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Rademachers' journey to Wadena

This time we hit the jackpot with two stories for the price of one, they are Tony and Cathy Rademacher, new residents but my former neighbors and longtime friends.

Anthony (Tony) Rademacher was born to Frank and Susan in 1920 at Shocks, a bitty town between Blackduck and Kelliher in northern Minnesota. Tony graduated from high school in Shocks, and his first job was cultivating corn for his uncle.

Susan graduated from Ladies Barber College in Minneapolis in 1910. She was Minnesota's first licensed lady barber. Since Frank was also a barber, she joined him in his shop.

Frank was an avid fisherman at any time of year, any kind of fish. He kept bait in a hole in the basement floor. Frank more than caught and ate fish. He netted little fish from crowded lakes and planted them in other lakes.

Tony liked what he saw in the life of a farmer, planning what he was going to do next and where he was going to do it. He bought a farm in Beltrami County.

Catherine Nistler was born in Little Falls, where she graduated from St. Frances High School. Her father, George, was an undertaker back in the days when they did not embalm. Bodies were returned to homes where they laid in state until they were buried a day later. Her mother's name was Mahowald.

When the government gave farmers a chance to homestead land free up north, in Beltrami County, George moved his family there and began to farm near Shocks. In an area consisting of 25 families, her father became post master.

When a government man stopped in while they were establishing the new post office, he asked what they intended to do about someone to keep the books. Her father said: "Catherine can do it. She kept books for my mortuary business," and Catherine became the bookkeeper in the new Shock Post Office. Kelliher, the next town, was the end of the railroad line.

Tony and Catherine were married in 1945 at Shocks. Tony bought the farm in Beltrami County, where he said his most productive crop was grain and blackbirds. Blackbirds in droves landed on his fields.

The Rademachers bought a farm near Wadena and moved there in 1981. They have five girls and five boys. After a time, Tony built a new house on Highway 103.

At the new place Tony set up his shop, called Tony's Cabinet Shop. He specialized in cupboards with many kitchens sporting his work. He also made hutches, tables, knick-knack shelves and many other things.

Tony's favorite craft item is a cribbage board he designed. It is larger than most, with 240 holes that fit golf tees, made out of choice seasoned Red Oak. He liked lumber he got at a mill in Lubotsky, Minn. Tony made a dozen cribbage boards, one for each one of his kids and Catherine, who is an accomplished opponent.

An attractive fancy lamp/magazine stand made of Red Oak graces Rademacher's room. Tony said: "Our house was full of things I designed and made. I made things for the kids homes, too." Having lost his sight, Tony listens to the radio and has a myriad of great things to remember.

The Rademachers have never found a slack in interesting things to do. If they had traveled, it might have been to Ireland where Tony's family had ties.

Rademachers have 39 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and two great-great- grandchildren, numbers that change often.

Coming to live under our big roof for the Rademachers, after living in big houses on acres of land, will take some getting used to but they intend to do it. They have found friends already here.

You will find them in room 219 on the main floor.