too far from school for Bernice to walk, and what with winter driving being what it was on secondary roads, her parents decided it would be better if Bernie and two girls cousins her age lived in an apartment in Hewitt, which they did until they graduated.

Those were Depression years, and even if grades more than qualified, a college education was out of the question. Bernie found work at J.C. Penney in Wadena where she worked for the next five years.

In those days, cash was all sent to the office via a cash cup that ran on a wire from each department. To get it there the clerk gave a healthy yank on a cord that hung down, sending it on its way.

Whenever the cash cup wasn't quite closed tightly, nickels, dimes, and pennies were flung to all corners of the store with wild abandon, wouldn't you know it? There was always one red-faced clerk, on her hands and knees, trying desperately to pick up all the change.

Bernice married Ernest Rach and they settled down on a farm. Bernie's special job on the farm was the calves, which suited her fine. She liked the calves, to see them grow and play.

They visited in California, but no way did Ernest see himself living or working there. It was too crowded. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry. He liked more space. After a short time, he said "let's go home" and they did.

Bernie might have been a teacher, if she had been interested in a career. They lived on the farm until they retired and moved into Bertha. Ernest died in 2006. We are pleased to have Bernie under our big roof while she is getting therapy.

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